INFORMATION, (in itself), IS NOT, NOR SHOULD EVER BE CONSIDERED, PROPERTY.
A lot of our problems arrive because people refuse to accept this statement - all because some companies have corrupted their original purpose, (distributing property that contained information), in trying to control the information itself.
But since the invention of the internet - the worlds greatest ever PURE information COPYING AND DISTRIBUTION system - (i.e. it doesn't require the transfer of scarce physical goods to operate, unlike paper & ink etc.) - their original reason for existing has changed, or is at least changing. Unfortunately they refuse to accept this, and are now trying to control the distribution and use of the information itself, regardless of any actual property it no longer needs, in a manner inconsistent with the way the internet works, and the way humanity wants and/or needs it to work.
Humanity has always thrived on the free exchange of information, and to try and force it to do anything otherwise is, well, not a good idea - it generally leads to such things as censorship and propaganda etc. - things which have always been tried, but always eventually failed, as humanity usually finds a way round it, or fights against it. (Yes, I know about China, but I don't see them staying that way indefinitely - humanity will/should always outlast any tyranny).
This isn't to say that information isn't valuable - it's just that, because of the internet, the information, in itself, isn't valuable ENOUGH to make people pay the amount of money a lot of companies think it's worth.
However, it's possible to add things to the information in order to increase it's value - even such basic things as presentation and organisation, in order to improve access etc. can increase its value to the point that some people think it's worth paying for. And this is without actually linking it with any actual 'property' which, by it's very nature, will be a scarce good that is more valuable...
But few companies seem to full understand this: because they were so used to dealing with limited, scarce physical property - (from paper and ink to plastic discs) - they're having trouble understanding what it is they're trying to sell now, and how to actually go about doing it.
And they've made a big mistake - they've done everything they can to try and make the INFORMATION itself, into a scarce good...
But information isn't, and will never be scarce, certainly now, as long as the internet exists. And so they're trying to do everything they can, from getting laws enacted, to artificially limiting access, to try and force their information into being a scarce good, just like they think it used to be.
But it never was, and still isn't. Information has never been a scarce good - it's only ever been the format that information took that was scarce - but that's changed, and a lot of companies have yet to understand that.
Of course they, (content creation/publishing companies etc.), won this particular 'battle', (i.e. the one in the courtroom), since the law here, unfortunately, was not really on TPB's side.
But the war goes on, as it has done for a while. And this is a war they cannot, MUST not, and WILL not be allowed to win, for humanity ALWAYS wins it's battles against tyranny in the end, even if the war continues...
The war of corporation vs humanity. This particular aspect in that war, has been ongoing ever since copyright was invented - (to protect book factories profits), and this is merely the latest battle.
The internet is humanities greatest ever information distribution, storage and copying system - and as such it was an inevitable development, from language, wired and wireless communication after computers were invented.
Unfortunately for these companies - they were built up by making money from the monopolistic distribution of information, and now the internet means humanity has no actual need for them for that particular reason.
Which means the ONLY way these companies can survive, is to USE the internet as bast as they can, and give humanity as many reasons as possible in order to use their company, as opposed to others.
But most are failing to do this.
If a company fails to supply enough of humanity with the service and product it needs to keep them in business, then WHY should they deserve to exist?
They have failed to understand, that because of the internet, information, in itself, now has very little inherent value. The ease of access, and the right price to certain information, however, HAS been shown to contain SOME value - (see itunes etc.).
Unfortunately for humanity, (and therefore for the companies themselves), they have not seen fit to use the internet as a main distribution system for their entire catalogue, and, as I said before, are therefore failing in their job to distribute their content/information. Why? It's why they're supposed to exist? If they wish to succeed, then they must follow the market humanity has created for them. If they cannot, then they should go out of business and be replaced by someone who can.
Unfortunately, here is where the copyright laws FAIL in their job. In the grand scheme of things, the copyright laws have only guaranteed a short-term spur in profits - but in the medium term - everyone loses, and humanity will not allow itself to lose - hence the existence of TPB et al..
