Composer Jason Robert Brown Still Standing By His Position That Kids Sharing His Music Are Immoral

from the well-that's-how-it-goes dept

Composer Jason Robert Brown got some attention in recent weeks for his blog post debating with a teenager over the morality of trading digital copies of his sheet music online. That story continued with a David Pogue blog post at the NY Times which quoted an accomplished musician and professor who defended the teen. And while Brown had said that he was done talking about this subject, it appears he can't resist. He's taken to the (digital) pages of the NY Times himself to restart his argument and to complain about the way people have treated him in this debate.

As we noted in our original post on the subject, I thought it was good that there was a civil discussion on the topic, and I know that these discussions can get rowdy and angry at times. But I do find it a bit silly when anyone suggests that it's all one side who are obnoxious in their treatment of those on the other side. It's the internet. People are going to make short and angry responses no matter what you say. People are quite frequently obnoxious or threatening to me, but I hardly leap to the conclusion that the majority of people who disagree with me are somehow hostile or even make a big deal of it. It's the internet. Get used to it and move on.

For example, I find that Brown's dismissal of certain arguments to be every bit as "hostile and haughty" as what he accuses those from "the Slashdot World" of making:
In the Slashdot world, the idea that creators are losing something in the free and unauthorized exchange of their creative capital is somehow controversial. People who like to quote Stewart Brand's mantra "Information wants to be free" insist that the minute I express a creative idea in any fixed form, it becomes the property of the world.
First of all, it seems like the only people who still use the (mis)-quote "information wants to be free" any more are people knocking down a strawman. The quote is meaningless. If people use it, they're using it as shorthand for a much more nuanced argument, but rather than respond to that argument, it seems that copyright system defenders use it to mock those who have more serious arguments by brushing them off as the "information wants to be free" crowd. And the argument is not that once you express a creative idea in any form it becomes "the property of the world," but that you physically cannot limit what happens to it. That's just how it is. That doesn't mean it becomes property of the world. After all, ideas are not property. But it does mean that because people can copy it at no cost, they will do so.

The question is, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to argue and whine and stomp your feet as the tide comes in... or are you going to adapt and adjust your business model?
The blueprints for your house should be free. Movies should be free. The DSM-IV should be free, regardless of the expense required to create these things.
This is really frustrating because people accuse me of making this kind of statement all the time. It's not should, it's will. "Should" is a moral argument. "Will" is a predictive economic explanation. People aren't saying the information "should" be anything. They're saying it will be -- or, more likely -- already is. Again, the question is what do you do about it? Falsely claiming people are giving it moral value by saying "should" twists an economic/business model debate into a moral one.
I don't think I'm guilty of simplifying their side of the argument; they insist on simplicity -- the preachers of the "new ethics" imply that anything short of a tangible good or service should have a value of precisely zero, for the simple reason that the Internet makes it cheap and easy to disseminate intellectual property, regardless of the laws of copyright or traditional moral custom.
You are guilty of simplifying the other side, and many of us do not insist on simplicity at all. We insist on accuracy -- and it is inaccurate to claim many of us are saying "should" when we are not. That an accurate explanation of basic economic (not moral) forces may seem simple does not mean we wish to simplify the argument.
Following on that logic, if it were as simple to reproduce a chicken online as it is to reproduce a copy of my song, everyone could just get free chicken whenever they wanted, provided they had enough ink in their chicken printer or whatever.
Yes, that logic sounds perfectly sound. Is he really suggesting that an invention that could solve world hunger is a bad thing?
These same people insist that I should be happy to give my music away because it's free advertising, and that word of mouth will spur more performances of my work.
The people saying that are pointing out that there are more factors at work here than just what Jason Robert Brown has said originally. They're not just saying that it will spur more performances. They're saying that the issue is more complex than you're making it out to be, and there are other business model options and that, perhaps, it would help to explore them, rather than to mock them.
I don't doubt, however, that if these people could figure out how to get to my performances for free, they would do that too.
Indeed. If such things were available infinitely, than that would be the case. What Jason Robert Brown is ignoring is that as one thing becomes infinitely available, it always creates additional scarcities that he can charge for.
We can all rationalize stealing in any number of ways, but taking something that doesn't belong to you is theft, and I no longer have any patience with those who want to justify (or worse, ennoble) the taking of what is rightfully mine.
Infringement is totally different than stealing. It is making a copy of something. You have not lost anything. This point has been made so many times it's silly that it needs to keep being made. And if he no longer has the patience to "justify" his (wrong) argument, why does he keep writing about it?
It seems reasonable to me that if you want that information, I should be able to charge you for it.
Fair enough. It seems reasonable to me that if you want to read this page, you should have to pay me $100,000 to do so. What, you don't want to do that? Then my business model fails. But that's my problem, not those who chose to find alternative markets for my content.
The fact that you can get that information for free, thanks to some naive teenager or Crusading Copyright Killer, does not diminish my entitlement (both legal and moral) to be paid for providing it.
Actually it does. And that is the point. Markets adapt based on supply and demand. When a product becomes infinitely available, supply goes way up, and the price goes down. Your sense of entitlement to a business model that no longer fits the market is what people are complaining about. They're not upset that you want to get paid. They just are letting you know that you've chosen a bad way to get paid, and they're going to get your works from alternative market places.
It's very easy for me to make that material available if I wanted people to have it, but it is enormously frustrating to have that control wrested from me by the simple act of someone scanning a copy of sheet music and sending it freely out into the world.
The crux of the problem: Jason Robert Brown wants control. But copyright was never about "control." Markets change. Old providers lose control. Don't blame everyone else. Learn to adapt.
I write for the theater. It's not a particularly reliable or consistent way to make a living, but I have found my way to a comfortable middle-class lifestyle by offering my work for sale in ways ancillary to public performances. It no longer makes sense to produce and sell CDs of my work -- the expense of producing those recordings far exceeds the income earned in the current climate. Now sheet music is equally endangered.
So you've adapted before, and you can adapt again. Welcome to a dynamic world.
It seems legitimate to wonder if there isn't some way to take back those income streams, if not through legal enforcement measures, than at least through changing the terms of the debate from "Why people should be allowed to steal all the content they want" to "Why creators are entitled to payment for the work they do."
It's legitimate to wonder, but it's still asking the wrong question. You don't "take back" income streams that no longer make sense in a market. You adjust and adapt -- just like many other artists are doing -- and move forward. Instead, Jason Robert Brown is looking backward wistfully at a world that no longer exists.

And, again, no one is saying that creators shouldn't get paid or shouldn't make a living. They're just saying that it's your responsibility to find the right business model, and to adapt when the market changes. That's not "amazing." It's basic economics.


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  1.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 10:43am

    Turnabout is fair play

    We should start a wiki or something that documents previous iterations of JRB's super-original ideas.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 10:56am

    "no one is saying that creators shouldn't get paid or shouldn't make a living." - no, you are just saying that all the normal ways they should make a living should be killed off. the only way a musician should make money is to play music, not to write it, not to teach it, nothing. only when they actually play music in front of people should they (maybe) get paid. actually writing and recording music should be something done from love, not from any desire to make money or make this a career.

    mike, your friday posts are getting truly pathetic.

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:02am

    Re: ...coward...

    "mike, your friday posts are getting truly pathetic."
    And your ad hominem is as blatant as ever, you smegging tard. Get a name.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:03am

    The argument against a method to create your own free chicken with a "chiken printer" is absurd for the simple fact that nobody owns a copyright/trademark on chicken since it is a animal from nature.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:05am

    Re:

    I meant to say nobody owns a copyright/patent on chicken since it is an animal from nature

     

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    A Dan (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:08am

    Re:

    Where has anyone said people can't make money from teaching? Teaching is a perfectly reasonable business model, as long as you can convince someone to pay you to provide it. So is writing, if you can get someone to pay you for it.

    The key is that it's not realistic to expect people to pay you to let them copy something, whether by imitation or otherwise. People paying teachers is for the benefit of their knowledge and experience being passed down, not for permission to copy the teacher's style.

     

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    jilocason, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:08am

    The chicken may not be copyritten but.....

    There may not be a copyright on the 'idea' of a chicken (though I wouldn't be surprised if some company's got a patent) but the moment someone 'fixes an expression in a tangible medium' it automatically copyrighted.

    So as silly as it sounds, if you had a fictitious "chicken printer" any chicken that you printed (unless it's an original expression of a chicken) would most likely violate someone's copyright.

    Good luck finding an "expression of a chicken" suitable for printing in the public domain....

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:15am

    Re:

    no, you are just saying that all the normal ways they should make a living should be killed off.

    Nope. No "should" about it. Should is a moral argument. I'm saying the *are* getting killed off. You're shooting the messenger.

    Saying that the automobile will replace the horse carriage isn't saying that "horse buggies should die." It's just telling you what's going on.

     

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    Nate (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re:

    People paying teachers is for the benefit of their knowledge and experience being passed down, not for permission to copy the teacher's style.

    Just a minor note: the teacher's experience is the scarcity, along with the time spent with the individual. The knowledge is not so scarce unless you were referring to the teacher's experience redundantly.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:15am

    Re:

    "... the only way a musician should make money is to play music, not to write it, not to teach it,..."

    How the hell do you teach music without coping someone?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:22am

    Re:

    "you are just saying that all the normal ways they should make a living should be killed off"

    Mike is not saying they SHOULD be killed off. He is saying those ways have been killed of or are dying.

     

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    Jeremy2020 (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:27am

    It's simple enough, if you don't want to make money creating content by using new income streams or business methods then Wendys is hiring.

    There's plenty of people adapting and are happy to make money using new methods.

     

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    DMNTD, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:31am

    Just wow.

    Even after the discussion he just can't move past that sparkling jug of kool-aid. Is it really so bad to hire someone or buy some books to help improve upon things you don't know. It it really that bad to teach an old dog new tricks? Especially when it has nothing to do with climbing a mountain? Either you or your distributed need to learn how to do real business.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:32am

    "But copyright was never about 'control.'"

    Wait, what? Either I'm missing something or you are.

    I could completely wrong here, and correct me if I am, but I thought that copyright gave the rights-holder the (legally enforced) ability to control where the rights-protected work was copied. People who violate that (government-given) right aren't stealing a physical object, but infringing on the creator's right to control where it's copied. In the modern era, where copying (and distribution of those copies) can be done quickly, easily, and cheaply, copyrighting a work fails, and the creator must seek some other business model to continue earning revenue other than the management of their copyrights. Am I wrong?

    If copyright isn't about control, what is it about? Did you misspeak, or did I misunderstand?

     

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    Nate (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re:

    I laughed at this. AC obviously (or selectively) missed what you said about this exact situation:

    From the above article:
    This is really frustrating because people accuse me of making this kind of statement all the time. It's not should, it's will. "Should" is a moral argument. "Will" is a predictive economic explanation.

     

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    Nate (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:37am

    Re:

    It's often said around here that the existence of copyright is "to promote the progress." Basically, it was supposed to be an incentive for creators to continue making works. After that I get a little bit fuzzy on the logic of how it was supposed to work, but that was the ideal purpose of it all.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:39am

    Re:

    Wow, even for you, you managed to hit an inordinate amount of things wrong:

    - Yes, artists can get paid for live performances.
    - No, artists can still get paid for teaching. 1-on-1 time is scarce, and non-copyable.
    - No, artists can still get paid for writing music. You can't force someone to write a song for you, and if you want something specific, you're going to have to compensate them somehow.
    - Mike has never said music is charity work. This entire site is about making money.

    - Oh, and most importantly, musicians never make money from record sales. You can't kill what was never there.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:42am

    Re:

    Copyright has been twisted and bastardized to help it mean control. Its purpose was to encourage eduction (science and the useful arts). It has just been twisted to be the exact opposite of what it was intended to be when our country was founded.
    Even now though (at least until they get it removed via law) there is still fair use, where their content can be used without permission and without their control. So it still isn't completely about control. As the industry keeps encouraging a 1984 scenario though, if they get their way it will be all about the control.

     

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    BigKeithO (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:44am

    Re:

    I believe that copyright was originally intended to "promote the progress of useful arts and science" (quote off the top of my head, forgive me if it is wrong). So in that sense copyright wasn't about control per se, it was about promoting progress. When it was introduced it was believed that by controlling who could copy what it would generate greater incentives to create.

    The "but copyright was never about control" quote seems a little nit-picky to me. Sure it wasn't about control, it was about promoting the creation of more works, but it accomplished that through control of those works.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:44am

    Re:

    Oh, and on a side note, at least you understand this:
    (government-given)

    A lot of copyright supporters seem to love to claim that a government given monopoly somehow represents the free market at work. The actual free market is the file sharers.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:45am

    Re:

    "no, you are just saying that all the normal ways they should make a living should be killed off. the only way a musician should make money is to play music, not to write it, not to teach it, nothing. only when they actually play music in front of people should they (maybe) get paid. actually writing and recording music should be something done from love, not from any desire to make money or make this a career."

    L-CAC - You keep saying "should". Should in this case is a belief, a wish, a hope, a guess, its an attempt at make believe. The newspapers, record labels, TV and movie studios are all going to fail over the next 2-15 years. The industries will die at different times in different countries, hence the large time span. While I can't say for a fact that they are going to die over the next 15 years. I can say that the probability of any of them lasting past 2030 approaches zero.

    You are getting your vision of how you wish things "should" work mixed up with what is actually happening in real life.

     

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    cc (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:49am

    Re: The chicken may not be copyritten but.....

    Lame technicalities aside, if a source of infinite food is invented and patented, would you care if the patent was upheld, or would you rather ignore the patent and go feed the kids in Africa?

    But all analogies ultimately fail -- just like a car.

    The point to take home is, where abundance is possible, it's better to allow it to exist rather than try (and eventually fail) to hinder it with legalities. The abundance makes it impossible to sell some things because their value disappears (e.g., recorded music), but adds value to other scarcities (e.g., live performances). Those who discover what the scarcities are and exploit them, can still make lots of money. Those who can't understand what has changed and resist or are unable to adapt won't do very well.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:03pm

    So it's not immoral for kids to share Brown's music because kids are going to share his music anyway? And it's really Brown's fault that people choose to infringe on his rights because he makes the mistake of hanging on to an antiquated business model? I don't follow the logic. Nor do I understand the argument that infringement isn't stealing. Appropriating something for yourself that you have no right to appropriate is theft in my book.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:06pm

    "To promote progress" may have been the reason copyright existed, but giving the creator control of where their works could be reproduced, if I understand it right, was then means to encourage creation. If I wrote a novel and there was no copyright, then as soon as it was published it would be in the public domain. Then, any major publisher could make copies of my work, and profit on my hard work. I'd be just as well off leaving my manuscript in my trunk. In my trunk my work would benefit no one. Giving me a copyright to my work I'd have legal recourse if a publisher stepped in and "pirated" my work, and thus encourage me to make my work publicly available.

    From Wikipedia: Copyright is the set of exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work.

    That sounds about right to me: The "right to copy" gives the rights-holder the control to say where their works may be copied.

    If copyright isn't about control, what is it about?

     

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    Jay (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:14pm

    Nostalgia

    "You don't "take back" income streams that no longer make sense in a market. You adjust and adapt -- just like many other artists are doing -- and move forward. Instead, Jason Robert Brown is looking backward wistfully at a world that no longer exists. "

    I doubt that world ever existed. The rose tinted glasses tell us a far different story than the reality of the situation.

    The problem with JRB is the same problem as the RIAA:
    They are looking at the world and how they imagined it. With JRB, he does really successful in the now without looking into how he came into that success.

    The RIAA made a lot of money by being the gatekeepers of music. Now that the floodgates are open, it's the avalanche of information that they want to control. Rather than create new, possibly better gates, they try (unsuccessfully) to close the old ones.

    Welcome to the world after Hurricane Katrina people. The floodgates are open for all.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:15pm

    Re:

    Here it is in very simple terms.

    You have a bicycle. I steal the bicycle. You no longer have the bicycle. You cannot use it or enjoy it. It is gone. It has been stolen.

    You make a song. I copy the song. You still have your copy. Nothing is missing. You can still play it and enjoy it. It is right there. That is copyright infringement if not authorized. But it certainly isn't stealing.

    Does it make more sense now? The supreme court used pretty much that same reasoning in saying that calling it theft is wrong, because the originals are still there.

     

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    just another human, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:23pm

    Sharing His Music Is Immoral

    Okay, everybody together now let's all STOP listening to this guy(GOD) whoever he is, then he can't claim anything about his music cause no one will be listening to it.

     

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    A Dan (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, I have a bad tendency to be unintentionally redundant. Being redundant is a flaw of mine. (heh)

     

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    Ryan, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:26pm

    Re:

    Morality and economic pragmatism are two separate issues entirely. It's certainly not immoral for kids to share his work simply because the current law in the current country prohibits it - legality and morality have nothing to do with each other. It actually seems more obviously immoral to allow one person to control what all other people can do with their own property. If I make a chair and sell it, I don't suddenly get to charge other people $100 a pop to sit in it or prevent them from reselling it or giving it away under penalty of a million-dollar fine. And the fact that file-sharing eliminates scarcity (the entire point of jobs, money, and an economy in general) and cannot be stopped in the current technological environment means the current copyright legal restrictions make about as much sense as Prohibition in the 20s.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re:

    "Here it is in very simple terms.

    You have a bicycle. I steal the bicycle. You no longer have the bicycle. You cannot use it or enjoy it. It is gone. It has been stolen.

    You make a song. I copy the song. You still have your copy. Nothing is missing. You can still play it and enjoy it. It is right there. That is copyright infringement if not authorized. But it certainly isn't stealing.

    Does it make more sense now? The supreme court used pretty much that same reasoning in saying that calling it theft is wrong, because the originals are still there."

    I understand the difference between tangible and intangible objects. I would LOVE to see where the Supreme Court said that it's not theft. Can you point the way?

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:31pm

    Re:

    "So it's not immoral for kids to share Brown's music because kids are going to share his music anyway?"

    Jesus, how is reading so damn difficult for some people. As Mike has said in a variety of forms, and as several regulars here have intimated on numerous occasions, WE'RE NOT MAKING A MORAL FUCKING ARGUMENT! No should or shoudn't, just is and isn't. No morality, just reality. Why? Because on a grand enough scale, moral arguments are meaningless. Applying subjective feelings-based rules to economic business is a failed practice. Mike covered it in this very damn article, for Christ's sake (immoral comment: used the lord's name in vein, except he's not everyone's lord and some, like me, don't think he cares much if I use his name this way; see how silly the whole morality thing is?)....

    "And it's really Brown's fault that people choose to infringe on his rights because he makes the mistake of hanging on to an antiquated business model?"

    No, it's his RESPONSIBILITY to conduct his business within the general framework of economics. I mean, hell, he even USES the word entitled a couple of times. Entitlement is for the weak. The strong figure their shit out. Or are we REALLY suggesting that there is NO answer? Please....

    "Nor do I understand the argument that infringement isn't stealing. Appropriating something for yourself that you have no right to appropriate is theft in my book."

    Well, that's your book then. Me? When it comes to legal matters, the book I like is a legal dictionary, which vehemently disagrees with you, as does the United States Supreme Court. But, hey, I'm sure your book is an awesome read....

     

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    Ryan, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:32pm

    More Official Terminology?

    This is really frustrating because people accuse me of making this kind of statement all the time. It's not should, it's will. "Should" is a moral argument. "Will" is a predictive economic explanation. People aren't saying the information "should" be anything. They're saying it will be -- or, more likely -- already is. Again, the question is what do you do about it? Falsely claiming people are giving it moral value by saying "should" twists an economic/business model debate into a moral one.

    I think more appropriate - or more official - terms for the dichotomy would be descriptive vs prescriptive, or positive vs normative.

    But anyway, yeah. It's really maddening to constantly debate policy online with people that have some moral idealism for how the world should work in their cloud cuckoo land and ignore all appeals to how the world actually works in practice.

     

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    kryptonianjorel (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: ...coward...

    He had a name, but renounced it. I guess we should start calling him "The Troll formerly known as The Anti-Mike"

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:34pm

    Re: The chicken may not be copyritten but.....

    "There may not be a copyright on the 'idea' of a chicken (though I wouldn't be surprised if some company's got a patent) but the moment someone 'fixes an expression in a tangible medium' it automatically copyrighted."

    As soon as you create something which is living then it is no longer a fixed expression. Even a dead chicken would be organic matter and difficult to argue as a fixed expression.

     

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    Ryan, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: The chicken may not be copyritten but.....

    Tell that to Monsanto. The argument would be that all living things have a fixed genetic code.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re:

    "Morality and economic pragmatism are two separate issues entirely. It's certainly not immoral for kids to share his work simply because the current law in the current country prohibits it - legality and morality have nothing to do with each other. It actually seems more obviously immoral to allow one person to control what all other people can do with their own property. If I make a chair and sell it, I don't suddenly get to charge other people $100 a pop to sit in it or prevent them from reselling it or giving it away under penalty of a million-dollar fine. And the fact that file-sharing eliminates scarcity (the entire point of jobs, money, and an economy in general) and cannot be stopped in the current technological environment means the current copyright legal restrictions make about as much sense as Prohibition in the 20s."

    I'm not saying it's immoral because it's illegal. I'm saying it's immoral and illegal. I see nothing immoral about Brown wanting to enforce his exclusive rights, and I do see that it's immoral for somebody else to infringe on his rights. You can sell a chair and retain certain rights in the chair contractually. I can sell you the chair with the restriction that anyone who sits in it owes me $100. If you agree to those terms and buy the chair, I can enforce my rights. Don't confuse possession of a thing with total control of the thing. Ever rent or lease something? If people don't like the legal restrictions of copyright, they should change the law. That would be moral. Deciding that somebody else's rights are wrong and then unilaterally deciding not to respect those rights is immoral and illegal.

     

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  37.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "...interference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud. The Copyright Act even employs a separate term of art to define one who misappropriates a copyright: ... 'an infringer of the copyright.' ...

    The infringer invades a statutorily defined province guaranteed to the copyright holder alone. But he does not assume physical control over the copyright; nor does he wholly deprive its owner of its use. While one may colloquially link infringement with some general notion of wrongful appropriation, infringement plainly implicates a more complex set of property interests than does run-of-the-mill theft, conversion, or fraud.

    —Dowling v. United States, 473 U.S. 207, pp. 217–218

     

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  38.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I would LOVE to see where the Supreme Court said that it's not theft. Can you point the way?"

    I can do that for you: Dowling v United States

    I quote: "The language of 2314 does not "plainly and unmistakably" cover such conduct. The phonorecords in question were not "stolen, converted or taken by fraud" for purposes of 2314. The section's language clearly contemplates a physical identity between the items unlawfully obtained and those eventually transported, and hence some prior physical taking of the subject goods. Since the statutorily defined property rights of a copyright holder have a character distinct from the possessory interest of the owner of simple "goods, wares, [or] merchandise," interference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud. The infringer of a copyright does not assume physical control over the copyright nor wholly deprive its owner of its use. Infringement implicates a more complex set of property interests than does run-of-the-mill theft, conversion, or fraud."

     

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  39.  
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    kryptonianjorel (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:43pm

    Re:

    Musicians do not have some inherent right to make money. There are plenty of musicians out there who create, play, and sell music, and they don't make shit, because they're terrible. This guy has made a name for himself, and he thinks that entitles him to make money, and it still doesn't. I always reason this back to ECON101 logic, supply and demand. The music industry can no longer artificially limit the recorded music market (in this case, the sheet music market) since in the digital world of today, distribution costs zero. If artists refuse to adapt, that is their problem.

     

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  40.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Beat you bitch ;)

     

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  41.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:47pm

    It's simple: Don't dis your fans

    Unfortunately the chicken printer analogy doesn't work (as most analogies in this debate are wrong). Every chicken is the same - when you eat it anyway. Every song is different - that's what makes it a creative work. If you copy a chicken, you solve world hunger (except for vegetarians). If you copy a song, the world will still want more songs, and people will still create more songs. If every chicken tasted different, and you could control the taste, it would be another issue.

    The point is, people used to make money recording songs, and now they don't. Whether it's legal or not, it's a fact. It's a crisis of a changing time. I'm in the theatre business too. It's HARD to make any money at it, let alone make a living. But if it's money I wanted, I would have found something more lucrative to do long ago. And some people are still getting rich in theatre so it's not like it can't be done. Then again, some people still make money in the horse buggy business, just not so many.

