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[P]
Infringement != Stealing

By MrSpey in Op-Ed
Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 03:25:32 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Almost any time you read, hear, or view anything about Napster, music sharing, or mp3's you hear people talking about stealing music. The MPAA is starting to talk a lot about people stealing movies online. Book publishers are even talking about stealing books through online transfer. Well, I have good news for those who are worried about people stealing music or movies through file-sharing programs: no one is stealing anything. What they are doing is infringing.


You can't steal a song by making an unauthorized copy of it because there's nothing to steal. No one loses property. Things that are stolen are, for the most part, tangible objects. If someone steals a physical CD from me, no matter much time passes it's still a stolen CD, no matter how much time passes. I don't want someone to steal my CD because it deprives me of music. Infringement is different. If I infringe on someone's copyright by making an illegal copy, no one necessarily loses anything. If enough time passes and the copyright expires, it is now legal for me to posses the infringing copy that I made.

So, other than nit-picking, why care when people call infringement "stealing"? Because things that are stolen are objects. Stealing something directly deprives someone of something they own. Infringement, while illegal, may or may not effectively deprive someone of something they own. Infringing copies eventually become legal to posses due to the copyright expiring while stolen objects always legally belong to their previous owner. Which do you think the RIAA, MPAA, etc. would prefer people to use, both in speech and mentally when thinking to themselves?

By using "steal" instead of "infringe", people are both revealing their expectation that copyrights will never expire and enforcing the general belief that copyrights don't expire. For example, if I download a copy of "Pour Some Sugar on Me" by Def Leopard, am I stealing? Most people would say that I am stealing. After all, someone owns the song, right? Wrong, someone owns the rights to the song. Rights expire. Ownership does not. Infringing implicitly says that the rights to own what I'm infringing on will eventually expire, but stealing implies that the ownership will never expire. So if music that I download through Napster is stolen music then the ownership of that music should never expire. So I shouldn't be surprised if the copyright on songs that were recorded 40 years before I was born never expire in my lifetime. After all, the songs are owned by someone. In fact, copyrights should be extended because if a copyright expires then the entity that owns the copyright loses a possession. Using "steal" instead of "infringe" is a way of enforcing the idea that intellectual property is forever.

Understand that I don't think that the RIAA, MPAA and friends have been using "steal" instead of "infringe" for years as part of some plot to brainwash the masses into thinking copyright is forever. But I think they're too smart to not be doing it and encouraging it as much as possible now. Or maybe it's not on purpose at all, but instead is a reflection of the subconscious beliefs of the people in the US and elsewhere. Or maybe I'm just blowing it all out of proportion. But after reading rusty's article on how reality is largely based on belief, I can't believe that it means nothing.

Mr. Spey
Cover your butt. Bernard is watching.

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Downloading mp3's is ...
o stealing 9%
o infringing 14%
o blown way out of proportion 24%
o a total revolution 13%
o fun 37%

Votes: 141
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Infringement != Stealing | 136 comments (110 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
whats your point? There are various forms of theft (4.11 / 9) (#3)
by eLuddite on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 08:21:07 PM EST

You are under the mistaken impression that the only form of theft is larceny. There are many forms of theft as there are many forms of property.

Copyright is the right of copy (note: not to, of.) Infringement is a violation of law. It's theft in the sense that any right can be stolen. It's theft in the sense that it is a deprivation; it deprives its owner his or her right of copy.

How will you reconcile 'property theft' when you learn that the legal definition of property is 'right of ownership?' There's more to property than just tangible goods.

While a copyright exists, its violation is a form of theft.

---
God hates human rights.

What matters is people's attitudes (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by MrSpey on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 09:49:57 PM EST

How will you reconcile 'property theft' when you learn that the legal definition of property is 'right of ownership?' There's more to property than just tangible goods.

While copyright exists, its violation is a form of theft.


Yes, but it isn't larceny. By the technical definition, I guess people mean larceny when they say steal. I still think I used the right word because I think that when people say "steal" they're thinking of larceny. I think most people think "steal" can have only one meaning with respect to breaking the law. If stealing is taking someone's CD without their permission, then it means the same thing when people say, "stealing music," and that's not true.

Mr. Spey
Cover your butt. Bernard is watching.

[ Parent ]
people understand and for those who dont... (1.00 / 1) (#25)
by eLuddite on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 10:03:18 PM EST

If stealing is taking someone's CD without their permission, then it means the same thing when people say, "stealing music," and that's not true.

Well, if it makes those people feel any better, the deprivation of someone's right of copy carries a stiffer penalty than the deprivation of someone's CD. 100s of 1000s of dollars more if you are so lucky as to be tried in civil rather than criminal court.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Cuts both ways... (4.16 / 6) (#4)
by jasonab on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 08:25:41 PM EST

Both words fail to convey the truth of the matter. "Stealing" is clearly too harsh, but "infringing" makes it sound like you're just "borrowing" the music. Not paying for something is not paying for something. It may not be the equivalent of smashing a window, but language can be used to rationalize equally well.

Individual Moral Decisions (4.66 / 3) (#15)
by Eloquence on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 09:37:47 PM EST

Not paying for something is not paying for something.

Yes, and nobody would agree more than I that in some situations, paying would be more moral than not paying. I go by three simple rules to decide whether someone else should be compensated for their work:

  1. Does the person need the money more than I do? (altruistic motivation)
  2. Do I want to consume more works that the person produces? (egoistic motivation)
  3. Do I think that society as a whole would benefit from consuming more works that the person produces? (socialistic motivation)
Morally, I think that 1) is especially binding if you, personally, enjoy the respective works, i.e. if you have profited egoistically, but are not willing to contribute altruistically.

The reasons that most people who use Napster & Co. do not necessarily follow any of these rules (even if it would be in their personal interest to do so) are simple:

  • lack of mechanisms for easy, secure, anonymous and immediate payments -- it usually takes longer to pay for a song than to listen to it
  • lack of information about the work (metadata: situation of the content creator, related works, future plans ..)
Once these problems are solved, I see absolutely no reasons why rules as the above should be no sufficient basis for morally acceptable compensation of content creators without the necessity of enforcing copyrights. But in order to get there, we need to improve and extend the existing systems, not try to turn back time and apply obsolete laws on an information space where they could have destructive effects. This is, above all, in the interest of content creators, although the middlemen will mostly be eliminated in the long run.

I believe that the wealth of artists will be distributed more equally, though, as the willingness of people to pay creators will decrease proportionally with the wealth of the creator (thus, the only remaining method is the "ransom payment" à la Street Performer Protocol -- so the only ones who could get really rich are those who produce content that people really want -- not a bad thing, IMHO). If you want to preserve a tiny elite of famous, wealthy content creators above a much larger group of self-supported creators, you should really do something about this Internet thing. Instead of Digital Rights Management, I suggest getting a few skript kiddies together to write a really destructive worm (the IE EML bug makes it pretty easy to do), and possibly some terrorists to attack the most important backbones (don't do both at the same time, though!).
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

jails are full of individual moral decision makers (4.00 / 3) (#33)
by eLuddite on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 12:11:02 AM EST

Yes, and nobody would agree more than I that in some situations, paying would be more moral than not paying. I go by three simple rules to decide whether someone else should be compensated for their work:

None of your 3 reasons mean a thing. Advertise these as your conditions for a transaction and no one will enter into transactions with you. I am saying this without regard to your specious ethical claims.

lack of mechanisms for easy, secure, anonymous and immediate payments -- it usually takes longer to pay for a song than to listen to it

Too bad. Just because something isnt for sale doesnt mean you can steal it. Musicians will sell their music on their terms, not yours. You are always free not to buy.

lack of information about the work (metadata: situation of the content creator, related works, future plans ..)

Ignorance is no excuse for theft.

Once these problems are solved,

There is no imperative for anyone to justify your behavior by agreeing to your moral philosophy. Theft would be legal if we only agreed that no one had right of their possession. Brilliant.

I see absolutely no reasons why rules as the above should be no sufficient basis for morally acceptable compensation of content creators without the necessity of enforcing copyrights.

Only because you think copyright == right to make money. Even if that were true, so what? Its not your right to dictate how I should make money, especially with the inventions of my mind.

This is, above all, in the interest of content creators, although the middlemen will mostly be eliminated in the long run.

Copyright has nothing to do with "middlemen." The interest of content creators is in their creation.

I believe that the wealth of artists will be distributed more equally,

The equal distribution of wealth has nothing to do with copyright.

If you want to preserve a tiny elite of famous, wealthy content creators above a much larger group of self-supported creators, you should really do something about this Internet thing.

The internet has nothing to do with copyright.

Instead of Digital Rights Management, I suggest getting a few skript kiddies together to write a really destructive worm (the IE EML bug makes it pretty easy to do), and possibly some terrorists to attack the most important backbones (don't do both at the same time, though!).

Perfect!

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Jails are full of innocent people (4.00 / 2) (#36)
by Eloquence on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 01:27:25 AM EST

You're falling into the law/morality trap again, so I have already addressed most of the flaws in your arguments in my other comments.

Too bad. Just because something isnt for sale doesnt mean you can steal it. Musicians will sell their music on their terms, not yours. You are always free not to buy.

I could, if I were a musician, require my music not to be played from 22:00 to 23:00; this requirement would, however, not have any legal relevance if not made in form of an individual contract between the musician and the listener. It would also not be enforced by the state (as in: Big Brother won't spy on you, and neither will the corporations if they aren't legally allowed to do so); you would have to prove the breach of contract in court. I have nothing against private contracts. In the case of copyright, these requirements are "opt-out" for the creator, and enforced by the state. Therefore, it's not really the musicians' terms, but the terms of the state. The terms of the state are defined by the people who live in it. If the people come to the conclusion that copyright in its current form is both unenforcable und immoral, then copyright law should be changed. The massive violation of copyright law is an indication of popular changes in the interpretation of its validity. It's as simple as that.

Copyright has nothing to do with "middlemen." The equal distribution of wealth has nothing to do with copyright. The internet has nothing to do with copyright.

Counter-statements without proper reasoning are usually uninteresting. I will not find the reasons for you, you have to come up with them yourself, otherwise I will ignore these statements.

[destruction of the Net:]

Perfect!

I knew you would like the idea. But I don't understand one thing: Why are you here in the first place, especially on a site which is as open and democratic as K5? Or are you just working on your manifesto before you will release the worm?
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

and asylums are full of lucid revolutionaries (3.50 / 2) (#38)
by eLuddite on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 02:02:49 AM EST

You're falling into the law/morality trap again,

Forgive me but you are the one who is suggesting we adopt a new moral philosophy to justify our actions toward napster. If you make moral arguements, I will reply in kind.

I could, if I were a musician, require my music not to be played from 22:00 to 23:00; this requirement would, however, not have any legal relevance if not made in form of an individual contract between the musician and the listener.

Correct. That is why your right of copy does not abrogate my right to enjoy your music naked in the shower at 6am. Once I buy your music, I can defile it in the most hideous fashion.

If the people come to the conclusion that copyright in its current form is both unenforcable und immoral, then copyright law should be changed.

That is utterly simplistic. In real terms these changes take time as befitting their utter lack of unanimity and opposition to the tyranny of the majority.

The massive violation of copyright law is an indication of popular changes in the interpretation of its validity. It's as simple as that.

Except that massive violation of copyright law when you can get away with it is a far, far, cry from a massive consensus that copyright is wrong and that violating it is right. Please, walk down the street and ask your neighbors whether they think copyright is "wrong." Ask your neighbors if they think law should be enacted in ignorance of its past, present and future.

Counter-statements without proper reasoning are usually uninteresting. I will not find the reasons for you,

There are no reasons. Find a law book and learn a thing or two before attempting to fuse all of law, economics and social policy into one rant against copyright.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Which Future? (5.00 / 3) (#78)
by Eloquence on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 03:11:34 AM EST

That is utterly simplistic. In real terms these changes take time as befitting their utter lack of unanimity and opposition to the tyranny of the majority.

Of course discussion and reflection are necessary. In not too much time from now, the majority may very well argue that copyright is the only thing that separates us from barbarianism - just like the majority in the US has accepted the criminalization of Marihuana -, but that wouldn't necessarily make this view correct. I have not implied that copyright infringement should be legalized as a simple matter of "mob rule".

There's one important thing to keep in mind, however: Copyright was never meant to apply to information consumers. It was meant to prevent wholesale piracy of protected works for profit, and plagiarism. The inventors of copyright law never even thought of it to apply to people like you and me. It is only in the last two or three decades that copyright has become relevant to large portions of the population. It is not infoanarchists like myself that have initiated the debate about copyright, it is sudden changes in technology, and under current law - by the reading of the **AA - millions of people are criminalized, people who would not have been criminalized before. We must ask ourselves -- immediately, before it is too late -- whether we want to accept the moral re-evaluation this application of copyright to the consumer applies, and whether we want to accept the enforcement it requires, and the consequences that would bring.

Except that massive violation of copyright law when you can get away with it is a far, far, cry from a massive consensus that copyright is wrong

As I wrote above, it is an indication that changes are necessary so that large portions of the population are no longer criminalized. You see, a law that prohibits something needs not necessarily be broken by a majority of people to be unjust. Drug laws don't concern a majority of the population either.

But let us accept the "war on drugs" logic for a while, assuming that copyright infringements are evil, the people who commit them are evil, too, and therefore, strong enforcement and punishment are necessary. "Make it harder to get away with it, and the number of people who will be criminalized will reduce as a result of deterrence". However, in arguing so, you are completely ignoring the consequences that such enforcement would impose on our society, unwilling to realize the inevitable fact that it would have to mean total surveillance of all communication, prohibition of encryption, automatic and permanent banning of "violators". Whether society wants to carry these consequences, which might be disastrous to our society as a whole, remains highly questionable; I for one do not, and I will do whatever it takes to prevent them.

Describe your pro-copyright society 20 years from now. Describe how I will buy a book in this digital world, how I can read it, lend it to my friends, print it, text-to-speech it, cite it; describe what happens when individuals happen to circumvent the encryption, when code for this happens to be distributed, when people encrypt content they shouldn't encrypt (and the state can only enforce copyright law by holding decryption keys). Describe your future, I will gladly tear it to pieces, and then we can compare it against the one I suggest. Let us then decide which one is the one we want to live in.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

your future (2.00 / 1) (#90)
by eLuddite on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 09:50:55 PM EST

One, this isnt a "war on drugs arguement." I never made an arguement for a specific enforcement policy one way or another. (Incidentally, this is what I mean about napster propaganda and fuck me if I ever respond again to something so loaded to appeal to the ignorance of your audience.)

Two, copyright has nothing to do with the internet, which is an artifact of technology, not law. The internet does not give you extra rights. Why would it? Technology just makes it easier for you to stomp all over someone else's rights. "It's easy to do" is not a defense. If it was, we would be able to get away with stomping all over eloquence's rights.

You are continuing to justify your entitlement to someone else's labor when no such entitlement exists! I am trying to convice you that you cannot take away someone else's rights just because you want to enjoy their labor. You need a reason to limit someone's rights and "because I dont want to feel guilty" is not a reason in any liberal democracy under the rule of law.

You are wishing against hope that nation states will revert to a state of little intellectual property and therefore few intellectual property rights. Look around you. Do you see a dearth of art? Intellectual property rights are becoming more important, not less.

Look, I'm prepared to accept that the right of copy is not a god given right, ok? But I am not prepared to accept any of your arguements for rescinding that right now that it has become part of our legal and ethical tradition.

In 20 years, artists will still have a right of copy and music will still not be free. Why dont you release under copyleft and ignore the work of people who dont?

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Copyright Reform (4.00 / 1) (#123)
by Danse on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 12:31:50 AM EST

Look, I'm prepared to accept that the right of copy is not a god given right, ok? But I am not prepared to accept any of your arguements for rescinding that right now that it has become part of our legal and ethical tradition.

Copyright, being a legal method for ensuring that creators will have enough incentive to continue to create new works, does not need to be rescinded. It simply needs to be reformed, rather drastically by this time unfortunately. I am fine with copyright as it was originally established in this country. However, I am not fine with what the corporations, via throwing their huge financial weight around, have done to it since then. Sure, making it apply to other areas of creation is fine. But extending the term lengths towards infinity is not. Nor is imposing draconian restrictions that cause such things as Edward Felton's SDMI paper to come under fire. The DMCA is full of additional violations of what we have long considered to be our rights.

You seem to think that we owe the creators of these works a hell of a lot more than I feel we owe them. I think that if they are willing to create works in exchange for a 14 year protection of those works under copyright law, great. If not, then nobody is going to force them to make their work public or even create it at all. 14 years is a long time. Hell, the vast majority of works that were created more than 14 years ago don't make the creators any real money anyway. I think the balance between the creators and consumers is long gone. The publishers have taken over and are milking both the creators and the consumers and reaping the vast majority of the rewards. It's time for a change. I think a lot of people can feel it, even if they aren't sure why things don't seem right.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
huh? (2.00 / 1) (#97)
by spacejack on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 05:10:39 PM EST

This is, above all, in the interest of content creators, although the middlemen will mostly be eliminated in the long run.

How on earth do you come to this conclusion? If you remove copyright, the only device the creator has to make money from their work, how can you possibly be removing middlemen? The creator will be dependent on middlemen more than ever.

- lack of mechanisms for easy, secure, anonymous and immediate payments -- it usually takes longer to pay for a song than to listen to it

- lack of information about the work (metadata: situation of the content creator, related works, future plans ..)

Once these problems are solved, I see absolutely no reasons why rules as the above should be no sufficient basis for morally acceptable compensation of content creators without the necessity of enforcing copyrights.


Well excuse me but that's a huge if. Your question seems to betray a complete ignorance of how you'd like to se the 'net run itself. The problem you claim Napster has to solve is it's own existence! The problem with Napster, or rather the Internet, is that while somebody (eg, a future version of Napster with a payment feature) might be offering the goods legitimately, somebody else (eg Napster V2, written by Shawn Fanning's little brother) will come along and fuck you up and publish around you. At least that's what happens in an Internet with no sense of law and order; i.e., no copyright.

