If Even The Death Penalty Won't Stop Infringement... Perhaps A Different Approach Is Needed

from the enforcement-doesn't-work dept

We've argued for years that stricter enforcement doesn't stop "piracy," no matter how many times industry folks and politicians insist it otherwise. There's been some recent new empirical evidence that enforcement doesn't work, from the massive SSRC report, but still politicians and industry folks seem to think enforcement is the only way forward. Rick Falkvinge questions how far it needs to go before people realize enforcement won't stop copying when copying feels totally natural. He points to the situation a few centuries ago in France, where the king set up (and sold) monopolies on certain fabric patterns -- and when people kept copying the fabric patterns, they kept ratcheting up enforcement mechanisms until it was punishable by death. And out of that, sixteen thousand people ended up dying.

But at least copying went down, right? Nope. There was no noticeable change in the amount of copied fabrics:
Capital punishment didnít even make a dent in the pirating of the fabrics. Despite the fact that some villages had been so ravaged that everybody knew somebody personally who had been executed by public torture, the copying continued unabated at the same level.
So why do politicians and industry folk still think that greater legal threats will make a difference?


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:28am

    What's that I see? A strawman? Has anyone been executed (outside of perhaps China) for piracy?

    Another instant Techdirt classic! Where is the "RIAA Lobbies For the the Death Penalty" posts?

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:30am

    The words "death penalty for sharing" made MAFIAA execs orgasm.

     

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  3.  
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    John Doe, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:35am

    You just gave RIAA and the MPAA and idea

    Great, now the mafIAA will be pushing for the death penalty for infringement and it's all your fault!

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:36am

    Re:

    You didn't even read the post did you? He never said that copyright infringers got the death penalty, he pointed out that fabric patten copiers didn't stop copying even with the threat of death and compares it with our reletivly less harsh laws.

     

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  5.  
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    Mike42 (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:36am

    Re:

    Oops, they let him out again.

    No sheep is safe tonight...

     

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  6.  
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    Jay (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:37am

    Re:

    You must love going onto every blog, making strawman arguments, then sneaking back under your bridge for supper, don't you?

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:37am

    Re:

    You apparently cannot read. Clearly 16,000 french people were executed for "piracy". Good grief!

     

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  8.  
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    John Doe, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:37am

    Re:

    Your reading comprehension needs work, a lot of work. Mike highlighted a case where copyright infringement (and counterfeiting) was punishable by death and yet it didn't slow it down. So there is no strawman to be found anywhere in this post. But keep looking.

     

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  9.  
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    Nicedoggy, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:42am

    The simple answer is that politicians don't do nothing until people get really, really, really angry and even then they will try to put the blame on the people.

    See London riots for a today example of that.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:47am

    Obviously the the difference that increased punishment and enforcement is to help the economy by building more platforms for public functions such as public torture. Although building Stocks would not only employ carpenters, but food people would buy would help farmers as well...

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:48am

    This is all to help the musicians of course.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:48am

    This is all to help the musicians of course.

     

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  13.  
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    trish, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:50am

    hmmm...

    Does it worry anyone else that our generation may be the smartest to have ever lived yet?

     

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  14.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:50am

    Re:

    Troll Grade: F

    Please stop trolling until you've taken a remedial class. Thank you.

     

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    HothMonster, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:53am

    Woot, bring back public flaying. Nothing prevents sharing like peeling the skin off a mans back.

     

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  16.  
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    Difster, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:54am

    Strawman

    Anonymous Coward is looking for a straw man in a bit stack.

     

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  17.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:55am

    Re:

    Up until the company who had the monopoly building stocks, finds out that there is cheaper labor and material costs to outsource that work to another country.

    The only hope of the people will be that a patent troll with a portfolio full of overly broad patents will file suit against the monopoly corporation seeking money for them infringing on the patents they hold and do not use.

    And then we will have a protracted battle, and the import of stocks will be held up by various court orders from different governmental agencies being used over and over until they can force the monopoly to pay or be forced out of business.

    With a true stroke of luck the entire board of the monopoly would be found guilty of infringing and sentenced to being broken on the wheel... but the blocking of the import will make the sentence impossible to carry out. The monopoly business will fail but no one will want to acquire their assets for fear of the lawsuit continuing and the demands of payment for infringement get larger and larger.

     

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  18.  
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    mike allen (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:55am

    Re:

    now i know who is responcible for the London riots AC troll.

     

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  19.  
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    Pitabred (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:59am

    Re: hmmm...

    Not sure we're the smartest. Just the generation with the most access to information, but that doesn't mean much. Just that we have the potential to be the smartest. There are a lot of people that still just ignore facts and go with their opinion/prejudices, and they're running a lot of the world, especially here in the US.

     

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  20.  
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    Vitek, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:00am

    Now what was that saying...

    "Those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it!"

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:02am

    Re:

    Since a lot of musicians leak their own work, we're going to have a lot of dead musicians. More profit for the RIAA!

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:07am

    The answer is simpler, I think

    Politicians and "industry leaders" are, with very few exceptions, not very bright people.

    (Exceptions include, for instance, Steve Jobs, who, whether you like him or not, is very bright.)

    Most corporate CEOs are dull, imperceptive, half-witted idiots who have gotten to the top not because of their brains, but because they were willing to lie, cheat, backstab, flatter, betray, etc. The same can be said of politicians, especially in the US, where stupidity gets you elected, and nuanced carefully-thought-out statements are ignored or ridiculed.

    We have thus selected, via our social processes, some of the worst among us and put them in positions of economic and political power. Why, then, should we be surprised when they behave exactly as they always have?

     

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  23.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:09am

    Wrong premise: the purpose is not the stopping, it's the /control/.

    The Rich enjoy torturing people. They make up "crimes" (and stage events) that provide the excuse. The current "terrorism" scare is only excuse for a war of empire. It's what The Rich, who have everything material that they could ever want thousands of times over, do for entertainment. -- And if the "crime" was actually stopped, the power and the entertainment would end.

     

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    el_segfaulto (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:12am

    Re: hmmm...

    I wouldn't say the smartest (at 30 I'm not sure if I'm in your generation) but we can call up any fact or stat at an instant so there is that. Our knowledge is certainly at an all-time high, but our ability to reason and critically analyze (in my experience) is not.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:13am

    Re: Re:

    Yes, I understand that - a case from, what 500 years ago? That was before copyright, wasn't it? That was back in the time that you would get the death penalty for calling the king names too.

    It's a horrible strawman for modern times, because nobody but nobody is suggesting the death penalty for infringement in modern times, are they?

    What is even funnier is it points out how Techdirt has become sort of a relay station for torrentfreak, showing how much Mike is in tune and supporting the piracy movement. He can deny it, but he often quotes and posts items from torrent freak, which is pretty much the "official news of piracy".

    It's amazing that you people are gullible enough to buy into it. Oh wait, you don't buy into it, you just take it for free.

     

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  26.  
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    AJ, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:17am

    Re: Wrong premise: the purpose is not the stopping, it's the /control/.

    Can someone please translate this idiots post for me please? I don't speak dumb ass....

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    whoosh

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Oh brother, where art thou brain?

     

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  29.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So you're saying regardless of whether or not something is a fact, the source should be considered? If a white guy tells you something it's true, but if a brown person says something it's probably a lie? If it's from CNN it's true, but if it's from torrentfreak it's probably a lie? Fuck you you racist fuck.

     

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  30.  
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    DannyB (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:19am

    Think of the artists!

    If an artist is so good and has so many fans, that artist's work will be pirated more. Thus more executions of people who like that artist's work. This is good for the size of the artist's fanbase.

    The better the artist is, the more stubbornly people will pirate that artist's work -- even with a death penalty.

    The worse the artist is, the less his work is pirated -- thus he could enjoy a fanbase as large as the really good artist.

    Therefore this is good for (bad) artists.

    Think of the (bad) artists!

    Therefore it should be made law.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:20am

    Wow

    Its kind of morbidly fascinating from a psychological perspective.

    It would appear that negative reinforcement may have limits when it tries to go against inborn moral values (e.g. sharing).

    If I was an amoral mad-scientist type with a population at my disposal, lack of submission in the face of torture would be an interesting way to test the ethical value of other types of laws.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:23am

    Re: Wow

    I was about to suggest using lawmakers... then I saw you wanted to test ethical values..... nevermind....

     

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  33.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    """It's a horrible strawman for modern times, because nobody but nobody is suggesting the death penalty for infringement in modern times, are they?"""

    You're right. Nobody would suggest such unreasonable punishments like the death penalty or a 1.92 million dollar award for infringement.

    Oh wait...

     

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  34.  
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    The eejit (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:25am

    Re:

    Remember that theft was also punishable by death, but that didn't stop thieves from stealing. By your logic, that's also a strawman. Which demolishes your arguments elsewhere.

     

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    mischab1, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:26am

    That is a very good point, but I think Falkvinge is being a bit disingenuous with the 16,000 deaths. They were not all directly because of infringement.
    "... sixteen thousand people, almost entirely common folk, died by execution or in the violent clashes that surrounded the monopoly."
    (emphasis mine.)

    By my guess, he is talking about the time right before the French revolution. Which is also quite interesting. If our governments keep increasing punishments for things that shouldn't be illegal in the first place. If they keep taking stuff away from 'the people' and giving to various corporations/special interests/etc. Then we are starting down the path that eventually leads to revolution.

     

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  36.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Oy, shill, can you see the analogy here? No, obviously.

    And as improbable as it seems and I'm sure Mike is only giving us food for thought, I wouldn't be surprised if MAFIAA started advocating death penalty to the infringers. That's how low I think of them.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's not food for thought, it's repeating what Torrent Freak came up with. It's meant to show something that didn't work hundreds of years ago, so we shouldn't even both with enforcement of any sort today, because it didn't work so long ago.

    Of course, the Techdirt choir eats this stuff up. It just goes to show how many of you aren't thinking for yourselves.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:30am

    Re:

    imagine AC saying that in an elmer fudd voice.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re:

    He's gotten plenty of replies. Looks like he's doing at least as well as Swordfish did at the box office.

     

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  40.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:32am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, I understand that - a case from, what 500 years ago? That was before copyright, wasn't it?
    Well the law seems to have been one of the precursors of copyright so I can so no reason to disregard it on those grounds.

    That was back in the time that you would get the death penalty for calling the king names too.

    Well things have changed that much - ask Bradley Manning.


    Seriously your comment contains nothing of substance, just an attempt to ignore a valid point because the story is from an earlier time - plus a few of your usual ad-hominem attacks.

     

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  41.  
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    Paul (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:32am

    Re:

    If we were talking about some other issue, such as civil rights for example, I think we would count all the deaths in violent clashes to the death toll on the issue.

    And certainly if the deaths did not lead to people avoiding these clashes, then it still makes the point of the author, i.e. even death and violence did not deter the behaviors (and protests) on the issue.

    I was unaware of this example prior to the article, (even if I did read it from another source first...) and was impressed that we could have modern day issues so reasonably illustrated in past struggles with technology.

     

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  42.  
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    Haywood (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:34am

    Severity doesn't matter at all, certainty does, though

    It is like dealing with children; threatening to shoot them dead has no effect, but a guaranteed spanking or even time-out will modify behavior in short order.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re:

    Then we should never punish anyone for anything, even if they torrent the movie Swordfish.

     

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  44.  
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    Joe Publius (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:53am

    Re: Now what was that saying...

    Once I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die, and because he copied Finding Nemo.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:57am

    no one ever learns anything from history ... they powers that be won't get a clue until we've executed half the population for infringement.

     

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  46.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re:

    For most monopolists liberty is a very difficult concept to grasp.

    They tend to think it is the set of things that a kind government allows its people to do (people it otherwise owns as chattel). See Chicken or Egg: Rights and Government.

    According to natural rights on the other hand, liberty is freedom, with only acts that impinge upon others' rights (existing prior to any government) prohibited. See http://zine.openrightsgroup.org/features/2011/rights-precede-laws

    [Got to go...]

     

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  47.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:09am

    Re: hmmm...

    Never confuse erudition with intelligence.

     

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  48.  
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    Qritiqal (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:15am

    Re:

    I can think of one person I'd like to see executed.

     

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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re: Wrong premise: the purpose is not the stopping, it's the /control/.

    He's saying that nobody is really interested in stopping the copyright violations; they just want more control over the masses. The anti-piracy and anti-terrorism stuff is just an excuse and a distraction. Actually kind of an interesting idea, though I suspect it was intended to be tongue-in-cheek.

    Really, you should try reading ALL the words, in the correct order, and ask for help with the long ones. Then it'll make more sense.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:20am

    Re: Severity doesn't matter at all, certainty does, though

    How does that explain why there's so many people in prison who are repeat offenders? You'd think after the first and second time they were punished they'd realize punishment was a "certainty."