    What I get out of all this is: If you catch anyone copying your work - that person is not a "criminal," that person is a "fan." An artist should treat their fans with great respect, esp. if they're a teenager. Teenagers eventually get real jobs and become productive members of their communities, and if they remain fans they'll pay you back in unexpected ways.

    Who's to say that the teenager Brown's arguing with now won't be a world famous singer in ten years, able to make Brown far richer than he is now. Can Brown afford to alienate these fans just so he sell some sheet music? Who will be left to buy it?

    He's actually being cooler about it than the people who just sue their fans, and I think it's because he understands they're fans and doesn't want to alienate him.

    If anyone's seen "The Man in the White Suit", it illustrates everything going on today perfectly.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Heh, I guess since its too late for me to post it I am just going to say thank you to you both. =)

     

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  43.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:56pm

    Re:

    not to teach it, No one ever said that here. In fact teaching is the big solid way for musicians to make a living. The vast majority of musicians who make a living from music do it from teaching. They always have and they always will.

     

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    NAMELESS ONE, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:59pm

    who is this?

    huh what?
    immwhat
    drops pants and moons the maker of said music...oh yes i did fart

     

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  45.  
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    kryptonianjorel (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Re:

    Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution:

    "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;"

    So, if copyrights HINDER the progress, then they must be rendered invalid.

     

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    Ryan, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm not saying it's immoral because it's illegal. I'm saying it's immoral and illegal. I see nothing immoral about Brown wanting to enforce his exclusive rights, and I do see that it's immoral for somebody else to infringe on his rights. You can sell a chair and retain certain rights in the chair contractually. I can sell you the chair with the restriction that anyone who sits in it owes me $100. If you agree to those terms and buy the chair, I can enforce my rights. Don't confuse possession of a thing with total control of the thing. Ever rent or lease something? If people don't like the legal restrictions of copyright, they should change the law. That would be moral. Deciding that somebody else's rights are wrong and then unilaterally deciding not to respect those rights is immoral and illegal.

    You say that it's not immoral because it's illegal, but then the entire rest of your response goes into how you think everything is immoral because it's illegal. Why is it immoral to infringe on his rights? Was it immoral for Rosa Parks to infringe on the rights of white bus riders, or for Jews to infringe on the good sensibilities of Aryans?

    You're absolutely right about the chair, though - you can control certain things contractually; the keyword being contractually. People that are copying a media file are not signing a contract, and the "contracts" that are used in IP like the EULA are akin to putting up a sign next to a popular walkway that says, "By reading this, you are agreeing to hand over all rights to your property".

    Ever rent or lease something? If people don't like the legal restrictions of copyright, they should change the law. That would be moral. Deciding that somebody else's rights are wrong and then unilaterally deciding not to respect those rights is immoral and illegal.

    And again, an absolute 100% contradiction of your first sentence. Deciding to infringe on somebody's government-granted rights is not necessarily immoral, because the legality of an action supposes nothing about it's morality (especially when Congress is selling favors to the highest bidder). When you rent or lease something, you are temporarily taking possession of somebody's scarce resource. When you digitally copy it, you making another copy entirely for yourself. Nothing of theirs is affected in any way whatsoever, and you are now essentially the owner of your copy. It seems immoral to me that somebody else can control what you can do with your own copy...

     

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    Ryan, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 1:10pm

    Re: It's simple: Don't dis your fans

    If you copy a chicken, you solve world hunger (except for vegetarians).

    "There are no starving vegetarians."

    - Ryan

     

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  48.  
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    Gwiz, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 1:10pm

    Re:

    mike, your friday posts are getting truly pathetic.

    I think TAM gets upset on Fridays because he nothing at all to do for two days.

     

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  49.  
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    Nate (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 1:20pm

    Re:

    I see what you're saying. However, the use of copyright isn't necessary for creators to make money (which I'm assuming is your main concern after reading your post). It's been shown in the music industry through the numerous artists pointed out here that a living can be made by/while letting people share your work widely. For authors, I see some more difficulty to the process because of greater obscurity (I don't read so I could be wrong), but the same can be done. An author would have to focus on selling scarcities like their time and use their works to add more value to them.

    If copyright isn't about control, what is it about?

    Again, assuming your concern is about having creators paid then I consider this question mostly irrelevant because it's use is unnecessary. If you want to argue about the black and white meaning of the text then I concede because copyright does establish the rights (controls) for creators. (Originally I guessed you were asking about its intended purpose.)

     

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  50.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I'm not saying it's immoral because it's illegal. I'm saying it's immoral and illegal. I see nothing immoral about Brown wanting to enforce his exclusive rights, and I do see that it's immoral for somebody else to infringe on his rights."

    You are begging the question. You base your argument on the premise that infringing someone's legally granted right is immoral. To deny that is to deny your argument.

    "You can sell a chair and retain certain rights in the chair contractually. I can sell you the chair with the restriction that anyone who sits in it owes me $100. If you agree to those terms and buy the chair, I can enforce my rights."

    Copyright has little in common with a mutually agreed contract. One of the most basic things about a contract is that someone makes an offer and someone else accepts. If someone is infringing a copyright then they are unlikely to have accepted anything.

    "Don't confuse possession of a thing with total control of the thing. Ever rent or lease something? If people don't like the legal restrictions of copyright, they should change the law. That would be moral. Deciding that somebody else's rights are wrong and then unilaterally deciding not to respect those rights is immoral and illegal."

    Again, you are begging the question. Why is it immoral to break the law? I do not believe it is inherently immoral to break the law and you have not offered an explanation as to why you believe it is. Until you do, your argument is incomplete.

     

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    bob, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 1:27pm

    " But copyright was never about "control." "

    Uh, yes it was and it still is. It may be limited and Congress may be extending the limits ad infinitum, but it's all about control. That's what phrases like "all rights reserved" mean.

    It's not total control. There's still something called "fair use", but it is all about control. Think about what you write.

     

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  52.  
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    Nate (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    So, if copyrights HINDER the progress, then they must be rendered invalid.

    Are you saying this is what I'm implying? I was just unsure about their train of thought behind it all.

     

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  53.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 1:27pm

    Re: More Official Terminology?

    But anyway, yeah. It's really maddening to constantly debate policy online with people that have some moral idealism for how the world should work in their cloud cuckoo land and ignore all appeals to how the world actually works in practice.
    The problem is not morality - its people who think it is OK to invent your own morality and say things like "I think it's moral/immoral to do X or Y".

    IF you want to argue morality then you better do it based on something other than your own random opinion. SO let's take one of the statements above and see how it stacks up against so non-arbitrary predefined moral standards:

    Statement for Mr Average Joe above:
    I see nothing immoral about Brown wanting to enforce his exclusive rights,

    Gospel of St Luke (The Sermon on the Mount - probably the most central and definitive moral statement in Christianity - which - even if many don't accept it these days - remains the code on which most of our Western nations were founded one way or another)

    "and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also."
    Luke 6:29

    So it is not ultimately moral even to try and defend physical property!

    Now I accept that this is a "hard saying" when it comes to physical property but it is there in the Gospel and it totally undermines the idea that defending you rights is a moral thing to do.

     

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    kryptonianjorel (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You did it right there!

    "If people don't like the legal restrictions of copyright, they should change the law. That would be moral."

    So its moral if its legal, and immoral if it is illegal.

    Anyways, your contract analogy is poor. When I BUY something, it is mine to do what I want with it. Now, if I contract something from someone, there may be restrictions. But you're saying that people who BOUGHT this sheet music are still restricted from doing what they want with it (putting it on TPB or the like). Thats not right.

    Civil disobedience seems to be the chosen method for changing the law here, like during prohibition and the civil rights movement. Politicians are in the pockets of the Music/Movie industry. It would be nearly impossible to have positive copyright reform through electing politicians. One day the law will change, and I will continue my part in making that happen.

    You forget that these 'Rights' that you speak of were granted by law, not by some natural force. While copyright infringement (NOT STEALING) is illegal, I don't see how morality is involved at all.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Beat you bitch ;)"

    Mine had a link and pretty formatting. Bite me!

     

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  56.  
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    Mike C. (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 1:28pm

    Re: Re: ...coward...

    Actually, you can use another part of Mike's post to make the A.C. post a lot more accurate. Replace every instance of should (moral argument) with will (economic argument) and the post actually makes quite a bit more sense... :-)

     

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    bob, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 1:32pm

    and it's worse for other artists

    If you're a writer who can't make money over the artificial scarcity of playing in a small venue, well, you're really toast. Sure he'll claim that creators should get paid, but then he'll argue that anyone should be able to make endless copies of what you write. So in order to be a writer, you've got to sell t-shirts or some other crap that people don't really want and are a total waste of environmental resources. But hey, you've still got your right to make money in theory. It's just he'll sneer and insult any mechanism you imagine.

     

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  58.  
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    bob, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hah. This is like saying, I'm not saying "women should get raped", I'm just saying that they "will get raped." It's very different but it allows me to toss up my shoulders and say, "Let's stop enforcing all laws against rape because it 'will' happen." I'm just the messenger, not the rapist.

     

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  59.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re:

    "WE'RE NOT MAKING A MORAL FUCKING ARGUMENT!"

    I'ma contradict you cuz you called me a bitch. Copyright is immoral.

     

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  60.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Ah, sorry, I'll amend:

    Ahem, MOST OF US ARE NOT MAKING A MORAL FUCKING ARGUMENT!

    Cool?

     

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  61.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: The chicken may not be copyritten but.....

    "Tell that to Monsanto. The argument would be that all living things have a fixed genetic code."

    Ah, but Monsanto relied on patents rather than copyright.

     

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  62.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Hah. This is like saying, I'm not saying "women should get raped", I'm just saying that they "will get raped." It's very different but it allows me to toss up my shoulders and say, "Let's stop enforcing all laws against rape because it 'will' happen." I'm just the messenger, not the rapist."

    Thankfully, copyright infringement is nothing like rape. With that in mind, what is your point?

    The only thing copyright infringement and rape have in common is that they are unlawful. In substituting one for the other I might assume that your point is that copyright infringement is unlawful. As no one here is arguing that copyright infringement is lawful, I ask again, what is your point?

     

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  63.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Cool?"

    Way to ruin my contrary stance. Uh, I mean yes.

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:06pm

    Ethical and economic principles are often congruent.

    Ethical and economic principles are not always congruent.

    The rule here seems to be that whenever congruency is absent, economic principles always win and ethical principles are merely a utopian ideal of no moment.

    It sounds to me as if the entire notion of right and wrong has gone the way of the "buggy whip".

     

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  65.  
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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Dowling involved interstate transportation of bootleg recordings which were manufactured by the defendants. The Court held that if someone takes someone else's copyrighted work and at his own expense makes a truckload of copies of it, then those copies don't fall under the ambit of § 2314. Just because the bootlegs weren't stolen property under § 2314 doesn't mean the copyrighted work that was used to create them wasn't stolen to begin with.

    Justice Blackmun says the recordings were "stolen, converted or taken by fraud only in the sense that they were manufactured and distributed without the consent of the copyright owners of the musical compositions performed on the records." Note that he does in fact say they were "stolen," at least in one sense.

    I understand the differences and similarities between theft and infringement, as does Justice Blackmun. I never said theft and infringement were exactly the same thing.

     

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  66.  
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    R. Miles (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:06pm

    Re: " But copyright was never about "control." "

    "Uh, yes it was and it still is."
    No, it's not. It never has been and never will be. It is about punishing those who purposely infringe works.

    Show me anywhere in copyright which states "Copyright owners have full control". You won't find it.

    Instead, you'll find definitions (absurd ones at that) which define infringement and the penalties which can be awarded from violators.

    Even if we read the DMCA, no where does it say "The copyright owners have full control over DVD players to brick them the moment they want to upgrade their security layer."

    Instead, it says: "Copyright owners can bitch-slap the hell out of anyone who circumvents security, or willfully obtains infringing works, just to play a movie they legally paid for."

    As I've told many artists: they don't control their works. The market does. The sooner they realize this, the sooner they can start building a relationship to get people to open their wallets. Hint: it's not wise to force those wallets open.

     

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  67.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm the great compromiser, the bringer together of sides, and the slayer of stupidity.

    I. Am. Dark Helmet.

    ....and a little hungry, too....

     

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  68.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I never said theft and infringement were exactly the same thing."

    Sigh...

    "Nor do I understand the argument that infringement isn't stealing. Appropriating something for yourself that you have no right to appropriate is theft in my book."

    Yeah, you kind of did. Do you really want to argue exact wording, or would you rather tip your cap and say you fucked up once? It's really not a big deal. I fuck up all the time and I'm still breathing....

     

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  69.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:11pm

    Re:

    "It sounds to me as if the entire notion of right and wrong has gone the way of the "buggy whip"."

    And other than some very basic rules of life and liberty, thank fucking God....

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:12pm

    Re: Re: It's simple: Don't dis your fans

    "There are no starving vegetarians."

    It can be argued that the meat industry is not doing starving people much good when plants tend to be a much more efficient source of food. Plus, it isn't necessarily true that copying a chicken solves world hunger unless you defy physics. There is the cost of the 'ink' to consider, as well as the efficiency of the process.

     

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  71.  
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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Re:

    I can read. There's no need to react that way. It strikes me as immature.

    I know Mike explicitly said this isn't about morality, but then the very title of this article makes it clear that Mike thinks it's strange that Brown is "standing by his position that kids sharing his music are immoral."

    I read the article to support the position that since copyright infringement is going to happen anyway, then it's OK. I think that ignoring the moral issue, not to mention the legal issue, is just rationalizing, IMO.

    And saying that Brown has the duty to conduct his business in a way such so that people can infringe on his works is crazy.

     

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  72.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:27pm

    The death rattle of the buggy whip.

    ...all well and good.

    However, we're talking about SHEET MUSIC here.

    Some of us already thought that market was pretty dead and had been pretty dead since before any of us were even born. Whining about the "death of sheet music" in 2010 seems oddly out of step with the times.

    Being a jerk is no way to win fans and make money. This is especially true if you are someone for whom and incident such as this is your introduction to the general public.

    Perhaps that "obscurity" thing is the bigger issue.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ""I never said theft and infringement were exactly the same thing."

    Sigh...

    "Nor do I understand the argument that infringement isn't stealing. Appropriating something for yourself that you have no right to appropriate is theft in my book."

    Yeah, you kind of did. Do you really want to argue exact wording, or would you rather tip your cap and say you fucked up once? It's really not a big deal. I fuck up all the time and I'm still breathing...."

    Oh, I wanna argue. :)

    I never said copyright infringement and theft of property were exactly the same in every single way. Nor would I ever say that because I full well understand the difference. IMO calling it theft is OK. When people call it theft, I know what they mean. When I say theft, I know what I mean. In one sense, it is theft. Justice Blackmun agrees.

     

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  74.  
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    Ryan, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The argument being made is that the moral question is moot - technological advancement has occurred such that copying and sharing and widespread, uncontrolled distribution of digital media will occur mostly unimpeded by anybody's effort to control it (unless we want to become more like China or north Korea, and then I think you kinda lose the whole morality argument).

    Brown can stand there and bitch and whine and moan about how the majority of society doesn't share his and your moral stance on copyright, but he's effectively pissing in the wind(I think of a Muslim that just moved to America and rants that the women here should be covered up and in the kitchen). We'll all go on doing it anyway, and he won't be making any of the money he could've been if he had embraced the change and adopted a different business model. Or he could also cease to produce new music and become forgotten and irrelevant. I don't really care what he does with his business, and neither does anyone else really.

    But you have yet to explain why you think it's immoral to engage in an act that reduces scarcity, outside of tie-ins to legality that you yourself have said do not provide the basis for you morality. People do not exist solely to give musicians their money.

     

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    Richard (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:28pm

    Re:


    Ethical and economic principles are not always congruent.

    The rule here seems to be that whenever congruency is absent, economic principles always win and ethical principles are merely a utopian ideal of no moment.

    It sounds to me as if the entire notion of right and wrong has gone the way of the "buggy whip".


    There are a lot of different ethical principles out there - on close inspection a lot of them amount to little more than "I think".

    Ethical and economic principles are always congruent. If yours appear not to be then you have made a mistake in your ethics (or in your economics).

    A clue is that if your ethical principles don't leave you personally feeling a bit uncomfortable about your life then they are not ethical principles - they are just self justification.

     

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    eclecticdave (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Exactly, I'm not a US citizen but my understanding is congress can "make no law" that violates the constitution.

    So if copyright law as it stands fails to promote the progress then it is unconstitutional.

     

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    btrussell (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Re: It's simple: Don't dis your fans

    So why do they cull deer herds?

     

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    JEDIDIAH, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:32pm

    The new reality.

    The new reality is that artists need to be able to make money in an environment where no one is forced to pay. Life can be unfair sometime. This is probably one of those times.

    Now the fact that you can't force anyone to pay doesn't necessarily mean that no one will. Although whining and lecturing potential customers probably won't help your bottom line.

     

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    RadialSkid, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "And saying that Brown has the duty to conduct his business in a way such so that people can infringe on his works is crazy."

    He has the duty to conduct his business in a way that will get him PAID. Whining about something he's powerless to stop will not get him paid.

    The face of copyright in this country is not GOING to change, it already IS changing. If the man can't adapt to this change, he needs to find another revenue stream. Complaining will not pay the mortgage.

     

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    JEDIDIAH, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:42pm

    An old categorical imperative.

    You may not be willing to make the "moral" argument but I will.

    Moral wrong requires actual harm be done to someone. A "potential" wrong is not good enough. A copyright violation is a "potential" wrong. It represents a market transaction for a good with a zero price. Since price is inversely proportional to demand, piracy represents "infinite demand". It doesn't bear any resemblance to market reality.

    Selling bootlegs is immoral. It robs the owner of the copyright their due from people obviously willing to pay and it potentially harms the victim that has been sold a fraudulent counterfeit copy of the work in question.

    If you can't express the harm in dollars, it's a self serving fantasy based on a mathematical absurdity (zero cost & infinite demand).

    The "wouldn't buy it if forced" crowd is ultimately meaningless. They only exist because there is a zero cost option. The original author is only aware of the zero cost transaction because of the same improved communications technology that allows for the zero cost copy.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Just because the bootlegs weren't stolen property under § 2314 doesn't mean the copyrighted work that was used to create them wasn't stolen to begin with."

    Stealing a copyright means to appropriate someones copyright, to rob them of the use of it, to literally take it. Stealing a copyright is analogous with identity theft. Only one person can claim an identity at the same time, thus it is taken, thus they lose the use of it. Ditto for copyright. However much you may think copyright infringement has in common with theft, the word already has a literal application in relation to copyright.

    "Note that he does in fact say they were "stolen," at least in one sense."

    Which is insufficient reason to use the word as if it means something else. I could say I stole a kiss, but I could not include a kiss in a list of stolen items. The two uses of the word are different.

    You originally said: "Appropriating something for yourself that you have no right to appropriate is theft in my book."

    Copying something is not appropriating it. If you denied everyone else the right to copy something then you would be appropriating it. Copyright appropriates, copyright infringement does not. Actual appropriation would be as in my analogy of identity theft.

    "I understand the differences and similarities between theft and infringement, as does Justice Blackmun. I never said theft and infringement were exactly the same thing."

    You don't even understand what appropriation means.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "You say that it's not immoral because it's illegal, but then the entire rest of your response goes into how you think everything is immoral because it's illegal. Why is it immoral to infringe on his rights? Was it immoral for Rosa Parks to infringe on the rights of white bus riders, or for Jews to infringe on the good sensibilities of Aryans? . . ."

    Legal rights stem from moral rights. That the two overlap is not surprising.

    And are you saying infringers are like Rosa Parks? LOL! Yeah, so noble.

     

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    JEDIDIAH, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:46pm

    The law is actually pretty clear on the matter.

    > If copyright isn't about control, what is it about?

    Adding to the public domain.

    That is the only reason that the Congress is authorized to create such a statutory right.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I never said copyright infringement and theft of property were exactly the same in every single way. Nor would I ever say that because I full well understand the difference. IMO calling it theft is OK. When people call it theft, I know what they mean. When I say theft, I know what I mean. In one sense, it is theft. Justice Blackmun agrees."

    Well, fair enough then, we just don't agree. And His Honor did not implicitly agree with you, nor I guess did he implicitly agree with me. Rereading it in total, it looks more like he was describing the fact that people are going to argue about it, as have we.

    Oh well....

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Of course infringing on someone's rights is immoral. Can I infringe on your rights? Would you like that? Immoral in my book just means it's wrong.

    Are you saying that since you never agreed to Brown having his rights, you can infringe on them and that's OK? Guess I'll just infringe on your rights, seeing as I never agreed you have them.

    It's not inherently immoral to break the law, but it usually works out that way since laws are based on morals.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I know Mike explicitly said this isn't about morality, but then the very title of this article makes it clear that Mike thinks it's strange that Brown is "standing by his position that kids sharing his music are immoral.""

    Okay, how you can write the beginning of that sentence and then conclude w/the end? The title suggests that the "immoral" argument doesn't make sense because there is no morality at work here....

    "I read the article to support the position that since copyright infringement is going to happen anyway, then it's OK."

    Almost, but not quite. The position is if copyright infringement is going to happen anyway, it's better to change in such a way as to utilize it rather than just complaining....

    "And saying that Brown has the duty to conduct his business in a way such so that people can infringe on his works is crazy."

    I didn't say that, I said within the basic frameworks of economics. That means supply and demand, which he can't seem to understand....

     

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    JEDIDIAH, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:53pm

    The Boomer Mentality

    The obvious moral principle is that if you take from the commons then you should give back to the commons.

    No one in "content production" feels the need to give back to the commons anymore. They have hijacked the notion of copyright to mean some sort of intellectual land grab. They've gotten theirs and now they don't care if every one else is screwed.

    The "kid" that was criticized by the "artist" seems herself to be a young struggling artist. She represents the next generation that seeks to build something new based on what came before her.

    It's the perfect little snapshot of the current state of copyright as it relates to art rather than business.

    It's a great illustration of the problems inherent with excessive, ever-growing copyright terms.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Buying something doesn't give you the right to do whatever you please with it. If you buy a gun, can you murder someone with it? No. If you buy a CD, can you create copies of it and sell them on the internet? Of course not.

    How is it "not right" that you can't publish someone else's copyrighted work? If you write a book, can I scratch out your name, put my own on it, and then sell it to the world? Nope.

    Civil disobedience? Nope. People trying to get stuff for free while rationalizing their behavior. If Brown wanted to give away his stuff for free, he could. He's chosen not to, and I respect that.

    To me the morality is taking something that I don't have the right to take. Just because the thing can be replicated infinitely many times without depriving the owner of his copy doesn't change the moral calculus for me. To each his own.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Of course infringing on someone's rights is immoral. Can I infringe on your rights? Would you like that? Immoral in my book just means it's wrong."

    Oh, come on, this black and white world stuff has GOT to stop. It isn't that simple, and infringing on someone's so called rights is NOT always wrong. Deep south laws up until the 80's are a prime example. As is apartheid. All kinds of government granted rights throughout history have been absolute bullshit, and infringing on those bad rights wasn't immoral. Other times it is, depending on your completely subjective morality.

    "Are you saying that since you never agreed to Brown having his rights, you can infringe on them and that's OK?"

    No, no, no. Copyright isn't an agreement between the creator and the consumer. It's an agreement between the GOVERNMENT and the consumer, in which the govt. grants copyright in exchange for the consumer getting more content. It's been abused. Infringing on copyright is a matter of non-violent protest against the government renegging on their half of the deal, not a slap to the creator. In all reality, the government (and, by benefit, the creator) broke the deal first, not the public....

    "It's not inherently immoral to break the law, but it usually works out that way since laws are based on morals."

    I....I....I just don't even know where to begin w/THAT one....

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Fair enough. Reasonable minds can and do differ. :)

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I know what appropriation means. Don't be silly.

    Copying someone else's copyrighted work without permission misappropriates their exclusive rights in that work.

    Copyright appropriates and copyright infringement does not? Try telling that one to a judge and jury. LOL!

    I get your point, but you are in the minority opinion. Society simply disagrees with you.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:04pm

    Re:

    The rule here seems to be that whenever congruency is absent, economic principles always win and ethical principles are merely a utopian ideal of no moment.

    That is a clear misrepresentation of what I have said. You're smarter than that.

    What I said was that moral rights only come into play in scenarios in which a choice hurts some people, and you need to choose, effectively, how to distribute the "harm." That's a moral discussion.

