American-Statesman: Suspect Position, Bad Example, Another Bad Example, Debunked Statistics, Contradiction

from the so-much-silly dept

Most of the time the articles we take issue with at Techdirt have something in them we disagree with or find silly.  And by something, I mean to indicate that there’s a singular wrong in there that we point out.  Or, at most, a couple of wrongs.  But sometimes you encounter a piece written for a supposedly reputable publication that seems so much as though it was written to be completely wrong, that I start to wonder if LulzSec has begun infiltrating the mainstream press.  Take this American-Statesman article by Gary Dinges piece by piece for an example of what I’m talking about:

"Months and months of hard work available for illegal downloading free of charge in a matter of minutes.  That’s the difficulty facing authors, filmmakers and musicians across the nation, costing them untold sums of money each year."

Well, gee, Gary, that sounds positively terrifying.  It must be hard on these creators who are clearly in horrific dire straits.  Care to share an example?

"It has become rampant," said Sandra Brown, a Dallas-area author with 60 New York Times bestsellers. "I have an assistant — a real Internet guru — who spends the bulk of her time monitoring the Web."

Ah, got it….wait, what?!!?  I just want to make sure I understand this completely.  You’re offering up a well-known author who is routinely on the best sellers list?  In order to demonstrate the struggle of authors with regards to internet piracy?  Maybe next you’d like to do a piece on the political glass ceiling of minorities in America and use Barack Obama as your prime example?

And here’s another question: How bad has internet piracy made things for you when you have the resources to pay an assistant, a real internet guru no less, (whatever her salary is) to spend the majority of her time "monitoring the Web"?  And what the hell does that even mean?  And why are you doing it?  I for one totally envy that internet "guru" getting a fat check to play Bejewelled all week then turn in a report saying "yup, the internet still exists".

Okay…vitriol aside, how can this possibly make sense economically?  If we were able to get some concrete answer as to which ended up costing Sandra more (real, not potential) money overall, the evil and vengeful internet or the salary of her faithful assistant for "monitoring" it, which do you think it’d be?

But back to Dinges’ article.  He then offers us Dano Johnson, an animator who we learn has had his own battles with internet piracy.  Apparently he animated a movie that ended up on YouTube and was viewed five thousand times or so before a DMCA takedown was issued.  Dano’s response?

"’I feel like I got robbed 5,000 times,’ he said."

Well golly gee willickers, friend, sometimes I feel like a character from a Mel Brooks spoof movie, but feelings don’t really mean a whole lot here, do they?  The fact of the matter is that you weren’t robbed five thousand times.  I wonder how many of those folks who viewed the YouTube video would have done so if it weren’t there to see for free to begin with?  I wonder how many of them came across it for the first time when someone shared a link?  I wonder if YouTube felt "robbed" for five thousand instances of promoting you at no cost?  Did you pay YouTube for any of that?  Book yourself, Dano (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Now, after the article then goes on to quote all the billions and trillions of sweet American dollars that are being directly removed from the economy, ostensibly never to be seen again, we get back to the best line of the piece with one final quote from Dano Johnson on what effect piracy has had on his willingness to create his art:

"Piracy isn’t going to make me want to stop making films."


p align=”left”>Oh, sweet internet Gods, thank you for this.  Piracy, while perhaps annoying, doesn’t stop creation.  And if you acknowledge that copyright is supposed to be an incentive to create, we arrive at the inevitable conclusion that nuclear options like ProtectIP, which is what this article was actually all about even though they didn’t name the increasingly controversial bill by name, are not the answer.

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Comments on “American-Statesman: Suspect Position, Bad Example, Another Bad Example, Debunked Statistics, Contradiction”

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John Doe says:

Re: Copyright infringement isn't piracy . . .

Still illegal, just not theft or piracy.

Yes, and nobody here is saying piracy/copyright infringement is ok. What they are saying is it is here to stay so find a way to use it to your advantage. And why is it here to stay? Because of the laws of economics. So adapt or die is really the only two options.

Dave says:

Re: Re: Copyright infringement isn't piracy . . .