I've met quite a lot of people in my time who's hearing wasn't as good as they thought it was. I mean, even though I know MY hearing is very good, I took one of those high frequency hearing tests, and it was obvious that I'm now 30 years old, and not 20 any more judging by the frequencies I couldn't hear...
Hearing ability is extremely variable, and the amount of people who don't fully realise how bad their hearing is, is probably going to increase for quite some time - (especially given the volume at which people listen to music these days - I personally can't stand anything loud and bass-heavy - it gives me headaches/makes me ill :( ).
I've had people saying that it's impossible to hear differences between various types of audio for a while too - from high bit-rate MP3's to WAV's etc..
The funny thing, is that I always could - though I think my DAW was probably the main reason for that - (good sound-card/headphones (DT100's)/monitors etc.).
One person I ran into reckoned that there wasn't even a difference between 16 and 24-bit audio files!! :-O
I'm of the opinion - (note that this may, or may not agree with the law) - that acts such as copying a movie/film/piece of music etc. BEFORE it's been officially released, should not come under copyright law at all, but under TRADE SECRET intellectual property law instead.
Yes, they may steal a DVD or CD etc. with the data on it, in which case you can do them for the theft of an object too, but if they're stupid enough to do that then they deserve it.
The reason WHY I say it would be better and more consistent via trade secrets, is that in that part of the law, there is a clear difference between a civil and criminal offense, which I feel is exactly what really matters here as far as the sort of information media companies deal with. The reason for this, is that this sort of information, in the grand scheme of things, is simply NOT IMPORTANT enough to humanity for it to be worth getting all that hot and bothered about, and therefore for the GOVERNMENT to be involved and for the TAX-PAYER to have to end up paying for any of the proceedings - (which will happen if the accused hasn't got enough money/assets). I.e. - there's not enough ACTUAL benefit for the tax-payer in order to make it a criminal case - UNLESS, the person is making a profit from it... (Which isn't the case here).
Yes, the media companies might reckon that without them civilization would fall apart, but of course that's a load of bullshit - given how long civilization existed before copyright was invented, (let alone media companies have existed), I think we can survive, (and maybe even benefit!) without either.
So, how would it be dealt with as a trade secret? Well, I'm just going to point out the short section in law that defines a criminal act rather than a civil one to support my case - (with a couple of words capitalized to make my point):
2. Elements of the Criminal Offenses
a. Economic Espionage (obviously not affected by the matter we're talking about).
Section 1831, "economic espionage," requires that the theft of trade secrets benefits a foreign government, instrumentality, or agent in some manner. (25) This type of misappropriation of trade secrets not only covers outright theft (26) or unauthorized duplication, (27) but also includes trafficking in stolen trade secrets, (28) as well as the attempt (29) and conspiracy (30) to commit these offenses. Section 1831 includes an intent component requiring that the misappropriation be "knowingly" committed. (31)
b. Theft of Trade Secrets (THIS ONE!)
Section 1832, "theft of trade secrets," applies to the misappropriation of trade secrets for the ECONOMIC BENEFIT of anyone other than the true owner. (32) Unlike [section] 1831, offenses are not limited to activities that benefit a foreign government. However, three prosecutorial limitations exist that are not present in the "economic espionage" offense:
(33) (i) the intended benefit realized must be economic in nature; (34) (ii) the thief must intend or know that the offense will injure the rightful owner; (35) and (iii) the stolen information must be "related to or included in a product produced for or placed in interstate or foreign commerce." (36)
Like [section] 1831, [section] 1832 also contains an intent component requiring that the misappropriation be "knowingly" committed. As interpreted by some federal circuits, the attempt and conspiracy provisions of [section] 1832 do not require the existence of an actual trade secret. (37)
This last section, IMHO, would makes far more sense for the media companies to deal with when people are selling pre-release copies of media goods, (i.e. for commercial gain). Since the current distribution of Wolverine is NOT commercial, however, then it should come under CIVIL law, and not criminal - i.e. it should NOT be a crime.