    My point was that if the economics of the situation opens up the door to everyone being better off, moral rights don't even come into play, because there's no moral question to answer.

    Now you and I discussed this years ago, and you shocked me by saying you believe that scenarios where *everyone is better off* can be immoral. Personally, I find such a stance to be abhorrent. Who would ever recommend a setup where everyone is worse off to one where everyone is better off? You failed to answer that.

    Now for you to come here and misrepresent my position is rather pathetic.

    It sounds to me as if the entire notion of right and wrong has gone the way of the "buggy whip".


    Not at all. Right and wrong are important, but how can there be "wrong" if everyone is better off?

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Infringement is people protesting the government? I always thought it was people just taking stuff that isn't theirs since it's so easy to do nowadays.

    I respect authors. That's why I don't infringe on their rights.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:08pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I read the article to support the position that since copyright infringement is going to happen anyway, then it's OK. I think that ignoring the moral issue, not to mention the legal issue, is just rationalizing, IMO.

    The point isn't to ignore the moral issue. It's to notice that there is no moral question here. If Brown were to embrace smarter business models, he'd be better off. That becomes a win-win scenario where no one is worse off, and thus there is no moral question.

    And saying that Brown has the duty to conduct his business in a way such so that people can infringe on his works is crazy.

    No, you are misunderstanding. No one is saying he has to do anything. We're just saying that this is the market he faces. Complaining that it's immoral won't stop the file sharing. Embracing it, however, is likely to make him better off.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Of course infringing on someone's rights is immoral. Can I infringe on your rights? Would you like that? Immoral in my book just means it's wrong.

    Well, then one could easily make the argument that copyright is immoral, in that it is infringing on your rights to make a copy of something you have in your possession.

    See how that works?

     

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    Ryan, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "You say that it's not immoral because it's illegal, but then the entire rest of your response goes into how you think everything is immoral because it's illegal. Why is it immoral to infringe on his rights? Was it immoral for Rosa Parks to infringe on the rights of white bus riders, or for Jews to infringe on the good sensibilities of Aryans? . . ."

    Legal rights stem from moral rights. That the two overlap is not surprising.

    And are you saying infringers are like Rosa Parks? LOL! Yeah, so noble.


    No they don't, and that's exactly the point I was just making. Did the Jim Crow laws or the Nazi decrees stem from moral rights? I think not, because legal rights quite obviously do not stem from moral rights - they stem from the majority of politicians choosing for whatever reason to write them down on a document and officially enact them. There is an intersection between the two sets, but they are not equal.

    And are you saying infringers are like Rosa Parks? LOL! Yeah, so noble.

    No, and you're well aware that I didn't unless you're a complete idiot. That you wrote this indicates to me that you really are a troll that's completely full of shit as opposed to somebody that may have a legitimate opinion to the contrary. It was used as a clear example that laws do not necessarily have anything to do with morality(and morality is relative anyway).

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But we're talking about a situation where I don't have the right to copy something I have in my possession, so my rights are being infringed.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sorry, I meant "so my rights aren't being infringed."

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think we fundamentally disagree on this. I believe there is most certainly a moral issue here.

    Brown can choose a different business model if he wants to. So what. Does that mean we shouldn't respect the choice he has made?

    You're right, though, complaining probably won't stop anything.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think that legal rights stem from moral rights. Not always, and not perfectly, but in general. You disagree. I don't know where to go from there.

     

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    Sam I Am, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:39pm

    Mike said:

    "Complaining that it's immoral won't stop the file sharing. Embracing it, however, is likely to make him better off."

    Mike, you've been reading too much Neville Chamberlain.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neville_Chamberlain

    I've been reading Godwin. lol :-)

     

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    Benefacio, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:44pm

    Re: Re:

    No worries Nate, it's not that difficult to follow. Copyright covers the DISTRIBUTION of copy, not as some posit the act of either copying or creation. It is a maxim, I hope you agree, that in order to distribute content, that content must be first created. I also hope you agree that content kept to oneself only really benefits oneself rather than society at large. Lastly I hope you agree that while some people will always be creating new content, most will not and even those that do may need some additional enticement to share what has been created or to create in the first place.

    So, take all that and you get copyright; an incentive in the form of limited ownership of ACCESS to content vis a vis distribution rights that not only entice content creators to share but also entice people to who do not create (Mike has taken to calling them middlemen) to spread the content far and wide as well as entice those who would not ordinarily create content to do so thereby promoting the progress of science and the arts. Mind you this only works if distributors can see sort of return on their efforts, usually but not limited to money.

    That is how it is supposed to work, by the way, not how it actually works in the real world. Originally copyright was about censorship and it still seems to play a very large role in that today. Control always seems to lend itself to abuse, in my opinion.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't see the moral issue as being rendered moot by technology. I find that thought rather frightening.

    And are you saying that since copying decreases scarcity that makes it OK? That sounds like a rationalization.

    I think people who are fighting copyright are pissing in the wind. Centuries of precedent back my side of the argument.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't know. I think copyright will pretty much stay the same. I expect more cracking down on infringers both criminally and civilly.

     

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    Benefacio, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:50pm

    Nitpicking plus...

    And the argument is not that once you express a creative idea in any form it becomes "the property of the world," but that you physically cannot limit what happens to it.

    Actually, I CAN physically limit what happens to expressions of creative ideas. I think I understand what you are trying to say but what you said is only partially true. What you should have added is "limit what happens to it after it is distributed." Leaving things open by implication leaves things open to misinterpretation.

    suggesting that an invention that could solve world hunger is a bad thing?

    I will say that such a invention will POSITEVLY be a bad thing for some, possibly becoming a bad thing for everyone.

    Infringement is totally different than stealing. It is making a copy of something. You have not lost anything.

    Two of these statements are false. Making a copy of something is not automatically infringement. Things are indeed lost due to copyright infringement; it's just that those things are things not generally accepted as owned. One can lose opportunity, but one cannot own it. I think infringement also impacts market value, lowering the overall value of content in the marketplace as the supply, via illicit distribution, is increased.

    Which brings me back to something we have discussed in the past. It is my understanding that products equal money and money equals product. I think it is this that leads people to think of infringement as theft. It has long been recognized that money (separate from its physical representation, currency) can be stolen. When someone illicitly obtains their product, then someone has illicitly obtained their money, eo ipso, hence the thought that infringement is theft. Of what use is a diamond ring to a jewelry store if not as a stand-in for money?

     

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    Benefacio, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:54pm

    Re: Re:

    The actual free market is the file sharers.

    I disagree. A market is where goods or services are exchanged for other goods or services, or some sort of standardized counter that substitutes. That does not in any way describe file sharing, legal or otherwise.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 4:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But we're talking about a situation where I don't have the right to copy something I have in my possession, so my rights are being infringed.

    Why? If I hold something, I should have every right to make a copy of it. It's mine, right? Why are you setting up arbitrary rules that take away my rights?

    (Have you figured out what we're doing yet?)

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Mike said:

    Mike, you've been reading too much Neville Chamberlain.


    Um. Sam, do you really not realize the difference between appeasement and taking advantage of a situation?

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 4:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I know what appropriation means. Don't be silly.

    Copyright appropriates and copyright infringement does not? Try telling that one to a judge and jury. LOL!"


    Actually, I'll apologise here. I hadn't known that 'appropriate' has a colloquialism that actually made it into Webster's dictionary. I'll snobbishly point out that Webster's third edition isn't fit to wipe your arse with, but concede that your use of the word may have some foundation (even if it isn't in the Queen's English).

    Having said that, the most generous colloquial definition (to take or make use of without authority or right), is essentially the same as the colloquial use of the word 'theft' in the same context. It's all well and good for expressing your feelings, but trying to make an argument out of it is a bit silly. The only thing taken is a copy and the only authority is the law, which is the very thing at question.

     

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    Benefacio, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 4:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Did the Jim Crow laws or the Nazi decrees stem from moral rights?

    I find it interesting that you don't think these are two instances of laws being enacted based on the morals of the day. I think they are a fine example of laws based on the morals of the politicians and their supporters.

    Remember, politicians never work in a vacuum, they just swell up and possibly explode, depending on the politician.

     

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    Richard (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 4:16pm

    Re: Re:

    What I said was that moral rights only come into play in scenarios in which a choice hurts some people, and you need to choose, effectively, how to distribute the "harm." That's a moral discussion.

    That is indeed one kind of moral discussion - however there is another kind also. The other kind of moral discussion is the one that relates not to how your moral choices affect others but to how they affect you.

    Mike - you clearly have made one of those choices when you decided that you personally would not infringe on copyrights - even when you believe that doing so would not do harm to the copyright holder. The the only possible reason for doing that is the effect that such decision has on you.

    On the other hand the decision that a copyright holder makes to enforce "all rights reserved" has an effect on him. That effect is the main reason I would suggest he should move to a freer model of distribution. It is extremely damaging to psychological (some would say spiritual) health to spend effort trying to defend your "property" and very beneficial to mental health to give things away ( I have seen reports of a study that demonstrated this effect on the BBC - but I haven't been able to find an internet link to it yet)

     

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    vrob (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 4:20pm

    Re:

    "If copyright isn't about control, what is it about?"

    Consider this quote from Justice Stewart: The immediate effect of our copyright law is to secure a fair return to an "author's" creative labor. But the ultimate aim is, by this incentive, to stimulate artistic creativity for the general public good. "The sole interest of the United States and the primary object in conferring the monopoly," this Court has said, "lie in the general benefits derived by the public from the labors of authors."

    Copyright always involves finding a balance between providing an economic incentive to create new works and the detrimental effect of limiting the public's ability to access and use such works. The emphasis seems to have shifted toward providing an economic incentive to the copyright holder (not necessarily the individual author) as opposed to encouraging the dissemination of an author's work for the benefit of the public.

    Most if not all of the changes to US copyright law in recent times have essentially been written by the major copyright industries for their own benefit. As a result, the balance struck by the current law strongly favors the economic rights of the copyright holder over any public benefit that may be derived from the creation of new works.

    Additionally, US copyright law has an extremely limited "moral rights" provision. This would be the part of the law that actually gives an author the right to control how his or her work is used (even after relinquishing the copyright). This would seem to suggest that copyright law in the US is about something other than control.

     

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    Benefacio, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 4:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Mike, your argument as is fails because possession does not equal ownership. Possession gives abilities, not rights. Just because you possess a car does not mean you have the right to paint it a different color, or strip it down and sell it for parts.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 4:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Mike, your argument as is fails because possession does not equal ownership. Possession gives abilities, not rights. Just because you possess a car does not mean you have the right to paint it a different color, or strip it down and sell it for parts.

    You still haven't figured out what we're doing, have you?

    Ok. Let's keep going.

    Please explain what gives a content creator -- with whom I have made no deal -- to then tell me how I can or cannot enjoy his work?

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 4:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Of course infringing on someone's rights is immoral."

    Only if you accept those rights. Generally such things are considered in terms of reciprocity.

    "Are you saying that since you never agreed to Brown having his rights, you can infringe on them and that's OK?"

    That is part of the reason, yes.

    "Can I infringe on your rights? Would you like that? Immoral in my book just means it's wrong."

    Depends which rights you are talking about. If you're talking about copyright, then sure, knock yourself out.

    "It's not inherently immoral to break the law, but it usually works out that way since laws are based on morals."

    Then breaking copyright must be OK, because it isn't based on any moral code that I adhere to.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 4:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I prefer Black's Law Dictionary:

    "appropriation, n. 1. The exercise of control over property; a taking of possession."

     

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  117.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 4:49pm

    Re: Nitpicking plus...

    It is my understanding that products equal money and money equals product.

    Only true when such an exchange takes place - and only at the point of exchange and only if you take into account all the other factors surrounding a sale.

    Suppose there are two shops selling exactly the same rice in town. One of them is in the central area and is convenient for your work. The other is on the outskirts in a cheap industrial unit. It charges only half the price of the central shop. Nonetheless you often use the expensive shop because it is convenient - but from time to time you go and buy a big batch from the cheap place.

    Now there is a packet of rice in your cupboard - you can't remember where you bought it. How does your "product=money" equation work now?

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 4:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Just because you hold a CD doesn't mean you have every right to make a copy of it and share it with others. In fact, you generally do not. Possession of the CD doesn't imply ownership of all the rights in the CD.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 4:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You know the answer: copyright gives the author certain exclusive rights.

     

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  120.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 4:52pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Copyright covers the DISTRIBUTION of copy, not as some posit the act of either copying or creation."

    Actually, US copyright law does not only cover distribution.

     

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  121.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    'I prefer Black's Law Dictionary:

    "appropriation, n. 1. The exercise of control over property; a taking of possession."'


    Odd that you would quote a definition that does not apply to your use of the word. In terms of copyright the right itself could be considered property, but infringing it exercises no control over it.

     

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  122.  
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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You don't think society gets anything back in return? I see lots of reciprocity with copyright. That's the whole point.

     

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  123.  
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    Benefacio, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Indeed, let us keep going!

    What gives anyone the right to restrict you from any action?

    Usually, but not always, the right extends from your action interfering with one or more of my rights. As in you do not have the right to paint or strip and sell the parts of my car that you have stolen but have in your possesion.

    I know you are perfectly aware that the law of the land trumps all deals. I also know you are aware of the difference between enjoyng someone's work and performing an illegal activity. Trying to tie the two together in this way does not, in my opinion, bolster you point. Ultimately the answer to the question you posed is the law.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Infringing copyright is exercising control over property, by definition.

     

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  125.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "You know the answer: copyright gives the author certain exclusive rights."

    Seriously? You are still begging the question. There's so much circular here that I'm getting dizzy.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Circular. Nope. People are trying to make it circular, but it is not.

    I do not have certain rights in the CD that I purchase. The rights weren't taken away from me since I never had them in the first place.

     

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  127.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I know you are perfectly aware that the law of the land trumps all deals."

    No, it doesn't.

    "Ultimately the answer to the question you posed is the law."

    Not you too. Were you and average guy absent when they taught logic? If the ultimate answer is the law and the argument is over the law, then the law is going to lose the argument because it has no 'higher authority' to appeal to. It's the epitome of circular reasoning to use the conclusion as the premise for your argument.

     

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    Nina Paley (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:28pm

    Re: The death rattle of the buggy whip.

    Being a jerk is no way to win fans and make money.

    Amen, brother.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I do not have certain rights in the CD that I purchase. The rights weren't taken away from me since I never had them in the first place."

    Really? Can I have all your stuff then, as you have no right to it?

    Physical property - natural right, immeasurably old concept. Copyright - lawful construct, barely 300 years old in its current form.

     

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    Benefacio, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:33pm

    Re: Re:

    You know, it is funny to me that Mike and others seem to understand the difference between creation and innovation when talking about patents but seem to lose the same understanding when talking about copyright. With all due respect to Justice Stewart, copyright has nothing to with creativity. In fact, all creativity could stop right this instant, with no new works ever created unto the end of time and the basic logic of copyright would still be valid and applicible because copyright is and always has been about distribution of content.

    I don't care what is created, how can anyone expect a return on their labor if they never share it? There is no statute or clause in any copyright provision of any country that I am aware of that has any language providing direct support for creating. It is all about sharing because logically, that is where the money is.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Insulting my intelligence makes you look stupid.

     

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  132.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "You don't think society gets anything back in return? I see lots of reciprocity with copyright. That's the whole point."

    No, I don't. Besides which, my point was to do with the concept of 'Do to no one what you yourself dislike', to quote the Bible.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I didn't say that I have no rights in all of my stuff. Misstating my argument makes you look stupid.

    Copyright was not needed until the ability to mass produce copies was invented. Your argument smells of rationalization.

    Enough about me, tell me your great plans for intellectual property. I'm all ears.

     

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  134.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Insulting my intelligence makes you look stupid."

    That makes no sense. Insulting your intelligence makes you look stupid, it makes me look impolite (to put it politely). Frankly, I figured that you were taking the piss yourself.

     

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  135.  
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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You think there's no reciprocity with copyright? Fine with me. Think what you want. You of course know that lots of people disagree. Woopity doo.

     

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    Nina Paley (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If you write a book, can I scratch out your name, put my own on it, and then sell it to the world?

    Go for it. Here's my Free movie Sita Sings the Blues. Please copy it - at any resolution! Archive.org offers a 200 GB uncompressed version suitable for making a new 35mm film negative. Scratch my name out and put yours on instead. That would normally violate the CC-BY-SA license on it, but for you, average_joe, I hereby grant an exception. Go ahead. Cross out my name and put yours on. Now sell copies that way. See what happens. Then come back and tell us how it works out.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'll check it out. Thanks!

    You choose to share. Brown does not. I respect you both. ;)

     

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  138.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I didn't say that I have no rights in all of my stuff. Misstating my argument makes you look stupid."

    Ah, so conveniently the rights only appear when copyright isn't around.

    "Copyright was not needed until the ability to mass produce copies was invented. Your argument smells of rationalization."

    Actually, as it originated as a form of censorship copyright was around long before mass production. Plus, you ignore the natural right distinction.

    "Enough about me, tell me your great plans for intellectual property. I'm all ears."

    Your sarcasm is noted.

     

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  139.  
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    Benefacio, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:47pm

    Re: Re: Nitpicking plus...

    I would be interested in your definition of money. Mine follows an entry from Wikipedia on currency...

    a circulating medium of exchange based on a unit of account which quickly becomes a store of value

    With that, the answer to your question is that my equation stays the same. Price is irrelevant, as is gain, loss or neither. I can take the rice in my cupboard and sell it, for whatever price I can get, and buy cheese, which I prefer over rice. :)That gives me the equation that rice equals money equals cheese. Barter is when you cut out the middle unit of exchange, money, such that rice equals cheese.

    Does that clear it up at all?

     

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  140.  
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    Modplan (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ow is it "not right" that you can't publish someone else's copyrighted work?


    If there's no evidence of harm, how is it right that they can stop me creating copies of something I already own?

    If you write a book, can I scratch out your name, put my own on it, and then sell it to the world? Nope.


    Plagiarism is not the same as copyright infringement. Entirely different issue.

    To me the morality is taking something that I don't have the right to take.


    Like taking away peoples right to copy and share things they own.

     

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  141.  
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    Modplan (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You of course know there are actual studies that have been conducted that indicate there is little to no reciprocity with copyright.

     

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    Benefacio, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Money - the most intellectual property of all, the theft of which has been accepted as wrong for thousands of years.

    Copyright was not needed until the ability to mass produce copies was invented.

    Not true at all. Copyright is about distribution; depending on when in history we are talking about tells whether it is about aiding or hindering it. The ease of todays mass distribution is what lessens the need for copyright, in my opinion.

     

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  143.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Infringing copyright is exercising control over property, by definition."

    Which definition?

     

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    Nina Paley (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Be sure to clearly state that you wrote, produced, directed, etc. The point here is to commit fraud against the audience, by falsely representing authorship. Normally people think the fraud of plagiarism harms authors, but the real harm is to the public, a.k.a. the audience. See how kindly the audience - on whom you depend for sales - treats you when you overtly set out to harm them.

     

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  145.  
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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm waiting to hear your great plans. Seriously. I'm not convinced you actually have any answers. It's easy to criticize.

     

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  146.  
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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Publishing someone else's book as my own work would be copyright infringement, no?

    Nobody is taking away people's right to copy since they never had the right to begin with.

     

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  147.  
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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And I assume there's a study that says the opposite.

    Look at Brown. It appears that society is made better by his work, and he has been made better by his rights in the work. It appears to be working to me.

     

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  148.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I'm waiting to hear your great plans. Seriously. I'm not convinced you actually have any answers. It's easy to criticize."

    You can wait all you want, I don't claim to have any 'great plans'.

     

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  149.  
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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I checked out your site. Pretty cool. You do realize that the license scheme you've set up is made possible and enforceable because of copyright. You are reserving some rights. So is Brown. I respect an author's choice to reserve their rights within the law as they see fit.

     

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  150.  
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    Benefacio, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So you choose to ingnore the definition of the phrase "the law" to try to bolstor your argument? That doesn't sound like logic to me.

    For clarification, I define "the law" as the unacceptable (and by logical default, the acceptable) actions allowed by the society over which the power to enact punishment for breaking said law is allowed/enforced. In this specific case the citizenry of the United State of America and anyone we can get to agree with us by any means. Please remember, or be advised as the case may be, that the US of A is not a democracy so it is ok if some of the citizenry does not agree with the law.

    I suppose the answer you might have been looking for is the power of the people to enforce their will.

     

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  151.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You know the answer: copyright gives the author certain exclusive rights.


    Then we're going around in a circle. Which was the point I was proving.

    You claimed it was moral because it infringed on "rights." I was trying to show you that those "rights" are legal, not moral. The only reason *those* rights exist, but my right to do what I want with content I legally purchased does not, is because of excess lobbying by the industry.

    That's the point.

     

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  152.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Usually, but not always, the right extends from your action interfering with one or more of my rights. As in you do not have the right to paint or strip and sell the parts of my car that you have stolen but have in your possesion.

    But when anyone of those rights is arbitrarily assigned, then we have a problem. That's the issue here.

    The only reason I'm prevented from making a copy (i.e., taking nothing away from you at all), is because of copyright laws. That is an infringement on my *natural* rights by your *legal rights*. Who prevails morally speaking?

     

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  153.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:35pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I don't care what is created, how can anyone expect a return on their labor if they never share it? There is no statute or clause in any copyright provision of any country that I am aware of that has any language providing direct support for creating. It is all about sharing because logically, that is where the money is.

    And so? What does that have to do with gov't granted monopolies?

     

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  154.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Money - the most intellectual property of all, the theft of which has been accepted as wrong for thousands of years.

    No. Money is not intellectual property at all. Money is a representation of value. i.e., it is, in fact, a scarce resources. Even if you print more money, the money supply effectively evens out through inflation. That is you can't actually make more *real* money.

    It is, by definition, a scarce resource.

    Intellectual property, on the other hand, is not.

    Copyright was not needed until the ability to mass produce copies was invented.


    Huh?

     

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  155.  
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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't see the circle. Copyright reserves certain rights for the author of a CD. The purchaser of a CD does not lose those rights since he never had them to begin with. I believe that these legal rights stem from moral rights.

    Are you saying that copyright has no moral basis and therefore should has no legal basis? Are you saying that copyright doesn't do the public any good?

     

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    Modplan (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Not one that could probably be considered reputable, no.

    Correlation != causation. The fact that copyrights exist do not mean they were responsible for the creation of the work. It is possible if not likely he may have created them if copyright had not existed, and been been able to make money even if they had not existed. Not to mention whether copyright for society as whole is a benefit.

     

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    Benefacio, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Mike I am surpised at your response which confuses money with currency. Money can exist entirely independant of any form of physical currency. Anything can be used, physical or not, as currency but money is always money.

    Just because something is non-physical and/or intellectual does not mean it can not be a scarce resource.

     

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    Modplan (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Publishing someone elses work under your name is plagiarism, not copyright infringement. Redistributing/publishing a work without authorization from the copyright holder is infringement.

    And yes, there is a natural right and ability to copy and reproduce works. It's the law that says you cannot under the assumption that allowing it would be detrimental to society, but it should be noted that assumption was made when it was still difficult and costly for the public to do so at the time, quite different from now.

     

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    Benefacio, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think you are confusing natural right with natural ability. I do not see the two as the same. Just because you have the ability to do something does not mean you have the right to do it.

    Our rights come from our ability to enforce whatever we, individually or as a group, believe them to be. I do not see those rights as having been arbitrarily assigned but rather assigned through due deliberation and legal processes accepted by the majority of citizenry. When the majority of citizens here decide copyright needs to go then it will; either through legal amendments to the Constitution or through the time honored method of armed revolt.

    To be frankley honest, nothing prevents you from making copies, legal or illegal, except you. The law only provides for punishment if/when caught and hopes said threat will induce you to obey.

     

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    Benefacio, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Nothing Mike, why bring that strawman up? Land Ownership is a gov't granted monopoly, I don't see you whining about it.

    We are talking in this part of the comments about copyright renumerating an act of content creation. I put forth that it does not and is not designed to, at least not directly. It is the act of sharing rather than creation that copyright is designed to entice.

     

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  161.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    How is having a stagnating public domain a public good?

     

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  162.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The future will not be kind to the control freaks.

     

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  163.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 8:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So what happens when I'm able to make a total digital copy of my environment with machines whose functions are to make copies of things?

    Who stops that?

     

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  164.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 8:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I've got over 13 billion years of precendent that says you're wrong.

     

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  165.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 8:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Criminally? How?