Furthermore, the whole tone of your argument is offensive. You would have the artists creators live in some forced system of communism while still needing to feed themselves in a capitalist world? What kind of a revolution do you want to see anyways? You sound like you're in cahoots with big industry, or as if you've got this really classic old view that artists should suffer like dogs. At least I can respect someone who has the balls to say it plainly.

[ Parent ]
Truth is irrelevent (4.00 / 1) (#22)
by MrSpey on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 09:55:55 PM EST

I agree, stealing is too harsh a word. That's why the copyright holders are using it instead of "infringement". They want people to think downloading content illegally is a horrible, horrible thing to do.

Mr. Spey
Cover your butt. Bernard is watching.

[ Parent ]
Shades of grey? (2.00 / 1) (#64)
by Miniluv on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 11:24:05 PM EST

You're continually attempting to thrust the Napster debate into ethical and societal terms, instead of letting it remain in the legal arena, which is where it belongs.

Stealing is not a harsh word, legally. It is no "harsher" than infringing, as they are both illegal. The law sees things in a rather black and white sense, it is legal or illegal, allowed or disallowed. This is good, as there should be very little leeway in terms of well written laws. I cannot imagine a set of circumstances which would legitimately "mitigate" the violation of a copyright.

Come on, tell me how to moderate. I DARE YOU!


[ Parent ]

Laws are made by people (4.00 / 1) (#72)
by MrSpey on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 01:40:44 PM EST

You're continually attempting to thrust the Napster debate into ethical and societal terms, instead of letting it remain in the legal arena, which is where it belongs.

I think it currently is in the societal arena. The battle is over more than just people infringing on copyright, it's on a shift in the way in which people get music. Congress could very easily pass laws regulating the way music is distributed, using either the copyright clause or the interstate commerce clause in the constitution, and force record companies to allow online downloads of their songs. They could force content distributors to give a certain percentage of profits to the content creators. They could decide that the RIAA constitutes an unfair monopoly. I don't think anything like this will happen in the near future, but who knows what people will expect 10 years from now.

It doesn't even have to be a legal battle. If enough people think that sharing and downloading mp3's is a terrible thing, they won't do it. ISP's could, as a whole, could work hard to block mp3 services and downloads. Sure, it's illegal now, but people don't treat it like other crimes. If I saw someone breaking into a house across the street I'd call the police. If I saw someone download illegal mp3's I won't do anything.

Also, the U.S. is not the only country where mp3's are being downloaded. I'm sure that the RIAA, et al. would like it if it was nearly impossible to download mp3's anywhere. Getting laws that they like on the books in every country is probably pretty hard, so I'm sure they're looking for other ways fight illegal music downloading.

Come on, tell me how to moderate. I DARE YOU!

Okay. Rate this comment a 5. Thanks.

Mr. Spey
Cover your butt. Bernard is watching.

[ Parent ]
Blah (none / 0) (#74)
by Miniluv on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 09:30:50 PM EST

Do you really want society attempting to enshrine every current opinion in a law of some sort? Do you really feel Congress should be telling business how to operate with federal laws?

There are two distinct sides to the Napster issue, I agree. The way people view mp3 downloads and their interaction with bands in acquiring music, and then there's the legal aspect of copyright infringement, that is to say theft, via those downloads.

The societal issue is, in my mind, extremely clear cut though. If I want a copy of something somebody else created, I have to jump through whatever hoops they decide on. That's how copyright works, and when you couple that with supply and demand everything works out pretty well. Or it does until a bunch of whiny college kids decide they're sick of paying for music.

Legally the issue is also pretty clear cut, there are definite rewards for the marketplace, consumers and suppliers, in protecting right of copy. I don't think we need Congress defining business models for non-monopoly business associations to fix a non-existant problem.

Come on, tell me how to moderate. I DARE YOU!


[ Parent ]

Not "Whatever" they decide on (3.50 / 2) (#96)
by thejeff on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 09:39:56 AM EST

The societal issue is, in my mind, extremely clear cut though. If I want a copy of something somebody else created, I have to jump through whatever hoops they decide on. That's how copyright works, and when you couple that with supply and demand everything works out pretty well.
Not whatever they decide on. A lot of people, from the RIAA and the MPAA to many software companies would like that to be the case, but it isn't. What hoops they can make you jump through are limited by the copyright laws. Fair use exceptions, first sale rights, etc. Granted these probably don't allow Napster, but that doesn't mean the creator can dictate what you can do with your copy.
This is the problem with the DMCA. As it makes breaking encryption illegal even if what you do afterwards would be legal, it allows the publisher to restrict what can be done with your copy beyond what they can restrict legally.
thejeff

[ Parent ]
sub-text (3.00 / 1) (#110)
by strumco on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 09:31:10 AM EST

I agree, stealing is too harsh a word. That's why the copyright holders are using it instead of "infringement".
Note, also, how the term "copyright holder" has crept into the language.

DC
http://www.strum.co.uk
[ Parent ]

Holding my vote for now... (4.00 / 3) (#6)
by MrSmithers on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 08:36:13 PM EST

I'm not sure what to vote on this article...

  • On one hand, I agree with what is being said here and think it needs to be heard.
  • On the other, you're preaching to the choir. Almost everyone here already knows of this and either strongly agrees/disagrees about it. I don't believe any new relevant discussion can come out of this.
So I think I'll wait a while and just vote the opposite of what everyone else seems to be :-P

Unix: Where /sbin/init is Job 1



Haha (none / 0) (#8)
by regeya on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 08:43:02 PM EST

you're preaching to the choir. Almost everyone here already knows of this and either strongly agrees/disagrees about it. I don't believe any new relevant discussion can come out of this.

Don't know why, but I had to laugh when I read that.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

poll options (3.75 / 4) (#7)
by Speare on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 08:36:38 PM EST

Downloading MP3s is:

    (+) lawful if you have been given clearance by the copyright owner; otherwise is not lawful

Here's another poll:

Providing a service to facilitate the downloading of MP3s is:

    (+) lawful if you have been given clearance by the copyright owners; otherwise is not lawful

[ e d @ e x p l o r a t i . c o m ]


*Every File You Take (4.80 / 5) (#9)
by Speare on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 08:44:51 PM EST

*Every File You Take
by Ed Halley
--(with apologies to the Police)

Every file you take,
 Every scan you make,
  Every net you quake,
   Every song you play, I'll be watching you.

Every single day,
 Every word you say,
  Every game you play,
   Every night you stay, I'll be watching you.

Oh, can't you see?
 Those songs ain't free,
  How can poor artists
   Give every song you play?

Every scan you make,
 Every sound you take,
  Every phile you fake,
   Every claim you stake, I'll be watching you.

Since you logged, I ping hosts without a trace
 I query all night, bootlegged 'threes and WAVs
  I look out for warez, hoping to make a case
   Don't feel so sold out, a song you can't replace

Don't crack Ess Dee, Emm I, please...

Oh, can't you see?
 Those songs ain't free,
  How can poor artists
   Give every song you play?

Every scan you make,
 Every sound you play,
  Every trial you stake,
   Every LAME you break,
    Every player you fake,
     Every song you take,

I'll be watching you.

[ e d @ e x p l o r a t i . c o m ]


[ Parent ]
Careful with Parodies (4.00 / 4) (#12)
by Eloquence on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 09:13:13 PM EST

The ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Artists and Publishers) has already tried to prevent the Girl Scouts of America from singing copyrighted songs (as documented by the WSJ and some others ~1996). Your parody was obviously written to provoke memories of the The Police song "Every Breath You Take", as you even indicate yourself in your apology. You are therefore, at least, a contributory infringer of copyright.

In the future that copyright, trademark and patent lovers want us to live in, writing parodies is a very dangerous thing. The broader the rights of the copyright holders, the more the rights of the public to parody and fair use are eroded. "Intellectual property" is not a motor of innovation, but a barrier to entry for those who are not controlled by the corporations that have the resources to (ab)use the law to have their way. Disney has raped copyright law for the last decades, just to keep Donald & Co. covered for some more years, since their trademarks have expired long ago. That way they can (and will) sue you if you bake a cake that has two ears like Mickey Mouse. You can hardly write a music compression algorithm without infringing on the intellectual property of the "creators" of some algorithms. Corporations are trying to patent genes and let people in developing nations die if they can't afford to license their "intellectual property".

Not the infoanarchists are the lunatics. Anyone who thinks that the idea of intellectual property needs no reform, if not total abolishment, is dangerously uninformed, amoral or both.
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[ Parent ]

Intellectual Property is many things (4.00 / 2) (#16)
by Carnage4Life on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 09:39:04 PM EST

Not the infoanarchists are the lunatics. Anyone who thinks that the idea of intellectual property needs no reform, if not total abolishment, is dangerously uninformed, amoral or both.

Intellectual property covers a variety of things including patents, trademarks and copyrights. Very few people actually believe that we should abolish all three but most are in agreement that some implementations of some of these forms of IP legislation needs to be reviewed.

I usually shy from saying Intellectual Property when in truth what I mean is either a.) abuse of the intent of copyright in the U.S. by extending the length of copyright or b.) abuses of the U.S. patent system by companies filing frivolous software or business model related patents.

Let's not throw out the baby with the bath water by claiming that IP should be abolished because some of the laws need reworking.

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[ Parent ]
Intellectual Property Has Little Merit (4.00 / 2) (#29)
by Eloquence on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 10:40:45 PM EST

but most are in agreement that some implementations of some of these forms of IP legislation needs to be reviewed.

Then why do I read about so few propositions and initiatives for actual reforms, and the anti-Napster-crowds usually just reiterates how most of the 60 million people who registered Napster accounts are "thieves" or "pirates"? What kind of copyright, patent, and trademark reform do you have in mind? Where is the website of the organization you are a member of?

There seem to be a lot fewer people who worried about the SB Copyright Extension Act than people who worry about Napster. (Sadly, the number of articles on the patenting of AIDS drugs is also considerably smaller than the number of articles about Napster.) But extending copyrights for corps to 95 years has effectively stolen thousands of works from the public domain, whereas Napster has exposed people to more music than ever before. The only problem with Napster -- and one with which every sensible person agrees -- is the lack of compensation for the artists. This isn't even a major problem at this point as the increasing sales by the recording industry show (although it is clear that those who believe that the "Napster increases CD sales" mechanism, even if it works now, will work for long are wrong). I don't think that trying to stop people from making copies is a good way to make them pay. You only decrease the exposure, but do not necessarily increase the payment rate.

Does all intellectual property law need to be abolished? Entirely? Immediately? No. But as a long-term goal for the information society, a society that will less and less depend on the production of physical goods and more and more on the creation, selection and distribution of information: absolutely. Certainly issues like patents, trademarks and copyright have to be treated separetely, although they all share the notion that information -- certain numbers, ideas, concepts, names -- can be "owned", an idea that is fundamentally flawed and very dangerous in the long term.

As a kid, I always wanted to become an inventor. I wrote a lot of stuff down, made a lot of drawings -- some crazy ideas, some good ones, but mostly I lacked the background in physics to produce anything worthwhile (I still haven't gotten my incredible shrinking machine to work). Anyway, when I first learned about patents, I was pretty amazed. That was something new to me: That ideas could be "owned" like phyiscal products. It was a very attractive idea. "If you patent something really clever, you can become very rich", my mother told me. Getting rich, now, was also an idea I liked for some time. But for some reason, this didn't motivate me any more to become an inventor than my original motivation: to create cool stuff. In order to get rich, I would rather have gone into real estate.

And I think that is one of the basic mistakes that many people make. They think that these little pieces of paper with numbers on them are really all it takes to make someone an innovator, an artist, a programmer, a manager. The reason is that some people have made a fetish out of money; they enjoy to be greedy and accumulate as much as possible of it, while others use it as a means to an end. And for this purpose, to support the creators of works, be it ideas, art or science, it is not necessary to put any "control" on information. It is necessary to make it easy to communicate with and compensate the creators. If they need and want money at all, that is.

A society without intellectual property is not such a radical idea, you know. Most cultures of the past didn't have it, yet without them we would still be living in caves. It is only in our recent past that these notions have gained a lot of momentum. And it is the corporations that have profited from "intellectual property" in the recent past that want us to sacrifice our future for it.
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[ Parent ]

your arguement has less (2.00 / 1) (#31)
by eLuddite on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 11:22:41 PM EST

The only problem with Napster -- and one with which every sensible person agrees -- is the lack of compensation for the artists.

Compensation would help but isnt strictly necessary. The right of copy means saying no to napster even if napster would make you 10 times wealthier than you would be otherwise.

Does all intellectual property law need to be abolished? Entirely? Immediately? No. But as a long-term goal for the information society, a society that will less and less depend on the production of physical goods and more and more on the creation, selection and distribution of information: absolutely.

Why does it makes no sense to devalue ip once we've also come to devalue the production of physical goods? And why absolutely? What absolute counter right do you have over the products of my imagination? Where does this idea come from?

But for some reason, this didn't motivate me any more to become an inventor than my original motivation: to create cool stuff.

Why is your motivation supposed to be the basis for everyone else's? And what does it have to do with your rights over my intellectual output? Pretend I am a billionaire uninterested in money. Why would that fact also mean you can take my books and turn them into screenplays without my consent?

And I think that is one of the basic mistakes that many people make. They think that these little pieces of paper with numbers on them are really all it takes to make someone an innovator, an artist, a programmer, a manager.

What on earth does accreditation or its lack thereof have to do with intellectual property rights. Morons have intellectual property rights, too. The email you send is yours; I cant own it or redistribute it just because it doesnt contain Ramanujan-esque theorems.

A society without intellectual property is not such a radical idea, you know.

It is as radical as a society without possessive adjectives.

Most cultures of the past didn't have it

99% of the past didnt have a printing press or even an alphabet.

yet without them we would still be living in caves

The evidence suggests the exact opposite.

And it is the corporations that have profited from "intellectual property" in the recent past that want us to sacrifice our future for it.

Corporations protect their own damn private property. They do not steal yours, thanks to ip laws.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Code and Law (4.00 / 1) (#35)
by Eloquence on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 01:09:48 AM EST

Again, you are confusing legality and morality. This is not a discussion forum for lawyers. Of course, copyright law doesn't require compensation; a copyright infringement is still a copyright infringement if the creator is compensated. However, the question is whether, if the creator is compensated, copyright still makes sense, especially if information can be spread and created easier if it isn't.

Why does it makes no sense to devalue ip once we've also come to devalue the production of physical goods? And why absolutely?

Because the primary flaw of capitalism is the accumulation of capital, and the inequal distribution of wealth. Libertarians are either blaming this on the government, explaining this as an economic/social necessity, or both. It is neither, but I have given up hope that the current economic systems can still be fixed to allow a somewhat equal and morally acceptable distribution of wealth. However, the easy distribution of information also forces us to rethink our economy, and enforcing an economically non-existant scarcity would only perpetuate the inequalities of the past.

This is especially dangerous as our decisions as a society are of ever-growing importance as our possibility to manipulate our environment grows (ABC-warfare, genetic engineering, inadvertent affection of the environment, AI, nanotechnology ..), and the quality of our decisions is directly linked to the quality of the media that determine public opinion and political action. Having free and open, "peer-to-peer" information creation, selection and distribution mechanisms is not only essential from a general moral viewpoint (ensuring the equality of wealth in a world of non-scarcity) but also of utmost importance for our long-term survival.

What absolute counter right do you have over the products of my imagination? Where does this idea come from?

Rights are always human-invented, on the basis of our morality; whether certain actions constitute violations of certain moral codes is subject to varying interpretations, but the moral codes themselves usually don't change within very short time periods. The question in the case of IP is whether it is necessary to keep IP laws, or whether it is necessary to abolish them, in order to respect the moral codes of our society.

Why is your motivation supposed to be the basis for everyone else's?

It was not my intent to dictate motivation with my example, as you are well aware, but to illustrate a point that many readers will certainly agree with: that the argument that IP law is necessary as a motivator for innovation is not necessarily true (to which degree it is true and to which degree it is not, can, on the basis of my example, only be decided subjectively). Again, I argue that IP law violates the moral codes of most members of our society, especially if it seriously hinders the equal distribution of knowledge and culture.

And what does it have to do with your rights over my intellectual output?

I argue that your rights over "your" intellectual output ("your" output is based on that of those who came before you, a baby in a sensory deprivation tank will not produce works of great artistic quality), which are granted by the current system, should be abolished. If you don't want people to read what you write, you shouldn't write it. If you don't want people to use your invention, you shouldn't invent it.

Pretend I am a billionaire uninterested in money. Why would that fact also mean you can take my books and turn them into screenplays without my consent?

Why would the fact that you published them give you the "right" to control "your" ideas (which are the results of recombination and randomization of existing data); especially if enforcing this right would place a greater burden on our society than justified by the personal benefit it may bring you? Why would you have the "right" to write about character Mike Macky, Private Investigator, and then sue anyone who uses a character of this name? From a social, moral standpoint, I only see benefits to letting as many people as possible being exposed to a good idea (the Mike Macky one probably isn't one, though). So if money doesn't matter, neither does IP.

The email you send is yours; I cant own it or redistribute it

Feel free to redistribute it; if I make a private contract with you requesting non-disclosure, and you sign it, that's a different issue. NDAs are within the realm of enforcability, morality, and personal liability.

It is as radical as a society without possessive adjectives.

Wrong. Do you really believe the ancient Romans did not attribute ideas to those who initially proposed them? Yet, they had no legal code to enforce patents, copyrights or trademarks. "Giving credit where credit is due" is a simple moral code and does not have to be embodied in law. IP is not.

99% of the past didnt have a printing press or even an alphabet.

Literacy is implied. My statement still holds true.

The evidence suggests the exact opposite.

Care to elaborate?

Corporations protect their own damn private property.