     

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  51.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Who cares where it came from? Your argument is a classic logical fallacy -- attacking the source rather than the argument. It shows that you are either not thinking things through or intentionally being deceptive.


    It's meant to show something that didn't work hundreds of years ago, so we shouldn't even both with enforcement of any sort today, because it didn't work so long ago.


    Oh, look, another fallacy! And bam, your credibility is shot.

    Nobody was making this argument at all, and the example was not meant to show that we shouldn't even bother with enforcement.

    The example was to show that punishing people for actions is not, by itself, something that causes people to stop engaging in those actions. This is a basic fact of human nature and history is rife with examples of this, even though authoritarian-minded people have problems seeing this fact. This particular example is especially on-point because it is a copyright example.

    But this fact does not mean that enforcement is pointless and shouldn't be engaged in. It means that enforcement is not sufficient -- other factors are required as well.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re:

    Wait... They were French, and they didn't just give up?

    This can't be real, we all know that the French fold at the first sign of trouble....

     

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  53.  
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    RD, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "It's a horrible strawman for modern times, because nobody but nobody is suggesting the death penalty for infringement in modern times, are they? "

    Wow, way to completely miss the point. As usual, its knee-jerk AC's with a lack reading comprehension and critical thinking skills that swing in like batman to try to discredit the point by steering the argument away.

    Here is the point, and I'll try to make it clear enough so we wont keep getting endless "they aren't pushing for the death penalty tho!!" idiotic statements:

    Back in the 1600's in France, counterfeiting/copying was so rampant, that they made a law that you could be killed for breaking it. DESPITE THIS LAW, people kept right on copying until 16,000 or so people WERE killed over this issue. EVEN WITH 16,000 deaths, the impact as a deterrent was almost NIL. (that means zero)

    Once again, for the cheap seats:

    EVEN THOUGH IT WAS DEATH TO COPY PEOPLE STILL COPIED ANYWAY AND IT MADE NO DIFFERENCE.

    Even further point, for those of you in the REALLY cheap seats:

    EVEN IF, in our current time, the Big Media Corps went SO FAR AS to implement a death penalty for copying, IT IS LIKELY to not have ANY impact as history has shown that people will still copy and share stuff.

    So if that's the case, and even DEATH wont deter sharing, what makes them think anything less (like the current ratcheting up of copyright law to make essentially everyone a criminal) will?

    It's really sad when you have to connect the dots this much for people to get the point of an analogy. The world is a poorer place for it.

     

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    CommonSense (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:26am

    Why the pigeon hole?

    If the headline read "If even the death penalty won't stop it... perhaps a different approach is needed" we could apply that to all kinds of things that idiots have tried to get the law to stop over the years. It seems that they've only realized the truth of the statement with Alcohol prohibition. The U.S. needs to stop being so stupid with "piracy" "Imaginary Property" and the failed "Drug War"...



    On a side note, to answer your question: So why do politicians and industry folk still think that greater legal threats will make a difference? Industry folk are incredibly stupid and can't look past their bottom line to see what the real problem is, and politicians flat out don't care if it'll make a difference, only if it'll get them paid!

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:26am

    Re: Wow

    "It would appear that negative reinforcement may have limits when it tries to go against inborn moral values..."

    It does, or else martyrs wouldn't exist. It wouldn't be the first time in history where entire populations were annihilated because they refused to change their beliefs (even when that could save their lives).

    The only possible solution in this case, if you want to eliminate piracy, is not to increase the level of punishment, but to change the moral values to (in this case) make people accept that piracy is bad and causes damage.

    This can only be achieved by massive re-education efforts, which will only have any visible effect after the current generation dies off.

    The question is, what society benefits society the most? The massive re-education or embracing piracy as something that's "normal" and desirable? Let's leave that question to the philosophers ;)

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hey, you know what I just noticed?

    You are also here! Reading Techdirt! For free even!

    How does it feel to be part of the herd?

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:29am

    Skeptical

    I couldn't find anything online about this supposed history of French fabric monopolies other than copies of the original article. I'm skeptical because I think the death penalty would actually deter people from copying a fabric pattern. I went looking for confirmation of this story, and couldn't find it. Can anybody provide a reputable link? The only history I could find concerned the Jacquard loom which was patented and apparently caused riots because of fears of unemployment.

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Wrong premise: the purpose is not the stopping, it's the /control/.

    "Really, you should try reading ALL the words, in the correct order, and ask for help with the long ones. Then it'll make more sense."

    I don't speak douche bag either......

     

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  59.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Seriously your comment contains nothing of substance, just an attempt to ignore a valid point because the story is from an earlier time

    History always repeats itself for people who are ignorant of past events. I do not worry about copyright maximalists. Laws designed to deter people from doing what is in their nature never work. Alcohol, drugs, adultery, copying, all currently have the death sentence associated with them, in one nation or another. The world over, 50% of the population drinks or does drugs, over half the people on earth will cheat on their spouses in their life time, and everyone copies things. No amount of escalating oppressive laws has ever changed this, and never will.

     

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  60.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's meant to show something that didn't work hundreds of years ago, so we shouldn't even both with enforcement of any sort today, because it didn't work so long ago.

    As opposed to your opinion, which seems to be that we should go on repeating the mistakes of the past.

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Nobody is making this argument? Did you read the attached article? Let quote it for you so you don't have to go looking:

    "Capital punishment didnít even make a dent in the pirating of the fabrics. Despite the fact that some villages had been so ravaged that everybody knew somebody personally who had been executed by public torture, the copying continued unabated at the same level.

    So the question that needs asking is this:

    When will the copyright industry stop demanding harsher punishments for copying, since we learn from history that no punishment that mankind is capable of inventing has the ability to deter people from sharing and copying things they like?"

    There you go, the argument made, right in front of your eyes. Can you manage to read it?

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:36am

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:28am

    This is not a "straw man" because the author is comparing infringement to... infringement.

     

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  63.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The world over, 50% of the population drinks or does drugs, over half the people on earth will cheat on their spouses in their life time, and everyone copies things. No amount of escalating oppressive laws has ever changed this, and never will.

    and sadly no-one will loearn that lesson either.

    The lesson of history is that no-one ever learns the lesson of history.

     

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  64.  
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    Adam Bell, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:50am

    In mediaeval England, picking pockets was punishable by death, but pickpockets found no better venue for their trade than at public hangings.

     

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  65.  
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    blaktron (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    interestingly about that, 1.92 million is just about the level that less than 50% of Americans will make in their entire lives. Since you need money to live, and thats every penny the average person will make in their life, is that not a death penalty?

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You said: "As opposed to your opinion, which seems to be that we should go on repeating the mistakes of the past"

    Me: First off, it's "mistake", single instance. Second, Mike (and Torrent Freak) sort of fail to explain the circumstances and how life was back in that time. You could get executed for almost anything, at the pleasure of the king. It is the sort of magic detail that would explain why the story isn't particularly relevant to today's society.

    Second, we are in an era where people are more aware of what is and what is not pirated. It doesn't take months for news to travel a few miles, it takes milliseconds. You can't easily pirate something today and claim it as your own, not like you could back at that time. Again, TorrentMike (I think that is a good name for this symbiotic relationship) fails to explain that little fact as well.

    So while it is an amusing story, it is no more relevant that saying that building the pyramids cost many lives, so we shouldn't build any more tall buildings, because they were dangerous in the past. It's is sort of a weird Luddite style mentality.

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:56am

    Re: Skeptical

    There have been numerous reports that the death penalty has very little, or no, effect on deterring any crime. This is obviously an extreme case from way-back-when, but the stats still say the same in modern days.

    For the most part, the legal system is a punishment system, not a deterrent. The vast majority of people wouldn't commit crimes anyway (unless the law is oppressive or too far-reaching, of course), and the people that do already know that they will be punished if caught. The problem is, the ones committing crimes don't say "oh, the punishment for this crime is only 1 year, so it's a good risk to take". They go into it with the mentality of not getting caught at all...hence why the severity of the punishment is not applicable.

    At best, Capitol Punishments will stop one criminal from committing crimes again. Everyone else out there is either following the law like they always have, or doing their best not to get caught in the first place.

     

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  68.  
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    CommonSense (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re: Severity doesn't matter at all, certainty does, though

    They might realize that if they were caught every time they broke the law, but most repeat offenders get away with one here and there, and think they've learned to outsmart enforcement after the last time they got caught...

     

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  69.  
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    blaktron (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Harsher punishments is NOT a synonym for any enforcement. Idiot.

     

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  70.  
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    blaktron (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If you read his comments you will clearly see that hes not actually 'reading' techdirt, just getting the titles through twitter and commenting on whatever rolls through his brain.

    He only reads when it becomes necessary to quote something out of context.

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Severity doesn't matter at all, certainty does, though

    You just proved my point. Thanks.

     

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  72.  
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    PrometheeFeu (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Re: Skeptical

    Is "Capitol Punishment" where we force criminals to spend time with lawmakers in DC to make them feel bad how petty and small their crimes are in comparison to the crimes of politicians?

     

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  73.  
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    Rich, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Boy, people love to pick on the French for having surrendered during WWII. But what they leave out is the fact that the US would not have won their independence if they French hadn't agreed to keep the British navy busy during our revolutionary war. The French had the unfortunate lot of being one of Germany's closest neighbors, and thus, on of the first to be attacked. Anyone else would probably had surrendered, too. We had a tough enough time with them even after they were softened up.

     

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  74.  
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    Howard the Duck, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You do know that the French were pivotal in the American revolution? Without them, we would still saying things like "Jolly good!" and "I say old chap!".

     

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  75.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Mike never implies that there is a call for a death penatly. He's pointing out that even with stricter punishments than we have now, people didn't stop copying.

    He's trying a novel concept called "learning from history"

     

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  76.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong premise: the purpose is not the stopping, it's the /control/.

    Really?! You sound pretty fluent to me.

     

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  77.  
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    Some Other Guy (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 12:31pm

    Interface Proposal.

    Along with 'insightful' and 'funny' can we have a 'this is a troll' button? And an option not to see posts by trolls and those responding to the troll?

     

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  78.  
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    Some Other Guy (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Interface Proposal.

    DOH! I just mouseover'd the 'report' button, and I see that it included trollishness in there..
    Sorry, folks.
    Still, the option not to see troll-comment-trees would still be nice.
    ... having said that, I bet I'll find that option somewhere when I look...

     

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  79.  
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    Rich, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wow, a supporter of the RIAA, MPAA, and their ilk calling people "luddite." Hello, pot. This is the kettle...

     

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  80.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's is sort of a weird Luddite style mentality.

    So is not bothering to enter the 21st century.

     

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  81.  
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    Neppe (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong premise: the purpose is not the stopping, it's the /control/.

    You're obviously fluent in stupid, so that's ok.

     

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  82.  
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    Prisoner 201, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    How can you not think that "forbidden to copy without permission" is not copyright?!

    Sure, its perhaps not modern copyright, but it is no less the very same restriction.

     

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  83.  
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    Boost (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You know we softened them up, right?

     

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  84.  
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    erUhm (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong premise: the purpose is not the stopping, it's the /control/.

    (effing funny)

    translation: [most] Rich people suck.

     

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  85.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong premise: the purpose is not the stopping, it's the /control/.

    "You're obviously fluent in stupid, so that's ok."

    Obviously not as fluent in stupid as you seem to be in Troll... lets do this all day shall we?

     

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  86.  
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    Prisoner 201, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re: Severity doesn't matter at all, certainty does, though

    Nowhere is there a better "criminal school" than prison.

    In the industrial world we don't do rehabilitation (too expensive), we just do storage. For convenience we store a lot of criminals in the same spot, nevermind that they reinforce eachothers negative traits.

    Whoever you were when you went into prison, when you leave it is with a lot of criminal know-how, a drug habit or two and a few debts to other criminals.

     

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  87.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 1:02pm

    Typically I agree with just about everything this blog says, but given the content of the linked article...

    [Citation needed]

    I'd love to believe it but I can't until I find a source for it that isn't torrentfreak. Nothing against them, but if you can't back your research up, you shouldn't be making blog posts about it, or you're doing the same thing the RIAA is with their much-maleigned-and-rightfully-so "studies".

     

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  88.  
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    lucidrenegade (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Too bad we can't give trolls the death penalty.

     

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  89.  
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    Ben, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 1:06pm

    Re: hmmm...

    All the time...

     

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  90.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 1:06pm

    I wouldn't mind another source

    Anyone know where I can read more about this piece of history. I'm not suggesting that the story is fabric-ated (haha, get it?), I'd just like to learn more about it. It's very interesting.

     

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  91.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Severity doesn't matter at all, certainty does, though

    Your point was that criminals should realize punishment is a certainty, and CommenSense pointed out that punishment is not in fact a certainty. How is that proving your point?

