Major Labels Accused Of $6 Billion Worth Of Copyright Infringement In Canada

from the oops dept

The major labels and their friends like to throw around huge numbers of “damages” when it comes to copyright infringement. But how about when they’re on the receiving end of a copyright infringement lawsuit. Up in Canada, there’s a class action lawsuit against the Canadian divisions of all of the major record labels, suggesting that the labels have infringed on the copyrights of artists to the tune of $6 billion (Updated: the original math was off, it’s actually $6 billion, not $60). As Michael Geist explains:

The claims arise from a longstanding practice of the recording industry in Canada, described in the lawsuit as “exploit now, pay later if at all.” It involves the use of works that are often included in compilation CDs (ie. the top dance tracks of 2009) or live recordings. The record labels create, press, distribute, and sell the CDs, but do not obtain the necessary copyright licences.

Instead, the names of the songs on the CDs are placed on a “pending list”, which signifies that approval and payment is pending. The pending list dates back to the late 1980s, when Canada changed its copyright law by replacing a compulsory licence with the need for specific authorization for each use. It is perhaps better characterized as a copyright infringement admission list, however, since for each use of the work, the record label openly admits that it has not obtained copyright permission and not paid any royalty or fee.

Over the years, the size of the pending list has grown dramatically, now containing over 300,000 songs. From Beyonce to Bruce Springsteen, the artists waiting for payment are far from obscure, as thousands of Canadian and foreign artists have seen their copyrights used without permission and payment.

And yet, amazingly, the record labels — these “strong defenders” of the importance of copyright and paying for every use — somehow have decided that it makes no sense to pay this bill. The list itself details about $50 million in unpaid royalties that are owed, often to well known musicians who it would be quite easy for the industry to find and pay up. As for the $6 billion number? Well, the class action lawsuit that’s been filed seeks statutory damages starting at $20,000 per infringement and going up from there. Given that these same record labels have been defending those same (or, similar, in the US, at least) statutory rates for infringement, you have to wonder how they can realistically claim that those statutory rates shouldn’t apply to themselves as well.

Once again, though, we’re seeing what’s really happening. The record labels are copyright defenders only when they profit unfairly from it. When they can screw over others via ignoring copyright, they have no problem doing so.

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Companies: emi, sony music, universal music, warner music group

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Comments on “Major Labels Accused Of $6 Billion Worth Of Copyright Infringement In Canada”

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82 Comments
Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

eventually pay what is owed for use of the songs.
No the point is that the law in Canada now says that they have to get specific permission BEFORE they can use the tracks.

After all I don’t think a filesharer could have defended himself in court by producing a list of people he meant to pay eventually. Especially if (as seems to be the case here) he hadn’t actually paid for ANY of the items on the list yet.

B's Opinion Only (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Actually, many filesharers are simply upgrading content they already own. Maybe when I ripped my copy of The Cars 4 years ago I didn’t see the benefit of lossless compression. Do I dig my CD out of storage and re-rip it or do I simply download a lossless FLAC someone else has made?

And yes, I actually HAVE personally handed a $10 bill to a band whose CD I downloaded.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“If 3 strikes gets you kicked off the internet, what does 300,000 strikes get you?”

Nationalized?

Why not? These corporations should be forced to hand themselves over to the people to run (or liquidate) if they can’t pay the $60 Billion bill.

If the RIAA can take people’s homes, college funds and the like for alleged copyright infringement – we should do the same.

Bye Bye Labels…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“How many CD’s would those artists have sold if they weren’t on illegal collections??????”

Maybe this was meant to poke fun at the C/RIAA, but when I was younger these albums actually DID persuade me to purchase them instead of artists’ full albums. I had no taste in music, and no 13 year old wants to waste $13 on an album he might not like, just for one song he heard on the radio. So we got mix CDs that were all from the radio anyway… So I can personally say that the CRIA has cost at least 4-5 artists an album sale, when they might not have even had the rights to sell that song.

Ironic.

kyle clements (profile) says:

worst of all, this infringement wasn’t for personal use, this was blatantly commercial infringement.

