Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the riaa-edition dept

Sometimes we have comments that win the funniest or most insightful race by wide margins, but usually there are a few clustered at the top. This week, the most insightful comment was so far above the rest of the pack that it may be the largest "lead" I've seen. And, the number two comment also had a huge gap over number three (and, obviously, there was a big gap between one and two as well). So, clearly, the community found the following two comments to be the most insightful comments of the week without much question... and they were both on the same story: the one about the RIAA's Cary Sherman whining about how Congress didn't pass SOPA/PIPA. The highest ranked insightful comment came from E. Zachary Knight, and was part of a larger discussion he was involved in over whether or not "copyright" was a form of "property." While those who disagree with him will scoff, it appears that an awful lot of people agree with Zachary's sound reasoning:
I have a right to free speech under the first amendment. That does not mean I have "Free Speech Property". Rights are not property. You can have rights over property, but the rights themselves are not property.

Claiming that copyright is property is not intellectually honest. As a creator of a copyrighted work, you can claim ownership of the original work and you have property rights to the original work. However, copyright extends only to the ability to copy that work. That ability to copy is not property. It is a right. Rights can only be infringed not stolen.
Coming in second was an Anonymous Coward with a rather simple response to Sherman's request for "constructive alternatives."
Repeal the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act.
In finding my editor's choice comments of the week, I usually go through the top 20 ranked comments or so to find other gems... and this week, nearly all of them were from that same post. Apparently there was a lot of insight there. I particularly liked Jeremy Lyman's response to that same request from Sherman for constructive alternatives. Lyman noted that this appears to be jumping the gun:
Before we all agree on a solution we all need to agree on the problem.
For a little variety I chose a comment from a different post for my second editor's choice. I went with fogbugd's response to the story of a questionable NFL takedown notice to YouTube, over a Chrysler Super Bowl commercial:
Bogus copyright claims and DCMA claims ought to be a crime. And content should not be taken down under DCMA until the person who posted has a reasonable opportunity to dispute the claim.

Leaving violations up for an extra day or two probably does little damage to the rights holder, but examples like this show how huge the damage can be to the person holding the video.
I agree. I've never understood why a notice-and-takedown solution is better than a notice-and-notice system.

Moving on to the funny side of the equation, similar to the insightful, the number one comment was head and shoulders above any other comments in the voting tables, with number two having a decent bump over number three. But right up on top was an Anonymous Coward responding to a story about yet another study showing that release windows hurt movie revenues:
It's all about choice. See, by only providing content through locked down, time limited, location restricted methods, the studios are actually giving us a lot more choices in how we consume our content. Dirty pirates can only consume their content in one way: no encryption, HD, and worldwide. But the studios give us an unending stream of different choices that provide real value to their content. Maybe you want DRM that requires a constant connection to the internet. They have that. Maybe you DRM that limits you to only certain devices. They have that. Maybe you want content that's purposefully degraded. They have that. Maybe you want to be able to watch content only in the US. They have that. Canada? They have that too. Content that expires after 48 hours? No problem. Maybe you want to have to watch it in the theater? They got you covered. The depth and breadth of choices that the studios provide is something that the evil pirates just cannot cover. The other day I asked someone at the pirate bay for an encrypted copy of The Grey that would only play on my computer for a week and they couldn't do it!
That's so good it feels like someone should turn it into a "commercial" and put it on YouTube.

Coming in second was Gwiz and his response to Marcus Carab sarcastically saying: "Yeah and we could totally herd cats if we just gave the catherders megaphones" in response to the claim that playing the silly game of rogue site whac-a-mole made any sense. Gwiz saw a problem with Marcus' plan:
Sorry, you are shit out of luck. DOJ/ICE seized all the MegaPhones because they were part of the Mega Conspiracy. MegaPhones have been known to be used to amplify copyrighted music to the unwashed masses. Despite the fact that MegaPhones are only tools (and inanimate objects no less), DOJ/ICE was able to convince a grand jury that they were committing criminal copyright infringement and had all the MegaPhones in the US seized and destroyed, for the children.
For editor's choice, we've got another Anonymous Coward on the story about Lowe's demanding a license to link to its site:
Never heard of them.

Link plz
That one made me laugh slightly more than Benny6Toes suggestion of linking to Home Depot, using the term Lowe's...

