Why It's Important Not To Call Copyright Infringement Theft

from the it-goes-beyond-semantics:-it's-about-understanding dept

A bunch of folks on all sides of the copyright debate have been submitting the recent post from the blog Copyhype (by a recent law school grad named Terry Hart) about the whole "infringement vs. theft" debate in terms of what to call it when someone's copyright is infringed. Hart is very careful and specific, but in the end tends to lean towards it being perfectly acceptable in many instances to refer to infringement as theft:
It's technically correct that "copyright infringement" and "theft" have distinct legal meanings, but so what? The idea that the legal distinction between the two terms forecloses any colloquial comparison is invalid. "Theft" in the legal sense has always meant something far narrower than "theft" in the everyday sense. In early English common law, for example, the crime of theft only included the taking of another's property by force or by stealth. It didn't include the taking of property by deception or trick, and it also didn't include the taking of property by someone in whom the property was entrusted. While today we would have no problem saying a delivery truck driver engaged in "theft" if he kept a package instead of delivering it, earlier courts had to jump through several hoops before reaching the same conclusion.
He goes on to knock those who quote the Supreme Court opinion in Dowling v. US, where Justice Blackmun makes it clear that infringement and theft are two different things. Hart claims that people who quote Dowling are quoting Blackmun out of context, while also noting Justice Breyer's concurring opinion in the Grokster case that says "deliberate unlawful copying is no less an unlawful taking of property than garden-variety theft."

His overall argument, however, is that there's nothing wrong with calling copyright infringement theft, because beyond the legal definition, it accurately shows how people feel about having works infringed, and that's useful to the debate on these issues:
The debate over the labels we give to copyright is interesting in an academic sense but largely meaningless in the real world. Creators often use words like "theft" to reflect how they feel about acts of infringement. Shifting the focus from the colloquial meaning of the word to the legal meaning accomplishes little more than arguing for the sake of argument, while misusing language from case law only forecloses a fuller understanding of the law.
I agree, in part, but mostly disagree with Hart's conclusion here. I agree that arguing back and forth over which Supreme Court justice said what is somewhat meaningless. However, I disagree strongly that this becomes argument for the sake of argument. Whether we are speaking legally or economically or about the impact on any individual or organization, "theft" and "infringement" are two separate and different things. This is important. If you are seeking to understand what is happening and how to respond to it, calling it "theft" immediately shuts the door on a variety of important points. It closes off a path to understanding both what's happening and how one might best deal with it. I find that incredibly dangerous from the perspective of a content creator. Calling infringement theft or not isn't just a semantic argument from people who like to argue. It's about actually understanding what's going on, and that's simply not possible when you put up a wall to understanding.

So, yes, arguing over what justice said what in which Supreme Court ruling may not enlighten anyone, but looking at the actual details of what's going on, and making sure that you do not falsely lump two very different concepts into one in such a way as to preclude actual understanding, is no mere semantic argument. It's about actually understanding the issues in a way that can move people forward. Calling it theft is wrong. And not because some Supreme Court justice said so, but because it's wrong at an absolute level. You can call an apple and orange because of how it makes you feel, but that doesn't make it correct, and hinders your ability to understand the differences between apples and oranges.


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  1.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 8:01am

    War of words....

    "http://conspiracyfiction.blogspot.com/2010/02/improtance-of-words.html"

    As I noted in my post above, it's actually even deeper than that. Just as in the case of using words like "pirates" instead of "infringers", these words are not some off the cuff remark used without thought. They are an active thought process campaign being perpetrated against the large majority of less-informed public.

    It's about controlling the debate through language. Think for a moment, how different is the debate when it's "infringers vs. creators" compared to "pirates vs. creators"? For those that won't delve deeply into the issue, the whole mindset changes.

    Same is true for "infringement vs. creator" or "theft vs. creator". Infringement, as noted by those that don't like the use of the word (which is really, REALLY weird; why don't you like accuracy if it isn't about thought control through language?), sounds rather benign. Theft is not. Who the hell is going to come out in support of thieves?

    And the results filter out from there. Everything from how the media portrays the issue to the masses to how search engine results line disparate issues beside one another (search for piracy on Google and you come up with software "pirates" next to Somali hostage takers....because they're so close in comparison?), and the results speak for themselves.

    It's a war or words, and one side is going for accuracy while the other wants to play mind games. As far as determining the good and evil sides of this debate, that should be all you need to know....

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 8:58am

    Yet another good thing ....

    "It's about actually understanding what's going on, and that's simply not possible when you put up a wall to understanding."

    I agree that infringement and theft are two different things. Theft is of a physical object. Infringement is on ideas and information. But in this case I think that the IP maximalists should use the word theft. It limits their world view, pushes them down the same self defeating path, and speeds up the inevitablility of all content being free to the consumer.

    Let them play their mind and word games. It allows them to have hope, confuse the issues in their own minds, and blinds them to what is happening in the world outside copyright.

     

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    Modplan (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:01am

    Re: War of words....

    Ah, how lovely it is for psychology and branding wars to have become so mainstream. It's fascinating how companies go through so many efforts of rebranding and marketing to change discussions and emotional reactions to make things more favourable to their ends. I especially like it when companies seem to try and make it appear as if DRM is enabling features.

    That's without going into the poor, starving artist fallacy.

     

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    cc (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:02am

    Mr Copyhype is flogging a dead horse, I think. He could go on to make a similar argument that raping prostitutes is also theft, but that won't make it the case. Rape is rape, theft is theft, infringement is infringement.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:06am

    As well as being intellectually dishonest and manipulative, interchanging theft with infringement, or replacing infringement with theft for any reason, emotional or otherwise, there are the laws pertaining to each that are very different, especially the punishment phases.

