Russian BitTorrent User Sentenced... But It May Backfire

from the the-more-they-whack,-the-more-moles-there-are dept

Russia is certainly not known for its willingness to follow American-style copyright laws. About the only time you hear about such things are either after the US has been pressuring Russia, or when Russia is using copyright laws or as a tool to silence critics of the government. It's not clear if either situation is at play here, but apparently someone in Russia has been found guilty of sharing some software via BitTorrent. What's much more interesting, however, is that this lawsuit looks like it may have the opposite response that the software industry wants. While Big Copyright players always talk about how they need to go after file sharers to "educate" people, that education can go the wrong way as well. Supporters of the guy who was found guilty are now trying to spread the software he was accused of distributing even more widely than before, calling attention to how silly the case was in the first place. That's probably not the type of education that the software industry was hoping for -- but it should hardly come as a surprise. After many years of playing a pointless game of whack-a-mole, it appears that people certainly know what's illegal and what's not, but they still choose to take part. At some point, you would think that the industry would stop fighting it and start looking for ways to embrace the trend.


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  1.  
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    Paul, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 11:32am

    Ok...

    So then what you're saying is that you are for software piracy and people who download illegal software should be except from any kind of punishment?

    Since people love analogies so much, here you go:
    Lets imagine a restaurant has an outdoor seating area with no smoking but they are kind of lax about enforcing it since it is a hippie town and most people don't complain. One day someone complains and gets the police down there (since it is a violation of a law) and gets fined. Since most of the world is immature and is prone to over-compensating to prove a point a bunch of people who smoke start going there and smoking a lot, in droves, just for the sole purpose of pissing people off and saying "we don't care about your law, we are going to do it anyway"

    Apparently Mike is perfectly ok with this kind of mob justice mentality.

     

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    robdigi, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 11:36am

    well I am. Paul sounds like a flake.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 11:44am

    Re: Ok...

     

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    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Dec 18th, 2007 @ 11:45am

    Re: Ok...

    Mike is dealing with the story briefly. If you read his other stuff, you'll soon realize that there's more to it than the example he gives here, and the analogy to smoking doesn't hold.

    First of all, a ban on smoking could be considered a good law because it protects public health. And it's based on the hard facts that link smoking to health problems. Unauthorized copying of software, on the other hand, is only illegal because we say it is.

    There is nothing inherently harmful about it, namely because of the natural of software. Software is digital, and sharing digital goods does not deprive the owners of their original copies. For this reason, that software is essentially an abundant resource, many software companies have embraced a different style of economics which recognizes the difference between digital and physical goods, and which recognizes the desire of users to share software. These software companies are part of the free software or open source movement, and companies like Red Hat or MySQL make a ton of money selling software that users are legally permitted to share.

    Other companies, like the ones in question I'd imagine, try and create artificial scarcity by putting serial numbers on their software, treating it like a physical good and treating users who share it as if they were "stealing".

    Unauthorized copying is only unauthorized to create artificial scarcity. Mike challenges the idea the sharing software is wrong because there's nothing inherently wrong about it.

     

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    Taner, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 11:49am

    totally wrong analogy

    I wasn't able to understand how software copyright and public smoking are actually comparable ?! Correct me if I am wrong but Mike's opinion has to do with pressing for free software which in its way has both educational and technological value (as opposed to smoking in order to piss someone off).

     

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    GS, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 11:51am

    Paul:

    Your analogy is bang-on - you are totally correct in your view of the wacky side of law enforcement - EXCEPT, it's not law enforcement, nor is it "pirates" who are seeking to change to way things and people are persecuted for the action of “sharing” and “stealing” software. It’s the maker’s of some software’s who are now recognizing that offer the products for free is not a bad thing. I can’t say I’ve never done it, and I certainly will not say that it’s right to do it – but really the system is broken now – it’s not one man smoking on a patio, it’s thousands, if not millions of people doing it – the arrest factor isn’t going to eliminate any problems today. All you are doing by making one or two or even 1,000 arrests is feeding the wrong mentality the wrong things – all you are doing is adding fuel to the already raging fire.