I’ll say it: piracy/copyright infringement is ok. Copyright and patent law create harmful rent-seeking behaviors that stiffle creativity and innovation. It grants a feeling of self-entitlement to the owners of this imaginary property such that in this case even someone one watching his movie without somehow adding a dime to his pocket makes him feel robbed. Wow.

So yeah. Infringe away. There’s no good to be found in copyright law today.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Copyright infringement isn't piracy . . .

Actually, I say that copyright infringement is perfectly fine. Even among Techdirt, I realize this is not the mainstream view. This is a personal view only, and should not reflect on the rest of the community unless individuals agree.

Except in exceptional circumstances, copyright infringement causes no harm, and frequently has benefits to both the infringed and the infringer alike. On the other side, enforcing these draconian laws provably causes harm to individuals, innovative new companies, and society as a whole.

I’ve always been of the opinion that breaking unjust laws is not only acceptable, but should be encouraged. Copyright laws as they are currently on the books seem to me a textbook case of an unjust law, and therefore the law should be scorned, and if our elected representatives will not repeal them, it is not only acceptable to break them, it is our duty to do so.

dwg says:

Re: Re: Copyright infringement isn't piracy . . .

Sorry to move us out of the centrist center, but yea, I think copyright infringement is fine, too. See, though, here’s why: I think “copyright infringement” has become a catch-all for “any use of material that could possibly make a dime somewhere for its purported owner.” Once that happened, anyone who hews to that gives up all rights, as far as I’m concerned. You abuse the right to drive by driving drunk? You lose your license. You abuse the limited rights afforded by copyright? I’m taking all your shit. Lo siento, maximalists.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Piracy isn’t going to make me want to stop making films.”
“Oh, sweet internet Gods, thank you for this. Piracy, while perhaps annoying, doesn’t stop creation.”

Except that he would (albeit wrongly) disagree DH.
He said it wouldn’t make him stop wanting to make films.
In his view of the world, it could stop him getting the funding to make films. We know this to be untrue, but heck, we haven’t been robbed 5,000 times, without knowing it until we checked later and without actually losing anything at all.
In fact it reminds me a little of a gag,
I believe it was by Steven Wright although I may be paraphrasing a bit, he undoubtedly phrased it perfectly,

“I woke up this morning and I realized that somebody had stolen everything in the apartment and replaced them with exact replicas.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

There are real benefits from consumption of heroin too. It gives you a purpose in life, it keeps you focused, etc. More importantly, you are contributing greatly to the enrichment of others, as you do whatever you have to in order to get enough money for your next fix. It pays for a whole network of people in sales, distribution,transport, and the like.

If you look at almost any system, you can “find the good”. The question will always “is the good really worth it”? In the case of piracy, the answer is pretty much no.

Planespotter (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

and if Heroin and most drugs where legal like cigarettes and alcohol all that lovely enrichment of others could be regulated and taxed… but that’s another story.

As for the comment “In the case of piracy, the answer is pretty much no.” I’d have to ask you to prove it is no. Lots of people have embraced piracy as a form of non paid for advertising and seem to be doing quite well.

Chris-Mouse (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

If you look at almost any system, you can “find the good”. The question will always “is the good really worth it”? In the case of piracy, the answer is pretty much no.

This may, or may not be true. It’s also pretty much irrelevent. In the 13 years since the DMCA passed, the recording industry has tryed sueing P2P software companies, sueing internet downloaders, DRM, and “education” campaigns. The one thing that all the attempts at stopping internet copyright infringement have in common is that they have all failed.
It’s more than past time for the recording industry to recognise that they can’t win that particular battle, and they need a new approach if they are going to stay in business.

Dave (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

There are real benefits from consumption of heroin too.

Piracy vs drug abuse. heh.

I know what you mean. Last week I downloaded the complete Harry Potter series so I can watch them all before the last one comes out. I downloaded them all at once. It nearly killed me. It’s ruined my health and my life. My friends and family don’t even know me anymore. All I care about is getting my next Harry Potter fix. Help me. Please help me!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“If everything was dumbed down to the lowest possible level, then we might as well be on Fox News.”