     

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  92.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Severity doesn't matter at all, certainty does, though

    And really big muscles.

     

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  93.  
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    AJ, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 1:36pm

    Re:

    Maybe they are referring to Medieval Sumptuary Laws? Maybe you could make an argument for "infringing" where the confusion would be the class or title based on the design or fabric? I could see both sides on this one.

    "English Medieval Sumptuary Laws
    The Medieval English Medieval Sumptuary Laws were well known by all of the English people. The penalties for violating Sumptuary Laws could be harsh - fines, the loss of property, title and even life! The Medieval period had been dominated by the Feudal system - everyone knew their place! Clothing provided an immediate way of distinguishing 'Who was Who'. Medieval clothing and fashion like everything else was dictated by the Pyramid of Power which was the Feudal System and the Sumptuary Laws which were passed by the Medieval Kings of England."

    http://www.medieval-life-and-times.info/medieval-clothing/medieval-sumptuary-laws.htm

    http://www.123helpme.com/elizabethan-clothes-and-costumes-preview.asp?id=179760

     

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  94.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You could get executed for almost anything, at the pleasure of the king.

    Hmm. Let's see. Replace "executed" with "accused of infringement" and "king" with "entertainment industries" and what do do have? Oh yeah. Modern times.

     

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  95.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Skeptical

    I can't find anything either. I'm wondering how authentic this really is.

     

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  96.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re:

    Maybe they are referring to Medieval Sumptuary Laws?

    Pretty bad reporting if so, since he mentioned pre-revolutionary France, and the sumptuary laws were generally much earlier than that. And also they had a different purpose I think than this supposed anti-copying law under discussion.

     

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  97.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Skeptical

    It is entirely misleading to suggest that a criminal system exists only as a deterrent, rather than as a punishment system. There are people who will do wrong no matter what, and there is nothing that any system can do to change that.

    The effects of the legal system should not be measured only by those it punishes, but also by those who are protected as a result. If you have no punishment for robbery, example, then everyone is now held hostage by endless robberies. While the current punishment system doesn't stop robberies, it is a pretty safe bet that the number of robberies would go up if the people current in jail and prison were on the street, able to rob without any risk (except perhaps getting shot by an armed member of the public, the ultimate in capital punishment).

    The criminal system doesn't just punish the criminals, but it also aims to protect the general public from the criminals. We cannot stop them from committing crimes while they are out, but we can remove them from society in a manner that we don't have to deal with their lawlessness anymore.

    Capital punishment is perhaps the ultimate admission of failure by society, where there is nothing that can be done to truly reform someone. They are no longer a member of society, but an outcast, so much so that we no longer can even just imprison them. It is the ultimate admission that the crimes they committed were beyond any standard we can apply, and that the risk of them doing something like it again is just too high.

    Does the death penalty work? Probably not beyond it's immediate ramifications (dead criminal). But the failure of the death sentence doesn't in any way suggest we should ditch the legal system, only because it's most extreme punishment isn't as effective as we hope.

    What TorrentMike is suggesting is that since the most extreme punishment hasn't worked in a single case in the past to protect patterns, that modern copyright holders should just give up and stop trying to enforce their rights at all. They should just take the loss, call it quits, shut down their business, and give up.

    It's a sad line of thinking.

     

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  98.  
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    Motheius, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 1:46pm

    Seriously

    When has any kind of draconian law *ever* succeeded in deterring the kind of behavior that it's supposedly supposed to be curbing?

    Death Penalty - nope
    Prohibition - nope
    Working on Sunday - nope
    Red Light Cameras - nope
    Segregation - nope
    Prostitution - nope

     

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  99.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 1:46pm

    Finally, a solution

    Rick Falkvinge questions how far it needs to go before people realize enforcement won't stop copying when copying feels totally natural.

    So you stumbled on the path to eliminating piracy: make copying feel unnatural!

     

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  100.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 1:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Why?

    Why do you continue to come to this site?

    The only people that are interested in your opinion are sitting at the computer right next to you in the Shill-a-ma-tron 9000.

    Copyright is a joke, it always has been and always will be. If you want to make money try getting a real job.

     

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  101.  
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    Any Mouse (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong premise: the purpose is not the stopping, it's the /control/.

    You could at least reply to the correct post. It would make you're 'I'm not dumb, you are!' post more convincing.

     

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  102.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Let's see. Replace Gwiz with "idiot" and you pretty much hit it all. Congrats. You join eejit on the numb list.

     

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  103.  
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    Paul (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 2:19pm

    From the comments in the article....

    One of the reasons GOOD journalism provides comments from users is that they can provide perspectives that might be missing from an article. The need for sources in this one was just such a problem requiring some research, and the comments yield the most likely source used by the author. This isn't my comment, but is duplicated for your pleasure:

    Rick Falkvinge 2 days ago
    Sources

    You're right to ask for sources. One of the primary sources is a book in Swedish on the era of mercantilism on the Continent (meaning Europe).

    The original article in Swedish is here and there are lots of sources in the comments.

    Notably, there's this quote from Merkantilismen by Eli Heckscher, fifth chapter, regulation of trade in France:

    ďOf course, the attempt to stop a development supported by a violent fashion trend, carried by the... influential female kin, could impossibly succeed. The policy is considered to have cost 16,000 people their lives, through executions and armed clashes, plus the yet uncounted who were sentenced to slavery on galleys and other punishments; in Valence, on one single occasion, 77 people were sentenced to hang, 58 to be broken on the wheel and 631 to the galleys, one was acquitted, and none were pardoned. But this was so far from effective, that the use of printed kattuner (English?) spread through all social groups during this period, in France and elsewhere.Ē

     

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  104.  
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    Nicedoggy, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Skeptical

    I'm not sure laws are effective to guarantee security for others, you see I live in a place where I can leave my house wide open and go shopping, nobody will take anything, they stick their heads inside the house and the minute they realize nobody is home they take it out, I know the cameras have caught people doing it several times.

    I leave the doors of the car open, nobody steal anything, they all have a strong sense of community.

    There is crime of course but the greatest deterrent of all "culture" is what keeps things in check not fear of punishment by a ridiculous legal system, that system should be reserved for serious things, not filesharing, not some law trying to reverse the course of history and make people go against their own natures, not change the human nature for the worst trying to make people not share or trying to say what people can or cannot share.

    What do you do to people who want stop sharing?

    Fine them, put them in jail, kill them?

    People have proved they are not affraid of those penalties and they will continue to do so in spite any laws and in mass, this is not something that is contained to a small part of the population this is something that transcends not only borders, it transcend cultures, religion, gender, you will find sharers everywhere in the world, you will find those criminals in every corner of the world and you think laws that try to change that are reasonable?

    They are not and people will never respect those laws and consequently when they found out that they don't need to fallow all the laws they may as well question others, that will be bad for the government.

     

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  105.  
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    The eejit (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 3:08pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You missed the point, again: that harsher penalties did not deter people from committing flagrantly illegal acts, so why should it curb civil offenses?

     

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  106.  
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    Nicedoggy, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 3:18pm

    http://belovedlinens.net/fabrics/Lyon-silk1.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canut_revolts
    http:/ /en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gobelins_manufactory

    The history of the monopoly of pattern designs extends hundreds of years.

    Many canuts died.

     

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  107.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 3:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Like they are doing in Libya?

     

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  108.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Let's see. Replace Anonymous Coward with Anonymous Troll since that is all you seem to do here on a daily basis. Plenty of ACs on here like me but only one of them writes like you do troll.

     

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  109.  
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    TriX, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong premise: the purpose is not the stopping, it's the /control/.

    yawn.... stop touching me! You guys want to step out of the third grade and participate with the rest of us before I put the lot of you in time out?

     

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  110.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 3:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, totally agree. And just by a HUGE coincidence, if you check the first comment on the link, a fellow named Scot basically says the same thing: financial death penalty.

     

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  111.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 3:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Me: First off, it's "mistake", single instance.

    Sorry - I counted two. I'll leave it as an exercise in comprehension.

    You could get executed for almost anything, at the pleasure of the king. It is the sort of magic detail that would explain why the story isn't particularly relevant to today's society.

    On that basis the possibility of instant, perfect, cost free copying is also a little magic detail that explains why copyright law isn't particularly relevant to todays society.


    You can't easily pirate something today and claim it as your own,

    You clearly don't understand the difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism - sort of nullifies your point.

    so we shouldn't build any more tall buildings, because they were dangerous in the past.

    Well that advice would have saved a lot of lives on 9/11...

     

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  112.  
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    HothMonster, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 3:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Cardinal Richelieu
    "Besides, the French are not constituted for war; at the start they are all ardor and bravery, but they lack the patience and self-control to await the propitious moment; as time goes on, "they lose interest, and become soft to the point where they are less than women.""

     

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  113.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 3:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Skeptical

    What TorrentMike is suggesting is that since the most extreme punishment hasn't worked in a single case in the past to protect patterns, that modern copyright holders should just give up and stop trying to enforce their rights at all. They should just take the loss, call it quits, shut down their business, and give up.

    It's a sad line of thinking.


    Why on earth would you think it was sad? It would make most of the population very happy.

    and btw as Nicedoggy's comment also says. Law enforcement is really only effective at the margins. Most people aren't criminals for social and cultural reasons. Remember, before 1800 there was never a police force but society still functioned.

     

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  114.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Skeptical

    Is "Capitol Punishment" where we force criminals to spend time with lawmakers in DC to make them feel bad how petty and small their crimes are in comparison to the crimes of politicians?
    No - it's where you are condemned to listen endlessly to the output of a certain record company...

     

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  115.  
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    Zot-Sindi, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 4:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You join eejit on the numb list.


    so, wait, he's an "idiot" but he just makes the "numb" list?

    i guess the dumb list was already full with entries from darryl, OOTB & yourself

     

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  116.  
    identicon
    Zot-Sindi, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 4:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    problem is you'd kill of over half the world's population if it was

     

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  117.  
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    Gordon Harrison, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 5:27pm

    Crime and Punishment

    The most severe sanctions for murder, including the death penalty in some countries, does not prevent some people from murdering other people. However, most people would agree that murder was a 'bad thing' and should be punished in some way to demonstrate that society condemns such behaviour.

    Likewise with copyright infringement, this also is a bad thing when it prevents the individual artist from making a living. Grabbing other peoples work without payment, when they are trying to sell it to make a living, is morally wrong.

    Assume a person who regularly pirates creative works has a job somewhere that lets him buy food, accomodation and clothes. Now assume at the end of the month they are told by their employer they were only going to be paid 40% of their salary because 60% of the work they produced had been stolen, I'm sure they would be very unhappy about such a situation. This is how it is with many individual artists such as writers, musicians, photographers and game creators to name but a few. They are self employed and lack the strength of global corporations to defend their interests.

    Moral behaviour has not been revised just because the internet was invented. Respect for other peoples property and their creations has not been downgraded just because the internet was invented. However, the internet has made stealing creative works easier enabling those of easy virtue to behave badly.

    I am not a religious person myself but the core beliefs of most religions such as Christianity and Islam require respect for other people and their property. These are pretty good principles to live by and I strongly recommend them to everyone. I can't imaging that the internet has had any influence on the fundamental tenets of ethical behaviour, they remain unchanged.

    If an individual artist can't sell their product due to say, setting too high a price, then that's their problem. However that gives no one the right to devise means to steal the product, that is immoral behaviour.

     

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  118.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 5:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Skeptical

    The effects of the legal system should not be measured only by those it punishes, but also by those who are protected as a result.

    This changes nothing. The system as is punishes the majority of people who have unsecure wi-fi, backs up media files, and perform other insignificant tasks - while protecting the interests of a limited, already affulent few.

     

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  119.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 6:03pm

    Re: Cardinal Richelieu

    Are you sure he wasnít talking about the USA?

    Vietnam, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq ...

     

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  120.  
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    Mr Big Content, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 6:08pm

    Apples And Oranges

    You canít really compare then and now. Life was so much cheaper then, the death penalty was really only the equivalent of a $10,000 fine nowadays. I think youíll find, in our more enlightened era, that a proper death penalty would really put the wind up the no-good pirates and freetards.

     

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  121.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 6:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The lesson of history is that no-one ever learns the lesson of history.

    The lesson of history is, no one listens to history, and when they do listen to history, they think they can do it differently.

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Aug 9th, 2011 @ 6:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Let's see. Replace Gwiz with "idiot" and you pretty much hit it all. Congrats. You join eejit on the numb list.

    Yeah. OK. Your brilliant debate strategy of kindergarten name calling has completely won me over to seeing your side of things.

    Not.

     

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  123.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 6:31pm

    Re: Finally, a solution

    Ha, good luck with that. ;)

    Think of how we learn to write, like actual letterforms, that we can use to make words, then sentences, then blog comments on Techdirt...same with speech. Toilet training. Eating. So much of learning is copying.

