Peeling The Layers Off 'Piracy'

from the but-wait... dept

We often see critics or industry folks make absolute statements like, "copyright infringement is stealing and it's bad." Of course, this is wrong for any number of reasons, but rather than jumping all the way to why such statements are obviously wrong and misleading, why not peel back that onion one layer at a time. Ross Pruden points us to an interesting blog post by Luci Temple, where she begins the process of questioning the assumptions around "piracy is bad." It starts out with that premise (it's bad!) and then starts asking questions:
Purchaser: This person has already paid for a legal copy of the film. Now, the Purchaser might want to do a number of things that are technically in breach of copyright:

a) Burn a copy of the dvd for personal use, so that their original copy won't get scratched.
b) Create a digital copy for use on a portable MP4 player, media gate, or computer.
c) Lend the burned dvd to a friend for their personal use (their friend being a Previewer).
d) Lend the digital copy to a friend for personal use (which actually involves making another digital copy).

All these things are technically acts of "piracy," however, are they all morally "wrong"? Is copyright law applicable to the mores of the digital age, or does it need to be updated?
She goes on to discuss "lending" to a friend, noting how it's fine to lend a physical copy, but why not a digital copy? The thing is, the more you play this game, the more you'll realize how many situations that are automatically lumped in with what's considered "bad," almost certainly aren't "bad" in anyway at all.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 9:28pm

    I believe that Moses came down the mountain with Eleven Commandments, with the eleventh being:

    "Thou shalt not copy."

    Remember when intellectual property was called intellectual privilege?

     

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    crade (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 10:17pm

    If "All these things are technically acts of "piracy," " means these things are illegal, that depends on where you are. Some of us are still fighting (against who I wonder) to keep some of these things from being deemed illegal since they are obvious perfectly reasonable uses of your own property.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 10:17pm

    I don't really like the slippery slope argument. If applied incorrectly it could eventually be used to justify a lot of things that aren’t really justifiable?

     

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    McBeese, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 10:24pm

    Copying and lending are different.

    Luci Temple is full of it. Look up lending in the dictionary. Lending implies that i) the item is expected to be returned, and ii) you don't have access to the item that was lent during the lending period. I don't think anyone in the Music or Video business would have too big an issue with this model - with digital or physical content - because it exposes more people to content without eroding the potential purchase opportunity too much. The Nook includes a lending feature that allows owners of copyrighted eBooks to lend their books to friends, but the owner can't access the content while it is lent out. THAT is just like the real world.

    Copying content and sending a digital copy to a friend is not lending, it is illegal distribution according to the copyright laws of this country. If you don't like that, get the laws changed or move to a country that you like better.

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 10:28pm

    Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    I don't know a single person who REALLY makes just "backup" copies of their DVDs, in the sense of burning to another disc (i.e., DVD-R/RW), then viewing only the copy (on the same DVD player on which the original could be played), while the original sits safely on a shelf. It seems most "backup" copies actually turn out to be space-shifted copies. So, while one might argue that space-shifting should be acceptable, it is still the case that very few people REALLY make "backup" copies, so that argument should probably not be trotted out first in just about every pro-copying piece.

    And since when do people "lend" digital copies? First of all, how is it "lending" when you make a copy and then send that copy to someone else, while you retain the original? What have you "lent"? And how many people follow up on that a few days later to remind the friend that he/she should delete the copy if they do not intend to make good on it by purchasing it legitimately within a reasonable time?

    Finally, plenty of copyright holders recognize a difference between "infringement" and "piracy". Without condoning such activity, most copyright holders will admit there's a difference between someone who makes a copy of a movie or two to put on an iPod, versus someone who regularly makes a habit of ripping movies and making that content available to others on a larger scale. If the "problem" were really about people wanting the ability to make a true backup copy so they could save their originals from damage while the copy gets used in its place, I suspect we wouldn't be faced with all this DRM stuff. Content owners would probably learn to live with that. However, the problem is that way too many people, using the cover of making "backup" copies or "lending" copies to friends, are actually clearly outside of the rights that the copyright holder intended to sell you.

    One might argue whether a copyright holder should be able to withhold some of those rights in a transaction for the sale of a copy of the movie on a DVD or Blu-ray, but, for the time being, they do have that right, and, so, use of that content outside of the terms of that sale IS "stealing". Granted, some examples of stealing are way worse than others, and it is also certainly possible that content owners are cutting their own throats by annoying their customers with such restrictive policies. However, thsoe content owners have the right to cut their own throats, and it is not up to us to save them from themselves.

    HM

     

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    McBeese, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 10:28pm

    Re:

    I think it's reasonable to make copies of your content for your own use on other devices, as back-up, etc. I think it's unreasonable to make copies to sell or give away to others.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 10:34pm

    Re: Copying and lending are different.

    Luci Temple is full of it.

    When you don't have a real argument, always start off with a blatant insult. Very convincing.

    Look up lending in the dictionary

    This is funny coming from a guy who just recently whined about others on this site suggesting he look up the word "steal" in the dictionary after he used it wrong (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100301/0257548340.shtml#c834). Pot, kettle?

    Lending implies that i) the item is expected to be returned, and ii) you don't have access to the item that was lent during the lending period.

    Indeed, but that was a function of the technology at the time. The technology today is such that you can share the work with a friend without losing access yourself. That seems like a better world, doesn't it?

    Copying content and sending a digital copy to a friend is not lending

    Obviously. But the point that Luci aptly made, was that from the lender's perspective the *act* is identical. You are taking a work that you enjoy and giving someone else a chance to partake of it as well. From the lender's standpoint, the action is no different -- which is the point she's making.

    The difference is in the fact that the technology now allows this to happen via copies -- but the point she's making is that the "sharers" motives are the same, and thus it's a problem to make a moral argument against such a move.

    it is illegal distribution according to the copyright laws of this country

    Right. No one denied this. The question is whether or not it should be. The question is whether or not it makes sense -- especially to create a crime out of something that, were it not for the nature of digital content would not be a crime, but would be considered a *good thing*.

    If you don't like that, get the laws changed or move to a country that you like better.

    And how, exactly, does one go about getting the law changed? How's about by pointing out logical inconsistencies with the law to get people to recognize that it does not fit with the times any more. Which is what we're doing here.

    In the meantime, you made this argument in that last thread as well, where you insisted that copyright infringement was stealing... but then said the same line you said above. And yet, I pointed out that, based on your own logic, you should probably be leaving the country: http://www.techdirt.com/article.php?sid=20100301/0257548340#c926

    After all, you want copyright infringement to be theft. But it's not. So, doesn't that mean you should shut up, change the laws or leave the country? That, after all, was your own argument.

     

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    crade (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 10:34pm

    Re: Copying and lending are different.

    Did you read the article? She talks about your issue with her use of the term lending and says pretty much the same thing you just did about it.

     

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    McBeese, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 10:34pm

    Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    I agree 100% and will post nothing more on the topic because this captures the point perfectly. I look forward to reading the posts from the self-entitlement society luddites who will try to argue this post.

     

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    crade (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 10:35pm

    Re: Re:

    As does pretty much everyone except those who have the power to write their own laws.

     

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    McBeese, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 10:53pm

    Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    "And how, exactly, does one go about getting the law changed? How's about by pointing out logical inconsistencies with the law to get people to recognize that it does not fit with the times any more. Which is what we're doing here."

    No Mike, in my opinion, that is not what you're doing here or if you are, your approach is weak. You generally use arguments of semantics to duck the real debate. That's what pisses me off so much. I use 'steal', you counter with 'infringe'. For fraks sake, why don't we just use the generic term ILLEGAL or something that you like better so we can then focus on the real debate which is about the need for a new business model since so many people have decided to distribute and take what they no right to simply because they can.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 10:56pm

    Re: Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    It's a good thing copyright lasts for the life of the creator plus an extra seventy years. That doesn't create any problems at all.

    Who are the self-entitled ones here?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 10:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    Stealing is illegal because it's in the bible. Copyright infringement is illegal because society says it is and has said so for the past 200 years.

    One is more illegal than the other.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 10:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    I like how you ignore most of the arguments. Funny.

    No Mike, in my opinion, that is not what you're doing here or if you are, your approach is weak.

    It's only weak in that I'm pointing out the inconsistencies in your argument, and you can't admit that you were caught.

    You generally use arguments of semantics to duck the real debate.

    This is untrue. I may argue specifics because folks like you blur concepts together in a way that makes the argument not make sense. So if I call you out for the improper word choice it's to make sure that the debate IS real and is focused on the actual issues, rather than some emotional or moral argument that you like to make.

    I use 'steal', you counter with 'infringe'. For fraks sake, why don't we just use the generic term ILLEGAL or something that you like better so we can then focus on the real debate

    Because illegal is way too broad, and does not get into the rather important distinctions, which is what you need to understand to have a serious debate on the topic.

    which is about the need for a new business model since so many people have decided to distribute and take what they no right to simply because they can.

    Yes, we talk about that all the time. You should try joining that debate. But, as a part of that, one of the things we've noticed that has held back many content creators is an unhealthy obsession with this concept of "pirates" who "must be stopped." Because they only focus on that, they never get to the business model side of things. So part of the discussion must be over the actual issues raised by those actions.

     

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    Reason2Bitch (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 11:03pm

    Re:

    Moses has the copyright on ten commandments. If you follow any of them you have to pay **AA (they will take care of passing that to his descendants).

     

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    McBeese, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 11:04pm

    Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    Yes, I did read it. In the scenario she describes, she still has access to her copy while her friends have access to the lent copies. That is not lending, that is copying and distribution. However, I don't see this as a big problem, but nor do I see it as the predominant scenario. I think in most cases, the 'friend' is a torrent, and that's the problem. Luci is defending the case for piracy by writing about a mostly non-issue and ignoring the real issue.

     

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    kyle clements (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 11:04pm

    hmm...

    The first 3 points all seem very 'not wrong' morally, while I am a little conflicted over the 4th point.

    There is a big difference between lending a physical copy and lending a digital copy.

    When you have my copy of a book, so long as you have it, I can't read it; when you have my DVDs, I can't watch them.