Never said everything has to be dubbed down, I’m just trying to offer a little constructive criticism here. The title should be readable and it should give the reader an understanding of the body. See my improved title below.

Again, I mean no offense, this is just constructive criticism for future reference.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

The problem is not wih DH’s title, it is clear and concise. The problem is your difficulty in comprehending a sentence that contains a colon.

As you pointed out, a title should be readible. A title should aslo be concise. DH’s title is 12 words. Your “improved title” is 18 words. I agree with the other AC’s comment about dumbing down.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“The problem is your difficulty in comprehending a sentence that contains a colon.”

If the colon were used properly then there would be no problems.

American-Statesman: Suspect Position”

That’s fine so far. Then

“Bad Example, Another Bad Example, Debunked Statistics, Contradiction”

These seem like random words that aren’t used to describe the American-Statesman. Suspect position is a description that’s used to describe an American-Statesman, the rest refer to what’s used to justify his position. It’s inconsistent and the title provides no indication of how the later refers to the former.

It reads that an American-Statesman is a bad example, an American-Statesman is another bad example, and the rest goes on to make even less sense.

“A title should aslo be concise. “

But it shouldn’t be incomprehensible.

If you insist on using fewer words, you could write

Bad examples, poor logic, and debunked statistics used to justify suspect American statesman position.

There, it’s only one extra word and its a heck of a better title.

Any Mouse (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Allow me to break it down a little bit more for you

American-Statesman: ,

Ameican-Statesman (this is a publication): Copyright infringement is stealing all our moneyz! , I’m a hugely popular and successful author, but piracy has made me poor and unknown , my animation was stolen 5000 times, but I never noticed because it didn’t cost me anything, or lose me any sales … Shall we continue, or do you finally get what everyone else got?

Ninja (profile) says:

Can’t expect much from pro-copyright statistics. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them claiming the MAFIAA loses 238560926397 gazillion dollars (approximately 125 times the World GDP) every year because of lost sales.

Where they took the numbers from? Multiply 100 gazillion annual downloads times hugely bloated physical copy prices (ie: $60 a DVD) and voil?, a perfectly acceptable number that’ll be even mentioned shamelessly in the courts.

As we know, 57% of the statistics are made up on spot.


So now so-called movie piracy has become a real “idol of the marketplace”, an idea worshiped for itself. It joins such stalwart idols as “drugs are evil”, “dirty books are evil”, “hurtful words are evil”, and others. And we need new idols as so many of our old ones are being retired. Can you remember when we worshiped “gambling is evil”? Well now that our beloved government is in the gambling business big-time that idol is on the scrap heap. We know what happened to “booze is evil” don’t we. Scrapped in the late 30’s. And “dirty words are evil”? That got replaced with “slurs are evil”. You can now say f**k but unlike Mark Twain, you can no longer say the n-word. Sadly, many of these idols are virtually immortal and unless there is an abiding monetary reason to retire them, they hang around forever. They influence our morals and laws even though they basically have no useful purpose and no real reason to be worshiped. I shudder to think of the kids of 2050 denouncing their parents, like good little Hitler Youths, for copying whatever dvds have become by then. Maybe if they legalize drugs and criminalize movies it will be sort of a wash.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

But copyright infringement is just like theft and we all agree that theft is wrong.

Walk through it with me.

In the physical world, if I steal a DVD from a store and take it home I can then watch it for free. The store has lost out because they cannot sell this dvd to a customer. Not only do they not make a profit but they have also lost the money that they paid out for the dvd in the first place.

Now see how copying is exactly the same thing.
If I copy a movie(or music or a videogame) then I can watch it for free. And just as with the real world example the store has umm… well they won’t be able to sell ummm…. and they definitely have lost out on the money paid for the ummm.
See, just the same.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Okay so that went wrong.

There are lots of things that don’t map across but one thing does.
If I steal a movie (or etc.) or if I copy a movie then I get to use it without cost.