I hope they either punish these commercial pirates to the full extent of the law (thus ending the recession in Canada, those 60 billion dollars would go far) or realize how truly absurd the existing laws are and change them.

of course, this is Canada, with the conservatives currently in power, so they will just cave to foreign pressure and screw the people to support the foreign business.

Brendan (profile) says:

Re: Compilations and pending payments on Copyright

If the legal system were fair and reasonable, it would be a win-win for us, really. Two possible outcomes:
– They are found guilty of infringement and owe the money, and thus collapse due to inability to pay up.
– They are found to have followed the letter of the law, and we all learn how to get and easy out defense for blatant infringement.

Huzzah.

The only problem was my opening assumption: that the legal system is fair and reasonable.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Re: Major lanes and coppyrights

Just like the tech compaines … untill is comes to their sofwear and patents.

That may be true for the larger tech companies, but I can say that isn’t true for any actual computer person I know. As a programmer I say keep all stupid IP laws away from my work, and my entire field. They are a waste of time and slow things down. All they do is bring the lawyers in. Once they’re in all they do is slow things down more, drain money from the system, and bring it to a standstill. When it comes time to my tech, I say take the IP laws and shove them. I want none of it. And I am a programmer too. So that includes giving others the ability to download my code. You know what? It will never be stealing in my eyes. Just sharing for a greater good.

Anonymous Coward says:

The recording labels have place themself in quite a pickle with by charging Jammie Thomas-Rasset’s $1.92 million ($80,000 per song) for alleged downloading of 24 songs.

If the value as placed on the song by the labels for a non-redistributed song is $80,000 then what is the value of a pirated song that was commercially redistributed?

For non commercial distribution that would be 300,000 X $80,000 = $24,000,000,000. Next add interest, penalties and court cost including lawyers fees and we are beginning to discuse cancellation of part of Canada’s national debt and to futher compound the issue the labels have admitted that they are doing this by their inclusion in the licensing list.

Anonymous Coward says:

The law only applies to the poor, it doesn’t apply to the rich and the powerful. and to the record labels? They’re exempt from law, haven’t you figured this out by now?

It should be illegal for these record labels to do this sort of thing but it’s not. Yes, it maybe illegal as a formality but an unenforced law is not a law at all.

Doctor Strange says:

If this is true then it will be very embarrassing, and potentially very bad, for the CRIA. I will be interested to see the response.

I was not aware that Canada did not have a mechanical/compulsory/statutory license for music like we do here in the US. I know that people complain about the various kinds of unfairness that mechanical licenses can engender. However, if you’re at all concerned about many of the practical drawbacks of the current copyright system (needing to get permission for common uses, or copyright holders deciding to charge exorbitant rates), then mechanical licenses can be a compromise. For example, a large measure of Jonathan Coulton’s early fame was derived from (freely) releasing an acoustic cover of “Baby Got Back”, which he was able to do because of mechanical licenses.

In this case, you should probably feel free to gloat about how this is the record companies being hoisted on their own petards. (Whether you wait until you hear a response from them, or determine whether any of the allegations in the suit are true or not, is up to you).

However, remember that what you’re essentially defending is a lawsuit that violates nearly every premise of Techdirt groupthink, and that if it were levied against anyone OTHER than the record companies (or, say, Lily Allen) you’d be denouncing it left and right:

1. The lead plaintiff in the suit has been dead since 1988.

2. The “pending list” seems to have been born around the same time the lead plaintiff died, and this is the first lawsuit about it? Is there anything like a doctrine of Laches in Canada? Either way, after a few minutes’ Googling, I cannot find more than one or two indirect references to the “pending list” in Canada other than Geist’s blog post (or scraped copies of it, or blogs about scraped copies of it).

3. If these artists were smart, they would have given away all their music for free. As such, they should be thanking the record companies for all the publicity. If the record companies managed to sell some scarce goods (CDs) with the music on them, without paying the artists anything, then good for them. That’s how the market rolls.

