If You're Arguing That Someone 'Deserves' Copyright, Your Argument Is Wrong

from the it's-not-about-what-anyone-deserves dept

For many years, we’ve explained why the debate about copyright is not a moral issue at all. Yet, whenever we get into discussions on it, sooner or later, someone makes an argument about how this or that creator “deserves to make a living” from their art. There are two things wrong with this statement. First, it assumes, incorrectly, that the way you make a living is from copyright. It is not. In fact, much of what we discuss on this blog are ways in which artists might be better off by not enforcing all of the privileges copyright grants them. But, more importantly, the use of the word “deserves” is especially problematic.

Julian Sanchez, who has been doing excellent work on copyright issues of late, has a nice post about how such arguments are totally irrelevant to copyright policy. He notes that it’s no surprise that artistic and creative people want greater copyright privileges, and fewer exceptions such as fair use, but that’s meaningless:

These will often be wonderful, likeable, creative people, and the correct policy response to these objections as such is: Cry me a fucking river; now piss off.

And the reasoning why is that copyright policy is not about what someone deserves or about rewarding people based on some moral grounding. Its purpose is and has always been clear: to provide incentive to promote progress. There are tradeoffs in these policies, and the end argument should never be about what someone deserves, but about what is the best net result for society on that progress bar. As Sanchez explains:

Wise assessment of copyright policy should have nothing to do with how you feel about the person or entity who holds the right at any particular time, because copyright policy is not about identifying wonderful and meritorious people and ensuring–certainly not as an end in itself, anyway–that their income is proportioned to their intrinsic moral desert–or lack thereof. We are all the massive beneficiaries of millennia of accumulated human scientific knowledge and cultural output, and not one of us did anything do deserve a jot of it. We’re all just extremely lucky not to have been born cavemen. The greatest creative genius alive would be hard pressed to create a smiley faced smeared in dung on a tree trunk without that huge and completely undeserved inheritance.

So banish the word “deserve” from your mind when you think about copyright. Nobody “deserves” a goddamn thing. (I say this, for what it’s worth, as someone who makes his living entirely through the production of “intellectual property.”) The only–the only–relevant question is whether a marginal restriction on the general ability to use information incentivizes enough additional information production over the long run to justify denying that marginal use to every other human being on the planet, whether for simple consumption or further creation.

Exactly right. Yet, somehow, I get the feeling that people will continue to toss out moral arguments. They can’t resist… and since they tend not to have the empirical data to support their position, it always gets reduced to irrelevant moral arguments.

Filed Under: , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “If You're Arguing That Someone 'Deserves' Copyright, Your Argument Is Wrong”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
821 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

I think people simply expect that if they offer something for sale, that if people want it to consume it, they have to pay for it.

If they don’t want to consume it, walk away and don’t pay anything.

But don’t think you’re entitled to the benefits of having something that you didn’t pay for.

This is a simple and moral concept that I never see addressed here. I wonder why.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re:

Copyright people think they have a right to defraud the public in the biggest theft ever committed in human history.

If anybody tried to claim that you didn’t buy something but rented after it they were told what they bought was a real sale anyone would call the other guy a thief, still somehow it is ok to let artists rent things and call them sales I wonder why that is?

If anybody sold me a house and comeback to me and told me I couldn’t profit from it without paying him more or I couldn’t rent the house to others without asking for permission I would say to him to sod off and still somehow art is different.

I don’t see those people addressing those really serious concerns and I wonder why.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

How did I change the subject, you are claiming that it is perfectly normal to charge people over again and again and again even after you told them they “bought” something, that is fraud to me, or do you think it is ok to say that you sold somebody something and come asking for money if they make use of it in some manner?

If car companies started charging cabs because they make a living out of the creators cars would that be ok?

Would it be ok if you bought a house and the creator of the house charged you because you rented the house to someone else?

You claim copyright is fair, how that is fair? How that is morally justifiable when no one else could possibly do such things and be called and honest person, but somehow artists apparently live in another reality where that is perfectly normal and I wonder why.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Answer what the absurd insinuation you made?

You above all should not be the one trying to make a moral claim, because copyright is so absurd and proof of that is that you wouldn’t find it fair if the creators of the instruments you use to make a living come calling you asking for more money because they feel entitled to the money you make with their “property” that they “created”.

That is how absurd your position is, that is how everybody sees it except you and your gang apparently.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

You seem to be making assumptions about who I am; perhaps you should sign in so everyone can see that you are indeed who we suspect…

you wouldn’t find it fair if the creators of the instruments you use to make a living come calling you asking for more money

You seem to have jumped ahead a few too many steps. I didn’t ask a question about copyright. I’m talking about taking something without paying; whether its copyrighted or not is irrelevant to that question.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Nope you are the one making wrong assumptions, if you are a musician your instruments would be musical, if you are a software engineers your instruments would be software, computers, if you are a street vendor your cart would be your instrument.

Well and if you are talking about taking something without paying you are in the wrong thread because I see nothing in the post that refers to that, care to point out where in that article it says it is ok to take something without paying?

You can’t and we all know why don’t we?

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I’ll answer your “question”. I only put it in quotes because I can’t find you asking any question, but I think that you are asking the following question (correct me if I’m wrong):

“Is it immoral to take something from someone without paying for it?”

Here’s my answer to that question (again, if that’s not the question you are asking, correct me). I think it’s morally wrong to take something from someone without paying them an amount that they agree to.

However, morally speaking, I don’t think there is anything wrong whatsoever to copy something that someone is selling. Legally speaking may be a different matter. But morally, I have no problem copying something that someone else has, even if they are offering it for sale. So the keyword here is take. So take without just compensation? Sure, that’s morally wrong. Copy without any compensation? No. No moral objections whatsoever.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

I have no problem someone else thinking I’m immoral. So long as I don’t do things that I think are immoral, I’m happy. However, I do have a problem with hypocrisy. Unless someone else is posting from the same IP address as you (and I admit it’s possible) then either you owe me $5 so you can follow your own morals, or you can admit that you don’t actually find it immoral to take something without paying the person who is selling it. Your read my post below. I stated upfront that you owe me $5 for doing so. Pay up and follow your morals, or admit you don’t find it immoral.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

The creator offered the original for sale only. If someone else offers a copy for free, there is nothing morally wrong with me making a copy, even if the creator doesn’t like it. If the creator doesn’t like it, no one is forcing him/her to create. He or she can find another job instead. But to force everyone else to go through the economic inefficiency necessary to enforce a monopoly (ie: it wastes everyone’s time and effort to determine what is and what is not infringement before copying something) just because some creator wants to charge for copies that others may make is not a burden that any creator should be allowed to put on others. The creator can simply contribute to the economy elsewhere by finding another job and content will still be created without him/her.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

The creator offered the original for sale only. If someone else offers a copy for free, there is nothing morally wrong with me making a copy, even if the creator doesn’t like it. If the creator doesn’t like it, no one is forcing him/her to create. He or she can find another job instead. But to force everyone else to go through the economic inefficiency necessary to enforce a monopoly (ie: it wastes everyone’s time and effort to determine what is and what is not infringement before copying something) just because some creator wants to charge for copies that others may make is not a burden that any creator should be allowed to put on others. The creator can simply contribute to the economy elsewhere by finding another job and content will still be created without him/her.

Memyself says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

In most instances, what the creator actually offers for sale is a copy, not an original. The sale of the copy comes with limited ownership rights which is why the copy you can buy costs what it costs. Usually, full ownership (reproduction and distribution) rights are available at a much higher cost.

Is it morally wrong to purchase an item under specific conditions and then violate the terms of the purchase? Morality is impossible to discern under the best of conditions. The real question whether or not sellers should be allowed to dictate terms of sale on products they create, and if those terms are legally binding when the agreement is entered into willingly by both parties. My personal opinion is – if you find the terms of sale constrictive or repugnant, don’t buy what the seller is offering. But just because you disagree with the terms set should not give you a free license to break the terms once you have what you want.

Memyself says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

If you want the good in question, and it is only available at a cost, and you circumvent the cost… what do you think? You’ve broken the conditions required to acquire the item in question.

No one is forced into any form of copyright agreement. You are free to turn your back on any offering. Just because you disagree with the terms set should not give you a free license to circumvent the purchase price.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

Nobody is also forcing creators to sell limited rights too, if that doesn’t work why not start asking for the entire cost up front, like I dunno everybody else in society does?

Why can’t they just ask for a 100K and when that is achieved put the work for the world to do whatever they want to and have no further claims just like everybody else in society?

Why do they need to be different?

Memyself says:

Re: Re: Re:12 Re:

Everyone else in society does NOT ask for 100% cost upfront from a single consumer. There are many forms of transactions that occur in society on a daily basis. In regards to this one – if you don’t like the terms of sale, don’t purchase the product. Saying that “Nobody is also forcing creators to sell limited rights” is akin to saying “why are you hitting yourself” when you are hitting someone with their own hand. Why should any seller not be free to set the terms of sale on their product? If the terms are disagreeable, don’t participate.

Basically you’re asking why art should not be sold as if it weren’t art. Because it’s art. Not a car and not a house and not textbooks and not medicine. Not everything should be treated exactly the same in regards to economics.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:13 Re:

Really?
Who else do you know that sells anything below the cost of production?

There is no such thing, either they give it away to make money elsewhere or they charge the full price of production of that item, why are artists any different from other industries?

Why can’t they make money from merch, live gigs or ask for people to give them money to directly produce and release that without further claims like every other industry out there?

Memyself says:

Re: Re: Re:14 Re:

Do you pay the full for a car or a house when you rent it? No. When you get a haircut does the barber charge you the full cost of his business operations? Splitting the cost of business or goods amongst many consumers is a very common practice. You claiming otherwise does not change this.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:15 Re:

No, I also don’t hear them trying to rent anything to me saying they are selling the stuff to me.

What is not common is to have any further rights, I don’t see the barber saying to me how I should wash my hair or which products I am authorized to use in his hair cut.
I also don’t see car manufactures claiming royalties from cabs do you?

I also don’t see them being able to stop me from manufacturing my own parts and putting on that car, I also don’t see how they could possibly stop me from modifying that car?

Now why can’t you just ask the price for something and let it go?
Why should people be forced to fallow your rules that are being imposed, not agreed like in a rental or something like that but imposed upon the consumer, how is that good?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:16 Re:

No, I also don’t hear them trying to rent anything to me saying they are selling the stuff to me.

They should stop that. They are, at best, selling you a license. However, if you understand copyright law at all, then you understand that you are buying a limited license. So you have minimal excuse to be angry.

also don’t see car manufactures claiming royalties from cabs do you?

No, but if a car manufacturer wanted to be able to sell a car to a cab company at a substantially reduced price, but with royalties for use, I think they should be able to do that. They probably don’t not because it’s not possible, but because the car company doesn’t want to risk losing money on a car just because the cab company doesn’t use their car effectively. However, if the car company were convinced that more people would ride in cabs made by their company (because the car was ultra-luxurious, for example) then they might be incentivized to make such a deal with cab companies.

I also don’t see them being able to stop me from manufacturing my own parts and putting on that car, I also don’t see how they could possibly stop me from modifying that car?

Again, if they put that in the sales contract for the car, and you agreed to it, then why shouldn’t they be able to do this? Let’s say, hypothetically, that Toyota suspects that all these “unintended acceleration” cases were caused by aftermarket modifications using non-Toyota parts. The ones being damaged by that accusation are Toyota, and they would have an interest in minimizing these incidents. That would be an incentive to put a clause in their contract that says that no unauthorized modifications are to be made. If you don’t like the contract, go buy a car from somebody else. If everybody has that in their contract, start your own car company without that clause.

Now why can’t you just ask the price for something and let it go?

