Seizing Domains Is Only Training Criminals To Improve

from the wrong-approach dept

"Cybercrime" investigator Rob Holmes has an interesting post arguing that seizing domains is a recipe for making the problems of illegal activity online even worse. He takes credit for being one of the first to suggest that domains could be viewed as "tools" of a criminal, thus making them ripe for seizure. However, he's not impressed by those in law enforcement who are eagerly seizing domains by the dozens -- in part because he thinks it helps actual criminals more than it hurts them:
The reason we are fighting the good fight is to stop people from doing bad things and hold them accountable for their actions. Whether you are enforcing trademark rights or car thefts, this has to be done one person at a time. In 2010 a client asked me what we could take away from the offenders to make them stop. My simple answer was “Their freedom.” Entrepreneurs will always find a way to do business. Bad guys need to be put away to reflect on their actions. Nothing else will stop them. When you take away only the tool, you are training the criminal to improve. I am not in the business of training crooks. Are you?
This, of course, is a different perspective. Most of us have been concerned about the free speech and collateral damage issues raised by domain seizures. But Holmes is making the argument that, even when we're talking about confirmed criminal activity, domain seizures are counterproductive because they're going after a tool rather than those actually responsible.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:15pm

    First they killed Napster, then Kazaa/Gnutella/WinMX/DC+/etc came. Then they kept pushing and bittorrent came. Then they kep pushing and DHT/PEX/Magnets came.

    We can all see where it's going to end.

     

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  2.  
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    Another AC, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:18pm

    Re:

    *Head For His Underground Bomb Shelter*

     

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  3.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:20pm

    Deaf ears.

    Somehow I think the "this is only going to make it worse in the long run" angle is going to fall on deaf ears.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:26pm

    So this supports the jailing of O'Dwyer, Queen Pharah & Co. and soon Fat Bastard and friends?

     

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  5. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:27pm

    Another pirate-defending article that begs the question which will not be answered. http://bit.ly/Pnbcji

    Yes or no: The *only* reason piracy is not OK is because it ignores the wishes of content creators.

    It's a simple, direct, yes-or-no question. Why do you refuse to answer it? What are you hiding?

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:29pm

    Re:

    So you're not only creepy, but you also don't know what "begs the question" means.

     

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  7.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:32pm

    Re:

    Don't you ever get sick of trolling?

     

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  8.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:33pm

    Re:

    I don't believe you know the definition of "defending".

    If I say "Hey, guy, your boat is sinking, and throwing marbles at the hole isn't going to fix it", I'm not "defending" flooding. I'm just pointing out that your actions aren't going to work.

    As for piracy: It's not a matter or whether or not it's "okay", it's a matter of making a business model that is independent of the level of piracy, or better yet, thrives on piracy.

    Your "simple, direct, yes-or-no question" is a straw man. Another "simple, direct, yes-or-no question" is "Have you told your family you like to have sex with goats?"

    Well, have you?

     

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  9.  
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    Machin Shin (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:35pm

    "In 2010 a client asked me what we could take away from the offenders to make them stop. My simple answer was “Their freedom.”"

    There is a big problem with this logic. You can't take from someone something they don't have. I don't know about anyone else but I already feel most of my freedom has been taken away. Taking what freedom I have left is an option, but are they stupid enough to think that will work?

    Think about it for a moment. Your taking guys who are rather intelligent (you know, programmers and such) and your tossing them into jail. This indeed is a stern punishment and it will take them out of the world for a few years. What do you think will happen in jail? Your tossing smart educated people into a place with a wide variety of criminals from various walks of life. In this environment these guys will have two options, die or adapt.

    Well, we already know they are intelligent and able to adapt fairly well to new technology. So my bet is that a lot of these guys will adapt quite well to the criminal life. They will learn a lot about many different criminal activities and when they get out they will no longer be the laid back college boy that got locked away.

    In fact I suspect they will not feel sorry for stealing that movie or linking to that page. No they will be pissed that their life was destroyed over some petty bull shit and they will move on to a very good career as a full blown criminal. These days even the gangs and the mobs need a presence on the internet, and we are sending some very bright and creative minds right to them.

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:38pm

    I agree with him. Seizing domains and shutting down websites only make criminals harder to catch because they are driven further and further underground. I would say the same about your Cyber security Bill (our Draft Communications Bill), they will simply make criminals even better at covering their tracks (if they are not already) and make law enforcement's job harder, not easier.

    This may be controversial but I would say even blocking child porn sites has the same effect. Are there fewer child porn sites? No! Are there fewer pedophiles? No! Are they easier to catch? I would say, no!

     

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    Keii (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:38pm

    "The reason we are fighting the good fight is to stop people from doing bad things and hold them accountable for their actions."
    The definition of "bad things" varies from person to person, all of whom have a different level of morals and upbringing.