Ergo the only important part of what makes theft a problem is that people get to use something they neither they themselves paid for nor anyone else paid for them. Which is why with digital copying, we don’t need the other bit that we have historically considered to be the important part of theft, depriving people of the use of something that they either made or paid for whether they planned to use it themselves or sell it.
Now we may know that we are skating on thin ice at this point, so we will therefore settle on it not only being illegal but heap up how immoral it is to use something you didn’t pay for even if no harm has been done in any other way.
That way, even if someone points out that at least in some cases, copying seems to have actually helped sales we can still frown and say that it was still immoral for people to do it. Bad, sinful people.

chris says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Digital technology changed nothing. Otherwise the concept of copyright would only be a few decades old.

The depriving angle has been covered a lot, and not all definitions of theft involve depriving someone of something. However every definition I’ve seen has involved property. From Wikipedia: “an owner of property has the right to consume, sell, rent, mortgage, transfer, exchange or destroy it, or to exclude others from doing these things”. A copyright holder does not have these exclusive rights, therefore a copyrighted work is not property. No property, no theft.

Also, ownership is permanent, copyright is by definition time limited. It’s more of a temporary privilege than a kind of ownership.

Also, not everything has a cost. Do you breath air? Not all things can or should be sold. Copyright is about taking something that we would not otherwise consider sellable, information, and making it into a product. The product ensures the information is generated, and in time the product goes away and you’re just left with information which can be freely shared as it has been for thousands of years.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Equating copyright infringement with theft makes your whole argument null and void, right off the bat.

Here’s why it can’t be the same:

You have a dvd.
I steal that dvd.
You no longer have that dvd, because I have it.

Copyright infringement:
You have a dvd.
I make a copy of that dvd.
You still have that dvd, but now I have it too.

Here’s something you don’t take into consideration.
I recently downloaded a movie (Discworld’s Going Postal), I just happened upon it, decided to try it out, see if I liked it.
I liked it, in fact, I liked it so much that I decided to buy it. Once in the store I found out that there was not one but 3 Discworld movies made by the same people. So I bought all three.
That’s 3 sales out of 1 download. So erm, how much did they lose again from me downloading a movie (and thus commiting copyright infringment)? That’s right, they didn’t lose any money.

Here’s another thing you don’t take into consideration:
potential sales aren’t sales.

I could create a product where I say that the potential sales will be millions, because people promised they’d buy it if I made it. But then no one bought it. Is anyone committing any crime? Can I cry foul and shout THEIVES!(sic)? No, because those ‘potential sales’ weren’t really sales. I can’t point to a ledger sheet and say: “Look at all the money that these people stole!”
Just because you COULD make money on something means that you SHOULD or even WOULD. No one is entitled to anything, I’m not entitled to your product (either for pay or for free), but you are not entitled to my money, if I don’t think the product is worth the money.

How many times did you pay to see a movie only to find out that it was a horrible film, not worth your time or your money? How often did you wish you could go back to the cash register and demand your money back?
You can do that with certain physical products, like clothing, but not with opened DVDs, CDs and video games (and the only way to find out if the movie or cd is any good is by opening them and playing them), nor can you do that with cinema ticket stubs.
So for a lot of people, who don’t have a lot of entertainment money to spend, the free alternative to find out if a movie or a cd is worth their time and money is an excellent way to save money.

Anonymous Coward says:

If we were able to get some concrete answer as to which ended up costing Sandra more (real, not potential) money overall, the evil and vengeful internet or the salary of her faithful assistant for “monitoring” it, which do you think it’d be?

1. The record business has spent a fortune fighting piracy.
2. Piracy has become more prevalent and harder to stop.
3. The record business is now nearly bankrupt.

Conclusion: Grasp at the shadow and lose the substance.

out_of_the_blue says:

No, DH, you're equating actual theft with your imaginary thefts:

>>> ‘I feel like I got robbed 5,000 times,’ he said.”