     

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  166.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 9:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't see the circle. Copyright reserves certain rights for the author of a CD. The purchaser of a CD does not lose those rights since he never had them to begin with. I believe that these legal rights stem from moral rights.

    False. Copyright (in the US) has no moral rights.

    But, the point is that there are natural rights and there are rights set by the state. Copyright is set by the state, and it takes away my natural right to copy what is in my possession. Now, you can make the argument that this has a net benefit for society, and we can then argue whether or not that's true. But you cannot argue that copyright does not take away society's rights. So your argument that copyright is somehow moral and copying is not BECAUSE it involves taking away someone's rights is not true.

    It's tautological.

    I'm sorry that you don't see the circle but it's there. The only reason that copying "takes away someone's right" is because the law says it does. Without that, there is no right to take away.

    So you can't just say that it's immoral because it takes away someone's right. Not when that right is created by the government and does so in a way that takes away others' natural rights.

     

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  167.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 9:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Mike I am surpised at your response which confuses money with currency. Money can exist entirely independant of any form of physical currency. Anything can be used, physical or not, as currency but money is always money.

    I did not make the error you think I made. I used currency (the addition of currency to the market) to explain why money is scarce and not intellectual property. But the point was that money, currency or non-currency, is a scarce resource. Intellectual output is not.

    Just because something is non-physical and/or intellectual does not mean it can not be a scarce resource.


    I never said that either. Obviously, we talk about lots of non-physical scarce resources (time/attention/etc.). But, again, money is not, by any stretch of the imagination, intellectual property.

    Want proof: it existed way prior to any IP laws. IP needs laws for it to exist. Money did not.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 9:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Nothing Mike, why bring that strawman up? Land Ownership is a gov't granted monopoly, I don't see you whining about it.


    Not true. Land ownership existed long before property laws did. It was enforced by force. But it is natural, not an artificial gov't creation. It was just that it used to be handled by force.

    Property is a natural rights concept because if you possess something, you can block others from using it.

    We are talking in this part of the comments about copyright renumerating an act of content creation. I put forth that it does not and is not designed to, at least not directly. It is the act of sharing rather than creation that copyright is designed to entice.

    But copyright is a *subsidy* for the copyright holders. That's the concern.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 9:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I disagree with you, but I'd never go so far as to say that your position is false and that you can't argue something.

    I believe it's natural for an author to expect certain rights in a work that they've created. Yes, copyright is statutory, but there is an element of natural law to it as well. If I write a book, I naturally have rights in my creation. You seem to think that copyright takes away something from the public. I see copyright as taking away an author's natural rights and giving them to the public.

    I'm sorry that you see the circle when it's not there. We don't see eye-to-eye, and that's OK. The fact that your view is only held by a minority bolsters my belief that I'm right--at least more right than you. :)

     

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    Jay (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 12:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The Supreme Court is needed to back that up. And with people such as Scalia on the throne, who believe that Congress can make any power it wants, it's difficult for actual limitations to be reached.

    It's what's most frustrating with having a court that divides down the middle on political issues rather than use fair and logical judgement.

     

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    Jay (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 12:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It IS taking something away from the public...

    It's taking away their natural right to a book for the short term monetary gain that is the exclusivity of being first to make a book. Naturally, if there are NO copyrights, people would copy it fairly soon after (which is why Harry Potter was very quickly out on PDF and traded with friends)

    For every new technology, copying becomes easier to do. That's just normal.

    "I believe it's natural for an author to expect certain rights in a work that they've created. "

    They can expect all they want. I can expect that tomorrow I'm going to have a million dollars fall in my lap. If it happens, great. If not...

    *shrug*

    Look, if you're saying that authors need copyright, I'm going to tell you that you're flat out wrong. I give a copy of a book to a friend, they aren't stealing it. It's not an author's right to have a say in that second sale or transfer of ownership.

    Also, let's look at Shakespeare or Christopher Marlowe. If you can tell me that their plays needed copyright to survive, somehow, someway, you're telling me that you are severely missing the point. They created because that was natural for them.

    Copyright isn't natural. For all intents in this day and age, it destroys creation by locking up culture for "limited amounts of time." The fact that this amount of time is longer than humanly possible nowadays only goes to prove exactly what I'm saying.

     

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    Jay (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 12:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You seem to be sorely mistaken on copyright vs enforcement.

    Enforcement of copyright has greatly destroyed a lot of communities recently for no other reason than "the Big Boys said so" The big boys are ironically, the entertainment industries, using government funds to squeeze the little or free guys.

    Now...

    You seem to want to ignore research, but a quick google search can show us the GAO report that talks about the Hollywood methodology being horribly fraudulent in trying to calculate the sales figures on piracy.

    Rather than shallow arguments such as this:

    "You think there's no reciprocity with copyright? Fine with me. Think what you want. You of course know that lots of people disagree. Woopity doo."

    It would be better if you could explain why you feel copyright is the opposite when all of the evidence points to the negative.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 12:38am

    Re:

    Want a crying towel, TAM?

     

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    Richard (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 3:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Nitpicking plus...

    With that, the answer to your question is that my equation stays the same. Price is irrelevant, as is gain, loss or neither. I can take the rice in my cupboard and sell it, for whatever price I can get, and buy cheese, which I prefer over rice. :)That gives me the equation that rice equals money

    But until you actually make the exchange you do not know how much money your rice is worth - and it remains possible than the answer will be zero.

    We have a program here in the UK called Bargain Hunt (Don't know if the format has been sol in the US or wherever you live).

    Contestants go round an antiques fair and buy three items. Then they try to sell them at auction. Sometimes they spend a couple of hundred pounds on something in the fair but then, at the auction the item gets knocked down for a trivial amount.

    Going even further you might buy something and later find that not only can you get no price for it - but you actually have to pay someone to take it away. (Like there are some places that play background music where I would pay them to switch it off).

    So product is not equatable to money except at the exact moment of transaction between a willing buyer and a willing seller. At all other times your equation is moot.

    When infringement takes place there is at that point in time no transaction between a willing buyer and a willing seller and so the equation "product=money" does not work. The fact that such transactions do occur elsewhere and at other times does not prove that the equation works at the only time/place that matters (when the infringement takes place). This is exactly the same as the truth that is clear in every edition of bargain hunt - namely that the price you pay at the fair doesn't necessarily correspond to the price you get at the auction.

    The mistake you are making is to assume that an equation that works at a particular time and place necessarily continues to work elsewhere. It doesn't. Measurements (for that is what this is) only work strictly at the time and place they are made.

     

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    Richard (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 3:22am

    Re: Mike said:

    Re Godwin - well you started it.

    RE Chamberlain - actually appeasement bought the British vital time to get their re-armament programme going. Chamberlain was not a fool and knew that appeasement would not last - but to have entered the battle of Britain without Radar or Spitfires (as would have happened if the war had started a year earlier) would have been a disaster.

     

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    btrussell (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 7:59am

    Good thing we don't copyright math and fire!

    I mean really,if I invented fire, why should anyone else be able to use fire?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 8:33am

    Is copyright deemed wrong per se, or is it that the current incarnation of copyright is deemed wrong because of perceived overreaching?

    Is copyright deemed wrong per se even if a work can unquestionably be shown to materially and significantly "promote progress"?

    Is a work produced by "sweat of the brow" considered a "natural right"?

    Is a "natural right" a right of such character that its involuntary dispossession by another is wrong in either a "legal" or "moral" sense?

    I have many other related questions, but the above seem to be a good start.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Out of curiosity, can you point out where in the GAO report the term "fraudulent" is used in the context you state?

     

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    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 9:58am

    Getting paid for content

    Michael, you are so right! Though no one remembers, Australia (many years ago) tried paying content producers - suddenly EVERYONE was an artist of some sort; and the artistic pollution was sickening!
    Artists before copyright (Shakespeare, Beethoven, etc.) did fine; and could again.
    It amazes me though, that serious issues like, oh, healthcare (we are 7th out of 7 in healthcare quality, and number 1 of 7 in healthcare cost) is uninteresting, while trivia like this gets so much attention!

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "So you choose to ingnore the definition of the phrase "the law" to try to bolstor your argument? That doesn't sound like logic to me. "

    My statement had nothing to do with the definition of the law! Mike asked you what gives a content creator the right to control other peoples use of his work and you answered that the law did so. As the argument is over copyright, which is a legal right, then it follows that the only reason you have that right is that the law says you do. Contrast this with many other rights, such as physical property rights or fundamental human rights, which are based on naturally occurring needs such as the distribution of scarce resources.

    Copyright in its current form is essentially an economic construct to promote the creation of works, not a representation of a creators natural right to stop people copying their work, because such a right does not exist.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 10:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Here is a quote from Lord Justice Robin Jacob that may help you understand, from a book about free speech and copyright:

    "Although we use the word ‘right’ in the phrases ‘intellectual property right’ and ‘the right of free speech’, it is used in a quite different sense in the two cases. An IPR is essentially negative and private. It is negative in that it entitles its owner to stop other people doing things, an entitlement which will, if necessary, be enforced by the courts. And it is private because it is vested in a private owner, generally, an individual (real or corporate). The ‘right of free speech’ on the other hand is neutral or positive. Traditionally, under the common law, I suppose the ‘right’ rested essentially on the absence of any law, public or private, forbidding the conduct concerned––all that is not expressly forbidden is permitted."

     

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    hxa7241, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Anyone developing new business ideas today would not be very intelligent if they based them on strict control of copying. Give that trend another decade or so, and where does that leave copyright? Overtaken by evolution. The laws on witchcraft in the UK were only repealed in 1951 -- but who cared by then?

     

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    hxa7241, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 11:05am

    this a case where ethics and economics are very congruent

    But you don't seem to have thought through what actually applies here.

    The rational argument of copyright's immorality has the same core as the economic criticism: it needlessly restricts abundant good.

    Compensation for creative effort can be done other ways -- there is no necessity to bind creation to be dependent on copies. And if we value a single instance of something good, then we obviously value its near costless duplication even better. For any community, each member has use of all instead of just their own -- an immense multiplication of culture, intelligence, or whatever. It is almost an exemplar of morality.

    The so-called 'moral right' must also concede nearly all its strength to a similar basic point.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, the file sharing does not represent a market. It represents the public square.

     

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    Benefacio, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 11:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Not true. Land ownership existed long before property laws did. It was enforced by force. But it is natural, not an artificial gov't creation. It was just that it used to be handled by force. "

    Good point! Please allow me to rephrae. Deeds are a gov't granted monopoly, I don't see you whining about them. Seriously though, are you trying to define law as the rules that are written as opposed to the rules that are agreed upon/enforced? Your claim of ownership means nothing if enough others do not agree. I put forth that as soon as you get others to agree that you own that land then you have made a law.

    "Property is a natural rights concept because if you possess something, you can block others from using it."

    I disagree as it does not follow that possesion automatically allows blockage. For example, your possesion of content does not automatically block me from using that same content.

    In addidtion, property has as part of it's definition 'ownership' which is a legal right. You can not have a natural right depend on a legal right.

    I will agree that the opportunity to call something your own is a natural right, but that is not what property rights are defined as.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 12:01pm

    Re:

    THEM STEALERS ARE DESTROYING OUR FIRE-MAKING INDUSTRY!!!

     

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    Richard (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Nitpicking plus...

    I would be interested in your definition of money. Mine follows an entry from Wikipedia on currency...

    and


    With that, the answer to your question is that my equation stays the same. Price is irrelevant,

     

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    Richard (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Nitpicking plus...

    I would be interested in your definition of money. Mine follows an entry from Wikipedia on currency...

    and


    With that, the answer to your question is that my equation stays the same. Price is irrelevant,



    I would be interested in your definition of equation

    How you can have an equation involving money where the amount of money doesn't matter escapes me. I suggest you look up the Wikipedia definition of equation...

     

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    Richard (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Getting paid for content

    It amazes me though, that serious issues like, oh, healthcare (we are 7th out of 7 in healthcare quality, and number 1 of 7 in healthcare cost) is uninteresting, while trivia like this gets so much attention!

    Well healthcare is affected by so called "intellectual property" issues - and of course the entertainment industry thinks it is more important than everything.

    Maybe the other problem is that healthcare isn't such a strong topic for free market advocates.

     

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    Richard (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 1:35pm

    Re:

    My answers to your questions:
    Is copyright deemed wrong per se, or is it that the current incarnation of copyright is deemed wrong because of perceived overreaching?
    Retaining copyright is wrong per se. Although it didn't matter much when the cost of copying was high, registration was required and terms were short.


    Is copyright deemed wrong per se even if a work can unquestionably be shown to materially and significantly "promote progress"?

    The "promote progress" idea was always an excuse. I don't quite understand why you refer to an individual work here. IF it could be shown that copyright in general "promotes the progress..." then there might be some justification - however I don't believe such a thing could ever be unquestionably shown.

    Is a work produced by "sweat of the brow" considered a "natural right"?

    Traditionally most copyright (and patent) legislation concentrates on "creative" work. It excludes things generated by sweat of the brow, purely factual information, things that are simply "extracted" from nature and things created purely by logical reasoning. To me the sound reason behind this is to avoid the creation of a monopoly where it is inevitable that several independent workers would produce the same result.

    Copyright demands a degree of arbitraryness that pure sweat of the brow does not naturally contain.

    Is a "natural right" a right of such character that its involuntary dispossession by another is wrong in either a "legal" or "moral" sense?

    In the moral sense - yes that is a reasonable definition.

    In a legal sense it would be a legal right -rather than a natural one. However if such a natural right could be shown to exist in a moral sense then a judge might legally enforce it, based on principles of common law.

     

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    darryl, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 1:58pm

    There can be no model against organised crime.

    what everyone seems to forget is that file sharing, what Mike is defending is STILL against the LAW.

    Therefore all moral or economic or ethical arguments fall apart from the outset.

    Society, does not have to modify their way of life to suit people who willingly break the law, the law breakers are forced to conform to society. Not the other way around.

    So there should be no (logical) talk about changing business models, until such time as it becomes legal to carry out what you are doing.

    As what you are doing, or proposing to do is ignore the law, and take the law into your own hands. Based on the fact that you can !.

    Again, with the supply and demand, you seem to forget about that term and what it really means, because you increase the supply may or may not change the price, and it may change the demand slightly, but if you dont want the product in the first place, no matter how much supply there is there is no more demand.

    that is not efficient, oversupply does not improve the market, and the product is certainly not infinite..

    The composer does not compose an infinite number of works, but a very finite number, sure you can make many copies of that SAME work, but that does not create an infinite number of DISTINTIVE works.

    Therefore consumers do not get more choice, more variety or a choice to pay for quality or product that they actually want.. (the demand).

    Just because a song or movie can be had for free or very very cheap, and there are in infinite number of them, does not mean I will desire that product any more than before.

    So trying to define a business model based on something that is not lawfull is morally and ethically wrong.

    Mike, you should know better that to act that way, and to make such simplifications regarding supply and demand, try to get an understanding of what supply and demand really means, (look it up).

    The thing about busines models is that the abide by the laws, and expect other players to play by the rules of the game as well.

    It is not possible to develop an effective business model (against file sharing) if the file sharers will and are willing to change the rules to keep their 'advantage'.

    And if the file sharers are not willing to play by the existing laws, but they expect the actual creators and producers of the content to play by the rules, and you think that is a fair way to play, a fair way to be part of scoiety, or a fair way to do business ?


    As for the definition of copyright, why dont you all state the FULL and COMPLETE copyright statement, or does the second half of the statement not gel with your world view ?

    ____________________


    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries...

    Sure I can understand you not willing to state for full statement, that is the true meaning of copyright.
    As its the bit you hate,

    You seem to think that authors and inventors can live on air, and the good will of others, and you believe that they will write and invent, even if what they write or invent makes others huge money, and them none.. Yea right..

    No wonder its the law, and no wonder honest people are losing out because of a few who want it all for free.

    That composer is no longer selling CD's because it's not worth it, so too bad if I wanted a CD of his, I cannot get it, nor can you, because they dont exist.

    but its ok, because we have an infinite amount of crap that no one wants we can pick from.. Just not anything that people are willing to pay for, or actually want.. !!!!

    Thanks for screwing it up for the rest of us,,


    *********************

    "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries:

    Its the law, and until its changed your expected to abide by it, just like everyone else...

     

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    Jay (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    GAO Report

    Page 17 where it shows that basically, they make stuff up to fit their purpose.

    I use fraudulent because I contest that the MSRP and the actual value are two different things. Since the entertainment industry runs based on being monopolistic oligopolies, it only makes sense that the value they have in a movie is going to be far higher, especially over any length of time.

     

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    darryl, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 2:14pm

    File sharing and world hunger ! !! big call !!

    Its also very very poor form, and weak argument to equate world hunger or human rights to your right to break international laws and to download movies and songs you like or might want.

    You think world hunger is file sharing should be tied into the same moral and ethical arguments ?

    Or that 'mob rule' should be the law, and if enough people break the law it somehow makes it ok to do it.

    Laws are created for social stability, they are not generally arbitary, and therefore are there for a reason.

    Just because you dont like a law, does not give you to right to disobey it, or to equate what you are doing to stopping world hunger, or to human rights.

    It appears you are not responsible enough to obey even simple and clear laws, with the justification that "everyone is doing it". So its "ok".

    Its not, "ok" for those who you are stealing off. Or who would be creating content but are not because of this problem.

    And all you can do to help them, is to tell them to change their ways, so you can continue to flaunt the law and download files.

    Sooner or later, you will not have any decent files to download, but you will have an infinite number of rubbish that no one wants for any price... and you think that will be a better world ?

    Dont equate human rights and world hunger with illegal file sharing, its a bad look.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 2:15pm

    "It IS taking something away from the public... It's taking away their natural right to a book for the short term monetary gain that is the exclusivity of being first to make a book."

    I started a new reply since the threaded-view was getting too narrow to make sense of. Copyright does not take away something from the public. It does precisely the opposite. The whole point of copyright is to give to society something it otherwise would not have.

    When an author creates a work, he has various rights under traditional property law. Think of Brown. Say he spends years of his life creating from scratch a musical: the music, the lyrics, the choreography, etc. Is he supposed to create all of this and then expect no property interest is his work? Of course not. He naturally has rights in his creation. And according to traditional property law, this creation would stay with the author's patrimony forever.

    In steps copyright. Under copyright, the author's property interest is limited. What would naturally be a part of his patrimony is now taken away from his heirs and legatees. Society takes from him what was otherwise naturally his to keep: his rights and his property. Copyright takes away rights from the author and gives them to society. Copyright usurps the author's natural, moral rights. That's the whole point.

    According to Professor Ciolino, depending on jurisdiction, an author's moral rights generally include: "(1) the right of attribution, (2) the right of integrity, (3) the right of divulgation, and (4) the rights of withdrawal and modification." 69 Tulane Law Review 935.

    These rights developed in Europe and made their way to the United States. Moral rights attach to the author's person. They historically were inalienable, imprescriptible, and perpetual (meaning you can't get rid of them, you can't lose them from non-use, and they don't expire). Modern law recognizes these fundamental rights, albeit indirectly for the most part, judicially-speaking. What used to be explicitly acknowledged as moral rights is now sufficiently supported via constitutional and statutory constructions. Nevertheless, the moral laws remain in effect.

    Copyright does not take away the rights from society and give them to the author. Quite the opposite. It takes away from the author and his patrimony what would naturally and morally otherwise be theirs, and it gives it to society. Without copyright, society would NEVER get the rights to an author's works. With copyright, society is guaranteed to get the rights. That's the whole point.

    I'm sure many will have unsupported arguments in opposition to this post, but unsupported opinions are not authoritative much less persuasive. Cite to authority if you can.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Nobody is taking away people's right to copy since they never had the right to begin with.

    If you really believe that, then I suppose you'd agree that copyright laws don't really do anything and are unnecessary. Therefore, you would support their elimination. Right?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 2:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Look at Brown. It appears that society is made better by his work, and he has been made better by his rights in the work. It appears to be working to me.

    Society is made better by my work too, and I would be better off if everyone in the US gave me (or my estate) just $1 per year for the next 95 years. I think we need a law for that. Would you sign the petition for it?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Just because something is non-physical and/or intellectual does not mean it can not be a scarce resource.

    Example of an intellectual scarcity?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think you are confusing natural right with natural ability.

    Hmm, it seems to me that's what *you're* attempting to do.

    Our rights come from our ability to enforce whatever we, individually or as a group, believe them to be.

    And there you go. No, one's rights exist independently of one's ability to enforce them. For example, I have no right to break your neck just because I have the ability. Or do you disagree?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Nothing Mike, why bring that strawman up? Land Ownership is a gov't granted monopoly, I don't see you whining about it.

    Land ownership is what is called a "natural monopoly". It may be recognized by the government and even assigned and otherwise regulated by the government, but it is not created by the government. If the government were to repeal all laws concerning land ownership, it would not create an infinite supply of land. If it would, I'm sure we would see people pushing for it, or "whining about it", as you put it.

     

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    Jay (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 2:46pm

    Re: There can be no model against organised crime.

    "Society, does not have to modify their way of life to suit people who willingly break the law, the law breakers are forced to conform to society. Not the other way around."

    Right, Plessy vs Ferguson. Gotcha. Let's forget all about the 1960s, Vietnam and civil rights. Rules of law can change and not every example of law is just nor good.

    "The composer does not compose an infinite number of works, but a very finite number, sure you can make many copies of that SAME work, but that does not create an infinite number of DISTINTIVE works."

    ??? So let's get this straight, composers may have a finite number of ideas but how they express those can't be less distinctive? Your cause and effect are somewhat flawed. He can create much more complex works. He could also change how he uses those works by embracing a new model of business or *gasp* licensing it out to a new technology company. Instead, you say he should limit himself to just the ideas in his head. Bravo.

    "Therefore consumers do not get more choice, more variety or a choice to pay for quality or product that they actually want."

    Actually they do. They get to enjoy his work through extension. He can't physically be in California and New York to perform his works in those two areas. But training people to play his sheets there could improve the quality and the product (himself) than what he's currently doing by fighting the tide.

    "Just because a song or movie can be had for free or very very cheap, and there are in infinite number of them, does not mean I will desire that product any more than before."

    But putting yourself in the position of 2 Billion+ people in this world is kind of a losing argument.

    "So trying to define a business model based on something that is not lawfull is morally and ethically wrong. "

    *scoffs* So I'm supposed to appease the entertainment demigods by doing something that they believe is the only way? As I have said before, there are three sides to every argument. Your side, my side, and the truth. The truth is I don't agree with what the entertainment industry is doing, by tying up our laws with some supposed feeling that sharing music or movies is hurting them. Your side of the argument is to conserve the old models. They're what's killing the industry at large, profiting from the little guy while squeezing the life out of him. My side is stating that there are certainly better ways to do it. We need to experiment to figure them out, which copyright law won't allow because hey, guess what? Everything has to run by someone else first. Complete and utter bollocks.

    "The thing about busines models is that the abide by the laws, and expect other players to play by the rules of the game as well."

    Reiteration of the fact that disruptive business models are usually like the Wild West. They come in to mess up the status quo in a good way, usually. The internet happens to be one of those disruptive business models.

    "It is not possible to develop an effective business model (against file sharing) if the file sharers will and are willing to change the rules to keep their 'advantage'."

    More power to em. If they are keeping an edge over otther businesses that means the other businesses are doing it wrong. It also means they have to work to get closer to the customer, lower prices, or find other ways to compete. This is a thing we call innovation.

    "And if the file sharers are not willing to play by the existing laws, but they expect the actual creators and producers of the content to play by the rules, and you think that is a fair way to play, a fair way to be part of scoiety, or a fair way to do business ?"

    Obviously you don't realize that the rules of the entertainment industry played to just them. If you weren't on top, you lost the game. Period. That's the reason so many artists became destitute even with record breaking sales and the reason that Hollywood continues to push the same stories but now in 3D. If you play by their rules, you'll get burned or you may lose more than you bargained for. I'd like to think that "copyright infringement" continues to level the playing field somewhat. Now, more artists can be discovered than pumped through RIAA channels, indies can focus on works of art not Megan Fox wannabes, and people can make choices about how they spend their money, with different ways to reach new audiences regardless of geographic location.

    "You seem to think that authors and inventors can live on air, and the good will of others, and you believe that they will write and invent, even if what they write or invent makes others huge money, and them none.. Yea right.. "

    Shakespeare died richly. Marlowe died in a bar fight.
    Mozart was destitute. And Poe died in an ally from absinthe most likely.