    Just look at some examples.
    The MPAA see the public as doing bad things unless they're paying for premium cable subscription without DVR and sit through every commercial.
    The RIAA see the public as doing bad things unless they're out paying for every overpriced album released from their select pick of artists.
    The Author's Guild see the public as doing bad things for trading and lending books or doing anything but buying overpriced hard copies.

    On the other side of the fence, the public see the Banks as doing bad things by destroying the US economy and essentially stealing money, but you don't see the Government fighting the good fight there.
    The public see the large Corporations as doing bad things by overstepping their rights, not paying their fair share of taxes, etc, but you don't see the Government fighting the good fight there.
    The public see Wall Street as doing bad things by inflating stock prices and changing business practices to benefit the short term instead of long term, but once again you don't see any good fights being fought there.

    So who's "good fight" is it? And what are "bad things"?

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Style, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:39pm

    Re:

    Mike gave an answer which Gwiz even quoted to you, so let me do the same.

    "It's not okay because I don't think it's okay. You're asking a moral question. There is no answer to a moral question other than "that's what I believe." I don't think it's right to ignore the wishes of a content creator."

    Now, quit trolling/derailing threads. Mike has on numerous occasions flat out stated that he thinks piracy is wrong and does not condone it. If I had time and cared to, I'd go find all the quotes and paste them here, but I've no inclination to do so when we all know you're going to show up tomorrow saying he's a piracy apologist any way because he's not saying what you want him to say. Whatever that may be.

    Basically, you're question has already been answered by Mike himself. So fuck off already.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:40pm

    " domain seizures are counterproductive because they're going after a tool rather than those actually responsible"
    Well yeah, I mean who would want pedophiles and rapists off the streets?

    Lets spend our money on true criminals of industry,CCI [Criminal Copyright Infringers(sp?)]. They STEAL Quadrillions of Dollars a day from poor farmers and the working class. They must be stopped.

    If you are naive enough to believe the preceding, please talk to people in prison what they think of pedophiles. I do hope you do not get shanked(sp?) for it. Also ask them their opinion on CCI. When people who are arrested for real crimes think pedophiles are worse than CCI, maybe you need to rethink your priorities for criminal prosecution.

     

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  14.  
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    sehlat (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:41pm

    Re:

    Always remember the line from "Shawshank Redemption:"

    I had to go to prison to [learn how to] become a criminal.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:44pm

    Re:

    D U M B........ dumb! Your saying anybody going to jail should be given an IQ test and if they score high enough than they should walk???

     

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  16.  
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    Machin Shin (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:45pm

    Re:

    You just love trying to twist things don't you? We are not saying piracy is "OK" for any reason.

    What we are saying is, that knowing there is a piracy problem around the horn of Africa maybe right now is not a good time to sail your pleasure yacht all over that area while throwing a fit about why you don't have a damn aircraft carrier to escort you around and protect you.

     

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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re:

    It's certainly better than looking at their bank account and doing it.

     

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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re:

    It's certainly better than looking at their bank account and doing it.

     

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    James Plotkin (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:48pm

    oy...

    So let me get this straight. Are you (Mike) advocating for what Holmes is seemingly saying? That we should jail these folks instead of simply seizing their domains?

    That doesn't sound like you. This sounds more like you:

    "Most of us have been concerned about the free speech and collateral damage issues raised by domain seizures"

    Who's "us"? Personally, I don't worry about that at all. In fact, I worry more about typosquatting (and I admittedly don't worry about that too much either) more than I worry about domain name seizures that infringe freedom of speech.

    I disagree with Holmes in that the ICANN Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy is rather user friendly and almost always (if you look at the WIPO jurisprudence) ends in the domain being turned over to the rightful trademark owner. In fact, most of the time, it seems that the alleged cybersquatter doesn't even submit a reply to the complaint making the adjudication process a no brainer...

    The UDRP is not overly lopsided. It's possible to make a fair use defense. But if you read the case law, you realize really quickly that most litigious domain name disputes ARE NOT about freedom of speech...even when the respondent claims that it is...

    I would love it if you could refrain from telling people what they're concerned about and let them decide that for themselves.

    Sorry to take such an aggressive posture here Mike. It's just that your rhetoric is getting a little wild...

     

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  20.  
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    Machin Shin (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re:

    No, I am saying that taking someone and throwing them into jail for imaginary crimes is stupid. I'm also strongly hinting that the entire idea of jail as a punishment is stupid and something we need to look at.

    Our legal system is broken. A lot of gang members look at prison time as a badge of honor, your not anyone till you "done time".

    Jail is like school for crooks. You toss them in to learn how to be a better criminal and then toss them back to the streets. As an added bonus to make sure they don't live an honest life you put a black mark on their name so no place will hire them because their a "criminal".

     

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  21.  
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    Colin, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:53pm

    Re:

    Question for you: why does it matter? Regardless of what he thinks, does that keep people from doing it? Encourage people to do it? Does that mean businesses don't have to adapt? Does it mean we should cripple legitimate emerging technologies and platforms? What, if anything, does Mike's opinion on the subject mean for the discussion as a whole?