Well golly gee willickers, friend, sometimes I feel like a character from a Mel Brooks spoof movie, but feelings don’t really mean a whole lot here, do they? The fact of the matter is that you weren’t robbed five thousand times. I wonder how many of those folks who viewed the YouTube video would have done so if it weren’t there to see for free to begin with? I wonder how many of them came across it for the first time when someone shared a link? I wonder if YouTube felt “robbed” for five thousand instances of promoting you at no cost? Did you pay YouTube for any of that? Book yourself, Dano (sorry, couldn’t resist). /end

Point is that a creator DID NOT get paid for whatever value he put out there and was “consumed”. You then blithely equate that actual NOT with what you just make up in “wonder”. That’s the basic problem here: SOME actual loss against assertions of non-losses, plus: “SO? Learn to live with it! We’re going to copy and you can’t do anything about it! Nyah!”

The arguments above are what slowly but surely turned me to supporting copyright MORE — but I don’t support the increase that “content creators” want, because copyright (previously) is sheerly a private privilege to sue civilly for actual damages against commercial infringement. But the logic of closing up the legal loophole of easy copying, plus the moneyed interest to do it, are inevitably going to make copyright worse. And I’m quite sure that “law enforcement” plus technical means will eliminate most of it, just a matter of time. — And again, for the slow witted, doesn’t mean I’m for media companies, just that I can see the trend.

My solution would be limiting incomes and rolling back copyright to before moneyed interest changed terms unilaterally by buying politicians. However, I can’t agree with the rampant copying and then taunting those who just want to be reasonably rewarded, not that most is worth much in absolute terms. — A complex position is difficult to lay out, so instead we get the false alternative: maximum or none. And the moneyed interests are going to win that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No, DH, you're equating actual theft with your imaginary thefts:

“Point is that a creator DID NOT get paid for whatever value he put out there and was “consumed”. You then blithely equate that actual NOT with what you just make up in “wonder”. That’s the basic problem here: SOME actual loss against assertions of non-losses, plus: “SO? Learn to live with it! We’re going to copy and you can’t do anything about it! Nyah!””

That someone makes use of something without having paid for it, does not make it theft.
There isn’t an actual loss, there might be an actual lack of gain but the issue there is it is impossible to quantify or the infringement could as it often does lead to actual sales or other support for the creators.

Had you actually heard of Flatland the movie before today?
Had many people?
I only found out about it when I thought it would be great if someone made a 3d movie of the book (the book is of course in the public domain. Think the relatives of the man who wrote it saw not one penny from the makers of the film *shock* but then that is his fault for dying before 1941) and then googled to see if anyone had.
But many people may have only heard about it from youtube and many others may be hearing about it because of the discussion about it in the context of it being “robbed 5,000 times”

So how many sales may come from said “actual theft” are also tricky to quantify.

Hothmonster says:

Re: No, DH, you're equating actual theft with your imaginary thefts:

This gets repeated so many times and, as you say, a complex position is difficult to lay out so ill keep this (kinda) brief. [as usual I failed to keep it brief]

About 5-6 years ago someone told me about a comic called the Walking Dead(TWD). It sounded cool but is was skeptical, I’m a bit of a zombie fiction connoisseur, so I downloaded what was available which at that time was probably about 3 years of issues. I LOVED it. While I didn’t buy the comics I had already downloaded for myself I did buy my brother everything that was in print the following Christmas, I think it was 3 trade paperbacks.

Then on my next birthday I had someone buy me the first trade paperback. I don’t think I have ever looked inside it. I have however lent it to countless people over the last 6ish years, I think the book has been to more states than I have. Every time I get it back I find someone else to give it to, it even lived at the bar I’m a regular at for more than a year. People took it home and somehow it kept getting passed around (I think its a testament to how good it is, after reading it you just want other people to know something this good exists). Though it has been awhile since I have seen it but I hope its still getting passed around somewhere.

Ive also bought numerous people the trade paperback of the TWD over the years for some occasion or another. I am sure most of them are passing around their copy too.

I had people over when the show came on last year, about 30 or so who had (almost) all got into the series by reading that first trade paperback I passed around. There are people I see at the bar that the only thing we have talked about for years now is the latest issue of TWD.