     

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  124.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 6:39pm

    Re: Crime and Punishment

    You make an all too common and intellectually dishonest mistake, conflating theft with infringement upon the right to make a copy.

    When copying becomes so easy that anyone can do it, thus creating a virtually unlimited supply of something, the price will always decline. Price/cost is not value. I value air, but it costs me nothing, being unlimited in supply. I would laugh in the face of someone trying to sell me air at any price. Same with a digital file - it's one and done, unlimited supply for everyone, a supply that cannot be controlled.

    Morals don't enter into it. It's scarce vs. non-scarce. You can always sell the scarce.

     

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  125.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hey, idiot, wake up. The current "punishments" apparently have little effect, and essentially the results are inaction. If the legal levels stayed where they were say 10 years ago, it would be the equivalent of throwing up your hands and giving up.

    Left alone with no restrictions, piracy will kill of the content industry, and end the production of all that content you love. Like a looter in a riot, you aren't worried about tomorrow, just what you can carry home today.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 9:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Richard, the point is that "back in the day" it was more of a question of plagarism, and not copyright infringment. It wasn't people taking copies of the patterns for themselves, they would take it, pass it off as their own work, and try to sell it.

    You can't do that very easily today, as there are too many eyes out there.

    As for the relevancy of copyright laws, consider the car. We can build cars that easily can go double or triple the highest permitted speed limit in the land. They do not make speed limits irrelevant. Just because you can do it doesn't make it right. Guns are very efficient ways to kill people, but clearly, just because you can do it doesn't make it right. No, I am not comparing copyright violation to murder, I am just pointing out that the sheer ability to do something isn't enough to make it right.

     

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    B-Pickel, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

     

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  128.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2011 @ 10:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Skeptical

    Yes, pre-1800 society still functions, and we ended up with 16,000 people dead over patterns - and you wouldn't want to know how many millions killed for slights such as looking at the lord's wife with a gleam in your eye.

    Richard, it is a sad line of thinking, because most people don't realize what they are tearing down. They don't realize that when you remove the system and replace it with nothing (because that is really what is proposed here) you don't encourage action, you discourage it. When you remove certainty and replace it with uncertainty, most people freeze and do nothing.

    I always challenge people to do the basic test: Try to live without copyrighted anything for a month (or maybe 90 days). That means no copyright music, no movies, no television, no magazines, no news, ignore much of the internet, etc. Avoid all of the trappings of hollywood, of "television city", of the 500 channel universe. That includes NOT downloading it to watch, not listening to the downloaded music on your MP3 player, etc. Live only with "open source" music, movies, and video.

    Come back after those 90 days and tell me exactly what you will be missing when copyright is declared dead, and the content industries grind to a halt and die. Remind me exactly what you will be downloading from your P2P network, after you have downloaded Sita Sings the Blues for the 11th time. Remind us what is left.

    Then you will understand what you are trying to rip down. Until then, you won't understand why it's sad.

    As for Nicedoggy, he appears to live in a picture perfect parallel universe, or perhaps on an island with 20 inhabitants. Or maybe it's just the fantasy world of Mom's basement. Whatever it is, his "experiences" don't appear to be very relevant to the vast majority of people.

     

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  129.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 12:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Richard, the point is that "back in the day" it was more of a question of plagarism, and not copyright infringment. It wasn't people taking copies of the patterns for themselves, they would take it, pass it off as their own work, and try to sell it.

    No, it wasn't. It was illegal to make such copies and you could be killed for it *even if* you didn't claim to be the original creator. What a liar.

    Abolish copyright before it abolishes you.

     

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  130.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 12:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong premise: the purpose is not the stopping, it's the /control/.

    I don't speak douche bag either......

    I find that hard to believe coming from an actual talking douche bag.

     

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  131.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 1:05am

    Re: Crime and Punishment

    I am not a religious person myself but the core beliefs of most religions such as Christianity and Islam require respect for other people and their property. These are pretty good principles to live by and I strongly recommend them to everyone. I can't imaging that the internet has had any influence on the fundamental tenets of ethical behaviour, they remain unchanged.

    Let me tell you a little story. There was once a man who wanted to feed a bunch of people. About 5000 of them, actually. However, he only had 5 loaves of bread and two fish, certainly not enough to feed all of them. So, did he run down to the local market with a bunch of money and buy more form the bakers and fishermen? No, despite their loss of potential sales, he just made copies of what he had and shared them with the crowd. You can read more about it here. Contrary to your assertion, that story and the principle of sharing is one of the fundamental ones in Christianity. The greed that you promote is not.

    However that gives no one the right to devise means to steal the product, that is immoral behaviour.

    Claiming that making copies of things and freely sharing them makes someone immoral and a thief is calling Jesus Christ an immoral thief. Such a belief is *not* a basic tenant of Christianity. In fact, Christianity teaches that espousing such a thing is a slap in the face to G*d and an unforgivable sin, the result being eternal damnation. Of course, you already admitted to not being a religious person, so I suppose you don't care, but Christians should be careful to not follow your example.

     

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  132.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 1:09am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    "You make an all too common and intellectually dishonest mistake, conflating theft with infringement upon the right to make a copy."

    "Mistake" implies that it is unintentional. I tend to think it is a completely intentional lie.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 1:15am

    Not Far Enough

    The problem is that they simply didn't kill enough people. Obviously, if they had killed all the pirates then the unauthorized copying would have stopped. Dead freetards make no copies.

     

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    Richard (profile), Aug 10th, 2011 @ 2:03am

    Re: Crime and Punishment

    I am not a religious person myself but the core beliefs of most religions such as Christianity and Islam require respect for other people and their property.

    You need to read a bit further (at least into Christianity).

    First of all - respect for other people's physical property would surely not allow you to impose conditions on what they can and can't do with it via laws like copyright.

    Secondly the idea of being paid repeatedly for work done once is not approved of by any of the Abrahamic religions - all of them officially ban Usury - and copyright is a form of Usury.

    Thirdly - whereas they do encourage respect for others property - they do NOT suggest that you should do anything aggressive to defend your own.

    Some quotes:
    "freely ye have received, freely give." (Matthew 10: 8)

    "and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also." Luke 6:29

    "19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

    20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

    21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)

    " If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: "

    Matthew 19:21

    So a truly Christian artist would give everything away for free and rely on others generosity. This is a tough ask and few can bear it. However the Monastery of St Macarius in Egypt has managed to survive this way - for 1500 years!

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 10th, 2011 @ 2:28am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    You're missing two of the twelve commandments (Moses thought them too complicated so lopped them off):
    XI. THOU SHALT MARVEL AT ALL MY CREATION AND IN MY LIKENESS THOU TOO SHALT CREATE Ė THY DESIGN SHALL BE JOINED TO MINE AND ALL UPON EARTH THAT IS MADE IN ITS FORM SHALL BE SUBJECT TO THY WILL, FOR AS LONG AS THEE SHALL LIVE.

    XII. THOU SHALT SCRIBE AND SHARE MY WORD, YET THOU MUST NOT SCRIBE, NOR SHARE AMONG A GATHERING, THE WORD OR GRAVING OF THY NEIGHBOUR WITHOUT HIS LEAVE, WHILST HIS BLOOD LAST.

     

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    Gordon Harrison, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 3:33am

    RE: Crime and Punishment

    Copyright is good. It enables an artist to labour long and hard to create an artistic work, it could be week, a month, or a year. Lets say an author spends a year writing a book, or a musician an album. If they can only offer the original work for sale, then they will charge, say for the sake of argument, £25,000. That will enable the artist to buy food, clothes and shelter for a year, if not live extravagantly.

    Of course no one is going to buy a book at that price. This would take us back to medieval times when cultural works were the sole preserve of the aristocracy, restricting the spread of cultural works amongst the public.

    Nor will the artist find 5,000 people prepared to pay £5 each to have a share in a single book. Copyright allows artists to make a living, to share the fruits of their creativity (via their exclusive right to copy) with others at an affordable price, and everyone should be happy with that arrangement.

    Copyright infringement, piracy, and rights grabbing are the result of dishonourable behaviour by those who want something for nothing.

    Copying others works is not a natural right, it is a moral wrong. I would refer you all to the Human Rights Act article 27 -

    (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
    (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

    For further enlightenment and a much longer dissertation on the human right aspects of copyright I would refer you to this link - http://bit.ly/oYN7Y4

    Those who indulge in piracy and other similar abuses are in effect disregarding a human right. Copyright is a human right and moral right, there to protect creative people, to enable them to earn a living. It is of course not a right to earn a living, that depends on the creators talent, business ability, and the market.

    I find it incomprehensible that so many people here are unable to understand a human right and a moral point of view. In my own life I would never dream of taking anothers' work without paying for it. If I couldn't afford it then I would save up for it if possible or do without. I would feel guilty for taking something out of a shop without paying for it, likewise downloading creative works from pirate sites.

    I can only assume that those who advocate taking something for nothing have a sense of morality which is way beyond my understanding.

     

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    Richard (profile), Aug 10th, 2011 @ 4:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    You're missing two of the twelve commandments

    For good reasons.

    They aren't there

    They contradict the rest of it (if you look closely).

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 10th, 2011 @ 4:25am

    Re: RE: Crime and Punishment

    Gordon, it's amusing that you and Chris Castle have realised there's an opportunity to misrepresent copyright as a natural right, but however successful you are in hoodwinking people into believing it is one, this doesn't actually change either the nature of information or human beings.

    Saving copyright from people's cultural liberty (you call it piracy) is not something that can be achieved through propaganda. In fact it's not something that can be achieved by anything except the dismantling of The Internet and all other information technology.

    My explanations of copyright and its demise refer to natural rights as an explanation of why individual liberty will dissolve the privilege of the press - not as a superior means of converting people to be against copyright. I'm not in the conversion business, but in the business of understanding and explaining the nature of intellectual work, why an 18th century privilege prohibiting copying is a doomed anachronism and how it is counter-productive in the free market exchange of intellectual work for money.

    Re your quote from the ECHR:
    (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.


    Note that it doesn't say "and a transferable reproduction monopoly must be granted to arise in each original work, that it may be sold by the author to a publishing corporation for subsequent exploitation"

    Thus, copyright can be abolished, and nowhere in the ECHR does it say such a monopoly should be re-enacted.

    The Statute of Queen Anne grants a privilege that annuls the right to copy in the majority of her subjects to leave the right, by exclusion, in the hands of a few - 'copyright holders'. It is not the recognition of a human right, but the derogation of one, the human right to liberty.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 10th, 2011 @ 4:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    Are you suggesting God (unlike Moses) makes mistakes???

    Perhaps you would be so good as to point out these contradictions?

     

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    Richard (profile), Aug 10th, 2011 @ 4:40am

    Re: RE: Crime and Punishment

    Copyright is good. It enables an artist to labour long and hard to create an artistic work, it could be week, a month, or a year. Lets say an author spends a year writing a book, or a musician an album. If they can only offer the original work for sale, then they will charge, say for the sake of argument, £25,000. That will enable the artist to buy food, clothes and shelter for a year, if not live extravagantly.

    Actually that doesn't work. The artist cannot get any revenue from the work until after they have created it so the logic fails.

    Nor will the artist find 5,000 people prepared to pay £5 each to have a share in a single book.

    That assertion is flat out wrong. Currently that kind of thing is happening in a big way. The Unbound website is a good example in direct contradiction. See also the kickstarter website for example (there are several others).

    Copyright infringement, piracy, and rights grabbing are the result of dishonourable behaviour by those who want something for nothing.


    Actually Copyright is the result of dishonourable behaviour by those who want something for nothing.

    It was never about the author/artist - it was always about the middlemen.

    (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
    (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

    These statements are broad and capable of many different interpretations. I would agree that originators are entitled to the moral protection of being correctly identified (ie plagiarism is wrong). I would also agree that they are entitled to be paid when commissioned to create something - or to be paid for the original when first sdelling it. However downstream restrictions on what others can do with their own property do not make sense as a right - since they clearly contradict the rights of other.

    I can only assume that those who advocate taking something for nothing have a sense of morality which is way beyond my understanding.

    That is not what we advocate (although something for nothing is exactly what most rightsholders are trying to get).

    The fact is that new technology has taken away the ability to police copyright economically.

    Rightsholders had better understand this because the rest of us don't want to pay the costs of it anymore.
    (Note I mean here the costs of the system - not of the creative work).

    I am perfectly happy to pay up front for the artists to create stuff that will then go into the public domain. I have done it before - and will again. That is the way of the future.