     

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    MASTER, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 11:54am

    Laws are supposed to be made by the people and to promote the interest of the people (at least in a non-monarch society). When the people are against such a law, the law ceases to exist. What you have then is the government dealing oppression-- and not enforcing law.


    To our dear friend Paul, what if the sign doesn't say "no smoking" but instead says "no Black people"? Does this mean it should be blindly followed?

    Or better yet, what if the restaraunt has a sign that says "Only extremely wealthy whores who are sleeping with great political powers are allowed to eat here despite the fact that (1) it will ruin our restaraunt and effectively ensure that our community cannot grow and prosper (2) our local population will have no other source for food (3) everyone who works in this restaraunt is against it [and spits in the food] and (4) the only reason we have this sign is because the government will put us in jail if we don't have this sign."

     

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    Mike, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Ok...

    Paul:

    Have fun living in your draconian society where you blindly follow the rules of the higher-ups without question.

    Paul, I think I've seen you before, on old 60's and 70's film footage where you are hosing down civil rights activists in the streets because they were causing a 'public disturbance.'

    Think for yourself. If something is illegal, it does not necessarily make it evil or wrong. You sound educated, you should not have to be told the difference.


    I'm glad

     

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    Mike (profile), Dec 18th, 2007 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Ok...

    So then what you're saying is that you are for software piracy and people who download illegal software should be except from any kind of punishment?

    No, Paul. Please don't jump to conclusions. I am not "for" piracy. I am just pointing out the reality that those who are trying to punish software pirates may find that it backfires on them. Better yet, I'm also pointing out that your moralistic argument is meaningless. If content/software creators can actually have a better business model by not worrying about these things, then the moral question goes away.

    Apparently Mike is perfectly ok with this kind of mob justice mentality.

    Not at all. I never said I'm in favor of mob justice -- but if that's the reality AND everyone can be better off because of it, why would you complain?

     

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    CHL Instructor, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 12:27pm

    There is a good book about this sort of thing...

    It's an oldie but goodie. One of the main topics of the book is why the counter-revolution attempted against Gorby failed so quickly and completely, and yes, that's related to why people in Russia are responding to this in the way they are.

     

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    redonk, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Re: Ok...

    Guess what? EVERY law that is made is made for the benefit of the people, not just the ones with apparent reasons for being. It is fine for software companies to limit their product, because those companies need to make money. No money, no company, no product. If you don't like it, don't buy it, and most certainly don't whine about it or become a thief. You are what's wrong with america, a whiny asshole that thinks his way is the best and you don't have to pay for things you want.

     

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    Blaise Alleyne, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Ok...

    No money, no company, no product.

    I thought I already mentioned free software companies? Do some research first: Red hat, MySQL, Canonical, Novell, IBM, etc. Companies are making money from free software.

    If you don't like it, don't buy it, and most certainly don't whine about it or become a thief.

    I thought this was addressed too. Unauthorized copying may well be illegal, but it's not theft. You aren't taking something away from someone else. That's not to say I condone it, but it isn't the same thing.

    You are what's wrong with america, a whiny asshole that thinks his way is the best and you don't have to pay for things you want.

    The suggestion in question here is not that people ought to steal software, but that companies ought to consider altering their business models in such a way that sharing software is no longer considered illegal. The example of people making the software more widely distributed in protest is just to show that attempts to prevent software form being shared resemble a game of "whack-a-mole".

     

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    TheDock22, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Re: Ok...

    No, Paul. Please don't jump to conclusions. I am not "for" piracy. I am just pointing out the reality that those who are trying to punish software pirates may find that it backfires on them. Better yet, I'm also pointing out that your moralistic argument is meaningless. If content/software creators can actually have a better business model by not worrying about these things, then the moral question goes away.

