Perplexed About: Copyright Concerns

For a… slightly better reason than before.

See, while the previous “bugging me” post was only trying to find out what movie someone was talking about, this one has more to do with copyright.

Specifically: copyright, illegal downloading/digital piracy, and bootlegging, as addressed within fictional mediums. And occasionally in the real world.

The questions started with Animal Crossing. I had just acquired New Leaf, my first venture into the series, and though I hadn’t played very far into it, I decided to read up on the series.

One of the sites I read was, of course, TVTropes. It looked normal enough for a Tropes page, until I came across this entry:

Digital Piracy Is Okay: Done in-universe. The songs given to you by K.K. Slider are outright stated by him to be illegal copies, since he doesn’t like “industry fat cats” putting a price on his music.

That seemed like an odd way to interpret it, but since I hadn’t actually encountered K.K. Slider by that point, I thought perhaps I was the one misunderstanding it.
So I clicked the link to read up on what else TVTropes had to say on the subject, as well as looking up more information about K.K. Slider and his views on it.

And I still don’t understand it.

See, what I’m understanding is that it’s his music, that he doesn’t work with those “industry fat cats” (as I assume someone who doesn’t want them putting a price on his music would never sign a contract with them), so it is his right, and his alone, to decide how to distribute that music and how much to sell it for… or whether to give it away entirely.

What I’m understanding is that his choice to give away his music at his concerts would be no different than a self-published author giving away copies of his books at an open mike night.

How, then, is that illegal? How is it piracy? How is it bootlegged–his reference to having “slipped you a boot” besides the point?
How is it anything but him doing what he has the right to do, and his “customers” doing what he gives them the right to do?

Am I reading a little too much into a fictional character?
Perhaps, but TVTropes has plenty of entries on real people with the same attitude.
Now, I could understand referring to many of the “Neutral” people on that page as allowing digital piracy.
Maybe.
Perhaps many of them don’t actually have the full rights to their product, and simply chose to look the other way when it happened.
But for those who have the full right to price and distribute their products however they please, even to the point of giving away digital copies and actively encouraging fans to share those copies… again, by what definition is any of that “piracy”?

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