    The obvious step in my mind would be to say, "well, you delete your copy after you send it to them, then when they are done with it, they delete their copy, and you can make a new copy"
    But this is completely ridiculous when you think about it; going through completely unnecessary steps to stay within the bounds of some ancient law that is being applied to a new system where it makes absolutely no sense.

    But thinking this way is a great way to frame the argument.
    Talking about 'free culture', legal restrictions on creativity, DRMed media that goes dead shortly after purchase, the potential for censorship, etc. can be difficult, especially when people only want a quick sound-bite. By going at this layer-by-layer "backing up your own media-stuff you have payed for-is technically illegal, sharing movies with your friends is illegal!" while less important to the big picture, may be easier for the idiot-in-a-hurry to comprehend.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 11:08pm

    Re: Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    "self-entitlement society luddites"

    Oh, you mean the copyright shills?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 11:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    That sharing is caring? The real issue being what to do about imaginary property?

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 11:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    So, have you left the country yet? If not, hurry up.

     

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    crade (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 11:09pm

    Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    It doesn't matter how many people backup their dvds for personal use. Or whether personal use is "the problem". What matters is that there is nothing wrong with it and it shouldn't be illegal. If you want people to respect the law, make the laws respectable. Make the laws reflect people's morals.

    Your "terms of sale" argument doesn't really apply, there is no agreement to any terms when you buy a cd, and our music collections were likely purchased before they made up these new laws. The content owners do have the right to cut their own throats, but that doesn't mean you should allow them to change the legislation when they start getting desperate because they are bleeding out.

     

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    mcbeese, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 11:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    "Yes, we talk about that all the time. You should try joining that debate. But, as a part of that, one of the things we've noticed that has held back many content creators is an unhealthy obsession with this concept of "pirates" who "must be stopped." Because they only focus on that, they never get to the business model side of things. So part of the discussion must be over the actual issues raised by those actions."

    I have joined this debate and want to continue doing so, but it's very,very difficult to debate with people who are coming at it from such a different starting point.

    I think that the traditional business model is at least partially broken because of technical advances but that there is huge potential to grow the business by leveraging those same technical advances. However, I'm not going to f*ck the artists by breaking laws and taking their music for free while we all figure it out. I have very little respect for those who do.

     

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    crade (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 11:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    The point of the article as I understood it was not to persuade that all the situations she describes (or all forms of copying) are morally justified, but that maybe all forms of copying shouldn't be treated equally in the eyes of the law. Admittedly, this could be my own reader bias though. I'm pissed that they want to convince people it is wrong to listen to my record collection in the car.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 11:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    I think that the traditional business model is at least partially broken because of technical advances but that there is huge potential to grow the business by leveraging those same technical advances. However, I'm not going to f*ck the artists by breaking laws and taking their music for free while we all figure it out. I have very little respect for those who do.

    Sure, same here. I don't partake in any sort of file sharing or downloading other than of autorized tracks. So who are you debating, really?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 11:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    Rock and roll! Doing illegal drugs and paying for prostitutes and trashing hotel rooms! Rock and roll! Stick it to the man! Rock on!

    Copyright infringement is illegal and that's wrong.

    Rock and roll!

     

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    REM(RND) (profile), Mar 17th, 2010 @ 11:51pm

    Shades of Black

    Assume someone has small children who like playing with shiny things (DVDs). They build a media PC and burn the DVDs to the drive to watch on their TV instead of having to repeatedly purchase new copies and store the originals somewhere safe. This is technically illegal as they are a) copying and b) bypassing DRM to make said copies. Is it moral, though? Should it truly be illegal? Now assume they make a duplicate media PC with the same movies on it at thier grandma's house so the kids can watch when they visit. Should that be illegal? Is it illegal if grandma decides she wants to watch one of the burned and copied movies when the owners and their children aren't there? Do the **IA truly have any right to tell the owners what they can do with their legally purchased copies? Yes, they may currently have a legal right, but do they have the moral right?

     

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    Ben Ash (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 1:43am

    "it's very,very difficult to debate with people who are coming at it from such a different starting point"

    Isn't that the point of a debate? Makes it far more interesting than aggressively agreeing with someone..

     

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    The eejit (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 1:56am

    This is good

    An actual debate instead of pure trolling, I like it!

    See, every single law is going to be flawed. This is because it can ot take into account the future. In this case copyright laws are flawed because they ahev not adapted to the new technological age. If you think of a person who copies their disc and shares the copy with a friend, that's illegal. BUT, if the friend then goes out and buys the DVD that's legal. Can you spot the flaw in this law?

    Because I sure as hell can.

     

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    Michial Thompson, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 2:01am

    Missleading as usual

    little mikee is at it again. As usually he wants to make a point so he misleads.

    Of the 4 Examples, A, Burn a backup Copy has already been addressed in the courts several times and has been ruled Legal FOR BACKUP PURPOSES

    B) Make digital copy for PERSONAL use, this one most likely would fall under Fair Use, but I cannot think of anything testing this in court, and honestly I would love to see the **AAs take this one to court because it would most likely loose as long as it was for personal use AND the original was kept and not sold or lent out.

    C) Nice play on words here, but "lending" a copy is piracy period, leding the original is fine but lending out your original and making use of the copy backup while the original is lent out is still piracy. Simply put mikee you can't have your bottle of milk and drink it too

    D) Lending a digital copy, hmmmm make this legal and every pirate in the world will simply cry that they are lending friends copies to preview.... How can you justify this... oh wait in the little mikee world its an infinite good and doesn't cost anyone anything so why should it be illegal....

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 2:46am

    Re: Missleading as usual

    As usually he wants to make a point so he misleads.


    If you are going to accuse me of misleading, Michial, at the very least, you should get your basic facts right.

    Of the 4 Examples, A, Burn a backup Copy has already been addressed in the courts several times and has been ruled Legal FOR BACKUP PURPOSES

    Software yes, movies no. Sorry, this is not the case. Movies have NOT been ruled legal for backup purposes -- and since most DVDs are encrypted, it is absolutely illegal to back them up, because you have to break the encryption, and the DMCA is clear that *even if* the backup is legal, you can't break the encryption.

    So you are wrong. This is still not considered legal.

    B) Make digital copy for PERSONAL use, this one most likely would fall under Fair Use, but I cannot think of anything testing this in court, and honestly I would love to see the **AAs take this one to court because it would most likely loose as long as it was for personal use AND the original was kept and not sold or lent out.

    Again, encryption gets in the way, and the fair use argument is anything but certain there.

    C) Nice play on words here, but "lending" a copy is piracy period, leding the original is fine but lending out your original and making use of the copy backup while the original is lent out is still piracy. Simply put mikee you can't have your bottle of milk and drink it too

    Michial, you do realize I didn't write that list, don't you?

    Anyway, why do you find this scenario to be piracy. The motivations are identical, it's just that the technology allows for more to be done (lending while keeping a copy). Why vote against what technology allows?

    D) Lending a digital copy, hmmmm make this legal and every pirate in the world will simply cry that they are lending friends copies to preview.... How can you justify this... oh wait in the little mikee world its an infinite good and doesn't cost anyone anything so why should it be illegal....

    Again, I didn't write the list (please read more carefully -- it's tough to debate when you can't figure out who said what). And again, we weren't talking legality here. Just the morality. Do you have some point to make on that?

     

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    PaulT (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 3:14am

    Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    "I don't know a single person who REALLY makes just "backup" copies of their DVDs, in the sense of burning to another disc (i.e., DVD-R/RW), then viewing only the copy (on the same DVD player on which the original could be played), while the original sits safely on a shelf."

    You don't know parents with young children, do you? Either that, or the ones you do know are morons who are happy to shell out multiple times for their kids' favourite movies (or are super parents who manage to successfully stop kids from ever touching anything that can be damaged!).

    Also, ever tried getting out an older DVD and seeing that a manufacturing error has caused it to be unplayable? I know I have, and I resent having to pay for another copy rather than using a backup.

    Finally, said backups don't have to be in the same format. I have too many DVDs to make this a viable tactic for every movie I own, but I've definitely ripped part of my collection to my hard drive so that I can watch them on XBMC and not risk damaging the discs every time I play the movie - illegal according to the content industry.

    "And since when do people "lend" digital copies?"

    I was "lent" a copy of a movie called Hands Of Steel, an obscure Italian 80s sci-fi action movie that a friend living on another continent wanted me to see. It's never been released on DVD, I don't believe it's available on VHS anywhere near me (and I don't have a VHS player anyway) and so grey market (or "pirate") copies are the only thing available.

    It was much easier for him to rip his "pirated" DVD and send me the files digitally than to post his copy to me. We can argue semantics over whether this was "lending" or "giving" me the copy, but the intention on his part was the same as if he lived next door and gave me his DVD for a short time.

    "Without condoning such activity, most copyright holders will admit there's a difference between someone who makes a copy of a movie or two to put on an iPod, versus someone who regularly makes a habit of ripping movies and making that content available to others on a larger scale"

    Then why are they spending so much time suing the pants off any company who offers tools, and why have they backed the part of the DMCA that make such tools technically illegal (or at least in a very grey area)?

    "If the "problem" were really about people wanting the ability to make a true backup copy so they could save their originals from damage while the copy gets used in its place, I suspect we wouldn't be faced with all this DRM stuff"

    So, you support the idea that because a technology CAN be used to break the law, it should be outlawed and customers treated like criminals? That's pure idiocy.

    "use of that content outside of the terms of that sale IS "stealing""

    I'm glad you put stealing in quotes so that I don't have to point out how it's nothing of the sort.

    "However, thsoe content owners have the right to cut their own throats, and it is not up to us to save them from themselves."

    ...and it's our right to point out their mistakes, ignore their demands and flout the law where it is unjust.

    It's also our right to laugh at them when they fail, and to do our best to stop them changing the law to support their outdated and unworkable business models.

     

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    Doge (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 3:37am

    I have an idea

    Please look at my blog at

    http://syganymede.blogspot.com/2010/03/digital-copyright-infringement.html

    ... just to avoid I have to repeat everything here.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 4:33am

    Still doesn't make sense.