    That statement seems to enforce Paul's original statement. How can you be against piracy, but also against businesses trying to cover there assets be enforcing the law against software pirates? On a basic level you are saying piracy is not okay, but neither is trying to punish people who pirate. The moralistic argument line was thrown in there for flavor it seems. Software piracy is against the law. So is embezzlement, but I doubt you would have the same argument for embezzlers (to ignore them and find a business model to compensate).

     

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    bla bla bla, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Ok...

    Let's face it - if software companies really wanted to stop piracy they would make software harder to copy. Most high end software is network aware and forces you to activate it, and I don't mean using the "I'm not online" feature and activating with a code, I mean sw that checks for other instances on the network and activates with a vendors server.

    If sw is easy to copy and it's useful sw, it's going to get copied. Not everyone can afford the pricetag. But like one of the guys above mentioned, you can run on open source, I do.

     

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    Mike (profile), Dec 18th, 2007 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Ok...

    How can you be against piracy, but also against businesses trying to cover there assets be enforcing the law against software pirates?

    You seem to be confusing two separate concepts -- one moral and one pragmatic. I am not *against* companies trying to protect themselves -- I am merely trying to show them that it's not a good idea.

    Two very different things. If I was against it, I would be fighting to block their ability to do so. I am not. I just think it's dumb for them to do so.

    On a basic level you are saying piracy is not okay, but neither is trying to punish people who pirate

    Again, you are mixing up the pragmatic with the moral argument. I'm not saying that it's "not okay" (moral argument) to punish infringers. I'm saying it's "not smart" (pragmatic).

    Software piracy is against the law. So is embezzlement, but I doubt you would have the same argument for embezzlers (to ignore them and find a business model to compensate).

    Again, you jump to the moral argument. I am simply focusing on the pragmatic side, after which the moral side makes less sense. If you can do better by allowing infringement, then there's no moral argument against infringement. I have yet to see a pragmatic argument that says embezzlement can make everyone better off, so again the moral and pragmatic arguments align that embezzlement is bad.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Ok...

    "So then what you're saying is that you are for software piracy and people who download illegal software should be except from any kind of punishment?"

    If it weren't so sad and frustrating it would be funny. People like Paul here seem to misunderstand the point Mike seems to be making all the time with articles like these.

    The point is not whether or not pirating software is wrong or illegal, but that a fairly large chunk of people will do it anyways.

    How much money is spent on a yearly basis by these companies trying to 'prevent' piracy, only to see the methods not work time and time again? Sounds like resources squandered to me.

    And that's what Mike keeps trying to point out. You have this trend with a major chunk of the population participating actively in, so from a business perspective you should be trying to figure out how to exploit that, not stop it.

    All the methods insofar have proven fruitless for the company using the DRM and other 'protections'. Instead of lowering the amount of piracy, the level has actually increased over the years. Rather than change tactics however, the companies keep beating the horse long after its dead.

    The point of a for-profit enterprise is to maximize its profits. How does spending millions of dollars annually to 'protect' your software and prevent it from being pirated, and then having that same software pirated fit into that?


    Oh and Paul, I suggest you read comment #7 by MASTER. It's got some pretty decent counter arguments in there. Here's a highlight: "To our dear friend Paul, what if the sign doesn't say "no smoking" but instead says "no Black people"? Does this mean it should be blindly followed?"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ok...

    That would qualify as maleware and spyware. Those are no-nos.

     

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    Ryan, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 1:07pm

    Sorry, I just don't get it.

    At some point, you would think that the industry would stop fighting it and start looking for ways to embrace the trend.

    And how should they embrace the trend?

    What this case demonstrates is that people are willing to break the law to get software for free.

    How does the software industry embrace that?

     

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    Blaise Alleyne, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Sorry, I just don't get it.

    Again, the obvious example is free and open source software. Look at Red Hat, MySQL, Canonical, etc. People are making a lot of money while permitting the sharing of software.

    You don't need to pretend that software is a physical good to make money.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 1:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Ok...