So my question is: Did my downloading the comics cost the author and artist a sale or gain them a shit ton of future sales? If I had no avenue to test the comic, I would have remained skeptical and never bought it, therefore never buying it (over and over) for others, or passing around my copy.

While this is a strong example (because the work is so good its easy to get other to become fans/consumers) if I taste anything for free and its good I’ll buy it later, either for a higher quality version for myself or , more likely, as a gift for someone else. I am also gonna tell people I think will like it to check it out, even if its not something I like. The only time its a “lost sale” is when it turns out I was right to be skeptical and its a piece of crap, then the creators problem isn’t infringement its that they have to learn how to make something worth purchasing. “Lost Sale” to me always means ‘they failed to trick someone into buying a piece of crap’ because if its a good product piracy is only free advertising, ask the Go the Fuck to Sleep guy about it.

RobShaver (profile) says:

Comment I left in the Statesman

Very unenlightening article. Entirely one sided. There’s a whole new paradigm out there on the Internet for monetizing creative works. Is this reporter entirely ignorant of this important and empowering revolution going on or is he constrained by the editorial policy of this paper?

Dear Mr. Johnson, loved your movie, Flatland, which I rented on DVD. Please do some research on how to monetize your next one using the incredible power in this new digital age. One way that is working for many is to connect with fans and give them a reason to buy.

It’s easy to say but may be difficult to do well. You need to have a business plan and a communications plan as part of your pre-production. Start getting the word out. Maybe crowd source your financing. Make special versions with extra physical attributes that are not easily copied such as pamphlets and signed copies. Look at what Peter Jackson is doing to create a buzz around “The Hobbit”.

The Internet lets you, and all of us, compete with the studios like never before. Yes, it’s a game-changer. Master it. Innovate with it. I think you can do it if you embrace it.



John Doe says:

I can understand people wanting to get paid for their work. (Although if we can build Star Trek-like food replicators we won’t need to worry about getting paid for anything at all.) But there is a bit of hypocrisy with someone creating something intended to have value, then complaining that people actually find it valuable enough to spend their time viewing, but not valuable enough to expend their time AND money on.

Here’s an idea: Be honest with people. People are a lot more likely to be “moral” and “honest” when they feel like they’re actually making a positive or negative difference in a real human being’s life. Look at Causes on Facebook as a good example. Make your stuff available online and at the beginning of your video or somewhere in there put something that says why you sell your stuff. “Hey guys, I work hard to make this good stuff, and I need to eat and live just like you. I want you to see it, and if you’re not going to pay for it directly, at least come to my website. I have lots of other good stuff stuff and just coming to my site makes me some money because I get ad revenue. You get something valuable for free by downloading my movie–my movie–and I get something valuable for free–money from advertisers–by you typing in a web address.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Lost revenue due to piracy is not a calculable number. The problem is that not every person who copies is able to purchase instead. Peoples around the globe living in poverty don’t have the means to purchase so even if they pirate, the publisher doesn’t lose a dime in potential sales.

For many years now my collections have been legit but as a purchaser I have been punished by the publishers with DRM, dongles, License Keys, etc. Though it hasn’t happened to me that I know of, one publisher even went so far as to install root kits. These annoyances are found in legitimately purchased products but removed from pirated copies.

I also use Linux as my primary OS and some big media companies especially streaming media and ebooks don’t allow Linux to access their collections, supposedly because of piracy. I don’t know how it makes a difference though because everything they have is already out there for illegal download. Their denial to me doesn’t mean I don’t read ebooks it means I don’t pay them. It also means the first streaming movie service that comes along that supports Linux and my account at that other one is gone!

I had become a big advocate of I.P. protections but now I see where piracy helps maintain a balance so that the paying customer is not locked in, locked out or otherwise abused by the very publishers whose products are purchased.

Also since the war on piracy has become something of a Robin Hood story I’m kind of hoping the thieves help the community win against those who have overtaken the throne and force a maximum tax revenue.