    Ms Temple still makes the assumption that being an author of a work gives someone the moral right to restrict other peoples distribution of that work. If this were true then lending would be morally wrong in the same way as stealing, though to a lesser extent.

    Her points seem to be based on drawing a parallel with physical goods; but a concept such as lending exists entirely because of the inherent limitations of physical goods. Without those limitations lending is just sharing.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 4:46am

    Re: hmm...

    "The obvious step in my mind would be to say, "well, you delete your copy after you send it to them, then when they are done with it, they delete their copy, and you can make a new copy"
    But this is completely ridiculous when you think about it; going through completely unnecessary steps to stay within the bounds of some ancient law that is being applied to a new system where it makes absolutely no sense."


    Precisely. Why are we trying to format shift moral rights? Moral rights are supposed to develop out of actual need.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 4:48am

    Re: Copying and lending are different.

    "The Nook includes a lending feature that allows owners of copyrighted eBooks to lend their books to friends, but the owner can't access the content while it is lent out. THAT is just like the real world."

    Why must the digital world be compelled to copy the 'real' (physical) world?

     

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  36.  
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    tomf, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 4:52am

    'I don't know a single person who REALLY makes just "backup" copies of their DVDs'

    Well i am backing up all my CDs to a hard drive. Isn't that the same thing?
    I am doing that as i don't think my CDs will last long - yes i have children.
    But, and i am not sure if this is a good argument or not, but if i have books or magazines in my bathroom, by the loo, for all to read (much like magazines at the dentists) am i a pirate? Afterall unlike lending a book, i have a server (a book shelf) that anybody can come in and read. I am denying the creators first sale.
    You could argue that i am giving publications a chance to be discovered by new readers - or that i should be fined thousands of pounds.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 5:41am

    I'm doing it now

    Right now I'm actively digitizing my DVD collection. I have no children nor am I really worried about damage. I'm doing it for ease of use. My media extender works much better then my DVD players. Is it illegal? I think so, I've not come across any DRM issues as of yet. Is it immoral? No.

    What if a friend of mine is doing the same thing, setting up a media center and central file server? What if he doesn't know how to rip DVDs? Is it illegal for me to give him a digital copy of my DVD rip if he has the DVD himself? I don't know. Is it immoral? Hell no.

    What if he did know how to rip them. Would it be illegal to save him time? Again, I don't know. Would it be immoral? No.

    To step a little farther into the gray area (and into the hypothetical); what if pay day was next week? What if I knew my friend would buy the DVD or even Blu-ray after pay day. Is it illegal to give a digital copy to him today? Yes. Is it immoral? No.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 5:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    it is the normal techdirt answer rather than addressing the issues directly they are addressed with scorn. lending means you give up your control of something and give it to someone else. something that is lent cannot be used by the lender, they don't have it anyone. the person who borrowed it has it and controls it. there is no new copy of anything made. after all if your neighbor wanted to borrow your lawnmower would you have to first build a replica for him?

     

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    The Mighty Buzzard, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:16am

    Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    I don't know a single person who REALLY makes just "backup" copies of their DVDs, in the sense of burning to another disc (i.e., DVD-R/RW), then viewing only the copy (on the same DVD player on which the original could be played), while the original sits safely on a shelf.

    You don't know many tech savvy people with (grand)children then. It's a hell of a lot cheaper to burn and use a copy of a movie or CD they're going to have their little peanut butter covered hands all over multiple times a week than it is to have to buy another copy because the first got five-year-old-remixed.

     

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    Cynyr (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    What if a perfect(implies working) replica of a lawnmower could be made for not more than a few watts of electricity? Would you then make one for your neighbor who asked nicely? how about just about anyone else who asked? What if you then needed a break puller for a '06 VW Jetta(special tool), and your neighbor had one, would you ask if you get get a duplicate?

    Really thats the problem, digital goods are not the same as physical, treating them as such doesn't work. At least until the cost of duplication of physical goods in the in the range of a few cents per unit, or less and can be done by grandma.

    Too use a car example:
    1) Buy new car
    2) Make copy of new car to drive around protecting the original car. maybe this car doesn't have as fancy of a paint job but in all other ways is the same.
    3) Get t-Boned by drunk driver. luckily sustain no injury.
    4) Make a new working copy of your still good "real" car.

    Now I'm sure that Ford would love for you to buy a second car as a "backup" car. but if in a few hours and for $1 you could have a backup car which do you choose?

    Short answer "rules" from the physical needn't apply to the digital world, and people understand that there is a difference between them.

     

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    Vincent Clement, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:24am

    Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    I guess you don't know me, so your first sentence is correct. But I do make copies of my DVDs while putting the original away. It's amazing how quickly kids can scratch a DVD.

    Another reason why I make copies is to remove all the copy-protection that makes it difficult to play my legally-purchased DVDs in DVD players (nothing like watching a movie and then having the DVD player freeze when it encounters the bad sectors the studios place on the disc) and to remove all the garbage that some movie studios make you watch before watching the movie (exactly how is Disney Fast Play fast when you have to watch the previews before watching the movie).

    You say "If the "problem" were really about people wanting the ability to make a true backup copy so they could save their originals from damage while the copy gets used in its place, I suspect we wouldn't be faced with all this DRM stuff".

    You assume that DRM is about stopping people from copying the original. It's not. Never has been. Never will be. DRM is about control. The digital age is shifting control of content away from the record companies and movie studios to consumers. And that scares the living daylights out of the old media companies.

    DRM hasn't stopped anyone from making copies, legal or illegal. It is nothing but an expense for companies that use it and nothing but a headache for people who experience problems with DRM-laden products ('we are taking down our DRM server, so you better rip your music to a CD or WAV format, or you will lose all the music you paid for').

     

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    The Mighty Buzzard, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:26am

    Re: Re: hmm...

    I'm pretty sure moral rights are supposed to develop from existing mores. Needing something does not in any moral way give you a right to it. It never has. Every single claim made that it does is nothing but rationalization to alleviate the guilt of doing what you want and morals be damned.

    That said, I'm only disagreeing with your statement, not the thread in general or any other comments in it, so don't go flaming back about me being a copyright shill.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    I have joined this debate and want to continue doing so, but it's very,very difficult to debate with people who are coming at it from such a different starting point. By definition two people debate an issue because they are at different starting points... so the difficulty is just the nature of the beast. Also I think this has been an interesting and worthwhile debate, good job everyone! High-Fives all around!

     

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    Anon, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:37am

    Re: Copying and lending are different.

    So how about copyright too. Copyright was suppose to exist for a limited time as well. It would only be fair to set lending time limits to equal the same limited time set to a copyright...how long something is being lended out could be debated.

    Also I'm not sure that distribution has been defined in cases where the recipient is known or is a real-life friend. This might not be ruled the same, because there is no clear precedent under these circumstances.

     

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    McBeese, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    I'm debating the position of people who feel it is ok to 'f*ck the artists by breaking laws and taking their music for free while we all figure it out.' Luci's point (d) puts her on the slippery slope of that mentality. What she's describing may be reasonable and beneficial for the artist, but others will extrapolate it to torrent sharing, which is not reasonable or legal without the artists explicit buy-in.

    I've also challenged the strength of the new models and examples you've put up so far because I haven't yet seen anything that is capable of supporting an industry effectively enough. If and when I come up with a better idea, I'll post it for consideration. It's a hard problem to solve.

     

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:38am

    PIRACY

    me coming at YOU
    with a WEAPON and robbing you
    as in taking cash or goods
    if nothing is taken its not piracy

    if you had a treasure map there and i copy it thats not theft
    its COPY INFRINGEMENT
    see
    all the above to get to this point
    amazing how lawyers morons and twits , will convey the wrong message isn't it

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:47am

    Re: Copying and lending are different.

    yes but every body does it anyway.
    people should really stop trying to enforce a law that criminalizes a rally popular behavior

     

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  48.  
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    Ed, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:58am

    Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    Hugh Mann wrote: "I don't know a single person who REALLY makes just "backup" copies"

    Well, you do now. Not so much DVDs, but audio books, you bet. I have a CLOSET full of original, purchased audio books. Tapes, CDs, Mp3 CDs. Back when cassettes where all there were, I duplicated every cassette before I listened to it. I put the original in the closet. Now, I am slowly transferring my collection to Mp3 CDs of course. They are more compact, and Ipods are more convenient. Once transferred, a backup copy also goes to the closet.

    Why do I do this? Cassette tapes get eaten, CDs fail, or get scratched. If I loan out a story, it is my playing copy, not my original. The original is only used again if my copy is damaged. Yes I have had damaged tapes/CDs replaced by the company, in a month or two. I have also had companies disappear, or fail to honor the replacement because it had been more the X days, or they conveniently lost the records of my contact/return of the damaged item. Morally I am being true to content creators. If an audio book is donated to a library for example, I keep no copy. I only donate what I no longer wish to re-listen to (or duplicates, it happens).

    I would love to sign up for Audible for example. But, since I would then be dependent on that company for maintenance of the DRM (i.e. signing up players), I just don't buy from them. Only from companies that don't stop me (through DRM) of making my backups.

    I do not consider myself to be a pirate, I pay money for my content (just spent $94 this morning on three audio books). But I would bet many content companies would classify so.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:59am

    Re: Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    authentication servers were a bad idea in the first place for just that reason. "hey here's your music you payed for but btw were signing up to maintain this server from now until the end of time no matter what our IT dept has to say"
    how about this, buy it , it gets fingerprinted in some way.

     

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  50.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:59am

    Re: Re: Missleading as usual

    I'll make the shills' argument for them on GP's C item since they can't seem to understand what they're trying to say.

    The motivation equality argument is extremely flawed. (Bear in mind the following is not an analogy to file sharing but to the equality of motivation argument in general.) Example: taking a person's car keys to keep them from driving drunk is morally acceptable, slashing their tires is not. Same motivation, very different actions and results.