    It is because, you ignorant assclown of a human being, businesses should not care about moralistic arguments when, by ignoring them, they can actually make MORE MONEY - you know, that thing that businesses are supposed to do.

     

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    Evil Mike, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Ok...

    You were a Philosophy major, weren't you?

    It's nice to see logical arguments proceeding forth from somebody who isn't an economics major ;)

     

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    Evil Mike, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Sorry, I just don't get it.

    Are you ignorant?

    Never mind, rhetorical question.

    Read some music news with the following question in mind:
    "How can bands make money while giving their music away for free?"

    Not only can it be done; it IS being done.

     

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    Chris C., Dec 18th, 2007 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Ok...

    Mike is ok in realizing that when a business wastes time and effort tracking down one single person to try and cover the "loss" of a sale, they'll end up loosing much more in monetary value from the pursuit of the incriminating individual than if they just accepted the "loss."

    The problem I have with companies going after pirates is that they don’t realize that when people purchase goods, that the good no longer belongs to the company that produced it. When you buy a car, lets say a Honda Civic for example, the car is now yours. You can replace almost every single part of the car, better performance engine parts, wheels, tires, breaks, transmissions, seats, electrical components, body parts, stereo equipment, etc. You could even go so far as stripping the entire car of everything but the chassis itself and manufacture something entirely different. At no point during any of these procedures can Honda tell you what you can and cannot do to the good they produced. Even after all your tweaks and mods have been done, you can go right ahead and sell the good off, even creating a profit at times.

    Now consider that a very wealthy individual was able to create an elaborate setup where popping out duplicates of Civics became just as easy as the copy & paste commands of digital goods. Could this person now go around and start selling off these copies? NO. Same goes for digital goods, you cannot create a duplicate and sell it, but you can create a duplicate for personal use. Essentially the same is true for all other types of goods, but the process to do so isn’t as simple.

    Now lets go ahead and assume that this wealthy individual had a stockpile of 15,000 civics. Our wealthy individual happens to be extremely paranoid and wants to make sure in the event that his original car were to be lost, stolen, blown-up, or by some other means rendered inoperable, he would then have a backup on hand. And if the same were to happen to that backup, he'd have another. Now, physical objects such as cars are not as susceptible to becoming “corrupt” as digitally stored information, nor are they as freely accessible, therefore the ability to duplicate them as easily has never been made widely available.

    So now we have an individual who purchased a good from a company. The company got their profit from the sale, and all is well. The individual now goes about legally duplicating and dispersing his good so that at any point in time he can freely access and benefit from the use of the good he legally obtained. Now lets say our wealthy paranoid Civic enthusiast has his 15,000 Civics spread out all across the country where he lives, so in the event he gets a flat tire, he can just hop into another one. Although he’s wealthy, he doesn’t see the need to go through the hassle and taking a bunch of other security measures to ensure that all his copies are in a safe and secure location, after all, in the event one should get damaged, or stolen, he can just as easily create another copy. However, it just so happens that his 15,000 other Civics happen to be stolen all on the same day. Honda cannot now sue him for the “loss” of 15,000 Civics. They can’t even seek legal repercussions, nor would they even want to (at least it’s never been the case during any other case of grand theft auto) against the criminals who stole the good from the wealthy individual.

    Therefore, if the guy in this Russian software incident, happened to just be legally dispersing his legal duplicates for his own personal use, and is now being sued because of it, it could an adverse turnout for the company seeking charges. It certainly doesn’t help his case that people he’s affiliated with have now gone about blatantly doing the very thing he’s being incriminated for. However, in either instance the company should look to resolve the issue by going after the mechanism that creates the biggest potential for loss. Nabbing a single individual out of every other person who owns a computer that has the potential to duplicate and distribute themselves the exact same software with the same amount of ease, when compared to the cost of having to seek legal proceedings and investigations versus the “loss” incurred form such an instance it’s pretty simple to see what course of action should be taken; none.