     

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  22.  
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    Dementia (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:56pm

    Re:

    Here's a better question: Should piracy be illegal?

     

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  23.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:56pm

    Re:

    Yes or no: The *only* reason piracy is not OK is because it ignores the wishes of content creators.


    No.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Howard, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:57pm

    Re:

    Holy shit you really are insufferably autistic.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:58pm

    you'd think hosts would figure out that namecoin domains can't be seized

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Style, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm going to agree with this statement: "Jail is like school for crooks. You toss them in to learn how to be a better criminal and then toss them back to the streets."

    I know and unfortunately am related to a number of criminals and the one thing that all the criminals I know say is, "Jail is like school." They basically go in, meet other people who are in for various crimes and then compare notes. Topics range from: How not to get caught, how to get caught and use the law to get away with getting caught, how to legally commit crimes on massive scales and get a slap on the wrist, and so on and so forth.

    But the truth is, I don't think it makes sense to throw people in jail for things like "conspiracy to defraud" (regarding creating a site where people post links) when there are much worse crimes committed on a regular basis by others. Ranging from murder to rape. All of which are much harsher in their effects on others, and all of which have easily verifiable "losses".

     

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  27.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:00pm

    Re: oy...

    Who's "us"? Personally, I don't worry about that at all.


    Hmm, I do worry about these things, so I must be "us". :)

     

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  28.  
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    The eejit (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re:

    Quick! Somebody get the Unsinkable business model that is....content creation and set it upon the public's iceberg! No one will comprehend its flaws!

     

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  29.  
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    The eejit (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:01pm

    Re: Re:

    As an ASD sufferer, that's insulting to autistics everywhere. At least we can be trained...

     

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  30.  
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    The eejit (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And if you get good at that "school", you become a corporate executive! BONUS!!!

     

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  31.  
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    Ruben, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:04pm

    Re:

    What do you have against individual accountability?

    One big, gaping hole in all of this copyright enforcement crap is the lack of rights holders taking individual infringers to task for what they've done. Why is that?

    All we've seen is that they go after sources, and when one goes down, there are 3 more to take its place.

     

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  32.  
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    Rob Holmes (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:06pm

    Jail (not really)

    Hey guys, thanks for the feedback. By *no* means do I believe putting good people in jail is a good thing. But, just like with parenting or traffic tickets, there are constructive ways to punish people to deter future bad behavior. Now, many people in my industry have gone way too far (so I apologize for them). Suing granny for millions isn't the answer, neither is locking up a kid for a few songs.

    If you Google articles about me, you will my method of "killing piracy with kindness" is quite rare. Mainly, we find out where you live and reason with you in person. Deterring bad behavior, more often than not, begins with a polite conversation. Of course, I'm from Jersey, so a "polite conversation" can take many forms. ;)

    As far as jail is concerned, think of it as like getting a DWI. Selling counterfeit goods is a felony. Spending a night in jail, getting a bail bondsman, having to hire a lawyer, and appear in court is often enough to make people quit.

    I hope that clears up your questions.

     

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  33.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:14pm

    Re:

    The answer is 17. Wait, I meant, "orange"! No no, it's Abraham Lincoln!

    The moon landing? Anchorage? I know, it's a rectangle!

     

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  34.  
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    James Plotkin (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re: oy...

    Not to be a shmuck or anything...but "you" is you, not us. Mike likes to throw around words. I'm not saying you're alone or anything...it's just not a big deal in my circles, even those that are more web aware...

     

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  35.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Jail (not really)

    Well, what do you do if the person you find and attempt to reason with, reasons right back at you with interesting arguments why piracy is not wrong and so forth? What do you do next?

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    How many ex-offenders have you hired or mentored?

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:28pm

    "In 2010 a client asked me what we could take away from the offenders to make them stop. My simple answer was “Their freedom.”"

    There was a judge that ended up in prison and what he said still makes me think.

    "I did not know.. If I did I would have never sentenced some people like I did. I am so very sorry to them and their families for the damage I've caused."

    I wish I could find the magazine with the interview I read that from but it was back in the mid 90's so I have no clue where to look :(

    But really this is a problem they're going to start handing years out like they're minuets for piracy before it's said and done. They have no clue what they're doing either.

     

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  38.  
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    James Plotkin (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    I have yet to happen upon a convincing argument that can't be reduced tot he absurd as to why piracy is good (or not bad).

    The important thing to remember is that "bad" and "illegal" are not synonymous. I know the RIAA and MPAA like to make this into a moral issue, but dodn't fool yourself, it's first and foremost a legal issue. Whether or not you feel like you're morally justified in appropriating someone else's property is your business. I don't see how that has much to do with their perspective, namely that they weren't fairly compensated.

     

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  39.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    Irrelevant. The question was not whether piracy is right or wrong.

    The question was, what does he do next after the "kind approach" fails and the subject answers back with his own opposite opinion.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:31pm

    Re:

    Blocking child porn isn't meant to actually fight it; it just lets politicians grandstand about supposedly fighting it. Plus, by making it harder to stop, they guarantee its survival, and therefore their ability to do things "for the children".
    Of course, in reality, they're throwing the kids under the bus to further their own political goals.