     

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    Richard (profile), Aug 10th, 2011 @ 5:03am

    Re: RE: Crime and Punishment

    Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

    That cannot possibly imply that there must be copyrights and patents - because some of the things covered by that clause have no IPR protection in any country in the world. For example mathematical analysis and much experimental and theoretical work in physics, chemistry etc. In particular a lot of fundamental theoretical and experimental work in solid state physics has resulted in enormous material benefits to the world without the originators getting a single penny for it. I don't see the copyright lobby wailing about this - they only care for their own profits.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 10th, 2011 @ 5:11am

    Re: Re: RE: Crime and Punishment

    Well said Richard! :)

    Incidentally, I wonder if Mike might let us know how many copyright naifs read Techdirt these days that it continues to be worth debunking these monopolists' ever more ludicrous claims?

    It would be an idiocratic future that 'recognised' state granted monopolies as human rights. Trouble is, so few people know the difference between a natural right and a legislatively granted 'right' (a natural right annulled) that getting copyright recognised as a human right isn't completely implausible. :-}

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 10th, 2011 @ 5:32am

    Re: Re: RE: Crime and Punishment

    A transferable privilege as a legal 'property' is arguably a material interest that results for some intellectual works.

    But, of course, if the privilege is abolished it no longer results.

    Nevertheless, this is the means by which monopolists (and some strange members of the Pirate Party) hope to hoodwink people into accepting copyright as a human right. And they are already having some success viz "The copyright industry started by affirming that copyright was a 'fundamental human right' under the European Convention itself and in European Union law, and this was accepted by the Court".

    It's crazy because natural rights aren't democratically determined. So there's nothing to be gained by 'redefining' a legally granted right into a natural right.

    The copyright cartel are simply clutching at all possible straws as their sandcastle inexorably collapses under the incoming tide of the people's cultural liberty.

     

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    Gordon C Harrison, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 6:05am

    Re:Crime and Punishment

    Re scientific research, etc., much of the fundamental work in physics, chemistry, maths etc is conducted by scientists, mathematicians, technicians in the employee of universities, research centres such as CERN, private industry, and as such these scientists are paid every month by the responsible governments or the industries which employ them. Apart from their salary they are rewarded by various scientific accolades such as the Nobel Prize for their achievements. A self employed artist is in a very different financial situation.

    Of course even in these scientific fields there are a few scientists who try and hi-jack others work by claiming the research as their own. Such behaviour, plagiarism, similar to copyright infringement, is rightly condemned as immoral when discovered and shame plus sanctions are heaped upon the perpetrator.

    Where researchers are not so employed, in receipt of no salary and undertake mathematical studies for example, it is because they have other means to live by. In the capitalist system one does not survive long with out some financial means to make a living. One may have views about the pros and cons of the capitalist system, and I agree it has many faults (mostly due to aspects of human nature), but it is the system we have until a better one is devised.

    To some extent I can understand and extend some sympathy to the arguments about big businesses being greedy and trying to maximise their profits. I also understand and support the arguments about free speech. I'm all in favour of open rights and free speech and see the internet as generally a good thing in these respects. It enables open discussions such as these.

    However, the campaign for free speech (as in the problematic issue of blocking pirate sites) should not be offered as an excuse for taking others work which is legally offered for sale without paying for it. Just because it is easy to copy does not make it right to do so. It would be easy for me to rob houses in a rural district when the owners are away, but I would be in the wrong for behaving in such a way.

    Richard, would you go into a shop and take something without paying for it? A jacket for example? Or a pair of trousers? Or a book? Or a DVD? Do you think that would be an honourable thing to do. Would your conscience not have any doubts about doing that?

    I am not promoting big business here, they have the power to defend their interests and can look after themselves. I am talking about the individual artist, working on their own, doing what they do because they are driven to express their artistry, spending months or years to create a work of art, because they love what they do. Of course that does not give them a right to make a living doing that, it comes down to talent and market appreciation of their artistry.

    However, if people take their work without paying for it, the artist, unless they have independent means cannot survive. What we are talking about here is the right of an individual human being not to have their means of making a living undermined by the immoral behaviour of others.

     

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    Richard (profile), Aug 10th, 2011 @ 6:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    God doesn't make mistakes - but a lot of people who claim to follow him seem to - and some of the mistakes seem to be deliberate.

    Some of the contradictions are in my comment above.

    It is difficult to find very direct references to anything like copyright - mainly, I suspect, because no-one at the time would have dreamt of such a thing.

    However I suspect that the idea of selling a copy and then holding back some "rights" would have been seen as dishonest.

    I like to think of the story of Ananias and Sapphira as exemplary. They pretended that they were giving the whole value of some land but kept back a part... in a similar way to the way a rightsholder sells a copy - but keeps back the right to make further copies. When you look at the publicity material used to sell copies of copyrighted works - eg "own it on DVD" rather than "own a DVD with this film on it - but with no right to do anything with it other than watch it in private" I feel that there is a substantial element of deception involved.

     

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    Richard (profile), Aug 10th, 2011 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re:Crime and Punishment

    Such behaviour, plagiarism, similar to copyright infringement,

    No it isn't. They are very different. I have to spend a lot of time explaining this difference to students. Please don't undo my work.

    As for the rest of the your remarks about the difference between artists and scientists - well - first I note that you have totally ignored the point I was making there.

    Second - of course there is no real reason why the situations of artists and scientists should be different.

    Where researchers are not so employed, in receipt of no salary and undertake mathematical studies for example, it is because they have other means to live by. In the capitalist system one does not survive long with out some financial means to make a living.

    You seem to be perfectly happy that this situation exists for scientists but seem to think it would be anathema if artists had to live by those rules.

    Of course many artists are employed by the state - either to create art or to teach - giving them enough spare time to create art - so their situations are not that different.

    Richard, would you go into a shop and take something without paying for it? A jacket for example? Or a pair of trousers? Or a book? Or a DVD? Do you think that would be an honourable thing to do. Would your conscience not have any doubts about doing that?

    Like all the semiconductor manufacturers, who took the results of solid state physics and used them without payment to manufacture the device that you are currently using - and therefore are accessory to the crime.

    However, if people take their work without paying for it, the artist, unless they have independent means cannot survive.

    Not true they can be employed like scientists or they can sell other things - eg teaching skills - or they can work via fund and release - which gives the artist an income up front and removes the need for downstream restrictions.

     

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  147.  
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    Gordon C Harrison, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 6:50am

    Re: Crime and Punishment

    Richard, you keep moving on to something new and not addressing the issues I raise. In particular you have not addressed the issue of how an individual artist is to make a living if people have the right to take their work without paying for it.

    Would you please set out a viable economic model that somehow avoids the need for copyright. Can you give me some practical steps for me to follow that would enable me to buy food. Lets have an example of a practical working economic model actually used by an artist that provides for all his financial needs, such as food, clothes and a shelter, just enough to live on.

    Nor have you addressed the moral issue of taking someone's work which has been made available for sale without paying for it. What is your view of that?

    There is a fundamental fault in many of the arguments presented here, such as in the assertion by some that having made one digital product it should be free because it has been made once and doesn't have to made again. What utter tosh.

    The flaw in that argument is in completely ignoring the cost of creating that digital copy in the first place. The cost of creating a work of art, whether digital or not, is measured in the amount of time and effort went into it's creation. As mentioned in one of my earlier notes on this subject it could be a years work.

    Forget about copyright law for a moment and just let us think in practical terms. Richard, can you explain how something that takes an artist a years work to create can simply be given away because the end result is digitised, yet can still afford to live. I would say that the result of the huge effort is actually digitised in order to be able to sell copies of it at a reasonable cost to the public. I have not used the word copyright here, I have just described a practical business solution for the individual artist.

    The artist needs to sell a lot of copies in order to get money to live, he has also taken the risk of putting all this effort in not knowing whether their creativity is good enough to persuade people to buy it. But that's fair, one has to take risks in life and some times they work and sometimes they don't.

    Those who want something for nothing take no risk, contribute nothing to public culture, and could be argued to have a parasitic relationship with culture by not supporting it either financially or by contributing their own creativity.

     

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  148.  
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    Gordon C Harrison, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 7:01am

    Re: Crime and Punishment

    Richard, in your latest remarks you are suggesting I do not work as an independent artist, that I should work in teaching or become salaried in some other capacity.

    I'm sorry, but I choose to be independent, make my works of art, hope to sell them to make a living. It is my right to make that choice - you have no right to tell me what to do, how dare you.

    I thought everyone on this forum was all for free speech, freedom of choice, yet you suggest if I can't make a living as an independent artist because other people want my work for nothing I should stop doing that.

    What is wrong with the morals here? As a human being I have the free right to choose how I make my way through life, by adopting the generally accepted moral precepts concerning respect for others and their property, and to try and be fair in what I do. What is wrong with making that choice?

    Why should I not sell what I make? Describe a practical economic model that would satisfy your idea of 'rightness' and allow me to make a living, then I may consider your views more deeply.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 10th, 2011 @ 7:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    Invoking a supernatural being is a cunning solution if you need to establish coercive law that is above argument (if the majority of those subject to it are credulous, compliant, and ideally consenting).

    It is sad to see Christians torn between their indoctrination by the church and corporate state that copying certain works is wrong and their indoctrination by religious dogma that sharing is good (not yet decreed by a new messiah to the contrary).

    The resolution to the dilemma is easily found in an understanding of natural rights (which is strangely difficult to understand if one has been deeply programmed by copyright and other unnatural precepts).

    As to the DVD, I'd say it was more precisely "Own a DVD with this film on it - but with recognition of your natural right to copy or otherwise communicate it annulled by Queen Anne's 18th century privilege". But yes, copyright is our right to copy annulled, and thus an abridgement of our liberty to enjoy our own property. And this precedent that liberty can apparently be abridged by law then leads people to assume that it can be alienated by contract, even a unilateral 'adhesive contract', e.g. "by purchasing this DVD you agree to surrender your liberty to make copies" which cannot actually be done by the purchaser even if they agreed to do so. Liberty is an inalienable right not because we think it would be a jolly good idea to define it as such, but because this is the nature of it. Liberty is as naturally inalienable as a shadow.

     

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  150.  
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    Gordon C Harrison, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 7:17am

    Re: Crime and Punishment

    Hi Crosbie, you're still here. Good, maybe you can describe a viable economic model that lets me earn a living from selling my works of art. I've been pressing Richard on this point but I've not had an answer yet.

    It needs to be a practical solution that works right now and it mustn't depend on some hypothetical new world order, I'm needing food, clothes and a roof. Your help will be appreciated.

    By the way, I'm really not interested in all this God stuff, I'm an atheist, I referred to religions in a previous post simply as a way of illustrating that there is a set of moral behaviours that are generally accepted. So we can move off the God stuff, happy to talk morals though.

     

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  151.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 10th, 2011 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    Richard, you keep moving on to something new and not addressing the issues I raise.

    Funny - that was what I thought you were doing.

    In particular you have not addressed the issue of how an individual artist is to make a living if people have the right to take their work without paying for it.

    In all the ways that a mathematician can make a living. You seemed to be perfectly happy with the lot of mathematicians - whose core activity is not covered by current IP law.

    I have mentioned fund and release. I have even pointed you at websites that facilitate that. If you hang around this site a bit you will see many examples of artists making a good living without enforcing copyright.

    Anyway my final answer is this.

    Copyright is not enforceable, given modern technology without an enormously expensive police state.
    I personally am not prepared to pay for or live with such a state. Also I do not think there is any moral justification in making me pay for it since I do not benefit from it in any way.

    If I see an artist whose work I like then I am quite happy to donate money with no strings attached to allow it to continue (I've done that before). Also if I see an artist or group asking for support to fund a project I will do that also.

    Personally I don't infringe copyrights any more than you do - and I don't advocate it. I do however note the consequences of trying to defend them
    It is not my problem whether any particular artist can make a living or not. There is no entitlement to make a living. If the world wants art it will pay for it somehow. If not then it won't. Maybe some forms of art will die - its happened before that is just the passage of time.

    Finally I would advise you personally to get off the copyright drug. It will eat your soul if you don't.

     

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  152.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 10th, 2011 @ 8:09am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    There are two aspects to copyright's demise:

    1) It is unethical, a derogation of the people's liberty, that has come to light as such in modern times as the people's use of modern technology to share and build upon their own culture conflicts with this 18th century monopoly.

    2) It is no longer effective in protecting a monopoly such that a publisher can make major profits selling cheap copies at high prices (enabling them to budget a fraction of those profits in the form of advances and minuscule royalties).

    So, how does an independent artist sell their work if a publisher can no longer sell copies of it above cost price (in the presence of a free market in a post-copyright world)?

    Although anyone in the artist's audience can produce copies, only the artist can produce their art. Clearly, the artist must stick to the business of selling their art, not copies of it, though they can of course dabble in making value-added copies, e.g. signed vinyl editions.

    Let us consider you are one of many fans of a novelist.

    If you want them to write a sequel to a novel of theirs that you like, pay them to write a sequel. The novelist will no doubt be very happy to accept a joint commission.