Some people get too attached to their work to let it go for any price. I would bet you that most artists would sell you the copyright on their work for some price. It will be substantially higher than the price for a copy. Why can’t you just pay full price for a copyright, instead of paying for a copy? Once you own the copyright, you can put it in the public domain for everyone to enjoy.

Why should people be forced to fallow your rules that are being imposed, not agreed like in a rental or something like that but imposed upon the consumer, how is that good?

Those rules were agreed upon by your legislators that you elected. They are not “my” rules, they are “our” rules – they are as much your fault and responsibility as mine.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:15 Re:

Also for customers everywhere there is no “buying” option is either rent or rent, with one called sale and the other option rent.

And one of those looks a lot like fraud to me, artists are tricking people into higher price renting without being told assuming that they bought something, when they hold no real rights to it apparently.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

Well, so car creators should start selling cars with limited rights too, house creators, furniture creators they all have to get their rights too.

Also my personal opinion on the fact that those restrictions are just ridiculous and impossible to enforce is that if somebody want to get paid they do what car manufactures do, they ask for an acceptable price and release that product to be used for whatever purposes others want to without further claims.

If that is not acceptable nobody is forcing them to release anything they can just not produce and hope people will beg them to produce something and pay more upfront for it.

Now creating absurd terms and expecting others to respect those term ain’t happening, people told them loud and clear already that they won’t respect crazy claims no matter how loud those people complain about it.

Recently 12 years old girls all started taking pictures from the big screen, would anybody have the balls to send them all to prison, or initiate legal proceedings that would ruin their families financially?

The day that happens is the day, artists will have to buy bullet proof armor because I doubt the ruined parents of those kids will take it kindly and that is how I know those laws are just crazy.

Memyself says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

Car and house owners do exactly what you describe. It’s called “renting”. You get use of the property, but not full rights of ownership.

There are many, MANY different kinds of transactions currently at play within our society.

The problem with the “acceptable” price idea is that the cost of creating art and the value to the individual are rarely going to be in accord. A book might take a few days to read but more than a year to write. So in an effort to make a reasonable price available… we have the current system.

The “nobody is forcing them to release anything” argument might hod value if it wasn’t also true that nobody is forcing you to consume what the artists release. You think that people should be discouraged from releasing their endeavors into the public if they do not meet your specific expectations? To meet the specific demands of each person everywhere? Isn’t it easier for you just not to participate?

If you don’t like the terms of sale – Walk Away.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

Car owners sell cars and say they need to be paid for use of it?

Car owners sell cars and charge you if you use it to make money off of it?

Car creators hold rights to their cars after being “sold”?
Car creators complain about all that money invested in R&D?

Quote:

You think that people should be discouraged from releasing their endeavors into the public if they do not meet your specific expectations? To meet the specific demands of each person everywhere? Isn’t it easier for you just not to participate?

You think car manufactures should sell their cars for $10 dollars and have claims over every penny you make?

Why can’t artists just ask for the money they need up front and have no further claims down the line just like every other industry?

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:13 Re:

Does not work? Says who?

I see Sellaband working, I see PledgeMusic working, I see Jamendo working, I see Magnatune working, I see open source working, everywhere I look I see people making money directly or indirectly for art without the benefit of full copyrights and you are saying it does not work? are those people imaginary people like imaginary property?

Even this blog has several examples of alternatives that work and you willfully ignore them why?

Copyright need to change or go away.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Sure why not, I can copy the work done by photostands with Gimp(or Photoshop) now, should I be ashamed of it?

Printers killed the market for instant photo revelation should I care about those business? nope

Digital distribution killed CD’s should I care about it? nope

If some people want to get paid ask for the money before to create it and have no claims after that, you know work like others have to and be done with it.
http://www.pledgemusic.com/

Maybe the future of music is in pledge systems, live gigs and merch, but I’m certain copyrights will be changed sometime in the future, because it is so abusive right now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Furthermore, if a creator doesn’t want others copying his/her work, his/her music/movies shouldn’t be broadcasted over broadcasting spectra that the government grants usage monopolies on. It displaces permissibly licensed content that others can freely copy and redistribute. Same thing goes for similarly monopolized cableco infrastructure. No government should ever grant a monopoly on both content and content distribution.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

There is a post in detention right now, that tries to answer your questions.

Can you show us where in the article it says it is ok to take something without paying?

All I see is something written clarifying how we should look at copyrights, but you don’t answer that and I wonder why?

Instead you jump to conclusions and go on a tangent trying to sense your way to try force a moral issue and when confronted goes running and trying to hide shame on you dude.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re:

Copyright can also be used to create monopolies for other industries like ink cartridges, Sony, Microsoft and other have been trying real hard to do recently.

There could be a time where you washing machine would not accept “unauthorized” detergent brands, or it could tweet to the police if an unauthorized technician tried to open it.

Those things the crazy defenders of copyright never address and I wonder why.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Here is a lady who is claiming ownership of the sun. She is offering the use of it for sale. Morally, she has as much right to be paid as anyone who is selling “intellectual property”. Legally she is in a bit of a bind, but morally, she stands on the same non-existent ground.

Just because you offer something for sale doesn’t mean anyone has to pay you for it. Now if someone takes it away from you without paying for it, that’s theft and we consider that to be wrong, both legally and morally. However, if someone acquires what you have without taking it away from you and still doesn’t pay for it, that’s not theft and there is nothing morally wrong with that. Due to copyright laws, there may be legal consequences, but there is nothing morally wrong with it.

Can you refute that?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“Says who?”

The founding fathers for one. But that’s irrelevant. No person said it, it’s the fact that I can do it without government that makes it a natural right.

“I like this idea of making up rules that work for yourself without consideration of anyone else.”

Copy’right’ is a rule that works for IP maximists and with little consideration for others. IP abolition isn’t a rule that works for me without consideration for someone else, it’s the lack of a rule. I’m not making up rules that work for me without consideration of anyone else, you are, and I am saying that these made up rules shouldn’t exist.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

“The founding fathers said nothing of the sort.”

I suspect you have been around techdirt long enough to know better and you are simply being disingenuous here.

See

http://movingtofreedom.org/2006/10/06/thomas-jefferson-on-patents-and-freedom-of-ideas/

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080220/020252302.shtml

http://rack1.ul.cs.cmu.edu/jefferson/

and there are other quotes with the same type of language from them. The founding fathers were very skeptical of these laws and they did not consider them to be natural rights. They considered their absence to be the normal state of nature and thought that they should exist only to the extent that they promote the progress.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

A license forced onto them, not agreed upon, not accepted by the two parties as a valid deal, not what people expected, thus not very compelling to be respected, more likely people will find a way around it that is legal until then piracy will reign supreme and we all know you can’t do anything about it.

That is why you get so upset, if it helps I don’t pirate anything, I get my software from open source, my music from Jamendo, my video needs from Miro which allows me to search for specific licenses like CC Commons and books from Librivox.

Well, I did copy all my DVD’s to my NAS so technically I’m a pirate because it is against the law, but I’m not going to fallow that inside my own home with things that I have already paid for, no matter what the law says.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“I think people simply expect that if they offer something for sale, that if people want it to consume it, they have to pay for it.”

People expect that if you don’t want to allow others to copy your work, no one is forcing you to distribute it, but don’t expect others or a government to enforce a monopoly for you if you choose to distribute it. Monopolies cost time and money to enforce, others have to spend the time and effort to determine what is and what isn’t infringement and that time and effort is worth money you aren’t entitled to the benefits of the time and effort spent to enforce your monopoly.

“This is a simple and moral concept that I never see addressed here. I wonder why.”

No, it is addressed. If you don’t want others to copy something you said or distributed, simply don’t say it and don’t distribute it. No one is forcing you to. But don’t expect others to let you monopolize something that you choose to distribute. That’s the moral of the story. Copy’right’ isn’t about making sure that people get paid, the founding fathers didn’t intend for it to be. The founding fathers recognize that no one is entitled to a (free or non-free) monopoly. It’s about promoting the progress.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Monopolies cost time and money to enforce

Quality content costs time and money to create.

If you don’t want to pay me for my work, then don’t avail yourself to my labor. That’s a simple contract that society follows, in case you haven’t noticed.

And you obviously value it a great deal, as you are so addicted to it that you must obtain it illegally.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Quality content costs time and money to create. “

So?

“If you don’t want to pay me for my work, then don’t avail yourself to my labor.”

A: Don’t tell me what to do. If you don’t like me copying your work then find another job.

B: If you don’t want me to have your content without paying then I won’t consume your content period and you won’t get paid. I’ll respect your wishes, and so would many others, but I do not want the law to enforce your specific wishes.

“And you obviously value it a great deal, as you are so addicted to it that you must obtain it illegally.”

I do not obtain it illegally. I do follow the law.

“That’s a simple contract that society follows”

I never agreed to this contract and I want it abolished.

“in case you haven’t noticed.”

I think most of society doesn’t follow it and hasn’t followed it in the past. Ie: see China. It’s an imposition that the government wrongfully imposes on us, it’s not a contract that I ever agreed to.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I agree to pay taxes. I agree to drive on public roads. I agree to have automobile insurance. I agree not to sneak around security. Though I disagree with some of our current TSA security measures, I’ll follow them if I have to. But I’ll also seek to have them changed. Just because I disagree with a law doesn’t mean I’ll break it. I even avoid breaking copy’right’ law, even though I don’t agree with it. But my disagreement with it causes me to try and change such laws. It’s not a contract I ever agreed to.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I don’t think you have paid attention to the last decades, because not even you could have uphold those laws and if you tell me you never pirated anything I will know you are just a liar.

Mix tapes, VCR, Walkmans, Discmans, MP3 players, digital readers, photocopiers and so forth, at some point you violated the laws you don’t want other to break now.

Bleh says:

Re: Re:

You’re apparently not familiar with the nature of capitalism. It’s all about getting something that you didn’t fully pay for. Buy low, sell high. Pay the cheapest possible wages for labor, cut costs where you can like quality and safety, charge as much as you possibly can regardless of consideration for anything but profit, and hide as much of it as you can from the government because, by god, you earned that profit!

As soon as the wealthy start paying back to society the wealth they have extracted at the expense of the rest of society, they and their advocates will have to forgive my inability to pretend that they have any moral high ground from which they can preach about thinking you’re entitled to benefit from someone else’s labor.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I agree.
If something is offered for sale than it is up to the consumer/market to either accept that offer, negotiate a better one, or refuse it.

That is basic common sense and I don’t see anyone saying different here.

Though having sold the item in question after the acceptance was done by the purchaser what copyright is then allowing the offerer to do is change the terms of that offer after acceptance has occurred.

Say I you bought an item 50yrs ago. At that time you were under the absolute knowledge that in 50yrs time or so that item would be out of copyright and you could then do WHATEVER you wanted with it.

40yrs later all of a sudden the offerer goes running to the government sobbing and creating FUD screaming that they require more money from things they had already sold. THE DESERVE IT. They are struggling artists/publishers/fraudsters/whatever and they cannot survive and neither can their silver spoon fed offspring without the terms of the ORIGINAL SALE being changed retrospectively.

So, I am now left with an item that is valueless to me under one of the the original conditions of why I purchased it in the beginning.

But hey lets not talk about forfeiture of contract, unconscionable behaviour, estoppel, fraud, etc because its all about copyright.. its different.. *eye roll*

Think of the artists and what they deserve.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Retroactive copyright extension is the anti-IP crowd’s titanic red herring. The actual practical effect of this in your personal life is what? If we got rid of it, would you shut up? Seriously, you can have the Wizard of Oz and the shitty-looking version of Mickey Mouse if you do.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It’s not a red herring, in fact its an absolute breach of contract law.

You know that actual base precedent law that has been around since before the USA was a republic and is the foundation of all transactions in commerce everywhere in the world nowadays.

