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Law professor says illegal downloading not theft


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tank
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the whole idea that file sharing or even hooking into cable without paying is theft is utterly rediculous

there may be trespassing and property damage with the later but nothing is being taken.

its all rediculous profit hoarding.


so lets list some arguments rationally.

if i pay for the media do i own whats on it? and if not who does? Have i entered into a legal contract whith whomever owns it. is my signature or other representation as to that aggreement stored somewhere? what if i hear the music over at a friends house see a movie on his dvd player. has any wrongdoing been done? what if i purchase and give that media to that friend. have i incured the crime of file sharing? so then what is the difference between that and sharing that same media with more than one friend.?
remember i could loan that dvd out to as many people as i like and not once will i be prosicuted for transfering unpaid for content. Sinkfaze is right i think. were any logical argument to prevail theft could never be proven. People are brainwashed and/or worn down by large legal teams. Media companies once controled exclusively the distrobution of media. in the last 30 years it has become easy for anyone to make/copy or alter that media. the media giants are enraged soley at the loss of that monopoly. Why then if it is so illegal on legitimate grounds are the means so readily and legally available to copy and alter? Because the makers of such devices have the means and legal teams necesary to wage such legal battles. and they have won each time challenged.
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wtg
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G. Sperotto, sinkfaze, tank:

So just to clarify your positions, if you write a book with the intention to make money by selling it, and I obtain a copy without paying you, you believe you as the author suffer no loss if:

* I read it.
* I provide copies to others, who read it.
* I make money by selling the copies.

Is this correct? I'm just trying to understand how extreme your positions are, and if they don't go this far, where you draw the line.

I feel the argument is the same with books, music or software (and probably any other creative process that produces a work that is easily copied), but if you feel there is some distinction between these that means one should be treated differently from the others, I'm curious what that is too.

Edit: I should probably clarify further, by suffer a loss, I mean that you are harmed financially in an unlawful manner, and that I as the facilitator of that loss, would be liable. And if you believe a loss occurred, should it be considered criminal, civil or both?

tank
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I said nothing of selling but now that you mention it. lets say i have a copy of avatar and i sell it at a yardsale. did i just commit theft?


There is a bit of greed misguiding the right of ownership. If i get from a junk yard a 1933 chevy pick up truck for $100 and then sell it to a collector for 2K does Chevy have the right to prosicute me for theft? what about the junk yard?
It really is the same thing on a very basic level. once the product leaves the creators hands his/her rights to it should end. it is in my mind the most greed driven idiotic falacy of man kind that somehow right of ownership or right to royalty continues past the origional transaction. even more bizaar is that we humans seem to think that this idiotic thought only applies to certain things. i wonder who pays beethovans estate? He is dead you say but so is elvis yet elvis still gets paid? what kind of idiocy has our race engaged in. The whole intelectual property dispute( aside from defimation of character) stems from the market producers lack of ability to control a product past the origional transaction. its a motive of greed alone and is a little like daylight savings time. there really isnt any logical or rational arguement For or against it but it sure seems to make alot of people feel better.

people coopied to tape for years songs they heard on the radio shared copied and distributed to friends freely. only with the ability to track this with internet traffic did one single media giant lift a finger to persecute. up untill then they would have us beleive it wasnt theft?
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wtg
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I still wish you'd answer the questions, but I'll reply to yours anyhow

I said nothing of selling but now that you mention it. lets say i have a copy of avatar and i sell it at a yardsale. did i just commit theft?

I certainly don't think so. Reselling legally purchased media is a different issue though.

There is a bit of greed misguiding the right of ownership.

If you're referring to your rights with something legally purchased vs the unreasonable restrictions some media companies would like place on items that have legally been purchased, I totally agree.

If i get from a junk yard a 1933 chevy pick up truck for $100 and then sell it to a collector for 2K does Chevy have the right to prosicute me for theft? what about the junk yard?
It really is the same thing on a very basic level. once the product leaves the creators hands his/her rights to it should end.