4. The artists here (well, the ones that aren’t dead) seem to have a business model problem. Since getting screwed by the record companies is inevitable, they need to just get over that. Rather than expending their efforts in a lawsuit that has no social value, they should get back to innovating and choosing smart business models that work instead of whining.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“However, remember that what you’re essentially defending is a lawsuit that violates nearly every premise of Techdirt groupthink, and that if it were levied against anyone OTHER than the record companies (or, say, Lily Allen) you’d be denouncing it left and right:”

The difference here is that the RIAA themselves are in favor of the very laws they break.

It’s one thing to break a law you’re against. It’s a different thing to break a law you promote.

Doctor Strange says:

Re: Re: Re:

The difference here is that the RIAA themselves are in favor of the very laws they break…It’s one thing to break a law you’re against. It’s a different thing to break a law you promote.

Yes, that’s why I very clearly stated:

In this case, you should probably feel free to gloat about how this is the record companies being hoisted on their own petards.

See how it’s right above the the line you quoted?

In fact, see how the line you quoted starts with “However?” That means that whatever precedes that line makes sort of the opposite point to what follows it. So, I conceded the point before you made it, and you STILL felt the need to “correct” me by ignoring the concession and then REmaking the point I just made. Christ on a cracker.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

So then you knew darn well why there was nothing hypocritical about our position yet you still mentioned that our position opposes copyright? How is that relevant?

It’s like saying, if you live by the gun you die by the gun. I maybe opposed to guns but if you go around shooting people then I don’t mind you getting shot and there is nothing wrong with that. Likewise, if you go around suing people for infringement then I don’t mind you getting sued for infringement if you infringe and I hope you lose and it does not go against my beliefs that copyright is bad (even though I do think some intellectual property, if used properly, can be good) and it’s not hypocritical of my position either. You live by the gun, you die by the gun. Does not mean I think you should live by the gun, just that I don’t have a problem with you dying by the gun if you choose to live by it.

Doctor Strange says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I maybe opposed to guns but if you go around shooting people then I don’t mind you getting shot and there is nothing wrong with that.

Then you are not quite so opposed to guns, are you?

It’s OK. You don’t have to be a Jain about it. You can be somewhere in the middle. I understand your position. Righteous indignation is a powerful emotion.

The solution, of course, is to have the lowest possible standards. That way, you can never be held accountable for anything as long as you never hold anyone else accountable for anything either. It’s a way to live.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“Then you are not quite so opposed to guns, are you?”

Apparently you missed the point entirely.

I’m opposed to people initiating violence against those who have not initiated violence but I’m not opposed to people being dealt with violence if they initiate violence first against those who have not.

Likewise I can be opposed to people initiating infringement lawsuits against those who don’t initiate infringement lawsuits and not be opposed to them initiating infringement lawsuits against those who do and I’m still not a hypocrite.

For instance I can be opposed to killing someone who hasn’t killed anyone and not be opposed to killing someone who kills someone who killed someone else who didn’t kill anyone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

(and in the following example you can replace suing for infringement with killing or whatever)
So if person A sues person B for infringement and person B never sued anyone for infringement, I can oppose the actions of person A.
If person B first sues person C for infringement even though person C has never initiated a lawsut against anyone else and then, afterwords person A sues person B for infringement, I can be in favor of preson A’s actinns and still not be a hypocrite for being against person B’s actions.
So I can be against people initiatiating infringement lawsutis against those who don’t without being against people who intiate infringement lawsuits against those who do and not be a hypocrite.

Just like I can be against killing those who don’t kill without being a hypocrite if I’m not against killing those who do kill.

BTW, I’m not saying that killing those who do kill is right or wrong, just that the above is not contradictory or hypocritical.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“The solution, of course, is to have the lowest possible standards. That way, you can never be held accountable for anything as long as you never hold anyone else accountable for anything either. It’s a way to live.”

Actually the lowest possible standards are those that intellectual property maximists hold because their standards are that it’s ok for them to infringe but it’s not ok for others to infringe (ie: the RIAA).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“1. The lead plaintiff in the suit has been dead since 1988.”