Contracts cannot be retrospectively changed without full consent of all parties to the contract.

Contracts of Sale on the other hand cannot be changed at all since once the sale has been finalised the contract has been completed and therefore NO variation on terms of that contract can be changed by any party since there is no longer an actual contract. Though there is a contractual agreement and caveat on the ORIGINAL INSTANCE of sale

If copyright law had been extended with the priviso that it will only affect copyrightable items that had been created AFTER the extension had been passed into law then we wouldn’t be having this major problem we currently do.

But alas, artists need to feed their families for stuff they did when they were alive or decades before, that had already been sold for some sort of value. They deserve it.. whereas if I did the exact same thing to artists and retrospectively had the law changed that the original sale of their item was now TAXED differently and that either they or their extate had to pay it NOW all hell would break loose..

Tell me, what is the difference between my proposal to retrospectively Tax the original sale, and what artists (and their agents) currently have allowed to happen? Since one could equate retrospective copyright extension as a ‘ private tax/fee’

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I just noticed, serves me right from reading TD chronologically in reverse [ Take that chinese time machine haters ;)] But there is a story down below this one that actually is talking about retrospective copyright ad why it is wrong and that Denmark is now doing it *sigh*

Just wanted to point out that my comments above were not in response to ahveing read that article but are actually dealing with basic moral, ethical, and LEGAl reasonings on contract law and SALE of goods.

Also it must be noted that this does NOT apply to licensed items of copyright since retrospective action can occur since the contract was NOT a contract of sale. Licensing is a whole new quandary

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re:

How many payments did you pay exactly.

The creator of your car have the right to be paid every time you use your car, you can’t lend it without paying the creator. The creator of your car also have a legitimate claim to your earnings since you use it to make a profit right?

Do you pay the car creator every time you use their property to make money?

Memyself says:

Re: Re: Re:

Cars are cars. Houses are houses. Entertainment is entertainment. The terms of sale do not translate from one form of property over to another easily.

To put it another way: A book might take a years worth of labor to write. What you pay for said book is a fraction of the cost as measured by labor. To make this system work, the purchase comes with specific limitations attached. Limited rights to distribution and reproduction. That way the cost of the book is spread out amongst many people.

But when you buy a car? You pay the full price of materials and labor plus a heft percentage. Same with a house.

Now, if you WANT to buy the equivalent rights to a book, if you want to own it fully, you often CAN. But the cost is higher. Just like when you want to own a house instead of renting one or own a car instead of renting one. You take that economic plunge, you can do with your property what you wise. Within reason, of course. Restrictions on rights of homeowners do still exist.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Or we can just get rid of copyrights and make artists actually have to work for a living.

They could just ask people to pay for the production of their work like in pledgemusic and have no further claims that would save millions in enforcement costs and liberate the courts to keep track of some serious crap that needs to be addressed like real criminals.

Brett says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Cars are cars. Houses are houses. Entertainment is entertainment. The terms of sale do not translate from one form of property over to another easily

They are not the same, in the same way that copyright infringement is not theft because the original creator/owner is not deprived of anything other that artificially created rent. If I steal your shovel, you’ve lost a shovel. But if I make a copy of your shovel, you haven’t lost anything.

Memyself says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Yeah. They’re not the same. Isn’t that what I just said?

Yes, the “rent” IS artificially created. That’s why the price is a fraction of the cost one would normally be expected to pay for a years worth of labor. Displacing the cost amongst many helps allow art to be sold at a price much lower than would normally be dictated according to labor involved. Trying to make the economics of art analogous to the economics of cars or houses or tangible property ignores the very real differences between these things.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“Displacing the cost amongst many helps allow art to be sold at a price much lower than would normally be dictated according to labor involved.”

You incorrectly assume that copy’right’ is the only way to recover the cost of art. No, art has been and will continue to be created without such laws. People will find other ways to recover the cost of art. The cost of the original art, for instance, is generally worth far more than the cost of a copy and in many instances collectors and museums are willing to pay that cost. They can then distribute those costs over to their visitors by charging them an entrance fee. Just because visitors may have copies of that art online doesn’t mean no one will ever go to a museum and pay the entrance fee. If anything, those online pictures will often encourage more people to go see the original.

There are many other ways people can recover the costs of creating art. Heck, many people who create art do it as a hobby out of enjoyment and they would be more than happy to release that art to the public to freely copy. Art will continue without these laws. Even if some won’t create art without these laws, I’m fine with that, they can find other ways to contribute to the economy by finding other jobs instead. I don’t want the government directing people to create art over the labor that people would otherwise produce elsewhere because that creates artificially less labor elsewhere in the economy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Gah, car analogies. A pick:

Cars don’t just get made. They are also developed, engineered, designed, tested, perhaps for years, prior to getting made. They are technical and creative endeavors, like many an artform.

On topic: most people would not take a physical book without paying for it. It is a well understood offensive act. Most people would happily borrow a book from someone who had paid for it. Maybe they’d even give it back someday, heh.

Without a physical format, no one can take or borrow a digital file, it must be copied, whether purchasing is involved or not, there’s no avoiding it.

Relying strictly on payment for digital files that have no physical format, that literally cannot be borrowed or taken but only copied, for which it is a certainty that “unauthorized” copies will appear…it’s a losing battle. It’s actually preposterous to believe it won’t happen or can be stopped, slowed, or shamed. It will happen, out of ignorance, apathy, ideology, by mistake. It is not an issue of morals but of simple human behavior.

One might as well try to police our very thoughts, so ingrained is sharing in humans. Sharing equals communication, it is hardwired, it is how we learn…it is a main reason we create anything at all and decide to expose those creations to others. If we wish to not communicate, we don’t. We keep secrets, we keep it to ourselves, we keep a civil tongue.

Copyright, as it is these days, perverts and attempts to prevent such a basic human thing, sharing. That is a tremendous moral failure, in my opinion, but beyond this it is inevitable that it will be a Herculean task to stop anyone from sharing anything. Stricter laws haven’t worked, neither will even stricter laws. The laws of human behavior will always win out.

Because copyright is a wholly UNnatural thing for humans to follow, dependence upon it is a false security, doomed to be violated at any time. It attepmts to impose morality upon the simple acts of seeing, hearing, speaking, showing. It’s actually grotesque when you think of it that way, but too many want to use it to do exactly that.

I believe it’s better to focus on how to earn a living from artistic endeavors as if copyright did not exist…

…but since it does, probably get sued someday for something. These days copyright’s value lies mainly in lawsuit ignition, seems. What a shitty, artless way to generate revenue, huh?

/ramble

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

So now IP is different from real property right?

LoL

You guys crank me up.

Even drugs has less protections and rights and they take decades and billions to produce but somehow copyrights are fine even though they can be used to protect real stuff in the real world that should not have those absurd protections.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“To make this system work”

People will write books without copy’right’ so systems of writing books will continue without such copy’right’ protections. Sure, you may argue that copy’right’ can also participate in certain systems of writing books that “work” but that doesn’t mean they “work” for the public good. A system where the government charges you $100 per glass of water may “work” but that’s meaningless.

Take textbooks as an example. They cost a fortune. If you look at a calculus book from one semester vs the next edition for the next semester, the only difference? The chapters were flipped around a bit, problems were changed a bit, etc… but because the publisher stopped making books for the last edition and the school needs to provide all students with textbooks, students are forced to buy new textbooks. The publisher makes a TON more money than the cost of making a new edition. Just like with the pharmaceutical industry, the costs are largely exaggerated. IP gives incentive for such exaggerations to attempt to justify the artificially high prices.

If the books were allowed to go into the public domain within a reasonable period of time, the school can simply make its own copies of the old editions and sell them to students at a reasonable price. Students can also make their own copies. Then publishers will have to compete to sufficiently improve the content of their books in order to sell new ones. but even without copy’right’ if publishers can produce books that are worth the additional cost, they can charge the school for the books ahead of time (the school can then roll over those costs into tuition. Either way, students are paying regardless, so I would much rather pay for my books and be able to copy them as well). Publishers can then initially sell them in huge bundles to make back their money and the school and others can then make as many copies as they like. Book creation will still continue. People will find alternative ways to fund the creation of books.

But copy’right’ encourages special interest groups to get involved in the political process of what set of books colleges buy and that causes the whole thing to become politicized in a way that isn’t in the public interest.

Memyself says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

For the record, I believe that educational tools should not be held to the same restrictions as entertainment. Yes, the abuse you mention in regards to textbooks is atrocious.

Outside of that: I never said there weren’t other systems. You quote me referring to a specific and then point to a general? To what purpose? Yes, to make the specific system work, the one where books are often sold for under ten dollars, limited rights (no distribution or reproduction) help ensure that the artist in question can sell enough copies so that the cost of producing the work in question is recouped. That’s the way the system under discussion works. This doesn’t mean that other systems do not exist.

That said: I don’t find your promise that books will continue to be written sufficiently compelling on it’s own. By all means, please expand on how exactly we can be ensured that the current artistic output would be maintained without copyright – assuming that tis what you are implying.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

How about writers start to ask for money in advance like everybody else do.

Instead of asking to publisher they just need to go directly to the public and set a fixed price like everybody else do, and have no further claims on the final product like every other industry.

Why can’t that be done?

Memyself says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

It can be. And it is. Just as some writers already distribute their works for free.

Why should there be only one way? Why should every artists be required to sell according to your rules? Doesn’t it make more sense to allow the seller to set their terms and then let the consumer decide on a case by case basis if those terms are reasonable?

Memyself says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

We’re not talking about MY rules. We’re talking about copyright law as it currently exists. Additionally, we’re talking about those offering a service being allowed to set the terms of sale. You already have a right to deny participating in said transaction. Why should you be granted the right to further dictate terms in regards to the labor of another?

Put it another way. Say you want to mow my lawn for 10 dollars. I tell you I will pay you 5 dollars. This isn’t something you find agreeable. Should I be allowed to force you to work under my terms

As for the question of abolishing law altogether? No thank you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

“Additionally, we’re talking about those offering a service being allowed to set the terms of sale.”

and that’s fine. But say someone broke their end of the bargain and gave me a copy of that song. I never agreed to anything and so I can keep that song and make as many copies as I please and distribute them as I please and there is absolultely nothing morally wrong with that on my end. Your problem isn’t with me, since I agreed to nothing, your problem is with my friend who broke his/her agreement with you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Furthermore, not all agreements should be enforceable by law. Many states don’t enforce non-compete clauses. Maybe I also believe copy’right’ is one of those agreements that shouldn’t be enforced. Companies shouldn’t be allowed to sell licenses to listen to a song, they must be forced to sell rights to redistribute the song and make and redistribute derivatives as they please. I don’t want any of my taxpayer money enforcing these laws (via the court system or otherwise) and taxpayers should have a right to determine which laws their tax dollars and their tax funded government should and shouldn’t enforce. I don’t want these laws. They abridge my right to copy as I please and they make me have to go through the trouble of magically determining what’s infringement and what’s not before making a copy of anything. I’m not psychic, I don’t have the money to hire a psychic, and I don’t really believe psychics work. I also don’t want copyright content displacing permissibly licensed content over public airwaves, airwaves that the government really has no business granting monopoly powers on. If less content is created as a result, so be it. I’ll live.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

and I don’t want to risk getting sued for $150,000 or whatever because I downloaded (and maybe even perhaps I publicly played) a song that I thought was released under a license that allows me to do that only to find out that it really wasn’t. and I don’t want service providers to have to go through the trouble of figuring out what is and what isn’t infringement, because they will only roll those costs back down to me somehow (and many services that I can benefit from may not even be able to afford to exist as a result of having to tolerate such a burden). It’s simply not worth it to me.