I dispute that this "private property" should be treated like property at all. I believe that doing so would harm our culture irreversibly, and possibly endanger our long-term survival.
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[ Parent ]

Re: code and law (2.00 / 1) (#39)
by eLuddite on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 04:34:20 AM EST

However, the question is whether, if the creator is compensated, copyright still makes sense,

Of course it does! Otherwise you'd be in a position to force my signature on a "contract" awarding compensation according to your appraisal, not mine. Who are you to tell me what is adequate compensation? I need the right of copy to decide that for myself. The best you can do is stack the deck against me in oligarchical fashion at which point I may just say screw you and rip up the sheet music. I can do that. You cannot deny me that right because it exists by virtue of my creation, not yours. Why is this so difficult to understand?

especially if information can be spread and created easier if it isn't.

That's a big if. If I have no right of copy, what makes you think I'll create something for your amusement?

Why does it makes no sense to devalue ip once we've also come to devalue the production of physical goods? And why absolutely?
Because the primary flaw of capitalism is the accumulation of capital, and the inequal distribution of wealth.

Again, if we devalue physical goods, why should we also devalue intellectual goods and become befeft of all value? "Because the primary flaw of capitalism is the accumulation of capital, and the inequal distribution of wealth..." is a nonsensical answer. Does nothing have value? How do you pick and choose what to consume if not according to how much value you can exchange for your resources?

Rights are always human-invented, on the basis of our morality; whether certain actions constitute violations of certain moral codes is subject to varying interpretations, but the moral codes themselves usually don't change within very short time periods.

You are arguing for the status quo, here. It is an arguement I would make.

the argument that IP law is necessary as a motivator for innovation is not necessarily true

Ok. Pretend I am not motivated by ip law in consideration of my creative duties. I've just spun a lump of clay into an exquisite ashtray. I like it. You like it. You like it so that you want to take it away from me in return for some pez. I say, in all my ignorance of ip law, no. I'm an ashtray potter and ashtrays is how I put food on the table but I still say no because I think I can do better than some pez. What shall you do? Shall you pry the ashtray from my hands and indenture me into a life of ashtray for pez hell? Shall you take away my potter's wheel and send me underground to dig up coal like a useful person?

If I dont have a right of copy, you can do all that.

Again, I argue that IP law violates the moral codes of most members of our society, especially if it seriously hinders the equal distribution of knowledge and culture.

You state that it it violates our moral code when it clearly does not. You state that it hinders equal distribution of knowledge when there is no proof that it does (everyone seems to have equal access to more than they can consume in several lifetimes) or even needs not to (what imperative do I have for your education?)

I argue that your rights over "your" intellectual output ("your" output is based on that of those who came before you, a baby in a sensory deprivation tank will not produce works of great artistic quality), which are granted by the current system, should be abolished.

Those that came before me came before you too. We all live in the same society but most of us dont write books or erect sculptures. Let's eliminate what is common between us and figure out who has rights over what remains.

If you don't want people to read what you write, you shouldn't write it. If you don't want people to use your invention, you shouldn't invent it.

My reasons for writing, whatever they may be, are not a reason for you to dispose of my work as you see fit.

Why would the fact that you published them give you the "right" to control "your" ideas

Ideas are not copyrightable.

(which are the results of recombination and randomization of existing data);

No, recombination and randomization of existing data is what a million monkeys typing at a million typewriters do.

especially if enforcing this right would place a greater burden on our society than justified by the personal benefit it may bring you?

Enforcing this right places no burden on society, it places a burden on myself since the onus of a civil prosecution is mine to pursue and to pay for. Public prosecutors dont prosecute civil cases. Your benefit is not an entitlement over my right of copy, it is social contract that recognizes my limits without their forfeiture. The difference between a just contract and your contract is that yours denies my rights entirely.

Why would you have the "right" to write about character Mike Macky, Private Investigator, and then sue anyone who uses a character of this name?

I can only deny you Mike Macky if he is a commercial trademark and you want to appropriate him for similiar purposes. Let us stick to one aspect of ip at a time.

From a social, moral standpoint, I only see benefits to letting as many people as possible being exposed to a good idea (the Mike Macky one probably isn't one, though). So if money doesn't matter, neither does IP.

(a) Money isnt necessary. (b) Copyrights expire. From a social, moral standpoint, you also see benefits to ignoring an artist's say in the way his work is disposed and distributed. A society of individuals without rights is an anthill.

Feel free to redistribute it;

I can only do that because you gave me permission. Did you also give permission to that hacker rifling through my mailbox? Are you also giving me permission for how to dispose of your neighbor's email?

if I make a private contract with you requesting non-disclosure, and you sign it, that's a different issue. NDAs are within the realm of enforcability, morality, and personal liability.

Right.

Do you really believe the ancient Romans did not attribute ideas to those who initially proposed them?

(Do you have evidence of Roman authors not receiving payment from booksellers? I have evidence that they do. [Authors and their Public in Ancient Times -- Putnam, 1894])

There were no printing presses in Rome. The size of the literate public in Rome wasnt better than the population of BumFuckVille, USA. The occupation of Roman scholars was to preserve as much of knowledge as possible and for this reason they endlessly relearnt and rewrote the Greeks. Classical Rome and Greece did not value original thought. If everyone says the same thing, and if everyone values each other according to this sameness, then there will be no disputes. Law arises as a consequence of social requirements and in order to solve disputes. Non of this means that art was a public commodity. Artists were compensated for their artwork and, unless they were slaves, they chose their patrons.

People who read books in Ancient Rome were fed by slaves, one peeled grape at a time. People who didnt read books died of old age before they were 30. No one in Ancient Rome was owed an education, a musical performance, or an xrated gladiatorial mpeg. Actually, no one in Rome had any right to possess any non tangible good whatsoever. In Rome you could be born an emperor and die a slave. We've evolved, socially, since then.

Look, copyright isnt going to be useful to druids and ancient rabbis living at the edge of life and a finely honed damascus sword, you know?

Care to elaborate?

The Romans developed copyright about the time they stopped imitating themselves and the Greeks.

I dispute that this "private property" should be treated like property at all. I believe that doing so would harm our culture irreversibly, and possibly endanger our long-term survival.

You are disputing the facts of your very own existence. I can sell my work to the highest bidding corporation and that work brought us the moon, computers, and abba. Copyright has existed since at least the time of printing press.

You continue to argue for philosophical change as justification against what the law, today, philosophically, pragmatically, according to social contract, by social consensus, protects very well. You want to manage a flood of creation by reverting to an anachronistic code of ethics which had neither flood nor creation, nor rights. You will not succeed in your revolution.

And you accuse me of arguing ethics instead of facts.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Evolution's gonna happen (3.00 / 2) (#82)
by Eloquence on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 08:23:19 AM EST

Who are you to tell me what is adequate compensation?

Who are you to monopolize certain parts of information space? Who are you to stop those who want to learn from learning? Who are you to stop those who want to build on your ideas from doing so?

If I have no right of copy, what makes you think I'll create something for your amusement?

I have already described this in my other posts. You can make money without monopolizing and censoring. But regardless you seem to want your "right of copy" for reasons of principle, and I will not be able to change your mind on this, although I hope that others will avoid your mistake. If I am wrong, I will have to do without your creations.

Does nothing have value?

With information, the only valuation (be it monetary, personally, emotionally ..) that makes sense must take place on the side of the consumer, not of the producer. Producer-side valuation imposes a virtual scarcity on a resource which possesses no scarcity. This is, for many reasons, morally unfair. Can't afford to read that science textbook? Too bad you're living in the Third World, we're not going to lower our prices for you. And if you pirate it from the Net, we'll gonna send the government thugs to hunt you down and lock you up together with rapists and killers. Have a nice day. If you want a material-world analogy: paying royalties is like pricing the air we breathe, and denying those who can't pay the right to breathe.

You are arguing for the status quo

No. I am arguing that IP law is a violation of moral codes which have been with our society for centuries. Ironically, one of these codes is Do not steal.

Shall you pry the ashtray from my hands

Sigh. Another silly analogy. Will you ever learn? IP law is about granting you a monopoly on certain ashtrays, and the right to sue everyone who produces ashtrays who might have been based on a similar or (gosh!) the same idea.

You state that it hinders equal distribution of knowledge when there is no proof that it does (everyone seems to have equal access to more than they can consume in several lifetimes)

Quality is different from quantity.

or even needs not to (what imperative do I have for your education?)

Simple; a morally intact society cares for its weakest members. A society which punishes its weakest members (and even the not-so-weak ones, but less so) by restricting the flow of information is a morally bankrupt one. If you want to live in a society where education is simply a matter of money, even if that means imposing an unnatural scarcity on information, well, then we agree that we want to live in different societies. You may think it's necessary for progress. I say it's the end of all progress.

Let's eliminate what is common between us and figure out who has rights over what remains.

Even if we eliminate all which is common between us (and that which is common between us would already be essential for the information whose ownership you demand to result in the first place), you are building on other ideas and thoughts that I know nothing of. Everything you produce is the result of playing with the ideas of others. Yet, these others usually have no rights at all to the resulting "intellectual property". Memes work different than physical goods. It is not a concept that is easy to understand, I admit. But at least try to envision a world where memes are passed from person to person, built upon, extended, passed along etc. - one can see the memes as separate from their momentary holders, and a meme doesn't have an "owner" but rather parents and siblings. A "fair" compensation of "meme production" would require the compensation of all parents and siblings. IP is not about fairness, though, as corporations such as this one have long realized.

My reasons for writing, whatever they may be, are not a reason for you to dispose of my work as you see fit.

Again: If you don't want your works to be read, don't write them (or, more accurately, don't publish them).

Ideas are not copyrightable.

We are talking about intellectual property, not strictly about copyright. I feel no need to separate the concepts as far as some of the "patent-droids", "trademark-droids" and "copyright-droids" would like. All want to monopolize thoughts, names, ideas, numbers.

Enforcing this right places no burden on society, it places a burden on myself since the onus of a civil prosecution is mine to pursue and to pay for. Public prosecutors dont prosecute civil cases.

The burden is not the effort of the enforcement itself, it is the results it brings. Also, copyright is both criminal and civil law in most countries, including the US.

No, recombination and randomization of existing data is what a million monkeys typing at a million typewriters do.

Monkeys are not as stupid as you may think. 98,4% of chimpanzee DNA is identical to ours, and chimps' intellectual abilities are impressive. Of course, they have no concept of intellectual property, and I am certain that is the reason for tghe lack of progress in their cultural development. You may like to think of your brain as some mysterious device nobody knows or understands, but as a matter of fact, we already know a bunch of things about it, and there is no "divine spark" that creates ideas. Also, interestingly, nature, which is a non-intelligent process, has come up with far better inventions than humans ever have. Yet nature needed no incentive to create except the environment. Explain this - you must be a creationist!

I can only deny you Mike Macky if he is a commercial trademark

No. Mickey Mouse's trademark has long expired. Copyrights apply against derivative works, see also the "Gone with the Wind" case referenced in another comment.

I can only do that because you gave me permission.

Under the current law, yes. The idiocy of this would be obvious if it were applied consistently; see also the e-mail forwarding law they wanted to pass in Australia. If you want privacy, agree on it. If someone abuses your trust, don't trust them again. If someone breaks a personal contract, sue them. It's that simple.

I have evidence that they do.

Can you cite the respective passage, if it's not too long? I am aware of the fact that Roman authors were paid by booksellers (some even complained that they weren't paid enough). I would expect this to be personal contracts between the authors and the sellers, not the result of a state-enforced copyright law. I am certain that personal copying was in no way prevented, nor would I expect any kind of "anti-piracy" activities by the state.

The size of the literate public in Rome wasnt better than the population of BumFuckVille, USA.

Not much knowledge exists about the literacy rate in the Roman Empire, but evidence suggests that it was quite high. (Karl-Joseph Weeber in "Alltag im alten Rom" writes that "a large majority" of Romans were able to read and write.) This evidence includes graffitis on walls and a popular encyclopaedia by Pliny the Elder dedicated especially to the farmers and the poor people, because the common folk needed more knowledge. From army signature lists, we also know that most people there could read and write, many even in two languages.

The occupation of Roman scholars was to preserve as much of knowledge as possible and for this reason they endlessly relearnt and rewrote the Greeks.

This is a common myth. The problem is that Greek and Roman thought are very hard to separate. Many Greek "slaves" (often living under quite acceptable conditions) were teachers and scientists, and Greek remained a long time as the language of science and knowledge. Of course it was also a requirement in order to understand the older works. So many new works were also written in Greek. We definitely know that the Romans had cement, better road building and generally more refined engineering. The suggestion that science stagnated in Roman science is quite inane.

People who read books in Ancient Rome were fed by slaves

No matter whether the literacy rate was 90% or 70%, this comment is nonsense. Regarding general living conditions, you must carefully separate the time of the Republic and the Empire; under the Empire, living conditions improved drastically, especially for slaves, who were granted more and more rights. A lot of the horror stories that are being told about Roman Emperors are known Christian fakes.

The Romans developed copyright about the time they stopped imitating themselves and the Greeks.

I strongly dispute that. Evidence, please.

You are disputing the facts of your very own existence.

You are so brainwashed that you really believe that a culture without intellectual property cannot exist. In your mind, the GPL must be a fantasy belief by some hippies who never have done any real work in their lives. But oh yes, I know, that's their decision and not ours, but how can the 100,000 bands who offer their music on MP3.com for free do so, considering that IP is essential for our existence? How can they? Shouldn't they all vanish in a large puff of logic?

I can sell my work to the highest bidding corporation and that work brought us the moon

Is the moon patented, trademarked or copyrighted? Or all of them? Apropos patents: Did you know that James Watt'S steam engine could have been much simpler than it was were it not for a patent on -- the crank? Watt didn't want to pay the royalties, so he built it with a more complicated wheel control system..

You continue to argue for philosophical change as justification against what the law, today, philosophically, pragmatically, according to social contract, by social consensus, protects very well.

No, it doesn't. The law is fundamentally broken if the law criminalizes millions of people who weren't criminalized before.

You want to manage a flood of creation by reverting to an anachronistic code of ethics which had neither flood nor creation, nor rights.

"Anachronistic" is always a nice term, because it is always usable to justify about everything, from the status quo to the exact opposite. Copyright is anachronistic. Lack of copyright is anachronistic. The problem, dear Luddite, is that history is not a linear graph. There isn't always progress. The least progress happened when the monopolization of knowledge was biggest -- in the Dark Ages. Copyright was invented to continue this monopolization of knowledge. In times where information was still a scarcity, expensive in creation and distribution, copyright also had its uses to prevent corporate abuse, not as an incentive to create (had it been limited to commercial actions only, we would not be in the mess we are in now). Now copyright's time has come.

You will not succeed in your revolution.

Evolution, not revolution. It's just natural.
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Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

evolution moves foreward, not backwards (1.00 / 1) (#91)
by eLuddite on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 10:58:13 PM EST

Who are you to monopolize certain parts of information space?

No, no, no. I am a monopoloy over myself, over my own intellectual output. I dont care about your information spaces, ok?

Producer-side valuation imposes a virtual scarcity on a resource which possesses no scarcity.

Then produce these non scarce resources and put them under copyleft before some arch copyright fiend beats you in a race to the copyright office.

Can't afford to read that science textbook? Too bad you're living in the Third World, we're not going to lower our prices for you.

Bullshit. People in the 3rd world are struggling to feed their children. Where schools exist the students are typically smarter than their US peers. Books are not an economic scarcity and you can charitably lower their prices wherever necessary without giving up the right of copy. You _still_ have the most incohate, befuddled understanding copyright. You rail endlessly about something you dont understand.

And if you pirate it from the Net, we'll gonna send the government thugs to hunt you down and lock you up together with rapists and killers.

You are beyond reproach, you know that?

I have already described this in my other posts. You can make money without monopolizing and censoring.

I dont give a flying fuck about your economic plans for my future, especially if those plans resemble reality to the extent that an "assume a perfectly round body and a zero coefficient of friction" physics problem resembles a billiard ball.

Sigh. Another silly analogy. Will you ever learn? IP law is about granting you a monopoly on certain ashtrays,

Yeah. My ashtrays. And if you dictate the terms under which I can create them, I will decide not to create them and you will suffer their loss. Extrapolate to many me and you will be left with literature written by talentless hacks. My nipples are getting hard just thinking about it.

and the right to sue everyone who produces ashtrays who might have been based on a similar or (gosh!) the same idea.

What are you babbling about? It's not like there's a patent on the Homeric plots or 3 chord guitar.

Simple; a morally intact society cares for its weakest members. A society which ...

Society has a moral imperative, not me. Pay more taxes and have the government hand out book stamps. Try to understand that a just society cannot exist without personal rights. Since when did education become incompatible with personal rights?

I feel no need to separate the concepts as far as some of the "patent-droids", "trademark-droids" and "copyright-droids" would like.

Yeah, god forbid you should learn to distinguish ideas.

Everything you produce is the result of playing with the ideas of others.

I dont care; ideas are not copyrightable, expression is.

Memes work different than physical goods. It is not a concept that is easy to understand, I admit.

You dont have to admit anything, I already know you're babbling incoherently.

Again: If you don't want your works to be read, don't write them (or, more accurately, don't publish them).

Again, if you dont want to read my works, dont buy them. The onus is upon you to remove economic incentive. I only have to look around to see that it exists. And what does any of that have to do with my right of copy? Whether someone reads them or not doesnt in any way contradict the fact that I wrote them.

The burden is not the effort of the enforcement itself, it is the results it brings.

Luckily for you, it brings authors.

Monkeys are not as stupid as you may think.

Shut up and try to glean some meaning from the text. The point is that expression is not a probabilistic happenstance.

Copyrights apply against derivative works

Wha? Derivative works are a copyright infringement. Do you even understand what a derivative work is? I doubt it.

If you want privacy, agree on it.

As in permission?

Why are you even talking about privacy? Is privacy also part of the grand design of copyright to squelch emes, monkeys and information spaces? If your understanding of copyright is so marginal, what makes you think I'm prepared to argue privacy with you? Privacy means something. Copyright means something else.

I would expect this to be personal contracts between the authors and the sellers,

How do you propose to write these contracts without an understanding of the right to copy?

not the result of a state-enforced copyright law.