    The life of a creator is varied and complex. Some of the greats had patrons. Some can forgo it alone. In all circumstances, we benefit through their creativity. Nowhere in my examples do I believe that copyright could have helped them. Maybe the middlemen it served for 28 years before the public domain allowed for society to benefit. But that's another argument.

    "No wonder its the law, and no wonder honest people are losing out because of a few who want it all for free."

    There's that sneaky morality ploy to make us guilt into something we shouldn't... Funny how 10 years of a law can warp people's expectations that this should always be the way. Now I have to ask: Where were you when the Fair Use Doctrine legalized the VCR? And where were you when DVD John found a way to descramble CSS? I guess figuring out various products and their weaknesses then being able to talk about them to further strengthen them for the betterment of all must not be a great thing. Obviously, Adobe's way of detaining Dmitry Sklyarov for talking about how he could remove publisher restrictions was the way to go. Oh wait, it caused all sorts of hacking to go underground where it's still being done. Bravo.

    "That composer is no longer selling CD's because it's not worth it, so too bad if I wanted a CD of his, I cannot get it, nor can you, because they dont exist."

    I'm sure TPB can help you. If not, there's about 30 other composers who may not agree about not selling CDs. Why not look them up at either Jamendro.com, Dmusic.com, or the myriad of other places that have far better rules?

    "Its the law, and until its changed your expected to abide by it, just like everyone else..."

    This law is great. The DMCA and ACTA that we're supposed to abide by are arbitrary. Show me why I should abide by every piece of the DMCA and I'll show you examples of bad law.

     

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  201.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The fact that your view is only held by a minority bolsters my belief that I'm right--at least more right than you. :)

    At one time, most people believed that the earth was flat, too.

     

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  202.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 2:57pm

    Re: There can be no model against organised crime.

    what everyone seems to forget is that file sharing, what Mike is defending is STILL against the LAW.

    I don't know about everyone else, but I'm getting really sick of darryl's blatant lies. File sharing is not illegal per se.

    Why are copyright supporters so often such big liars? Says a lot about copyright, doesn't it?

     

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  203.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 3:01pm

    Re:

    The whole point of copyright is to give to society something it otherwise would not have.

    In that case then, it's a failure and should be eliminated.

     

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  204.  
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    average_joe (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Re:

    How is it a failure? Without copyright, society would never get the author's original works. With copyright, society is guaranteed to get them. Please explain your response, with citations to authority if you can.

     

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  205.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 3:08pm

    Re: There can be no model against organised crime.

    "what everyone seems to forget is that file sharing, what Mike is defending is STILL against the LAW."

    I have never seen Mike advocate copyright infringement. If you *have*, please point it out.

     

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  206.  
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    Jay (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 3:13pm

    Re:

    Wait, you're telling me that copyright gives people more? How? When the rules were weak on copyright we had a bundle of creativity. Famously, Steamboat Willie was copied into Steam Boat Mickey. Jazz, as has been shown on this site (search jazz), has died a great and tragic death, so to speak, because jazzists can't use other's works if not given permission.

    I could go into enforcement of ASCAP and BMI, where they have places shut down for license fees, which kills areas for up and coming artists to promote the old regime of artists that have had hits. Let's get into the other parts:

    "He naturally has rights in his creation. And according to traditional property law, this creation would stay with the author's patrimony forever."

    Ok... *scratches head* Proceed with caution...

    "Under copyright, the author's property interest is limited. What would naturally be a part of his patrimony is now taken away from his heirs and legatees. Society takes from him what was otherwise naturally his to keep: his rights and his property. Copyright takes away rights from the author and gives them to society. Copyright usurps the author's natural, moral rights. That's the whole point."

    Whoa... You got this totally wrong. Property laws and copyright laws are two different beasts and putting one with the other confuses your argument to an Nth degree. Let's pull up copyright for a second.

    Page 108 of Lawrence Lessig's book: The Future of idead

    The absence of copyright is, parodoxical as it may seem, a benefit to the artist as well as a cost to them (Judge Richard A Posner

    Read further on that same page and you'll see an argument just. Like. This one. For simplicity, I linked to it rather than put it all here. Regardless, if you need another example, I can pull up plays of yesteryear. After their performances were done, the theater did another play. A newer play. Artists of all types had to continue to create to keep the interest of their audience. So where you believe they always have to keep their rights, I believe that there are other factors that keep people moving onwards to the newest thing. I mean imagine if James Cameron had stopped making movies after Titanic... A guy's gotta eat ya know.

    "Nevertheless, the moral laws remain in effect."

    I can not endorse rules of law that take the human out of the equation and instead are propped up by entities looking to suppress everything they sense is "impeding" their progress.

    "Copyright does not take away the rights from society and give them to the author. Quite the opposite. It takes away from the author and his patrimony what would naturally and morally otherwise be theirs, and it gives it to society. Without copyright, society would NEVER get the rights to an author's works. With copyright, society is guaranteed to get the rights. That's the whole point."

    Again, forest for the trees. The best way to lock up an idea is to not express it. Otherwise, it gets out to be enjoyed. Putting an arbitrary monetary value on it won't stop the benefit to society of your work. Copyright as it currently stands impedes on that benefit to society. Saying otherwise is ignoring HADOPI from France, DMCA as well as C-32 of Canada that is quite controversial and quite against the rights of people against corporations.

     

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  207.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    How is it a failure? Without copyright, society would never get the author's original works. With copyright, society is guaranteed to get them. Please explain your response, with citations to authority if you can.

    Are you serious? Really? Your claim is very easy to disprove by numerous examples. Go look up Shakespeare for a start.

     

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  208.  
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    herodotus (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 3:43pm

    "Copyright does not take away the rights from society and give them to the author. Quite the opposite. It takes away from the author and his patrimony what would naturally and morally otherwise be theirs, and it gives it to society. Without copyright, society would NEVER get the rights to an author's works. With copyright, society is guaranteed to get the rights. That's the whole point.

    I'm sure many will have unsupported arguments in opposition to this post, but unsupported opinions are not authoritative much less persuasive. Cite to authority if you can."


    You mean cite an authority, I suppose?

    The problem with this entire line of thought is that if you want to keep your work to yourself, you can. Copyright only steps is when a work is published.

    Just look at the list of Exclusive rights in copyrighted works in the relevant section of the US Code.

    ...the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

    (1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

    (2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;

    (3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

    (4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;

    (5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and

    (6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.



    Note the key words: "distribute", "perform publicly", "display publicly"

    No one can coerce authors to share their work with the world. At least not without breaking much more ancient and established laws than copyright.

    Copyright is there specifically to convince authors to publish.

     

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  209.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 3:43pm

    Re: Re: (Control Freak)

    My concern isn't about getting creators paid, per-se, but about giving creators a reason to make their works public in the first place. Saying that there are other ways to make money doesn't address the question: If copyright isn't about control, what is it about?

    If copyright didn't exist I'm sure that artists (writers, musicians, et al.) would be able to make a living somehow off of those talents. It was done for thousands of years before copyright existed. But when the technology became available to cheaply and easily duplicate a creator's work en-masse (i.e. printing) then laws were enacted to give creator's an inducement to make their works publicly available.

    Just from the point of view of an individual creator: how many times would you publish a novel if each time a larger publisher stepped in and provided a greater distribution network than you were capable of creating and publishing volumes of them at a much lower cost than you'd ever dream of being able to attain--and you were never able to profit from the creation of that work?

    Now, it seems, that the tables are turned against larger corporations who have been buying the copyrights of individual creators' works for pennies of what they're really worth (see Hollywood accounting, music recording contracts, etc.) who now are competing against a technology where the copyrighted works can be distributed around the world for no cost. This new technology is making copyright irrelevant and forcing the corporations to explore other means of making money, where previously they relied on copyright locking up the access to works so that they can sell their widgets (books, CDs, DVDs, etc.).

    The question "If copyright isn't about control, what is it about?" may be becoming irrelevant today, but to say in the post "copyright was never about control" seems to be a huge misstatement. It was a stumbling block for me in a post where the other arguments in it were mostly consistent.

     

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  210.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: (Control Freak)

    But when the technology became available to cheaply and easily duplicate a creator's work en-masse (i.e. printing) then laws were enacted to give creator's an inducement to make their works publicly available.

    When pinned down, it is a common myth promoted by copyright supporters that it only exists to prevent copying "en-masse". This is untrue. Copyright applies even to single copies, whether made manually or with duplicating equipment of some kind. It's funny how they sometimes like to pretend otherwise, kind of like like they're somehow ashamed of the truth or something.

     

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  211.  
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    average_joe (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 4:11pm

    Re:

    Here's some great Supreme Court language that explains copyright:

    "Article I, Sec. 8 of the Constitution provides that: “The Congress shall have Power ... to Promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” The monopoly privileges that Congress may authorize are neither unlimited nor primarily designed to provide a special private benefit. Rather, the limited grant is a means by which an important public purpose may be achieved. It is intended to motivate the creative activity of authors and inventors by the provision of a special reward, and to allow the public access to the products of their genius after the limited period of exclusive control has expired. “The copyright law, like the patent statute, makes reward to the owner a secondary consideration. In Fox Film Corp. v. Doyal, Chief Justice Hughes spoke as follows respecting the copyright monopoly granted by Congress, ‘The sole interest of the United States and the primary object in conferring the monopoly lie in the general benefits derived by the public from the labors of authors.’ It is said that reward to the author or artist serves to induce release to the public of the products of his creative genius.” United States v. Paramount Pictures. As the text of the Constitution makes plain, it is Congress that has been assigned the task of defining the scope of the limited monopoly that should be granted to authors or to inventors in order to give the public appropriate access to their work product. Because this task involves a difficult balance between the interests of authors and inventors in the control and exploitation of their writings and discoveries on the one hand, and society's competing interest in the free flow of ideas, information, and commerce on the other hand, our patent and copyright statutes have been amended repeatedly." Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417, 428-429 (1984)(internal citations omitted).

    Notice how the Court says that copyright does not primarily benefit the author? Copyright by design ultimately takes the author's rights away and grants them to society. The reward of a limited monopoly induces authors to create works. By limiting those monopolies, society ultimately takes the monopoly from the author. This benefit to society is exactly why copyright exists. This is the general understanding of the courts and legal scholars. This is the common sense, common law explanation. I'm not sure why so many people don't get it.

     

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  212.  
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    Jay (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 4:16pm

    Re: Re:

    Maybe because it's been subverted due to DMCA?

    Read my post above for a better understanding.

     

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  213.  
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    hxa7241, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 4:18pm

    Re:

    That mythology of 'natural right' to 'property' amounts to nothing. The moral case for freedom of copying is simple for anyone to see.

    If I have something good, then everyone copies it, there is lots of good. And if everyone does this (i.e. we have a moral code) instead of keeping things themselves, we all gain from everyone else at no cost -- an immense multiplication of culture, intelligence, etc.

    And how would I make the thing in the first place? Obviously in any way possible that wouldn't limit the copies, and hence good done.

    You can contrive the most detailed justifications of 'natural right' to 'fruits of labour' and such, and it changes nothing at all. Simply look at the actual features of the issue -- what copying actually *does*. It is a free resource, and to throw it away for a casuistry would be a foolish act indeed, harming yourself as much as anyone.

    But since you accept that copyright provides for society by allowing more copies instead of infinite restriction, you already agree.

     

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  214.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 4:27pm

    Re: File sharing and world hunger ! !! big call !!

    Your version of the way the world should be is the antithesis of hope.

     

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  215.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 4:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What used to be paid for by a monarchy should now be paid for by a democracy.

     

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  216.  
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    hxa7241, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 4:39pm

    Re: Re:

    So taking something away from authors rewards them ???

    The quote makes sense, but your 'interpretation' of it makes none.

     

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  217.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 7:07pm

    Re:

    "Copyright only steps is when a work is published."

    This was the rule until enactment of the Copyright Act of 1976. The rule then shifted from date of publication to date of "creation" (i.e., fixed in a tangible medium of expression...etc.)

     

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  218.  
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    darryl, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 8:58pm

    intellectual scarcity?

    Just because something is non-physical and/or intellectual does not mean it can not be a scarce resource.

    Example of an intellectual scarcity?


    Something ANYONE writes and does not publish, anything developed or designed on contract, that is not published.

    Everything secret or proprietary, every invention.

    Every unique idea, every painting, art, music idea are ALL intellectual scarcities.

    If you have a unique idea, it is YOUR's and ONLY yours you have a monopoly on that idea, (as long as its original and not stolen).

    If I write a short computer program to do a job, If I can not publish it, its a ONE OFF intellectual property..

    And not available for file sharing or public use.

    If I do not publish it it is therefore scarce, and if if is an intellectual product, that would make it an inellectual scarcity.

    This composer who is not longer producing CD means that the product of his works are now effectively extint..

    No one can benifit from it because he is not publishing it, if he does create it he will keep it proprietary or create it on contract for a single customer.

    Either way the consumer loses because a small group want things for free, and are not willing to obey the law, and pay a fair price for a fair product.

    You are not stealing the product, or the physical copy of the works, you are stealing the COPYRIGHT of the rightfull owner.

    It was the creation of copyright law, and the statute of Anne that led to the creation of the public domain.

    Before copyright, all publications were control by a small group, and if you did not get on their "list" you were not published.

    After copyright, the publishers companys monopoly was broken and the limited time of copyright, meant that after that time, works entered the public domain.

    As opposed to being locked up by a small group, forever..

    I for one prefer it this way, its a fair system that has been working well for hundreds of years, it works far better than the "system" that was in place before copyright.

    And after 300 years, it appears to still work, and is still the law, there is little or no sign that copyright is or will be reformed, or that illegal file downloading will suddenly become legal, or moral.

    Just because you CAN steal something, and just because many do, does not make it right or legal.

    And I cannot see any justification that what is being done is not doing damage to artists and inventors who do their work knowing that there is a legal framework that if they abide by they can progress.

    A legal framework that has evolved, and appears to work far better than what was before.

    But just because you can does not make it right, I can build a bomb but doing so is against the law.

    People here only want to look at the situation from their own personal and greedy point of view, there is no consideration for others who actually want to create, and live at the same time.

    You tell them their jobs are no longer worth it, and that they should go do something else !!!..

    Oh my, you devalue their work to the point where you say its not worth doing it, and they need to "do something else" or as mike puts it, find a new model.

    Which is double talk for do something else.

    Why should they, and if they do, what benifit is it to the customer, who is willing to pay for product they want.

    And what good is it for the file downloaders, who can download all the file they like, except there are no longer any files worth downloading, because artists and creators of content are doing some other business model !..

    A million copies of the same song is new product diversity, and it provides no benifit to the custumer,

    And if the supply is infinite or a million but the demand is 100 then you have waisted huge resources to create copies (noise) that no one wants.

    In that respect it is pollution, and 'junk'.

    Customers what choice, and they are willing to pay for quality over quantity..

    I would prefer 50 different songs or movies, than 50 copies of the same song or movie.

    So I want different people creating different content and product,,,, not one person creating something and a million copies of it.

    One day you guys might mature and see the difference, a critical difference at that...

     

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  219.  
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    Benefacio, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 9:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "But copyright is a *subsidy* for the copyright holders. That's the concern."

    That is not a univeral case so I do not agree with your use of it here. I think it more acurate to say that copyright is becoming a subsidy for copyright holders and I agree that is a serious concern.

    Either way, it has no bearing I can see on the discussion of whether or not copyright has anything to do with creativity.

     

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  220.  
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    M. Slonecker, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 9:53pm

    Thank You

    I am not posting a comment to present a substantive point, but merely to express my pleasure that at long last I am witness to a thread marked by thoughtful, insightful, and respectful comments on a subject over which people have a wide range of diverse opinions.

    I thank each and every one of you who have taken the time to engage in a real conversation, and hope that it continues with additional posts. Excellent points are being presented and I would greatly enjoy reading even more posts along the lines of the above.

     

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  221.  
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    Jay (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 11:11pm

    Re: intellectual scarcity?

    "One day you guys might mature and see the difference, a critical difference at that..."

    One day you might understand that your entire argument of "perfect control" is a figment of your imagination. NO ONE in this world has perfect control as you somehow believe. Once an idea is out in the public, it is disseminated and cut and taken to so many different conclusions, it's not really your idea anymore. Alright, I got 40 minutes before bed time. *cracks knuckles and stretches*

    "Every unique idea, every painting, art, music idea are ALL intellectual scarcities."

    Ok... So...?

    "If you have a unique idea, it is YOUR's and ONLY yours you have a monopoly on that idea, (as long as its original and not stolen)."

    Strike one...

    "If I write a short computer program to do a job, If I can not publish it, its a ONE OFF intellectual property.."

    Strike two...

    "If I do not publish it it is therefore scarce, and if if is an intellectual product, that would make it an inellectual scarcity.

    This composer who is not longer producing CD means that the product of his works are now effectively extint.. "

    Strike three and four...

    "Either way the consumer loses because a small group want things for free, and are not willing to obey the law, and pay a fair price for a fair product."

    Five...

    "And after 300 years, it appears to still work, and is still the law, there is little or no sign that copyright is or will be reformed, or that illegal file downloading will suddenly become legal, or moral."

    Six...

    "People here only want to look at the situation from their own personal and greedy point of view, there is no consideration for others who actually want to create, and live at the same time."

    Seven...

    "Why should they, and if they do, what benifit is it to the customer, who is willing to pay for product they want."

    Eight...

    "And if the supply is infinite or a million but the demand is 100 then you have waisted huge resources to create copies (noise) that no one wants."

    Nine...

    I think that's 3 outs there. Let's deal with these points succinctly:

    Out one.

    1) You can have a monopoly in your head but that doesn't mean you can profit if the idea stays in your head.

    2) Write the program all you want. Maybe someone can come to help you make it better. Maybe it's used in a TI-86 to better write physics models. Just because you had the idea doesn't mean that there aren't better ways to implement them. Do what you want, but sharing is still caring.

    3) We agree that his ideas are a scarcity. How he implements them could be a far better schematic than just going to a local website and telling people "Hey, stop downloading my stuff" then getting on a moral high ground because he can't understand why sharing the files isn't necessarily a bad thing.

    Out two:

    4) There are other composers to step in to take his place. Google is your friend in this regard. He might have a monopoly on his ONE idea, he doesn't have a monopoly on the market.

    5) The "group" that you're alluding to here is all the people filesharing. The one thing that's incredibly and blitheringly frustrating is that you're ignoring all evidence that says the music industry is doing quite well, despite the advent of Napster. The entire "You're killing the industry" argument is tired and outdated. It's been 10 years of filesharing. Metallica is still making money, the RIAA is still making money (judging from Bainwol's paycheck) and quite frankly, the entire music industry has done quite well with the disruption of filesharing networks and exposure of new websites and artists unaffiliated with the claws of the RIAA and their servitude contracts.

    6) Wow... Filesharing has been around for 300 years. I'm glad that you understand how libraries are so important in this day and age. I truly hope you understand how the laws were reformed in 1976, 1998 and possibly at the end of this year with the ACTA to try to continue the idea of secrecy being paramount to try to control the masses with inane laws. Odd how you believe so much in law... Tell me, who created Beowulf again?

    Final at bat, come on. Show me what ya got, kid. ;)

    7) You ignore Sita which disappoints me greatly... Also, Michael Moore has a few words for you. "Try again, kid" Oh, and another thing... Creativity isn't a one shot deal. Everyone has choices. What Paley and Moore did was make their work available and distribute them everywhere they could. Maybe someone will donate, maybe not. But I doubt either of them are starving artists as you seem to imply here.

    Two more...

    8) The benefit of being known, the benefit of forging a legacy, the benefit of rising from obscurity... I think that sometimes, there's more benefits than monetary gains.

    Final one...

    9) Odd... Yet TPB is still around and people continue to download various files. Microsoft still has a lot of money from software sales. Adobe still dominates the market.

    I guess that demand can wax and wane but it never reaches 0 as you seem to believe. Next time you have an argument, it would help to bolster it by taking away "if" and be sure of it yourself.

     

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  222.  
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    Modplan (profile), Jul 18th, 2010 @ 6:02am

    Re:

    Copyright does not take away something from the public. It does precisely the opposite. The whole point of copyright is to give to society something it otherwise would not have.


    Why are you so insistent that the 2 are mutually exclusive?

    Copyright trades away a natural ability and right to copy as a means to further the creation of works to benefit society and the public domain. It assumes that copying would be detrimental to society, partially based on the assumption of an economic disparity between gatekeepers of publishing and the artists themselves, where the public (including artists) do not have access to the required technology for widespread distribution and are thus dependant on middle men who might gain financially from publishing works and not compensating the artists whom they're publishing.

    There is no natural nor moral right in stopping people from copying works unless you assume that it is detrimental, the only case I can think of being precisely when you have little access to the technology that allows for widespread distribution and there is significant money to be made in being a middle man. Suffice to say this is becoming rarer, and copyright in turn becomes more and more pointless and detrimental to society.

     

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  223.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 18th, 2010 @ 7:53am

    Re: File sharing and world hunger ! !! big call !!

    so you can continue to flaunt the law

    The person who is flaunting the law is you.

    Look the word up in the dictionary.

     

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  224.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 18th, 2010 @ 8:21am

    Re:

    In steps copyright. Under copyright, the author's property interest is limited. What would naturally be a part of his patrimony is now taken away from his heirs and legatees. Society takes from him what was otherwise naturally his to keep: his rights and his property. Copyright takes away rights from the author and gives them to society. Copyright usurps the author's natural, moral rights. That's the whole point.

    Wow - that is not even anywhere near the truth. If what you say is true why did the stationers' company lobby to have copyright introduced, arguing that it would benefit authors?

    The truth is that there was never a "natural right" to control the copying of works once a copy had been given to someone else.

    Such rights were introduced for the first time by copyright. Please go and read the history of the subject before you say any more.

     

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  225.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 8:28am

    Re: intellectual scarcity?

    Every unique idea, every painting, art, music idea are ALL intellectual scarcities.

    That's not even remotely true. Ideas can be copied infinitely and, thus, are not scarcities. And physical items are, well, physical items, not "intellectual".

    Seeing as how you managed to get several untruths into one sentence, I'm not even going to bother with the rest of your post. I imagine it's just more of the same.

     

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  226.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 8:34am

    Re: Re: File sharing and world hunger ! !! big call !!

    Look the word up in the dictionary.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/netdict/flaunt
    2 : to treat contemptuously

    Perhaps you should take your own advice?

     

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  227.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 9:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: (Control Freak)

    I never said that copyright exists *only* to prevent copying en-masse. I said that the ability to copy en-masse was the impetus to enact copyright.

     

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  228.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 9:52am

    Re: Re:

    I must wonder if I correctly understand your comments in view of my understanding of the history associated with, and the text of, the Statute of Anne of 1710.

    It is my recollection that starting about the early 1500's a royal charter was granted to a select group of "stationers" affording them the exclusive right to publish and distribute books throughout most portions of the UK. If an author desired a book to be published, only the members of this group had the authority to do so, to the exclusion, or so I understand, of even the author himself.

    At the time the royal charter was granted (which in large measure was intended not to encourage publication, but to control what was published...a means of censoring that which the monarchy deemed offensive), publication essentially involved a bunch of people with time on their hands who served as scrivners/stationers. With the introduction of typeset printing, the "stationers guild" eventually became known as the "printers guild".

    It is my understanding that the underlying purpose of the Statute of Anne was to dissolve the royal charter, place the original "ownership" of works in the hands of their authors, install a system whereby the exclusive rights under law were fixed at a certain term of years, and to effectuate a change in the then English common law whereby the rights of printers that existed under the law in perpetuity were truncated.

    In view of the above, your comment about the "stationers company" lobbying in favor of what became the Statute of Anne must be more nuanced than you state. Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, they sought to influence the law to minimize the damage to the cozy deal they had enjoyed for over 150 years. Perhaps they had other motives. Interestingly, one facet of the Statute of Anne that mentions the "stationers company by name was that it became the repository for publications, reflective to some degree of the function served today in the US by the Copyright Office. Interestingly, the number of copies for deposit with the company was set at 9, with this number corresponding precisely with the number of libraries associated with universities in England. If a library wanted a copy, it merely need ask the company, at which point the company was by law required to provide same to the requesting library.

    It goes without saying that the means for printing books still resided with the stationers company, a joint stock company conveniently owned by the printers, so that authors did have a rather limited choice of printers to which they could turn. However, while its actual effects are not known to me, the Statute of Anne also created a right to bring suit against printers if the event it was believed that they were engaged in what many would now call "monopoly rents", and early manifestation of "price controls".