     

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  41.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    Also I just noticed that you're the kind that confuses infringement with stealing. Just pointing it out.

     

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  42.  
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    Machin Shin (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, I have not hired any, kind of hard to hire anyone when your not in management. I can tell you I have never choosen to not hire someone due to a criminal record.

    As for how many I mentored? I did not really keep track of that. I did spend two years as a minister for my church and helped several people turn their lives around. It is my experience doing so that helped my form my current opinion of the legal system.

    I worked with a guy who was a great man. I would trust him with my life without hesitation. He had been sent to prison and is labeled for life as a criminal. He was highly educated having gone to college. Yet he could not get a job doing anything with that degree. Instead the best he could do is work at a shady used car lot. He had to live with the fact that he would never be able to even pay off his student loans because he cannot get a good job. He could just barely get by.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: oy...

    All hail James Plotkin, whose mighty circles encompass the entire userbase of Techdirt! (Except John Fenderson.)

    Memo to Mike: THE James Plotkin, and his circular legions, take issue with your claiming to understand his, and by extension their, opinions. Watch it, buddy!

     

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  44.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re:

    *exactly* ! ! !
    i guess the poster believes mike is the pirate puppetmaster who pulls the strings of EVERYONE EVERYWHERE who ever even thought of pirating...
    what is so disconcerting, is -evidently?- this guy is either part of the non-entertainment industry, or somehow related to the MAFIAA, and yet is so-o-o-o not, um, sharp...
    i figured they could hire better intellectual goons than that...
    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:39pm

    Re: oy...

    Who's "us"? Personally, I don't worry about that at all. In fact, I worry more about typosquatting (and I admittedly don't worry about that too much either) more than I worry about domain name seizures that infringe freedom of speech.

    How about seizures that disrupt commerce? People still care about that right? Some cases of seizures interfering with freedom of speech also interfere with legal commerce (e.g.: dajaz1 takedown by DHS).

    I would love it if you could refrain from telling people what they're concerned about and let them decide that for themselves.

    Well, thankfully we can all turn to "legitimate" journalism for the facts, right? Right?

     

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  46.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re:

    Too true

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Jail (not really)

    Because listening music without paying someone money for the privilege is exactly as dangerous to public welfare as operating heavy machinery while intoxicated. More dangerous, in fact; content theft is directly responsible for billions of deaths every year. Just ask the RIAA!

    Speaking of intoxication, I hear there are these new devices called "radios" that people can use to listen to music for free. You should drive around looking for them and smash them with hatchets, the way the police smashed distilleries during the Roaring Twenties. It's your job to keep the public safe, you know.

     

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  48.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: oy...

    Wait, so when Mike was saying "us", he meant him and James? I understand how James would take issue with that, but why would he do that in the first place?

     

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  49.  
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    James Plotkin (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    1. "Well, what do you do if the person you find and attempt to reason with, reasons right back at you with interesting arguments why piracy is not wrong and so forth? What do you do next?"

    Dude, I was just responding to what you said. My point was that your point is irrelevant. Whether the person who "reasons right back" has a compelling argument doesn't make it any less of an infringement.

    2. In the context of copyright law, they're one in the same...unless you can show me a meaningful distinction.

    Infringement refers to the carrying out of an act that only the copyright holder (or those he authorizes) has the right to do.

    Stealing is a non-technical term. and BTW, I used the term "appropriate" (which means the same thing as infringe in this context. "just pointing it out"...

     

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  50.  
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    Rob Holmes (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    It happens. But the law is the law. People understand that.

     

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  51.  
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    James Plotkin (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    Now why didn't I just say that...:)

     

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  52.  
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    Franklin G Ryzzo (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I agree completely with most of your points. I disagree that jail as a punishment is stupid across the board though. Removing violent offenders from society is necessary to protect the well being of the public. I think that our system of rehabilitation should be re-examined because it's effectiveness is highly questionable at best, but the principle is sound.

    Non-violent offenders should never go to prison. Not for any reason. Violence by proxy (think mafia don who gets others to do the dirty work) should still be considered a violent criminal. True non-violent offenders should still be out on the streets, supporting themselves, paying taxes, and contributing to society. In fact, they should be contributing well above and beyond to society what the average non-convicted citizen would. This may include, restitution, fines, community service, etc... They should be monitored for additional criminal activity, and once they've paid back their debt they should be free to go back to their lives.

    Locking them up with the people we actually need to remove from society is only going to convert some of them to become violent themselves as a worst case scenario, or teach them to be better criminals as a best case scenario. Our system is not sustainable and horribly broken.

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    Because you focused in the wrong question.

     

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    Mr. Applegate, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 2:08pm

    I have harped about this for years! Stop treating the symptoms and treat the real problem.

    It is alike a Dr. who says take two aspirin and call me in the morning when I am hemorrhaging from all my internal organs.