You're mixing issues which is why I posed very simple questions to understand the extent of your and others thinking. Whether you have a right to sell something you rightfully purchased is a different issue from whether you have a right to copy something you rightfully purchased, and still a different issue as to whether you can copy, or copy and distribute freely, an intellectual property that the owner/creator only wishes to sell.

it is in my mind the most greed driven idiotic falacy of man kind that somehow right of ownership or right to royalty continues past the origional transaction.

so I don't put words in your mouth then, please answer the previous questions so we know your thoughts. Current IP law distinguishes clearly between ownership of the media (i.e a copy of a book) vs ownership of IP itself. If you own the IP you can make all the copies you want and sell them for profit, regardless of whether you're the creator or not. So if I bought a copy of your book, is it ok if I make copies and sell them w/o your permission? Make a movie without your consent? Do you believe that your rights to your book are fully transferred when you sell a copy?

The whole intelectual property dispute( aside from defimation of character) stems from the market producers lack of ability to control a product past the origional transaction. its a motive of greed alone and is a little like daylight savings time.

It's part of the argument media companies make, for sure, but do you really think it's the whole argument? So *do* you believe when you sell of a copy of your book you've given up all rights to it?

Greed is a huge factor in these issues, I totally agree, but there's greed on both sides of the issue. Some people are so greedy that they are totally unwilling to pay for a creative work, or at least unwilling if they can get access to it illicitly. They want to see a movie, listen to music or read a book without compensating the creator in any manner, and many justify it by determining in their own mind that the owner has already made *enough* money or that the owner is *greedy* and therefore their own misdeeds are justified.

There are many greedy media companies that hope for unrealistic and unfair restrictions, and there are many greedy consumers who use the bad behavior of some companies to justify their bad behavior. Both sides continue to trumpet the bad behavior of the other to justify their actions, harming legitimate, reasonable conversation and solutions.

So please answer the original queries. It'll help us understand your position and we might discover that we actually have some of the same complaints and have some common ground on what is at least fair and reasonable. And if we don't, at least we don't belabour the argument of issues we (or at least I) are wrongly assuming share common ground between us.

tank
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I still wish you'd answer the questions, but I'll reply to yours anyhow

i did origionally when i posted. if i am not entering into a licensing aggreement with you where a contract is aggreed you shouldnt be able to tell me what to do with it after i purchase it.
I cant state it any more clearly than that.

It is pure idiocy. I am not arguing law but logic.
I am not mixing the issues. the point is that no matter how i aquire the media leggally or illegaly for gain or not the media giants only care about sharing if they FEEL slighted. Doctors office can show movies to comfort patience with no royalties. if willy shakespear's estate filed for royalties they would get laughed out of court. It is ONLY when the media companies see an audience of inadequetely defended individuals that they lash out. I want to see walmart dragged into court over showing dvds on 50 tv's using one copy of a dvd. wont happen cause wally would destroy any company foolish enuff to try. its no less making multiple copies than sharing it over the internet with 50 of my closest friends.

Actually now that i think of it the idea that something i imagined being put to a book movie whatever being considered property is almost as ludicris as claiming ownership of stars.
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wtg
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I am not arguing law but logic.

Unfortunately no. You are railing against media companies but refusing to participate in what I thought at least was an attempt at a logical discussion.

Carcophan
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attempt at a logical discussion.


I do not believe it is possible to have a logical discussion about 'law', as no real logic is used in the creation or implementation of said laws.

How can we (the govmnt) make money off this?
How can we (the govmnt) stop you from making money off this?
How can we (the govmnt) punish you, and others, for doing what you think is reasonable?

This is not logic, this is law-making for profit.

Why else are laws and rules made, if not for the reasons above? Protection? Protecting whom? The media companies? Who happen to contribute LOTS and LOTS of money to government officials and elections. Coincidence? I think not.

G. Sperotto
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If you write a book with the intention to make money by selling it, and I obtain a copy without paying you, you believe you as the author suffer no loss if:

* I read it.
* I provide copies to others, who read it.
* I make money by selling the copies.

Is this correct?