No, there were almost no intangible rights. Copyright isnt much of a problem looking for a solution when there isnt much of any copy. Like I said, the world and its circumstances have evolved since then.

This is a common myth.

No, it is not a myth, it is a fact. Rome copied Greece. They are both examples of the same classical tradition.

No matter whether the literacy rate was 90% or 70%, this comment is nonsense.

It is meant to convey that education was a high privilege. 70% is a ridiculous estimate, btw.

I strongly dispute that. Evidence, please.

Ancient times.
Barbarians = life or death
Middle ages = knowledge = bible
Renaissance + printing press = copyright

You are so brainwashed that you really believe that a culture without intellectual property cannot exist.

All right. This discussion is over. Call me when the revolution is over or when you learn to focus your thought.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

what if:artists compensated without copyright (none / 0) (#100)
by speek on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 09:45:48 PM EST

It's not like there's a patent on the Homeric plots or 3 chord guitar.

When those things were invented, there were no IP laws. Nowadays, I wouldn't be so sure these things wouldn't be patented/trademarked/copyrighted.

I'm also a bit confused about why you still wouldn't like a world where there was no copyright, but producers were compensated anyway for their efforts. Why would that be a bad thing? It seems to satisfy the main complaint against Napster users (that their whiny-teenage-freeloaders).

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

damn right it would be fair (1.00 / 1) (#102)
by eLuddite on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 09:56:28 PM EST

You cannot patent literary themes or any idea that is not expressly meant to commercial an invention.

I dont say a world without copyright is evil, I say it is unrealistic and that rather than suffer an imposition of this unrealism, I would rather be in control of the terms under which I am compensated for my work. But you know what? Pay me a healthy salary for life to write dirty stories or rah! rah! linux! pamphlets, completely free from commercial pressure, and I will let you copy my book till there are no more trees to print it on. Deal? Until then, you have no business dictating the terms under which I put pen to paper.

I still wont let you adapt it for your own purposes, though. Fair is fairer; express your own thoughts in your own book.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

realistic (none / 0) (#108)
by speek on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 07:33:17 AM EST

Ok, I had gotten the distinct impression that you would still want the right of copy, even if fairly compensated. However, if we're arguing about what's realistic and what's not, I find that more reasonable. I have to agree with Eloquence about what appears realistic to me, though. I don't find it realistic to have a law that could only be adequately enforced if draconian measures were adopted, and I do find it realistic to expect that people will continue to produce ideas and expressions even without IP. Rather than argue incessantly about it with people who have clearly made up their minds to the opposite, I'd just like to say, "we'll see what the future holds".

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

get real (3.00 / 1) (#113)
by spacejack on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 10:30:39 AM EST

Ok, I had gotten the distinct impression that you would still want the right of copy, even if fairly compensated.

That's a somewhat irritating comment. Who are you to decide how much I should be able to make from my work? If you negotiate a good salary doing coding for a financial institution, how would you like it if I, not your boss or anyone else at the company, suddenly decided you should only be making 1/4 that for throwing together these rinky-dink Java beans? Why should we take the effort to enforce this company's obligation to pay what you agreed on? I mean, that would be a huge tax on society -- to police all these large corporations and make sure they don't arbitrarily choose not to pay your wages.

I don't find it realistic to have a law that could only be adequately enforced if draconian measures were adopted

And that's a strange comment. Why should it be hard or draconian to enforce copyright on the net to a reasonable degree? They don't have to track every email attachment, or IM transfer; they only need to enforce it adequately as they always have -- by going after the big offenders. And wouldn't it be cheaper to nab the big offenders on the net than it would to physically send agents out to bust CD piracy operations in foreign countries?

It seems strange to me that people have already given up. They've thrown in the towel to the freeloaders and assume that they've won the day. In the grand scale of things, Napster is a minor phenomenom -- one that both the copyright holders and the courts have shown, exists only because they have allowed it to. They are fully capable of pulling the plug tomorrow if they wish. Do you also figure littering should be legal? I mean, it's pretty unenforcable. I could litter all day and not get caught. Should it be legal?

Speaking of the environment, copyright law would help us out there too. If I can make money selling purely the data I have created, then there's no need to package it in dead trees and plastic, and then ship it halfway around the globe burning gasoline and jet fuel, all the while ramping up the costs for the end-consumer.

Only if you accept the fact that the "data" I have created is valuable can you expect us to start cutting out the middleman. The more you attempt to devalue my data, the more dependent I become on a middleman, or to someone else's purpose. The less democratic my work becomes. If the public has no regard for the value of my work, then how are we to conduct any sort of equitable transactions? Why should I even bother when Coke, IBM, McDonalds and all these other corporate sponsors will hire me to design their next ad campaign for real money? Or perhaps I will simply run and hide, taking my work with me to a patron who understands the finer things in life. Someone who will bring me into an elite circle that does not whimsically share their treasures with the base and unruly internet mob. As it was in times before copyright. A little ditty perhaps for the Duke's next visit. Oh, and if you wouldn't mind, a nice ceiling painting for the south wing. And then talk to the Baroness, she's re-doing the orgy room, and she needs something... different for the decor.

[ Parent ]
trying to (4.00 / 1) (#116)
by speek on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 11:22:04 AM EST

I wasn't trying to be irritating - I only referred to fair compensation and made no assertion as to how it would be determined. I'd guess it'd be similar to now in the sense that compensation is determined by how much value the consumers place on the product and how much value the producer places on his/her labor. The actual mechanism will likely be different though.

Although Napster can be shutdown, the sharing of files using the internet probably can't be. It sounds like you wouldn't bother going after individuals, only large commercial entities. I have no problem with that. In fact, I've thought that copyright could be modified to apply only to commercial interests, and that would solve some of the problem (of course, Napster would still be in violation, since they are trying to make money from their activities).

I don't think too many people are giving up yet. The battle hasn't really even begun. But, some of us are actively against IP, and always have been. :-)

Regarding littering, if lot's of people littered (and were determined to do so), and it was determined that that was a bad thing, then passing a law to outlaw it would not solve the problem. A social change was necessary, which was accomplished via education and advertising. The law embodies the goal, but the strategy for achieving the result was something else entirely.

For the analogy to work with copyright, we'd have to agree that not having copyright would be a bad thing (like we agree about littering), and we'd have to plan and implement a course of action to make social changes that would reduce copyright infringements. That plan apparently seems to be to equate copyright infringement with stealing, to label infringers as "freeloaders", and to equate abolition of IP as akin to human slavery. The problem is, you haven't convinced me that abolishing IP would necessarily be bad, so I don't endorse the plan. If enough people don't agree with your rhetoric, then your plan is bad, and you have to either develop a new plan, or surrender. Simply making a law and trying to enforce it doesn't work. My comment about the realism of unenforceable laws was apparently incomplete - their only unrealistic if people aren't convinced of the law's rightness.

The more you attempt to devalue my data, the more dependent I become on a middleman

Yes, the more I and other consumers do not value your data/product, the more need you have of a middleman in order to make money. You need the middleman to advertise and promote your inferior product, to create glitz and hype to convince me it's worth my money. Without the middleman, you'd have only the product itself to convince me, and for that to work, the product would actually have to be worth something.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

the future (none / 0) (#118)
by spacejack on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 12:41:41 PM EST

Although Napster can be shutdown, the sharing of files using the internet probably can't be.

Remember what I said about prematurely throwing in the towel? That's a pretty big if. In fact, I don't think it even qualifies as an if. Will determined freeloaders be able to "steal" IP? Sure, just like they always have. Will the average person? Probably not very effectively. All these supposedly "invulnerable" systems are prone to their very invulnerability: anyone can populate them. With spam. Trojans. Ads. Whatever. Without a centralized form of control, they simply won't be used much by the public; nor will the public's apathetic attitude and generally selfish nature build a stable network of reliable content. Furthermore, I seriously doubt it would stand up to any kind of organized "attack" by anyone with resources (like the RIAA or MPAA). It would be unfortunate, if I, an independent artist, suddenly found myself requiring the services of spammers just to make sure my work didn't get pirated to death. But if this is what new technology brings, then as the IW2BF crowd is fond of saying, I will adapt.

But it's all vapour at this point. Would you have us change laws based on the possibility this vapourware will magically come into existence and arrive on the PCs of starving children in Africa?

It sounds like you wouldn't bother going after individuals, only large commercial entities. I have no problem with that.

You know what is ironic? I don't like arguing the side of law and order. I don't like being a copyright Nazi. But dammit, this mob mentality, it's just too barbaric. It has no sense. I can divine no coherent purpose from this crusade. If I'm going to rip something off to make a statement, it damn well better be illegal, otherwise it's not much of a statement is it? :) This generation of copyright infringers.. I dunno, you guys are soft.

For the analogy to work with copyright, we'd have to agree that not having copyright would be a bad thing (like we agree about littering), and we'd have to plan and implement a course of action to make social changes that would reduce copyright infringements.

Perhaps this is how copyright laws originally came about.

In fact, I've thought that copyright could be modified to apply only to commercial interests.

Hmm.. that's not very idealistic of you :) You mean, you have no regard for my rights if neo nazis or some powerful, fanatical cult adopted a song I wrote, or a logo I designed without my consent? And keep in mind, that while, say, a university server publishing endless gigs of unauthorized files may not be making anyone any money, it is working against my commercial interests as a creator. It is also quite likely damaging my artistic intent by distributing the work incomplete, a sub-standard resolution, or devoid of license, or missing whatever other information or context I wanted to provide. It wouldn't help a musician's cause if a potential fan was introduced to the music with a shitty rip that got cut off, or some joker's idea of a remix. Without non-commercial rights, an artist further loses the ability to maintain the integrity of their work. That hurts everyone.

You need the middleman to advertise and promote your inferior product, to create glitz and hype to convince me it's worth my money. Without the middleman, you'd have only the product itself to convince me, and for that to work, the product would actually have to be worth something.

I take it you are starting out in your professional life? :) Or perhaps you have little experience in the creative industry? Selling a product is as much an art as making it. We do not live in a spartan society, nor will we any time soon. People buy things because they like them; because they want them. Very rarely do they buy things because they're necessary, or The Best Product. Certainly not with art. It's a tough biz. Repealing copyright won't make it any easier. I do have faith that the web has great potential for the independent creator. But only if there is public respect for their copyrights. Otherwise the middlemen will decide everything.

[ Parent ]
I'm willing to compromise (none / 0) (#119)
by speek on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 01:00:52 PM EST

You're right that I'm not idealistic (well, actually, I am, but I'm not absolutist). My only goal is to create a better world to live in. I happen to have a theory that removing IP laws is a step that would improve things. I'm very willing to start small to see how it goes, however, because I could be wrong. I don't think I'm wrong, but that's no surprise, is it? I'd also be entirely happy if Napster instituted reverse filtering (ie, allow only songs that are explicitly chosen by artists rather than allowing everything except what the artists choose), which would essentially create a divider between those who want to go without copyright protection and those who do not. Not unlike the world of open source vs. the world of closed source.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

well (none / 0) (#120)
by spacejack on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 01:15:40 PM EST

I'll just say that you won't see me crying any tears if they get rid of software or business-model patents. :)

[ Parent ]
False (none / 0) (#112)
by strumco on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 10:26:12 AM EST

Copyright has existed since at least the time of printing press.
Shakespeare had no other form of income but his acting fees. No copyright existed.

Even Dickens, 250 years later, saw his own work re-published within hours of (legit) publication.

DC
http://www.strum.co.uk
[ Parent ]

Holding Back Technological and Social Advancement (2.00 / 1) (#43)
by Carnage4Life on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 10:20:05 AM EST

If you don't want people to read what you write, you shouldn't write it. If you don't want people to use your invention, you shouldn't invent it.

This is the one reason I will never agree with the IP abolishment crowd. For some reason (maybe it's the rise of Open Source popularity) some people have fallen under the mistaken assumption that the number of people who contribute IP will remain constant or won't drop sizably if IP laws are revoked.

I can argue anecdotally and state that most of the brilliant programmers I know write Open Source code and at least half of them wouldn't spend time and capital writing software for no return. On the other hand even though this is true I prefer arguing from a historical standpoint.

  1. Doing research and creating prototypes is capital intensive. If there is no guarantee of return on investment then less people will invest in research that could benefit the human race.

    This applies to everything from pharmaceutical companies to electronics to game consoles. James Watt, an inventor whose inventions and contributions to Physics are still being felt today would not have been able to have accomplished all he did without financial backing from patrons like John Roebuck and Matthew Boulton.

  2. Many inventors and innovators are driven by the quest for financial reward. I know many people, myself included, who can make valuable contributions to the software industry and computer science but would not expend the time and effort without the possibility of financial reward.

    Orville Wright who was one half of the brilliant duo that revolutionized flight at the turn of the last century was driven primarily by financial reward. Most of the hardship they had to bear to get while trying to build their flying machine and get possible buyers was always offset (to them) by the rewards that would be gained once they had patented their invention and began to sell it.

    The innovations of the Wright brothers in the field of flight are still being applied to airplane design today.

  3. The Marxist economic ideal where people do not own their ideas and instead IP is collectively owned has failed when compared to Capitalism if the comparison is limited to technological invention and innovation. Yet IP abolitionists still claim that the end of IP will somehow promote innovation when it hasn't done so in other places with weak or non-existent IP laws.


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[ Parent ]
marxists vs napsterites (3.66 / 3) (#52)
by eLuddite on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 03:47:48 PM EST

Marxists describe all legislation which is written to protect one freedom or another as reactionary; ip laws are written to deny ip from the common man. Thus the right of copy is a contradiction of freedom.

I could respect that position if I thought it was held by the napster crowd. At least they would not be victims of a philosophical contradiction. In reality I suspect 95% of people who are anti copyright or pro napster are the same people who would ask the law to bury their opposition at its earliest convenience.

If you want a revolution, say so. If you only want to "free" music, understand that such a surgical excision is incompatible with a broad range of rights understood and practiced by liberal democracies.

My bottom line for these faux marxists is to ask why they need to get rid of an entrenched right in order to release their stuff under copyleft? Why cant they free the world one book at a time as they write it? Why cant they have the courage their conviction? Convince me by example and do not molest my rights in your impatience.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Why is napster ok with people? (4.00 / 1) (#124)
by Danse on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 02:04:14 AM EST

In reality I suspect 95% of people who are anti copyright or pro napster are the same people who would ask the law to bury their opposition at its earliest convenience.

Actually, I think most pro-napster people just have a gut-level understanding that they have been screwed by the big media corporations and therefore have no sympathy for the corps claiming that they are now being screwed. Perhaps the corporations should have thought of this before they decided to continually take more and more away from the public.

The artists are being screwed too. Just not bad enough that they've jumped ship yet. See, what has happened is that the publishers have wedged themselves between the creators and the consumers. This was beneficial at first. It allowed the creators to distribute their works to a larger audience. But what has happened since is that the publishers have secured exclusive rights to their distribution and promotion channels. They are a cartel now. Nothing gets real distribution or promotion without their backing. If you want distribution, you have to sign a deal with them, either handing over your copyright, or at least giving them the lion's share of the profit. They've worked our government to get a longer and longer period of control over IP, even applying it retroactively to works that should have become public domain by now. What they've done is established themselves as permanent middlemen who drive the costs of IP way up. They can screw the artists because they control access to the consumers. They can screw the consumers because they control access to the artists. They play both sides against each other and reap the vast majority of the profit.

We need to realize that Copyright is nothing more than a bargain between the creators and the consumers. I think it's time we reevaluate our options and negotiate a new deal. Preferably one that cuts out the most expensive part of the dysfunctional system. All these new technologies that allow people to move IP around with such ease could be put to great use replacing that most expensive part of the system. We just need a bit more work to establish the methods for the public to render payment to the artists. We're already doing pretty well in that area too. What needs to happen now is a way to verify that such a new kind of system could work for both the creators and the consumers.

If you want a revolution, say so.

I simply want IP reform. But given the existing power of the corporations opposed to that, it probably will take a revolution.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
you people are tiresome (none / 0) (#133)
by eLuddite on Wed May 02, 2001 at 06:54:03 PM EST

Actually, I think most pro-napster people just have a gut-level understanding that they have been screwed by the big media corporations and therefore have no sympathy for the corps claiming that they are now being screwed.

Actually, you sound like the kind of person who has no idea what property is, period. When you figure out the moral and legal basis for property, you will begin to sound interesting to me. Until then, you sound like a bleating sheep.

I am not interested in your most superficial objections to copyright, ok? I never, ever, said copyright extends from creation to the second coming. I dont care how hard or how soft the man is coming down on your *USE* of his IP. Not one iota. I care that authors retain a moral right to their creations. That right is not to be confused with your *ENJOYMENT* of said creations, which you do confuse, here as elsewhere in this article.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

and round and round we go (none / 0) (#134)
by Danse on Fri May 04, 2001 at 12:12:15 AM EST

When you figure out the moral and legal basis for property

You can call a song property, but I don't see it that way. If you play a song and I hear it, it's as much mine as it is yours now. Sure, you may have created that song, and that's great. I'm proud of you. But it doesn't give you any right to tell me that I can't play that same song for others. The only reason artists have that right is because we, the people of this country, decided that it was worth it to us to give you that right for a limited period of time so that you would have the incentive to keep creating cool new songs for us. It's by no means an absolute right. But now, since the publishers have taken over the system and bought their extensions to the "limited time", the rest of us know we're being screwed. It's no longer worth it to us.

I care that authors retain a moral right to their creations.

Sorry bub. I don't think you or anyone else has a right to tell me what I can or cannot write, say, sing, play, copy, share with friends, etc, as long as I didn't take it away from you first. "Intellectual property" is legal fiction. It's not actual property. It's just a term to describe the result of us transforming what we think, see, know, or feel into words, paintings, songs, pictures, etc. None of those things is necessarily exclusive to us. Nor should they be. I recognize the need for us to provide those who create these works with some opportunity to profit from them so that they are able to create more, but I don't believe they should have anywhere near the sort of control that the RIAA, MPAA, etc want to have over us.

I am not interested in your most superficial objections to copyright, ok?