    The time and effort should instead be focused on better security measures for the software itself. More effective product activation keys, or building some form of on-line user verification system would be a start. Which happens to look like an avenue Adobe might be exploring with their move to web 2.0 applications. It’s not hard to see them make a shift in a direction where all of their products will be offered on-line, and the only way to use them is to have a verified user account with Adobe. Also foreseeable is companies tailoring specifically towards the need of creating office software for big business networks (Financial - Research - Medical). Instead of having an application installed on multiple desktops, hundreds in some instances, the application will be installed on the server only and all the computers on the network will have access to it, with the company supplying all the desktops and servers built for that specific use of integration (patent pending somewhere I’m sure, if not hoarded already).

    Anyway, if you disagree with all that, last time I checked mob justice mentality was otherwise known as Democracy. So perhaps the law’s are in need of some revision.

     

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    CommonSense, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 1:50pm

    Common Sense

    You must realize that when a person/company invents something [in this case, software], they alone get to decide if they want to be paid for it. If they do [want to be paid for their work] then the only choices are to pay them for it, break the law and steal it, or make your own.

    If you don't like the law, and you are in the majority, then make new laws allowing you to steal the fruits of anothers labor. The long-term consequences of this agenda will certainly cause inventors to stop inventing, and your overall quality of life will stagnate (hopefully you like your current position in life).

    If you don't like the law, are intent on breaking it, and you are in the minority, then I would keep my stealing quiet, and let the occasional casualty (like the Russian thief from the referenced article) satisfy these people/companies as they feel they need to be satisfied.

    A person/company deserves to receive the benefit of their labor/investment. Honest people/companies are willing to pay someone for work performed as specified.

    If you don't like the status quo, then change it. Otherwise, take your lumps for what you know is wrong.

    As for MASTERs take on signage, in the good old US of A, if the law says someone or something is required by law or denied by law, then it doesn't matter if the law is immoral or unethical, it can be enforced. On the other hand, if there is no explicit law, and someone takes issue with a situation, then we have a legal system to determine who is right and wrong. If the unregulated situation happens enough times, then it will assuredly become a law sooner or later. You are also incorrect about laws being made by the people. They are made by our elected representatives. You either vote for them, or your don't, either way you are still bound by their decisions, and you have willingly participated in the process. [if you don't like this detail, then go somewhere else... unfortunately, they will have laws too] The law doesn't cease to exist until it has been repealed by a majority of the representatives. As for oppression, if someone is innocent of wrong-doing, and is subjected to an unjust excercise of power, then you have oppression. When someone is guilty of wrong-doing, and is subjected to just excercise of power, then it is law enforcement.

    As for Mike, if some activity is illegal, and you engage in said activity, get caught, have a trial, and are found guilty, then you are indeed "wrong". I don't know who you are getting to do your thinking for you, but they have led you astray if you believe your own comments. "Evil" is subjective, but "wrong" can be clearly demonstrated in this case, as can "right".

    I think a better analogy is, a painter, having worked hard and long, produces a masterpiece and decides he wants to sell 100 giclee's (high-resolution ink-jet) copies of it for $500 apiece, giving him enough money to make his house payment, car payment, food and clothes for his family, etc. A person buys a copy, and decides he likes it so much, he wants to share it with all his art friends. He scans a high-resolution image, so it can be reproduced as a giclee, emails it to his friends, and over the next several days, it becomes a virally distributed file. Instead of the painter making the expected $50K, he only makes $5K due to a decrease in demand because the exact same product can be had for free. Since that sum is substantially less than what the painter had expected, he eventually decides he cannot afford to continue painting if he want to live in something other than a paper box. So he starts painting walls inside new construction, and his potential contributions are lost for the ages, and he only makes $35K/year, but at least his kids have clothes, and he isn't a bum ripping off someone else's art. An alternative ending is, the painter is tipped off, and calls the authorities, who find the person distributing the file, said person stands trial, and is put in jail. Sure, the painter is still hosed because the file is out in cyberland forever, but maybe, if the painter thinks he can take another chance, next time he can make enough money to take care of his losses from this first endeavor and continue paying his bills. The painters name is, Leonard DaVinci, XX. :)

     

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    Bnazty, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 2:21pm

    and

    "At some point, you would think that the industry would stop fighting it and start looking for ways to embrace the trend."