Memyself says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

The song in question is still being sold under specific conditions. If you choose to acquire the song without meeting the terms of sale, you’re still in violation of those terms. If you choose to redistribute the song you’re still in violation of those terms.

A plea of ignorance to the law in this matter certainly can carry some weight – for the truly ignorant. You are clearly aware that the terms exists and you are clearly aware how the terms apply. By circumventing payment and by redistributing, you are still making yourself a participant in the transaction – and then violating the terms that you clearly understand.

To be clear with what I am about to say: I am not equating copyright violation with theft or any other specific crime or infraction. Copyright violation is copyright violation. Analogies are rarely 100% and are only meant to suggest rather than draw perfect parallels. That said – The getaway driver didn’t rob the bank. He’s still a participant. Your defense of innocence is a poor one.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

“If you choose to acquire the song without meeting the terms of sale, you’re still in violation of those terms. “

but there is nothing morally wrong with acquiring a song without meeting the terms. I never agreed to the terms. Even if you never agreed to have me copy your song, that’s not your decision to make. Copying is a natural right that I have that exists outside of government and so there is nothing morally wrong with me making such a copy with or without your permission.

“A plea of ignorance to the law in this matter certainly can carry some weight”

We’re discussing whether the law should exist, not whether I violated it or not.

“He’s still a participant. Your defense of innocence is a poor one.”

Again, we’re not discussing whether I broke the law, we’re discussing whether the law should exist to begin with. My argument is that it should not. I don’t want this law to exist.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:13 Re:

“I’m pointing out how ludicrous it is to want to abolish a law because it happens to be an annoyance to you.”

Lets make it a law to require everyone to punch you in the mouth every day. You say you want that law abolished because it’s an annoyance to you? How ludicrous.

“Particularly one that was written to protect someone else’s personal rights.”

Preventing me from copying isn’t their right. The law doesn’t protect a right that existed to begin with, it created a legal right that doesn’t belong. You made the argument that abolishing copy’right’ can interfere with your ability to make contracts with others. When I pointed out that this is not true, you changed the subject by going off into how it may not be breach of contract for me to copy something without agreeing to the contract, but it’s still against the law. But that’s irrelevant being that we’re discussing whether the law should exist to begin with. That’s what you seem to be missing here.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:14 Re:

In caveman times, cavemen settled disputes by kicking each other in the weenus. Therefore, you have no natural right to state-sponsored weenus protection. The law has created a ‘right’ for you where none exists. And you hide behind it dutifully. Sadly, it has not created a similar state-sponsored protection on my serenity, likely because of extensive lobbying by the weenus-protection industry.

There is no logical reason for this. If my serenity is fucked up, it will cause thousands of dollars in damage to society because I won’t be able to concentrate at work for days. If you get kicked in the weenus, you will be back at work on Monday. It is also less likely that you will have children. Children put more of a strain on the environment than nearly anything else, so fewer children is a good thing.

Are you some kind of shill for the weenus-protection lobby? You are, aren’t you?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:15 Re:

“There is no logical reason for this.”

Of course there is. If everyone were allowed to harm anyone else as they please, it could create a lot of violence and that’s really bad for the public interest. Everyone would be far worse off. The logical reason for anti violence laws to exist is because we could all be far worse off without them. I would be much worse off and so would you.

If people were allowed to copy each other as they please, the worst that will likely happen is that ….. (insert doomsday scenario here)

I believe that everyone would be much better off without copy’right’ laws. This includes myself. However, if it is true that I would be better off without these laws, then that suggests that it’s true for most others. After all, I’m a member of society just like most others, why shouldn’t what’s good for me as a member be good for many and perhaps most other members as well? I’m explaining why I would be better off without these laws, and perhaps others would find that my reasoning for not wanting these laws also applies to them and so they would be better off. Laws exist to serve the public good, not to serve some special interests like the artists or record labels/publishers. This not only applies to physical property laws, they also apply to intellectual property laws. If it’s true that copy’right’ isn’t in my best interest for reasons xyz and if others read those reasons and determine that they apply to them as well, and if it’s true that the general public is worse off without these laws then with them, then we should abolish them.

Much of it also has to do with what we value. I value my right to copy as I please more than I value the reduction of content, if any, that would be lost as a result of these laws being abolished. Different people value different things. I’m expressing my values and perhaps others would agree with my values as well after reading them. If it’s true that others agree with me, then perhaps everyone would be better off without these laws being that what we collectively gain from their abolition is more valuable to us than what we lose.

You’re arguing that some artists might be better off with these laws. Irrelevant. People who dig holes and fill them back up for no reason would be better off if the government subsidized them. Advertisers would be better off if the government paid their advertisement bills. The laws shouldn’t promote a specific class of workers and it shouldn’t direct more people to join that class of workers, it should promote what’s in everyone’s best interest.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:14 Re:

You’re replying to someone else’s post here for the most part.

But as far as the part that I wrote, basically you don’t believe intellectual property is real. I’ve pointed out many times such a notion is essentially Marxism; a philosophy that has been proven to be unworkable.

Get some sleep. Your kid is going to be up soon.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:15 Re:

“I’ve pointed out many times such a notion is essentially Marxism”

Where? How is it Marxism?

The founding fathers initially did not believe in patents or copy’rights’ but later allowed it under very limited conditions. There is nothing Marxist about their abolition. Their abolition requires less government, not more, and socialism/Marxism requires more government. I sense you’re just making things up.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

Anti violence laws make sense. I agree with them for a variety of reasons.

I disagree with copy’right’ laws because they violate my inherit right to copy what I please when I please and I disagree with them for the many reasons I listed above as well (along with other reasons).

We were discussing copyright laws and whether or not they should exist. You were on the right track for a while. Then, when you seemed to have no response to me pointing out that me violating a contract that I never agreed to by copying something isn’t a breach of contract on my part, you went off into how it’s still illegal. I’m not disagreeing with you that it’s illegal, I’m making an argument that it shouldn’t be illegal. It still doesn’t violate your right to make contracts with others, but if they break their end of the deal, then your problem is with them, not with me who agreed to nothing and made a copy. The law disagrees, but that’s irrelevant, being that the discussion is about whether the law should be changed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:12 Re:

But if you piss me off, you have violated my right of serenity and the only way I can be made whole again is to kick you in the weenus.

For the record I have never once agreed to any stipulation not to kick you in the weenus. You have no reasonsble justification why I should be bound by this restriction on what I can and can’t do in my personal life, especially after fucking with my serenity.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:13 Re:

Now you’re just trolling.

No one is arguing that just because I didn’t agree to a law, the law shouldn’t exist. What I’m arguing is that just because something is a law doesn’t mean the law should exist and I’m providing multiple reasons why copy’right’ is one of those laws that shouldn’t exist. You haven’t addressed any of those reasons.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Why anyone should have the power to impose deals onto others?

Your analogy would be better if I had the power to say to you that only I could mow the lawn and you would have to pay me whatever I ask or not mow the lawn at all.

Copyright is not an agreement is an imposition, we didn’t agree on the terms voluntarily you are forcing me into the deal and saying take it or leave it.

The funny part, you don’t even has the power to stop me just as I would never have the power to stop you from mowing your own lawn, but you still persists.

About the abolishment of copyrights you don’t have a say on it. If people choose to ignore it you have no power to make them comply.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Copyright is not an agreement is an imposition, we didn’t agree on the terms voluntarily you are forcing me into the deal and saying take it or leave it.

You agreed on the terms when you were born in, or moved to, a country with copyright law. Along with zillions of other terms.

Would you also abolish the “impositions” that likely benefit you? Would you repeal Magnuson-Moss? I certainly do not hear you complaining about it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

“Why should there be only one way”

You’re assuming that without copy’right’ there is only one way.

“Why should every artists be required to sell according to your rules?”

A: an artist isn’t required to sell anything. S/he can find another job instead.

B: If people want the artists work bad enough, the artist can find ways to monetize his work. Otherwise, perhaps people simply don’t want the artists work badly enough.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

B: If people want the artists work bad enough, the artist can find ways to monetize his work. Otherwise, perhaps people simply don’t want the artists work badly enough.

Without scarcity, demand for a work can be insanely high and that doesn’t mean bupkus for the price of the good.

Artists may be able to hold future work that has not yet been done for ransom, but why is it a good thing that people should pay for something that they have basically no way to predict the quality of?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Or, better yet, if you like copy’right’ badly enough, you can voluntarily comply with it by paying whatever the artist asks you to pay for his content after the artist has released his content. Or generously donate to that artist to thank him/her for the content s/he has already produced. If you can get enough of your friends to voluntarily comply with your copy’right’ ideology, then the artist can continue to create good content and get paid for it. but don’t force everyone to comply with your ideology.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“I don’t find your promise that books will continue to be written sufficiently compelling on it’s own.”

So you don’t think that books will continue to be written without copy’right’? I find that absurd.

“please expand on how exactly we can be ensured that the current artistic output would be maintained without copyright – assuming that tis what you are implying.”

That’s not what I said. Even if less content is created, those content creators still have to find other ways to contribute to the economy to make money and so they will find other jobs and hence contribute to the economy elsewhere. It’s really not the governments job to subsidize content creation with these laws because that takes away from marginally (though not absolutely) more important activities elsewhere.

Even if there are fewer jobs created as a result of abolishing these laws, job creation isn’t an end in itself. Digging a hole and filling it back up is a job, but it doesn’t necessarily add anything beneficial to the economy. The purpose of having an economy is to produce things and artificially diverting more labor towards content creation, for instance, isn’t going to create more food (it may even divert labor away from food creation). It’s not the governments job to artificially choose where labor should be diverted to. The free market is better at that.

If the cost of creating a piece of content is worth the benefit of consuming it, people will find ways to fund its creation. Otherwise, the total cost of production is not worth the total benefit of production and so it should not be produced. Instead, the labor hours should go elsewhere in the economy. If you want the content created badly enough, you can fund it yourself and pay what you want.

In the case of the existence of copy’right’ the cost also includes the cost of enforcement, which adds economic inefficiency, an economic inefficiency that could otherwise divert resources towards more content creation or wherever else the economy demands labor to be diverted to if that inefficiency were eliminated. The cost also includes the economic inefficiency caused by the time and effort required by each person and entity to determine what is and what isn’t infringement, and these days you often have to be a psychic to know. No, it’s not worth it to me. My right to copy whatever I please as I please when I please without having to worry about such things (or to hire a psychic to tell me) is worth more to me than the cost of whatever content gets lost as a result of copy’right’ abolition. I’m willing to take that risk and to deal with any doomsday consequences that one maybe speculating even in the highly unlikely event that any of them are true.

The fact that people have to magically know what is and what isn’t infringement encourages them to license content at a fee instead of obtaining permissibly licensed content because if they obtain permissibly licensed content and it turns out not to really be permissibly licensed, they can get sued. For example, see

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110319/00355113560/if-you-think-writing-free-undermines-your-profession-just-dont-do-it.shtml#c381

This also discourages the production of freely available content since content production often require consumption and with less consumers you will have less producers (since many producers of freely available content can find other ways to fund their content, ie: perhaps via donations or charging for concerts or other things. but they can’t as easily do that if everyone is afraid of consuming their content). This can also encourage people to nefariously upload content under a CC license and later sue those who consume it while claiming that they aren’t the one who uploaded it. Again, this discourages content consumption and hence production. Without copy’right’ we don’t have these problems.

If you want the current artistic output to continue, you can voluntarily fund it on your own by paying whatever you like for content. You can get a bunch of your friends to join you. If enough people join you, the content you like will be funded. But don’t require others to subsidize the content creation of your choice by requiring them to expend the time and effort necessary to comply with and enforce these laws.