And the final editor's choice funny comment of the week goes to Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), responding to one of our most frequent critics sarcastically expressing his belief that we "never cease to amuse," by pointing out that, under that person's own standards, there's a problem:
Well, why aren't you paying Mike for the entertainment? ...damn pirate!
Indeed. Pay up.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 12:14pm

    "Well, why aren't you paying Mike for the entertainment? ...damn pirate! "

    IP trolls offer a lot of entertainment through comic relief (and we're not laughing with them, we're laughing at them). I hope they don't demand we pay up :)

     

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  2.  
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    Greevar (profile), Feb 12th, 2012 @ 12:20pm

    Copyright and property

    "I have a right to free speech under the first amendment. That does not mean I have "Free Speech Property". Rights are not property. You can have rights over property, but the rights themselves are not property.

    Claiming that copyright is property is not intellectually honest. As a creator of a copyrighted work, you can claim ownership of the original work and you have property rights to the original work. However, copyright extends only to the ability to copy that work. That ability to copy is not property. It is a right. Rights can only be infringed not stolen."


    To be fair, the copyright act does state that the copyright (the copyright, not the work) is the property of the copyright holder. It doesn't make logical sense, but there you have it.

     

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    Richard (profile), Feb 12th, 2012 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Copyright and property

    To be fair, the copyright act does state that the copyright (the copyright, not the work) is the property of the copyright holder.

    Yes - but in order to steal the copyright you would have to deprive the original rightsholder of their rights (kinda like what the MAFIAA does..)

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Copyright and property

    Since when has IP ever made sense? IP has never made sense, unless the objective is to allow big business to exploit both the public and content/product creators.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 1:04pm

    Re:

    Too bad that those who protect and support pirates don't even understand the deal.

    That's funny shit!

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Re:

    OH NO YOU'RE ONTO ME, I HAVE PIRATES IN MY ATTIC WHOM I PROTECT FROM ZE RIAA GESTAPO, I GOT INTO THIS DEAL BY MAKING A POST ON TECHDIRT AND SUDDENLY I WAS THREATENED TO SMUGGLE AND HIDE FILE SHARERS AS PART OF THE GREAT MIKE MASNICK UNDERGROUND FILE SHARING RING

    OH NO THERE'S A KNOCK AT MY DOOR, I AM UNDONE

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Feb 12th, 2012 @ 1:17pm

    Indeed. Pay up.

    Speaking of paying up and "frequent critics", was this wager ever resolved after Dajaz1 was found to be completely legal?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Re:

    What 'deal', a one sided 'deal' where IP extremists get an unowed monopoly practically forever in exchange for ... nothing?

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 1:36pm

    Re:

    I doubt TAM's parents have 500 dollars to donate to the EFF.

     

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    Yartrebo (profile), Feb 12th, 2012 @ 1:58pm

    Copyright is a priviledge

    Actually, calling copyright a right isn't being very honest either. Copyright is a privilege.

    Rights are things that intrinsically exist and are merely formalized by codifying them into law, whereas privileges do not naturally exist and are created by law or custom.

    The semantics are important. Rights are inherently right, and privileges are at best neutral and often carry a negative connotation.

    For example, TV is a privilege for children. There is no mandate that parents allow them to watch TV, and it can be withheld for any reason (common reasons are the parent thinks TV rots the brain or as punishment for bad behaviour). Copyright should fall into the same category. It's a privilege and it should only be extended to the extent that it benefits humankind, and only insofar as it is not abused.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Feb 12th, 2012 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Copyright and property

    I am only saying that copyright law calls it property. It can't be "stolen" in any true sense of the word, but it does try to assign ownership of the power to copy works you have created to you. It's stupid nevertheless. It's impossible to own something that can't be held in exclusive possession while still being able to distribute it to others.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Feb 12th, 2012 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Re: Copyright and property

    Well, if you want to get technical (and illogical), by copying a work that is covered under copyright, the copyright can be stolen when the power to choose whom gets a copy is taken away. In a roundabout way, you could say that copyright infringement steals that power from authors, but that's just getting into the realm of absurd leaps of logic.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 2:46pm

    Freetards.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 2:50pm

    Re:

    Yes, I remember that. Mike is owed money now. Doubt IP extremists will keep their end of the bet, they never seem to keep their end of anything (ie: retroactive copy protection extensions).