    Did the system created by the Statute of Anne work as its language would suggest. Frankly, I do not know the answer because I am not a student of history of the publishing industry in the UK. Even so, at least on paper it was in my view a significant shift from the "royal charter" system, and almost certainly had a significant influence on the early development of copyright law with the early colonies, and then ultimately the US via both the constitutional grant of power to the Congress and the first Copyright Act (1790) enacted under the authority of such power.

    No doubt influenced by the "Screw England" views of the day, the early copyright laws within the US excluded works first published in foreign countries. They could, and were, published and distributed in the US with impunity. Only later (though I do not recall when) were foreign works afforded protection under US law when it became clear that foreign trade was of such importance the US law had to give a little in order to receive reciprocal rights under the laws of its trading partners. Obviously, this international give and take continues to date will continue into the future.

    One final comment, I found it interesting to learn that one of the purposes purportedly underlying the Statute of Anne was to provide economic incentives for authors to have their works published, with such incentives being viewed as a means to an end...the encouragement of learning by the public at large (which at the time in England was limited to the chosen few, and not the public at large. Heaven forbid that a mere commoner would have access to such publications).

    Again, the above is merely a simplistic summary of my historical understanding. I do not profess to being a rabid student of history, even though I do profess to being a rabid student of copyright law within the US since its inception in 1790.

     

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  229.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Control Freak)

    I never said that copyright exists *only* to prevent copying en-masse. I said that the ability to copy en-masse was the impetus to enact copyright.

    And I would say that if that were true, then copyright would only apply to copying en-masse, which it doesn't.

     

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  230.  
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    darryl, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 10:15am

    Ideas can be copied infinitely!!! what file format is that ?

    That's not even remotely true. Ideas can be copied infinitely and, thus, are not scarcities. And physical items are, well, physical items, not "intellectual".


    Ideas can be copied infinitely and, thus, are not scarcities.

    An "idea" cannot be copied at all, infinitely or not, and it most certainly cannot be even stolen or used IF YOU DONT KNOW IT

    How can an IDEA be copied, if you are sitting in front of the computer and you have an idea that you will post something on techdirt, how can that idea be anyone elses or be copied by anyone else.

    Its YOUR idea, sure others can have the SAME idea, but it is NOT YOUR IDEA, it is their idea. Can you **NOT** understand that ?

    There is no patent or copyright on an "idea", it is not possible, you copyright a book, or a physical construct of an invention as a practical, physical realisation of the idea.

    NOT the idea itself, you do not go to the patent office and get a patent on the IDEA of a recipe of Coke, you patent the actual physical technical details, the practical product of your idea, if it is original and worthy of copyright or trademark or patent protection.

    The idea itself is meaninless, its not physical, its not practical (or could well be), and more often than not its **NOT** a good idea. Or practicle.

    You can have a great idea, strap on some paper wings and jump off a cliff, great idea, but its not original, its not practical, its not copyrightable or patentable. Its just an idea.

    So if you do not know what someone's idea is you cannot copy it, no matter how smart you are, unless you come up with that SAME IDEA yourself, then its not their idea but yours.

    If I have an idea, even if it possible to make it a practical reality it does not mean you have the ability to make infinite copies of my idea.

    First, im not going to tell you MY idea, so you will never know it, so you will not be able to copy it.

    The idea for a formula for Coke, was nothing, until someone wrote it down, and make the product, and tasted it.

    You do not know that recipe, therefore you cannot copy that idea, you can make a similar drink but you will NEVER have the idea for Coke, because that is unique.

    You can steal or copy someone elses idea, IF you can, but if they do not want you to know it, you may and probably NEVER will be aware of the underlying idea.

    So you cannot copy it, and you cannot take advantage of it.

    As for IP not being physical, again, the **IDEA** is not physical, but the practical realisation of it is.

    How is a peice of paper with a recipe, or a song written on it, not real or physical.

    Its no longer just an idea, it is a real and practical and physical entitiy in its own right.

    You cannot copy an idea, you can copy something that is physical or real.

    A song started as an idea, over time that idea was developed into a song, and over time that song was performed and recorded.
    The idea is non-physical, the song and the performance is real and physical, you can copy their physical performance, or you can copy the music and words, but you cannot copy the idea for the song.

    And when you copy the music (the sounds), it is a PHYSICAL property that you are copying, which is usually a copy of the performers physical performance of the song.

    That is physical, that is real, the idea in the song writers head is not (yet) real, it cannot be copied.

    As an "idea" is **NOT** anything, you cannot make copy one of an idea. To say you can is crazy,

    What file format does ideas come in ?

    I think you are getting a bit confused with your meaning of words.

    Trying to tie an idea with the real and practical realisation of something physical is wrong.

    They are not the same things, they are in fact totally different, and that is why you cannot go to the patent office with "an idea" for something and get a patent.

    You cannot copyright "an idea", you have to flesh out your idea, refine it, modify it, and most important MAKE IT REAL.

    Or at least demonstrate that if you were to make it, that it would work.
    So you have to "reduce" your idea into something practical, you have to make it physical to the point where it is practical and possible and if that idea is innovative, and worthy of patent or IP protection then it is granted.

    But you are welcome to go to the patent office or copyright office and tell them you have a great "idea" for something, and you wish to gain IP protection for your "idea".

    They will laugh you out of the room, and probably tell you to come back when you get a clue.

    What IP protected products are **NOT** physical, what invention, song, movie, book, file, photograph, painting is **NOT** physical ?

    Then tell me what format you store idea's in please.
    Or what form at all for that matter.

    then tell me what program you use to copy these "ideas" an infinite number of times. Is it MS windows copy of do you need linux for that ?

    Then you can tell me how you can have MY idea. and in what form would you keep it in ?

    You can have the **same** idea as me, but it is YOUR IDEA, and mine is mine. You cannot have MY idea. and you cannot copy it infinite times, because you cannot have it, you can have your own.

    Or you can have someone else have a good idea, make it real, and you can buy that idea off them. but you cannot EVER have THEIR idea, its not possible.

    Idea's by themselves do not take phsical form, they are ideas, something that poped into YOUR head. Not physical.

    If you act on that idea, it may become physical, you might write a book, or song or invent something.

    But that is a physical and real thing, born from your idea.
    Which is not physical, and not in itself copyable.

    Again, its not that hard.

    Idea's and logic do require some original thinking, but you are very confused between what is physical and real and what is not. and its not that hard..

     

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  231.  
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    Benefacio, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Want proof: it existed way prior to any IP laws. IP needs laws for it to exist. Money did not."

    Soooo... texting while driving did not exist until a law was made against it? Sorry Mike, you did not offer any sort of proof.

    Money, as a concept or idea that a unit of measure can be substituted for good or services to aid transactions is intellectual.

    Money as a unit of measure is infinite in that the units can be subdivided in any amount neccessary to get the desired outcome.

    "Example of an intellectual scarcity?"

    A digital file I have created but not yet shared with anyone. While it is infinite to me it is scarce for everyone else. A bigger and better known one is access.

     

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  232.  
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    Benefacio, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 10:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are missing the point, Vivaelamor. Everything in US copyright law is geared to create a protected channel of distribution, NOT a protected channel of creativity or the creation of content.

     

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  233.  
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    darryl, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 10:49am

    RE: jay

    "So trying to define a business model based on something that is not lawfull is morally and ethically wrong. "

    *scoffs* So I'm supposed to appease the entertainment demigods by doing something that they believe is the only way?


    NO, you supposed to live by the laws and rules that govern society. Not make up your own rules as you go along.

    So i'm supposed to appease YOU Jay because you believe it is the only way ?

    Or is it too much to ask you to play by the same rules that govern everyone else?
    Or to allow you to make up your own rules as you go along, because you dont agree with the existing law ?

    You dont like the speed limit, and lots of people speed so as you dont agree with the speed limit, and others do it, you should as well ?

    Are you going to tell the judge, when you are in court after losing control and killing someone that you did not agree with the "demigods" of the police and took the law into your own hands.. Making up the rules as you go along, with what you feel like.

    So every law that does not directly benifit you, or make your life better, or cheaper or that gives you movies or songs to listen too, is a bad law and a law that should not be obeyed ?

    Because the people trying to uphold the law "think its the only way" ?

    Why dont you guys use the same arguments in support for kiddy porn ?

    Is it that you know that is morally corrupt, and that it is WRONG, as the same arguments you apply to copyright, IP laws can be applied to kiddy porn. But I dont see anyone defending that, as not physical or damaging to the creators.

    But because its something you want, and for free you use the same weak arguments to support an illegal activity.

    File sharing is not necessarily illegal, true, but illegal file sharing, and copyright violation is illegal.
    And until it is **NOT** illegal you are promoting an illegal activity.

    And few people are on the side of law breakers, thats why there are laws against it, to protect and serve society.

    If you dont like the laws, lobby to have them changed, but dont break them. If you do, you are no better than a common criminal.
    Showing little or no respect for others rights or property.

    As long as you get your free songs your happy!!

     

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  234.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 11:13am

    Re: RE: jay

    Underground Railroad: LAWBREAKERS!!!

     

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  235.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 18th, 2010 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    It is my understanding that the underlying purpose of the Statute of Anne was to dissolve the royal charter, place the original "ownership" of works in the hands of their authors, install a system whereby the exclusive rights under law were fixed at a certain term of years, and to effectuate a change in the then English common law whereby the rights of printers that existed under the law in perpetuity were truncated.

    There is about 20 years missing from your history. The stationer's monopoly expired in 1690 (it seems that it required to renewed). Thus the Statute of Anne re-instituted copyright after a 20 year gap.

     

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  236.  
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    Benefacio, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Copyright in its current form is essentially an economic construct to promote the creation of works,..."

    Only in the most round about way. What it is trying to do is mimic the process whereby physical goods are distributed in the marketplace and societies. Upon initial creation, content becomes a near infinite resource for the content creator, but not for the marketplace or society. In order to encourage the distribution of said content a set of rules that mimic, but do not replicate, the property laws for physical goods was created.

    Take the quote from Thomas Jefferson so often used for these discussions: "He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me." The question that forms the basic reasoning for copyright, in my opnion, is what entices me to share my experience or taper with you? Why in the world would I ever want to give you access to something that benefits me over you?

    This has already been answered in the realm of physical goods; You'll give me access to something that you have that I do not. Thus is born a marketplace for content. Just as different rules apply to the distribution of types of physical goods, so do different types of content also need different rules vis a vis copyright and patents.

    Mind you, this right here is my opinion of DESIGN and INTENT, not END USE. Niether copyright or patents are REQUIRED for the distribution of content.

    ***SPOILER ALERT***





    Here is, I think, a little known secret that is not shared often enough. Nether copyright or patents offer any significant hinderance if you, as content creator, want to distribute your work for free. As a matter of fact, both systems will help PROTECT your right to do so.

     

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  237.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 12:25pm

    Re: RE: jay

    Or is it too much to ask you to play by the same rules that govern everyone else?
    Or to allow you to make up your own rules as you go along, because you dont agree with the existing law ?


    Don't get uppity, like that Rosa Parks character, eh?

    Because the people trying to uphold the law "think its the only way" ?

    Yeah, every good fascist knows *that*.

    Why dont you guys use the same arguments in support for kiddy porn ?

    Umm, maybe because they don't support kiddy porn? However, since you seem to equate morality and legality, I suppose you would support kiddy porn if it *was* legal. (And it wasn't always illegal, you know. Was it moral then?)

    File sharing is not necessarily illegal, true...

    Gee, that's not quite what you said before, now is it? I guess you got caught fibbing (again).

    If you dont like the laws, lobby to have them changed, but dont break them. If you do, you are no better than a common criminal.

    Or better yet, do like Hollywood and the record companies do and buy your own laws. Yeah, civil disobedience is a bad, bad thing, huh?

     

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  238.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 18th, 2010 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sorry I got the date slightly wrong - the gap was only 15 years - however there was a gap.

    See

    http://www.copyrighthistory.org/cgi-bin/kleioc/0010/exec/ausgabeCom/%22uk_1690%22

    for details

     

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  239.  
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    Jay (profile), Jul 18th, 2010 @ 1:52pm

    Re: RE: jay

    As the person above me has noted, there's some laws that were made to be broken.

    Your authoritarian view amuses me greatly. I've already commented on this and now, you just look sad.

    "You dont like the speed limit, and lots of people speed so as you dont agree with the speed limit, and others do it, you should as well ?"

    Irrelevant and ad hominem. How I feel about cars won't change what I feel on arbitrary value of supposed IP. Also, you've yet to answer questions on what happened before the rules changed in the last 30 years.

    "So every law that does not directly benifit you, or make your life better, or cheaper or that gives you movies or songs to listen too, is a bad law and a law that should not be obeyed ?"

    Circumstantial ad hominem. You're trying to say "If every law doesn't benefit me, personally, then it's bad." You've yet to answer about Paley and Moore. Logical Fallacy 2.

    "Because the people trying to uphold the law "think its the only way" ?"

    Hypocrisy on your part. You want us to uphold the law but subtly make it seem as if we have only one method of reasoning for not liking the law.

    "Why dont you guys use the same arguments in support for kiddy porn ?"

    Thanks for the slippery slope argument. How about getting on a better logical basis?

    "Is it that you know that is morally corrupt, and that it is WRONG, as the same arguments you apply to copyright, IP laws can be applied to kiddy porn. "

    Nope, slipped right into the BS. *sigh* Work on your fallacies bucko. Your argument needs help.

    "If you dont like the laws, lobby to have them changed, but dont break them. If you do, you are no better than a common criminal."

    Right... Sure I see that those "criminals" have really hurt the RIAA. It has nothing to do with their sue em all campaign nor their willingness to embrace newer models. *thumbs up*

    "Showing little or no respect for others rights or property."

    I only fileshare with singers and artists that want it. As mentioned, filesharing isn't illegal. Jamendo.com, Magnatune, and dmusic are just three places I like to go to.

    I wouldn't touch RIAA music with a 50 ft pole. *thumbs up*

    Maybe when you can let go of the rhetoric, you'll actually have a better argument. Try again, kid. ;)

     

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  240.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 4:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That is actually something of an impossibility, as morality is nebulous, and differs from one person to another. Legality is not intended to be a nebulous standard, though in practice it can be interpreted differently by different people. This is the flaw in the legal system. It is also the flaw in your reasoning.

     

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  241.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 6:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Control Freak)

    An argument that has been proven incorrect many times.

     

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  242.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    'I disagree as it does not follow that possesion automatically allows blockage. For example, your possesion of content does not automatically block me from using that same content.'

    You're confusing real property with IP, again. IP rights and RP rights are not the same thing, and you know it.

     

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  243.  
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    Any Mouse, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 11:35pm

    Re: RE: jay

    Remember, most countries these days are based upon breaking the law. They are called 'revolutions.' Need a good example? Look up 'Boston Tea Party.'

     

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  244.  
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    Mad Panda (profile), Jul 19th, 2010 @ 1:36am

    Haha calling music sharers immoral is just insulting his own fans...

     

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  245.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 19th, 2010 @ 2:57am

    Re: Re: Re: File sharing and world hunger ! !! big call !!

    Even in your dictionary
    transitive sense 2 of flaunt undoubtedly arose from confusion with flout

    You have managed to find a dictionary that is prepared to accept a mistake as OK simply because so many people have made it.

    However the majority of online definitions stick to the proper meaning.

    Those that mention your meaning (even your link) generally admit that it is not really correct - for example

    "Flaunt as a transitive verb means "to exhibit ostentatiously": She flaunted her wealth. To flout is "to show contempt for": She flouted the proprieties. For some time now flaunt has been used in the sense "to show contempt for," even by educated users of English. This usage is still widely seen as erroneous and is best avoided."

    from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/flaunt

     

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  246.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2010 @ 6:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Control Freak)

    And I would say that if that were true, then copyright would only apply to copying en-masse, which it doesn't.

    I don't understand why you think this. Again: I never said that copyright exists *only* to prevent copying en-masse.

    "If the ability to copy en-masse was the impetus to enact copyright then copyright would only apply to copying en-masse."

    I don't see how "only" is necessarily follows in your statement.

    "If the ability to copy en-masse was the impetus to enact copyright then copyright would apply to copying en-masse." -- which it does.

     

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  247.  
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    average_joe (profile), Jul 19th, 2010 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'd love to have a beer with you sometime. :)

     

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  248.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2010 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Control Freak)

    Enlightne me.

     

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  249.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Jul 19th, 2010 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    At the risk of sounding like a horrible person:

    Law enforcement is not about "stopping" bad behavior. It's about punishment for bad behavior in the hopes that such behavior will become unappealing. But you are correct, rapes will happen, no amount of laws or punishments has ever stopped that.

    You make a shitty argument but a partially valid point.

     

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  250.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Jul 19th, 2010 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    """When I say theft, I know what I mean."""

    The problem with that is this: words have meaning. If you just decide that a word has a different meaning when you use it, but not a meaning that anyone else can know because it's only in your head, well there is a word for that too (hint- it starts with a 'c' and ends with a 'razy').

    So, if you say 'copyright infringed' to a cop, he'll probably walk away shaking his head. However, if you say 'theft' to a cop, he has to file a report and follow it up, etc. Therefore if you say 'theft' and there really was no theft, then you are a liar and will probably experience some legal ramifications yourself.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 19th, 2010 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Point taken, but my argument is that copyright infringement is theft on one level. The Supreme Court agrees; Justice Blackmun has used this explicit language.

    For me, using verbiage that points out the similarities between theft of intellectual property and real property isn't the problem. If I'm talking to a cop about it (why I'm talking to the police about what is most likely a civil suit and not a criminal one is beyond me, but you brought up the hypothetical) then I'm sure I would describe the tort (crime?) with more precision.

    As it is though, informally using "theft" and "stealing" to describe infringement doesn't bother me one bit. In one sense, it is theft and stealing. Those focusing on the differences between intellectual property and real property are focusing on things that don't really matter.

     

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  252.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2010 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ...and when people refer to "sharing" of unauthorized content, are they not engaging in the very same misuse of words that they decry?

    Last time I looked the "sharing" of files without the permission of the rights holders is known as illegal "distribution, reproduction, etc.".

     

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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Jul 19th, 2010 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    """As it is though, informally using "theft" and "stealing" to describe infringement doesn't bother me one bit."""

    That's fine if it doesn't bother you, I guess, but it's still clearly and provably *wrong*.

    """Those focusing on the differences between intellectual property and real property are focusing on things that don't really matter."""

    Again, not to sound obnoxious, but you are wrong. This is the crux of the matter. People that are trying to sell infinte goods as if they were scarce are going to be disappointed from here on out. The only reason it "worked" before is because there were real physical difficulties copying things: you could borrow a book from a library and hand-write your own copy of it, but who actually did that? But if a guy scans a copy and makes a pdf of it, it can be around the world in two days. The point is, fighting against that kind of power is like fighting the tides. People can copy, so they do copy. And many many times, it's what even you would probably call "innocent" copying. Is a Madonna song playing in the background while your little girl takes her first steps that you've recorded on video? By your admission, you would be fine with being called a thief.

    Whew, sorry for the long rant.

     

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  254.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2010 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Don't apologize for the rant. I greatly enjoyed it! :)

     

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  255.  
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    average_joe (profile), Jul 19th, 2010 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Don't apologize for the rant. I greatly enjoyed it! :)"

    Not that it matters, but that last post was from me. I switched computers, and apparently I was logged out. Doh!

     

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  256.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 20th, 2010 @ 3:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "What it is trying to do is mimic the process whereby physical goods are distributed in the marketplace and societies."

    Then substitute creation for distribution and the point still stands.

    "The question that forms the basic reasoning for copyright, in my opnion, is what entices me to share my experience or taper with you? Why in the world would I ever want to give you access to something that benefits me over you?"

    While the aim of copyright might be to promote sharing, the argument was over copying. There is nothing stopping you from not sharing your work, as there is nothing stopping me from copying it, should you share it, except copyright. As you appear to understand this concept, I wonder why you're even arguing? You appear to agree with us on the point in question even if you don't agree with me on whether copyright is a good thing.

    "Mind you, this right here is my opinion of DESIGN and INTENT, not END USE. Niether copyright or patents are REQUIRED for the distribution of content. "

    Which is the fundamental difference between copyright and actual property rights. Copyright is there because it is believed to have a positive effect overall. Physical property rights are there because they solve an actual problem, the distribution of scarce resources.

    "Here is, I think, a little known secret that is not shared often enough. Nether copyright or patents offer any significant hinderance if you, as content creator, want to distribute your work for free. As a matter of fact, both systems will help PROTECT your right to do so."

    I get the sarcasm but we're not talking about what I can do with my own content, but with other peoples. Earlier you seemed to be going off topic because you didn't understand the point we were arguing, now you're just trying to derail the conversation.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 20th, 2010 @ 4:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "You are missing the point, Vivaelamor. Everything in US copyright law is geared to create a protected channel of distribution, NOT a protected channel of creativity or the creation of content."

    Missing the point? All I did was point out that what you said was false. I didn't have a point beyond you being wrong. You not being right was the sum total of my point.

    If you being wrong misses the point, was your point to lie?

     

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    Jay (profile), Jul 20th, 2010 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Maybe his point had cake.

     

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  259.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 20th, 2010 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Soooo... texting while driving did not exist until a law was made against it? Sorry Mike, you did not offer any sort of proof."

    I thought the comparison was between IP and money; how does texting while driving fit into it?

    "A digital file I have created but not yet shared with anyone. While it is infinite to me it is scarce for everyone else. A bigger and better known one is access."

    Copyright doesn't protect that scarcity. This goes to the whole 'information wants to be free' mantra, if you've shared something then it is no longer scarce. Copyright doesn't enforce your right not to share something, it limits peoples ability to copy what has already been shared.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 20th, 2010 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: File sharing and world hunger ! !! big call !!

    "You have managed to find a dictionary that is prepared to accept a mistake as OK simply because so many people have made it."

    Obviously someone who hates Webster's third as much as I do.

     

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  261.  
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    Tom, Jul 20th, 2010 @ 9:21pm

    Well done.

    Hi, Mike. Sorry to say this but your whole article is asinine (and has a faint whiff of 'troll' about it...), but you have provoked quite a debate about an issue which, really, should not be deserving of debate.

    "Infringement is totally different than stealing. It is making a copy of something. You have not lost anything..."

    and

    'The crux of the problem: Jason Robert Brown wants control. But copyright was never about "control."'

    Copyright is supposed to protect those who can create (us) from those who can only consume (you). It is supposed to protect our income against those who would seek to take it from us by, say, illegaly copying something we created.

    In other words copyright is designed to control who has the right to derive income from copies of a work.

    You make a copy someone LOSES... In economic (not moral) terms the artist's right to profit from their invention/art/whatever has been lost.

    "What I said was that moral rights only come into play in scenarios in which a choice hurts some people, and you need to choose, effectively, how to distribute the "harm." That's a moral discussion.

    My point was that if the economics of the situation opens up the door to everyone being better off, moral rights don't even come into play, because there's no moral question to answer."

    I agree that morals don't come into play - we have all seen that far too many people are devoid of a sense of right and wrong (and so many have posted here!) and will steal when they pretty much know they can get away with it. So why pretend that morals are an issue? JRB is just disappointed in human nature and people proving themselves to be douchebags, time and time again. I agree with you, Mike; get over it JRB!

    And as for the thoughts of the economics of music theft making everyone better off? What lazy, hazy, communist dream did that come from? Why are the realities of the situation being countered by philosophy and rhetoric? Who is hurt by paying a fair price for some music? Who? 80¢ for a song will make no-one rich; nor will it cause anyone to starve.

    (And in the words of the late, great Frank Zappa, entertainment is optional. Don't make it sound like you are ENTITLED to it. No one is forcing you to have the movie, music etc. You are making a choice to have it and if you make that choice you have to weigh up the price against your desire to have it. No gun to your head, no ransom notes. If you decide the price is unfair, walk away. That's it. Come back later when its in the bargain bin. You don't get to choose your price anywhere else so why should the OPTIONAL entertainment industry have to put up with that nonsense? Oh yeah, you're too cheap to pay 80¢ for a song...)

    If artists cannot support themselves from their art EVERYONE loses; the artist, because the opportunity to create has been reduced, and everyone else because there is less art being created. Society, culture, your 'everyone' will be worse off for the loss.