When it comes to music, most musicians didn’t/don’t even make most of their money through CD sales. They made/make their money via concerts. The only reason why they need a record label is because corporate interests wrongfully control the information distribution channels (ie: public airwaves, cableco infrastructure) necessary to efficiently distribute the content and acquire an audience and those corporate interests don’t distribute content that they don’t have the ‘rights’ over. But content has been created without copy’right’ in the past and, thanks to the better information distribution of today, plenty of content is created today under licenses designed to circumvent copy’right’ at least to some extent. and in places that don’t respect these laws as much, plenty of content is still created (as has been shown on tecddirt elsewhere).

Togashi (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

The entire point of this article is that it is NOT the government’s problem whether copyright ensures the artist can recoup costs. Even if it were, life plus 70 years is entirely ridiculous. I can’t find any numbers right now, but I know at some point a book will make back what it took to produce, and past that anything more is pure profit. Could the majority of books recoup costs in 5 years? 10? If anyone knows of some research they could post, that would be great.

Copyright is about protecting the interests of the people, not creators. Content creators complain about the “entitlement” problem they see people as having, where we feel that eventually their works should add something to society. Do they not suffer the same entitlement problem for feeling that their work, even if it took them 3 years to create, should by law be a nest egg for them, their children, and perhaps their grandchildren, depending on how long they live?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“To make this system work, the purchase comes with specific limitations attached.”

The problem is that you assume that these limitations are necessary for a system of book creation to “work” and that copy’right’ is necessary for such a system to work. No, systems of book creation will work without copy’right’, people will make books without such protections.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Artists should just produce, receive their payment and have no further claims on it.

They can do that. Copyright gives them an additional option, which is more efficient: they can elect to take more risk and sell copies at a substantially-discounted price. This allows more flexibility in who takes the risk. If you have to buy art outright, then the consumer takes all the risk. If you sell copies, the artist can take more of the risk. It also permits things like albums of music and multi-million line pieces of software and makes them available for pennies while still compensating the creators (or the risk-takers to whom they have sold their work).

You want a world that is far less efficient, I see.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The creator of your car have the right to be paid every time you use your car, you can’t lend it without paying the creator.

If you lease your car, then the person that bought it outright does get paid effectively every time you use your car. Well, when you use the owner’s car; you’re only leasing it. If you use his car too much, you will pay him more.

The creator of your car also have a legitimate claim to your earnings since you use it to make a profit right?

And those payments will come out of your earnings.

Do you pay the car creator every time you use their property to make money?

If you are leasing your car, you pay the person who owns it every time you use it – to make money or not.

If you license some content, then you pay whatever the terms of the license are. If you buy the copyright outright, then you can do whatever you want with it. You can do that, you know. Why don’t you buy the copyrights from copyright holders?

You don’t expect that if you lease your car, you can sell it, right? Or that you’ll get to keep it if you stop paying the owner, right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Did you paid the creator of the instruments you use for every use you made out of that? Do you send them your part of their due cut when you play something and make money out of it?

Oh that is right only you have the right to molest others about those things because somehow you are more important than the rest of society and you deserve the right to charge for every use of your work but others don’t.

I wonder why.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Did you paid the creator of the instruments you use for every use you made out of that? Do you send them your part of their due cut when you play something and make money out of it?

It depends on how I acquired the instrument. If I acquired the instrument through an all-out sale, then I wouldn’t have to pay anybody a cut. If I rented the instrument, and the terms of the rental said that I didn’t have to pay anybody, then I wouldn’t either. If I signed a contract with the renter that said I would pay them for every performance, I would have to pay him a cut.

Copyright effectively sets the default terms of a contract between the owner and the users of content. Unlike a regular contract, you do not have to sign it because it’s part of the law. Like a contract, the parties are free to negotiate alternative deals as they like.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re:

This post will cost you $5 to read. I am offering it for sale. By United States copyright law, this post is copyrighted to me. I own the copyright to this post. I am also offering it for sale for $5. Only $5 for this short amount of time. If you continue to read this post without paying me $5 then you are taking something that is for sale without paying and without permission. Therefore you are breaking the law AND being immoral.

Can you look yourself in the mirror after stealing from me?

If so, then feel free to download a bittorrent client of your choice and start torrenting any copyrighted movie of your choice. There really is no difference.

If however, you do want to pay me for this post, please reply and we can work out the details of how to process that payment. If no payment is received and you still read this post, then you really are acknowledging that there really is nothing morally wrong with not paying someone for something they offer for sale and yet take it anyway.

However, even if you find yourself realizing there is nothing morally wrong, you still legally owe me $5. I hope that clears up any confusion.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

There is no TOS here on techdirt that states that any comments are work for hire, so I still own the copyright. Let’s be very serious here. I offered my post for sale, and you read it anyway without paying me. That means you have no moral problems “taking” something for your own consumption without paying for it even while it was being offered for sale. I’m being very serious here, by reading that comment and not paying for it, you really have shown that you have no moral problem with “taking” something that you didn’t pay for. I even stated it upfront. I didn’t hide it in the fine print at the bottom after you’d read it.

As far as I know, you haven’t illegally copied it, so legally you are in the clear. But this discussion isn’t about legality. It’s about morality. In that regard, you came in here trying to make a moral argument. By reading my post above without paying for it, you have failed.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Unfortunately, that post will not end up in the public domain for a very long time. In the US, all works are automatically copyrighted. I can’t sue you until I register it, but I still own the copyright.

Unfortunately for you, however, this wasn’t a legal discussion but a moral one. You asked if it was “ok to take something that is for sale without paying and without permission”. I didn’t grant you permission. I offered it for sale. You didn’t pay. Yet you seem to think that what you did was OK. So I ask you the same thing:

Are you saying you think it’s ok to take something that is for sale without paying and without permission?

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

You really are missing the point. This isn’t a legal issue. You wanted a moral argument. That’s what I’m making. You tried to state that it was immoral to take what someone was offering for sale. I offered my post for $5 (offer still stands), but you read it without paying for it. According to you, that’s immoral. There’s no legal compunction for you to pay. Only a moral one.

There are no laws that say you have to do what is moral. If you want to be immoral, that’s up to you. If you want to break the law, then the government will get involved, but feel free to be as morally bankrupt or upstanding as you see fit. Morals are all that’s involved in this discussion and that’s how you wanted it to be.

You claim that it is immoral to consume without payment that which is offered for sale. You “consumed” my post that was offered for sale and you did so without payment. Therefore, you are immoral by your own standards. To get out of that conundrum, you can either pay me $5 to be back on your own moral high ground, or you can admit that you don’t find it immoral. If you don’t take either of those steps, you remain hypocritical and immoral by your own standards. So which is it? Is it immoral or not? Are you immoral or not? Simply answer the question. I did it for you above. Why do you find it so hard now?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

ok, if it’s only a moral issue, post a link to something you create and offer it for sale. If if I take it without paying you I’ve lost moral ground.

I read your post above in the same way I read all other posts here; since the owner has stated it is all free to disseminated as any one cares to.

If attempting to trick me is the only way you feel you can bring me down to your moral standard, then you haven’t done a very good job of it, have you?

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Here is a link. Or are you arguing that I have to have an effective way to enforce payment prior to you having the content?

If so, I counter with the ease of obtaining any copyrighted movie, show, book, video game, song, picture or other work. I can easily obtain Harry Potter (in book, movie, or video game form) from lots of places. Are you saying you shouldn’t have to pay because the seller hasn’t made it difficult enough to obtain it without payment?

Again, if that is what you are saying, then you are also saying there is nothing morally wrong with using an adblocker to obtain content that is on sites whose business model includes advertising.

Again, if that is what you are saying, then you are also saying that bypassing the New York Times paywall is morally OK.

I could go on. The point is, of the above two, only one is illegal. But for the sake of this thread, we put aside legality and are only looking at morality, and we did so by your request. I posted a link to something I created. I am offering it for sale. You didn’t pay for it, yet you read it. As for this statement of yours:

I read your post above in the same way I read all other posts here; since the owner has stated it is all free to disseminated as any one cares to.

It’s correct that I didn’t say anything in regards to the posts dissemination. You are free to copy it as you please. I only ask that you pay me for reading it. You read it. By your own claimed morals, you owe me for it.

Again I’ll state that you have no legal obligation to pay me, only your own moral obligation. Or you can admit that you don’t find it immoral to do so. You’ve already lost moral ground. The only way to get it back is to admit that you don’t find it immoral, or pay me $5.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t read your post all the way through the first time. I read the first line, chuckled and responded.

Like I say, if you can provide a moral dilemma for me that doesn’t involve tricking me, and I fail it, then I’ve lost the moral high ground.

In the meantime, as I don’t download copyrighted material without permission, and you, I gather, do, you’re going to have a very difficult time saying I’m on the same moral ground as you.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

Awesome.

So by your own admission, (“I didn’t read your post all the way through the first time”) you did read my post.

By your own admission (“I read the first line, chuckled and responded.”), you don’t actually know what you are responding to.

There was no trickery. You stated it was a “simple and moral concept” to pay for something offered for sale if you’re going to consume it. I stated in that post right up front that I was going to charge for reading it. There was no trickery involved. You failed it. You read it. You’ve lost the moral high ground. I have offered repeatedly how you may gain it back. Yet you don’t. I can only assume that you are either morally bankrupt by your own standards, or that your standards are not what you publicly state them to be.

In the meantime, while I have almost zero respect for copyright law as it stands, I still follow it as closely as I can. I have found that I’m a much bigger stickler for following copyright laws than anyone else I personally know. I’ve been in debates with friends and colleagues who make their living from copyright who violate it more often than I do, and who are regularly amazed at what copyright law really means (e.g., you can’t copy that sheet music for the choir). If I have infringed on a copyright, it was by pure mistake. Your accusation is as false as your own publicly claimed standards.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Tricking others is exactly how I see artists saying they are “selling” something and claiming after that they are really “renting” those things.

Or when you people say that IP is like real property and keep trying to compare it to real things and when the obviously retort comes back that if real property was anything like imaginary property we would have a absurd world, you people go back and claim that imaginary property is different.

All smoke and screens to hide the fact that imaginary property is a imaginary construct that can’t be enforced, that produces absurd results and doesn’t work that well when applied to the general population and try to shame people with misleading statements about morals that have no ground in reality but only in the fertile imagination of the speaker that try to create connections where there are none.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

Wow. You wanted a morality based argument. And I quote:

I think people simply expect that if they offer something for sale, that if people want it to consume it, they have to pay for it.

If they don’t want to consume it, walk away and don’t pay anything.

But don’t think you’re entitled to the benefits of having something that you didn’t pay for.

This is a simple and moral concept that I never see addressed here. I wonder why.

You didn’t pay me when I offered it for sale. This is a “simple and moral concept”. I offered it for sale, you enjoyed its benefits, yet you didn’t pay for it. I’d tell you how you already did, but you already know. By all means, try to publicly twist your way out of it by saying that since you have no legal obligation to pay that you don’t have to (and really, you don’t have any legal obligation to pay). But everyone here already knows where you stand. You stated that it was a “simple and moral concept”. So are you going to pay up to gain your moral high ground, or are you going to admit that you are immoral by your own standards?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

Notice how much verbiage you’re using to try and make your case?

Yes, I specified a moral argument and so did you want to keep it that way. I was explaining that to memyselfandI.

But you presented a false dilemma to me. Do you have a real one?

I already know that you can’t charge me for something you write here. So I haven’t lost any moral ground.

You know that material you take is copyrighted and is supposed to only be for sale. Yes, you know that.

See, I know you know the difference. And so does everyone else.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

It’s not your website. I don’t believe you have the power to copyright material on it in any way that would prohibit access to others or that would allow you to monetize the site to your own benefit.