    Domain seizures do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to prevent the crime. They are a feel good 'look we did something' solution. Just like everything else that gets done. Track the criminals down and put them in jail. Yes, it is hard but it works!

    'We need tougher gun laws', No we really don't, they don't stop gun violence, there is evidence that proves it doesn't work. We need a society that will recognize and treat deranged individuals. Better Family units would go a long way there.

    'We need tougher piracy laws' No we really don't that will not stop piracy. It has been proven time and again. Want to stop piracy, provide value for your dollar. Stop crying about some low quality error ridden MP3 copy (not unlike the old cassette tape of a song copied off of the radio) and provide high quality lossless digital files. People would gladly pay a reasonable price for a known good DRM FREE copy of a song.

    'We need stronger IP' No, we don't. That is not in the best interest of the public, it is only in the best interests of your already overstuffed pocketbook. It runs counter to innovation, which is what IP is supposed to promote.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 2:13pm

    Re:

    Are there fewer child porn sites? No! Are there fewer pedophiles? No! Are they easier to catch? I would say, no!

    And how is it you know this?

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 2:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    "Dude, I was just responding to what you said. My point was that your point is irrelevant. Whether the person who "reasons right back" has a compelling argument doesn't make it any less of an infringement. "

    No, you were responding to an hypotethical. Your point, that what I said is irrelevant, IS DEAD WRONG, and a STRAWMAN. The question was, what do you do with the subject if he answers thusly. NOWHERE IN THE ARGUMENT WAS THE QUESTION OF THE VALIDITY OF THE ANSWER.

    "2. In the context of copyright law, they're one in the same...unless you can show me a meaningful distinction."

    WRONG. WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG. 255 times WRONG. You need to read more. Asking me to "show you a meaningful distinction" is LAZY, and just confirms to me that you haven't even bothered reading any single one of the THOUSANDS of times said distinction have been made in this site.

    "Infringement refers to the carrying out of an act that only the copyright holder (or those he authorizes) has the right to do. "

    Which does not MEAN THEFT. Does not even mean APPROPRIATION. "Doing something against the rules" or "doing something against my wishes" pretty much is what you mean. If that was so, EVERY SINGLE PERCEIVED WRONG WOULD BE THEFT.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 2:23pm

    Domain Names only work for the easy targets.
    If I want to run a pirate server, I just need an IP Address, and give my users that address via any of the thousands of public forums dedicated to that. I can also instruct them how to modify their host file if I wanted, then no mater what they do to the "Domain Name" my users still have access to my Site.

     

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    James Plotkin (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 2:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    Hey! I have an idea!

    Why don't you actually respond to what I DID say...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 2:25pm

    Where are all of the people who were crying about the sentences handed down to the NinjaVideo crew? It seems like people are all for locking up the malefactors right up until the time it actually happens.

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    I have an even BETTER idea!

    1) Why don't you let people answer questions that were actually asked, instead of hijacking them and turning them into strawman questions?

    2) Why don't you at least make an EFFORT to read up on "arguments that people have made", instead of going around with blanket statements like "I've never read any convincing argument of X!". This is most definitely, the wrong place to go around with the old "why is nobody making any decent arguments! These are not the argument you are looking for!" (handwave) and thinking anyone will believe it.

    3) Why don't you actually go up and read my response to what you DID say?

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    I'm going to give you a headstart, so that you can find the arguments:

    Google results for 'copying is not theft'

    Google hits for 'copying is not theft' in Techdirt alone

    Now, agree or disagree with those arguments. They HAVE BEEN MADE. Stop pretending that they don't exist, or that you "have yet to happen upon a convincing argument that can't be reduced tot he absurd as to why" blah blah blah.

     

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    James Plotkin (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    1. Look. If you're going to whine at me for committing a logical fallacy, explain how it is I made one...

    " NOWHERE IN THE ARGUMENT WAS THE QUESTION OF THE VALIDITY OF THE ANSWER."

    What does that even mean!?

    As I said, I was responding to your "hypothetical". The "hypothetical was your entire comment...whatever...

    2. Thanks for giving me the least charitable interpretation humanly possible...You reek of disingenuousness (if that's even a word).

    I'll say it one more time. In the context of intellectual PROPERTY (emphasis on PROPERTY) law, infringement is tantamount to theft. What you're trying to do is make a misleading distinction that has no basis in the way we pragmatically look at IP. It isn't "real" or "personal" property in the common law sense. But that doesn't matter, because it is a "Statutory" right. Copyright is a legal fiction. It's a right granted by the State to the exclusive use of the proceeds of our intellect.

    So yes, infringement of copyright IS tantamount to theft. If you don't agree, then I think you have an unduly restrictive definition of the word theft, or you're being the least charitable person on the planet...either one.

    Have a nice day...