    And as for the comment about a "Smarter business model"? That is a particularly callous and insulting remark. "We want to remove your right to profit from your work so be smart, give it to us free and sell something else to somebody else, 'cos we aren't buyin!" Yeah, we need something smarter.

    Have you any suggestions on how artists can be smarter than the thieves? Does anyone think DRM is a good idea? Not me, but it is there precisely because of self-serving arguments like yours. (And yes, the big record/movie companies are douchebags but that's another battle.)

    And by the way, your economic argument about charging £1000 for this article betrays the lack of real thought you put into your argument. The economic reality is you do not give your articles away 'free'. You might not get cold hard cash for views... no wait.. http://www.techdirt.com/advertise.php. Jeez, Mike so you do this for nothing? Good on you!

    Yes, if you attempted to sell ill-considered polemic for $1000 you would fail but no-one would argue against your RIGHT to do that.

    Which is what you are doing: "Your sense of entitlement to a business model that no longer fits the market is what people are complaining about."

    For all you complaining and acting hurt when people call you on this stuff, you are breathtakingly galling.

    The business model fits the market. (Maybe it needs a bit of work, but its not entirely broken.) Some consumers just don't want to abide by the rules of said market; i.e in a capitalist, democratic society we can profit from our labors. The truth is that some are trying to do an end-run around the market, and that is a different state of affairs to a wrong market model.

    Instead of the artist being out of step, as you like to see it, some sections (a small but vocal minority, some of whom have blogs) of the comsumer base are trying to BREAK or subvert the system. And you seem to be doing all you can to encourage them.

    Again, to point out, there is a sense of entitlement from JRB because HE IS ENTITLED TO PROFIT FROM HIS WORK. How could you get that so wrong? And yet be so sneering in your tone?

    And why, just as a question, if you believe in what you are saying, do you not go out and try to change the market in automobiles? If you and twenty friends get together and were to 'download' cars from your local Ford dealer, what would the news media call you? A new market force?

    (Spare me the "copy" argument, I've dealt with that; you are depriving the dealer of his right to profit from the sale of those autos in the same way you are depriving a musician of his right to profit from the sale of his/her work.) How about it Mike? You might break the dealer of his sense of entitlement?

    The bottom line? A small minority just want people to be able steal music and not be called out on it. Simple. It is, in fact, black and white. Why resort to specious economic argument when all you want is for someone to tell you that, yes, you're smart 'cos you got all your .mp3s for nothing. Good on you.

    Well done, you. Well done.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 8:18am

    Re: Well done.

    Best post in the whole thread. Thanks, Tom.

    The very idea that copying doesn't hurt the author is obviously a rationalization. Of course it hurts the author. Brown is angry, and for good reason. People are taking from him what is his. I'd be pissed too.

    The idea that copyright hurts society is equally as ridiculous.

    It's not that copyright gives rights to the author that they otherwise would not have, it's that copyright acknowledges the author's natural rights in his work and then later takes away those rights and gives them to society. Without copyright society would NEVER get the rights to an author's works. That's the whole point.

    And I think it's hilarious that people think those who support copyright are pissing in the wind. They think Brown is just a whiner. The people pissing in the wind, the whiners, are the people who think copyright is going away. It's not.

    The mantra is: "It's not stealing, it's sharing!" LOL!

    Yeah, right. Infringers don't represent a new paradigm that society must accept with open arms, they're just a bunch of assholes who think they should get other people's property for free.

     

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  263.  
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    Jay (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Well done.

    "Copyright is supposed to protect those who can create (us) from those who can only consume (you). It is supposed to protect our income against those who would seek to take it from us by, say, illegaly copying something we created."

    What you're arguing is that a monopolist (which is really what copyright turns someone into) should have perfect control.

    This is not true at all. As a writer myself, I notice that copyright laws actually impede what I want to do. If I spell orcs as orks, then I supposedly owe Tolkien money. If I try to expand on the Dark Lord of Humdrum, then that could potentially damage their work. So within my industry, people accept that perhaps they don't need perfect control of everything.

    Composers are really no different in that regard. They create a work and sell it to others, but they move on. What happens to their older works? Should they be allowed to make money in perpetuity + 50 years? To that, I say no. Their heirs should be able to create their own works, not settle. Like the girl in the original argument said, she could literally get the sheet music from a book but once it's digital, it's illegal. Kinda backwards if you ask me but *shrug*

    "You make a copy someone LOSES... In economic (not moral) terms the artist's right to profit from their invention/art/whatever has been lost."

    I'm calling you on your BS. For gaming, DnD offers FREE copies of all of their materials online. And yet they haven't gone out of business.

    Radiohead continues to connect to fans.

    Then there's always The Trent Reznor model

    Glad to see you do your research.

    "And as for the thoughts of the economics of music theft making everyone better off? What lazy, hazy, communist dream did that come from? Why are the realities of the situation being countered by philosophy and rhetoric? Who is hurt by paying a fair price for some music? Who? 80¢ for a song will make no-one rich; nor will it cause anyone to starve."

    ...

    It boggles my mind that you look at just one aspect of an industry and don't understand the larger picture. Factor in that people want 50 songs at one time. .80 x 50 = $40 bucks. For just 50 songs! I remember when mp3.com was up and the songs were .49, and they made a great deal of money. Think about that same 50 songs at $24.50. That is economics. Now imagine that even 50 Cent is saying that piracy isn't really hurting the industry, but helping it. And really, with the example I've shown, how can that be a fair price for music if it impedes on my ability to assess a musician's worth to me?

    It's kind of why I like Rhapsody's approach of 5$ a month but all of the songs you can enjoy. Doesn't stop people and it's ironic... Didn't Napster want to do that in the first place so long ago? Oh, sorry... Against the rules.

    "If artists cannot support themselves from their art EVERYONE loses; the artist, because the opportunity to create has been reduced, and everyone else because there is less art being created. Society, culture, your 'everyone' will be worse off for the loss."

    BS yet again. Artists are being harmed, they're gaining more fans and have more independence from labels since the barrier to entry is now more favorable to them. I could go on but I'll let you mull that over.

    "And as for the comment about a "Smarter business model"? That is a particularly callous and insulting remark. "We want to remove your right to profit from your work so be smart, give it to us free and sell something else to somebody else, 'cos we aren't buyin!" Yeah, we need something smarter."

    Funny how the most outspoken critic is the one that can't back up his own argument, merely attack others...

    "The business model fits the market. (Maybe it needs a bit of work, but its not entirely broken.) Some consumers just don't want to abide by the rules of said market; i.e in a capitalist, democratic society we can profit from our labors. The truth is that some are trying to do an end-run around the market, and that is a different state of affairs to a wrong market model."

    First you criticize people by saying the model fits the market. I doubt it. Copyright shoehorns the model to fit. Not only is it (now) a square peg in a round hole, but people are using a screwdriver to try and make it fit. Let's take a step back and figure out what JRB could have done. He could have allowed the girl to use the damn sheet music. He could have treated her with a LOT more respect than he did (he came off as arrogant and personally with all of the updates to the story, he seems to wrongly believe that his way is better with no basis.

    "Again, to point out, there is a sense of entitlement from JRB because HE IS ENTITLED TO PROFIT FROM HIS WORK. How could you get that so wrong? And yet be so sneering in your tone? "

    Funny how you say that and this:
    "And in the words of the late, great Frank Zappa, entertainment is optional. Don't make it sound like you are ENTITLED to it. No one is forcing you to have the movie, music etc. You are making a choice to have it and if you make that choice you have to weigh up the price against your desire to have it. No gun to your head, no ransom notes. If you decide the price is unfair, walk away. That's it. Come back later when its in the bargain bin. You don't get to choose your price anywhere else so why should the OPTIONAL entertainment industry have to put up with that nonsense? "

    In the same sentence. When this started the teenager didn't have access to the songs at all. I believe you forget that in your rant. Also look into monopolies. He has one on his work. Imperfect as it is, the price will never reach a point of market value. It will always his a price that he feels entitled to. Not necessarily one the market makes. Actually, if you think of it that way, it's one reason to give incentive to people to infringe upon his work since the price is unfairly high.

    "And why, just as a question, if you believe in what you are saying, do you not go out and try to change the market in automobiles? If you and twenty friends get together and were to 'download' cars from your local Ford dealer, what would the news media call you? A new market force?"

    So glad that's not a real argument. There's different things to worry about in the car market. Quite frankly the reason they're so consolidated now is because of their lobbying efforts. In the end, cars in the US haven't innovated a lot until Toyota destroyed them with the Prius. If we could get a few of these safety laws as well as lower the barrier to entry, I'm sure you would see a renaissance here in the US in car design.

    "The bottom line? A small minority just want people to be able steal music and not be called out on it. Simple. It is, in fact, black and white. Why resort to specious economic argument when all you want is for someone to tell you that, yes, you're smart 'cos you got all your .mp3s for nothing. Good on you."

    At least we know a few good places to get our music legally. ;)

    But that's neither here nor there.

     

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    Karl (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 4:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    my understanding is congress can "make no law" that violates the constitution.

    Yes, and the Supreme Court ultimately decides which laws are unconstitutional and which ones aren't.

    But here's a niggling point to make. The "copyright clause" does not say that authors have a Constitutional right to their works. It allows Congress to grant that right, if it so chooses. The Constitutional right is granted to Congress, not to authors.

    If Congress eliminated all copyright laws tomorrow, there would be nothing unconstitutional about it.

     

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    Karl (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 7:34pm

    Re: Well done.

    I know I'm late to the game here, but I had to reply to the most asinine, unfactual, and anti-art post in the whole thread, including e.e. trolling's. That would be Tom's.

    Copyright is supposed to protect those who can create (us) from those who can only consume (you).

    First of all, that's factually wrong. Copyright is supposed to enrich "those who can only consume." It is not supposed to "protect" anyone. It is supposed to provide an incentive to create - nothing more.

    Second, it's patronizing and egotistical to believe, even for a second, that those who are for changing business models "can only consume." I mean, Mike is a writer, for fuck's sake. Myself, Nina Paley, and plenty of others on here are creative artists.

    Third, it's factually wrong, even with regards to this situation. The girl in question is a performer. She is hardly "only consuming" music.

    Fourth, it's fundamentally against the nature of aesthetic creation. Once you release a piece of art into the public sphere, it is no longer entirely "yours," even in an aesthetic sense. Other people can interpret it in ways you didn't predict (or even don't like); they can form judgements that you don't approve of; and so on. The very act of "consumption" fundamentally changes the nature of the work itself. Thinking artists have known this for centuries. Saying you have an "exclusive right" to it is like saying you have an "exclusive right" to an artistic opinion.

    You make a copy someone LOSES... In economic (not moral) terms the artist's right to profit from their invention/art/whatever has been lost.

    Utter nonesense. The artist's "right" to profit is not lost. Brown could have not enforced his copyright, and still sold sheet music. Copying doesn't take that away. People sell copies of even public domain works all the time (Shakespeare's works, Alice in Wonderland, Nosferatu, etc).

    And as for the thoughts of the economics of music theft making everyone better off? What lazy, hazy, communist dream did that come from?

    It comes from the basic economics of public goods.

    In this case: by enforcing copyright, Brown didn't gain any more money, and he deprived Eleanor of his works. Nobody won. Had he not enforced his copyright, Eleanor (and others) would have his works, and he would have gained exposure and (more importantly) good will, and still not lost his "right" to charge for copies - possibly selling more of them.

    And if copyright enforcement was not longer permitted, then Brown would also have gained access to the work of other composers, to "consume," or to use as raw materials for his own works; and those other composers would also gain, as both "creators" and "consumers." Net creativity would be up - as it is in areas of music where copyright is not enforced.

    It's a basic cost-benefit analysis, which has nothing to do with a "lazy, hazy, communist dream." But nice try, Senator McCarthy. Have you no sense of decency?

    And in the words of the late, great Frank Zappa, entertainment is optional. Don't make it sound like you are ENTITLED to it.

    In the words of the late, great... somebody, making money from entertainment is optional. Don't make it sound like you are ENTITLED to it.

    By the way, you did pay Zappa for use of that quote, right? Thief.

    If artists cannot support themselves from their art EVERYONE loses

    So why are you advocating taking Brown's approach, which will not make him any money? Do you think that his sheet music sales have climbed since he started this (mostly polite) campaign? Of course not.

    The economic reality is you do not give your articles away 'free'. You might not get cold hard cash for views... no wait.. http://www.techdirt.com/advertise.php.

    The articles themselves are in the public domain (as far as you even have the ability to put anything into the public domain). Yes, he makes money from advertising - so what? You are the only person saying creators shouldn't get paid. Mike never said that (nor did anyone else here).

    The fact that he doesn't rely on copyright, yet still makes money, supports his argument and demolishes yours.

    The truth is that some are trying to do an end-run around the market, and that is a different state of affairs to a wrong market model.

    The ones that are doing "an end-run around the market" are those like Brown whose income depends on copyright. Copyright law - by definition - is an artificial restriction on the market. And, like all artificial restrictions, they are eventually bound to fail. If your market model depends on those "end-runs," you will fail when they do.

    Nothing personal, it's just business.

    If you and twenty friends get together and were to 'download' cars from your local Ford dealer, what would the news media call you? A new market force?

    If I could make cars cheaper than Ford, and started my own car company, I'd be doing nothing wrong, no matter how much I'm "depriving the dealer of his right to profit." I'd be called a "shrewd businessman." It's called competition.

    But let's stick with your "copying cars" analogy. If I did invent a Star Trek-style replicator, that could create copies of physical objects (like cars) at no cost, I'd probably get a Nobel Prize and be considered a hero to humanity. There would be no more shortages of resources. No more world hunger; no more poverty; less crime, less war, etc.

    You think that it would be a good idea to take all this away just so that a few Ford CEO's can get rich?

    Why resort to specious economic argument when all you want is for someone to tell you that, yes, you're smart 'cos you got all your .mp3s for nothing. Good on you.

    Why resort to specious logic when all you want is for someone to tell you that, yes, you're smart because you actually think Mike ever illegally downloaded anything in his entire life.

    That's what's galling. You assume that anyone who wants artists to face reality and make money are just looking for "excuses" to pirate music.

    You, sir, are a douche. Perhaps a bigger douche than even John Edward, and that's saying something.

    Well done, you. Well done.

     

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    Karl (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 8:18pm

    Re: RE: jay

    Why dont you guys use the same arguments in support for kiddy porn ?

    I am appalled by anyone who produces kiddie porn.

    That's why I download all my kiddie porn from the Pirate Bay. Child pornographers will be out of business in no time!

    ...No, there's no need to thank me. I'm just doing my part to help the children.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 11:44pm

    Re: Well done.

    Tom, others have already replied to you in great detail, and done an excellent job of it, so I won't repeat their points. But a few specifics:

    Copyright is supposed to protect those who can create (us) from those who can only consume (you).

    It's that us vs. them mentality that has you twisted around. First of all, I am very much a content creator and have been so most of my professional life. I make my living from my ability to create content, so please don't be insulting.

    But this is a key point. The world is not separated into "those who can create" and "those who can consume."

    Out of curiosity, which categorization would you put Ray Charles in? I can guess, but would it influence your classification to know that he flat out copied the song that is considered the original "soul music" song? It was blatant infringement.

    And as for the thoughts of the economics of music theft making everyone better off? What lazy, hazy, communist dream did that come from?

    Nothing at all in communism. Basic capitalist economics. The same kind that Adam Smith used to show that monopolies make smaller markets. Are you denying that point?

    Who is hurt by paying a fair price for some music? Who? 80¢ for a song will make no-one rich; nor will it cause anyone to starve.

    Funny that you claim our economics is "communist," and yet you're the one trying to set price by fiat, rather than the market. A fair price is what the *free* market will bare.

    And by the way, your economic argument about charging £1000 for this article betrays the lack of real thought you put into your argument. The economic reality is you do not give your articles away 'free'. You might not get cold hard cash for views... no wait.. http://www.techdirt.com/advertise.php. Jeez, Mike so you do this for nothing? Good on you!

    Um. That proves my point, doesn't it? I happen to have put in place a smart business model that makes money while giving away my content for free.

    in a capitalist, democratic society we can profit from our labors.

    No. You profit from finding a business model that works. You have no right to profit from your labor.

    The truth is that some are trying to do an end-run around the market, and that is a different state of affairs to a wrong market model.


    And when the automobile came along, it was "the wrong market model" for the transportation industry, because it did an "end run" around the horse & buggy and train markets, right?

    And why, just as a question, if you believe in what you are saying, do you not go out and try to change the market in automobiles? If you and twenty friends get together and were to 'download' cars from your local Ford dealer, what would the news media call you? A new market force?

    Huh? Yes, if you could download a car, it would totally change the economics of automaking. For the better, actually. Think of how it would change transportation.

    (Spare me the "copy" argument, I've dealt with that; you are depriving the dealer of his right to profit from the sale of those autos in the same way you are depriving a musician of his right to profit from the sale of his/her work.)

    There is no right to profit. As I've pointed out elsewhere, if you are looking to buy that Ford, and the Chrysler dealer across the street calls you over with a promise of $1,000 off, that Chrysler dealer has "deprived the Ford dealer of his right to profit" according to you. But here in the real world we call it competition.

    The bottom line? A small minority just want people to be able steal music and not be called out on it. Simple. It is, in fact, black and white. Why resort to specious economic argument when all you want is for someone to tell you that, yes, you're smart 'cos you got all your .mp3s for nothing. Good on you.

    Except I've *never* downloaded an infringing MP3 in my life. I still mostly buy CDs or pay for MP3s on Amazon. I'm not rationalizing anything. I'm not defending file sharing at all. I'm explaining why it makes more sense for content creators to use better business models.

    Well done, you. Well done.


    Try again.

     

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    Karl (profile), Jul 22nd, 2010 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Re: Well done.

    You know, Joe, I am really surprised at you. What you say isn't true, and you should know it isn't true, because we've talked about it before.

    For example:

    It's not that copyright gives rights to the author that they otherwise would not have, it's that copyright acknowledges the author's natural rights in his work and then later takes away those rights and gives them to society.

    This is completely backwards, at least if you believe the Supreme Court:

    The counsel for the complainants insist that the term, as used, clearly indicates an intention not to originate a right, but to protect one already in existence.

    There is no mode by which the meaning affixed to any word or sentence by a deliberative body can be so well ascertained as by comparing it with the words and sentences with which it stands connected. By this rule, the word "secure," as used in the Constitution, could not mean the protection of an acknowledged legal right. It refers to inventors as well as authors, and it has never been pretended by anyone either in this country or in England that an inventor has a perpetual right at common law to sell the thing invented. (...)

    Congress, then, by this act, instead of sanctioning an existing right, as contended for, created it.

    - from Wheaton v. Peters (emphasis mine)


    In other words: copyright gives rights to the author that they otherwise would not have. He does not have natural rights in his work.

    Incidentally: this case was challenging the constitutionality of the fact that at that time, copyrights had to be officially registered, or they didn't exist. That remained true up until 1976. Even today, unregistered copyrights are very, very limited (e.g. you can't sue for statutory damages or legal fees).

    Without copyright society would NEVER get the rights to an author's works.

    Also blatantly false.

    A work that is not under copyright is in the public domain. The public domain is the default status of a work not under copyright (i.e. prior to 1976, unregistered; prior to copyright law, everything) - it is not a "creation" of copyright. What rights does society have to works in the public domain?

    They can reproduce it at will. They can sell copies, or give them away. They can use it as the basis for derivative works. They can, in other words, do everything with the work that rights holders can do with works under their copyright.

    The only thing the public cannot do is prevent others from doing the same thing. And that is the only right that is granted to copyright holders.

    On to this specific situation:

    The very idea that copying doesn't hurt the author is obviously a rationalization. Of course it hurts the author.

    If Brown had not prevented Eleanor from copying the sheet music, then he would not have been out a sale, and he would not have lost his right to sell the work. He would not have to put in any effort or expend any resources. He would have lost nothing.

    On the other hand, it's entirely possible he would have been helped had he allowed it. He would have encouraged goodwill among his possible consumer base; he would have word-of-mouth advertising; and more people would hear his music.

    There is no measurable way that he could have been "hurt" by this... unless you count hurt feelings. Really, that's all there is to it: he thinks (for some backwards reason) that people who share his music are "disrespecting" him, so like a child on a playground, he stamps his feet, takes his ball, and goes home.

    The mantra is: "It's not stealing, it's sharing!" LOL!

    A mantra which is obviously true, and against which you have never presented one single shred of evidence.

    Yeah, right. Infringers don't represent a new paradigm that society must accept with open arms, they're just a bunch of assholes who think they should get other people's property for free.

    Yeah, right. Artists don't represent a fundamental paradigm that society must accept with open arms, they're just a bunch of assholes who think they can control other people's property for profit.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 22nd, 2010 @ 3:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Well done.

    Hey Karl, I'm glad you brought up Wheaton. I think if we talk about that case we'll clear up some things. I read Wheaton differently. I'm sure you're not surprised. :)

    I'm cramming for exams right now... got about 100 Supreme Court cases to get straight in my head for tomorrow. Unfortunately one of them isn't Wheaton. LOL!

    Keep that argument on the back burner for now, and we'll hash it out later.

    Have a great one!

     

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    Karl (profile), Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 6:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Well done.

    If you're doing research, the Wikipedia page on the Copyright Act of 1790 is actually very informative:

    The colonies' economy was largely agrarian, hence copyright law was not a priority, resulting in only three private copyright acts being passed in America prior to 1783. Two of the acts were limited to seven years, the other was limited to a term of five years. [...]

    The law covered only books, maps, and charts; paintings, drawings, and music were not included until later. [...]

    At the time works only received protection under federal statutory copyright if the statutory formalities, such as a proper copyright notice, were satisfied. If this was not the case the work immediately entered into the public domain.


    Kind of puts the damper on the notion that musicians or artists had a recognized "natural right" to their published works.

    Their page about Common Law Copyright is also apropos.

    You might also read about the debate between Madison and Jefferson about copyright. Jefferson is against copyright in general, and Madison is for copyright; but both view it as a monopoly privilege, not an author's "right," and that in order for this monopoly to be tolerated, the people must have the ability to take that privilege away.

    It was only granted because it was an effective way for authors to make money (not "have control"), the other alternatives being private patronage (e.g. "work for hire") or government subsidies. This would result in an incentive to publish more works, which benefited the public through a greater pool of available works.

    But in the end, it is all about public benefit, not authors' "rights." If copyright law does not serve to get works to the public, then it is not doing its job.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 24th, 2010 @ 7:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well done.

    Great stuff, Karl. I look forward to continuing our debate. I had an exam yesterday, and I've got another one Monday. The one Monday is actually a take-home exam. One essay question that is 100% of the grade. Such is law school.

    After that, I've got a huge research project to do for court. Then a couple weeks from now I'm heading up north for ten days of fishing and relaxation before school starts again in August. I'm super busy.

    I have done a lot of research into these copyright issues, reading some of the same stuff you're pointing to and a bunch more. It's something I'd love to learn more about, and I'd love to hash it out with you and others.

    I'm not really interested in debating people who just state their opinions and don't back them up outside sources, as so many people here seem to do. That's a waste of time. I'm glad you're doing the research.

    Take 'er easy!

     

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    Karl (profile), Jul 24th, 2010 @ 7:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well done.

    I'm not really interested in debating people who just state their opinions and don't back them up outside sources, as so many people here seem to do.

    That's fair, but you should realize that the reason most people here don't cite those sources, is because they've cited them many, many times before to others, before you showed up on the scene.

    In other words: They believe they've already debunked your arguments, and see no reason to do it again.

    Really, someone should put a FAQ or sources list together. I think I might do that tonight.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 24th, 2010 @ 7:48pm

    "That's fair, but you should realize that the reason most people here don't cite those sources, is because they've cited them many, many times before to others, before you showed up on the scene.

    In other words: They believe they've already debunked your arguments, and see no reason to do it again.

    Really, someone should put a FAQ or sources list together. I think I might do that tonight."

    If so many people could debunk what I'm saying with such ease, then they would bring it on. I think it's obviously the other way: most here have nothing substantial to say. People here don't want to be called out for their unsupported opinions. Most people here couldn't argue their way out of a paper bag.

    If I'm so easy to beat, then bring it on. Use cites and authorities. Argue like the big boys.

     

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    Karl (profile), Jul 26th, 2010 @ 4:15pm

    Re:

    The problem with that attitude is that there are a huge number of myths about copyright (e.g. that infringement is theft; that copyright's primary purpose is to reward labor; that it's an inalienable right; that it's designed to protect artists from exploitation; etc).