Actually, this is a legal gray area, at least in the United States. If you write a post, you hold the copyright on the post. It is unclear what rights you have transferred to Techdirt by hitting the post button. If you tried to sue Techdirt for then making your post available to the entire world, you would have a case, but it’s unlikely that it would be worth your time. However, it’s unclear what they would find.

My best guess is that they would assert that this is a case of fair use. Who knows what the rationale would be. Fair use is broadly-enough defined that if a judge says something is fair use after considering the four factors, it is. The Betamax decision, for example, established that time-shifting is fair use, but the rationale seemed mostly to be a judgment call rather than a strict application of the four factors.

Most websites make an effort to reduce this uncertainty by posting a terms of use somewhere that establishes what the website expects the license on posts to be. Generally you grant the website some kind of perpetual non-exclusive license to republish your post in various formats. Whether or not (or to what extent) these terms of use are enforceable is a different story, but I can guarantee they would figure in any court case that were to come up.

Mike chooses not to reduce this uncertainty by publishing terms of use for your posts, so the uncertainty remains. While he can put whatever he creates into the public domain, I don’t think he has unilaterally done so for our posts. He could post a terms of use document that says that anything you create and post on the website is contributed to the public domain as a condition of posting, and this would reduce uncertainty further, but he hasn’t done that.

It would be interesting to see whether a court would find terms of use that gave everything a non-exclusive license more or less enforceable than terms of use that put everything into the public domain. Can a website operator make a reasonable argument that you should be required to allow work you post to be shown on their website? Sure. Exploited by them in certain ways? Probably. Given away to be exploited by other, unaffiliated people? Hmm…

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

Then you need to read up on copyright law. Techdirt allows the posting of comments. US copyright law says that your work is copyrighted “the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device”. There is no ToS here that tells me otherwise, so I own the copyright to all my posts (same as you do yours). Nor have I seen anywhere where Mike or Floor64 says we can’t monetize our content on techdirt.com. Then again, that wouldn’t be a copyright issue, that would be a ToS issue, which is complete separate and independent.

In either case, I’m not prohibiting access to my post. You are free to copy it as much as you want for all I care. I simply ask that you pay me to read it. You have no legal obligation to do so (as I’ve stated multiple times). You only have a moral obligation to do so if and only if your morals dictate that it is immoral to take without payment that which is offered for sale.

blaktron (profile) says:

No law should be a moral argument. Because morality isnt absolute. Even the law against murder isnt about morality, but about safety. You give up your ‘right’ to murder me, i give up my ‘right’ to murder you. Thats what’s known as balance in law. When people talk about balance in copyright, they are usually talking about something else entirely.

Mike usually has it right, in saying that a balanced copyright would balance the creator against society as a whole, not the creator against an infringing party.

Togashi (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I agree. Any time someone tries to argue with me that the death penalty exists for moral reasons, I look them in the eyes and say two words: “death penalty”. Though of course, the response to that is usually something along the lines of “Well that’s ok, because we should kill people who kill people because it’s wrong to kill people.”

Brett says:

Yet, somehow, I get the feeling that people will continue to toss out moral arguments. They can’t resist… and since they tend not to have the empirical data to support their position, it always gets reduced to irrelevant moral arguments.

Blame it on human nature. A tentative privilege for utilitarian purposes in the first generation becomes perceived as an entitlement by the second generation who grew up with it, and a right by the third generation.

Not to mention that people are really good with rationalizing their self-perceived self-interest with moral arguments. It’s who we are.

Anonymous Coward says:

This site has provided insightful commentary for a long time, but this is off the deep end. I write scientific research for a living. Those works are copyrighted. I deserve a reference if anyone uses my ideas and data, and I certainly deserve protection if someone tries to pass my ideas and data off as their own.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Are you going to start paying Isaac Newton for his contributions to society? How long will you continue to shirk your moral financial responsibilities to Bach’s estate? Why aren’t you still fulfilling your monetary obligations to Shakespeare?

If you are going to make a moral argument for intellectual property, please tell us how long this moral compunction should last. Why should it have an end? If you morally deserve protection, shouldn’t you morally always have that protection? Why should our moral obligations to George Romero fall by the wayside simply because the Walter Reade Organization screwed up? Who deserves more morality, Kutiman, or the people whose samples he made into a song? Why does Disney deserve protection for its transformation of Rudyard Kipling’s work, yet we give no protection to Rudyard Kipling for his untransformed work? And especially why does Disney deserve it when they explicitly waited for Jungle Book to lost those protections before making their movie?

There is no morality argument here. If the current length is correct, then shouldn’t we retroactively tell Disney they owe Rudyard Kiplings estate? Shouldn’t we put Night of the Living Dead back in George Romero’s hands?

Memyself says:

“So you don’t think that books will continue to be written without copy’right’? I find that absurd.”

That’s not what I said at all. I clearly stated that I do not find your word (as presented at that time) sufficiently compelling on it’s own, and asked you to expand.

I stopped reading your post after you made the above comment. I don’t appreciate others putting false words in my mouth.

Anonymous Coward says:

Of course there is. If everyone were allowed to harm anyone else as they please, it could create a lot of violence and that’s really bad for the public interest. Everyone would be far worse off. The logical reason for anti violence laws to exist is because we could all be far worse off without them. I would be much worse off and so would you.

This is not true at all. If I were allowed to kick you in the weenus for messing with my serenity, you’d be a lot less likely to do it in the first place. That would, as I pointed out, save the economy thousands of dollars. If you persisted anyway, I would be able to kick you in the weenus, which would restore my serenity much faster at only a small cost to you, unless it messed with your ability to reproduce. As I said, that’s also a good thing, because kids’ carbon footprints are huge.

If anti-violence laws did not exist, people would have to be a lot more polite to each other than they are now. It would be a massive improvement for all society. Fear of things like social shaming and getting kicked in the weenus would prevent people from offending each other much more broadly than a vague threat of a tort lawsuit that would never come to fruition.

If people were allowed to kick each other in the weenus as much as they pleased, the worst that could happen would be to (insert doomsday scenario here).

I believe that everyone would be much better off without weenus protection laws. This includes myself. However, if it is true that I would be better off without these laws, then that suggests that it’s true for most others. After all, I’m a member of society just like most others, why shouldn’t what’s good for me as a member be good for many and perhaps most other members as well? I’m explaining why I would be better off without these laws, and perhaps others would find that my reasoning for not wanting these laws also applies to them and so they would be better off. Laws exist to serve the public good, not to serve some special interests like people who get off on messing with other people’s serenity. If it’s true that weenus protection isn’t in my best interest for reasons xyz and if others read those reasons and determine that they apply to them as well, and if it’s true that the general public is worse off without these laws then with them, then we should abolish them.

Much of it also has to do with what we value. I value my right to serenity more than I value the reduction of weenus safety, if any, that would be lost as a result of these laws being abolished. Different people value different things. I’m expressing my values and perhaps others would agree with my values as well after reading them. If it’s true that others agree with me, then perhaps everyone would be better off without these laws being that what we collectively gain from their abolition is more valuable to us than what we lose.

You’re arguing that some serenity-fuckers might be better off with these laws. Irrelevant. People who dig holes and fill them back up for no reason would be better off if the government subsidized them. People who punch themselves in the weenus would be better off if the government stopped them. The laws shouldn’t promote a specific class of offenders and it shouldn’t direct more people to join that class of offenders, it should promote what’s in everyone’s best interest.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“That would, as I pointed out, save the economy thousands of dollars.”

Thousands of dollars is pocket change. Even if it is the case that preventing you from harming others will cost the economy thousands of dollars, you’re just an outlier. We’ll simply put you in jail if necessary. Sure, jails cost money, but it’s worth putting you in jail.

In the case that the government requires me to make sure that piece of content I come by doesn’t infringe, I’m no outlier. The social costs are much greater.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Thousands of dollars is pocket change. Even if it is the case that preventing you from harming others will cost the economy thousands of dollars, you’re just an outlier. We’ll simply put you in jail if necessary. Sure, jails cost money, but it’s worth putting you in jail.

If thousands of dollars are just pocket change, why don’t you send me a few grand?

You’re now just making things up. You’re just making an inane moral argument. The economics of the situation are clear: it is FAR better for society as a whole if I am allowed to kick you in the weenus. Sure, it might be a small cost for you in the short term, but there are massive benefits for everyone else that far outweigh any tiny impingement on your life that might occur. The thousands of dollars in direct savings are just the tip of the iceberg: think of the savings in police, lawyers, jails, etc.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“If thousands of dollars are just pocket change, why don’t you send me a few grand? “

It’s pocket change for society to pay it to keep you from harming others when compared to the costs of allowing you to freely harm others. Allowing you to freely harm others could cost the economy more.

So are you arguing that everyone is better off without anti-violence laws than with them?

Anti-violence laws exist because everyone is better off with them than without. Unless you’re saying that we’re worse off without them, their existence is justified. If Copy’right’ is to exist, it also needs justification. Just like with anti-violence laws, copyright shouldn’t be allowed to exist without justification. I’m pointing out some of the costs as a way to show that it’s existence isn’t all that justified.

I’m arguing that everyone, including myself, is better off without copy’right’ laws and I’m giving reasons why I think so. You haven’t refuted any of them. If everyone is worse off without copy’right’ than with it, then its existence isn’t justified. Why should copy’right’ be held up to a lower standard than anti-violence laws? Why should anti-violence laws require justification to exist but not copy’right’ laws?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

So are you arguing that everyone is better off without anti-violence laws than with them?

Absolutely. Anti-violence laws have made society soft and unable to resolve personal differences in an efficient and brutal manner. Even in the unlikely event that some anti-violence laws are a net positive for society, society would certainly be better off without a law that prevents me from kicking you, specifically, in the weenus.

Anti-violence laws exist because everyone is better off with them than without.

Prove it. You can’t, because it’s not true.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Most people value the lack of violence more than they value its allowance. We value the lack of violence more than the social and monetary cost of enforcing the laws that reduce such violence. We get more of what we value with these laws than without them. We are better off with them than without.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Most people value the lack of violence more than they value its allowance. We value the lack of violence more than the social and monetary cost of enforcing the laws that reduce such violence. We get more of what we value with these laws than without them. We are better off with them than without.

You’re just making this up. You have no data to back this up. You have lived with “anti-“violence laws all your life, and so you think this must be the norm and that they are actually preventing violence. But they are not. How much violence do you see on the news? Tons. That is largely due to anti-violence laws having the opposite effect. Small-scale psychological violence (like you are perpetrating against my serenity) goes unpunished because it cannot be enforced by the state. You, and people like you, become emboldened by this, and then it escalates out of control.

Here is a book that totally disproves your claims. Since your claims are now totally disproven, I assume you will drop your support of “anti-“violence laws.

How many arrests for violent behavior have you read about from caveman times before these laws existed? How many cavemen do you know that were thrown in jail for homicide? They didn’t even NEED jails. People settled issues like human beings. You are making up data to justify your campaign of emotional and psychological violence, which are protected because of your corrupt weenus-protection lobby.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Actually, I’m mostly against gun laws. and to the extent that anti violence laws cause unjustified violence (ie: not the violence used by the government to stop murder and enforce good laws) then they should be removed.

But you yourself suggested that you won’t kick me because I’ll hide behind the laws, so doesn’t that suggest that the laws are working?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

But you yourself suggested that you won’t kick me because I’ll hide behind the laws, so doesn’t that suggest that the laws are working?

So what you’re saying is that laws work when enforced, and therefore we can reduce copyright infringement through much more stringent enforcement? Ah, I see now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

My point is that anti-violence laws work to serve a public good. Copy’right’ laws work to serve a public disservice and so they should be abolished. See the difference.