I suffer no loss because there is no such thing as loss due to "perceivable possible lack of more gain" over sold property.

sinkfaze
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You're confusing my intention to make money by writing a book with my right to make money by writing a book. The implication is that the money matters more than the book, so sitting around waiting for the book to make me money is sheer foolishness. I need to be getting my name out there, granting interviews, getting people to public readings at bookstores/libraries or personally conducted webinars. The book alone does not determine its value, my ability to market my book also determines its value. Seth Godin has made a wildly successful marketing and writing career by simply giving away some of his books. Stephen King built a wide market for his books that will last two (possibly three) generations by some quality movie adaptions and a clever "library collection" marketing partnership with Time Life. There's a lot more involved than the book itself.

The same applies to music, if you think you're going to make money just making studio albums, you're in the wrong business. There's a reason the Stones consistently sit atop the most popular music acts in the world, and it's not because they make albums; they are constantly touring, which is where the real money is at, and they almost always put on a great show. The only artist who unseated the Stones from their perch for any significant amount of time was Michael Jackson, and despite the high quality of most of his studio albums, anyone who saw him live can tell you that his albums pale by comparison.

That aside, the mere virtue of copying someone else's work does not mean that the author always does and always will lose money. Some people who will read the copy were not and will not be willing to purchase the author's material anyway, so he neither gained nor lost anything. But some of those people who read the copy and were intruiged by it may become willing to purchase the author's next book, so in that sense the author has gained money. The real loser is the copier who gave the material away, as it not only cost him the paper and copying costs but his own time to promote someone else's work.

As a comment on what I perceive G. Sperotto's position to be, there is a significant moral issue behind copyrights/patents/trademarks that is consistently unaddressed, not the least of which is expressed through the pharmaceutical industry. When one drug company has their patented drug (say a cancer drug which has been clinically tested to produce good results) sans competition, there exists a possibility, more like a likelihood, that the demand for the drug will exceed their ability to supply it to the market. This lack of supply will lead potential buyers to bid up the market price of the drug, which narrows the buying pool even more. In the meantime, there will exist a great many people who desparately need access to that drug but can't get it due to its prohibitive cost; no one thinks about those people when they die, but it is their lives that are the hidden cost of the protectionism of their patent. Are those lives really worth the protection afforded the patent holder?

The same can be said of the protection afforded other products. In the inner cities during the 80s and 90s it was unfortunately common for young kids to be beaten, stabbed, shot and even killed for their shoes. The value of the shoes wasn't some mystery, the shoe was protected from being "copied" by other shoe makers, which would've brought down the price of the shoes and created a different set of incentives. Under those conditions, the potential criminal may now see the cost of getting caught for accosting someone for a cheaper pair of shoes as too high to be worth it; they might either just save the money to buy a pair or decide not to get a pair at all. While the product branding was good for Nike and Reebok and Converse during those times, was it worth all of the lives that were forever changed because of their exlcusive "rights"?

As Thomas Jefferson said (and I paraphrase), "No nation was ever drunk when wine was cheap."

wtg
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If you write a book with the intention to make money by selling it, and I obtain a copy without paying you, you believe you as the author suffer no loss if:

* I read it.
* I provide copies to others, who read it.
* I make money by selling the copies.

Is this correct?


I suffer no loss because there is no such thing as a loss of a "perceivable possible lack of more gain".


That's an interesting perspective. I assume you consider creative works valuable to some degree, and believe it to be the creators right to sell it, but simply don't believe the creator suffers a loss if someone obtains a copy without paying you for it, or that the creator suffers a loss if someone else makes money off of it.

If it was easy to obtain a digital copy at no cost - perhaps even easier than paying for it - do you believe it's enough to depend on the good will of others to pay your for your work despite the fact that they can enjoy it without doing so?

While there are those that will write books, create music and write software simply because they love to do it and can do so without need of compensation, it's also how many people support themselves. It's precisely how they put food on their table and pay for the roof over their head. If people didn't pay for their work, they wouldn't be able to produce it because they would have to devote their time to an endeavor that *would* put food in their mouths. They are not all a part of or associated with the big, greedy, evil media companies.

G. Sperotto
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...it's also how many people support themselves.


Copyright laws do not affect the profits of a software developer or a music artist with a worker lifestyle. It affects only the profits of those who bulk sell "copies" of software and music.