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    I apologize for James' derail, Rob. Thanks for your reply. I understand that you think that "the law is the law", however, that wasn't my exact question. I was wondering, after the "polite conversation" (not sure what the New Jersey bit meant, I hope it has nothing to do with breaking any legs ;)) what is your next step? Cease and desist letter? Lawsuit?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    All the revolutions that has hapenned in all history shows that people don't understand that "the law is the law".
    If a law is being questioned or is often not respected then there's something wrong with it, it doesn`t mean it has to be removed, but maybe, just maybe it's to aggressive, unfair or broken.

     

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    James Plotkin (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 2:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: oy...

    You seem like a really intense person! Most people on here, like John Fenderson, are a little more respectful than you just were. Even if you are going to massively distort what I said into a troll like comment, at least have the decency to do it with a little class :)

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 2:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    You ask people to be charitable with your posts? What the hell?

    You accuse people of telling you how you feel? Of using "wild rethoric" to make some point. You've said that there is a lack of honest discussion here, that there is no talk of solutions. Accusing people here of distorting facts, of perpetuating the "entitlement" viewpoint. And then ask people to be charitable with you?

    You've derailed a thread, trying to answer the question "what would Rob do", with a completely irrelevant answer, because you aren't capable of answering it (since you're not Rob) and instead find a soapbox to stand on and spout your views with a complete falsehood such as "nobody ever makes any good arguments" ignoring what, 5+ years of posts in Techdirt?

    Please.

     

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  67.  
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    Rob Holmes (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    The Jersey thing was a joke, of course. The truth is, they really do send me in before the lawyers because I'm the nice guy. The next step is always up to the client but, more times than not, a lawsuit is filed if someone continues to repeat.

    In the counterfeiting world, we're dealing with real organized crime, which is my primary focus. Piracy is normally fandom gone awry. Although I know many good folks at the RIAA and MPAA I have my issues with their methods.

    I love discussing this and think more in my industry need to have open discussions. So, please engage me more. I'd love to keep it going.

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 3:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    Well, that was informative. I don't agree that it's always the user (pirate, whatever) who is in the wrong, but is somewhat comforting that at least an attempt to communicate is being made (instead of just nastygrams and lawsuits).

    Thanks for sharing your point of view.

     

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  69. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re:

    It is a yes or no question: Is the *only* reason piracy is not OK is because it ignores the wishes of content creators?

    Everyone says he answered this question, but he did not. He said it was *one* reason, but he *refuses* to say whether it is the only reason.

     

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  70. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 3:56pm

    Re: Re:

    I don't care what any of you think. I want Mike to answer yes or no: Is the *only* reason piracy is not OK is because it ignores the wishes of content creators?

    Why won't Mike answer a simple, direct question? How dishonest can one person be?

     

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    Anonymous Monkey (profile), Aug 14th, 2012 @ 4:32pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    and your fallacy is!..... Black or White

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 4:37pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I don't know, you're pretty dishonest, but can someone be more dishonest? I'm not sure.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 6:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    More dishonest than Mike? I'm not sure it's possible. Only a dishonest person would avoid such a simple question for years.

    Yes or no: Is the *only* reason piracy is not OK is because it ignores the wishes of content creators?

    Simple question, simple answer. Watch how much he squirms and refuses to answer. It's hilarious.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 7:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm not seeing a great deal of evidence that Mike is squirming.

     

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    Dave, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 10:50pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    but he *refuses* to say whether it is the only reason.


    Does that have to be the only reason? How...limiting.

     

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    Dave, Aug 14th, 2012 @ 10:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Watch how much he squirms and refuses to answer. It's hilarious.

    Can't. It's an online thing where you can't see someone do or feel something.

    However, it's sometimes fun seeing trolls make fools of themselves.

     

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  77.  
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    Greevar (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 12:31am

    Re:

    I'll respond to your loaded question with another question. Is copyright infringement okay? The answer is subjective. History is full of laws that are considered today to be unconscionable. Just because something is illegal, doesn't make it wrong. In the 1800's it was illegal to aid escaping slaves, we now all agree that slavery was wrong in the first place.

    So is infringement okay? I think it is. Infringement isn't the problem here, it's the false ideal that adding a new iterative layer to preexisting culture somehow grants a person ownership of that transformation. No art, no invention arrives in its current state without the gradual steps from very simple to highly complex through single contributions by many people over a long period of time.

    Do you want a universal solution to "piracy"? Stop selling copies. It's a simple as that. You'll never win by trying to force everyone to pay for every copy made.

     

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    Dave, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 1:08am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Maybe because he already answered long ago, and you just don't like it? Not that he has to elaborate any further, any more than you have to keep reading this site.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 2:57am

    Re: Jail (not really)

    Spending a night in jail, getting a bail bondsman, having to hire a lawyer, and appear in court is often enough to make people quit.

    Except that a pretty big portion of the population doesn't see exchanging files, CD/DVD copies is wrong. Crime? Not a chance. It has been said before, a law is only effective when every1 agrees with it. By law, 16-yr-olds are required to take archery classes in some parts of the UK. Needless to say nobody follows that law, not even the police. It's gonna happen slowly but copyright will lose any shed of respect it still has from the public and then from the police. It will be yet another archery law...