But I'm supposed to be interested in your feeble defense of it? Get over your ego.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Don't only work with the models of the past .. (2.50 / 2) (#80)
by Eloquence on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 04:08:07 AM EST

.. when dealing with the future.

Doing research and creating prototypes is capital intensive.

Distributed patronage models for inventors can exist without problems in a capitalist society with modern telecomunications and electornic payment systems. The motivations needs not be altruism, but the simple interest in using the resulting inventions, although my hope and belief is that altruism will also play a major role. It is hard to quantify this part, though.

Many inventors and innovators are driven by the quest for financial reward.

Financial reward is possible in a world without intellectual property, it is just unlikely that you will become a millionaire, unless you are so good that you can "blackmail" people into buying your stuff before you have produced it. The benefit is that more people will be able to earn money with information, which is especially good for the open source crowd. I don't believe that reducing the number of millionaires would significantly influence the motivation levels of most people.

The Marxist economic ideal where people do not own their ideas and instead IP is collectively owned has failed when compared to Capitalism if the comparison is limited to technological invention and innovation.

The comparison is of little relevance, especially if it concerns societies with low information networking.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

Counterpoints... (3.50 / 2) (#84)
by Carnage4Life on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 11:49:05 AM EST

Distributed patronage models for inventors can exist without problems in a capitalist society with modern telecomunications and electornic payment systems.

I'm not sure what the existence of telephones and PayPal have to do with the fact that creating a games console, a new drug or a large scale software project costs millions of dollars. I assume that you're claim is that if enough people chip in then instead of needing one massive source of funding then a few smaller contributions will solve the problem.

Unfortunately what you and most people fail to account for is the Free Rider Problem which has plagued such collaborative endeavors from the dawn of time. In a world without IP this problem is virtually insurmountable.

Financial reward is possible in a world without intellectual property, it is just unlikely that you will become a millionaire, unless you are so good that you can "blackmail" people into buying your stuff before you have produced it. The benefit is that more people will be able to earn money with information, which is especially good for the open source crowd. I don't believe that reducing the number of millionaires would significantly influence the motivation levels of most people.

I believe you are wrong but without hard data this will merely be a clash of opinions and little else. I'll just say this though:
  1. There is a difference between motivated by the dream of being rich and being motivated by the dream of "being able to make a living". I'm sure you'll aknowledge the difference.

  2. The Open Source crowd can afford to give away stuff for free because of gains from IP. Besides RMS, who is a college professor, almost every major Open Source figure has their Open Source endeavors financed directly or indirectly from proceeds generated from IP. From Linus Torvalds who is paid by a company that has patented "code morphing" to the Apache developers who's major contributers are mostly employees of the big IP firms (Sun, IBM, etc) and who obtain gifts of code from them (Xerces, Tomcat, etc).

I would also like to see what you mean by if there is no IP, more people will make money from information. It seems the counter is true, if information is no longer scarce then it is valueless as a revenue generator. Basic economics.

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[ Parent ]
Creators still scarce (3.00 / 1) (#93)
by Luke Francl on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 04:27:47 PM EST

I would also like to see what you mean by if there is no IP, more people will make money from information. It seems the counter is true, if information is no longer scarce then it is valueless as a revenue generator. Basic economics.

Without IP, information may no longer be scarce, but creators of information will always be scarce. In other words, programmers will always be needed. There will always be new programing tasks to attack. The same holds for inventors.

Of course, we have to find a way to pay them without intellectual property. That's the hard part, but it's also the most interesting, because copyright is very hard to enforce now. There are a substantial group of Internet users who are determined to eliminate it, and they may well succeed. I think we can all agree that by focusing on post-copyright revenue models like the Street Performer Protocol, everyone can be happy.

P.S.: I'm not addressing patents here, because they are more mired in the physical world, and violations are significantly easier to prosecute. However, there are still moral issues involved. For example, the WTO is taking actions against South Africa for producing an anti-AIDS drug (which uses a compound developed using public money at my university) that a large drug company had priced far above South Africa's citizen's ability to pay. Is that morally justified?

[ Parent ]

Drug Patents (2.00 / 1) (#103)
by tjb on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 11:02:13 PM EST

Drug patents are probably *THE MOST IMPORTANT* to enforce, as might as it much suck for some people in the short-term. Innovations in the medical industry are extremely expensive and time consuming.

Let's say a big drug company like Merck spends $500 million over ten years developing a drug to combat a disease. Merck finishes the drug, patents the applicable compound and puts it for sale at a price that will recoup their investment plus some profit. Then, some other company comes along and makes their own version of the drug based on the patented compound. This other company doesn't have a $500 million dollar investment to recover, so they can feel free to sell it at a lower price.

At this point, Merck may have lost nearly their enitre investment. When this happens a couple of times, its just not good business to continue the R&D. They'll say "Fuck it. let some other sucker invent it and we'll steal it this time." PT Barnum may (or may not) have said "There's a sucker born every minute", but even so, you'll eventually run out of suckers willing to risk financial ruin to help humanity.

In the short-term, enforcing drug patents (and other patents) creates a profit incentive for R&D, allowing companies to be profitable, increasing the general economic conditions, and advancing the state-of-the-art. In the long-term, patents expire. Maybe its a bit too long as it stands (probably not for drugs though), but eventually the information contained within a patent becomes becomes public domain, where it can be used for the social good.

It may suck having to wait for the final outcome, but it sucks considerably less than the alternative of technological stagnation.

Tim

[ Parent ]
RE: Drug Patents (4.00 / 1) (#125)
by Danse on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 02:19:18 AM EST

It may suck having to wait for the final outcome, but it sucks considerably less than the alternative of technological stagnation.

First of all, if you're gonna be dead in a year, you don't give a rats ass about technological stagnation. It's kind of like the kids that download cracked copies of 3DS Max. There's no way in hell they could purchase it. So Kinetix (or whoever owns it now) isn't really losing a sale. They are profiting from sales to corporations and professional artists. They never expected to make sales to 15 year old kids when they created the software. So it doesn't really harm them when 15 year old kids use cracked copies.

Now, when the drug companies created AIDS drugs, I'm sure they weren't counting on huge amounts of money flowing in from countries in Africa that are already so deeply in debt that they would never recover if we hold them to it. They were counting on sales in the US, Europe, Japan, etc. The wealthy countries of the world. Yes, you will argue that if we let Africa get away with "stealing" the IP, then what's to stop other countries from doing it as well? I'd say the same thing that keeps Kinetix from prosecuting 15 year olds for copyright infringement. They can pick and choose their battles. They don't have to prosecute anyone that they don't want to. The bad publicity they get from prosecuting people just isn't worth it. They never expected those people to be a source of revenue anyway, so it doesn't affect their business plan.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
poll options (none / 0) (#81)
by FrankSharpe on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 07:12:33 AM EST

Downloading MP3s is:

(+) lawful (in my country) as long as you download them for your own use (though making MP3s available to the whole world, effectively publishing them, probably is not).

[ Parent ]

History Repeating (4.35 / 14) (#10)
by Eloquence on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 08:51:19 PM EST

Understand that I don't think that the RIAA, MPAA and friends have been using "steal" instead of "infringe" for years as part of some plot to brainwash the masses into thinking copyright is forever.

Well, one thing is certain: If one group of people know how public relations work, it's the movie industry, and, somewhat less so, the recording industry. These are the same people who have done everything to fight home recording in the seventies and nineties, and they would have nearly gotten away with it. In the 1984 US Supreme Court Betamax decision, one vote decided that VCRs and time shifting are legal fair use. Had one judge decided differently, 1984 would have become the year that video recorders got banned. The movie industry used the same overblown rhetoric of stealing and piracy that the recording industry is now using in the Napster case. In 1982, the MPAA's Jack Valenti said: "The VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston Strangler is to the woman alone." I'm sure that scanned copies of the anti-VCR & anti-cassette advertising campaings exist somewhere on the net.

People tend to forget quickly. They have forgotten Betamax, they have forgotten the lobbying against DAT recorders. They have forgotten the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act. They have forgotten the RIAA's price fixing schemes and the way the RIAA tried to change the status of the music produced to them to "Work for Hire", thereby effectively stealing (!) the copyrights. Most people haven't even read Courtney's rant on how the music industry exploits both the artists and the consumers to maximize profit. And even the geeks will forget the DeCSS case soon. Slashdot's editors drool over any new movie release that interests them and are willing to ignore the most ridiculous abuses of law that the industry that produces them is responsible for. A boycott? Hell, no! Could you imagine a big "Stop the MPAA" banner on Slashdot? Neither can I. But the actions of these associations surely would justify it.

And because people have such a bad long-term memory, and are very suspectible to emotional propaganda, especially if it comes from authorities, it is very easy to manipulate them into believing that copying music (or movies) is like stealing out of the pockets of the poor starving artists and film producers. The AAs haven't even really started the propaganda war and there already millions of people who happily copy their arguments and rhetoric. Getting the public at large to believe that bits must be controlled, protected and followed on their way from the producers to the consumers will be a piece of cake. Even significant parts of the IT community will support the content industry in that. The potential results for the distribution of knowledge and entertainment for years to come are disastrous. The only hope is that alternative, uncontrollable distribution channels arise from the tension field that currently exists between producers and consumers, and will effectively make the anticultural plans of the content industry useless.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!

good point (1.00 / 1) (#14)
by eLuddite on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 09:35:59 PM EST

And because people have such a bad long-term memory, and are very suspectible to emotional propaganda,

And all this time I thoght the bleating and hand wringing over napster was logical opposition.

If Valenti's opinion wasnt worth listening to, why is it worth being brought up? It's understood that people make claims for their causes that turn out to be unjustified. Some people even employ vulgar and unethical tactics. How does any of this negate justified claims?

It does not.

History will repeat itself like this: producers who make unjustifiable claims will have those claims dismissed; consumers who make unjustifiable claims will have those claims dismissed. No appeal will be made to the relative infamy of one group over another - that would be ad hominum, according its rigorous definition.

Your post is 100% propaganda in its purest state - plausibile for its selection of rhetoric, half truths and fallacies. The whole arguement for justifiable copyright infringement is plausible for its selection of rhetoric, half truths, lies and fallacies.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

bad point (3.00 / 1) (#24)
by Eloquence on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 10:02:07 PM EST

Exposing propaganda as such is not propaganda. If you claim that my comment contained half truths and fallacies, support this claim.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
what part of history is repeating itself here? (2.00 / 1) (#28)
by eLuddite on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 10:29:10 PM EST

The only hope is that alternative, uncontrollable distribution channels arise from the tension field that currently exists between producers and consumers, and will effectively make the anticultural plans of the content industry useless.

Convince me that uncontrollable distribution channels are ethical or even socially beneficial. Convince me that the content industry is anticultural.

Oh, I get it. Because of Valenci's bluster (he lost) and Courtney's angst (she's a business moron but still firmly pro, pro copyright.)

1/3 ad hominum + 1/3 strawmen + 1/3 fear mongering = propaganda.

You know, I am not a fan of American copyright laws, and I do think the music industry uses copyright as a weapon, but I dont pretend napster and the belief that copyright violation is somehow ethical does anything other than give Valenti and his thugs more ammo than they need.

This article was quite focused in its question. Why did you feel the need to raise alarm and non sequiturs? Post why you think copyright violation does or does not equal theft. I'm not interested in a case Valenci fought and lost. Predicting a future and then arguing as if it's the present isnt cricket, either.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

the part which you want to ignore? (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by Eloquence on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 10:58:52 PM EST

Namely, the empty rhetoric and emotional propaganda of the content industry. The inaccurate use of the words "stealing" and "piracy" are just a part of this, and this is the part which the article in question discusses (not so much the general idea of copyright). I therefore think that the historical context of this rhetoric is relevant and significant to the discussion. The rest of my comment which you quote was opinion, which is further supported by my other comments to this story, my comments in other threads, and, of course, the discussions on infoAnarchy. The ad hominem accusation is similar to the troll accusation, while it concerns a common logic fallacy, the accusation itself can become a fallacy, a "killer phrase" to end a discussion, just like citing Godwin et al.

I dont pretend napster and the belief that copyright violation is somehow ethical does anything other than give Valenti and his thugs more ammo than they need.

I disagree, and I have stated the reasons for this. Define your position clearly, and we can discuss it. Do you think that maintaining an index of the position of song files which may be copyrighted is/should be illegal? Do you think that programming a software that can be used to violate copyright is/should be illegal? Where does fair use end, and where does it begin? What about "protection circumvention"? How do you want to enforce copyright, if your answers to questions 1 and 2 were no? Do you want to ban people from Net access who violate copyright? Who decides what a copyright violation is, and how should due process be guaranteed? etc. etc. etc. "I don't like it" isn't exactly an accurate position.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

i'm not ignoring anything (1.00 / 1) (#32)
by eLuddite on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 11:46:18 PM EST

The inaccurate use of the words "stealing" and "piracy" are just a part of this,

Lawyers dont say stealing. Rock bands might. Propagandists might. You might. Courts dont and courts is what counts. You fight your battles for popular opinion, you lose your war in court. It dont make no difference to me. Piracy is an accurate description for what copyright violators do. Next.

I therefore think that the historical context of this rhetoric is relevant and significant to the discussion.

So do I. Valenti lost the time shifting arguement therefore the Supreme Court is wiser to ip matters than you are, even with your hindsight.

The ad hominem accusation is similar to the troll accusation

I am using ad hominem very explicitly to describe the method of arguement you employed. Proposition X is wrong because Valenti is a thug.

I disagree, and I have stated the reasons for this.

You havent told me anything. I look and I see the DMCA. I read and I hear arguements for stricter copyright laws because everyone on the internet thinks information is free.

Do you think that maintaining an index of the position of song files which may be copyrighted is/should be illegal?

Let us understand perfectly that you are referring to napster which was found unequivocably guilty of contributing to wholesale copyright violations. Not only do I think they were illegal, they think they were illegal.

Do you think that programming a software that can be used to violate copyright is/should be illegal?

It isnt. DeCSS is, for particular reasons which are under appeal and will likely not be upheld. At the same time, I do not think you have a right to break a copy protection scheme in order to circumvent an artist's decision to control how his or her work is disposed of.

How do you want to enforce copyright

I want to enforce it the only way it can be. Take away my right of copy and I'll sue you at my discretion.

Do you want to ban people from Net access who violate copyright?

This demonstrates an apalling ignorance of the law. No man is bound to turn himself in.

Who decides what a copyright violation is, and how should due process be guaranteed?

The same people who decided time shifting is fair use.

"I don't like it" isn't exactly an accurate position.

Then why do you adopt it?

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Legality Vs. Morality, Once Again (4.50 / 4) (#34)
by Eloquence on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 12:34:04 AM EST

You fight your battles for popular opinion, you lose your war in court.

You display, also in your other comment, a profound ignorance of the fallibilities of the legal system. You seem to be equating legality with morality (which is nonsense, need I bring up history again?), and suggesting that breaking laws is never a good way to change them. I disagree on this, law is an attempt to approximate morality, but often influenced (both in creation and interpretation) by lobbying and temporary public opinion. This is why public opinion matters. Because politicians and courts are not infallible but subject to the same media that we consume, and exposed to the same propaganda, both from its original source and its many multipliers.

So do I. Valenti lost the time shifting arguement therefore the Supreme Court is wiser to ip matters than you are, even with your hindsight.

As I also pointed out, the Supreme Court decision was made with one vote. An earlier court decision had ruled that the use of VCRs should be illegal. If the vote had been different, you would be defending the illegality of VCRs now. I think this outlines the efficiency with which the MPAA has rallied for its cause, both with propaganda and with more direct forms of lobbying. Laws aren't just about facts and logic. If they were, copyright law in its current form wouldn't exist.

I am using ad hominem very explicitly to describe the method of arguement you employed. Proposition X is wrong because Valenti is a thug.

I neither said nor implied that.

It dont make no difference to me. Piracy is an accurate description for what copyright violators do.

You equate rape and plundering on the high seas with copying bits without compensating the creator. This is, obviously, a completely inaccurate equation. Your unwillingness to reflect your terminology outlines the dogmatic nature of your opinion on copyright.

You havent told me anything.

No, you haven't listened.

I look and I see the DMCA.

The DMCA is not an argument against copyright in general. The DMCA is, however, an example for how the copyright-supporting corporations have put in place new and unnecessary laws which endanger the future of the information society.

Let us understand perfectly that you are referring to napster which was found unequivocably guilty of contributing to wholesale copyright violations.

I don't care much whether they were found guilty or not guilty by the District Court. I believe that, under a industry-friendly interpretation of copyright law (which, under its original US constitutional intent, was never meant to be applied to consumers of information the way it is applied now, because those who created it couldn't foresee the information revolution), Judge Patel made the right decision, just like I believe that, under a strict interpretation of the DMCA, Judge Kaplan made the right decision. Both laws leave some room for interpretation -- the DMCA less so, but copyright law can obviously be interpreted in ways that are completely contrary in their outcome.

Whether these laws should be interpreted strictly, or their constitutionality questioned in their entirety, and whether they should be broken, whether breaking them is immoral, and whether their abolishment should be lobbied for, these are the questions I find more interesting. You can make a law against pissing against a tree, and then you can interpret this law and try to find whether it also applies to pissing against walls. This, however, doesn't interest me, it is legal semantics. Whether semi-public pissing should be outlawed at all is the question. Because if it should, it would be quite easy to create a new anti-wall-pissing law, if this were necessary; as the Bible already says: "therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jerobo'am, and will cut off from Jerobo'am him that pisseth against the wall..." (I Kings 14:10) .

In the case of Napster, I believe that the law could be interpreted in such a way that Napster would be legal, as the Fair Use clause leaves some room for interpretation. Even if you disagree, do you think that the law in its current form is morally right, and why? Again, do you think that maintaining an index of song positions should be illegal? The same is true for your other arguments. The question is not whether people are breaking the law, but whether the laws are ethically correct, or whether they should be changed.