    If you want to buy a copy of that sequel in hardback form pay a printer to print & bind a copy for you. The novelist will no doubt happily 'print' copies themselves in eBook form free of charge.

    Both the intellectual work and the copy of it are exchanged for money.

    Moreover, in this forthcoming world without an 18th century privilege of copyright, in which authors are paid for their writing and printers are paid for their copies, the people are at liberty to make their own copies, sell or give them away, read the work in public, and produce their translations or abridgements, or even their own sequels. There are no lawyers prosecuting copyright infringements, collection societies demanding license fees, or publishers keeping 99% of the revenue. The authors and their readers are happy, but lawyers, collection societies, and publishers reliant on copyright for their revenue are going to have to find another business.

    Yes, unknown authors are going to have to start off by giving their work away or getting paid very little for it until they build up a readership interested and enthusiastic to commission more. Fortunately, digital copies being extremely cheap to 'print' and 'distribute' together with no privilege restricting redistribution by recipients, means that an undiscovered author's costs of self-promotion are also pretty low - perhaps inversely proportional to the popularity of their work.

    This is happening, and it's not me that's making it happen. It's the nature of human beings, information and its communication.

    There's no point arguing that it's better if people don't assert their liberty to share and build upon their own culture, in order that an anachronistic monopoly can continue to generate massive profits for publishing corporations (and their lawyers) so that they can dish out advances to promising authors (who look forward to the lottery chance of recoupment and a tiny fraction of profits amounting to significant royalties). Such an argument may persuade King Canute, but it doesn't help him hold back the tide. You can lobby and ultimately fail, or you can adapt to a world without copyright and learn to exchange work for money (instead of copies at monopoly protected prices).

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 10th, 2011 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    See my comment above.

     

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  154.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Skeptical

    You cannot imagine any of those things without copyright. Why don't you try? Do you think copyright made them possible? It did not. It's just a construct. There could have been a different construct and they may well have been made.

    If you cannot see outside of the box that is copyright, can't even be bothered to imagine it, then you are overly dependent upon something that restricts not only others but yourself.

     

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  155.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 10th, 2011 @ 8:43am

    It needs to be a practical solution that works right now and it mustn't depend on some hypothetical new world order, I'm needing food, clothes and a roof. Your help will be appreciated.

    Exactly how you work will depend on what you do.

    The key is that you can only expect to sell things that have a non-zero marginal cost.

    This will include any physical goods (this might include signed CDs or special editions - but not standard ones where the only interest is in the digital content). It will also include your time.

    You haven't told me whether you are an artist, (in the paint sense), musician, photographer, author etc - and the
    answers are different for each group.

    For an author I suggest the unbound website that I mentioned earlier.

    Many musicians use Kickstarter to fund their projects - not sure if there is a UK equivalent yet though (not with the same profile anyway).

    If you are a photographer then the normal route would be commissioned work. Remember, if you don't impose copyright on your customers you can justify charging a premium for your work. Given that few people will come back for reprints anyway you will probably be better off.

    For the last two groups teaching is a good way to go. There are many enthusiastic amateurs who will pay good money for a short course with a star name. Next month I'll be going on a weekend course with a well known musician. I'll spend far more on that course than I ever did in a year when I used to buy CDs. If you're well known then teaching is a premium activity - second only to concerts.

    You may not like piracy - but as an individual you cannot do anything about it so stop worrying about it. Even better use it as free publicity. Those who have tried this route have done well with it - eg Cory Doctorow.

    Above all remember that what you really need to do is to make people WANT to pay you.

     

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  156.  
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    dwg, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 8:55am

    Re:

    Best I can say about your post: First!

    Well done, illiterate moron.

     

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    dwg, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 8:58am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Asshat: it's not a "case." It's an example. And no, it's not from "before copyright:" it's from "before copyright was called copyright." Even you can pretty much tell that what the king was claiming was copyright, right? As in, the right to copy? You know that that's why copyright is called "copyright, right?" Actually, you probably do as of this post.

     

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  158.  
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    Gordon C Harrison, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 8:58am

    Re: Crime and Punishment

    In all the ways that a mathematician can make a living. You seemed to be perfectly happy with the lot of mathematicians - whose core activity is not covered by current IP law.

    You are still advocating that I make a living similar to a mathematician, e.g. via a salary through a place of teaching, or have private means. I choose to make my living as an independent business, my choice. Please note that never at any time did I say I was happy with the lot of the mathematician - these are your words, not mine. I simply explained how mathematicians make a living and compare that with the self employed independent artist who has no salary nor private means.

    I have mentioned fund and release. I have even pointed you at websites that facilitate that. If you hang around this site a bit you will see many examples of artists making a good living without enforcing copyright.

    You mentioned one, Unbound which I looked at. However, I would be working through another service, through their website. I choose to work on my own, have my own website, control every aspect of what I do, and deal with my own sales and marketing. I note you are from an employed academic background and this may colour your thinking.

    Copyright is not enforceable, given modern technology without an enormously expensive police state.
    I personally am not prepared to pay for or live with such a state. Also I do not think there is any moral justification in making me pay for it since I do not benefit from it in any way.


    You are coming close to suggesting there is a moral dimension to copyright, by implication if it were inexpensive to defend copyright you would be content to support that? Note that we pay for many things that do not benefit us individually, but do contribute to the public good.

    Part of the problem is that the state has never included in the school educational curriculum any teaching concerning the moral and legal rights of creators, this despite providing education to pupils in the various artistic disciplines. The result is that most people leaving the education system have no proper understanding of the moral basis of copyright, that everyone is entitled to these rights, and that it is a human right. We reap as we sow.

    It is not my problem whether any particular artist can make a living or not. There is no entitlement to make a living.

    I have already said that repeatedly, nobody is entitled to make a living. As individuals we each succeed of fail by our own efforts and talent. It is however very wrong to take the for sale products of someone else without paying for them, it is fundamentally a moral problem. I agree that it is now easy for people to pirate other people's works, or to infringe their copyright, but that does not make such behaviour defensible, and I will continue to make this point when ever I can.

    Finally I would advise you personally to get off the copyright drug. It will eat your soul if you don't.

    Actually I am a happy well adjusted individual, enjoying what I do, and life in general. I decided today to challenge the people who contribute to the philosophy of techdirt as a voyage of discovery.

    It has been interesting, particularly from the point of view that no one has offered a viable economic model that lets me work as an independent artist without the moral and legal protection of copyright. Nor has anyone shown that it is not morally wrong to take someone else's work without paying for it.

    I rest my case and now move on to more enjoyable and productive work.

     

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  159.  
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    dwg, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 9:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The conflation of the "content industry" and the "production of all that content you love" is one of the many places you fall on your face. Not even necessarily the best one, just the most recent. You know that "content" can be pronounced two ways, right?

     

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  160.  
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    dwg, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 9:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You can get sued for almost anything, at the pleasure of the RIAA and MPAA. It is the sort of magic detail that would explain why the story is particularly relevant to today's society.

    There, you mindless cunt: FTFY.

     

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  161.  
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    dwg, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 9:05am

    Re:

    Right you are: when people get really, really angry, it's only then that politicians do nothing.

    I know your point was a result of bad grammar, but you nailed it.

     

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  162.  
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    Gordon C Harrison, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 9:11am

    Re: Crime and Punishment

    Richard, I thought I had left the arena, but I just had a look at the T&C's of the Unbound service that you promoted.

    They use the usual language to protect their own intellectual property rights while providing a service to artists that give up theirs.

    A bit like having your cake and eating it I would say.

     

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  163.  
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    dwg, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Severity doesn't matter at all, certainty does, though

    I'm not sure you'd learn much about better digital piracy in prison. It's kind of one of the few crimes you wouldn't really have access to the tools for on the inside. So, instead, "illegal downloaders" would, most likely, turn to more serious crimes while doing time.

    Greeeaaaat. Well done, justice system.

     

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  164.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 10th, 2011 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    If might just make a copy of some of your published work without paying you for it:

    It has been interesting, particularly from the point of view that no one has offered a viable economic model that lets me work as an independent artist without the moral and legal protection of copyright. Nor has anyone shown that it is not morally wrong to take someone else's work without paying for it.


    Something tells me you are not being paid to understand the economics of a free market without monopoly or the ethics of an 18th century privilege.

    Get back to us when you do decide to abandon copyright in favour of liberty.

     

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  165.  
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    dwg, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Skeptical

    The threat of punishment only works as a deterrent if actual punishments stop the crime from occurring as much as it would, absent the punishment or threat thereof. Seems from the fabric/killing example, the deterrent effect was pretty low, or even nil.

    There are many studies showing the inability of the death penalty to act as an effective deterrent. Even the econ quants agree with this on occasion, by applying a simple cost-benefit analysis: if the perceived cost of punishment for the illegal act, discounted by the likelihood of that punishment is less than the perceived benefit discounted by the likelihood of success, the crime will be committed. When the cost of death is less than the perceived benefit discounted for likelihood of failure, as it is for many violent or property offenders, then benefit will always outweigh cost.

    Then again, I don't do econ, so feel free to punch holes.

     

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  166.  
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    Prisoner 201, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Skeptical

    I realise what is being torn down.

    A broken, nonfunctional and corrupt system of artificial scarcity that needs to be torn down so that something healthy can grow instead.

    And all the industries that grind to a halt and die because of this will not be missed. Their life was artificial anyway, with tangled nests of laws temporarily holding Darwin at bay.

    And here is where you and I differ in opinion. You think that ALL music, movie and book production will simply stop overnight, and never be produced again, just because there is less or no copyright around.

    I believe that there will be lots of movies, music and books. Not only by people like me, that make stuff for the enjoyment it brings, but mainly from those that will adapt to the new market and find working business models - as many already have.

    So yeah, some people will go out of business. That happens when the world changes, just as it did for the monks, the weavers and the ice carriers. The world will still be here. Culture will still exists because it's more than the latest pop hit or blockbuster. Money will still be made, just not exactly like today.

    I don't really see the problem.

     

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  167.  
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    dwg, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 9:37am

    Re: Crime and Punishment

    God hates my mixtapes, then. It's too bad--checks really dig them.

     

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  168.  
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    dwg, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    Dammit: chicks.

     

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  169.  
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    dwg, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 9:41am

    Re: RE: Crime and Punishment

    "Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author."

    Do all authors' children have the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which their parents were the authors?

    I think you just fell on your face a little.

     

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  170.  
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    dwg, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 9:42am

    Re: Re:Crime and Punishment

    Dude, stop with the tangible-goods argument. It's a loser. Always has been. You can write complete sentences, so you must be able to see that.

     

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  171.  
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    dwg, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    Create unique works of art. Sell them. Use money to buy food and shelter.

     

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  172.  
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    dwg, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    Mmmm....cake.

    BTW, I'm also an "independent artist" and I worry exactly not at all about copyright in my work. Never have. I make unique things that people pay me for, so I get to keep working. Hey, how about this: create things that make money through their artistry, rather than their scalable ability to be mass-produced and -marketed? That makes you a truly independent artist, rather than a profit center. There's a bit of intellectual honesty for you on a Wednesday morning. Who are you?

     

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  173.  
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    RD, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 11:39am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    "Hi Crosbie, you're still here. Good, maybe you can describe a viable economic model that lets me earn a living from selling my works of art. I've been pressing Richard on this point but I've not had an answer yet."

    Uh, I'll take a stab at this: You make it available at a price and in a way that someone will pay for. See Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, etc. See publishing a hardcover book and including the book on tape in mp3 format. See making movies or documentaries and selling them on DVD. See Licensing ANY of this because you are the originator of the works. Give a workshop, lecture, anything.

    I have done and continue to do ALL of these, and copyright doesn't matter one whit. If I sell a book or DVD of my stuff, does having the word "copyright" on it mean that is WHY people buy it? Of course not. The only purpose copyright law REALLY serves (at least for me) is so that no one else can take what I made, and claim THEY are the author of it and sell it as such. Which, by the way, I have never had to invoke because NO ONE CARES to try to impersonate me and my products, there is no value in it, especially once you are caught doing it.

    I still have my skills, history and reputation regardless of copyright. These can be sold/used/licensed/get me work.

    There are NUMEROUS ways to make money with your creative works IN SPITE of copyright, not because of it. The sole focus on "piracy" saps valuable time and resources that could be spent in creating new works and spending time finding ways to actually PROFIT from them, instead of freaking out over intangible, imaginary "losses" from sharing.

    In this day and age where you can reach millions of people directly, have cheap POD publishing, and all these other fantastic resources to facilitate producing creative works, copyright is unnecessary.

    If you aren't succeeding, its not because of "piracy", its because YOU aren't doing it right. Blaming "piracy" is a crutch for your failure to understand, adapt and take advantage of the wealth of tools and methods available to you.