But MY point is that copyright laws work to serve a public good. “Anti-“violence laws work to serve a public disservice and so they should be abolished. Since I have the exact same argumentation you do, plus equal or more data than you to back up my argument, why should anybody listen to you and not me?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

“But MY point is that copyright laws work to serve a public good. “

Not if the public values their right to copy more than they value allowing others to restrict them from copying.

“But MY point is that copyright laws work to serve a public good. Since I have … equal or more data than you to back up my argument”

IP proponents always argue that everyone copies everything, that’s data that suggests that people don’t value the privilege of others to prevent them from copying so much and that they do value their right to copy. 95+ year copyprotection lengths are hardly intended to serve the public good which suggests that these copy’right’ laws really aren’t intended to serve the public good and if they’re not intended to serve the public good, that suggests they don’t. What data have you provided to support your argument that we are better off with these laws than without.

“why should anybody listen to you and not me?”

They should listen to both of us and decide what the laws should be partly based on what they personally value.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

Not if the public values their right to copy more than they value allowing others to restrict them from copying

So if the majority of the public values the cheap labor of a minority race more than they value universal equality, they should be allowed to enact slavery laws?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

Slavery is forced labor, you’re forcing someone to do something against their will. Copy’right’ abolition doesn’t force anyone to freely produce anything, people can still refuse and find other jobs.

and, no, they shouldn’t be allowed to enact slavery laws, but a public that values their right to copy as they please isn’t the same thing as a public that values their privilege to enslave others. Just because slavery maybe immoral doesn’t make copy’right’ infringement immoral.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I value my legal ability to copy as I please more than I value whatever content I may lose as a result of copy’right’ abolition. My value isn’t unreasonable, especially when compared to your values in favor of allowing violence. I’m expressing my values and their reasons to others, perhaps so that they can evaluate these values and clearly define what they value as well. If most others determine that they value their legal ability to copy more than they value an artists ability to restrict us from copying and more than they value whatever lost content that may result, then society is better off without copy’right’ than with it since we get more of what we value without it than with it. Does that make sense?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I value my legal ability to kick people in the weenus as I please more than I value whatever security I may lose as a result of “anti-“violence laws. My value isn’t unreasonable, especially when compared to your values in favor of allowing copyright infringement. I’m expressing my values and their reasons to others, perhaps so that they can evaluate these values and clearly define what they value as well. If most others determine that they value their legal ability to kick people in the weenus more than they value your ability to mess with my serenity and more than they value whatever lost security that may result, then society is better off without “anti-“violence laws than with it since we get more of what we value without it than with it. Does that make sense?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“That would, as I pointed out, save the economy thousands of dollars. “

Besides, none of what you’re saying is true and you know it. I said nothing offensive and so you are really unlikely to be offended enough by any of it to harm me. and even if you would had it been legal, I highly doubt that it’s illegality has caused you to stop working and hence cost the economy thousands of dollars. The difference is that what you’re saying isn’t true and you know it. You’re arguing for something that you believe to be false yourself. The economy hasn’t been harmed thousands of dollars because you’re not allowed to kick me. You’re still working. and even if what you’re saying is true, you’re an outlier. We’ll place you in jail.

I’m arguing for what I believe to be true and am giving reasonable explanation for my arguments. You haven’t addressed any of them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You’re still working. and even if what you’re saying is true, you’re an outlier. We’ll place you in jail.

I’m not working right now, instead I am doing all that I legally can to reclaim my serenity. It’s not helping much, because what would really help is the ability to kick you in the weenus. But since I am hamstrung by terrible laws put in place decades before my birth by the powerful and corrupt weenus-protection lobby, I do what I can.

You are the outlier. You and your small group of people that get off at going all over the place and fucking with people’s serenity with impunity are the problem. You want special protection for your weeni so you can continue your campaign of terror. Jails are a weak-minded society’s solution to solving personal problems, so of course you would advocate it. Everyone would be better off if I could just kick you in the weenus and be done with it.

You are blinded by your devotion to your anti-serenity group, and have failed to make any cogent response to my perfectly logical arguments.

Togashi (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You’re making a couple assumptions here that I take issue with.

1.) People are rational. If someone had the legal right to physically harm me for any reason at all, I would treat people no differently than I do now. I would, however, be eternally on my guard for people having a bad day and looking to take it out on someone, people who overreact to minor offenses, and whack jobs who just like hurting people.

2.) People have similar resources and capabilities. If the law were changed as you say, I would be a lot more careful around people physically stronger than me, and they would have a lot less reason to care. Under your hypothetical scenario, if I insulted Arnold Schwarzenegger I would most likely not be having kids. But what incentive would I have not to insult the little old lady down the street, ignoring any moral compunctions I might have?

3.) The abolition of anti-violence laws would save money. Let’s see how the economy does when we get rid of laws keeping people civil and the next day half the workforce doesn’t show up to work and the hospital systems are overwhelmed with thousand upon thousands of grievous injuries resulting from physical altercations sparked off by a silly insult.

Your argument is similar to one where instead of seat belts we should have sharp metal spikes mounted on the steering column of every vehicle. Sure, in an ideal world it might make people drive more carefully and cut down on the amount of enforcement needed, but do you honestly believe that’s going to happen?

Gotcha (profile) says:

Mike again liar, liar, pants on fire and marginalized.

It’s my right to copy as I please.

Not in the USA, it isn’t!!
Here, it is your right to get your ass sued and pay lots of damages and perhaps get criminally punished if you copy as you please and a copyright owner or US Attorney decides your mistaken belief and resultant copying is significant enough to make it worth pursuing you. Since 1790 the Constitution has authorized Congress to enact laws granting exclusive rights to authors (and inventors) for limited times to “promote progess” of “the useful arts and sciences”. Congress has done so. Therefore it is NOT your right to copy as you please.

Until Tech Dirt intellectually bankrupt copyright thief posters get the requisite number of States to pass a constitutional amendment outlawing copyright (you are SOL on that one)or get Congress to repeal the Copyright Law (then states could just enact their own, and surely would, particularly where studios and publishers are.) your statement is a damn lie, and you know why.

So you dolts are pissing in the wind and it is humorous to see over a hundred posts following Masnick misinformation and also peeing on themselves in this manner.

Mike quotes Sanchez’s erroneous statement:
The only–the only–relevant question is whether a marginal restriction on the general ability to use information incentivizes enough additional information production over the long run to justify denying that marginal use to every other human being on the planet, whether for simple consumption or further creation.
and then in dittohead style sycophant language says: “Exactly right.”

Actually, exactly wrong, and you know it Mike. Caught you lieing again. You know very well that copyright rarely denies marginal use, it denies non-marginal use. Marginal use is generally not worth pursuing so copyright owners tend to let it go. Non-marginal use, on the other hand tends to catch the attention of copyright owners and get stopped, if done in a jurisdiction like the US where copyrights are widely respected.

Liar, liar, pants on fire, Mike. But then you are insignificant and marginal, so only worth a rare occasional verbal slap.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Mike again liar, liar, pants on fire and marginalized.

You are mistaken, not only people can do it, they do it with impunity all the time in the USA in special, further there is no way laws would forbid other from creating and releasing their own creations under permissive licenses creating legal alternatives to the copycrap that we have today, which means you have no choice but to accept what society decides not what the law says.

If society decides they are better off looking at the licenses and choosing the free ones you and your copycrap are screwed.

Can you change the laws to prohibit those licenses?
That would be the day.

Nick Coghlan (profile) says:

Re:

Paid any money to Isaac Newton’s estate lately? How about Albert Einstein’s?

I guess we can count ourselves fortunate that not everyone thinks the way you do.

Still, you’re missing the point that Mike has said many, many times that he agrees with you: if a copyright holder chooses not to make their works available the way you want to consume them, then the correct legal choice under the current system is to walk away.

The reason many people don’t walk away, and go for an illegal copy instead, is that they figure they’re using their own resources (power, bandwidth, time) to create a new copy, rather than taking anything from anyone. Is someone taking a photo of the Eiffel Tower stealing it? Enjoying benefits they aren’t entitled to? That’s the kind of point of view you’re railing against here.

And that brings us to another point Mike regularly brings up: it doesn’t have to be this way. Many artists have shown that you can give fans what they want (convenient access to your work) and still make a decent living. Probably not the obscene mega-profits of the winners of the current hit-based lottery systems, but certainly enough to sustain a comfortable middle-class lifestyle for the artist and their family.

One way adds a lot of net misery to the human condition (artists stressing about people “stealing” their work, fans struggling to get their hands on the products of their favourite artists, law enforcement barging in on adolescents and grandmothers). The other way… doesn’t. We can do better. We should do better.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

The problem with morals is they are fluid, based on religion, culture, upbringing and many other factors.

I too have absolutely no moral compunction with copying something that is on sale elsewhere. Also, I honestly don’t care if you morally object to my morals.

This is the very problem with the moral argument – it’s meaningless unless your personal morals coincide with the moral argument, which makes it self defeating because you will of course agree with your own morals.

This is why you, and your paytard elk will always fail.

Pathetic. Troll harder.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I see language from Thomas Jefferson about ‘ideas’; iow, he probably had issues with what we now know as patent law.

I see nothing about the “founding fathers” saying people have a “right to copy”; taking an artistic work that is for sale without paying for it.

The fact that you guys have to stretch and spin this hard says everything.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

hey pal, I’ve trolled plenty hard enough today.

The whole idea was to get people to verbalize the depth of their moral depravity, and everybody came through with flying colors.

Having people voluntarily offer up numerous examples of why they are sociopaths and bloodsuckers was the plan all along.

Now go feed your content addiction, little boy.

Richard (profile) says:

Re:

While I think that your stance is immoral, at least you are man enough to say exactly what your beliefs are.

Your stance does not coincide with the morality of the Christian religion on which western civilisation was built

If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Luke ch 6.

If that verse is true even for physical goods how much more is it true when the “taking” costs you nothing?

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

Mike again liar, liar, pants on fire and marginalized.

Did you actually use the words “liar, liar, pants on fire” without attribution? It certainly looks that way to me. Doubtless you also did not obtain permission. In the interest of completeness, those words are part of the lyrics from a song created and performed by the Castaways and recorded in 1965. Those lyrics were in turn paraphrased from a poem by Blake. I believe they are copyrighted, and yet you chose to use them in your post without attribution or permission. I believe that makes you, sir, a hypocrite, and thus negates any and all validity to your point of view. You would be prudent to consult an attorney before the subpoena arrives at your doorstep.

harbingerofdoom (profile) says:

Re:

nice dodge.
not even close to what the article was talking about… but kudos for the attempt and oh by the way, your post pretty much just proved one of the points of the article.

as to your post itself:
you can think all you want that if someone creates something and offers it for sale that it must be paid for.
but dont think the world owes you a living just because you created something.

your last sentence can only mean one of three things
1. you dont actually read everything here
2. you are stupid
3. you are intentionally being misleading
your moral crusade is addressed here all the time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

One word: Scarcity.

The underlying principal of all economics is that for every satisfied want, there is an opportunity cost- Another want which cannot be satisfied due to limitations on resources. Price is a measure of scarcity; one must sacrifice more to obtain an expensive good than a cheaper good.

Unlike a house, car, or piece of furniture, an item of “Intellectual Property”, one created and available for distribution at no extra cost to the producer, is no longer scarce, as there is nothing that must be sacrificed to obtain the good. Because no scarcity exists, and price is a measure of scarcity, such goods should be available without cost.

blaktron (profile) says:

Re:

Can I double vote insightful for this? This is the absolute core of the entire debate. Capitalism ALWAYS rewards the person who takes everything they want and need at the absolute lowest cost. In fact the entire thrust of our technological march forward is to make EVERYTHING cost less, towards zero. This has been the result of millions of job losses and the export of the entire manufacturing industry overseas. So if its OK for the legal fictions that own these copyrights to do this, why is it wrong for me to do this? All I’m doing when I copy a file ‘illegally’ is maximizing my profits and minimizing my costs.