     

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    Al Bert (profile), Feb 12th, 2012 @ 3:10pm

    Re:

    Wow! what a deal!
    And here, i normally spend so much on purchasing tards at market rates.

     

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    Richard (profile), Feb 12th, 2012 @ 4:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Copyright and property

    No - that would still be just infringement - to steal the copyright you would somehow have to acquire the legal right dishomestly at the expense of its true owner. Merely infringing just doesn't cut it.

    A test that you had stolen the copyright rather than infringed would be this - only one person can possess the copyright at a time so the thief must be unique - but many can infringe simultaneously.

     

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    Richard (profile), Feb 12th, 2012 @ 4:30pm

    Re: Copyright is a priviledge

    Actually, calling copyright a right isn't being very honest either. Copyright is a privilege.

    Actually the correct term would be a "concession".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 4:40pm

    The entertainment industry is like a drug addict they need intervention.

    http://www.apathtorecovery.com/

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 4:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright and property

    http://boingboing.net/2012/02/11/marveldisney-wages-petty-vic.html

    Like Marvel and Disney did to the creator of the Ghost Rider?

     

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    Vidiot (profile), Feb 12th, 2012 @ 4:57pm

    Re: Re:

    When I meet some of them, I'll ask.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 5:30pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, the deal is that payment doesn't have to be in money. I get entertainment from Mike, and I "pay" for it by not blocking every single ad on the site.

    Idiots don't grasp that Mike gets paid.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 5:32pm

    Re:

    Actually, it resolved itself. The courts never ruled on the specific legality of the seizure, as the case was dropped.

    So in pure terms (to this date) , the seizure was legal.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 5:33pm

    Re: Re:

    Since TAM doesn't exist, you are probably right.

     

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  24.  
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    ken (profile), Feb 12th, 2012 @ 5:57pm

    Supreme Court ~ Copyright Infringement is not theft.

    Downloading unauthorized copyrighted material is not theft it is not even considered a criminal act but a civil matter. The Supreme Court ruled in Dowling_v._United_States_(1985) that copyright infringement does not fit the definition of theft since it does not deprive the copyright owner possession or use of the property.

    "The phonorecords in question were not "stolen, converted or taken by fraud" for purposes of [section] 2314. The section's language clearly contemplates a physical identity between the items unlawfully obtained and those eventually transported, and hence some prior physical taking of the subject goods. Since the statutorily defined property rights of a copyright holder have a character distinct from the possessory interest of the owner of simple "goods, wares, [or] merchandise," interference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud. The infringer of a copyright does not assume physical control over the copyright nor wholly deprive its owner of its use. Infringement implicates a more complex set of property interests than does run-of-the-mill theft, conversion, or fraud." Dowling v. United States, 473 U.S. 207 (1985)

    Therefore any use of terms such as "theft" or "piracy" in connection with copyright infringement is simply hyperbole and only fits into the RIAA and MPAA's narrative.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dowling_v._United_States_(1985)

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 6:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright and property

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 7:47pm

    Re: Supreme Court ~ Copyright Infringement is not theft.

    The court's holding is limited specifically and only to the criminal statute set forth at 18 USC 2314. Had the statute, or its legislative history, been more detailed the court could have very easily held otherwise.

    To extrapolate from the case that terms like theft of piracy only fit into certain narratives would be a mistake.

     

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  27.  
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    Greevar (profile), Feb 12th, 2012 @ 8:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright and property

    I didn't say it was correct in any way. I just said if you were desperate enough (like an IP maximist), you could draw a line between the dots. What a crooked line it would make.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 8:55pm

    Re: Re: Supreme Court ~ Copyright Infringement is not theft.

    A lot of people hate the DMCA for a lot of reason but don't really know about the NET (No Electronic Theft, yes Theft Act). Basically the government was pissed off that they couldn't prosecute a bunch of warez guys because they hadn't actually made any money off pirating stuff. So they said if you copy anything worth more than a thousand dollars over the internet in a 180 day period you are criminally liable. This is what they're using to go after the Megaupload guys.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 9:17pm

    Re: Supreme Court ~ Copyright Infringement is not theft.