    Those myths are so indoctrinated into our collective consciousness, that those who haven't researched the topic angrily jump in with statements that include two or three myths at a go.

    It's usually just easier to say something equivalent to "RTFM" and go on about your life.

    Good thing I like to hear myself talk.

     

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  275.  
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    Endora, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 4:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The laws on witchcraft in the UK were only repealed in 1951 -- but who cared by then?"


    WHY THE WITCHES CARED OF COURSE!!!

     

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    Karl (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 7:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well done.

    Until the FAQ comes along, you could do worse than reading William Patry's history of copyright law:

    http://digital-law-online.info/patry/patry1.html

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 12:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well done.

    Until the FAQ comes along, you could do worse than reading William Patry's history of copyright law:


    And, since "Average Joe" keeps making appeals to authority, it should probably be noted that (1) Bill Patry is considered one of the foremost experts on copyright law, and is regularly cited by judges in copyright decisions and (2) a regular reader of Techdirt and a fan of the site and our general viewpoint on copyright law -- and someone with whom I regularly discuss copyright issues. If he's looking for more reading material, he would be well served to read Patry's most recent book, "Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars."

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 6:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well done.

    I'm reading a synopsis of "Moral Panics" on Westlaw now. Thanks for the links Karl and Mike.

    And Mike, I'm sorry I called you an idiot. I lost my cool.

    I admit I have much to learn. But I want you to also keep in mind that the positions I've stated throughout my posts weren't just things I made up. They were conclusions I made after reading scholarly writings, law journal articles, court decisions, etc.

    There are different models and theories of copyright, and while I may prefer one that differs from the one you prefer, that doesn't mean either of us is wrong. For example, I have found several law journal articles that support the position that copyright is a natural right. They then go on to explain how statutory copyright came about from this natural right.

    I can find writings that back up my beliefs, as I'm sure you can too. My focus is presumptively different than yours by design though, since I'm looking for arguments that I can use in court. Ideology is nice, but will it help my future clients? That's what I'm focusing on ultimately.

     

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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 7:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    so, I don't have first sale rights anymore? I bought the cd, don't I own the cd? And by ownership, doesn't that mean I can do with the cd whatever I want?

    I buy a bookcase from IKEA... do I not have the right to hack it to pieces and use it as firewood? Do I not have the right to repurpose said bookcase to make a nightstand out of it? Do I not have the right to resell that bookcase to my neighbour? Do I not have the right to copy of that bookcase and sell that copy to my neighbour?

    So, why then is it suddenly different with 'creative content'?

     

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  280.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 7:10am

    Re:

    How many times do you expect us to debunk those arguments then?
    Every few weeks someone new comes along and spout those myths that we have just spent time on debunking with someone else.

    You are not the first one to say these, nor will you be the last (unfortunately). At some point those who have been here longer than today, are growing tired of the discussion, as for us, it's no longer worth the discussion, and would much rather discuss what really matters, and that's the future, what's going to happen with copyright tomorrow, rather than debunk whatever falsehood that's being claimed by the newbie of the week. (or worse, the troll of the week, which makes trying to discuss it rather pointless as they will keep on trolling.)

    I am not a thief, as copyright infringement is not the same as theft.
    Nor am I a communist, as I believe in free markets, in fact it's copyright that's hurting the capitalist free market.
    I admit to have downloaded music, books and movies in the past. But I also spend a lot of money on music books and movies that I like. Either through donation to the director directly after my p2p use, if that's possible, or by buying that album or that movie or that book from the source directly if possible, if I really like it.

    If you are so interested in the discussion, I'd suggest you use the search engine on this site and look back at previous posts here on the site, where copyright was discussed. You will find great points brought forward by Karl, Nina Paley and many others, often with citations and links to support their statements. It's often the other side, the copyright maximalists that don't support their statements with links and citations.

     

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    Karl (profile), Jul 29th, 2010 @ 5:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well done.

    For example, I have found several law journal articles that support the position that copyright is a natural right. They then go on to explain how statutory copyright came about from this natural right.

    Care to share what those articles are? I've read quite a bit, and I've never seen a single person who claims that American or British copyright law was ever founded on the belief that copyright is a natural right.

    European copyright is a different matter, of course.

     

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  282.  
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    Karl (profile), Jul 29th, 2010 @ 5:29pm

    Re: Re:

    I know you wrote this long ago, but it's a point you've kept harping on, so:

    Copyright by design ultimately takes the author's rights away and grants them to society.

    Please tell me where, in that quote, anyone even hinted that the author had those rights in the first place.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Jul 30th, 2010 @ 6:49am

    Karl, I'm starting a new reply since in threaded-view it's really hard to follow along as all the text is squished up on the right side of my netbook screen. I am just going into my Westlaw account and searching the database of law journals for things like "natural rights copyright" and I'm getting all sorts of articles like the ones I'm alluding to.

    Let me give you three examples with quotes and citations. I'm not sure if you can find these exact articles on the internet without an account somewhere, but you could look them up at any law library. Beyond these three I've found and read dozens more just like it. In fact, I've found so many sources that confirm these ideas that I believe this to be the majority opinion amongst legal scholars.

    Example Number 1:

    "Indeed, the idea that the author owned the work he or she created was a powerful one based on the natural law that was both irresistible and irrefutable, and it provided the booksellers with an argument in their efforts to persuade the courts to nullify the Statute of Anne by interpretation and thus defeat its regulatory goal. If an author owned a work by reason of creation under the natural law, why should that author be said to forfeit that ownership by publication, the very act that would encourage learning? And, of course, a common law copyright based on natural law had no term limits and would last in perpetuity as had its predecessor, the stationers' copyright.

    There are five notable cases over a century and a half — 1834-1992 — that aid an understanding of the copyright clause. In these cases, the U.S. Supreme Court acted to protect copyright law against the intrusion of natural law urged by copyright holders in an effort to expand the copyright monopoly beyond its constitutional boundaries.

    In general terms, the statutory compromise was intended to minimize the impact of the commodification of information and learning by substituting a limited-statutory-grant copyright for a perpetual-natural-law copyright.

    Thus relying on Millar v. Taylor, plaintiffs in Wheaton v. Peters argued for the author's perpetual common law copyright. That the argument was taken seriously is indicated by the two dissenting opinions. And, of course, the natural law theory of copyright has emerged in this century with a vengeance, for example in the Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988, and more recently, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and the Copyright Term Extension Act."

    47 J. Copyright Soc'y U.S.A. 365 UNDERSTANDING THE COPYRIGHT CLAUSE

    To summarize the main points:

    (1) that an author owns their work is irrefutable
    (2) copyright based on natural law would have no term limits for the authors
    (3) the Court fights the invasion of natural copyright which would naturally give authors no term limits which would be in contradiction to the Constitution goal of taking away those limits
    (4) statutory copyright is a substitution for natural copyright
    (5) natural rights copyright has reemerged with a vengeance lately

    Example Number 2:

    "Copyright law finds its basis in one of two discrete philosophies: the natural rights inherent in the law or the economic rights recognized by statute. Each of these alternative theories (or their combination) provides the philosophical framework for copyright protection. By extension, the limits of each theory may explain the limits of copyright protection, both as a matter of positive law and as a normative guide for social conduct.

    ‘Labour gives a man a natural right of property in that which he produces[.] [L]iterary compositions are the effect of labour; authors have therefore a natural right of property in their works.’

    This was the approach taken by the United States in Wheaton v. Peters. In a decision closely paralleling Donaldson, the Supreme Court had to determine whether a natural right to copyright existed in the United States, and to frame the scope of that right. The Court readily recognized the natural right in an author's work, but further held that the statute divested the right upon publication, in favor of the statutory scheme, just as the House of Lords determined in Donaldson.

    In this way, the Court acknowledged both the basis of the Lockean natural rights underpinning in U.S. constitutional and statutory law, as well as its statutory limitations. “That every man is entitled to the fruits of his own labour must be admitted; but he can enjoy them only, except by statutory provision, under the rules of property, which regulate society, and which define the rights of things in general.” The Court certainly does not fully embrace natural rights. This becomes clear in light of the stirring dissent by Justice Thompson who chides the Court for failing to see the “right and wrong” in the common law that it has rejected. Despite the dissent's call for embracing natural rights, however, the language of the opinion does not paint an absolute rejection of natural rights. The direct consequence of Wheaton should not be to reject the natural rights approach from U.S. copyright jurisprudence, but rather to recognize that these rights can be statutorily reframed, though not extinguished. As a result of Wheaton, the relationship between natural and economic theory can be articulated."

    88 Cornell L. Rev. 1278 NORMATIVE COPYRIGHT: A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FOR COPYRIGHT PHILOSOPHY AND ETHICS

    To summarize the main points:

    (1) copyright is based on two rights, natural and economic [the article goes on to explain the balancing of the two and worth a read]
    (2) it is natural for an author to have the rights in his works
    (3) the Court in Wheaton recognized that an author had natural rights in his works which were taken away by statutory law
    (4) an author's natural rights underpin constitutional and statutory copyright law
    (5) Wheaton should not be read as a refusal of the natural rights theory, on the contrary, it is a recognition that these rights have been reframed statutorily

    Example Number 3:

    "Natural rights are those which appertain to man in right of his existence, [including] intellectual rights, or rights of the mind. Thomas Paine provided this definition, which is the starting point for analyzing inventor's rights. Because invention, the generation of scientific ideas, and the mental processes of scientific discovery are intellectual functions of the mind, these activities are a natural right.

    As Paine explains: Civil rights are those which appertain to man in right of his being a member of society. Every civil right has for its foundation some natural right pre-existing in the individual, but to [the enjoyment of] which his individual power is not, in all cases, sufficiently competent. Of this kind are all those which relate to security and protection.

    Paine further concludes: That every civil right grows out of a natural right; or, in other words, is a natural right exchanged. An inventor does have a natural right to protect an invention through silence, but if the inventor wants to disclose an invention or idea he can only protect the invention with the help of society. For an inventor to protect a useful idea, the inventor must exchange a natural right for a civil right.

    The granting of a property right by society is consistent with other natural rights associated with an invention. The underlying natural rights are never extinguished, as explained by Paine when he wrote: The natural rights which he retains are all those in which the power to execute is as perfect in the individual as the right itself. Among this class, as is before mentioned, are all the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind. Civil rights come from natural rights. Civil rights become effective through the aggregation of natural rights, but civil rights do not diminish the quality of underlying or retained natural rights.

    For all enumerated powers, including those relating to inventions and other useful arts, the Constitution governs this exchange of rights. Thus, as Paine explained, a civil right can only exist if there is an exchanged natural right. The natural right changes its form but is never extinguished. More specifically, the Constitution provides for the specific exchange of the natural right to keep an invention secret for the civil right of a patent, which is a property right recognized by the courts of the United States. So, it is only through the Constitution that a natural right can be exchanged for a civil right, but such an exchange cannot be used to invade or limit the natural rights of the inventor."

    1 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 310 EMPLOYEE INVENTORS, THE DUAL LADDER, AND THE USEFUL ARTS: FROM THOMAS PAINE TO THE “DILBERT BOYCOTT

    To summarize the main points:

    (1) the inventions of the mind are natural rights
    (2) civil rights are a function of man's being a member of society
    (3) all civil rights are based on a preexisting natural right
    (4) copyright is an exchange of a natural right for a civil right
    (5) this exchange does not diminish, negate, or extinguish the underlying natural right

    As I read more articles, I'll cut and paste the info for you since you seem interested. I'm reading a great article now about user generated content and copyright law called "Transformative User-Generated Content in Copyright Law: Infringing Derivative Works or Fair Use?" You can find a PDF of it on google.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 8:49am

    For the "Moral Panic" fans and foes, this blog article is worth reading:

    "Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars: A Worthless Book"

    by Michael Browne

    http://blog.pff.org/archives/2009/10/moral_panics_and_the_copyright_wars_a_loathsome_bo.ht ml

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 9:49am

    Re:

    For the "Moral Panic" fans and foes, this blog article is worth reading:

    "Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars: A Worthless Book"

    by Michael Browne


    First off, it helps to actually read the blog post you are pointing people to. If you had done so, you would have realized that it was written by Tom Sydnor, not Michael Browne, who merely wrote one of many comments at the end. Saying it was written by Browne suggests you read the title and zoomed all the way to the bottom without actually reading.

    Second, it helps to actually look at who you are "citing" in support of your argument and their relative reputations. William Patry is the author of what is considered *the* book on copyright. Patry on Copyright is cited perhaps more than any other resource on copyright in legal filings. You have a Westlaw account. Go check it out. William Patry is flat-out considered the pre-eminent legal scholar on the topic of copyright.

    PFF and Tom Sydnor, however, are not. They are a Washington-DC smear shop for political operatives who have almost zero credibility, with Sydnor being considered the laughingstock of the firm. Last I heard, PFF is also basically out of money, as they've had trouble getting people to fund the likes of a ridiculously bad attack dog of the nature of Sydnor. Recognize that you're basically siding with Karl Rove against, say, Stephen Hawking. A political operative vs. the most respected expert in the field.

    Sydnor, in fact, has become something of a laughing stock in copyright circles, even among people who are ideologically in agreement with him. For example, Julian Sanchez, who like Sydnor is employed by a DC-based libertarian think tank, and travels in similar circles notes how badly Sydnor screwed up an attack on Larry Lessig: http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2008/04/is-lessigs-free-culture-just-a-modern-das-kopyright.ars

    Similarly, here's Timothy Lee (also a well known libertarian) posting a blog post to the Tech Liberation Front -- a blog that is *run* by PFF's CEO, showing how, once again, Tom Sydnor's writings on copyrights aren't just out of the ordinary, they're bizarrely from a different world: http://techliberation.com/2008/12/04/what-will-it-take-to-stop-file-sharing/

    Finally, it might, perhaps, be worth reading Patry's reply to Mr. Sydnor:

    http://moralpanicsandthecopyrightwars.blogspot.com/2009/10/why-i-made-tom-syndors-enemies -list.html

    In the war for convincing people who is right and who is wrong, siding with political smear-meisters over actual experts suggests someone doing a quick Googling to support their position, rather than taking a knowledgeable and fact-based stance.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re:

    So, just to be absolutely clear, you are responding to a post where I linked to some blog article I found and thought it worth sharing, but you are giving zero response to the journal articles I cited for Karl above, wherein I summarized arguments and opinions that I believe differ from yours:

    "
    (1) that an author owns their work is irrefutable
    (2) copyright based on natural law would have no term limits for the authors
    (3) the Court fights the invasion of natural copyright which would naturally give authors no term limits which would be in contradiction to the Constitution goal of taking away those limits
    (4) statutory copyright is a substitution for natural copyright
    (5) natural rights copyright has reemerged with a vengeance lately

    ***

    (1) copyright is based on two rights, natural and economic [the article goes on to explain the balancing of the two and worth a read]
    (2) it is natural for an author to have the rights in his works
    (3) the Court in Wheaton recognized that an author had natural rights in his works which were taken away by statutory law
    (4) an author's natural rights underpin constitutional and statutory copyright law
    (5) Wheaton should not be read as a refusal of the natural rights theory, on the contrary, it is a recognition that these rights have been reframed statutorily

    ***

    (1) the inventions of the mind are natural rights
    (2) civil rights are a function of man's being a member of society
    (3) all civil rights are based on a preexisting natural right
    (4) copyright is an exchange of a natural right for a civil right
    (5) this exchange does not diminish, negate, or extinguish the underlying natural right
    "

    You of course owe me no explanation, but I find it noteworthy that you have offered none to these conclusions which I've listed and backed up with sources.

    As far as the post I did point to that you have issue with... You are incorrect in assuming I did not read the post. I read the post. I simply made a mistake when attempting to attribute the work to the post's true author. I see the mistake and it is entirely mine and for that I am sorry. This simple mistake isn't a big deal though.

    I will read through your links, and I thank you for them. I appreciate your effort in explaining to me who the author of the post I liked to is and what others think of him.

    I feel I have demonstrated my willingness and ability to look at these things from both sides, and I welcome your pointing me to opinions that perhaps differ from my own.

    And please, kindly drop your condescending tone, if you will. I have demonstrated that I give my positions serious thought and research. It is ungentlemanly to get personal. I've done it with you in the past, and I've apologized. I hope you see its futility and refrain from doing so in the future as well.

    I fully admit I don't have all the answers and I'm trying to learn. I've found several journal articles critical of Lessig and Patry. I'll quote and cite them for you if you want. They are easy to look up and come by.

    In the meantime, perhaps respond to my points to Karl, if you want to. You mentioned in another thread that Karl schooled me on these issues. I'm not feeling schooled yet... If anything, the ball's in Karl's court.

     

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  287.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I have not read those papers and it seemed premature to comment on them as such. I commented merely on the things that I was familiar with.

    I will say, however, that I've studies the history of copyright for a long, long time, and I've yet to see anyone support the argument you claim is made in those papers. I mean there are some wacko Lockean/Randian types who make those arguments, but I've never seen a court accept such things. You can always find some wacked out philosopher who will make a ridiculous argument somewhere. It doesn't mean that anyone with any actual standing believes it.

     

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  288.  
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    average_joe (profile), Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 5:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ahh, I read through Sydnor's website and see that the two of you have a "history." That explains your venomous reaction. As to the rest of your reply, I'll consider your lack of rebuttal as a victory.

    One of the comments from Sydnor's site pretty much summarizes my feelings too:

    "A significant source of my frustration pertains to Mr. Masnick's continuing diatribe on all aspects of copyright law. While stating on the one hand that he is not anti-copyright, the sincerity of his statement is entirely undercut by his continuing diatribe against copyright law as comprising a government monopoly grant inimicable to free-market principles, due to its intangible nature it is most definitely not entitled to consideration as "property" because of its "infinite" nature once memorialzed in a digital file, it stifles "innovation" (as he defines the term, that both patent and copyright law as currently embodied do violence to the promotion of progess in the sciences and useful arts because only "economic" progress is the proper constitutional standard, etc., etc., etc.

    I learned quite some time ago that reasoned debate with Mr. Masnick on these and other issues is limited solely to expressing agreement with his views, and that contrary views will be met with disdain and the all too predictable mantra "I am right because some scholars agree with me", all the while ignoring that many other scholars of equal stature proffer contrary opinions."

    http://weblog.ipcentral.info/archives/2008/11/techdirts_backfiring_defense_of_the_thom as_decision_and_the_effective_freedom_of_totalitarian_terror_part_ii.html

    Yep, that pretty much sums it up for me too.

     

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  289.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 9:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Joe,

    Three things.

    (1) No offense, but it's amazingly childish to "declare victory" in an ongoing discussion -- especially one where I clearly stated I had not yet read the specific materials -- hence explaining the lack of the rebuttal. It's doubly amusing when you have repeatedly noted that there are tons of material you have not read and begged off responding to it. Yet, when someone else does the same, you "declare victory."

    (2) This is not a game where there are points or scoring. The victor will be borne out by history not by one participant simply declaring it. Lots of folks are free to read all of the arguments on this page. I will note, by the way, that to date, you are the only one in these comments to agree with your position. If that's a "victory," well, we'll have to consider it the equivalent of getting yourself a ribbon because "every child's a winner."

    (3) Quoting Sydnor to dismiss my points on why Sydnor is not a particularly well respected person when it comes to copyright issues is not exactly compelling. While it is true that Sydnor and I disagree on these things, you will note that I did not include my own past criticisms of Sydnor's work, which I believe stand on their own by any rational analysis. I figured that was too biased. Instead, I pointed to three well respected scholars, who all took apart Sydnor's work, and I will note for the record that you chose not to actually respond to any of the details of their criticism. I won't "declare victory," like some apparently do, but I will note that if we were playing a game, I suggest the "scoring" would perhaps find me ahead on this small part of the debate, given that I presented actual references to people, including one of the world's foremost scholars on copyright.

    Separately, Sydnor's comment which you solely rely on is simply incorrect. My argument has never been I am right solely because some scholars agree with me. To the contrary, my argument has always been that if you look beyond the scholars, to the actual data and evidence, it overwhelmingly agrees with me. I am always open to data and evidence to the contrary, and have noted, in fact, that actual data and evidence has swayed me in the past. If you are unable to present that, then I have trouble understanding why I should disagree with all of the evidence to date, which without exception suggests copyright does significantly more harm than good.

    But, alas, since I did not realize we were playing a "game" in which someone proven wrong time and time again could simply declare "victory" and walk off, I hadn't recognized the nature of this debate. Seeing as I have no desire to play childish games like that, I will leave this one to you from now on.

     

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  290.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You didn't rebut my points, but instead you said the journal articles I was quoting were "wacked out" and you weren't familiar with them. You then say that you've thought about this stuff for a long time. If that were so, seems to me like you could rebut the arguments on the merits, and with ease. You didn't. That was my point.

    The comment I quoted wasn't from Sydnor. Check the link I provided. It was from a commenter who was lamenting at the idea of debating you further, a position I fully understand.

    You haven't proven me wrong time and again. Get over yourself and give me a break, Mike. When I've quoted and cited scholarly articles, you've just dismissed them. How is that proving me wrong? You would be laughed out of court debating the way you do.

    There are different models, theories, and philosophies of copyright than just yours. You do realize that reasonable minds can and do differ, don't you? Take the Supreme Court for example. I bet you disagree with the holding in Eldred. I guess those Supreme Court guys are just "wacked out" too, right?

     

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  291.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 11:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You didn't rebut my points, but instead you said the journal articles I was quoting were "wacked out" and you weren't familiar with them.

    I didn't say that those articles were necessarily wacked out, as I had not yet read them. I merely said that it was always possible to find some wacked out philosopher. My question is whether or not the data supports it.

    I did note that if I had the chance to read them thoroughly, I would try to address them in the future. However, as I have already pointed out to you, you are not the only commenter on this site who demands I somehow teach them for free.

    The comment I quoted wasn't from Sydnor. Check the link I provided. It was from a commenter who was lamenting at the idea of debating you further, a position I fully understand.

    My mistake. I should have realized that the lack of hyperbolic attack was unlike Sydnor. The comment instead comes from Michael Slonecker who is, to this day, a regular commenter on this site -- though after he was proved wrong a few times in a row, suddenly stopped posting under his real name (funny, that). Slonecker is an IP lawyer, who once explained that as long as companies make more money, if society is worse off, that's a more moral situation. That's certainly a position one can take, but I find it reprehensible.

    I have asked Slonecker on multiple occasions to back up his claim of their being economic evidence to support his positions. He has yet to give it. I will continue to wait.

    When I've quoted and cited scholarly articles, you've just dismissed them.

    I have not dismissed them. Merely noted I had not had the time to review them in detail -- a request, I might add, that you seem to regularly make yourself.

    There are different models, theories, and philosophies of copyright than just yours.

    Absolutely. But it all comes back to the data for me. If you can't support your theories with data and evidence, then I don't find them particularly persuasive.

    I bet you disagree with the holding in Eldred. I guess those Supreme Court guys are just "wacked out" too, right?

    Yeah. On copyright, I do feel they are quite wrong. If you are looking for more reading material -- especially on Eldred -- I would suggest the excellent book "No Law" written by a copyright lawyer and a first amendment lawyer. There's an excellent chapter in there in which they describe in great detail the court's failings in Eldred. I don't think that the SC is necessarly "wacked out." But I do feel that they completely misunderstood the specifics of what was up for debate. I believe that a large part of the problem there was the way Larry Lessig made his case (something that Lessig now agrees with as well).

    But, yes, reasonable minds may disagree. However, if you are making statements that have no evidence to back it up, then I believe it is perfectly reasonable to point that out and challenge it. Reasonable minds may disagree is not like kindergarten where everyone gets a ribbon for showing up.

     

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  292.  
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    average_joe (profile), Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 11:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You don't have to teach me anything for free, Mike. Don't expend the energy if you don't want to. I spend just about every waking, free moment trying to teach myself new stuff. I'm reading a nice article now about the Court's (and Lessig's) failings in Eldred: THE PREAMBULAR ARGUMENT: THE DUBIOUS PREMISE OF ELDRED V. ASHCROFT, 44 IDEA 331

    I'll check out "No Law" too. Thanks. I'm always looking for more reading material. I'm curious about what you mean when you speak of "evidence and data" backing up your side. I presume you're making an economic analysis of some kind. I'm all ears if you wanna explain it to me. But don't feel like you have to or that I'll hold it against you if you don't bother.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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