    Applied specifically to digital "lending", lending implies a temporary duration and that there is impetus to return the borrowed item on the part of the borrower at some future point. With a digital copy being transfered, there is no such impetus and the duration of the borrower's use is never brought into question by anything other than their own ethics.

    All that being said, I think they're trying to use a bucket to put the water back on the other side of a broken dam. If something cannot be controlled, it's time to adapt to the new reality rather than continuing to bail water.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 6:59am

    Re: Re:

    "Moses has the copyright..."
    BLASPHEMY!!
    Copyrights are divine.
    God himself has the copyright on the 10 commandments.... and it expires at the end of eternity.

     

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    tomf, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 7:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    But is it a problem?
    The PRS in the UK have announced that they made more money in 2008 than ever before and in again in 2009. Hollywood made more movies and more money in 2009 than ever before. The music industry made more money than ever before. Pirates buy more music than non-pirates (it seems). Pirated films do not seem to damage ciname takings, free ebooks help physical book sales.
    You are saying piracy is bad, but there seems to be a strong case for saying the opposite.
    Like having magazines in the dentists/my bog, they encourage new sales.

     

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    Phil, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 7:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    Lawyers live and breathe semantics. Semantics are their water, their currency, their reason to exist. And lawyers rule the world.

     

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    Cynyr (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 7:19am

    Re: Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    The entire reason i ripped all of mine, i lost 2 or 3 disks to the kids, and had enough, went and bought a 1TB harddrive, and set my cdrom driver to RPC1, and have written a script to batch rip, and another to batch encode stuff so that it can be copied to or streamed to my PS3. Only difference for me was that there were "two-year-old remixed" :P

    I've found that the rips are more useful as well. take for example Firefly, I bought the dvd version, to play an episode there are two noisy and animated menus to click though to watch one. After the episode ends, you then need to go back to the main menu and back though the two menus to watch the next episode. There is no watch all option. my ripped copies can play back to back to back, no menus in between. it's a much nicer watching experience.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 7:19am

    audiobooks

    $94 for 3 audiobooks
    dude you just spent $30 per book
    for files

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 7:21am

    Re: I have an idea

    how about this ...
    produce content worth paying for and ill pay you for it

     

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  57.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 8:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    "it is the normal techdirt answer rather than addressing the issues directly they are addressed with scorn"

    Scorn can be earned, and I'm not seeing anybody avoiding the issues here. I do, however, see people who can't be bothered to create a login (and one who's auditioning for the position of resident troll) attacking a blogger for not backing up claims he quoted from a different source, for some reason. Anyway...

    "lending means you give up your control of something and give it to someone else"

    The definition of "to lend", according to dictionary.com (editied for relevance):

    "1. to grant the use of (something) on condition that it or its equivalent will be returned.

    3. to give or contribute obligingly or helpfully: to lend one's aid to a cause"

    Both of these fit within the definition of lending a digital file. If I give you a copy of a movie, and you give me a copy of a different movie, that satisfies the first definition. If you have a friend or neighbour (or stranger) who requires a copy of a particular movie, it satisfies the third.

    But, we're edging into technicalities here. The point is that there is a big difference between what the content providers see as fair use or infringement and what the average customer considers to be such. The only thing that's changed recently is the method by which these actions are performed and, by extension, the consequences of doing so.

    The content providers have failed to alter their business models to reflect this new reality, and this is what's causing them problems, not the teenager who downloads a copy of a movie.

    "after all if your neighbor wanted to borrow your lawnmower would you have to first build a replica for him?"

    If it was as easy to copy as a DVD? Absolutely.

     

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  58.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Missleading as usual

    "Applied specifically to digital "lending", lending implies a temporary duration and that there is impetus to return the borrowed item on the part of the borrower at some future point."

    I've lost at least 10 DVDs and numerous CDs, games and other items to people who "borrowed" them but never returned them. On the odd occasion, I've had to pay to to replace them due to this.

    Whatever the implication of how you interpret the word, I'd rather have lent out a copy of my Criterion special edition of Videodrome than having to pay to replace it when it wasn't returned (no, the MPAA didn't get my money because I bought a cheap secondary market copy, so "piracy" wouldn't have harmed them).

    However, I do agree with your last sentence.

     

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  59.  
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    Libertarian Jew, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 8:25am

    If I purchased....

     

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    Duffmeister (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 8:35am

    A question I've always had......

    What do you all feel about a purchased CD being copied into iTunes via their built-in tools? Should Apple be sued for making a tool that allow infringement?

    What do are you supposed to do if that CD gets lost, stolen, or damaged? Should you then destroy the digital tracks as you no longer have the token of ownership (CD) that it came from? I have actually had this happen. I lost several hundred CDs to being stolen. Should I delete all those files?

    I think this makes for an interesting point because what part of the purchase holds my license to use the RIAA's music? Is it the token of ownership? If it isn't should the RIAA provide me copies of the music I lost but did not have backed up? Or is it a good that I lost and must re-buy? If that is true then right of first sale applies and changes what restrictions the RIAA can put on my future use of the object.

    Just more food for thought.

     

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  61.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: Re:

    70 years after the end of eternity, actually. :)

     

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  62.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    "(just spent $94 this morning on three audio books)"

    I pay money for my content as well, but would never allow myself to be raped for money like that. Those kinds of prices are exactly the reason I've never bought an audiobook, especially not one stored on a digital file. That market is closed to me until prices become reasonable.

     

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  63.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 8:37am

    Re:

    Like?

     

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  64.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    Don't pirate my music about shooting cops and slapping bitches, because that's not right.

     

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  65.  
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    Libertarian Jew, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 8:46am

    If I purchased....

    If I purchased a DVD, Game, or lets even say a freaking boat. Why can't I make a copy for my own personal use, or for any use I deem fit? Once I have paid for whatever item weather it be software, hardware, or any physical object. It is ludicrous for any company to expect me or anyone else to use it according to their rules.

    You lost all rights to that when I purchased the item and henceforth the object and whatever data on it has now become MINE (i.e. no longer yours) to use, duplicate, fornicate or any other verb. The whole idea that an idea itself can be considered property that is continually owned by the originator of the idea even after the idea has been released for purchase by the originator for profit is bogus. It's much like the boat reference....if I buy one, then buy the materials and equipment to build myself one using the original's design and give it away to a random guy walking down the street.... That should entirely be my prerogative.

    To say that the boat's original creator has any say over my boat and what I do with it, or the copied one I built is ridiculous.

     

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  66.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 9:03am

    Words, words, words.

    iTunes sold me a song. Or did they sell me a copy of a song?

    Do I have right of first sale on a copy of a song?

    Now, iTunes didn't actually *give* me anything when I bought the song, they just told my computer how to arrange my hard drive in such a way that my media player could use those instructions to make sound. So, I can't claim to only be allowed First Sale on the original copy (ha!), because the "original copy", if it exists anywhere, is still on iTune's sever.

    Furthermore, if someone tells me how to make something and I tell someone else how to make it, have I done something illegal? If someone's computer tells my computer how to make something and my computer tells another computer, have I done something illegal?

    If the government has a law (say, I dunno, copyrights) that does not allow me to share information I was given with whom ever I choose, are they in violation of my rights to Free Speech?

    This is too confusing, I think.

     

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  67.  
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    RD, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    "No Mike, in my opinion, that is not what you're doing here or if you are, your approach is weak. You generally use arguments of semantics to duck the real debate. That's what pisses me off so much. I use 'steal', you counter with 'infringe'. For fraks sake, why don't we just use the generic term ILLEGAL or something that you like better so we can then focus on the real debate which is about the need for a new business model since so many people have decided to distribute and take what they no right to simply because they can."

    Because they arent the same thing under the law. The law requires specificity. You cant go in to court and say "he looked at me and I felt raped/violated!" because that is not what the definition of rape is, even if you FEEL or BELIEVE that it is. The standard for rape requires certain specific things to have occurred. Likewise, you can go "but your honor, that person STOLE from me!" if the law states that infringement is not the same as theft. If you are going to take people to task for their "Weak arguments" (as perceived by you) then you should probably understand the topic better before spouting off and making yourself look foolish.

     

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  68.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 9:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Missleading as usual

    I get you, but at no point did you ever recategorize the borrowed items to stolen in your mind? Their violation of your trust in lending them something doesn't really call for a redefinition of the word.

     

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  69.  
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    Joel (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 9:27am

    Re: Then there would be no Commandments

    If "Thou shalt not copy." is correct then we would have lost everything that is art.

     

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  70.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Missleading as usual

    True, but they were no more "stolen" than a downloaded copy.

    I gave them the goods on the trust that they would be returned. Said trust was broken, but I don't consider the resulting action to be theft - especially since I have often benefited greatly from reciprocal trades in the meantime.

    For example, say I lend my copy of the South Park movie to a friend and manage to borrow 3 or 4 of his DVDs in the time it takes him to lose it? That's more complicated than having a DVD stolen for many reasons. Pretty much everybody who is generous enough to lend their media to people have experienced such a situation, and lending a backup copy would in no way be morally different for most consumers (nor would preventing said ability mean more profit for the content providers).

    I'm not arguing for a redefinition of the word, just recognition that the way an infringer views things can sometimes be worlds away from that of the content provider, and that there is often no "loss" from such actions.

     

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  71.  
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    Joel (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 9:43am

    Onion peeling is making me cry...

    Copyright infringment is illegal!! Sharing is not (unless you are at an all you can eat buffet).

    What the big corporations need to understand is that unless there is a means for a person to get a product for a reasonable price things like this will continue to happen. If one song costs 2.99 people would most likely not buy, if the same song was going for .50 cents then that person would most likely follow the law and purchase said song...plus there would be no need to share since the cost would seem minimal to the borrower and most likely this person would buy.

    I don't know about the rest of you but with 2.99 I can go to my local Super Market buy a 2 liter bottle of generic soda, a loaf of sliced white bread, and maybe a cookie or two, oh and have like 20 cents left.

    "Priorities are much more important than entertainment."

     

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  72.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    "I'm debating the position of people who feel it is ok to 'f*ck the artists by breaking laws and taking their music for free while we all figure it out.'"