Which just goes to show how broken our intellectual property system is and how much it favors the rich and the powerful at public expense. The RIAA has broken the very laws they promote and the plaintiff even died before the RIAA was held accountable (and the RIAA or CRIA or whatever has still not been held accountable).

“2. The “pending list” seems to have been born around the same time the lead plaintiff died, and this is the first lawsuit about it? Is there anything like a doctrine of Laches in Canada?”

I think the problem here is that it costs individuals too much to sue such a rich and powerful corporation with so many stolen resources and so it took time for enough affected individuals to poll enough resources to file a class action lawsuit. However, the fact that the RIAA can get away with breaking the law for so long is telling about who the laws are truly made for.

“3. If these artists were smart, they would have given away all their music for free. As such, they should be thanking the record companies for all the publicity. If the record companies managed to sell some scarce goods (CDs) with the music on them, without paying the artists anything, then good for them. That’s how the market rolls.”

But for the record labels to sell the goods of others without their permission and then to turn around and disallow anyone else to do the same thing is an act hypocrisy that should not be tolerated.

“4. The artists here (well, the ones that aren’t dead) seem to have a business model problem. Since getting screwed by the record companies is inevitable, they need to just get over that. Rather than expending their efforts in a lawsuit that has no social value, they should get back to innovating and choosing smart business models that work instead of whining.”

A: The record labels et al have destroyed most business models that work. Yes we have the Internet (and they’re trying to ruin that too) but outside the Internet existing cableco/telco infrastructure is often monopoly owned via government enforcent and no one else can build new infrastructure since the government or local governments won’t allow it and public airwaves are also monopoly owned via government enforcement and those who own it do not support indie music.

B: We should treat the record labels like they treat us and like they treat others. They lobbied the government to make a deal on behalf of society that if we infringe on their material we will pay up. Likewise, their end of the deal should be met.

It’s also the principle of the matter.
By the reocrd labels suing people for infringement they have made an implicit contract with the people that they will hold us up to certain standards which implies that they believe those standards are good standards and hence they should be held up to those exact standards. As such, we should hold them up to the same standards they hold us up to.

If someone wants to hold me up to certain standards they should be held up to those exact same standards regardless of whether or not it is in their best interest to be held up to those standards.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

However, remember that what you’re essentially defending is a lawsuit that violates nearly every premise of Techdirt groupthink, and that if it were levied against anyone OTHER than the record companies (or, say, Lily Allen) you’d be denouncing it left and right:

The point of the post (and I apologize if this was not clear) was the hypocrisy of those who act as the strongest defenders of copyright law, clearly abusing it when it’s to their own advantage.

I agree that I think that the labels *should* be able to make use of songs in this manner. But that’s not what is interesting about this story.

Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

Doctor Strange says:

Re: Re: Re:

The point of the post (and I apologize if this was not clear) was the hypocrisy of those who act as the strongest defenders of copyright law, clearly abusing it when it’s to their own advantage.

Agreed. My comment was not addressed to you actually, but to the usual cadre of commenters (the royal ‘you’?) I should have been more clear about that as well.

I agree that the record companies (well, anyone, really) should put at least as much effort toward getting their own house in order as making sure others have theirs in order as well. If the allegations turn out to be true, the record companies need to be held accountable.

Whatever that accountability is, I hope it is both fair and consistently applied. If a $TEXAS judgment against a run-of-the-mill college kid is unfair (and I think it is), then it’s also unfair when applied to the record company (even if they do their best to crucify that college kid when given the opportunity). Doling out ridiculous punishments all over the place feels good, but I can’t see how it makes things better in the long run.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“If a $TEXAS judgment against a run-of-the-mill college kid is unfair (and I think it is), then it’s also unfair when applied to the record company”

I disagree. I have seen cases where cops were held to a higher standard of punishment because they were law breaking COPS and I don’t see anything wrong with that. Same thing here. These people are the ones in favor of these laws nad so they absolutely should be held to a higher standard, at the very least they should be held to the standard of punishment that they would subject somene else to and even MORESO. and I don’t want no mental insanity plea, they maybe mentally insane for the stupid laws they try to hold ohters up to but I don’t want to encourage others to think they can try to force the public into complying with ridiculous laws and punishments and then get away with breaking those laws themselves. Besides, putting these peope in in jail for a LONG time jail makes sense, or at least requiring them to enter a psych ward for a LONG time with NO possibility of escape even upon showing improvement for a long time. These people should somehow be removed from society completely and even the mere risk of putting them back into society and having them terrorize our country is too great for us to tolerate.

