by Mike Masnick
Mon, Aug 17th 2009 8:37am
In the past, we've discussed the various problems with the language choices by the entertainment industry in discussing file sharing. Terms like "intellectual property," "piracy," "theft" and even its descriptions of "losses" are all misleading and biased. This, in fact, is a key point in William Patry's upcoming book -- where he looks at how the language has been co-opted by the industry to pre-bias the casual observer (including journalists and politicians). Ben Jones is wondering if there can even be a "fair trial" for file sharers given this widespread use of biased language. It's a decent question, and goes back to an earlier point we raised about why the jury verdicts in the recent file sharing trials were hardly a good barometer on the public's understanding of copyright issues. When the industry has been so successful in choosing language that so clearly biases the casual observer (and is then able to exclude anyone who is actually knowledgeable about the subject from the jury), it shouldn't be any surprise at all that rulings will tend towards those who have been able to define the terms.
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