...yet many gamers engage in behavior that excludes many.
Ever play on XBox Live? Ever use voice chat? The toxic bile that spills out from your headset if you do so... the levels of overt sexism and racism and the profanity will drive many pleasant people off of the service. It happens.
Given that someone is going to be excluded, that you can't avoid that given the current environment, why put the power over who will be excluded entirely in the hands of vile adolescent asshats?
Interestingly, Slashdot sort-of does this. When you're logged in as a person who they think has contributed to the community sufficiently, you're given a checkbox to turn off all advertisements. Since advertisements are how they get their revenue, in the end it's similar.
Star Trek Online has something vaguely related to this as well. It's a free-to-play game with paid services. It has a scenario editor that lets players create content for other players. There's a reviewing mechanism for the player-created content... including a "tip jar". You can tip a creator with "dilithium", an in-game currency that can be exchanged for "cryptic points", which normally you obtain by purchasing with real-world money. The result is that players who create content that enough other players like can end up with a constant stream of the currency used for the game's microtransactions.
I'm a current subscriber, and I cannot recall seeing a single commercial during a show. In between shows they do advertise their other content, but I haven't seen other kinds of advertisement at any time.
(As an aside: if it were my decision alone, this change would probably get me to cancel HBO. But I can't make that decision for my family unilaterally.)
I really like buying ebooks from O'Reilly (nonfiction) or Baen (fiction) -- both publishers make ebooks available in multiple formats, without DRM, supporting re-download of your existing library. There are some Baen books that I've paid for that I originally read via the MOBI format on a Handspring Visor that I've now got loaded in EPUB format in both iBooks and a Nook.
Baen in particular has a free library where you can get for example the first books of a series completely DRM-free and money-free -- they recognize that it's a way to drum up additional business.
To my mind, it *is* important to crack down on piracy if it doesn't increase sales, because it destroys the free word-of-mouth and network effects illegitimately enjoyed by the stakeholders, which then hopefully drives our culture towards stuff that doesn't have as much control exercised over it.
What happens when essentially nobody talks about Hollywood movies or top-ten musical artists anymore?
Piracy provides a sort of "safety valve" of sorts that lets those things influence our culture more than they ought to. Perfect IP enforcement would, I think, drive people towards CC-licensed stuff over time, eventually *destroying* the legacy entertainment industries.
I already was aware that I was using it (somewhat) similarly to "steal your girlfriend", and that some of the actions discussed aren't unlawful.
Nobody has been saying stuff like "sure it's stealing, but people don't get sued for stealing a girlfriend or stealing third base, so why should they get sued for stealing music like this?". They instead most commonly say something more like "it has nothing in common with stealing, you're obviously a shill for RIAA and probably smell bad too, stop beating children".
You're the first to say "fine, use that word as long as you realize you're using it this way".
I need a word for this broader concept, where one unilaterally acquires goods or benefits without being entitled to do so, without specifying or implying anything else (such as "someone else loses something" or "all societies agree about the nature of the entitlement").
I've been using "stealing" for that. Some people are trying to get me to stop.
I'm willing, but not just because people who have an agenda assert that I ought to. If they'll help me out by suggesting a better word -- one that encompasses copyright infringement, bank fraud, plagiarism, trespassing, and beating up kids for their lunch money, because those do have *something* in common that I think is important -- then I'll use that word.
(And I'm not trying to say they're all "exactly the same", or even that they're mostly the same, or that they should be regarded the same, or remedied the same way. I'm just trying to say that they have a critical element in common: the element of unilaterally seizing a benefit that society says you're not entitled to have, which I think is important and often brushed under the carpet.)
Do you think it has anything in common with trespassing, or with patching into your neighbor's cable system to watch cable without paying for it, or with piggybacking on someone's wifi without their knowledge or consent?
If you think it does have *anything* in common with those, and if you wanted some kind of word to talk about that broader group of activities in the abstract, to draw attention to the thing they have in common, can you suggest a word that we might use?
Okay, so, putting "theft" as you mean it aside for the moment, there's this broader, abstract class of actions where you obtain value that societal rules and conventions don't say you're entitled to.
Examples of things in this broader, abstract category:
* plagiarism: claiming to have authored something that you didn't
* trespassing: being on land that you don't have permission to be on
* stealing in the concrete, narrow sense you're insisting is the only correct use of the word: taking a for-real physical thing someone else legitimately has, so that they don't have it anymore and you do, without agreement/permission
* fraudulent impersonation: pretending to be someone else in order to obtain a benefit you wouldn't have gotten if your true identity had been known by all parties (which I'm guessing you'd be angry at people for referring to as "identity theft")
What word do *you* suggest be used for this broader, higher-level, abstract concept?
(If you want me to stop calling copyright infringement "stealing", please try to work with me here: you've got to give me a better word for that higher-level, abstract, "umbrella" concept. Were those examples enough to get the idea across? Give me a better word for this superset and I'll strongly consider changing my vocabulary. Today, of course, I do use the word "stealing" for this concept.)
If you say it's stealing then there's no way to understand what's happening, and you're simply guaranteed to continue to fail to adapt.
This is very false.
Or: you're asserting it without backing up the assertion. Care to explain why you believe this? If I say "I consider it to be a form of stealing", what specifically is it that you conclude I'm missing?
I'll point out that in other comments, I've said that I do not consider the original content owners to be entitled to any compensation for it, because I do not consider them to have lost anything. Is that the sort of thing you had concluded I must be missing, because I consider it a form of stealing?
You may have inferred it, but I certainly never meant to imply it. The law is far from the only context in which the word "stealing" has meaning, and the law doesn't get to define the terms for those other contexts.
(Or: if a country changes the definition on the books for "stealing" so that "taking bread away from poor people so they starve" no longer fits that definition, do you consider that to have actually changed the meaning of the ten commandments?)
I understand what you're trying to say, but check all the relevant laws -- I'm pretty sure she was entitled to grant access to it, and did grant access to you, so, you're not gaining anything that you're not entitled to.
To cut to the chase: I do in fact think it's time to massively decriminalize almost all of this activity and to change the parameters of the ecosystem. I agree, completely.
Which is why I hope the TechDirt folks stop saying things like "it's not stealing" as if it were universally agreed-upon settled fact. Doing so creates disagreement on ideological grounds where there could have been agreement on pragmatic grounds.