     

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  174.  
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    Gordon C Harrison, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 11:49am

    Re: Crime and Punishment

    I'll get back to this debate tomorrow, I'm busy right now creating art for a customer. Just a few brief points for you to consider...

    Richard and dwg, since you asked what I do, I'm a photographer making fine art prints, some are in a limited edition of 10, I sell works via galleries and my website. I also make a range of around 200 different hand made greetings cards the assembly of which gives a local lady employment. People can look at my work before they buy it, they have a choice and know exactly what they will get.

    dwg, you make unique works of art, that's fine, your view of copyright will be different from mine, of course it means nothing to you. However some creations are not made as one offs, they are part of mass culture, sold in volume and as such tend to be very much less expensive than a single unique work of art. There is room in the market place for both tyoes of art. The creation of a movie for example can involve the labour of hundreds if not thousands of people, to sell that as a one-off unique piece of art would be impracticable except perhaps to the mega wealthy.

    So within the market place there is a range of art available at a range of prices. For those who can afford them unique works of art are a very attractive purchase, perhaps because they appreciate the art involved, or perhaps they see it as an investment.

    dwg, I would imagine that if after making your unique work of art someone came and removed it from your studio without your permission, to keep for themselves, you would be upset and feel wronged.

    If someone else took a copy of my images to make the exact same greetings cards as me for example I would also feel wronged. The creation of a photographic image is in itself a unique experience. Much depends on time of day, lighting conditions which are infinitely variable and never repeat, careful framing of the composition, a great deal of technical skill, and patience over a period of weeks or months to get that one elusive image you are seeking. I often visualise images I want to capture and make plans to assist me in the capturing of them.

    Someone else who copies one of my images and starts selling it doing me a wrong, they have not used any skill or creativity yet they are trying to gain an economic advantage by using mine. Even if you don't believe in copyright as a solution to the problems I would hope you would see that taking advantage of someone else's work is morally wrong.

    I personally wouldn't dream of doing that - maybe I'm old fashioned, I believe in respect for other people and property - I am trying to be respectful to you guys at techdirt, I'm strugging to understand your thinking, and I feel I'm getting very little in the way of enlightenment back about your view of the morality of piracy or copyright infringement.

    Anyway I have to get on with my life at the moment and will return here tomorrow to see where the debate has gone.

    Feel free to chat amongst yourselves in the meantime...

     

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  175.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 10th, 2011 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    I've often come across this mysterious argument that copyright supporters make, that without copyright the artist can't prevent other people gaining 'an economic advantage' by selling copies of their work. Yet, the same supporters complain that without copyright the artist can't sell copies of their work (because everyone makes their own for nothing).

    There appears to be a contradiction here. In a post-copyright world, either no-one can sell copies of an artist's published work (because without copyright everyone can make their own for nothing), or both the artist and other people can sell copies (because there's no copyright to prevent them).

    The question is: Which is it?

    The copyright supporter's answer is: Er? Both?

    My answer is: The artist isn't in the business of selling copies in the first place, but in the business of selling their art (yesterday to publishers, tomorrow to their fans directly). Anyone can sell copies for whatever price the market will bear (in the case of digital copies, next to nothing).

     

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  176.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    Damn, this was a very informative and eye-opening post
    +1 interents for you sir

     

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  177.  
    identicon
    dwg, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 3:08pm

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    Dude, someone coming to my studio and removing my painting is so clearly different from someone making a copy of one of your mass-produced photos it's not even worth detailing, is it? If someone takes my painting, I no longer have it. If someone copies your photo, you both have it. If someone wants to take a photo of my painting, they're more than welcome to do that--doesn't bother me in the least, as long as they don't use it to sell their stuff, since I don't necessarily endorse that stuff.

    And if your stuff is mass-produced, it's really "merchandise" now, isn't it, as opposed to art? So maybe you should stop banging the "I'm an independent artist" drum. Want to be an independent artist? Make one-off photos that people can buy and own something unique--I hear there are actually photographers who do that, and that it makes their signature on the work actually worth something. We can't all be Hiroshe Sugimoto, but we should all try. Selling to the mass market really undercuts your droit morale argument, dude.

    Soapbox, out.

     

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  178.  
    identicon
    dwg, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 3:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    Yes, yes and more yes. See directly below. Thanks for this, Fitch.

     

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  179.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2011 @ 1:16am

    Re: Severity doesn't matter at all, certainty does, though

    So we just put the population of the US in jail for a year?

     

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  180.  
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    Gordon C Harrison, Aug 11th, 2011 @ 2:42am

    Re: Crime and Punishment

    dwg, yes I'm merchandising art, as many artists do, such as novelists, musicians, and painters too, in fact in every discipline.

    There is no need for some artists to get on a superior high horse simply because they've decided to make one-off works. My artistic vision and integrity is equal in all respects to theirs, the only difference between us is how we decide to sell our works.

    You would think I was indulging in some sort of criminal behaviour. I sell my works through galleries etc and people are happy to buy my affordable art so that they can enjoy it, they certainly don't think they are being ripped off by me, on the contrary I get appreciative emails from people I've never met.

    I am not mega wealthy, in fact I'm not wealthy at all. I'm an ordinary guy just about getting by on my income, I enjoy what I do, get on with my neighbours and have a reasonably happy life.

    From discussions with other artists it seems that there is a divide between those who make a one off art object and those who merchandise their art objects, that there is a superiority inherent in the former. Of course this is absolute nonsense, the creativity, skill, and inspiration that drives the creation of an art object is exactly the same in both cases. The only difference is in how it is sold.

    Then of course we have to consider the creation of artistic works that involve the creativity and skills of hundreds of people in different disciplines and vast sums of money, such as a movie. Such artistic works are hugely expensive to make, involve a high degree of risk, and are too expensive to be sold as a one off object in order to cover the cost of creating it. So its merchandised to cover its costs and hopefully make a profit. I see nothing wrong in that way of working, no one is compelled to buy the movie let alone watch it. If the movie is a failure then it won't be watched by many people and no doubt lessons are learned.

    Life is full of variety and richness, there is more than one way to create things, humans exhibit an immense range of skills, imagination and creativity. Why is your way of doing things the only 'right' way when it come to art? Do you not feel that is being dictatorial? I don't criticise your way of working, and since I'm not doing anything wrong, why do you criticise my way of working?

    From the discussions I've had on this techdirt forum I sense a certain degree of intolerance, that if this communities view of things is not shared by others it must be wrong, and even condemned. Yet I'm perfectly happy for you guys to sell one off artworks, or give your artworks away if wish (I do that too sometimes for good causes).

    So will someone explain why my way of earning a living is so bad, am I somehow hurting other people, or damaging others livelihoods, or offending people in some way.

     

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  181.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 11th, 2011 @ 3:07am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    Gordon, a movie is just as much a 'one-off' work of art as a photograph. It is indeed just as possible to sell a movie to a million fans as it is to sell a wedding photo to a couple of families.

    There's nothing wrong in selling works of art, or even copies of them.

    What is wrong is an 18th century privilege that abridges people's cultural liberty, that imprisons people such as Emmanuel Nimley for iPhoning movies in the cinema, or fines the likes of Jammie Thomas millions of dollars for sharing a few mp3 files.

    A good wedding photographer sells his photos to his customers and neutralises copyright upon them, e.g. CC-SA, so everyone can make all the copies they like.

    A bad wedding photographer doesn't neutralise his privilege of copyright, indeed looks forward to exploiting it. This means he can charge monopoly prices for enlargements, additional copies, souvenir mugs, etc. They can also sue the happy couple for failing to purchase a license for publishing a photo in the local newspaper, on their website, or many years later in an autobiography.

    So, there's nothing wrong with a photographer selling his work. It's derogating the liberty of others' that is wrong.

     

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  182.  
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    Gordon C Harrison, Aug 11th, 2011 @ 4:21am

    Re: Crime and Punishment

    Crosbie, At last, we seem to have got somewhere, I was sure you would have claimed that my selling copies of my artworks as prints or cards would have been beyond the pale.

    Re your point about wedding photographers, I have some sympathy with your point of view in that what we are talking about in that case is a personal service.

    I don't do wedding photography but did I do so I would be inclined to offer a package price for the service, agreed what it was they wanted, a book, film, dvd etc, price accordingly, then what they did with the results of my labours/digital images subsequently would be up to them. Of course if they specifically wanted me to make prints at some later stage I would need to charge the time/cost of doing that, but they could go elsewhere if they wanted to. So I'm not going to argue with you on that point.

    I have no issue either with people making personal copies of works they have already bought, copying from one device to another. Probably everybody does that anyway.

    Where things go wrong and become unethical in my opinion is in making copies of works in order that everybody else need not pay for it. Forget about copyright law and let not differences of opinion over that muddy the waters. Just consider an act of copying from the point of view of fairness and respect for others efforts.

    Unlike digital products it's not quite as straightforward to make good copies of my artworks because they are sold as physical products. It can be done however, so lets assume that someone went to the bother of photographing one of my large prints, used a degree of skill and replicated it pretty well - including my logo which is part of the image.

    Now if they went to the trouble of doing that for their own personal pleasure, hung it up in another room in their house, then fine, this hurts my ability to make a living not at all and frankly I don't care.

    However, if instead they use the exact copy of my photograph and start selling it this is where the moral issue arises for me. They invested no originality, creativity, or expended the time, effort, and sometimes unrepeatable good fortune, it took to capture that unique image. Yet through their actions they will now start to undermine my livelihood, perhaps even passing it off as their own work which in addition undermines my moral rights to be identified as the creator. All of that seems to me to be immoral behaviour and I cannot understand how such behaviour can be justified. Note I am still not talking about copyright, at this stage I am trying to keep the discussion on the point of what is morally right or not. I will be interested in your view of this, am I tramping on other peoples cultural liberty by prohibiting copies for any use other than personal? Am I incorrect on the morality of this issue, and if so, how?

    I don't know about the Jammie Thomas case and so can't comment on it. However, I would be concerned about people iPhoning movies in the cinema, I wouldn't know what they intend to do with it, if they were only going to watch a poor copy of it on their own iPhone afterwards then maybe that's no big deal. The problem is we don't know their intent is.

    They could decide to upload that digital copy and make it available to world so that nobody else need pay to watch the original or to buy the dvd. To me that would be immoral, it is undermining the efforts of all those people involved in making the movie to make a living.

    Personally, if I have seen a movie I really like I buy the DVD from a shop, that seems right to me. I know I already paid to watch it in the cinema as part of a group experience but I'm very happy to buy my own personal copy to watch in my own home as often as I like. I could make copies on my computer and give them away to friends, or sell them, but I wouldn't do that, it would be wrong to do so.

    So their are moral issues at the heart of this debate quite separate from the legal issues. I don't know what the copyright abolitionists stance is on these moral questions and it seems pointless to debate the law of copyright. until we understand each others views of the moral issues being discussed.

     

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  183.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 11th, 2011 @ 6:21am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    > Crosbie, At last, we seem to have got somewhere, I was
    > sure you would have claimed that my selling copies of my
    > artworks as prints or cards would have been beyond the pale.

    Strange. How could you be sure a libertarian such as I would be against a free market? It is copyright supporters who would deny others the liberty to sell published artworks as prints or cards.

    > Of course if they specifically wanted me to make prints at some
    > later stage I would need to charge the time/cost of doing
    > that, but they could go elsewhere if they wanted to. So I'm
    > not going to argue with you on that point.

    Sounds fine to me.

    > I have no issue either with people making personal
    > copies of works they have already bought, copying from one
    > device to another. Probably everybody does that anyway.

    Apparently itís about to be exempted as a copyright infringement. Eventually all individual liberties will be restored and copyright will effectively be abolished.

    > Where things go wrong and become unethical in my
    > opinion is in making copies of works in order that everybody
    > else need not pay for it.

    What, like a public library amassing large collections of books so everybody else need not pay to read them? You think that's unethical?

    People who sing each other's songs, tell each other's stories, share each other's music and movies, are doing so to explore their own culture with others, and yes, because it's cheaper, easier and more immediate to do it directly than to procure public performance licenses or purchase authorised copies. The only people upset by this cultural liberty are people hoping to benefit from the reproduction monopoly known as copyright. It is copyright that is unethical, not people's liberty.

    > Forget about copyright law and let
    > not differences of opinion over that muddy the waters.

    Are you ready to imagine a world without copyright then?

    > Just
    > consider an act of copying from the point of view of fairness
    > and respect for others efforts.

    Consider I buy a small basket and like it so much that I reckon I could make copies of it to sell at a market stall. In the monopolist's warped view of ethics, it would be unfair of me to do this. I should always buy baskets from the original vendor and resell those rather than make and sell my own copies.