All in all, I find your discussion style rather counter-productive. I understand that many copyright-defenders are very emotionally involved in the subject, but perhaps you should read your post(s) again and see if they sound right to you. You resort to quick labeling and personal attacks. If you want a serious, open discussion about copyright, I'm all for it.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

*sigh*^H^H^H^H^H^Hhmmm (3.33 / 3) (#37)
by eLuddite on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 01:43:38 AM EST

You display, also in your other comment, a profound ignorance of the fallibilities of the legal system.

That is what you are given to work with. When you raze your society to the ground and erect a new system of law, it too will become susceptible to abuse and the occasional absurdity. Such is man living in society. It is not for a minority of file sharers to determine right and wrong for a majority of citizens. Furthermore, your society, like every other society 1/1000000th its size and better, has a right of possession, intellectual or otherwise. That right is woven into everything you say and do. Your free speech. Your due process. Your house. Your music.

Sorry, I cant stop the world for you to get off.

You seem to be equating legality with morality (which is nonsense, need I bring up history again?),

History? The only arguement that can be made for history is that the progress of law has corrected its injustices. You are freer today than you have ever been in civilized history thanks to law and its evolution.

Because politicians and courts are not infallible but subject to the same media that we consume, and exposed to the same propaganda, both from its original source and its many multipliers.

That's why the judiciary is beholden to no political masters and why it derives inspiration from a body of scholarly legal thought and precedent instead of slashdot.

As I also pointed out, the Supreme Court decision was made with one vote.

Such is voting. Such are complex questions which have distant consequences. What do you propose we replace these mechanisms with?

You equate rape and plundering on the high seas with copying bits without compensating the creator. This is, obviously, a completely inaccurate equation.

Then dont make it or pretend I made it.

Your unwillingness to reflect your terminology outlines the dogmatic nature of your opinion on copyright.

My terminology is accurate to anyone without an axe to grind and my opinion is based on a single agenda: in the absence of a counter right, I have rights over my labor. Until such time as you replace free society with slavery, my stuff, my movement, my thought remain mine. That includes my right of copy over the products of my invention. If they were not mine, you would be able to dictate the course of my life.

The DMCA is not an argument against copyright in general. The DMCA is, however, an example for how the copyright-supporting corporations have put in place new and unnecessary laws which endanger the future of the information society.

Actually, provisions of the DMCA are unconstitutional and I suggest you oppose it legally rather than justify its existence with your actions. That would be the correct and ethical thing to do. Furthermore, stop mentioning corporations as if they originate thought. Thought is sold to corporations by individuals. Get that through your head. You are railing against the consequences of individual choices. If you have a problem with the lifetime a copyright, argue as nation to shorten it. Given time and sound reasons, you will succeed. If you do not believe this, then leave your country because it is hopeless.

In the case of Napster, I believe that the law could be interpreted in such a way that Napster would be legal, as the Fair Use clause leaves some room for interpretation.

These are the actual fair use provisions. Napster argued fair use like this:

  • Napster: sampling before purchasing. Court:

    "The record supports a finding that free promotional downloads are highly regulated by the record company plaintiffs and that the companies collect royalties for song samples available on retail Internet sites. Evidence relied on by the district court demonstrates that the free downloads provided by the record companies consist of thirty-to-sixty second samples or are full songs programmed to "time out," that is, exist only for a short time on the downloader's computer. In comparison, Napster users download a full, free and permanent copy of the recording."

    "Napster further argues that the district court erred in rejecting its evidence that the users' downloading of "samples" increases or tends to increase audio CD sales. The district court, however, correctly noted that "any potential enhancement of plaintiffs' sales would not tip the fair use analysis conclusively in favor of defendant." Id. at 914. We agree that increased sales of copyrighted material attributable to unauthorized use should not deprive the copyright holder of the right to license the material."

    "Nor does positive impact in one market, here the audio CD market, deprive the copyright holder of the right to develop identified alternative markets, here the digital download market."

  • Napster: space shifting music they already owned. Court:

    The Court said that that the Sony betamax case was inapplicable since neither of those "players" involved the simultaneous distribution of copyrighted materials. That any "time" or "space-shifting" was only for the convenience of the owner of the player.

  • Napster: downloading music that came with permission. Court: No problem, just get rid of the stuff that comes without permission.
Even if you disagree, do you think that the law in its current form is morally right, and why?

I think it is morally right for you to respect an author's wishes especially in a society that traffics in a glut of information, most of it useless. The only protection you have against 'most' becoming 'entirely' is the value you place in art. That value can only be expressed by your appreciation of the artist's right of copy.

The question is not whether people are breaking the law, but whether the laws are ethically correct, or whether they should be changed.

That is for you to decide and for your society to judge your decision. Personally, I do not have the expertise to judge laws and their consequences and unless I am thoroughly convinced of their gross injustice my personal ethics suggest oppose them without violating them. For what if I turn out to be wrong?

The fate of napster presents no moral dilemma for me at all. The good guys won. The RIAA may come and go in all its venal glory but the right of copy was preserved for the benefit of future artist consortiums to operate without any middlemen. That is the victory you are ignoring. This isnt about napster. This isnt about the RIAA. This is about the right of copy.

All in all, I find your discussion style rather counter-productive.

Please, I cannot respond to vagaries with arguement or citations. Provide something substantive (as you are begining to do) and I will reply in kind. Telling me my ethics are bad or society is bad or copyright is bad or the sky is falling isnt impressive.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Right of copy == multiple compensation? (3.00 / 1) (#54)
by MisterX on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 04:24:34 PM EST

The good guys won. The RIAA may come and go in all its venal glory but the right of copy was preserved for the benefit of future artist consortiums to operate without any middlemen. That is the victory you are ignoring. This isnt about napster. This isnt about the RIAA. This is about the right of copy.

I'm following this subthread and I discover that I'm absolutely fascinated! Thrilling stuff (or I'm helplessly sad - you decide).

I'd like to pick away a little bit at your position, if you don't mind...

Why do you believe that artists, or anyone for that matter, is entitled to be compensated more than once for any given piece of work?

The artist expends time and effort into producing a piece of work. This deserves compensation. Once. It's done.

Allowing any form of multiple compensation (your right of copy) for work allows the rightsholder to effectively set an infinitely high price for the work. It's a nice scam. I can see why the music industry would like to keep it that way.

When I go to work and put in my 8 hours, I get compensated for that once and once only. Why should anyone else be entitled to more than that?



[ Parent ]
multiple compensation (3.00 / 2) (#57)
by eLuddite on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 05:35:37 PM EST

Thrilling stuff (or I'm helplessly sad - you decide).

Yeah well, you and me both. At this point I'm running on obstinancy and inertia.

Why do you believe that artists, or anyone for that matter, is entitled to be compensated more than once for any given piece of work?

I subscribe to the commonwealth practice of putting the moral right of copy before it's economic value. I realize American law emphasizes the latter but it does so without rejecting the former.

The artist expends time and effort into producing a piece of work. This deserves compensation. Once. It's done.

I suppose the difference between an expensive painting and a cd is that one is more valuable than the other because it cannot be reproduced. With reproduction, the value of a copyright must be measured in how often it can be reproduced before expiring.

Allowing any form of multiple compensation (your right of copy) for work allows the rightsholder to effectively set an infinitely high price for the work. It's a nice scam.

A scam requires a system of trade. In a system of trade, caveat emptor. Your society has to determine for itself what the lifetime of a copyright should be, judged according to the perceived value of any one work in a system that grinds out works like so many sausages.

When I go to work and put in my 8 hours, I get compensated for that once and once only. Why should anyone else be entitled to more than that?

There is no shortage of artists who would love to be paid by the hour. There isnt enough money in 100 RIAAs to support them. Most artists give up or risk starvation. You happen to reward extravagently only an vanishingly small percentage of artists. Are you willing to toss out copyright because you resent their success? Why not just buy less of their CDs?

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

copyright lifetime (3.00 / 2) (#60)
by eLuddite on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 06:22:45 PM EST

I should have mentioned that, IMO, the lifetime of a copyright should be long enough for its value to approach zero. If you mean to deny me economic benefit from my work, understand that I mean to deny you of economic benefit from my work as well.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

great stuff, thanks (none / 0) (#69)
by MisterX on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 06:19:08 AM EST

I appreciate the time you've taken to give me some insight into your stance. I'll go ponder on that. I came up with an idea for a new copyright law based on single compensation last night and I want to better understand the opposing/traditional copyright viewpoint.

If you mean to deny me economic benefit from my work, understand that I mean to deny you of economic benefit from my work as well.

Absolutely! That is the key point I'm trying to enshrine in this new fun law I'm developing. If you put time and effort into producing a work, you're entitled to compensation for that work. No-one else should be able to benefit without your authorisation until you have received the compensation you wanted.

If I manage to come up with anything remotely comprehensible, I'll post to my diary. I'd be honoured if you'd pop over and blast some new holes into my logic ;-)



[ Parent ]
Ooops (none / 0) (#111)
by strumco on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 09:55:32 AM EST

I mean to deny you of economic benefit from my work as well.
Oddly, this is in direct opposition to the (original) US Constitution.

DC
http://www.strum.co.uk
[ Parent ]

the Constitution is freely available on the net (none / 0) (#136)
by eLuddite on Wed May 16, 2001 at 09:54:35 PM EST

I suppose it's too much trouble for you to link to the passage supporting your claim. The US Constitution promulgates copyright as incentive and protects this incentive in whatever form it takes for whatever author.

If you mean to deny me economic benefit from my work, understand that I mean to deny you of economic benefit from my work as well.

I await your Constitutional rebuttal.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Censorship on Economic Grounds (4.00 / 1) (#79)
by Eloquence on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 03:57:59 AM EST

It is not for a minority of file sharers to determine right and wrong for a majority of citizens.

This is not just about "file sharing" à la Napster, and you know it. Regarding my original claim that copyright regularly interferes with the right to parody, here's something you should read:Court Halts Book Based on 'Gone With the Wind'. Copyright is such a nice tool for censorship.

Furthermore, your society, like every other society 1/1000000th its size and better, has a right of possession, intellectual or otherwise.

These are very, very different things. How many times will people have to shredder the flawed material-world analogies until copyright-defenders realize this? "Information wants to be free" is a cliché, but it also has some truth to it: While possession of a particular arrangement of molecules in a particular location in the space-time-continuum is a reasonable concept, possession of a particular sequence of bits, independent of their physical storage and location, is an impossibility and not deeply-rooted in culture or society. The "right of copy" as you call it is nothing but the deprivation of certain sequences of bit from free, public usage; in this context, the old slogan "property is theft" makes a lot of sense. Copyright is a form of government-imposed censorship on request of the copyright-holder, and only as long as this form of censorship was a) infrequent b) limited and c) not relevant for the average person, it was tolerable in the interests of society.

In fact, if you would take the time to read the respective entry in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, you would find that:

Historically copyrights grew out of the same system as royal patent grants, by which certain authors and printers were given the exclusive right to publish books and other materials. The purpose of such grants was not to protect authors' or publishers' rights but to raise government revenue and to give governing authorities control over publication contents. This system was in effect in late 15th-century Venice as well as in 16th-century England, where the London Stationers' Company achieved a monopoly on the printing of books and was regulated by the Court of Star Chamber. [emphasis mine]
Copyright originally was a tool of goverment censorship; now it is mostly limited to economically reasoned censorship, although the transferable copyright of US law has been abused for other forms of censorship as well.

That right is woven into everything you say and do. Your free speech. Your due process. Your house. Your music.

Stop mixing things together that have nothing to do with each other. Answer this question: Should the Girl Scouts pay royalties every time they sing "God Bless America" around the campfire? Because this is copyright. It has nothing at all to do with property. Don't pay, don't sing. We'll shut your mouth if you do. Call it what it is. It's censorship, and nothing else. Admit it.

You are freer today than you have ever been in civilized history

Not in all areas. Ancient Rome certainly had less laws regulating sexual behavior and sexual content than the modern US, or even Europe, where I live.

Then dont make it or pretend I made it.

So you will stop using the inaccurate term "piracy" then?

If they were not mine, you would be able to dictate the course of my life.

If you claim a right to certain words and ideas, you dictate the course of my life. A Linux programmer can come up with a scheme to compress music independently of anyone else, yet chances are extremely high that he will violate a heap of patents and be sued. The people who sue him would claim that those were "their" ideas and that he had "stolen" them. Does that really make any sense at all? Of course not. Ideas and words cannot be owned. They belong to everyone. Your ideas and words would not exist without the ideas and words of those who came before you.

The Patent Office, in part, even realizes the absurdity of its existence and claims to screen "obvious" patents (failing miserably in doing so). However, protecting the complex ones would not be good either. Because the ideas that have the biggest potential benefit to society are then, as a consequence, monopolized (see AIDS patents).

Actually, provisions of the DMCA are unconstitutional and I suggest you oppose it legally rather than justify its existence with your actions.

"Elements of segregation law are unjustified, and I suggest you oppose them legally, rather than justify their existence with your actions." I'm not comparing the two laws. I'm just saying that from my point of view, my actions are perfectly sensible.

Again, I'm not interested in discussing the details of the Napster case, as these are legal nitpickings of single sentences in a law written many, many decades ago (and the precedents that have been built upon it, of course). Read the Betamax opinion of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, and then that of the 1984 Supreme Court decision. One said VCRs were copyright infringements, the other said they were not. Obviously, Patel could have interpreted Napster's service as legal, for example, by either declaring them not responsible for maintaining their link database, or by citing inevitable overbroad filtering (which occurs now, thanks to Judge Patel) as a violation of fair use. I am sure Boies et al. have provided many other different interpretations that would be just as waterproof. Leave the lawyers' work to the lawyers. I care about the morality of the outcome only.

I think it is morally right for you to respect an author's wishes

In some cases, I agree, in other cases, I disagree. In no case, I think legal enforcement would be a valid option.

The only protection you have against 'most' becoming 'entirely' is the value you place in art. That value can only be expressed by your appreciation of the artist's right of copy.

So if I send a Linux developer an e-mail thanking him for his great work, I do not really value his work? If I tip a software author who wants his work to be freely copied via PayPal, I don't value his work? The cultures of the past who passed songs from one family to the next without any notion of "intellectual property" did not value them? You can't be serious.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

copyright = censorship. Gotcha (2.00 / 2) (#92)
by eLuddite on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 11:39:54 PM EST

This is not just about "file sharing" à la Napster, and you know it.

No, it's about copyright and you do not know what copyright is nearly well enough to argue it. All you can manage is several lines of unrelated, barely incoherent, inchoate reasoning based on an imaginary system of ethics and a political philosophy that is utterly unconvincing in theory as in fact. That political philosophy is called ...

The "right of copy" as you call it is nothing but the deprivation

Marxism. My right is your deprivation. Marxism.

Understand that as interested as I was in arguing the finer legal and ethical issues surrounding copyright in my society and yours, that interest does not extend into arguing Marxism. Nor do I particularly trust that your understanding of Marxism would be any less vaguer than your understanding of copyright.

My advice to you is this. Next time you enter a discussion on copyright, identify your position as Marxist on the very first post and save everyone the trouble of arguing at cross purposes.

Under Marxism, there are no property rights, intellectual or otherwise. Well, that certainly solves the Napster problem quite brilliantly, I must say.

But not in any country I care to live in.

Send me a postcard from Marxitania and be sure to include news clippings whenever someone is accused of hoarding expression. Just to even the coverage of our respective legal problems, I mean.

PS:

Historically copyrights grew out of the same system as royal patent grants, by which certain authors and printers were given the exclusive right to publish books and other materials. The purpose of such grants was not to protect authors' or publishers' rights but to raise government revenue and to give governing authorities control over publication contents.

It GREW OUT of the same system is not a claim that it is the same system. Laws are not usually revolutions, they evolve from precedents. Furthermore, the remainder of that article proves to me once and for all that you have the most selective reading comprehension skills imaginable.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Why this argument always amuses me. (3.54 / 11) (#13)
by Carnage4Life on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 09:24:34 PM EST

You can't steal a song by making an unauthorized copy of it because there's nothing to steal. No one loses property.

This is the argument of w4r3z d00ds and free loaders everywhere.

The fact that the people who make the "it isn't stealing" argument can't even realize what it is they are stealing is slightly amusing but mostly sad. No one is arguing that the artist no longer has a digital copy of the song when they call copyright violation stealing yet these people throw it up as a straw man argument to defend their actions but sidestep the real issue. Which is:

If you use Napster to get around paying an artist for their work then you have robbed the artist of revenue and preventing him/her from making a living from his work. If you are going to claim it isn't stealing then defend this reason not the contrived "the artist still has a digital copy of the music" argument.

Carnage4Life voted -1 on this story

PS: I didn't claim that everyone uses Napster to get around paying artists for music but the fact of the matter is that most Napster users do it (Heck, I still do it) and avoiding that when claiming that copyright infringement isn't theft just undermines that argument.

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How far does that argument go? (2.66 / 3) (#23)
by _Quinn on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 09:56:35 PM EST

   I download a copy of a Linux distribution. Am I `robbing' revenue from RedHat? From Microsoft?

   How can you `rob' revenue? I'm not taking money out of your hands by not giving you any, am I?

   Your argument is just as fallacious as the one you oppose. Copyright exists for its utility (the public good), not because it's an intrinsic (or Constutional) right. You must argue that the greater public good lies in the utility of copyright, and all that its protection entails.


   The argument that copyright infringement is theft because you're depriving that person of the ability to decide who copies their material is a little stronger; but destruction of property (you don't gain the thing you're depriving that person of) is usually not phrased as theft...

-_Quinn
Reality Maintenance Group, Silver City Construction Co., Ltd.
[ Parent ]
RE: How far does that argument go? (4.25 / 4) (#26)
by Carnage4Life on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 10:18:58 PM EST

I download a copy of a Linux distribution. Am I `robbing' revenue from RedHat? From Microsoft?

RedHat has decided that they want you to download their distribution for free. If Napster was only used to download music from artists that wanted their music diseminated in that manner then I'd have no problem with it.

Secondly, the rampant financial troubles of a number of Open Source companies from Eazel and Stormix to ARS Digita and Zelerate seems to question the notion that people can make money giving away their main product for free.