    I am confused now. Are you talking about the record labels or pirates? Because the labels use creative accounting to actually "Steal" from the artists. Look at the multi billion dollar lawsuit in Canada. All the artists suing the labels to get at the accounting the labels used for them. Copyfraud. Rounding errors. The fact that only the top 200 artists are paid by the collection agencies.

    So the labels dont mind using accounting to steal from artists .... pot meet kettle ...

     

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  73.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 10:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    "but it's very,very difficult to debate with people who are coming at it from such a different starting point."

    definition - debate - a discussion in which reasons are advanced for and against some proposition or proposal.

    The whole "different starting point" is the idea behind a debate. Two different view points.

     

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  74.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    The whole "different starting point" is the idea behind a debate. Two different view points.

    Otherwise it would be called an agreement....

     

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    chris (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 10:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    Rock and roll! Doing illegal drugs and paying for prostitutes and trashing hotel rooms! Rock and roll! Stick it to the man! Rock on!

    Copyright infringement is illegal and that's wrong.


    cocaine be expensive, yo. so do rehab. and lawsuits from hotels for doing shit when i was high on cocaine. alimony is expensive too. and child support for paternity cases. and lawyers to protect you from lawsuits and alimony and child support.

    so don't steal my shit yo, i need the money to support my lifestyle.

     

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  76.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 10:18am

    Re: PIRACY

    amazing how you rerelymake any sense !

     

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  77.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re: Re: hmm...

    "I'm pretty sure moral rights are supposed to develop from existing mores. Needing something does not in any moral way give you a right to it. It never has. Every single claim made that it does is nothing but rationalization to alleviate the guilt of doing what you want and morals be damned. "

    You're pretty sure that morality is supposed to be based on itself? While I'd agree that a lot of morality appears to be based on such a circular argument (which was kinda my point), I don't see how that is a good idea.

    When I said moral rights should develop out of actual need I wasn't referring to a personal need, but a functional need. In the case of property rights one key reason is the need to deal with scarcity.

    "That said, I'm only disagreeing with your statement, not the thread in general or any other comments in it, so don't go flaming back about me being a copyright shill."

    As I have never been presumptuous enough to call anyone a shill, I have to wonder what provoked this? I might call people all sorts of other things to express my opinion of them, but not shill.

     

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    chris (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 10:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    No Mike, in my opinion, that is not what you're doing here or if you are, your approach is weak. You generally use arguments of semantics to duck the real debate. That's what pisses me off so much.

    yeah, you want to get into some emotional morality play when it just doesn't apply.

    you want to make digital copies for free, sell them for the same price or more than the physical copy, and you are mad that consumers have found a way around. file sharing is easy, fun, and completely unstoppable. there is no moral or emotional argument that can change those facts.

    you can whine and cry about artists and stealing but it doesn't change the fact that nothing can be done to stop unauthorized distribution. people that want to make money from content have to find another way to do it.

    you are wasting your time and digital ink arguing against this absolute certainty.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 10:33am

    Re: Onion peeling is making me cry...

    "Copyright infringment is illegal!! Sharing is not (unless you are at an all you can eat buffet)."

    I don't think sharing at an all you can eat buffet would be illegal. It would probably stop them from letting you have more food and they may ultimately tell you to leave, but that doesn't make it illegal.

     

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  80.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 10:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    I've also challenged the strength of the new models and examples you've put up so far because I haven't yet seen anything that is capable of supporting an industry effectively enough.

    Which industry? THe music industry is doing fine, it's the recording industry that's imploding.

     

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  81.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying and lending are different.

    For now. If the 20th century was the American century than the 21st century will belong to, not another country, but to the citizens of the world.

     

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  82.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 10:46am

    Re: Re: PIRACY

    Most word artists don't make sense so if you don't enjoy NAMELESS.ONE's art than don't read it.

    Simple, really.

     

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  83.  
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    chris (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 11:11am

    Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    So, while one might argue that space-shifting should be acceptable, it is still the case that very few people REALLY make "backup" copies, so that argument should probably not be trotted out first in just about every pro-copying piece.

    that's great, but being able to space/time/format shift copies for personal use is important to consumers when they are buying media. people who buy your stuff will be more likely to keep buying when they can shift it to suit their needs.

    this doesn't apply at all to piracy since space/time/format shifting a pirated copy is effortless.

    this punishes paying customers and has zero effect on piracy.

    And since when do people "lend" digital copies? First of all, how is it "lending" when you make a copy and then send that copy to someone else, while you retain the original? What have you "lent"? And how many people follow up on that a few days later to remind the friend that he/she should delete the copy if they do not intend to make good on it by purchasing it legitimately within a reasonable time?

    the point in the article is that it's acceptable to lend physical copies but not digital ones. people who buy your stuff will be more likely to keep buying if they can lend copies. people who borrow copies are more likely to buy your stuff as well.

    this too affects the consumer, but not the pirate. lending pirated copies is also effortless.

    again, this hurts the paying customer but not the pirate.

    One might argue whether a copyright holder should be able to withhold some of those rights in a transaction for the sale of a copy of the movie on a DVD or Blu-ray, but, for the time being, they do have that right, and, so, use of that content outside of the terms of that sale IS "stealing".

    that's an oversimplification. IP either IS like physical property and can be stolen, or it isn't like physical property and therefore cannot be stolen. IP maxmalists want to have a bunch of rights and controls which are not possible with physical property, yet they want to be able to enforce those rights with penalties commensurate with the theft of physical property. that doesn't really work since you cannot have it both ways.

    if IP is like physical property, then YES, unauthorized distribution is stealing, but then content creators have to extend physical property rights to the consumer, like the doctrine of first sale. consumers would then be afforded physical property rights for digital goods that they don't have now, like being able to sell, rent, or lease their copies.

    if IP is not like physical property, then you can license it instead of selling it, and take action when that license is violated, but you can't call violating that license "stealing". it is a violation of an agreement and should be treated in a vastly different manner than the theft of physical property.

    Granted, some examples of stealing are way worse than others, and it is also certainly possible that content owners are cutting their own throats by annoying their customers with such restrictive policies. However, thsoe content owners have the right to cut their own throats, and it is not up to us to save them from themselves.

    that may be true, but the ways that content owners want to help themselves is by changing laws and law enforcement in ways that will erode consumer rights, fair use, the public domain, and possibly even civil liberties such as free speech. these changes will continue to be in place long after the businesses they were enacted to protect have ceased to exist, due largely to the self-inflicted throat cutting that you described.

    that is the issue: the market changed and there was a sudden leveling of the playing field that shifted power to the consumer at the expense of the intellectual property rights holder. the response from the rights holder has been to lobby for changes to legislation that will control the market artificially, rather than adapting to the change by finding new ways to compete.

     

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    chris (profile), Mar 18th, 2010 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Re: hmm...

    I'm pretty sure moral rights are supposed to develop from existing mores.

    and existing mores come out of the existing environment. the social mores that surround ownership are primarily based on physical property. the mores that surround intellectual property are based on respect for authorship and helping the author to earn a living.

    digital goods are a new institution that society hasn't clearly defined mores for just yet. a lot of the thinking that surrounds digital goods is a hold over from physical goods.

    bits are not atoms. the physical laws that govern them are vastly different so the social and moral laws that govern them should be different as well.

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 3:21pm

    Re: Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    Well, I must say I'm not overly impressed with your binary treatment of parents who don't have the same approach to backup DVDs you do (they're either morons or geniuses). Please note I didn't say nobody does it, but pointed out that I don't personally know a single parent (or anyone, actually) who really, truly makes pure backup copies of DVDs for no purrpose other than to preserve the original. So, I suspect the actual practice is not really very prevalent, especially in light of how prominently it gets trumpeted in any pro-copying article.

    Further, I would respectfully suggest that "backups" to media that offer additional functoinality are not actually "backups". They are space-shifted copies. So, again, I'm not arguing that space-shifting is good or bad, merely that the "backup" argument is pretty overdone, considering that it doesn't seem to really be the case that this is what people are actually doing in any great numbers.

    As for pointing out the mistakes of content owners, I'm all in favor of supporting your right to ridicule content owners with practices that you feel don't meet the needs of today's consumer - though I will also tell you that I think that reasonaed arguments and voting with your wallet are much more effective means than flouting the law and generally being loudmouthed jerks. I mean, please, we're not talking about milk for your kids or fuel oil for your heater to keep you from freezing to death in the winter. These are movies. Pure luxury items. Let's have a little perspective here.

    In short, my original statement above merely said that there are some more reasonable positions that BOTH sides can take in resolving the issues associated with digital media and copying. If it's fair to "peel back" the arguments of content owners, it's just as fair to do so with pro-copying arguments. I'm all in favor of getting BOTH sides to stop the theatrics and hysterics and act like grownups who can solve problems without resorting to hyperbole and overblown arguments.

    HM

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    It's not illegal to burn a copy of a CD - even if it's for use beyond pure backup purposes.

    HM

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 3:38pm

    Re: Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    Well, most of your arguments are about how current content owners just aren't meeting the desires (I won't say "needs", since movies are luxury items, not necessities) of consumers. Fair enough. However, in that case, it seems the right answer is to vote with your wallet. You don't like that you aren't permitted to copy a DVD or Blu-ray? Don't buy it. Make content owners very aware that your purchase decision is direclty impacted by DRM. If enough consumers do that, you can bet the sales practices of these content owners will change. If not enough people vote with their wallet in that way, well, then we see that the complainers are merely a small minority of cranks who don't really impact the studios' bottom line, so why cater to them? That's capitalism. Capitalsim is NOT "sell me what I want to buy, or I'll break into your store and steal it from you."

    As for whether IP is like tangible physical property or not, yes, there are some good points there, but overall, your claim that it is a pure binary decision (it's either like physical property or not, and therefore using it in an unauthorized manner is either stealing or not) is somewhat fallacious. We have plenty of examples of things which are not tangible physical property, but are subject to theft. We talk about "identity theft", for instance. The money in your bank account can be stolen, though it may NEVER actually have been manifested as physical bills or coins.