    > Now if they went to the trouble of doing that for their
    > own personal pleasure, hung it up in another room in their
    > house, then fine, this hurts my ability to make a living not
    > at all and frankly I don't care.

    It is a pragmatic argument, not an ethical one, to permit competition you can't do anything about anyway and competition you have a hope of stamping out with a grant of monopoly.

    > However, if instead they use the exact copy of my
    > photograph and start selling it this is where the moral issue
    > arises for me. They invested no originality, creativity, or
    > expended the time, effort, and sometimes unrepeatable good
    > fortune, it took to capture that unique image.

    They are not selling your intellectual work, they are selling a copy of it. The copy serves as an advert and endorsement of your services. If someone wants a copy they'll pay a manufacturer of copies. If someone wants your services as a photographer they'll pay you.

    > Yet through
    > their actions they will now start to undermine my livelihood,
    > perhaps even passing it off as their own work which in
    > addition undermines my moral rights to be identified as the
    > creator. All of that seems to me to be immoral behaviour and
    > I cannot understand how such behaviour can be justified.

    Whoah! Don't conflate moral rights with a reproduction monopoly.

    Sure, if you want to be able to charge monopoly prices then others in the market selling copies at a price that represents better value for money may well undermine sales of copies at your monopoly inflated price. This doesn't make the monopoly ethical, it just means you've got to hire some attack lawyers to protect your state granted monopoly.

    Without a monopoly, in a free market, you have natural competition. If anything, competing copy manufacturers enable you to get out of the copy manufacturing business and stick to what you know best, i.e. excellent photography. You should be delighted that so many in the marketplace want to make and sell copies of your photos.

    It is printers who are upset about the dissolution of their monopoly, not artists (except those 'persuaded' to remain on message with their publishers).

    Back to moral rights. Yes, it remains unethical for someone else to pass off your work as theirs, or theirs as yours. Copyright never did protect against plagiarism anyway. Abolishing the privilege of copyright doesn't mean abolishing laws protecting moral rights.

    > Note I am still not talking about copyright, at this stage I am
    > trying to keep the discussion on the point of what is morally
    > right or not. I will be interested in your view of this, am I
    > tramping on other peoples cultural liberty by prohibiting
    > copies for any use other than personal? Am I incorrect on the
    > morality of this issue, and if so, how?

    You aren't trampling upon anyone's liberty. Copyright does this. It even annuls your liberty to make copies of your own work (you may retain the privilege to make copies or transfer it to a publisher).

    If you would attempt to restore the public's liberty concerning your published work (unethically abridged by copyright) then you should provide a copyleft license with it, or otherwise covenant not to sue people for what they would be at liberty to do but for copyright.

    Bear in mind that only people, human beings have a right to liberty. Corporations have no rights, so there's no ethical obligation to provide permissions to them if you fancy it's in your commercial interests not to. However, if you do provide a license to corporations it should still restore the liberty of any recipient human beings.

     

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  184.  
    identicon
    Gordon C Harrison, Aug 11th, 2011 @ 7:17am

    Re: Crime and Punishment

    Crosbie, you've made quite a number of points that I will take issue with, however I'm busy at the moment creating a work of art, at my risk, that I may not sell, but I have a potential customer and need to be busy. I will get back to this debate in a day or so.

    However, there are two things I'd like to state. Firstly, you've started talking about copyright again. I thought we were trying to get to the bottom of the moral issues related to the act copying and reach either a point of agreement or disagreement on that issue. It is the moral viewpoint of copying that is at the heart my issue with your opinions, the law of copyright is a different issue.

    Secondly, I have no problem with a free market or competition, my creativity versus the the other artists is just fine. It's my creative talent/view of the world versus other artists, the public already have a free choice. I already have thousands of competitors from around the world all competing with me on originality, creativity, talent, and their personal take on the world.

    An 'artist', if they could be called that at all, who simply copies my work and sells it has not used their own creativity, their own originality, their own inspiration, their own skills (apart from copying), they are in fact, not an artist. This may be the nub of our argument, I see that person as a charlatan, using someone else's creativity and adding none of their own. You seem to think that's ok? I absolutely see that as immoral behaviour. I would not dream of doing that to anyone, artist or not, I would be utterly ashamed at my own behaviour if I did.

    What is an artist? One who creates a work of art from nothing other than their own internalised inspiration, creating something new and original. A person who copies is not an artist, has added nothing from his own 'soul' if I can be forgiven for using a religious word, but I'm sure you know what I mean.

    Anyway, I need to stop and work, but I will return in a day or so and respond to each of your points with my views.

     

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  185.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 11th, 2011 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    Truly the give it away and pray model!

     

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  186.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 11th, 2011 @ 7:51am

    Re: Crime and Punishment

    There is not nearly the societal agreement about the moral incorrectness of copying that you pretend. And what agreement there is, is only because of copyright law. Most of us would agree it's wrong to kill, even if there were no law against it. Who would claim it's wrong to copy if there were no law against it? Laws are supposed to reflect morality, not the other way around.

     

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  187.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 11th, 2011 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re: Finally, a solution

    Really, was that not obviously a joke?

     

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  188.  
    icon
    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 11th, 2011 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    You appear confused by copyright to see people selling copies of your work as charlatans selling your work. They are not. They are selling copies.

    If I sell a mug with a copy of one of your photos on it, I am not selling your work. I'm selling a copy of it (on a mug).

    If I sell a book with your Techdirt comments in it I am not selling your work, but a copy of it. If you want to sell your work in commenting upon the ethics of copying you need to find one or more buyers interested in commissioning such work.

    Only copyright fools people into thinking the copy is the work.

    If you want me to make a copy of Macbeth as an eBook for you, give me $5 and I will, but don't for one instant think that I am selling you Shakespeare's work in writing a play. However, if you want me to write a sequel to Macbeth then I'd be looking for something like $10,000 for my work, which I suspect would be quite difficult to raise given I'm not renowned for my playwriting skills.

    The same applies in photography or any other art (including software engineering).

     

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  189.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 11th, 2011 @ 8:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The argument isn't the copying used to be wrong because it was hard, and now it's not because it's easy. The argument is that controlling copying used to be possible because it was hard, and now it isn't because it's easy.

     

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  190.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 11th, 2011 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    The flaw in that argument is in completely ignoring the cost of creating that digital copy in the first place. The cost of creating a work of art, whether digital or not, is measured in the amount of time and effort went into it's creation. As mentioned in one of my earlier notes on this subject it could be a years work.

    In a competitive market, fixed costs are not factored into the price of a good. This means price is driven toward the marginal cost of production (zero, in this case). Naturally those in control want to make sure it is not a competitive market, through means such a copyright law. However that does not change the reality: they are competing with free, whether they want to or not.

     

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  191.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 11th, 2011 @ 8:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Succinctly put.

    Copyright was always wrong, but it was at least effective at providing a reproduction monopoly.

    Today it's still wrong, but it is now also ineffective, except in terms of punishing a few to serve as ineffective lessons to the rest.

    As this article explains, even the death penalty cannot 'educate' people into surrendering their liberty. You just hasten revolution - as the cartel probably realises, even as it lobbies for ever more draconian enforcement.

     

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  192.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 11th, 2011 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    It has been interesting, particularly from the point of view that no one has offered a viable economic model that lets me work as an independent artist without the moral and legal protection of copyright. Nor has anyone shown that it is not morally wrong to take someone else's work without paying for it.

    I rest my case and now move on to more enjoyable and productive work.


    Translation: LALALALALALA, I can't hear you!!!!

     

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  193.  
    identicon
    Gordon C Harrison, Aug 11th, 2011 @ 8:53am

    Re: Crime and Punishment

    Just a brief appearance to clarify something.

    You guys think it is moral to copy another artists work, without permission, and to economically profit from the result of their creativity. Am I right, this is your position?

    If this is what you think could I suggest to you an alternative, that you might create an artwork of your own to profit from instead of a copy of someone else's work. Why would you not do that?

     

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  194.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 11th, 2011 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    An 'artist', if they could be called that at all, who simply copies my work and sells it has not used their own creativity, their own originality, their own inspiration, their own skills (apart from copying), they are in fact, not an artist.

    Just to add to Crosbie a bit, that person is not competing with your artistic ability, and not claiming to. He is competing with your ability to make copies. Presumably you have no exceptional ability to make copies, so it would be a mistake to try to compete on that. The copier cannot compete with your artistic ability, so compete there. He cannot copy your time, work, and attention, so sell those.

     

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  195.  
    identicon
    Gordon C Harrison, Aug 11th, 2011 @ 9:02am

    Re: Crime and Punishment

    Just a brief appearance to clarify something.

    You guys think it is moral to copy another artists work, without permission, and to economically profit from the result of their creativity. Am I right, this is your position?

    If this is what you think could I suggest to you an alternative, that you might create an artwork of your own to profit from instead of a copy of someone else's work. Why would you not do that?

     

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  196.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 11th, 2011 @ 9:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    I concur.

     

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  197.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 11th, 2011 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    If an artist sells or gives me their painting, or a copy of their painting, then ethically I do not need their permission to make whatever use of it I fancy, whether to use it to light a fire, inspire me to produce a painting of my own, to serve as the source for 5,000 postcards that I'll print and sell at $1 each, or to warp in Photoshop and use as the basis of a wallpaper design I've been paid $3,000 to produce.

    Note that no dishonesty occurs in any of the above. At no point do I imply or claim that the artist's work is mine, or vice versa.

     

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  198.  
    identicon
    Gordon C Harrison, Aug 11th, 2011 @ 9:17am

    Crime and Punishment

    Apologies for the double posting - no idea how I did that.

     

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  199.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 11th, 2011 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment


    You guys think it is moral to copy another artists work, without permission, and to economically profit from the result of their creativity.


    Let me ask you this: why do you think you should have the right to control what I do with something I've legally obtained?

     

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  200.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Aug 11th, 2011 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    An 'artist', if they could be called that at all, who simply copies my work and sells it has not used their own creativity, their own originality, their own inspiration, their own skills (apart from copying), they are in fact, not an artist.

    Just to add to Crosbie a bit, that person is not competing with your artistic ability, and not claiming to. He is competing with your ability to make copies. Presumably you have no exceptional ability to make copies, so it would be a mistake to try to compete on that. The copier cannot compete with your artistic ability, so compete there. He cannot copy your time, work, and attention, so sell those.

     

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  201.  
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    RadialSkid (profile), Aug 11th, 2011 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    piracy will kill of the content industry,

    Can it, please?

    and end the production of all that content you love.

    BWAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHA!

    Oh, that's rich...

     

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  202.  
    identicon
    dwg, Aug 11th, 2011 @ 11:33am

    Yes, I actually do see a difference between those who create one-offs and those who create "editions." Here's the difference: you only create the artwork once--after that, you're just copying it and selling the copies. So what you're doing then is applying an economic model that you think works best for you--you're no longer making the art, but being a businessman. And, frankly, I'm sick of hearing "art is a business." This is something that's said by failed artists who give seminars. Art is not a business--art is art, and sometimes it makes artists a living.

    I don't look down on you for being a photographer--far from it. There are plenty of photographers whose work I revere. But punching out another copy of what was originally a work of art is no longer something that I view as an artistic endeavor, and I don't think you get to claim the artistic/moral highground for doing it. So when someone else comes along with a similar business model--making mass-produced copies of your work--I don't have a ton of sympathy for your moral outrage that the market doesn't favor your business model over his.

     

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  203.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2011 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, it was the inglorious basterds.

     

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  204.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2011 @ 10:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Finally, a solution

    Yes, it was - I clicked the Funny button, even!

    Didn't you see my winky 'moteecon? ;)

    You moved me to muse and post, is all.

     

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  205.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 12th, 2011 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Finally, a solution

    Gotcha, my bad.

     

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  206.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 12th, 2011 @ 3:16pm

    Re: ... would you go into a shop and take something without paying for it?

    If someone did, would you put the lawyers onto them, to send them a cease-and-desist letter? Would you try to get them banned from using the public roads to get to your shop?

    Or would you call the cops?

    So if copyright infringement is the same as stealing, why arenít the cops involved?

    Theyíre not, ergo itís not. QED.

     

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  207.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Aug 16th, 2011 @ 8:29pm

    Re: Re: Crime and Punishment

    "I'm sorry, but I choose to be independent, make my works of art, hope to sell them to make a living. It is my right to make that choice - you have no right to tell me what to do, how dare you."

    Me too!

    By the way, people think my art work is crap, how can I continue making my art while making money as well?

    Shouldn't people just have to pay me because I am making "art?"

     

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

  208.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 8:15pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "That was back in the time that you would get the death penalty for calling the king names too."
    Don't you mean in the future?


    Friday, Aug. 19, 2011
    "Syria appears to have passed the point where massacres will silence the people."
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/editorials/syrias-security-forces-face-a-mora l-choice/article2135846/

     

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


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