Bulk selling copies with copyright laws is actually one of the currently available paths to get rich without working at all (after the development of the software or the recording of the album, of course). The more i sell, the more i earn, and this is true despite of whether i've been activelly updating the software or not.

Most of todays mainstream music artists and software companies have grown immense wealths out of bulk copy selling. This is in no way a manner to "support a worker lifestyle".

The "worker lifestyle" for a software developer actualy aims towards a totally different strategy. Specific companies have specific needs and creative software development will focus on these specific needs in such a way that mainstream market applications are the bad choice for a well structured company.

Also, Copyright laws delay technology breakthroughs. The believe that i have to secure my software code to ensure future sales (and thus, profit from bulk-selling) makes most developers unwilling to spread knowledge over newly developed algorithms. And these algorithms could actually make companies all over the world much more efficient, highering the productivity and lowering the costs of goods for everyone.

wtg
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You're confusing my intention to make money by writing a book with my right to make money by writing a book.

The premise was "you write a book with the intention to make money by selling it", so there's no confusion. Certainly there are people that write books or music or software without that intention, but there are many that choose to spend their time producing a book, music or software with the intention of making money doing so. They invest hours, weeks or years producing something that they hope will pay off quite literally, and if they didn't think it would, they would spend their time in some other way.

The implication is that the money matters more than the book

For some people it does matter. They might love their work, but they can only afford to do it because they make money off of it, and by making money off of it they support themselves, their families and can continue to produce more of the same, whether it's write books, music, software, etc.


the mere virtue of copying someone else's work does not mean that the author always does and always will lose money

Agreed.

But some of those people who read the copy and were intruiged by it may become willing to purchase the author's next book, so in that sense the author has gained money.

Perhaps, if you have found enough means to support yourself to write another book, and if the then the people decide buy it. But you may not be able to live off your saving to produce yet another work, and what will compel the people that wouldn't buy your work the first time to buy it the second if it's always made available freely? If it's simply good will, do you really believe that's enough to fund most creative works? I'm asking that seriously. I certainly don't think so, and there are plenty of content creators that don't think so either.

Also, whether some people will pay you for your book wasn't the question. Do you suffer any loss if I take a copy of your book w/o paying you - and you do want payment - and then distribute it to others? Is it ok for me to enjoy and continue to enjoy the fruit of your labor freely against your wishes? Is it ok for me to make money off your work without compensating you?

The real loser is the copier who gave the material away, as it not only cost him the paper and copying costs but his own time to promote someone else's work.

Only if it cost him something. Digital copies cost nothing when you no longer consider the cost of the original. Certainly plenty of people are willing to distribute those copies without charge, and others have found ways to make money off the copies with ad revenue or other means. Again, is it ok for me to make money off your work without compensating you? Whether it's called "theft" or some other name is less important than whether you as the creator of the book have been wronged - criminally and/or civilly - and I would be guilty of that wrong.

a significant moral issue behind copyrights/patents/trademarks that is consistently unaddressed, not the least of which is expressed through the pharmaceutical industry

I believe patent reform is necessary on a lot of fronts, the pharmaceutical industry being just one of them. Patent reforms is certainly not a simple problem, but it definitely needs reform.

Copyright and patent reform - different but related - really can't be discussed though until you determine what rights IP holders should have. If you believe you have no rights to the book you wrote, then no reform is necessary since we're throwing everything out. But if you do have some rights, what are they? You never answered the questions re: your book.

tank
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if i produce some work for sell it is up to me to convince people to pay for it. (leave them wanting). I do not have any rights to enforce anything because its ludicris to argue that something i put forth is somehow still mine. what the consumer is hopefully willing to do is see the value and support my work thru purchase. if consumers are unwilling it probably wasnt worth as much as i thought. I should probably use common sense and find something valuable to do.
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tank
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I think i understand where your confusion lies.