Doctor Strange says:

Just like I can be against killing those who don’t kill without being a hypocrite if I’m not against killing those who do kill.

Of course you can. As long as you admit that, sometimes, killing (or an infringement lawsuit, or whatever) is OK with you. There are people that are against killing in ALL circumstances, you understand. Jains, for example. For them, two wrongs don’t make a right. For you, they seem to, at least sometimes. The enemy of your enemy is your friend and all.

Actually the lowest possible standards are those that intellectual property maximists hold because their standards are that it’s ok for them to infringe but it’s not ok for others to infringe (ie: the RIAA).

Now that’s just a troll, and a poor one at that. If you’re going to slap a whole bunch of people with a brush you’ve labeled “maximist” and then turn around and weaken the definition just so you can slap them with a brush of hypocrisy too, you’re really just showing that you don’t care about the underlying issues, you just hate this particular group of people. I doubt you know a single one of them personally.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“For them, two wrongs don’t make a right. For you, they seem to, at least sometimes.”

So putting people in jail is wrong unless you put them in jail for doing something wrong. So, according to you, two wrongs make a right unless you hold the belief that no one should ever go to jail.

It’s wrong to put someone in jail for no reason. But if that person does something wrong, say they assault someone, then it’s OK to put them in jail. By your logic, two wrongs make a right.

“I doubt you know a single one of them personally.”

I don’t have to know them personally to watch their behavior. I watch the behavior of the RIAA et al and they’re the ones who lobby for stricter intellectual property laws, and these entities clearly have no regard for morality whatsoever.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“By your logic, two wrongs make a right.”

Or rather, if you hold the belief that putting someone in jail for doing something wrong is ok, then by your logic two wrongs make a right.

DrStrange you are clearly being disingenuous with your arguments.

In fact, part of the reason I have lost a lot of respect for intellectual property maximists is after seeing their comments and convoluted logic on techdirt. I have caught them with stupid lies over and over (ie: no one would create art or music if it weren’t for intellectual property and the industry would die, though I haven’t seen them use that lie lately since clearly no one believes it). I have seen them tell me to shut up because they disagree with me and that we should just be quiet since we’re nobodies (this was a long time ago though, I’m not going to go search for it) and our opinions don’t matter and won’t make a difference.

My response was to point out how they expect us to do nothing in instances of injustice.

Basically, I have seen very little good come from intellectual property maximists. Only dishonesty and disingenuous arguments.

Doctor Strange says:

So putting people in jail is wrong unless you put them in jail for doing something wrong. So, according to you, two wrongs make a right unless you hold the belief that no one should ever go to jail.

But you’re making a completely different argument. If I went around saying “putting people in jail is wrong!” and then I saw some kidnapper (who had taken away someone else’s freedom) and pointed and said “EXCEPT FOR HIM!” then the former part of my position is incorrectly stated.

What I really mean is that “putting people in jail is wrong UNLESS they’ve done something bad first.” So, really, putting people in jail is only conditionally wrong, and in fact sometimes it’s right. As long as you’re clear about this, you should sleep tight at night.

Think about the things you believe are wrong or bad, and then decide which of those are OK to do back to someone who does them to other people. For example, is it OK to rape a rapist? Is it OK to murder a murderer? Is it OK to torture a torturer? Is it OK to sue someone into oblivion who tries to sue other people into oblivion? Hammurabi says yes. Gandhi says no. Is doing those things the way to a better society?

I don’t have to know them personally to watch their behavior. I watch the behavior of the RIAA et al and they’re the ones who lobby for stricter intellectual property laws, and these entities clearly have no regard for morality whatsoever.