    Personally, I tend to think the concept of time-limited copies (such as what is/was done by Zune) that let you give a copy of a song (or other work) to a friend, subjec to that copy expiring after, say, three days seems to be a fairly reasonable implementation of "lending" digital copies. However, there's still the argument that even time-limited copies are still "stealing" if they were not authorized by the copyright holder and not otherwise to an exception like fair use.

    HM

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 3:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Missleading as usual

    I'm sorry, but I'm not quite sure I'm following you here. Are you arguing that it should be permitted to "lend" a copy to a friend because that friend might not return the copy and you don't want to have to pay to replace it (if you had loaned him the original instead of a copy)?

    HM

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 3:55pm

    Re: 'I don't know a single person who REALLY makes just "backup" copies of their DVDs'

    Actually, I would argue that the copies you're making to the hard drive are not "backup" copies. They are space-shifted copies. Copies ripped to a hard drive are not merely preserving the original. They are providing additional functionality that was not included with the original disc. Not to say that's right or wrong, but merely to say that the "backup" argument is overblown, because most people who claim to be making "backup" copies actually aren't. They're making space-shifted copies in order to enjoy more flexible use of the content.

    In any case, it is not illegal to make copies of CDs for personal use. The Audio Home Recording Act makes that clear.

    HM

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 4:02pm

    Re: Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    I don't doubt at all the utility of ripping CDs and storing the content as MP3s on a hard drive and/or a portable media player. However, those are not "backup" copies. They are space-shifted copies.

    I think your description of your earlier practice of duplicating an audio cassette, then playing the dupe while storing the original away in a closet IS an example of truly making backup copies.

    In any case, my comment about not knowing anyone who really makes backup copies was meant to support my belief that the practice is making true "backup" copies (as opposed to space-shifting in order to strip DRM, gain more flexible use of the content than was provided on the original media, etc.) is actually not nearly as prevalent as is implied in the pro-copying articles which almost always mention it as the primary argument in support of DRM circumvention.

    HM

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 4:15pm

    Re: A question I've always had......

    This is actually a good question, I think.

    First, it is not illegal to make a personal use copy of an audio CD. This is provided for in the Audio Home Recording Act. Rip to your heart's content - for your own personal use.

    I have ripped all several hundred of my CDs to my Zune library, and have actually thought about the question you have raised. I'm not sure there's an easy and direct "legal" answer, but my own approach is as follows:

    1. If I break the disc (which almost never happens, though I'm not overly careful in how I handle them), I don't feel a particular obligation to delete the ripped files or to rush out and repurchase the CD. However, I will likely repurchase the CD at some point, just out of an anal desire to have "complete" collection.

    2. If I purposely give away the disc (to a friend or in a garage sale or to Goodwill, whatever), I absolutely DO delete the ripped files.

    3. I do not rip copies of my CDs for friends, just like I do not make photocopies of my books for them.

    HM

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 4:21pm

    Re: If I purchased....

    Interesting analogy, because there are actually copyright laws that apply specifically to the copying of boat hull designs.

    In any case, they sold you the movie subject to certain conditions, one being that it is for viewing only. The price is arguably based on that. You don't like the condition? Don't buy the disc.

    I actually do think there should be more clear labelling on DVDs/Blu-rays that clearly informs the buyer that a condition of buying the disc at the advertised price is conditioned on not making copies. The consumer has a right to know what he's purchasing. And I agree with many that the FBI warning at the beginning of movies is often not really stated accurately, as not all unauthorized copying is illegal.

    HM

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 5:31pm

    Re: Re: Then there would be no Commandments

    No, I disagree. While many (all?) works of art borrow themes so forth from other works, they do not usually copy specific expression.

    This is one of those pro-copying arguments that I think is overblown and mis-stated.

    ACTUAL copying, as in sampling or derivative/transformative works, or in comment, satire, parody, etc., makes up a fairly small percentage of the universe of creative works generated by artists.

    HM

     

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    TtfnJohn (profile), Mar 19th, 2010 @ 6:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    God, on the other hand, has no problem with you passing the 10 Commandments around in either digital or any other form so it's more for show than to make money!

     

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    PaulT (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 1:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    "However, those are not "backup" copies. They are space-shifted copies"

    Semantics. If I choose to play the MP3 instead of the CD, isn't that the exact same effect as playing a CD-R copy? If I lend the original (or the copy) to a friend but hold on to a copy myself, isn't that the same as P2P? If I sell the original but retain my Mp3s, isn't that still infringement? What's the difference?

     

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    PaulT (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 1:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    Well, I did insert some hyperbole, but my point stands. If you have a small child and don't make backups, the media may get damaged and you have to buy multiple copies. I know several parents who do make backups regularly for this exact reason. Ergo, your statement to the effect that nobody does this is wrong.

    "Further, I would respectfully suggest that "backups" to media that offer additional functoinality are not actually "backups"."

    Perhaps you would. The RIAA and MPAA have demonstrated many times that they do not and would like to make this illegal and/or impossible (see their attacks on MP3 players and DVD backup software for examples).

    "I think that reasonaed arguments and voting with your wallet are much more effective means than flouting the law and generally being loudmouthed jerks"

    There's over 3 years of comments from me here that show that I do exactly that, and do not appreciate being called a loudmouthed jerk. Unfortunately, these corporations control so much of the media that the "unwashed masses", so to speak, do not follow suit.

    What I do resent, however, is my rights and liberties being removed because an industry hasn't worked out how to deal with new technology and is trying to sue everybody back into the 20th century.

    "there are some more reasonable positions that BOTH sides can take in resolving the issues associated with digital media and copying"

    I'm waiting for the reasonable actions on the part of the content industry. Again, see my many, many previous comments on the subject for details, but I've spent the last decade butting against the artificial restrictions they put on me while the so-called "pirates" offer me everything I need. Even if I did "pirate" content - which I don't - it would hardly be unjustified.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 1:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    "It's not illegal to burn a copy of a CD - even if it's for use beyond pure backup purposes."

    Wrong. It's not technically illegal IN THE US, but it's a very grey area elsewhere, and the RIAA have tried their best in the past to make it illegal (witness their attempts to have the first MP3 players banned).

    Also, IIRC, a backup becomes illegal as soon as it stops being a pure backup. That is, if you lend it to a friend or sell it, this is an infringement. If you sell the original but keep hold of the backup, it's infringement. And so on...

     

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    Jamie, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 7:47am

    Re: Copying and lending are different.

    The Nook includes a lending feature that allows owners of copyrighted eBooks to lend their books to friends, but the owner can't access the content while it is lent out. THAT is just like the real world. Um, this is so completely wrong that I'm laughing. In the real world, Bit Torrent exists. Things like Nook and Apple's FairPlay goofiness are attempts to walk back Big Copyright's attempt at maximalism to an intermediate point. In the real world, technology has changed the equasion. Denying reality might be a reasonable short-term strategy for making some money, if you're a lawyer harassing people for instance, but it doesn't change reality. Ask your kids, if you have them, what is on their thumb drives. I promise you it is "pirated" music. This is reality.

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 7:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    My apologies. My characterization of the pro-copying crowd was certainly a generalization, and I did not intend it to apply to you specifically - unless, of course, you do actually act like a jerk. ;-)

    Again, I didn't say "nobody" makes backups. I said I didn't know anybody who actually made backups. I know plenty of people who space-shift copies (e.g., ripping movies to a PC-based hard drive for subsequent use on an iPod, etc.). However, the argument that the pro-copying lobby usually trots out first and trumpets the loudest is that people want to make "backup" copies for the purpose of preserving the original. However, space-shifted copies do MORE than that, so the "backup" argument doesn't really hold a lot of water. People aren't stopping at "backup" copies. They're almost always going the next step to space-shifted copies in order to get more flexibility. So, I certainly think the argument about whether space-shifting should be permitted is a valid one - but it's not about "backup" copies, and it's somewhat disingenuous for the pro-copying lobby to keep using the "backup" copy argument in that case.

    And it appears that you consider yourself one who argues reasonably, but you completely ignored my "vote with your wallet" suggestion. Why do you apparently not think boycotting content with restrictions attached is a good way to go?

    HM

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 8:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    Semantics are important - but often abused.

    No, the two scenarios are not the same thing:

    1. You wish to preserve your copy of "Iron Man", so you use a software tool to copy the movie to a DVD-R. You then put your original disc safely on a shelf, and play the DVD-R in your DVD player when you want to watch that movie. You are happy with this, because you have successfully preserved your original movie disc.

    2. You wish to preserve your copy of "Iron Man", AND you wish to watch it on your home media server, on your iPod, any of a number of devices OTHER than the DVD player that would play the copy you brought home from the store. So, you rip the DVD to your PC's hard drive as an MP4, making it available on your home network, copiable to your iPod, and so forth. You are much more happy with this arrangement, because, not only have you preserved your original movie disc, but you have now also added significant functionality to your movie experience by making multiple copies in multiple formats to multiple devices.

    I would suggest that the former is a backup scenario. The latter is not. The pro-copying lobby often (usually) presents the former as an oh-so-reasonable "right" of consumers, when very few actually do just that. They much more often go to the second scenrior, which is much more than a mere backup.

    HM

     

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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    Please consider my comment about the legality of copying audio CDs suitably modified.

    As for the backup becoming illegal as soon as it stops being a pure backup, that depends on what you have done with it beyond that. The AHRA does not say specifically "backup" copying is OK. It applies to all personal use. However, the specifiic examples you gave would certainly cross the line from permitted to illegal copying.

    HM

     

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    Jamie, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 8:12am

    "Industry"

    I've also challenged the strength of the new models and examples you've put up so far because I haven't yet seen anything that is capable of supporting an industry effectively enough. See, there's your problem. It simply isn't the case that, because an industry existed in the past, it has to exist for all time. The industry is not the same thing as music. In fact, selling plastic disks to Walmart to sell to suburban kids is a historical oddity in the history of music, not the norm. Music is about musicians playing music for listeners who want to hear it, not lawyers lobbying Orin Hatch for a new handout. Really, the difference is pretty stark, if you look at it.