     

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    DUMBASS POLITICIANS, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 5:13am

    @9 @10

    @9:and ill add what is the most dangerous opponent one can face.....one with nothing left to lose.

    What will happen in jail ? 2 things having been there i know first hand. A) they cant take it and get mentally and physically destroyed and then become a liability to man for the rest of there lives....
    B) they can handle it and do two things learn of other crimes they can do , make associations that can aid them and gain protection and join up with friends on outside whom are more criminal in intent then they were before thus perpetuating and even worse person then entered the punishment system. JAIL/PRISON did not rehabilitate me. It taught me to in fact become a better criminal....

    All i will say is that one might say that trade to the real maffia and biker gangs via say a united group of mercenary hackers has become reality due to YOUR LAWS and YOUR overdoing all this copyright crap. ONE might say that to protect myself one has to deal or trade.

    i grew up in this culture ....it is me and i have dealt with every real mafia and biker club out there....i also make a point of neutrality so that i can continue what i do in true freedom....and every law you pass that is more harsh drives more people my way and we are 3000 real, where we were 300 ten years ago. There are no dues paid , no profit directly by our group....its why its nearly impossible to stop. We are unlike anything you have ever seen and 30% of us are not even hackers and some of the greatest leaks on earth that have changed this planet have come our way....

    We have a policy not to get into /attack websites /govts etc
    unless we are harmed first. This does not mean we are not capable.

    @10 if we find that sicko crap we turn you over or destroy it if its in a safe harboured nation. ( not many of those left i tell ya )

    I personally have been collecting knowledge off the net for 24 years , it is quite impressive what one can glean form my archive , to protect that is above your laws needs to pay people....i serve the future i do not serve a self righteous egotistical greedy capitalist system that all it wants to do is suck the life out of everyone on earth.
    @everyone else this is not piracy , no one is holding up a gunto anyones head and taking stuff that cannot be replaced....it is copyright infringment and that is a public trust to allow artists to make a buck to continue making stuff....NOT a forever right that they get to sit on there butt and make a living for ever....anyhting past ten years or 5 in this age of free ability for distribution is abuse of society and that and THAT alone is why the mpaa and riaa and all the lettered organizations fail.....everyone is suffering world wide and you want to keep them depressed and sad when they cant afford your long termed copyrights....

    PROOF is the fact for first time cable use in the usa is dropping massively as well as broadband.....

    We will be here when you all get your societies right.
    OH and what a model of great people hollywood is, everytime you turn around its a drug addict or drunk or some other misfit issue....not to mention the ripping off by the big labels....

     

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    DUMBASS POLITICIANS, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 5:14am

    @32

    punishment never works
    think rehabilitation. Me thnks its not the person doing copyright infringement that needs it , it is the scum sucking lawyers that are running hollywood that do....
    and this thought is 100% everywhere....

     

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    DUMBASS POLITICIANS, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 5:27am

    @44 @45 @54 @64

    @44 no that would be ME...what ya gonna do arrest me?Jail me?
    kill me?
    mentors last words is read everyday....read it , google it...

    @45 who made you god and the supreme censor, half this effort is aimed at censorship, other half is control...it fails

    @54 correct the issue is the rights and civil rights we all are losing while giant entities steal form society....Imagine if everyone had a solar array on there house....thats 5000 extra a year you'd have to spend....and with canada as a tax model it also means that 5000 gets taxed 3 times more then a corporation that used to get that cash thus the govt gets more cash back to pay its debts and provide services. DID you think us hackers are stupid or never took a economics / business course?

    haha
    @64 excuse me most revolution occur when treatment of the people gets to a point where it can no longer be tolerated and that point is fast approaching on a world wide scale....when i am willing to die for what i believe in what say you to this and the people under me whom are similar in belief, is the mpaa and riaa willing to die for there beliefs? I doubt it, they are hiding behind cowardly lawyers and litigation , which is the last straw of a failed system that cannot change ....

     

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    Machin Shin (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 5:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, I do think there is a place in the system for prisons, but not prisons in their current form. If someone is bad enough they need to be locked up then they are bad enough they do not need cable, a gym, library......

    Our jails are like vacation resorts for a bunch of these guys. The main down side of prison these days is your company while in there. That is hardly a concern though if your going to be tossed in with a lot of your gang buddies.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 6:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Get over yourself.

     

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    Mr. Applegate, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    "...morally justified in appropriating someone else's property..."
    I am sorry, if someone chooses to COPY a song exactly how did they appropriate it?
    -----
    APPROPRIATE

    1 to take exclusive possession of : annex
    -----
    They certainly did not obtain exclusive possession of that song, and there is nothing physical to possess anyway.

    Some 40 years ago "Piracy" was legal, people would take an LP later a CD and copy it to a cassette tape or even another CD, so they could play it in their car or on their boom box, or (GASP) share it with their friend. The argument isn't about right or wrong. Times change, you either change with them or are left behind. So it is not a good or bad argument in my mind. Time has moved forward and the MPAA and RIAA refuse to do so.