    Nothing like taking a 27 year old ruling and trying to make it sound like it covers the current circumstance, because it really does not. The internet wasn't even a gleam in Al Gore's eye at that point (tee-hee)

    You should also be aware that the laws have changed significantly since 1985, and as such, new definitions apply.

    Nice try though.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 9:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So, you are saying there are business models which work which don't need regulatory capture to work. Congrats! you finally figured that out. Wanna cookie?

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 11:00pm

    Re: Re:

    "Yeah it was legal I guess if you look at the definition of the word legal sort of in the right light with your head slanted"

    Backing out of a bet? You bring shame to your family.

     

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  32.  
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    Prisoner 201, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 11:30pm

    Re: Re: Supreme Court ~ Copyright Infringement is not theft.

    "Nothing like taking a 27 year old ruling and trying to make it sound like it covers the current circumstance, because it really does not. The internet wasn't even a gleam in Al Gore's eye at that point (tee-hee)

    You should also be aware that the laws have changed significantly since 1985, and as such, new definitions apply.

    Nice try though."


    I dont see your point (or at least not as a point in your favor). Copyright is how old again? And certainly does not "cover the current circumstance". In fact it's completely out of step with reality.

    Nice try though.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 11:43pm

    Re: Re:

    Weasel!

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 11:44pm

    Re: Re:

    "The courts never ruled on the specific legality of the seizure"

    Did you read the bet?

    "So I would make the same bet if we can bet over whether or not the seizure of one of the blogs will be deemed legal."

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 11:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Mike has been saying that to him for ages(that you can get paid) but apparently he had to come to the same conclusion by himself.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 11:54pm

    Re: Supreme Court ~ Copyright Infringement is not theft.

    Theft has and exclusion property, to be theft you need to exclude someone from the possession or use of something, copying anything can't do that, but copyright can.

    http://boingboing.net/2012/02/11/marveldisney-wages-petty-vic.html

    Marvel can rob you of anything if they hold the copyrights, even if you created something they can pretend under the law that you didn't now that is real theft.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 11:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright and property

    The only insight to be had there is that copyright gives some people the power to change history.

    Since when the law can forbid a creator from being named the creator of something, that is not in copyrights and I bet that if he original creator had the funds he could fight this and will.

    Also copyrights created the legal minefield that forces companies to go all out on anybody else, it creates the uncertainties and the very high cost of maintaining anything.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 12:01am

    Re: Re: Supreme Court ~ Copyright Infringement is not theft.

    I'm very aware that the world has changed a lot since 1700's and that copyrights are becoming more and more incompatible with society, to the point of threatening its foundations.

     

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  39.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 3:11am

    I laughed hard at the It's all about choice comment, specially the last sentence. It was pure golden comedy and yet so sadly true.

    When I first read the comment I was downloading the "Song of Fire and Ice" books to put on my cell phone just for the heck of it and the comment made me wonder about what I was doing. The interesting part is that I bought the paper version of all the books so far and for me it's natural that I own all and any versions that may ever be released (paying, of course, for the material costs - ie: the paper and the ink). Since the digital copies have virtually no cost I went ahead and downloaded them. I'm entitled to those versions as much as I'm entitled to any version of a movie I buy (ie: I buy the DVD because I got no bd player at home so I'm entitled to a 1080p version to run from my notebook).

    Also, my family pays for cable TV. I got myself downloading some series that didn't show when I could watch them these days. I've paid for the cable content but couldn't watch it when it aired. I'm even getting a version with the TV logo on it lmao.

    I'm probably a filthy pirate from the MAFIAA perspective and they'll be using me as statistics to push for more bad laws...

     

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  40.  
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    Richard (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 3:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright and property

    Yes - I sort of agree that you could. My point was that you can construct a meaning to the phrase "stealing a copyright" that is clearly different from the meaning of the phrase "infringing a copyright" and that the existance of such a meaning undermines any attempt to identify infringement with stealing.

     

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  41.  
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    Richard (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 3:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright and property

    Actually, although this is a great example of the kind of bad behaviour that copyright law encourages, it is a legal dispute and so I don't think it really counts as stealing a copyright because if the courts decide it's legal then no crime has been committed and if not then it will be reversed.