     

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    Jamie, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 8:26am

    Can't tell if you're trying to be being funny or not,

    ...But it isn't working.

    Stealing is illegal because it is economically inefficient, and doing so, if caught, has led to seriously liberty infringing repercussions since long before a bunch of proto-hippies codified a bunch of prior art into the book in question. Also notable is that non-christians also have codified law about theft, and that thiefs themselves dislike being stolen from - it is hardly as if devotion to Jesus is a prerequisite for disliking theft.

    Copyright infringment is illegal because a pile of lawyers made it so, and the best way to trace it backwards is to look at the Statute of Anne, which essentially turned a wanna-be cartel into an actual cartel by monarchic decree.

    See, this stuff is easy to talk about, if you talk about facts. Feel free to dispute my particular spin, so long as you adhere to facts.

     

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    Jamie, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 8:40am

    Additionally

    However, I'm not going to f*ck the artists by breaking laws and taking their music for free while we all figure it out. I have very little respect for those who do.

    This is worth unpacking.

    I, too, do not violate the copyright of artists who don't want me to. However, it is emphatically _not_ the case that I am "fucking the artists" if I were to do so.

    In order to see this, it helps to note that I am also not purchasing the music of the vast majority of those artists. From their income standpoint, it is completely revenue-neutral for me to either ignore them and for me to bit torrent their music. They make the same amount of money from me: zero. People can, and do, differ on the publicity value of voluntary distribution, but anyone with a modicum of interaction with reality has to see that Metallica derives no more money from me by my ignoring them than they would if I downloaded whatever their latest noise was.

    The argument, in fact, seems to be that if there were marginally more difficult to download that latest-noise, marginally more people would buy shiney disks. The problem with this assertion is that it is emperically testable, and has been repeatedly demonstrated to be false. And one of the things Mike is noting is that muscicians, who like playing music and enjoy celebrity, are finding alternate routes to getting it. It is still an extremely risky profession, to be sure, but whoring to an A&R guy appears to be no longer a required step in the process, which seems to be a huge part of why all this noise is generated: the AR types don't like that. But, you know: people still make money raising horses, even if it isn't quite as central to the economy any more. If you actually like doing A&R, you still have a role. You might just make less money doing it, and there will be fewer laquered poytails at small venues as a result.

     

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    Jamie, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 8:50am

    Let me get this straight:

    You basically agree with her, but you dislike the fact that she is arguing that there is a sliding-scale of gray with regards to the morality copyright infringement?

    And this makes you hopping mad?

    Would you like to argue in the alternative that a 14 year old who is aware of the Pirate Bay is exactly as morally culpable as those shops in LA who retail $4 CDs on the street? (Note: it might be more now, I haven't had to be in LA in several years, thank goodness.)

     

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  106.  
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    Jamie, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 12:17pm

    Except...

    . If the "problem" were really about people wanting the ability to make a true backup copy so they could save their originals from damage while the copy gets used in its place, I suspect we wouldn't be faced with all this DRM stuff.

    We have a clear example of the the contrary.



    This is the problem: you are denying reality. Ask the judge that stopped Real from distributing their software.



    Also, I really wonder what the CPA working for, say EA, thinks about DRM - these are professionals who are about money, not ideology. While they may think that a short-term quarterly hit might be good, I wonder what they think about the long-term prospects of reality denial.



    Like I said, ask your kids, if you have them. They don't respect the current notion of copyright, and they are next year's voters. The notion that you can make their lives hell enough to change reality is predicated on the notion that you can catch all of them. Which is laughable. What the effort is doing is actually demonstrating that there are almost no repurcussions for copying music.



    Really, it is true. I happen to know someone who works in the music industry, and they download music from Demonoid "constantly". Her word, not mine. I wold challenge you to assert that every piece of music you have is inarguably licensed from the right-holder. Can you assert that? No Beatle's samples, anywhere? No sample-riff that Eddy Grant is going to get pissed off about sometime in the future?



    Of course, it is easier to assert this if you have no music at all.

     

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  107.  
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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Additionally

    You seem to be making an interesting argument, namely, that, because you were not prepared to pay for Metallica's music in the first place, there should be no real objection to you getting as much of it for free as you might want.

    HM

     

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  108.  
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    Jamie, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    I think you are right.

    You are precisey right. You can pen story, and other can consume. I shouldn't have to pay for your musical stuff, or story, or what have you.

    In fact, I have not "consumed" any of the the Harry Potter stories. I have seen none of them. Please explain why I should pay money for your to produce wizard porn. Kthxby.

    I realize that response is a bit insulting, but, really, don't charge me for things I'm not consuming. And respond to the fact that I am not consuming it , rather than the fact that I'm telling you you're insulting me.

     

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  109.  
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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Except...

    I am reasonbly sure that I do not have any music which represents an actionable infringement of copyright. I do not rip CDs I do not own. I do not download music at all. I only rip my own CDs. As for any infringing music that might be in a game or video clip or something, I reasonably rely on the likelihood that the game/video artist is not infringing, either by obtaining the necessary permission(s) or perhpas via fair use, etc.

    And I'm not sure what you mean about "denying reality," and why you think the Real case supports your opinion that I am doing so. I am asserting that "reality" is that people are not really making "backup" copies, and, therefore, it is not really a valid argument in support of the pro-copy ideology. Further, the Real case actually supports MY point, not yours (at least about whether I'm "denying reality"). The RealDVD product was not about making "backup" copies. The copy was made to a PC hard drive for use in a more flexible way than was avaialble through the original movie disc.

    Now, of course, this is COMPLETELY separate from the point about whether space-shifting (via tools such as RealDVD) should or should not be considered, essentially, a "fair use". My whole point all along has been merely that the pro-copy movement is just as subject to relying on overstated arguments as is the conent industry. Just like not every person who rips a DVD is a "pirate", it is also true that most people who claim to want to make "backup" copies are really doing more than that. And I honestly believe that the issue becomes harder to resolve as long as BOTH sides condone the use of hyperbole and overstatement by members of their respective sides of the argument.

    HM

     

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  110.  
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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Except...

    One more point - regarding your assertion that the kids of today, who are the voters of tomorrow, having no respect for our current copyright system, I suspect that, like in many things, their views on this will evolve as they grow older, get jobs, learn a bit how the world works and want to become successful artists in their own right. They might feel a bit differently 20 years from now when someone not even born today is ripping THEIR content.

    Maybe, maybe not, of course. But, consider that most of the folks who were at Woodstock eventually drove minivans to take their kids to soccer practice before going to the PTA meeting.

    HM

     

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  111.  
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    Jamie, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 1:46pm

    That's a really wierd argument.

    Um, you have it completely upside down.

    I don't care about Metalica. They can do whatever they want, and I wish the well - why not?

    However, it is also worth pointing out that I would pay no money to Metallica even if I had access to thePirateBay. And in fact I have access to thePirateBay. And I don't pay money to Metallica. Using legal means to attempt to supress thePirateBay do not help Metallica. They do not help smaller artists, who are attempting to get around A&R types.

    Who gets a paycheck if people can't promote themselves? Well, A&R types are not the only ones, but they're the ones that make a career out of it.

    I don't dispute their right to make a check - just not on the back of other people. Being a rock star is a hard job - incredibly risky. I have no idea why is should support a much more comfy job.

    If you wish to demonstrate the altenative, demonstrate where my not listenting to Metallica is a crime.You can't, because it isn't.

    This is only one of the values of adhering to reality - you don't look absurd, and people don't make fun of you, thus reducing your future ability to argue with a straight face.

     

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  112.  
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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 5:53pm

    Re: That's a really wierd argument.

    I'm wondering if we have a language gap that's our problem, or if I'm just not familiar with your style of writing English, or what. I sense that we're not quite matching up on the same sheet of music (as it were)...

    In any case, I'm not sure where you even get the idea to bring up the concept for discussion that NOT listening to Metallica would be a crime... I suspect you're raising this absurd idea to make a point, but what that point might be is lost on me.

    I'm not sure how "risky" it is to be a rock star - unless the would-be rock star is investing his/her own money. If not, then it is risky for the producer/promoter who IS putting up the money.

    In any case, I'm not sure what point you're making about artists and reocrd labels, unless it's one of the OTHER overstated, hyperbolic arguments of the pro-copy movement that record labels somehow DESERVE to lose their profits on music, because they allegedly treat artists so unfairly themselves. Well, that may or may not be. Either way, it's not really our business, and, in any case, I'm not aware of a single person who made a clearly illegal copy of a CD, but took the initiative to send money directly to the artist - bypassing the record label. So, this is naother argument that I would suggest is fairly overstated in the pro-copy lobby. Fortunately, only the real over-the-top rabid types seem to go for this argument.

    Anyway, I do understand the argument that not every instance of unauthorized copying is necessarily a "lost sale" to the record labels. And I agree that estimates of losses due to piracy may be very overstated if the underlying assumpion is that every unauthorized copy represents a corresponding lost sale. However, the argument coming from the other direction, as I mentioned before, as you seemed to be making (though you seem to think I missed your point, so I'm happy to consider it if you'd please re-phrase it), was that the fact that someone was not going to buy a copy in the first place equated to no real cause for complaint on the part of the content owner. This seems a very twisted argument. If you're not using your bike right now, why shouldn't I be allowed to take it - even without your permission? If I bring it back in time for you to use it later, what's the harm? If you're away on vacation, what harm is it to you if I enter your home, watch your TV and sleep in your bed, as long as I clean up and put everything back in place before you return home?

    HM

     

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  113.  
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    Jamie, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 6:04pm

    OK

    I accept that you're honest. I don't believe you're correct, but you're honest.

    Can you cite anyone without a financial intrest in the outcome that supports the RealDVD outcome?

    I'm hardly being crazy by noting that copying music is the norm now. It is. That's simply reality. Again: if you have kids, ask them about thier thumb drives. If you don't, ask your neigbhors's kids.

    I have, in fact, done so.The kids these days. But that's exactly what they do. This is, in fact, a baseline change in what people consider moral behavoir. It doesn't matter that you don't like it: the next generation considers music a public good, "bits are bits".