(Though, yes, if the person who copied it took a disc with it on, then they should be prosecuted for stealing the disc, but not copying the film. Of course, there's nothing wrong with the studio taking the person to a CIVIL court for damages, which is exactly what should be done - the disagreement is between the studio and the person copying their film, and shouldn't really involve the government - the government should only really be involved in commercial copyright infringement - not because of copyright, but because it's the GOVERNMENTS role to decide who can run a commercial business in its territory, and therefore it now becomes a criminal case between the government and the person/people involved, rather than a civil case between two parties).
Of course, this is all my idea and opinion of how it SHOULD work for humanities benefit, but of course all media companies don't care about humanity, only their own (hugely inflated) self worth...
And here we have yet another case of short-term thinking (on both sides) making things far worse than they needed to be...
I don't know why, but it seems like a lot of companies and organizations on both sides of the Atlantic atm seem to be suffering from short-sightedness, and it's a bit frustrating. Especially when you yourself suffer for it.
I'd ask if there's anyone out there these days that does actually think in the long-term, but we've just had the best example of it in the U.S. Presidential Election from Barack Obama. If anyone out there can learn anything from this Election, then please learn that...
(Bit of an OT rant, but I really feel a need to post this somewhere, sorry):
(Unfortunately I've been hit by a case of short-term thinking aswell, by the people at hexus.net.
I'm a potential customer - (am looking for a PC PSU and SATA DVDR - (my current PSU is too old for SATA, and is not powerful enough to run the new computer (M-B/CPU/Memory) I'm looking to buy early in the new year), right NOW - (TODAY!), with an eye on further purchases in the new year - (need to replace my DAW, which died)).
I was originally planning to buy from cconline.com but thought I'd ask some more about which PSU to buy, so I visited hexus to ask - (since they, like me, are UK based), and found that they are affiliated with scan.co.uk and have a deal that if you make 20 posts on their forums, you get free P&P.
So, you'd think that, since I was looking to buy the next day, (which I was very open about), it would be in THEIR interests to have me be able to make those 20 posts - (so long as they're not out-and-out spam!) - in order to buy through them, from scan, and not cconline, right?
So when I created a thread in their general discussion area - (so it's out of the way, and not Off Topic) - (I created a thread for something I'd been hammering away at all yesterday morning (I had 51 of them at the time - have written more last night) - U.S. Election haiku - (it started on the TIME magazine Swampland blogs)) - I was open about the fact that I was going to make 10 quick posts containing my poetry - (it was all I needed to make to get the free P&P), and I thought they'd understand...
How wrong can someone be? You'd have thought that getting 20 posts in their forums for free P&P would cause the world to end, based on their replies! Now, I'm a creative person - (I normally write music, not poetry) - and I don't like it when people tell me when I how I must do so.
Needless to say, as far as I'm concerned, hexus.net no longer exists, and scan.co.uk has lost a customer. I even emailed them to let them know, since it's not their fault, though it is, unfortunately for them, their problem.
Just another example of why being petty towards potential customers is not a good idea if you wish for them to become ACTUAL customers. Although the media companies like to do the same thing, they at least have a monopoly over certain products that almost allows them to get away with it. Consumer online computer hardware companies, however, most certainly DON'T.
I'll leave you with an example of the poetry I was posting for my discount:
Palin and McCain
Blizzard snow and desert rain
Failed in (Failing) their campaign
Yep - Britian is a capitalist country - it's just our consumer protection laws are a little better than the US (ASAICT), aswell as mroe people who won't put up with crap - (well, usually). (There's quite a few things which are allowed/done in the US which you wouldn't get away with/work over here, as far as consumer-based goods and services are concerned - (though not all of them are because of the law - our national consumer association has TEETH)). (Though, yes, since music/film etc. are luxury goods, they don't really count).