How can you `rob' revenue? I'm not taking money out of your hands by not giving you any, am I?

If I spend time and money creating something and you use it for free, have I not been robbed of financial return on my investment of time and money? This is how capitalism works, people invest time and money producing a good or service and others pay them for that good or service. The free loader crowd has decided that they'd rather get stuff for free which will lead to problems in the long run.

Your argument is just as fallacious as the one you oppose.

I disagree.

Copyright exists for its utility (the public good), not because it's an intrinsic (or Constutional) right.

In Europe the notion behind copyright is that it exists because artists have a moral right to profit from their works. If you want to argue philosophy and whether the wants of the many outweigh the needs of the few, then I'm all ears.

You must argue that the greater public good lies in the utility of copyright, and all that its protection entails.

Why must I?

The argument that copyright infringement is theft because you're depriving that person of the ability to decide who copies their material is a little stronger; but destruction of property (you don't gain the thing you're depriving that person of) is usually not phrased as theft...

I didn't mention anything about destruction of property. My main point was and still is that the basis of capitalism is that people invest time and capital in producing something and are paid for their efforts. The freeloader generation has suddenly decided that since an easy means exists to circumvent this relationship, then there is no longer a legal or moral obligation to pay the artist.

This is like claiming that the invention of teleportation devices means that paying for groceries/electronics/etc should no longer be done since it is relatively easy to teleport into a store, steal stuff and leave without having to pay.

After all it isn't theft if it isn't taking something from another human being.

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[ Parent ]
history (none / 0) (#46)
by elektrogott on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 01:44:29 PM EST

In Europe the notion behind copyright is that it exists because artists have a moral right to profit from their works.

Wrong! The publisher lobbied for it, however the british house of lords decided to give the rights to the authors rather than the publishers.

[ Parent ]
Your Post Is Hard To Understand. (none / 0) (#47)
by Carnage4Life on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 02:08:10 PM EST

>In Europe the notion behind copyright is that it exists because artists have a moral right to profit from their works.

Wrong! The publisher lobbied for it, however the british house of lords decided to give the rights to the authors rather than the publishers


  1. Even though publishers originally lobbied for copyright, the end result is that the rationale behind the laws that finally ended up on the books is the moral right of artists (not publishers) to profit from their intellectual works.

  2. England is not all of Europe.


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[ Parent ]
stupid me (none / 0) (#50)
by elektrogott on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 02:30:02 PM EST

1. I misunderstood your post. Scince its not about where copyright comes from, but how it is perceived, my reply has nothing to do with it.

2. In a lot of other european also the publishers were seeking for copyright protection by the government, and not only the artists. Since the publishers had the most trouble through unlicensed reprints. (financially)

[ Parent ]
Constitutional (none / 0) (#95)
by wiredog on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 09:07:42 AM EST

Copyright exists for its utility (the public good), not because it's an intrinsic (or Constutional) right

Constitution of the United States of America, Article 1, Section 8: "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries"

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
Phage
[ Parent ]

Time (none / 0) (#115)
by strumco on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 11:02:55 AM EST

securing for limited times to authors and inventors
This "limited time" was originally 14 years.

DC
http://www.strum.co.uk
[ Parent ]

True (none / 0) (#117)
by wiredog on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 11:53:47 AM EST

But the argument in the article was that patent/copyright wasn't a constitutional right, not that the times had become too long. Which they have.

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
Phage
[ Parent ]

it's up to Congress (none / 0) (#121)
by kataklyst on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 03:11:14 PM EST

Congress is given the power to hand out copyright, but they are not required to do so. If Congress decided that the best way to promote progress of the useful arts was to abolish copyright law, that would seem to be Constitutional. I don't see how the clause makes a copyright a "Constitutional right".

[ Parent ]
Quibble (none / 0) (#126)
by strumco on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 09:16:52 AM EST

But the argument in the article was that patent/copyright wasn't a constitutional right
Erm. I think the original point was that copyright existed because of its usefulness to the public good, not just because it's in the constitution - which does, in fact confirm the point; the clause begins, "To promote the progress of science and useful arts..."

the times had become too long. Which they have
There we agree.

DC
http://www.strum.co.uk
[ Parent ]

Probe it! (2.50 / 2) (#68)
by Tezcatlipoca on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 06:12:10 AM EST

If you use Napster to get around paying an artist for their work then you have robbed the artist of revenue and preventing him/her from making a living from his work.

Lets divide the artists in two groups: the ones signed by the big firms, and the ones nobody never ever hear about them.

The Maddonnas, U2s, Spice Girls and the like of this world are with the big labels, these firms have consistently achieved huge profits during the Napster couple of years, that had risen not fallen, so if some artist is going hungry or homeless due to Napster, then the recording companies should tell us who they are because I have not heard about them. Even mainstream artists have defended quite openly Napster as a ditribution paradigm far better than the current one. So this argument just is absolutely unproven for big artists.

Unkonwn artists first of all have an income or profit close to zero due to recordings, they make a living in something else or performing constantly in the move. How this group of people could be hurt by Napster is beyond me. How do you rob somebody that has nothing to be robbed anyway? If anything Napster is an oportunity for the good unknown artists to present their art to wider audiences. So nobody is robed here as far as I can see.

So the big guys are angry, but they have still to probe that Napster is hurting anybody. Their (and your) argument just does not hold, period.

Nevertheless it is still ilegal to copy and distribute copyrighted stuff, as simple as that, but lets not use the untrue argument about robbed poor artists. It is just not true.

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]

Robbery or not? (4.50 / 2) (#71)
by infraoctarine on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 09:52:41 AM EST

If you use Napster to get around paying an artist for their work then you have robbed the artist of revenue

Only if you get it from Napster instead of buying it, as opposed to getting it from Napster or not at all. I fully agree with your reasoning, but I still would like to see some study of the actual effects of music/video/software "piracy". The different business organizations seems to have a completely unreasonable view. As an example, this is how the BSA (Business Software Alliance) calculates their members' losses:

Losses due to software piracy are estimated by assuming that for each new personal computer sold there will be a set of accompanying software sales. For instance [...] operating system, and [...] a set of productivity software. On this basis, the shortfall between expected and actual sales must be due to software piracy[...]. (Source: Communications of the ACM, Vol.43, No. 12 p. 88)

What if you replace the hardware but keep old software? Whould a games machine need productivity software? What if only free software is used? Then the BSA will add some "losses" to their calculations; numbers which are widely used as reliable statictics of software piracy, and finally used to convince politicians that new legislation is needed.

This kind of behavior does not win my sympathy, that's for sure...

[ Parent ]
Damn right! (4.00 / 1) (#86)
by Nezumi on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 02:09:06 PM EST

If you use Napster to get around paying an artist for their work then you have robbed the artist of revenue and preventing him/her from making a living from his work.

Right on the money. That's why I prefer to rob artists by buying used CDs wherever possible. Not only am I getting the whole package of physical object, cover art, liner notes, etc., but I am assured that the artist will get no portion of my purchase price. And what's more, it's legal!

Why fuss around with Napster, which carries not only technical questions like whether "infringement" and "stealing" are the same (they aren't), but leaves open the horrifying possibility of actually paying for a CD legitimately?

I'd rather be sure, thanks.



[ Parent ]
Not robbery (none / 0) (#114)
by jynx on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 10:55:26 AM EST

...you have robbed the artist of revenue...

Can't be robbery unless it involves violence against someone.

At least, that's how it's defined under UK law.

--

[ Parent ]

So, by your reasoning... (3.87 / 8) (#42)
by br284 on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 09:45:15 AM EST

... if I walk into a barbershop, get my hair cut, and walk out without paying, I'm not stealing, I'm infringing because no flow of tangible property has occured between the barber and me?

And by your rationale, if I go out and install a commercial version of Oracle on a commercial site without paying, I am not stealing anything from Oracle, but I am merely infringing?

If you wish to write about something interesting, start thinking about what happens to software programs when the copyright expires. For all these people who argue that we should not have copyright or for shorter terms, they only think about the entertainment aspects of all of copyright. For instance, has anyone even thought about what would happen to the software industry if copyright were abolished? (Granted, it may become a non-article as software is obsoleted quite quickly...)

I think that I have just become convinced that all these "copyright must be abolshed" types are as dangerous, if not more so, than the MPAA and RIAA.

-Chris

stealing the barber's irreplaceable time (4.50 / 4) (#44)
by anonymous cowerd on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 12:15:09 PM EST

Your analogy is faulty. While the barber is cutting your hair, he can't be cutting the next customer's hair. There are only so many hours in the day. Thus when you walk out without paying, you are depriving him of his wages.

Compare that with downloading a non-top-forty song off Napster which otherwise you would not have heard, and consequently, which otherwise you would never have bought. In the real world, by downloading it you actually increase the likelihood that the artists, the recording engineers, the workers at the factory which manufactures the albums, the sales clerks at the record shop - and all the executive and stock-holding parasites who contribute so microscopically little, yet who seize the lion's share of the revenues - may eventually realize some profit for their various efforts.

The reason you made this logical mistake, by the way, is because you scamped your intellectual duty to read Marx and Engels on Capital, where they explain that labor, too, is a salable commodity, incidentally the only one which members of the working class possess. Capital isn't easy reading, and I'm hardly asking you to accept this book one hundred percent on faith, but these ideas are something you, and every civilized citizen, should be aware of.

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

the Earth's blue as an orange


[ Parent ]

You just showed why his analogy is accurate. (2.00 / 1) (#45)
by Carnage4Life on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 01:14:01 PM EST

Your analogy is faulty. While the barber is cutting your hair, he can't be cutting the next customer's hair. There are only so many hours in the day. Thus when you walk out without paying, you are depriving him of his wages.

I fail to see how this is different from constantly obtaining the works of an artist for free. The barber's time spent cutting hair is lost because he/she wasn't paid by the person who got the haircut and the artist's time and money spent recording the song is lost because the he/she wasn't paid by the consumers of the music.

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[ Parent ]
no loss (4.40 / 5) (#48)
by anonymous cowerd on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 02:19:19 PM EST

It would be an accurate analogy if the guy who downloads the song off Napster
a.) deprives the record company of a sale to a second customer by tying up its resources,
b.) would have bought the CD if he couldn't have downloaded the mp3 instead, and
c.) definitely will not buy the CD now (nor neither will he pay to see the artist in concert, etc.) since he possesses that mp3.

None of the above are the case.

Regarding a.), when I download an mp3, the record company has expended nothing whatsover on me. I have not tied up one bit of their time or effort, which they could have spent otherwise serving a paying customer. Obviously the situation is quite the opposite for our hypothetical barber; that's the point I was trying to make, that the original post's analogy is badly flawed.

Regarding b.) I can't speak for all music fans, but I rarely buy any record without hearing it first, whether over the radio, from some friend's copy, or by way of an unauthorized mp3 obtained by Napster. There's an exception for artists that I already know and admire. That is, having heard the Clash's London Calling, the instant I saw Sandinista on the racks I grabbed it and bought it. But no matter how fetching the cover art might be, I've been buying records for three decades now and only once have I bought a record by an artist I hadn't heard before - and in that case it was an "intelligent gamble" because it was a product of a record company (ECM) whose line-up was generally excellent.

Conversely, regarding c.), the last half dozen records I bought I heard first on Napster. In that sense it serves the same purpose as top-forty radio, by putting the material out there so prospective buyers can hear and be beguiled and seduced by songs they find appealing, except that unlike top-forty radio you get an infinitely superior range of choices.

I have always wondered how the executives of the recorded-music business could be so damn stupid. Napster is their dream come true, or at least if they had any sense it would be; it exposes their entire lineup of material to their potential customers. Everyone knows that for every twenty records the record industry makes, nineteen don't sell and thus lose money; that if your band can't crack the radio or MTV, their records have virtually no chance of selling. Along comes this teenage hacker with a way that all their acts can be heard by all their potential fans, at zero cost to the record companies themselves. In a sane world, they'd be buying Shawn Fanning caviar, Cadillacs and mansions out of gratitude.

But if you keep in mind that the publishers of sheet music vigorously fought broadcast radio, and that the record industry initially opposed the Philips tape cassette (way back when I was a teenager, I first heard nine tenths of the records I later bought on cassettes friends made me), and that the movie industry opposed the VHS videotape when it first came out, claiming that it would bankrupt Hollywood in a decade - whereas the fact is that VHS sales today make up more than half of the movie businesses's booming revenues - it all sort of falls together. The bottom line is, these people running the entertainment biz, their minds having been transformed to stale cooked oatmeal by all that legendary decadent overindulgence in liquor and cocaine, have consistently been for decades a pack of morons. If I were a big stockholder in any of those companies, I'd sue them for deliberate mismanagement.

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

the Earth's blue as an orange


[ Parent ]

Good for short term but what about long term? (4.00 / 1) (#51)
by Carnage4Life on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 02:37:13 PM EST

I agree with most of your post and I believe that it is an accurate summation of the situation in the short-term as long as no major technological innovations come around.

The problem I have with Napster and its ilk is this, eventually the following things will happen:
  1. Home Stereo systems will support digital music formats and networking.

  2. Home networking becomes popular.

  3. Car MP3 players become affordable.
I am not saying things will occur in that order but that they will occur and once they do, if the prevalent culture is that downloadable music is free and it is easily transferable to most media then artists will be S.O.L. (shit outta luck).

This means that the income of artists (and the music industry) will be greatly reduced and most artists will have to live off of clubs, concerts, and other live performances and the problems that go with touring and the like. I also have the paranoic theory that a live performances/concerts cartel may rise similar to the RIAA.

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[ Parent ]
capitalism (3.00 / 1) (#122)
by roju on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 09:34:52 PM EST

Here is a perfect example of Darwinian (is that even a word?) capitalism. There is no money going into music product, music production will drop, people will no longer have music. Those who find a way to operate in this new situation will make money, the others will not.

Ideally, this is the way the capitalism should function. Whether I support this or not is beside the point.

For true capitalism, the mass market HAS to be obeyed. If people don't want to pay for something, make something they will pay for, or you make no moeny.

[ Parent ]
a few misunderstandings (4.50 / 4) (#55)
by eLuddite on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 05:10:49 PM EST

Two things:

(a) Napster has no justifiable concern for an artist or record company's financial well being. If I want your help, I will ask for it. I did not invite you to manage my investments and take a percentage off the top.

(b) Try to stop thinking of the right of copy as a purely economic right. While copyright has a value according to how much money you can get from its exploitation, that value can be zero. I'll try to make this clear with 2 examples:

  • Pretend that I am an artist and that you have downloaded a series of portraits from my web site. You gimp moustaches under the noses of those portraits and put them on your non profit web site, linking them back to my site. Three things will now happen. One, I will get more traffic and more business. Two, I will sue your ass. Three, I will win.

  • Pretend I am a writer and, unknownst to me, you have adapted my novel for the theatre. After a successful production run you mail me a check for $1,000,000 dollars. Three things will now happen. One, I will return your check. Two, I will sue your ass. Three, I will win.
If I wanted moustaches, I would have painted them. If I wanted to suffer the integrity of my work on broadway, I would have had it adapted. I do not want either of those things and I will defend my creations against the ravages of your poor taste.

I am an artiste and I want my work to be enjoyed on its own peculiar merits. I have that right by virtue of my right of copy.

Let's assume that you are impervious to a moral definition of the right of copy - after all, the arguements you gave for napster are based on a perceived economic benefit to the artist. Guess what? That is the exact line of reasoning Napster brought to their case before the court. This is how the court responded:

"Napster further argues that the district court erred in rejecting its evidence that the users' downloading of "samples" increases or tends to increase audio CD sales. The district court, however, correctly noted that "any potential enhancement of plaintiffs' sales would not tip the fair use analysis conclusively in favor of defendant." We agree that increased sales of copyrighted material attributable to unauthorized use should not deprive the copyright holder of the right to license the material."

"Nor does positive impact in one market, here the audio CD market, deprive the copyright holder of the right to develop identified alternative markets, here the digital download market."

By the same token, I happen to have lined up a photoshop artist with a much busier site than yours to paint clown noses on my portraits. We signed an $100,000 exclusivity deal which fell through because you painted moustaches without my permission. You and your non profit site owe me big bucks.

By the same token, your broadway adaptation killed my negotiations with Kenneth Branagh to bring my novel to life on the stage of the Astor Theatre. The deal would included an film option worth not $1,000,000 but $2,000,000. Thanks for nothing.

Regarding b.) I can't speak for all music fans, but I rarely buy any record without hearing it first, whether over the radio, from some friend's copy, or by way of an unauthorized mp3 obtained by Napster.

The sampling arguement in your (b) and (c) was made by napster and it was rejected by the court. See my post here. The riaa will allow you to sample their music as they see fit, not as napster sees fit. Napster should have the good grace to build their own repertoire of artists, first. Too much work? Exactly! You need to do something before copyrighting it.

Bottom line: you may have an opinion of what is right for me but if you exercise that opinion, you will be depriving me of my right to do likewise. That is what the right of copy means. Your line of economic reasoning is based on the faulty assumption that you can justify theft if you can somehow show good will. You can never show good will because you will never be able to account for what could have happened during the time you were depriving me of the full extent of my right of copy.

And do not forget, some artists will defend their copyright without regard to money.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

You have no absolute right (none / 0) (#99)
by ghjm on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 07:59:28 PM EST

You only have the rights granted you by copyright law, which does not include freedom from satire, no matter how much of an artiste you may consider yourself to be. If I put funny moustaches on your paintings and you sue me for it, you will lose. Sorry.

[ Parent ]
Apology for scamping on my intellectual duty (4.00 / 3) (#58)
by br284 on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 06:13:13 PM EST

My apologies for shriking my intellectual duties and having not read Marx and Engels -- I have been too busy on a programming job for a client.

Oh! Is that what you mean when you say that time is a sellable commodity? :-P

As far as your criticism of my analogy, let's look at in terms of software. Seriously, software and music are not that different, and for this exercise, they share the same traits that determine how things are handled.