You assume something intelectual can be property... lets play this game then shall we?

if i make 1 chair how many can i sell?
if i make 1 idea/book/song.... how many can i sell?
So then you argue that as the creator you can make copies. remember the chair it cost time and supplies while the idea may have cost only time (less overhead)? ok so lets assume as the creator you may make this 1 thing into many and hold exclusive right to its making of copies......


there are a couple fundimental flaws here that the chair maker would never make.
You assume you are so unique that one of any other 7 billion humans could never have the same intelectual process.(thats just the living ones)
you also assume that you are capable of creating a thing without borrowing concepts from others.(did you pay for any of those or copy that information into your single celled brain... you thief you!!!!! :p )
OK so assuming you are unique among the billions living and dead and are so intelligent as to have only your own thoughts and ideas in your head, and that your head isnt as big as a blimpe. :wink:

Now what is a copy?
broadcast to multiple devices? read aloud? in other words in the world of an idea or intelectual thing. Is a copy ; a physical representation, based on the number of those that can recieve it? the current legal arguements seem to be based on those that can recieve it. But how can you actually control who can recieve an idea image sound?


if you sell something you are trading it for money. Only if you are licensing/leasing something do you still own it. I have never once leased music. tho i have certainly leased a chair in a movie theater, but then i suppose that would be a clear case where i aggree to pay for something i wont own. If i go to best buy and purchase something can the author come back to me and reclaime his idea, sound, image or otherwise remove it from me? No because he doesnt own it any more. If others see hear or otherwise experience this thing and find it valuable would they not decide to show the value and purchase it as well. perhaps it just isnt worth much.

Finally assuming the argument that a thought site sound experience can ever be the property of its creator. how can one ever claim to be its sole owner. will i have to pay if i think it too?
how many free thoughts will be out there after a few billion more people?

bleak outlook if you ask me
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wtg
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Copyright laws do not affect the profits of a software developer or a music artist with a worker lifestyle. It affects only the profits of those who bulk sell "copies" of software and music.

Really? Plagiarism laws exist for a reason and have been exercised plenty of times by small authors. There are plenty of David vs Goliath stories related to copyright and patent law. (More Goliath smashing little hebrews stories probably, but no use discussing reform if we believe the individual producer has no rights to their work)

And talking about "copies" of software, can you afford the personally fund the development of a game for your own personal use? If you can and then are willing to make it available to the rest of for free, thank you very much, but there are few like you. The rest of have to rely on the fact that the developer(s) will spent their weeks, months, years working on a game with the hopes that they'll sell enough copies to cover their costs and make a profit.

I know of course you don't actually mean that.

Most of todays mainstream music artists and software companies have grown immense wealths out of bulk copy selling. This is in no way a manner to "support a worker lifestyle".

Limiting wealth, excess and abuse are different subjects though.

Also, Copyright laws delay technology breakthroughs.

Some, I would definitely agree. I whole-heartedly support Copyright reform, but not total abolishment.

The believe that i have to secure my software code to ensure future sales (and thus, profit from bulk-selling) makes most developers unwilling to spread knowledge over newly developed algorithms. And these algorithms could actually make companies all over the world much more efficient, highering the productivity and lowering the costs of goods for everyone.

We do agree on something. But how can you guarantee the software developer that they'll just break even selling their programs, let alone turn a meager profit, if they don't install DRM? Why is it those developers aren't sharing their algorithms? Because they spent their money and time developing it with the hopes that they'll be compensated, right? Do you think their fears that there work will be used without credit to them is unfounded? Should a company be able to take advantage of their work, making themselves more productive and *not* be required to compensate the author? If you wrote your book on advanced algorithms and made it available for sale, shouldn't someone at least be required to buy your book before taking your ideas and making money with them?

I hate DRM but I understand why they do it, and surely you must understand even if you don't agree it's time well spent. A developer has to sell *a lot* of copies to recoup the $50 million investment they make on a game, even at $60 a pop. No one is going to refund their money if they fail, and that may not have been money they had either - they may have borrowed a good part of it.

Or should there be no big companies at all, no large organizations that are capable of funding large efforts? Whether it be movies or software?

There are plenty of abuses by big companies - I will not argue that with you. Few probably will. But there are a lot of small companies, small individuals, who are protected by copyright laws too. If you decide to produce a game, write a book or compose some music, you're one of them and you'll be happy to have those laws to should one of these evil giants come along and decide they're going to take your work.[/i]