Logical nonsense

The fellow who stated that he was robbed 5000 times is making a very emotional response to his situation. But rage is not the same as logic. To be robbed a person must first possess what he feels has been stolen. Had the artist sold 5000 copies of his work and had the profits stolen, yes, he would have been robbed 5000 times. Or at least robbed of the profits of 5000 sales. But he didn’t rent or sell 5000 copies. He didn’t even make 5000 copies. All he can say for certain is that he has lost the POSSIBLE opportunity to make 5000 sales or rentals. That’s possible, not certain or probable or even likely. He doesn’t know how many, or if any, of the persons involved would ever have bought or rented his work. He has no more been robbed than a person who bet the wrong horse or bought the wrong stock has lost money. Such a person would not have gotten the money he thought or wished he would have gotten. But he didn’t get money and then lose it.

Mr. 5000 copies is instead taking the position “you saw my movie so now you owe me”. Since he can’t collect he claims he was robbed. But the viewers of his work made no such agreement. He can’t hold them to a one sided contract signed only by himself.

txpatriot (profile) says:

Free advertising is no defense

@Timothy: one again Tech Dirt shows its bloggers are not up to the standards of traditional journalism. You wrote:

“I wonder if YouTube felt “robbed” for five thousand instances of promoting you at no cost?”

You DO know, don’t you, that courts have ruled that “free advertising” is no defense against infringement? Well, of COURSE you don’t know or you wouldn’t have written that vacuous statement.

Why don’t you google it (or even look it up on wikipedia) next time you think about writing something so wrong?

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Free advertising is no defense

“Why don’t you google it (or even look it up on wikipedia) next time you think about writing something so wrong?”

I have a quick question: do you have any fucking idea what the word “wrong” means? Are you simply an idiot? Did I ever say that free advertising was a defense to infringement? Or was I mockingly comparing feelings to potential feelings, since neither are fucking relevant.

Your paper got it wrong. Shocking for a Texas rag. Don’t you have a mentally disabled person to execute or something?

Anonymous Coward says:

“You DO know, don’t you, that courts have ruled that “free advertising” is no defense against infringement?”

Given that he didn’t say it was, it seems reasonable to think he does.

“Well, of COURSE you don’t know or you wouldn’t have written that vacuous statement.”

And yet you didn’t need a reason to write a vacuous statement.

Androgynous Cowherd says:

Piracy isn’t going to make me want to stop making films.

And with that one sentence, Dano Johnson actually provides an airtight case for abolishing copyright law. You see, the Constitutional purpose of copyright law is to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. But statements like the above indicate that widespread disobedience of copyright law fails to inhibit the progress of science and useful arts. From this, it follows that adherence to it, and thus the law itself, does not actually promote the progress of science and the useful arts, and thence that the Progress Clause does not justify copyright law.

And that makes it unconstitutional, because absent its Progress Clause justification it runs directly afoul of the First Amendment.

Anonymous Coward says:


Wanting to do something and being able to do something are two different things and I think it is quite clear in the case of anyone who complains about piracy that they believe to some degree (wrongly, but they’re being a bit slow about realising it) that piracy will create the conditions where they would be unable to do those things.

Because of this I don’t think it is reasonable to say that there is a contradiction in what Dano said or that it in anyway provides a case, let alone an airtight one for abolishing copyright.

It is true to say that if people could not get paid to create art of any kind they would still create art, but these people believe that some of the more expensive ways of creating art would be/are being badly affected by piracy.
On top of that we have to acknowledge that the disruption caused by the internet’s ability to transfer digital information does impact negatively on the previous gatekeepers along with some of the distribution methods that we are all familiar with and these guys have a tendency to conflate the gatekeepers and the distribution methods with the industries that they are/were the gatekeepers and distribution methods of and therefore kick against them.

It is saddening to see them waste so much time, energy and money (especially when they force everyone else to waste time, energy and money on it too) on fighting against the new ability of Artists to have a much easier time finding and developing supporters which will inevitably mean that far more artists will be able to make a living doing what they want to do than ever before.

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