    Stealing a copyright would go something like this:
    Two songwriters (lets call them "Lennon and McCartney" - any similarity to persons living or dead entirely accidental) habitually work together but occasionally write songs individually.

    Lennon writes such a song and shows it to McCartney. Then Lennon dies without telling anybody else. McCartney then copies the song out in his own hand, destroys Lennon's original manuscripts and claims the song as his own. In those circumstances McCartney would have stolen the copyright from Lennon's heirs. Lennon's death is important to the scenario because otherwise he would simply sue and it would just be a legal dispute like the comicbook example above.

     

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  42.  
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    Richard (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 3:43am

    Re: Re: Supreme Court ~ Copyright Infringement is not theft.

    he court's holding is limited specifically and only to the criminal statute set forth at 18 USC 2314. Had the statute, or its legislative history, been more detailed the court could have very easily held otherwise.

    Rubbish!

    The court gave its opinion on the meaning of words in the English language. There is no way that the factors you mention could change that.

    Even if a legislative body were to pass a statute that explicitly said that infringement is theft it would not make it so.

     

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  43.  
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    Richard (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 3:47am

    Re: Re: Supreme Court ~ Copyright Infringement is not theft.

    Nothing like taking a 27 year old ruling and trying to make it sound like it covers the current circumstance, because it really does not. The internet wasn't even a gleam in Al Gore's eye at that point (tee-hee)

    What was that network I was using in 1980 then?

    You should also be aware that the laws have changed significantly since 1985, and as such, new definitions apply.


    Laws may have changed - but not the meanings of words in English. Laws cannot mandate those meanings any more than they can mandate the value of pi.

     

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 4:15am

    Re: Lowe's

    I'm sure that that link policy is up there to preserve bandwidth. After all bandwidth costs money, and by limiting the amount of visitors to the site through off-site linking, Lowe's saves money and passes those savings on to you, the valued non-customer.

    It's a Win-Win situation, you win the opportunity to not have to shop at Lowe's but at Home Depot instead, and Home Depot wins any money you spend there.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 6:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Supreme Court ~ Copyright Infringement is not theft.

    You are quite obviously not an attorney who practices in subject areas associated with constitutional law and statutory interpretation. If you did, you would quickly realize that your lay reading of the case is markedly different and inconsistent with the court's actual holding.

    Moreover, theft is a word of legal art, and reliance on TD's definition, while it has appeal at the lay level, is of no moment before the courts. Cases there are decided upon any number of bases, and statutes most certainly are one of them.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 6:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright and property

    To be theft you need to deprive someone of the use of something, by removing the guy rights to claim he was one of the original creators is just that theft of credits and apparently it was made legal by a bad ruling, never mind that the original creator is also a dick, who tried and failed to regain his original copyrights after selling those as work for hire.

    Now explain how someone can possibly have the right to tell another person who did something he can no longer claim he did it?

    I don't see how that is legal or even possible except for a bad defense coupled with a bad judge.

    This just shows that copyright is the real theft machine, and doesn't protect creators only the people who have the money to hire a million dollar legal team and make the bar to entry the market that much higher, if you get sued by big boys you are screwed, you will lose your pants.

     

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    wvhillbilly (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:36am

    PTT and ephemeral copies

    Hey guys! Ever seen about all these FEMA camps scattered all over the US? They're probably for all us Internet users so so when PTT passes they can put us all away for infringing copyright by all the millions of buffer copies our computers routinely make in the course of displaying Web pages, and all the buffer copies our digital TVs make of the data passing through them in the course of updating screen displays.

    Yes, PTT is going to bring all temporary copies of all data anywhere under copyright protection, and since everything in the world is copyright by default, there's no escape. We'll all have to throw our TVs and computers in the river or expect the copyright police to come knocking our doors down and dragging us away. But if we do that they'll get us for illegal dumping and polluting the rivers. They'll get us either way.

    [Yes this is sarcasm, but it is the truth that PTT will bring all copies of any form of data, even temporary buffer copies, under copyright protection. Utterly stupid. I think they want to make criminals out of all of us.]

     

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  48.  
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    Chargone (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 12:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Supreme Court ~ Copyright Infringement is not theft.

    *facepalms*

    good God, America is screwed up.

    and they want to make the rest of us like them...

    *shudders*

    sounds like something people should know about, really.

     

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


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