Ok, so by what you are saying, let's say that I develop a unique piece of software that does something cool. I invest a large portion of my life and energy into developing this software, expecting that I will sell it in volume to make a living and to pay off the loans that I have taken in order to finance my life as wrote my cool program. Let's say that I do some sort of analysis, and determine that by selling it at X dollars, Y people will buy it. And that X*Y is enough to pay off my debts and make it worth my while to create this program.

So, I sell my cool program to the first customer. They really like it, and post it to a Napster-like service. It is now available to everyone with no way for me to keep track who and how many have downloaded my program.

Now, someone who would have purchased my program otherwise sees that they do not have to now that it is available on this service. Since they know that I am only a small outfit, and unable to catch them should they download my stuff, they download it and save X dollars. Now, my expected income is now X*(Y-1). Repeat and repeat.

Before too long, and making the assumption that folks are generally greedy, I find that my income equation is now something like X*Q where Q is somewhere between 1 and Y. Going back to the assumption that people are greedy, I expect Q to be quite small, a small fraction of Y.

Now, is it unreasonable to make the analogy that I expected to produce Y copies of my software is equivalent to producing Y pieces of something tangible? There is a difference that the cost of copying software is much smaller than other physical products, but I am hesitant to say that it is ok to steal something just because the cost of production/replication is small. As far as the consumer is concerned, the cost of production/replication is irrelevent. So, going back to my example, I am now in a situation where there are Y copies of my software out there, and I only have revenues for Q pieces. I am missing X*(Y-Q) in revenues (as compared to the X*Y I would have received had the software not been made available for copy). Now, getting to wages, at the situation now, I am only earning X*Q wages instead of the fair value of X*Y. Sir, I now ask you: who is being deprived of wages?

The only way in which this scheme is defensible in any sort of moral terms and cannot be considered theft is when by sharing the program out, the number of purchasers Q exceeds the number of expected purchasers Y. Now, assuming that I am a compentent businessman, I have already marketed my product (one cost that I have generously left out in the analysis above) to those who would have purchased it. So, the only way that Q would exceed Y is I failed to market it to the larger body, and assuming compentent marketing, this would not happen.

The fantasy situation that you describe above is only good in one context -- advertising. If this process of discovery is so effective, make it available. Allow these artists to post their stuff to garner an audience. This does happen. It is not a new idea. But look towards MP3.Com rather than looking at Napster. Rather than have Napster use the works of others for its own benefit without compensation or acknowledgement to those whose capital they are exploiting, a more morally defensible model is available at MP3.Com, where as far as I know, the artists have the ultimate control over how their music is marketed and the relationship between MP3.Com and the artist is symbiotic, rather than the parasitic relationship between Napster and artists.

-Chris

[ Parent ]
economics of reproduction (4.00 / 1) (#61)
by eLuddite on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 07:17:14 PM EST

Now, is it unreasonable to make the analogy that I expected to produce Y copies of my software is equivalent to producing Y pieces of something tangible? There is a difference that the cost of copying software is much smaller than other physical products, but I am hesitant to say that it is ok to steal something just because the cost of production/replication is small. As far as the consumer is concerned, the cost of production/replication is irrelevent.

Better still, the consumer is savvy enough to discriminate between reproductions - limited editions command higher premiums. Your work is compensated identically: 1000 CDs at 100$ each vs. 10000 CDs at $10 each. Factor in napster and the number of CDs becomes immaterial; the supply of reproductions becomes infinite, driving down the value of a CD.

Now, someone who would have purchased my program otherwise sees that they do not have to now that it is available on this service. Since they know that I am only a small outfit, and unable to catch them should they download my stuff, they download it and save X dollars. Now, my expected income is now X*(Y-1). Repeat and repeat.

All together now, s u p p o r t. The ethical thing to do is to man the phones and the photocopier so that no one need feel guilty about theft (which RMS advocates.) Who are these people who write software merely to support it? I hope like heck Open Source is written to exercise mad skillz.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

expectations (5.00 / 1) (#89)
by speek on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 04:29:11 PM EST

If we assume there is enforceable copyright law in place:

Ok, so by what you are saying, let's say that I develop a unique piece of software that does something cool. I invest a large portion of my life and energy into developing this software, expecting that I will sell it in volume to make a living and to pay off the loans ...

Then your expectation that your labor on the software will bring money is reasonable.

If, however, there is no copyright law in place:

Ok, so by what you are saying, let's say that I develop a unique piece of software that does something cool. I invest a large portion of my life and energy into developing this software, expecting that I will sell it in volume to make a living and to pay off the loans ...

Then your plan, your expectation, was obviously flawed from the beginning, and, being intelligent, you would have chosen a different, hopefully more profitable, path.

From this I conclude that infringing copyright is not the same as stealing legally (for which we have other laws) or ethically. If there were no copyright laws, your dilemma simply wouldn't exist, because you wouldn't have had your expectation. The problem is that we're currently at a time when there is copyright law, but it's unenforceable. So, what gives? In my view, reality always wins out, and the reality is, it's unenforceable (at least without very disagreeable methods), so it's got to go to be replaced with a better solution for our current situation. That solution may be legal, or it may be technological, or it may be social.

I personally favor a social solution (ie change the culture somehow) to the problem, but it's hard to discuss with most people because they start with the assumption that copyright is an ethical law, and is a priori "right". But it's really a practical law, trying to ensure that people will spend their time doing exactly what you described in your post. Find another way of ensuring that, and you've got an alternative to copyright.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Late reply (none / 0) (#132)
by br284 on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 06:43:01 PM EST

I understand your point that everything would be different were there no copyright. However this is not the case.

Getting rid of copyright is just not going to happen. It's similar to the "you'll only pry this gun from my cold, dead hands" sort of thing. There are too mny entrenched parties to just give it up. Just about anyone in any sort of manufacturing, entertainment, or communications sector has an interest in intellectual property laws.

Beside, repealing copyright at this point in the game would be grossly irresponsible, judging by the economic reprecussions that it would generate. If you get rid of copyright, I think that you must also get rid of all the other intellectual property laws such as patents and so forth. I guess I don't find getting rid of copyright at this point to be any sort of practical solution. And to be honest, I have yet to hear of a better solution.

-Chris

[ Parent ]
Neither. (3.00 / 1) (#87)
by Parity on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 02:45:06 PM EST

That would be a breach of contract, and a failure to pay a debt. Certainly not a theft.

Parity None

[ Parent ]
No and yes... (5.00 / 1) (#94)
by dragondm on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 08:42:17 PM EST

... if I walk into a barbershop, get my hair cut, and walk out without paying, I'm not stealing, I'm infringing because no flow of tangible property has occured between the barber and me?
Here you are stealing. You are stealing the barber's time. When he's cutting your hair, he cannot cut someone else's. Or take a break. Or whatever. Time is scarce. Thus it is stealing. Theft is all about scarcity. Theft is depriving someone of the use of something they own. An object, their time, etc.
And by your rationale, if I go out and install a commercial version of Oracle on a commercial site without paying, I am not stealing anything from Oracle, but I am merely infringing?
Now this is not stealing. It's copyright infringement. Different issue. Oracle still has every copy of their database software they did before you installed yours. You have not removed anything from them. Unless they examine your computer somehow, the'd never know. Information is not scarce. Thus this is not theft. (Now, if you broke into Oracle's computer systems and deleted all their copies of their database software, that would be theft (or at least willfull property destruction, basically same thing), because you have deprived them of something they possessed, they can no longer make use of it.)

Copyright infringement is not theft. It's, well... Copyright infringement. They are two different things. Now if you want to discuss the morality of copyright, go right ahead, but don't confuse the issue.

[ Parent ]

Okay, so I'm dangerous... (2.00 / 1) (#128)
by arr0w on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 04:20:14 PM EST

...but I still think copyright laws should be abolished. Do you really think that without copyright laws there would be no software? No. The industry's structure would change. Programmers would be paid for their work differently, but software would still be created even if there were no (to my mind) artificial barriers to its reproduction.

After all, noone patented the wheel, did they? I don't recall seeing any licensing agreements attached to Leonardo daVinci's drawings, either.

We have come to the end of the part of history where copyrights and patents serve to promote innovation and creativity. They are now being used by corporations for exactly the opposite purpose. It's time to get rid of them.

[ Parent ]
stealing infrigment ethics (3.00 / 1) (#49)
by elektrogott on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 02:20:25 PM EST

Stealing, no.
Infrigment, yes.
Sharing, no. (in the nontechnical sense)
If you for example share music on napster and someones downloads it, a copy is made and both have a full "functianal" copy.
However sharing in the nontechnicaly sense means that if you share something, not everyone can have/use it to the full extent at the same time!

Now let's come to the interesting point.
What does it mean to the creator/publisher?
If you have a non purchased copy of the music, there are two possibilities.
1. you hadn't bought it anyway, so why care.
2. you have it instead of a purchased copy.
The second point schould be clear and needs no discussion. So what bout the first point. A lot of people (probably it's only my impression) are trying to defend themselves that way. But IMHO thi can't work. if you hadn't bought it, so it doesn't mean much to you, so why listen anyway, but if it has some value for you and you bother to listen to that music you schould buy it or delete it.
'Cause the argument is indistinguishable from a mere excuse, and I think people arguing that way are just trying to lie to themselves so they can go on and feeling comfortable.

At last I want to discuss the motivation for copyright. Actually the most common reasons declared are:
1. The author/creator schould profit from his work.
2. It's good for everyone, because there wouldn,t be so much and diverse music/art/whatever since the artists/creators couln't afford to create this all. (Even this people need to live somehow)

Since I still havn't seen any reasonable solutions to this, we will have to stick with IP.

«Wer keinen Geist hat, glaubt nicht an Geister und somit auch nicht an geistiges Eigentum der Schriftsteller.» from Wolfgang Goethe


What about the Street Performer Protocol? (none / 0) (#104)
by pin0cchio on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 11:48:16 PM EST

1. The author/creator schould profit from his work.<br /> 2. It's good for everyone, because there wouldn,t be so much and diverse music/art/whatever since the artists/creators couln't afford to create this all. (Even this people need to live somehow)

Since I still havn't seen any reasonable solutions to this, we will have to stick with IP.

First, what you call "intellectual property" is not treated the same as property under the law; "government-granted monopoly" is a better term. Second, what about the Street Performer Protocol? Release a teaser/preview/demo, take orders for the full version, and release the full version if and only if you get enough orders. It pays the bills. It may not make the artist filthy rich, but how many artists become filthy rich under the current GGM system anyway?


lj65
[ Parent ]
Re: What about the Street Performer Protocol? (3.00 / 1) (#135)
by elektrogott on Mon May 07, 2001 at 04:43:49 PM EST

Interesting idea.
But either you are well known or you have to promote it, or otherwise you will not succeed.
What about expensive productions, like films? You will need money first, who will finance that if they don't see enough profits for their risk?


[ Parent ]
Legal use of Napster & Co? (3.00 / 1) (#85)
by mcherm on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 01:00:54 PM EST

You raise a really interesting point. There are lots of programs out there (Napster and such) for "illegally" downloading copyrighted MP3s. If you plan to listen to these, that's illegal. But what if you plan to create a library of MP3s? And what if you don't plan to allow the copyrighted MP3s to be "checked out" or played until after the copyright expires. (Okay, so you're a long-term planner. Actually, it's a fairly good idea if you think about it. Lots of early jazz artists (for example) have been preserved only because of some zealous record collectors.)

Is that legal? Seems like it might not be, because of the single copy you make to put the MP3 in the library in the first place. Can that somehow be characterized as fair use?

Just a few thoughts... feel free, anyone, to comment on them.

-- Michael Chermside

-- Michael Chermside

Probably legal, but impossible (none / 0) (#106)
by Luke Francl on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 12:25:46 AM EST

This would probably be legal, but impossible to implement. My justification for this statement is that this is how Libraries work in the physical world. At least some people are trying it. For example, there is a company called netLibrary which essentally does the same thing with PDF copies of books. You can check out books for 48 hours, and other people will recieve a "busy" message when they try to access the book. See: http://www.lib.umn.edu/books/netlibrary.phtml. However, I don't know how they keep people from simply saving the PDFs (Adobe's PDF viewer does have some copy-controls built in, but they are fairly easy to curcumvent). Another example is the University of Indiana's Music Library, which has streaming MP3s of their collection available in the library for patrons. I'm not sure if they forbid simultaneous access, and it is only in the library. At the University of Minnesota Libraries we discussed doing something similar for all authenticated users, but I'm not sure what's happening with that.

Finally, there was an article in the queue (which I think got shot down) about a legal way to implement Napster which was basically what you're suggesting. The basic problem is that there is no REAL way to cause an MP3 to stop playing. You can build your player to look for bits which tell it to play or not, but it's easy to build another player (or hack yours) which ignores those instructions. As Bruce Schiener says, at the heart of all access control mechanisms, there is an if statement which says "if allowed, play, else stop". By finding that statement and deleting it, the copy control is irrevocably broken.

[ Parent ]

Maybe (4.00 / 1) (#98)
by spacejack on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 05:38:42 PM EST

everyone would be happier with the word "counterfeitting". It's a bit more of a mouthful to call someone a counterfeitter than a thief or pirate, but perhaps the analogy is more appropriate.

Downloading them isn't stealing... (none / 0) (#101)
by PresJPolk on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 09:52:12 PM EST

..but providing them for download is stealing.

Copyright isn't the regulation of use of the work. Copyright is the right to control the copying and distribution of the work.

So if Tammy Teenager downloads her favorite music with Napster, a theft has occurred. Tammy's not the theif, though. It's Sally Sixteen, the person who provided it for download, that stole the redistribution privlege.

As for copyright not being property because of expiration dates, think on this: Property is an artificial construct from the beginning. It is no less artificial when it has a time limit, than when it does not. Some cultures would take the same dim view of lifetime ownership, that you take of time-dependent ownership.

Sonny Bono, skis horses and hittin some trees (none / 0) (#105)
by pin0cchio on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 11:50:04 PM EST

As for copyright not being property because of expiration dates

What expiration dates? No matter what anybody thinks is "right," the fact of the matter is that until the Walt Disney Company goes belly-up, all original works of authorship first published on or after January 1, 1923, will remain under perpetual copyright. Every time Disney releases a new animated "masterpiece" that the kiddies just have to see or they won't be accepted into the in-group at school, the net proceeds from the ticket sales (after production and distribution expenses) are stuffed straight into senators' pockets. No non-profit can match this intensity of lobbying.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Expiration dates (3.00 / 1) (#107)
by PresJPolk on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 06:40:42 AM EST

Yes, I'm aware of the constant extension of copyright...

It was the author fo the article who claimed that copyrights and patents aren't really property, because they expire.

[ Parent ]
The Constitution says that copyright must expire (none / 0) (#130)
by jordanb on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 02:07:49 PM EST

Specifically:

The Congress shall have power to . . . promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

Therefore, perpetual copyright is unconstutional. One might go furter to point out that copyright only exists under the constutuion to "promote the sciences and useful art", so any copyright, or law thereof, which hurts the sciences and useful arts more than it helps is unconstutional as well.


Jordan Bettis
[ Parent ]
Right (none / 0) (#131)
by PresJPolk on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 08:10:43 PM EST

You make my point further... If copyrights weren't limited, then that would make them less valid, not more.

[ Parent ]
This reminds me of the Mitnick case. (4.00 / 1) (#109)
by mindstrm on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 09:26:07 AM EST

One of his defence lawyers noted the following (I'm sure I don't have this 100% accurate). The FBI asked the companies he'd broke into what the software he'd copied cost them to build (note: they did not ask what was stolen, they asked how much the software he copied cost to build.) They then proceeded to charge him with 'theft' based on these numbers, so if Sun said 't hat software was written on a budget of 20 million dollars' then they charged mitnick with theft of 20 million dollars from sun. His lawyer had a good counter argument; a copy of Sun's annual report SEC filing. Nowhere did it show a capital loss of 20 million dollars due to theft. Therefore: Either Sun is defrauding it's shareholders, or there was no theft.

stealing intangible objects (3.00 / 2) (#127)
by yannick on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 09:59:46 AM EST

"You can´t steal a song by making an unauthorized copy of it because there´s nothing to steal. No one loses property. Things that are stolen are, for the most part, tangible objects."

I disagree with this article´s premise, as quoted above. Particularly, I don´t agree that only tangible objects can be stolen.

The given definition of theft depends on the scarcity axiom (either I have a product or commodity, or you do; not both). In today´s (dare I say it) information-centric economy, this no longer holds true. Ideas are good examples of this phenomenon. I can `have´ an idea about how to bake a particular type of cake at the same time as you do.

But suppose you had a special recipe for a really really good cake, which you carefully kept secret. If I were to break into your house/lean-to/place of residence, I could leave with the recipe for your cake without taking any physical object with me. I´ve just stolen what is essentially your thoughts about making cakes -- I´ve stolen your ideas.

Most industrialized countries today have a sizeable body of laws intended to protect ideas and their implementations. These are the copyright and patent laws that are really at issue here. These laws are supposed to protect the intellectual property of one individual from unlawful use by another. Whether or not they do this effectively and appropriately (if at all) is another matter entirely.

Regardless of whether you want to call a song an idea (the tune and lyrics) or an implementation of an idea (the actual performance of the tune and lyrics), I can steal a song without depriving someone else of it as well.

Cheers,
Yannick
---
Pretend that this sig contains something deep, witty and profound.


Forgetting a key point (none / 0) (#129)
by piman on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 06:54:48 PM EST

By saying you can "infringe" on copyright you are calling it copyright a Right. While that is part of the name, it's debatable whether or not it's correct, especially in its current state.[0]

Why not use "violation"? It only implies a breach of legal conduct, and not the ethical sense of "right" nor "steal", a word forever intertwined with "property" and "loss".

[0]: Webster's calls Right a variety of things, including, but not limited to, suitable, proper, just, conforming to the Constitution of Man, conforming to justice or equality, correct, most favorable or convenient, well regulated, or correctly done (using it as a noun, verb, and adjective).


Infringement != Stealing | 136 comments (110 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
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