    The same thing could be said of the "War on Drugs"

    and i agree fully

     

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    AC, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 2:22pm

    I like Pie.

     

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    Mike (profile), Dec 18th, 2007 @ 2:37pm

    Re: Common Sense

    You must realize that when a person/company invents something [in this case, software], they alone get to decide if they want to be paid for it.

    Well, they can set a price -- but the market determines the actual price. And, once the product is sold, then the buyer then has the right do what they want with the product.

    If you don't like the law, and you are in the majority, then make new laws allowing you to steal the fruits of anothers labor. The long-term consequences of this agenda will certainly cause inventors to stop inventing, and your overall quality of life will stagnate (hopefully you like your current position in life).

    This is simply wrong. We've pointed it out in the past (I believe directly to you, in fact) that history says you are wrong on this point. So does basic common sense (despite your misuse of the name). Just look at the music industry today. After all, more music is being "pirated" than ever before... By your "common sense" there should be less music being made. But that's not what's happening. More music than ever before is being made.

    There's plenty of other proof on this topic as well. Take patents. Look at the research of Eric Schiff at what happened when places like the Netherlands and Switzerland chose not to honor patents for a few decades. In both cases, *more* innovation occurred and both countries industrialized during that period. Or take a look at the research of David Levine, who looked at the pharma industry in Italy. It thrived without patent protection, but once patents were put in place for pharma, that industry effectively went away. Or, look at the research of Petra Moser, who found plenty of innovation at the World's Fair coming from countries that did not recognize patents.

    You have made a very common mistake in your analysis, which is assuming that artificial scarcity is the only business model from which you can make money. That's simply not true, and it wrecks the rest of your argument. Since there are plenty of other models that don't require artificial scarcity, innovation continues (and, in some cases, thrives).

    That's just common sense.


    A person/company deserves to receive the benefit of their labor/investment. Honest people/companies are willing to pay someone for work performed as specified.


    No. A person or company deserves the right to TRY to gain benefit from their labor/investment. No one deserves the right to automatically receive benefit.

    But, again, you have made a simple logical fallacy assuming (incorrectly) that "receives benefit" means you need artificial scarcity. It's simply not true and never has been.

    If you don't like the status quo, then change it.

    What the heck do you think we're trying to do? The problem is that when we try to educate people, folks like yourself keep throwing logically incorrect arguments up in our path.


    As for Mike, if some activity is illegal, and you engage in said activity, get caught, have a trial, and are found guilty, then you are indeed "wrong"


    I have never said otherwise. Do not imply that I have. I have made it clear that unauthorized use is often illegal and can often get you in trouble. That doesn't change the argument one bit.

    As for your painter example, you again are making the fallacy that someone has a right to benefit, rather than a right to TRY to benefit.

    Take this, nearly identical, situation for example:

    I open a restaurant, where I serve awesome pizzas. I plan to sell 100 pizzas a night at $5/pizza. However, someone buys one of my pizzas, decides he can make a similar pizza for less money and opens up a shop across the street. Suddenly, my business model doesn't work any more.

    I could (as in your example) decide to stop selling pizzas... or I could do what REAL people do, which is change my business model. I could improve my pizza. Offer things to differentiate myself, and build a new business model that works.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 3:23pm

    I just think companies should look at their software, realize it will be mass distributed whether they like it or not, then try to figure out how to make money off it.

     

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  29.  
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    Ben Van Treese, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 3:23pm

    hmmm.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Ben Van Treese, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 3:27pm

    hmmm.

    I could be wrong, but the whole thing about civil disobedience is how the civil rights battle was won?