These are not “entities.” They’re a whole bunch of people just like you and me. You don’t know a single one of them, but yet you feel wholly comfortable judging them all as having “no regard for morality whatsoever.”

You look at a subset of their actions, infer a whole bunch about their motivations (which may or may not be true, but you’ll never know because you never talk to any of them), and write them all off. Once you’ve done that, you can institute a policy of scorched earth against them, since they’re wholly evil and immoral, beyond redemption of any kind.

In fact, part of the reason I have lost a lot of respect for intellectual property maximists is after seeing their comments and convoluted logic on techdirt.

As long as you continue grouping up a bunch of people (who may be reasonable people, trolls, or bored thirteen year olds behind the ‘Anonymous Coward’ name) and calling them all “intellectual property maximists,” you will never make any real progress in advancing the debate or converting people to your way of thinking. I could just wave my hands at you and call you “one of those crazy-ass Freetards” but instead I spend time responding calmly and without invective. Ultimately, I know you are not a crazy-ass Freetard, and there’s really no such thing. You would do well to try it with those you put in your outgroup.

I have caught them with stupid lies over and over (ie: no one would create art or music if it weren’t for intellectual property and the industry would die, though I haven’t seen them use that lie lately since clearly no one believes it).

Why would someone “lie” like that, I wonder? I can come up with about 20 different reasons off the top of my head, most of which could be true for reasonable but misguided people.

I bet you can come up with just one or two, both of which support no other conclusion than that they are filthy intellectual property maximists who deserve nothing more than scorn.

I have seen them tell me to shut up because they disagree with me and that we should just be quiet since we’re nobodies (this was a long time ago though, I’m not going to go search for it) and our opinions don’t matter and won’t make a difference.

Them? Who “them?” Was this one person? Two? Five? The entire board of Warner Music? If someone told you to shut up, well, that’s rude. Why do you hold anyone other than that individual person (or persons) responsible for that comment? Start treating people like people instead of like labeled objects. Welcome to the Internet. There are lots of trolls, but not everyone is a troll, and not all trolls are trolls all the time.

Basically, I have seen very little good come from intellectual property maximists. Only dishonesty and disingenuous arguments.

But to what extent is this argument a tautology? To what extent do you label people “intellectual property maximists” BECAUSE you think they make dishonest or disingenuous arguments?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“What I really mean is that “putting people in jail is wrong UNLESS they’ve done something bad first.””

Exactly. Suing people for infringement is wrong unless they’ve sued someone for infringement first.

“So, really, putting people in jail is only conditionally wrong”

Now you’re getting it. Suing for infringement is only conditionally wrong. It’s not a matter of “two wrongs make a right.”

Doctor Strange says:

Re: Re: Re:

Exactly. Suing people for infringement is wrong unless they’ve sued someone for infringement first.

Replace “suing people for infringement” with {bankrupting someone, assaulting someone, raping someone, murdering someone, waterboarding someone} and then tell me if that statement still holds true. If not, then explain why it’s true for infringement lawsuits and not any of those other things.

Suing for infringement is only conditionally wrong. It’s not a matter of “two wrongs make a right.”

Actually it’s exactly that, then.

When someone goes go jail, are you happy about that? Are you like “woot, that guy went to jail?” Even if the guy did something bad? I’m not. I think it’s a desperately imperfect way of dealing with problems for which we lack a less-imperfect solution.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“When someone goes go jail, are you happy about that? Are you like “woot, that guy went to jail?” Even if the guy did something bad? I’m not. I think it’s a desperately imperfect way of dealing with problems for which we lack a less-imperfect solution.”

Fine, then suing them for infringement when they infringe is an imperfect solution because we lack a better solution. We ought to put them in jail for 25 years but that’s not an option. But since not suing them is a worse solution than suing them it is better for us to sue them when they infringe than for us not to. In fact, we have a duty to sue them in such situations.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Replace “suing people for infringement” with {bankrupting someone, “

These people should be bankrupted and a lot worse.