    The MPAA and RIAA could solve their problem, and it is their problem, today. All they need to do is realize that people have been 'sharing' music since the days of tape players (actually even prior to that). There was even a law saying that people could copy an LP to tape, or CD... Today I can listen to music on a free radio station, or even online services such as Pandora or Spotify with no or low charges.

    Most people who are really interested would gladly pay a reasonable fee for the ability to download a KNOWN GOOD, LOSSLESS, DRM FREE, copy of a song (or movie, or software) that they could then put on any and all their devices, converting the format if appropriate. (Wait many already do that for lossy content in the way of subscriptions to pirate sites, so it is even a known good business model!)

    Instead the MPAA and RIAA insist on providing low quality, lossy, DRM laden content and then cry when people choose not to pay a high price for crap. I won't even get into the decline of the quality of the content (which actually, with very few exceptions, preceded the low quality copies and the digital age).

    The MPAA and RIAA (In fact this goes for software companies, gaming companies and most all things digital) spend more time, money and effort trying to stop something that has been going on for at least 40 years than the actual loss of revenue due to their inability to change with the times.

    Maybe, one day they will wake up and realize that DRM drives people away. I no longer use Microsoft Products at home because I have to enter obscenely long 'keys', then I have to 'Activate' the software, then I have to install the 'Is this a real and valid copy' (Validation) software, only to have it tell me that the copy of the software I paid $300-500. isn't a valid copy or properly registered...

    Look at gaming, companies like STEAM, they sell "Indie Bundles" where the purchaser not only chooses the price they pay, but how much the producer gets and how much goes to charity. They manage to make a quite handsome living doing that.

    The bottom line is this, the MPAA and RIAA, et al (in fact most companies today) don't want to be fairly compensated they want to extort money from you and then fail to pay the actual content creator. Why exactly should I support them?

    Offer what I want at a price I am willing to pay and I will buy it, don't and I won't (it really isn't any more difficult than that). You can call it Supply and Demand, it has been around for ages. There is a huge supply of low quality crap for free, so you counter that with high quality product at a reasonable price.

    They still want the same money for digital content that they charged for CD's $15 - $20 for a CD, or $1.25 a song. Problem is that $15 CD had a production cost, manufacturing cost, transportation cost, inventory cost... They used to have to maintain huge warehouses, and manufacturing facilities, all that is not longer needed, but the price remains.

    Digital content reduces those costs markedly, but they don't want to reduce the price. Yes, I know their are costs to maintain servers, provide bandwidth... but in comparison to their old model it is on the order of thousands of times less costly. Are the songs and movies even tens of times cheaper? Nope.

    I used to have a CD or LP that I could keep for 30 years and play in as many devices as I wanted to (they didn't even have to be my devices. Now they want me to repurchase the song if I have more than 5 devices I want to play it on. Let's see, Home computer, work computer, Smartphone, mp3 player for the car, tablet. If one of those die, is lost or stolen and I can't 'deactivate it' then I am hosed.

    Screw them! I don't need to 'own' (more like license) the crap they peddle.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 7:04am

    Take away the hammer and they will still figure out how to build!

     

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    James Plotkin (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 7:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    "nobody ever makes any good arguments"

    ...

    I never said that. You shouldn't put quotes around things people didn't say...it may cause people to think they said them. I asked you to offer up a good argument...you chose not to. That's ok.

    While we're "quoting" one another, you still haven't explained what this means:


    " NOWHERE IN THE ARGUMENT WAS THE QUESTION OF THE VALIDITY OF THE ANSWER."

    Unlike what you quoted meas saying, you actually did say that...what does it mean?

    I just think that flying off the handle in the way you did was a uncalled for. You can either accept that or not, but I don't think I did anything wrong in responding to your original "hypothetical". If you want to have a private conversation with Rob, by all means, please do so! But this is a public comment page. Have a little respect, and show a little class...

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What I don't understand is this: you ask this question as if it's some kind of "gotcha" thing, but what is the point you're trying to make? Why do you think this question is one that would be particularly uncomfortable? I don't see the dilemma.

    Also, anyone who's followed Mike's writings on the topic knows what his answer would be. It's not a tough or revealing question.

     

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  89.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I don't care what any of you think. I want Mike to answer yes or no


    Then why are you asking it in this forum? If you only care what Mike's answer is, then email him directly.

     

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    identicon
    indieThing, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 8:57am

    Re: Re: Re: oy...

    I'm sure Mike reads the comments pretty regularly, which would probably give him a good indicator of the majority views and concerns on these topics. Just saying!

     

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

  91.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: Re: oy...

    "...it's just not a big deal in my circles, even those that are more web aware..."

    Now you are in this circle

     

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

  92.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2012 @ 7:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jail (not really)

    "So yes, infringement of copyright IS tantamount to theft."

    So why call it infringement?

     

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


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