    I mean, the whole smoking scenario completely reminded me of the Negro's who would sit in the white section, wait to be arrested, get moved to the jail, get released and walk back to the restraunt to start over again.

    They had many many people doing this, so the police basically had to keep coming back constantly.

    You would think that you would support people who are trying to get rid of a stupid and useless law (banning smoking outside ?!?).

    I don't want to sound crazy, I smoke a pack a day, but I'm pretty sure that by being outside in a busy part of a town, you're going to be breathing in alot more harmful stuff coming out of tailpipes than you would be coming out of a tobacco pipe.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2007 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: Common Sense

    "Well, they can set a price -- but the market determines the actual price."

    Wrong. The market only decides if they want to purchase it at that price. If nothing gets sold, then the selling entity can leave the price the same (and presumably suffer) or change the price and attempt to make some money. Likewise, if they sell a lot, they can arbitrarily increase the price, or excercise their option to keep it the same. The market has no intrinsic power over the cost of goods and services. If they did, then everyone would be driving a Porsche or Hummer.

    "And, once the product is sold, then the buyer then has the right do what they want with the product."

    Speaking of fallacious... you can do what you want with it, as long as your activities are within the law. For example, you cannot put your name on it, leaving it otherwise unchanged, and sell it as an ACME Corp. custom creation. You cannot create identical copies of it, and sell them (or even give them away) as if they are from the manufacturer you are emulating. Let everyone know it is a ripoff, and you actually built it legally, then you are ok.

    "This is simply wrong. We've pointed it out in the past (I believe directly to you, in fact) that history says you are wrong on this point."

    I believe history overwhelmingly supports the notion that a person is entitled to use his property, whether real or intellectual, in whatever manner they desire, including excluding others from using it if that is their wish. The vast majority of wealth ever created has been under this basic premise, not, as you assert, under the premise of ripping off people for your own selfish desires. As a matter of fact, ripping people off doesn't create any wealth whatsoever.

    "Just look at the music industry today. After all, more music is being "pirated" than ever before... By your "common sense" there should be less music being made. But that's not what's happening. More music than ever before is being made."

    Yep, can't argue with that. More people on the planet probably does equal more music. Technology to distribute the music (radio, tv, cds, etc.) while receiving payment for that work has made the music companies wealthier than ever. I don't see how that supports your argument, though. The people ripping off music companies aren't adding to the bottom line. The people purchasing the music are.

    "There's plenty of other proof on this topic as well. Take patents. Look at the research of Eric Schiff at what happened when places like the Netherlands and Switzerland chose not to honor patents for a few decades. In both cases, *more* innovation occurred and both countries industrialized during that period. Or take a look at the research of David Levine, who looked at the pharma industry in Italy. It thrived without patent protection, but once patents were put in place for pharma, that industry effectively went away. Or, look at the research of Petra Moser, who found plenty of innovation at the World's Fair coming from countries that did not recognize patents."

    Compare the sum total of their innovations to the sum total of the countries that do have patent protection. Who has contributed more? Are Harley Davidson motorcycles going away because the company intentionally under-produces to keep their prices high? Nope, even though mechanically superior motorcycles exist at one-third the price point.

    "You have made a very common mistake in your analysis, which is assuming that artificial scarcity is the only business model from which you can make money. That's simply not true, and it wrecks the rest of your argument. Since there are plenty of other models that don't require artificial scarcity, innovation continues (and, in some cases, thrives)."

    I don't recognize "artificial scarcity" as the business model I am using, although if companies can make more money from it, then that is good enough for me. I intended to use the supply-demand model of economics. If someone wants something, they can purchase it if they feel it is worth their money. If someone creates something, they can attempt to sell it. Maximum returns for minimum inputs is the goal. For instance, if you could build 10 motorcycles and make a total profit of $10, and you could build 20 motorcycles, also for a total profit of $10, then which do you do? Most companies would say build 100, because that will leave more resources for building other things later, and your profit margin is higher ($1 per motorcycle, versus $.50 per motocycle). Stuff being given away as free doesn't factor into this model because those folks aren't interested in making a profit.