“assaulting someone, raping someone, murdering someone, waterboarding someone}”

but we’re not doing any of that and I never suggested we do. There is a difference between suing someone for infringement and murdering them. and the fact that you would make such a comparison is disingenuous at best.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“You look at a subset of their actions, infer a whole bunch about their motivations”

So if someone is a murderer I am only looking at a subset of his actions and hence I should not make any inferences from there on and hence they should not be punished for their actions.

Intellectual property maximists (ie: the RIAA) sue for infringement and then they themselves infringe. What they’re doing is wrong and they deserve punishment and there is nothing wrong with society punishing them. It’s not necessarily the act of infringing alone that’s wrong, it’s the act of suing for infringement and then infringing, the combination of the two is wrong and punishment is in order. Someone suing them for infringement is the least of the punishment they deserve.

“These are not “entities.” They’re a whole bunch of people just like you and me. You don’t know a single one of them, but yet you feel wholly comfortable judging them all as having “no regard for morality whatsoever.”
I don’t know a murderer that’s mentioned on T.V personally but that’s not to say I can’t make inferences. I see the actions of these collective individuals, the RIAA et al, who sue for infringement and then infringe. Yes, that means they have no regard for morality.
“Why would someone “lie” like that, I wonder? I can come up with about 20 different reasons off the top of my head, most of which could be true for reasonable but misguided people.”

But the most reasonable reason is that they’re lying. I see the actions of the RIAA and how ridiculous some of the things they do are and it becomes clear that intellectual property maximists don’t care for truth. I catch them saying things that take me simple google searches to refute, they clearly have no regard for truth. And I’ve caught it several times on Techdirt.

“I bet you can come up with just one or two, both of which support no other conclusion than that they are filthy intellectual property maximists who deserve nothing more than scorn.”
To the extent they lobby the government and sue, they deserve jail.

“Why do you hold anyone other than that individual person (or persons) responsible for that comment? Start treating people like people instead of like labeled objects. Welcome to the Internet. There are lots of trolls, but not everyone is a troll, and not all trolls are trolls all the time.”
And the RIAA and the MPAA etc… act unethically and they’re Intellectual property maximists. It’s not just techdirt, it’s intellectual property maximists in general.
“But to what extent is this argument a tautology? To what extent do you label people “intellectual property maximists” BECAUSE you think they make dishonest or disingenuous arguments?”

I label them an intellectual property maximist because they want strong intellectual property laws and then I notice that they are dishonest. The RIAA = intellectual property maximists. They are dishonest (ie: suing for infringement and then infringing).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Is it OK to torture a torturer? Is it OK to sue someone into oblivion who tries to sue other people into oblivion?”

Someone who tries to sue others into oblivian for something as minor as infringement deserves to be locked up in jail for a very long time. Suing them into oblivion does not do them justice and it’s the LEAST someone can do to punish them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

and here is another example of the RIAA acting unethically.
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090811/0152565837.shtml
These intellectual property maximists have ZERO regard for morality and I have seen NO indication that they have any regard. You claim they regard morality but without evidence. Please substantiate your claims, because all the evidence I’ve seen so far says otherwise.
“I bet you can come up with just one or two, both of which support no other conclusion than that they are filthy intellectual property maximists who deserve nothing more than scorn.”
All the evidence thus far supports my conclusion.
“You look at a subset of their actions, infer a whole bunch about their motivations (which may or may not be true, but you’ll never know because you never talk to any of them)”
Well, from a scientific perspective I can not know anything with absolute certainty. But if I have to know anything with absolute certainty then that means I can’t ever draw any conclusions. So far all of the evidence I’ve seen suggests that intellectual property maximists have no regard for morality, and I’ve seen plenty of evidence. However, I have seen little to no evidence suggesting that they regard morality. So I can reasonably conclude that most of them, by and large, have no regard for morality. Can I conclude it with absolute certainty? No. But I can’t conclude anything with absolute certainty.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

and besides, anyone who thinks patents should last 20 years and copyrights should last nearly as long as they do has no regard for morality. Our government seems to think so so it’s fair for me to conclude that they have no regard for morality. and it’s intellectual property maximists who have lobbied for these ridiculous laws, so as far as I’m concerned they have no regard for morality.