    Those who wish to make money on music certainly have some thinking to do. But attempting to rest antiquated copyright notions on public perception when you can find "pirates" faster than you can count in public schools, well, that's the sort of stupid argument that I would expect a lawyer to make, but only for money.

    Talking about how the use of software "should" be used is about as useful as talking about videos of sex "should" be used. You're fighting economic pressure. There's a opportuniy for making money on doing so, but it doesn't last long, and getting a rep for attempting to hold back the tide against noting reality isn't a strong selling point, at least to me. Maybe some outfit like Focus on the Family needs a shill.

     

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  114.  
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    Jamie, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 7:47pm

    I think you might be correct

    I think we really, fatally, for the purposes of discussion, do not understand one another.

    In my world, when I don't pay Metallica, I don't pay Metallica. There is not a transaction, I don't have their particular flavor of noisy music, they don't have money. I think we can agree on at least this point, right?

    This is true, regardless of whether or not I partake of Demonoid, which as far as I can tell, at least many music industry insiders use of, nobody sends money to Metallica. If I were to go to Demonoid.com and download whatever noisy crap they produced this week, they would still make no money.

    Falling back on arguing about my hypothetical bike falls in to the same category of assuming that I'm somehow depriving someone else of their music enjoyment if I happen to enjoy music without tithing RIAA.

    Which is actually pretty funny - there was someone here talking about how if someone was deprived, that made lending fair. I wonder who might have said that.

     

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  115.  
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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 9:31pm

    Re: OK

    I don't dispute at all that all this copying is an economic force that has to be taken seriously and appropriately accounted for. You are right that the reality is that a lot of people are copying, regardless of measures (both technical and legal) that are put up to try to hold back the tide.

    Personally, I do wonder how much of their profit would they keep if the studios dropped copy protection. Would piracy run rampant and profits drop through the floor? Or would piracy cause perhaps SOME drop, but not anywhere near a fatal drop, with most people still continuing to do the right thing and pay for what they use? It's very risky to find out, so I'm not sure any studio would be too eager to be the first to try it...

    HM

     

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  116.  
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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 20th, 2010 @ 9:41pm

    Re: OK

    Regarding the RealDVD outcome, why is it important to understand whether the supporters had a financial interest in it? That's how court cases work - especially when you're the plaintiff. The major reason for ANYBODY to sue anybody else is because you want to either stop the action of someone else who is negatively impacting you (usually financially) or to be comepensated (usually financially) for some injury (often financial) done to you by the defendant.

    Keep in mind the whole purpose of copyright is to provide a protected (financial) interest to artists in order to maximize their incentive to create works to be enjoyed by all of us.

    RealDVD had a financial interest in the outcome, too. They weren't in it for the principle of the thing. They had a product they wanted to sell - for profit.

    And many of the folks who supported RealDVD had a financial interest as well. They want to be able to enjoy copies of the movies they buy without having to pay additionally for those copoies.

    I'm quite sure there are any number of law professors who believe the RealDVD case was decided correctly ("correctly" meaning merely that it was consistent with the law as it is today - putting aside the question of whether the law SHOULD be what it is today).

    I think the "financial interest" angle is a red herring.

    HM

    PS: Thanks for accepting my honesty, though. I really do mean for this to be an intelligent discussion, rather than a mud-slinging contest! ;-)

     

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  117.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 21st, 2010 @ 1:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    I think there's 2 issues here - what people generally consider to be a valid reason for "backup" (a term used by many to mean both a direct disc-to-disc copy and the "space shifting" you refer to) and what the **AAs and their cronies consider to be right. They, of course, want to charge you for every copy you hold - a "digital copy" for your iPod, the CD and the MP3 separately, etc. This is where the arguments get confused - what you or I consider to be a valid use of our property, the industry views as a market they should be charging for.

    "Again, I didn't say "nobody" makes backups. I said I didn't know anybody who actually made backups."

    Again, you seem to be using different definitions. As I mentioned - one person makes a backup of their movie to a DVD-r, another makes a copy to his hard drive. Both people view the copy instead of the original, and both refer to the copy as a "backup". They're not doing anything differently (though the digital guy has opened up more uses for his backup copy than the DVD-R guy). Consider that many people will not separate these activities in their mind as you have done. It's just easier to say "backup" than to start confusing the issue with different types of backup and usage.

    "Why do you apparently not think boycotting content with restrictions attached is a good way to go?"

    I do, but here's the thing - the majority of people don't care enough about the subject. Personally, I have been boycotting major label music for several years, use Linux and open source software almost exclusively, have ditched PC gaming due to the DRM and lean toward independent movies as much as possible (though a large majority of them still get released by major studio subsidiaries). If I do like a band well enough to bite the bullet and buy a major label CD, I buy second hand so that the RIAA does not profit directly from my purchase.

    Meanwhile, for every person like me, there's 10 or 20 people who just consume whatever media is thrown at them without a thought to the technical, legal or moral aspects of doing so. I have had numerous arguments over the years with people who think that if something in not being pushed every 2 seconds by the corporate mainstream media, then it must somehow be inferior and not worth looking at. These people will blindly buy broken and dangerous (in the case of rootkits, etc.) products without a second thought.

    It's a stupid, blinkered belief but too many people currently believe it for a mere boycott to be effective. This is especially true when the content providers seem totally unwilling to consider their own part in their downfall. I know I went from buying 20-30 major label CDs a year to zero, but I'll bet you that the RIAA blames that loss on "piracy" and not the actions I've been boycotting.

    While I believe that a boycott on content is the right thing for me to do personally, not enough people are either aware enough or care enough about the issue to send a clear message. Therefore, attacking the counter-productive and dangerous tactics that the **AAs are using to defend against the phantom of "piracy" is the better way forward. We can still boycott while doing this, but a boycott alone will not be noticed.

     

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  118.  
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    Hugh Mann (profile), Mar 21st, 2010 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    Regarding backups vs. "backups", I think it is true that a lot of people don't see the difference between the "DVD-R guy" and the "digital guy" you described above. I think that is an obstacle to resolving copying issues. I really don't think content owners would object much at all if there were a way to enable true backup copies (for the DVD-R guy), while not also enabling the space/format-shifting ability sought by the digital guy.

    And I think it is significant that a boycott might not generate enough supporters. In a market for a pure luxury item like movies/music (i.e., the situation is not biased because we're dealing with food, shelter, or other necesseties), your response indicates the majority of the market doesn't support your point of view and is not looking for the functionality you want. In a capitalist economy, why should a supplier cater to the minority, rather than the majority, especially when the minority wants more functionality - arguably without paying more for the product in the first place.

    I think it would be helpful if someone could produce some market research that shows two things: 1. that the current market majority would likely not reduce its rate of purchasing of digital content products each year, AND 2. the minority would buy at least SOME increased amount of digital content products. To the content owners, you could then say, "look, bub, by unlocking your content, you're not losing any sales from the people who are already doing the right thing, AND you're actually GAINING sales from people who used to "steal" your content. You would actually come out AHEAD, not BEHIND!"

    HM

     

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  119.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 2:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    "In a capitalist economy, why should a supplier cater to the minority, rather than the majority, especially when the minority wants more functionality - arguably without paying more for the product in the first place."

    That last statement is false - I, and people like me are perfectly willing to pay.

    As for the rest of what you said, consider the fact that we probably wouldn't be discussing this is the capitalist dream was functioning. The reason why this is such a big issue is because fewer and fewer people are buying, and people like me who used to be the industry's biggest customers are no longer buying for whatever reason.

    "I think it would be helpful if someone could produce some market research that shows two things: 1. that the current market majority would likely not reduce its rate of purchasing of digital content products each year, AND 2. the minority would buy at least SOME increased amount of digital content products."

    Why? We know 2 things for a fact, especially with a view to the music industry:

    1. Sales of physical media are dropping rapidly.
    2. While sales of digital media are growing, they are not growing quickly enough to make up for the shortfall in physical sales.

    The industry's response to this has been to blindly blame "piracy" and attempt to remove fair usage right and even try to kill personal internet connections for suspected infringers.

    I'm merely stating that there are other ways to deal with the issue. This may be to offer better pricing structures and remove regional restrictions. It may be to concentrate on other aspects of the music industry than recordings. It may be to shift marketing away from "stars" and on to more moderately selling but far less expensive acts. Perhaps it's to fully support up-and-coming new businesses such as Spotify, Jamendo, AmieStreet and Pandora.

    I don't know the real answer and there's no magic bullet solution, but all of these options are a hell of a lot more workable than the responses we've seen so far.

     

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  120.  
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    Luci Temple (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 4:19pm

    Who is full of it?

    Hi McBeese,

    Before you call someone "full of it" you might want to read their whole post. I discuss what the conditions of "lending" would be, and it's not dissimilar to what you say here.

    The reason I posted about this topic is *because* in the music and film industry there are people aggressively arguing against anything like what you say the Nook does.

    My post is an open discussion looking at various scenarios, trying to find a middle ground between the extreme arguments put forward by both sides.

    My only 'argument' is that the law needs to be redefined in this area as it is currently outdated, written prior to the digital world, and is vague in areas of 'Fair Use' etc.

     

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  121.  
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    chris (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Peel back some pro-copying arguments, too

    you don't get it. you keep approaching this like it's something that can be fixed on the consumer side. that is not the case.

    the consumer recourse is simple: keep enjoying the stuff you consume, just stop paying for it.

    the pirate recourse is simple too: keep doing what you have been doing for years because there is no way that you can be stopped.

    what is not simple is the producer's recourse: you could fix your product, costs, and business model so that unauthorized distribution works in your favor, or you just keep pissing off the people who are giving you money.

    the conflict breaks down like this:

    pirates get and distribute content without authorization and there is nothing that producers can do to stop it.

    content producers want to stop piracy by lashing out at their paying customers.

    piracy is completely unaffected by the measures that content producers take.

    the measures that content producers encourage producers to become pirates.

    that's like trying to win a fist fight by punching yourself in the face. there is a war going on between pirates and producers and the producers are trying to win via self mutilation.

     

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