SIIA's Sequel To Don't Copy That Floppy Lies About Criminality Of Copying

from the which-is-more-unethical? dept

So here's a question? Which is more unethical? Making an unauthorized copy of a piece of software or music for personal use... or outright lying in a commercial? I'm pondering this as a bunch of folks have sent in variations on the news that the SIIA is (bizarrely) resurrecting its old discredited "Don't Copy That Floppy" educational campaign:
The original campaign is widely seen as a total joke that did nothing to slow down the pace of copying, and it simply showed how out of touch the Software Publishers Association was with the market. The campaign did nothing to cut down on copying, but it did an amazing job informing the market how easy it was to copy software. It also was in the middle of the software industry's long and fruitless struggle with DRM, which was later mostly abandoned as a failure that did more harm than good for legitimate consumers.

So it's difficult to fathom who could possibly think it's a good idea to bring back the campaign... but that appears to be what's happening. Still, the "chorus" of the song claims that copying is a crime. I would argue that this is false advertising. Copying may be a crime, but the scenarios shown in the film don't appear to involve criminal activity, but civil torts. For it to be criminal copyright infringement it needs to involve being done "willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain." So the ad is falsely promoting the idea that personal copying is a criminal matter -- in fact it falsely suggests that simply downloading software or music will put you in jail.

So which is more ethical? Getting a personal copy of a song you wanted to hear? Or flat out lying about the criminality of that action to the widespread public?
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Filed Under: civil, copyright, criminality, don't copy that floppy, torts
Companies: siia


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  1. icon
    Sadien, Inc. (Sadien.com) (profile), 8 Jul 2009 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Re: Stop.. and think... before posting childish comments...

    Almost Anonymous said:
    "Would it be considered childish for me to call you a corporate IP shill?"

    Um.. well.. Yes. Considering the fact that I am the chief executive of a group that works to protect clients from the actions of the BSA and SIIA. That statement is also irrelevant, misinformed, pointless and apparently posted out of anger, for some unknown reason.

    Almost Anonymous said:
    "I've got one phrase for you, shill:
    Death plus seventy years."

    I honestly have no idea what that means. I'm assuming you were trying to "look cool" by quoting the term of duration for copyrightable works that were created in the US on or after January 1, 1978, granting them sovereign rights of protection for a period equal to the life of the author, plus seventy years. A term of statutory protection that is also recognized by Sweden, Great Britain, Russia, Ireland and approximately 30 other countries.

    I'm not sure what any of that has to do with my original post, the original article or any other post in this string.

    But... aside from completely being misguided with your feeble attempt at an insult... and completely misquoting the phrase "life plus seventy..." ...well done. Ya got me.

    G.C. Hutson

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