Doctor Strange says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I know a lot of people. I like some of them, I don’t like some of them. Some of them do wonderful things, and some of them do a lot of shitty things. Some of them used to do a lot of shitty things and now they don’t.

With one or two exceptions, I have never met anyone I would even think of classifying as “having no regard for morality.” The exceptions are a couple of people who I have met – briefly – who I believe to be sociopaths. This is, as best we know, a biological illness that prevents these people from experiencing empathy like neurotypical people do. So I don’t feel hatred for these people, just pity. I’m still not sure what to do with them, blame nature. Me, I just stay as far away as possible. Luckily there are not so many of these.

In every case I can think of, each person – good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant – seems to have a few basic motivations. They want to get up in the morning and go to sleep at night. They want to feel like there’s some purpose in their life. They want to feel appreciated. They want to peg the pleasure centers of their brains when possible. They want to avoid things that they’re afraid of. Most people are so, so desperately afraid of so many things.

Nearly everyone I know could benefit from a couple years of intense therapy, between all the insecurities instilled in us by dysfunctional families and the things that we refuse to actualize about.

Even the most unpleasant of them try to follow a moral code that is sometimes in tension with their desire just to get through the fucking day. Sometimes they do both really well, and sometimes not. They’re usually trying.

To then look at a broad base of people whom you’ve never even met and condemn them as devoid of morality, on the same level as true sociopaths? Christ.

This is not the same planet I live on. This is not the same species I know.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“To then look at a broad base of people whom you’ve never even met and condemn them as devoid of morality, on the same level as true sociopaths?”

Like I said, so far the overwhelming majority of evidence (and I’ve seen plenty of it) suggests that, by and large, intellectual property maximists have no regard for morality and I haven’t seen much evidence to the contrary. So, from a scientific perspective, I can reasonably conclude that intellectual property maximists, by and large, have no regard for morality. Can I conclude it with absolute certainty? no. but if I had to conclude anything with absolute certainty I won’t be able to conclude 2 + 2 = 4 even.

Mr RC (profile) says:

Canada is on the US 'Copyright Blacklist'

Isn’t it?

Will the US RIAA spin doctors use this to point and say:

“See, we told you they were all filthy dirty thieving pirates! Even the industry itself is full of them! They are stealing from Americans, they must be stopped!!!”

(I’m pretty sure I saw at least a couple of US names)

You reap what you sow.. the industry pushed for tougher penalties, the industry has tried suing people to the point of bankruptcy and the destruction of their futures.. now (HOPEFULLY!) they will be getting a taste of their own medicine.. and will find it bitter indeed..

This isn’t even private infringement, this is commercial, they SOLD (not shared for free) material and made money from it. Not only should they be paying the damage rates that the industry itself set, but they should also be paying interest on the older stuff considering they’ve been making money off it for 20+ years.

herodotus (profile) says:

“Whatever that accountability is, I hope it is both fair and consistently applied. If a $TEXAS judgment against a run-of-the-mill college kid is unfair (and I think it is), then it’s also unfair when applied to the record company (even if they do their best to crucify that college kid when given the opportunity). Doling out ridiculous punishments all over the place feels good, but I can’t see how it makes things better in the long run.”

Two things:

1: It probably makes sense to hold organizations that are largely responsible for drafting IP law to a higher standard of compliance than ordinary citizens who will never see a copy of the DMCA in their life. It won’t happen, but if it did, there is certainly more justification for it than ‘it feels good’.

2: Still, it does feel good, and the public engages in this sort of schadenfreude all of the time. Remember when Bill Bennett (you know, the ‘Book of Virtues’ guy who smugly told modern civilization what was wrong with it all of the time) got caught gambling? Not just occasional gambling mind, but obsessive gambling, to the tune of losing 8 million dollars. How can people not enjoy that? It’s the same thing here.

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