Another week, another set of comments. First up on the insightful side of things came the following comment on the post about Chris Dodd's new post as head of the MPAA where he compared infringement to theft. An Anonymous Coward commenter decided to explore the difference between theft and infringement
(and yes, I noticed the two 4s. Guess it's kind of funny that the most insightful commenter can't count):
Theft and Infringement
A lesson on the difference between physical property and intellectual property, between theft and infringement.
1. Physical property is any tangible thing that you own. The piece of paper on your desk is your physical property.
2. Intellectual property is an idea or expression of an idea that you own. In your mind, think of an imaginary creature that no one has ever seen before. You own that thought--it is your intellectual property.
3. Draw your imaginary creature on your paper. You now own both the paper (physical property) and the creature on it (intellectual property).
4. A property right is the freedom you have to do whatever you want with anything you own.
4. My physical property rights mean that I can do whatever I want with my piece of paper. I can draw on it, write on it, fold it into a little hat, tear it up, or eat it. You can do whatever you want with your paper, too!
5. My intellectual property rights mean that I can do whatever I want with my imaginary creature. I can give him a name, write stories about him, draw more pictures of him, or make a movie about him. You can do whatever you want with your creature, too!
6. Infringement is preventing someone from exercising his rights. If I prevent you from drawing on your paper, I am infringing on your physical property rights. If I prevent you from writing a story about your imaginary creature, I am infringing on your intellectual property rights.
7. Theft is the act of stealing, or taking something without permission. If I take your paper without your permission, I have committed a theft. You no longer have the paper--I do. By stealing your paper, I have prevented you from doing anything with it, so I have infringed on your physical property rights.
8. What happens if I draw an imaginary creature that looks just like yours on my paper? Have I taken your creature from you? If you still have the idea of the creature, and you still have your drawing of the creature, then I have not taken it--I have not committed theft. Have I prevented you from drawing more pictures of him? If I have not prevented you from exercising your rights, I have not infringed. Drawing a picture of your creature is neither theft nor infringement; it is exercising my physical property rights to my paper.
9. What happens if you try to prevent me from drawing an imaginary creature that looks just like yours on my own paper? Look at paragraph 6. Preventing me from exercising my rights would be infringement; you would be infringing on my physical property rights.
10. If you can do anything you want with your imaginary creature, and I can do anything I want with your imaginary creature, then who really owns your imaginary creature? Who holds the intellectual property rights? The answer is nobody! It is impossible to own an idea. You cannot have property rights to an imaginary creature because it is imaginary. Even if your imaginary creature is really, really original, and you thought about it for years before you drew it, and you actually spent millions of dollars on fancy pencils to draw it with--it's still imaginary, still an idea, and you cannot own an idea.
11. Unfortunately, that's not how the law works. Legally, you can prevent me from exercising my physical property rights by accusing me of infringement. If I use my paper to draw a copy your imaginary creature, you can sue me, or even have me arrested--for infringement. And yet, it is you, not me, who is preventing someone from exercising their rights.
12. Obviously, the law is wrong
Coming in second on the insightful list (and also doing pretty well on the funny side of things) was a comment from Chris Rhodes
in response to Bon Jovi's complaint that not buying a totally unknown record in a record store based on its cover art took away some magical moments in music. Chris thought Bon Jovi was a bit off on that
So he's pining for a time when people made music decisions based on the album art? And having people to listen to a track before parting with their hard-earned cash is "killing music"? Yikes.
If that's the music industry he wants, I'm glad it's dead. Somebody put a couple more rounds in it for good measure
There was a tie for third place, and both were really, really close in score to Chris's comment, so we'll throw both of those in, rather than an editor's choice. The first comes from a comment on Dark Helmet's post about thinking up other logically inconsistent claims, similar to the claim that people will want to pay more for bandwidth, and an Anonymous Coward came up with the obvious retort
"I think you will naturally see evolve a world where people who watch very little television expect to pay less and people who watch a whole lot may complain, but in their hearts know they are going to pay more than somebody who watches television once a week. I think there will always be an unlimited tier, but I think you'll see the element of consumption introduced over time."
And, finally, another one from an Anonymous Coward (and yes, that's three out of the top four -- who says anonymous commenters are all bad?), in response to a comment from someone who tried to say that copying something from inside a store is the equivalent of theft, this commenter pointed out
where that doesn't make sense:
what if i walk into a best-buy and write down the configuration of a bad-ass gaming computer they have on display, go home, and build the same machine with my own parts? have i stolen their computer? or have i just copied their configuration?
On the funny side, the winner by a wide, wide margin also came on Dark Helmet's post asking for similar statements concerning people coming to terms with wanting to pay more, and an unregistered "Michael" won the funny category by pointing to taxation
I think you will naturally see evolve a world where people who work the least will expect to pay lower taxes and people who pay a whole lot may complain, but in their hearts know they are going to pay more than somebody who can offer benefits to the politicians. I think there will always be whiners, but I think you'll see some kind of lubrication introduced over time.
Oh wait...I think this already happened.
Coming in second was a comment by Atkray
from last week's Insightful/Funny post, helping readers here identify trolls
"What's a Techdirt troll? Is that pretty much anyone who shares a dissenting position?"
Let me help you understand by paraphrasing Paul Newman.
He said "If you're playing a poker game and you look around the table and can't tell who the sucker is, it's you."
In answer to your gyestion, What is a Techdirt troll?
If you are reading Techdirt and can't tell who the troll is, it's you.
And, because I can, I'm going to include three more as "editor's choice," because they're all short and they all struck me as funny. The first two actually came in fourth and fifth in voting, and the last one was a little further down the list. First up was codeslave's
response to my point in comparing the NY Times' decision to charge different amounts for its paywall, depending on what device was being used for access, to the music industry trying to charge different prices, if you listened on headphones vs. speakers. Codeslave seemed to think that some in the recording industry might get the wrong idea
Somewhere a music executive just got chills down his spine and doesn't know why.
Then there's Gwiz's
response to the news that the TSA naked scanners are emitting ten times more radiation than promised
Pay no attention to the glowing TSA workers they are simply shining with pride over keeping our sky's safe....
And, finally, there's Marcus Carab's
response to Bon Jovi's prediction that kids these days are going to wake up with their iPods and mp3s and such and ask "what happened?"
to the good old days of vinyl records:
Ah yes, that terrible and fast-approaching day when we will all wake up to a world devoid of music! When everyone will throw their iPods to the ground and chant "Bring Back Vinyl!" When kids in their rooms won't bother practicing the guitar, because what's the point if you won't get to design an album jacket one day?
Oh horrible portent - tell us Bon Jovi, whose words have been duly marked, how do we avoid this awful future?
And that's it for this past week. Get your comments revved up for this coming week...