Cipher-0 says:

Why should I get a broadcast license?

I know the answer from the “freetards” (You shouldn’t) so I’d like to hear from the “IP-tards”.

Let’s say I want to set up a local radio station. I’ve gotten an FCC license (or run a low-power station the doesn’t require it), taken my purchased CD collection, burned them all to a SAN and broadcast 24x7x365. I’ve even managed to find local advertisers who want to buy blocks of time and add in my own commentary occasionally.

Why should this radio station have to pay for an additional broadcast license? The music played is legitimately purchased. There’s no demonstrable harm to the music producers, the artist or anyone else in the production chain.

Of course, people listening can record the songs from the radio, but they’re able to do that regardless of the licensing.

Where is the harm to anyone beyond the producer’s insistence they deserve extra money for what’s (essentially, if not practically) free advertising for their artists?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Hate to repeat myself, but there’s a simple answer that applies to all goods, not just copyrighted goods…

One word: Scarcity.

The underlying principal of all economics is that for every satisfied want, there is an opportunity cost- Another want which cannot be satisfied due to limitations on resources. Price is a measure of scarcity; one must sacrifice more to obtain an expensive good than a cheaper good.

Unlike a house, car, or piece of furniture, an item of “Intellectual Property”, one created and available for distribution at no extra cost to the producer, is no longer scarce, as there is nothing that must be sacrificed to obtain the good. Because no scarcity exists, and price is a measure of scarcity, such goods should be available without cost.

aiming4thevoid (profile) says:

Re:

I usually hate analogies but maybe this will help:

If you put your couch up for sale, and I want to buy it, AND we agree on the value of it, you get paid I get the couch.

If I want to consume your ideas because I value them, I buy you a beer and become your friend. Then I have access to all your ideas for free. (yes, it reductive and cynical, but it will serve for the purpose)

Added value only exist in the second case as the collision of our ideas can and usually ends up creating something that is greater that the some of its parts. This is what copyright keeps from happening and why its limitations can only be ‘balanced’ against the loss for society has a whole.

Now if you want to sell your ideas, you have to prove first that they are worth buying… like everyone else. You don’t deserve to get paid just cause you decided your ideas are worth something.

Ken (profile) says:

Re:

It is interesting how some argue that we have copyrights because artists DESERVE to be paid for their work. That is nonsense. Is copyright some kind of entitlement program for artists?

No one in a business venture deserves anything. They must work to build a market for their creations. A market has two components supply and demand. Demand also has two components and that is how many people want the product and at what price they are willing to pay. For example if there is a high demand for your product but your price is very high then even though there is a high demand the actual market will be very low because only a few will be willing to pay that price.

The Internet has created a dilemma in normal market forces of supply and demand. Normally in a real market when something is scarce it adds value to it especially when there is a large demand however the internet has made supply equal to demand, there will always be a download for every person that wants it. There is no scarcity which is always going to lower prices and will even tend to zero if that is where the market sets it.

Copyrighters decry piracy but piracy is in fact a market unto itself. This market is actually separate from the copyrighter’s market. Copyrighters claim they are losing billions to unauthorized copying but are they really? I would suggest no, because their market and the pirate market, for the most part, are separate and have very little overlap. People who buy or take bootlegs will not buy the legitimate item even if the bootleg was not available. On the flip side those that are willing to pay the asking price for the product are not the ones buying bootlegs. So even if the movie or music or software or what ever industry was to completely stomp out all illegal forms of distribution they will not see a significant increase in their revenues because the market for the bootleg items was never theirs and never will be.

Karl (profile) says:

Re:

But don’t think you’re entitled to the benefits of having something that you didn’t pay for.

This is a simple and moral concept that I never see addressed here. I wonder why.

Funny you claim this, because it was addressed, point blank, in the article:

We are all the massive beneficiaries of millennia of accumulated human scientific knowledge and cultural output, and not one of us did anything do deserve a jot of it. We’re all just extremely lucky not to have been born cavemen. The greatest creative genius alive would be hard pressed to create a smiley faced smeared in dung on a tree trunk without that huge and completely undeserved inheritance.

Karl (profile) says:

Re:

one that was written to protect someone else’s personal rights.

Except, of course, this is not why copyright was written. It was written “to promote the progress,” not to “protect the rights” of anyone.

Those rights were granted to authors by the public, and it is primarily for the public benefit that those laws exist.

The moment it does not benefit the public first and foremost, is the moment the laws need to be re-written.

Karl (profile) says:

Re:

I already know that you can’t charge me for something you write here.

By your own admission, we’re discussing morality. So when you say he “can’t charge you” for something he writes, either a) you believe it’s immoral for him to charge for consuming his content, on his terms, or b) that your actions are not immoral solely because they are within the bounds of the law.

If you believe a), then you’re morally wrong by your own standards. If you believe b), then you believe that morality is dependent upon legality.

So, there would be nothing immoral about repealing copyright in its entirety? That’s the only way you could possibly be consistent here.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is all ridiculous. Fuck the artists. Period. I don’t care whether they make six hundred billion or sixty bucks next year. Fuck them. If they want to make money, they should do more than entertain people. Let them go dig a ditch. Maybe we’ll have better quality music because it will come from someone with life experience instead of someone with gold bars under their pillows.

FUCK THE ARTISTS. STEAL EVERYTHING THEY HAVE. I’m not talking about infringement. I’m talking about going into their house and actually taking things of value. Lets show them what it means to have someone actually steal from them. Infringement won’t mean so much then.

Karl (profile) says:

Re:

I deserve a reference if anyone uses my ideas and data

You’re out of luck, then, because copyright covers neither ideas nor empirical data.

I certainly deserve protection if someone tries to pass my ideas and data off as their own.

Since plagiarism is not against the law, unless it is also copyright infringement, then again you’re out of luck.

For example, I could say that e=mc2 is my own idea, and there would be absolutely nothing illegal about it. Of course, that wouldn’t stop my peers and professors from booting me out of the scientific community.

Trails (user link) says:

Re:

Because it’s outside of the scope of copyright.

As well, your strawman is ridiculously oversimplified, and glosses over the issues. Typically many people pirate because they want consume something in a fashion other than it is offered.

Consider movies. I don’t want to shell out $20 bucks a ticket, find a sitter, schlepp to and from the theater, line up for an hour to get decent seats, get gouged at the concession stand, and sit in a smelly, poorly maintained theater with some idiot who brought their crying baby, while some other asshole tries to take pictures of the screen with their flash on (I’ve had this happen, took the theater an hour to do anything about it) in order to see a movie, when I can watch it in my home.

Consider the success of netflix despite widespread availability of exactly the same material over bittorrent.

The arrogance of trying to control how people consume what you sell is the fallacy. Further, with anything digital which can be downloaded, it’s downright stupid.

Jay Blanc says:

(Comment system ate my previous comment)

Okay then.

Without copyright, art would be the reserve of the rich who could pay the living costs of the creators. As it was *before* we had copyright, where you either had a patron who would take direct ownership of anything you produced. Art was something you kept locked away in your private home, or held a subscription to the local opera or ballet. The masses were limited to the basic wandering minstrels who provided only the limited entertainment for what they could earn in tips.

The roadmap you indicate leads either to artists having to give away everything for free and only having rich people be able to be artists, or rich people patronising the arts and much much more limited access to them. Want to see a multi-million dollar movie, better have your own cinema and pay a share of the production costs up-front.

Or if you want a middle road with people able to make a living from art, and still have widespread distribution of art at affordable prices… You need copyright. And yes, sometimes artists give away stuff for free, but they don’t give away the copyright on it, and they mainly do it to advertise ‘premium’ stuff they get money or by putting ads on it. Copyright ensures it’s the *artist* who gets to chose what business plan they will follow to sell their works. Removing copyright chokes the Artist into either finding a rich patron, scraping a living off tips for performance, or giving it away for free without any other recourse. And you can forget “Advertising based Income” without copyright. What’s to stop a TV channel just showing your TV program with their own adverts, and not paying a dime for it.

Is Floor64 going to stand by the published remarks on Techdirt, and let someone start up a website, copy Techdirt’s content, replace all the advertising with their own, and profit of their back?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

If the founding fathers believed that copy’right’ is a natural right, why is their purpose of existence to promote the progress? The logical conclusion is that they believed that its purpose is to promote the progress, not to fulfill some natural right that you think you have, because they believed that you have no such natural rights.

Karl (profile) says:

Re:

I believe that everyone would be much better off without weenus protection laws.

I know you’re just joking, but actually that does open up a whole can of worms.

What forms of violence (if any) should be allowed in society? For instance, if a white guy calls a black guy the n-word, and the black guy punches the white guy in the mouth, is that justified? Should it be legal? If not, should his assault charges be reduced?

What are the appropriate jail times for assault charges? Should we punish certain forms of assault (e.g. hate crimes) as harshly as we punish murder?

I’m not saying that you or I should actually answer these questions. I’m just pointing out that, even in a “simple” scenario like this, the debate is not at all clear.

It does, however, have a simple justification. Whatever those laws are, they must be written to maximize the public good. Assuming violence should be reduced overall we need to tailor those laws towards that specific goal. This is something pretty much everyone agrees with, or else the life of man would be “nasty, brutish, and short” (to quote Hobbes… without payment, by the way).

Bringing subjective morality into it (e.g. “weenis-punching should get the death penalty because weeners are better than beavers”) only serves to derail the conversation.

So it is with copyright law… or at least, that’s what the Founding Fathers intended. Copyright exists to maximize the public good, and for no other reason. The problem is, due to propaganda and lobbying by corporate rights holders, this purpose has been all but obliterated. Nearly everyone things of copyright in terms of “artists’ rights,” and not in terms of “public good.”

One of the guys at the FSF (I forget who) told me a story about a meeting with one of Massachusetts’ noble public servants (I believe it was Barney Frank). He asked, “How does this new law serve the public good?” Frank responded, “What does the public have to do with copyright?”

So, the article is completely correct. Asking whether “artists deserve to get paid” is asking the wrong question. The right question is asking whether the law benefits the public.

The moment you stop asking that question is the moment you start making terrible laws. Copyright law, at least as it stands now, is a terrible set of laws. And by leaving the public good out of the conversation altogether, the laws are only going to get worse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

(and if the founding fathers believed such a natural right exists, why did the founding fathers not require it to be granted. Instead, they only give congress permission to grant it to promote the progress, they do not require congress to grant it. Perhaps they make no such requirement because they believe that no such requirement should exist. It makes sense that they believe that no such requirement should exist because they do not believe copy’right’ is a natural right.

The context of patents and copy’right’ were often discussed together and they were written together. The same general attitude about ideas that apply patents can reasonably apply to their concept of copy’right’ as well. Heck, Jefferson didn’t even really believe anyone had a natural right to his house or land.

“It is agreed by those who have seriously considered the subject, that no individual has, of natural right, a separate property in an acre of land, for instance.”

How much more do you think that applies to ideas and books (read what he wrote). No one is entitled to a monopoly on anything and its everyone’s natural right to copy as they please. These laws exist for one reason and one reason alone, to promote the progress, not to enforce a right that artists don’t have.

“By an universal law, indeed, whatever, whether fixed or movable, belongs to all men equally and in common”

It’s everyone’s natural right to copy whatever they please as they please. The founding fathers believed this. Just like its everyone’s natural right to use any piece of land that as they please, the same thing applies to ideas and expressions, even moreso. That’s why the constitution allows their existence only for the purpose of promoting the progress, not for the purpose of protecting some ‘right’ that artists allegedly have. They believed no such right existed. Provide me quotes that suggest otherwise.