    "No. A person or company deserves the right to TRY to gain benefit from their labor/investment. No one deserves the right to automatically receive benefit."

    You are correct, and I didn't mean to mischaracterize this concept. I 100% agree with this statement.

    "folks like yourself keep throwing logically incorrect arguments up in our path."

    Hopefully I clarified some of my thoughts, and we can re-address this point on your next post... I think I am being completely logical. The laws are the laws, and until they are changed, people breaking the laws should be prosecuted. If something becomes important enough, then the laws will change. That is the system, and instead of claiming someone is being wrongly persecuted (re-active), you should organize yourselves and see what the world really thinks about your ideas (pro-active). I imagine it will be met with stiff resistance, even though the numbers of people in charge at these companies are miniscule compared the numbers of people ripping them off. If I am correct about this, then I would further assert the reason is because people instinctually know that ripping off the works of others is inherently wrong, even though the temptation to do so may be high.

    "I open a restaurant, where I serve awesome pizzas. I plan to sell 100 pizzas a night at $5/pizza. However, someone buys one of my pizzas, decides he can make a similar pizza for less money and opens up a shop across the street. Suddenly, my business model doesn't work any more.

    I could (as in your example) decide to stop selling pizzas... or I could do what REAL people do, which is change my business model. I could improve my pizza. Offer things to differentiate myself, and build a new business model that works."

    The difference between your example and what I am asserting is, each and every pizza will be purchased in your example (not counting the wasted ones). In my artist example, only a fraction are purchased, and the rest are stolen.

    As I stated before, common sense...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Common Sense, Dec 19th, 2007 @ 7:53am

    Re: hmmm.

    You aren't crazy, per se. You are just an easy target because the smoke is easy to identify, the offenders are easy to identify, and the smokers are in the minority. Therefore, it is easy to enforce, and improves the overall quality of every non-smokers life, however small the improvement may actually be. I know you aren't going to move somewhere else, even though you don't like the status quo, but realize it may be a long time before the majority swings back your way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Dec 19th, 2007 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

    "I believe history overwhelmingly supports the notion that a person is entitled to use his property, whether real or intellectual, in whatever manner they desire, including excluding others from using it if that is their wish."

    Without attempting to refute any part of that statement, you have to recognize the inconsistency in what you're saying. Sure, you can exclude someone from using your own property, but once you transfer ownership to them it's another story.

    The question here is with software. If someone legally acquires software from the vendor (buys it, for example), should they be able to copy it and share it with a friend? Shouldn't that ownership be transferred? Many people believe so. The law says no, so it's wrong from a legal perspective. But the demand is there, and many companies (ie. free software and open source companies) are profiting from adapting their business model to allow and encourage the sharing of software.

    In other words, the historical idea of ownership is quite different from the ownership that is granted to vendors over ALL instance of their software, for example. And regarding ideas, historically ideas were actually not considered property, that's a rather recent development.

    I don't recognize "artificial scarcity" as the business model I am using, although if companies can make more money from it, then that is good enough for me. I intended to use the supply-demand model of economics.

    Supply and demand is artificial scarcity if the supply is infinite. When the supply is infinite, it must be restricted in order for the supply and demand model to work, hence the title "artificial scarcity."

    The difference between your example and what I am asserting is, each and every pizza will be purchased in your example (not counting the wasted ones). In my artist example, only a fraction are purchased, and the rest are stolen.

    The difference between the pizza example and your assertion is that pizza is physical and software is digital. "Stolen" is the wrong term, because it's not being taken away from anyone. Rather, unauthorized copying has taken place. It's still illegal (in this case), but there's a fundamental difference.

    Since pizza is a physical good, it would be hard to give it away for free for an extended period of time because the supply is limited, you need to bake each pizza. But software is infinite; once you have the original it's trivial to make copies. Hence, software companies might consider a free and open source business model.

    That would be a common sense recognition of the nature of their product.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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