    Community service for first time theft vs. up to $150,000.00 USD for first time infringement (and PER infringement).

    It's no mere semantic argument.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:12am

    I think it's pretty simple: Infringement isn't theft, but it's analogous to it.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:14am

    Re:

    but it's analogous to it.

    Except that it's not. Which is kind of the point.

     

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    ArcticChill (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:15am

    Rome

    Rome is the mob, to control Rome you control the mob....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:16am

    Re: War of words....

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/sep/13/william-burroughs-graphic-novel

    "Bill once remarked in an interview that '... nobody seems to ask the question what words actually are. And exactly their relationship to the human nervous system.' It was a concern he dedicated much of his life coming to terms with. Using words essentially to determine what words can do," said McNeill. "In the case of Ah Pook Is Here, he recruited images to the cause."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:17am

    Re:

    Analogies are like opinions with a faulty engine on the road of chocolate-covered life.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:19am

    Re:

    If so, it's a pretty weak analogy. Forgive me for wanting legal prosecutions to be based on more than that.

     

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    Modplan (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:19am

    Re:

    When I steal your chair, you have one less place to sit whilst I have one more.

    When I "steal" songs from your iPod, you can still listen to them as I do.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:20am

    For almost a hundred years thieves stole the property of creators consuming it for free with their TV's and radio's, what a shame.

    The thieving must stop now, don't watch TV, don't listen to radio.

    If consuming media online is theft so is consuming it in any other form that doesn't directly pay the producers right?

     

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    william (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:21am

    to me, calling copyright infringement "theft" is basically the same as calling someone a troll on the Internet.

    A: Hey, I have a valid point here
    B: Shut up troll!
    *end result, all conversation stops because person A is accused of trolling and all his point become invalid

    A: Hey, I am just making time shifting copies that makes my life easier.
    B: Shut up theif! You are making unauthorized copies so you are stealing
    *end result, all conversation stops because you committed a crime.

     

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    Marcus Carab (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:23am

    It's never bothered me when people occasionally let the terms "theft" or "stealing" slip through in discussions about infringement. Even the most avid copylefters do it from time to time. Ultimately I'd like to see the practice die out, but as casual terminology it's not a huge deal.

    But what DOES really bug me is when industry insiders, misguided musicians and others make ridiculous statements like "Downloading pirated music is theft, plan and simple" or "getting an album for free is no different from breaking into someone's house and stealing their cat" (neither of those are direct quotes, though neither is particularly exaggerated either). That's when it becomes more than a a simple matter of the linguistic path-of-lease-resistance -- those are highly inaccurate statements that reveal either dishonesty or cluelessness in the people who make them.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re:

    When you "steal" songs from my iPod (pretend for a while I have one), not only can I still listen to them, but also it was me who actually gave them to you.

    People seem to forget that there is not only those who create content and those who obtain content, but also those who selflessly share content they have.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re:

    I told you this would make a great debate in the comments.

    I'm doing homework at the moment, but don't worry... I'll be back to comment profusely when I'm done. ;)

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:28am

    "it accurately shows how people feel about having works infringed"

    In that case, why not call infringement "rape"? Why not call widespread infringement "genocide"?

    The reason infringement should not be called theft is because it is not theft.

    Theft is simply a bad analogy. When you steal something you deprive the owner of its use. There is no deprivation in infringement. Only an infringement of a government granted monopoly.

    But the real problem with calling infringement theft is that it perpetuates the false believe that copyrights are property rights. They are not. Once again, they're merely government granted monopoly rights.

    Property rights operate in a free and open market. Government granted monopoly rights are contrary to a free and open market and should be granted in very limited circumstances.

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re:

    Except that it's not. Which is kind of the point.

    Wait, what? I completely agree that theft and infringement are different enough to warrant distinct terms. In fact, I've replied to comments of people who didn't understand the distinction or (falsely) assumed that the distinction was being made as a justification for breaking the law. But I didn't think it would be a controversial statement to say that infringement and theft are at least analogous. The two concepts are similar in enough key points that you can make a quite valid analogy.

    The big media companies didn't completely brainwash consumers into equating infringement with theft. They simply started with the fact that the two concepts are indeed analogous and slowly twisted the language to encourage consumers to view the two as actually being the same thing.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re: Re:

    When you steal something, you necessarily deny the owner use of it.

    When you infringe a government granted monopoly, the holder of the copyright is fully able to continue exercising his monopoly rights and collecting his statutory rents.

    Simply put, if I steal your truck you can no longer use, sell, or lease out your truck.

    If I make an exact copy of your truck, you're not harmed at all. As all of your ownership rights are intact.

     

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    MrWilson, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:34am

    People who like to call infringement theft have this broad view that using something without permission of an authority figure equals theft. They've stretched the term from simply "stealing someone else's property" to include "stealing someone else's choice in letting you copy 'their content'" and "stealing someone else's ability to make money off of the 'content' you're using."

    They've cunningly tried to mashup morality and capitalism and authoritarianism in one term. "You download music without permission? You're going to hell, breaking the law, and making my children starve!"

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "But I didn't think it would be a controversial statement to say that infringement and theft are at least analogous. The two concepts are similar in enough key points that you can make a quite valid analogy"

    Key points?

    When I steal your truck, you're denied your ownership rights associated with your truck. You cannot use it, rent it out, or sell it.

    When I copy your truck, you're not denied a single one of your rights of ownership. Which is exactly why copyright exists, to create monopoly rights where no property rights exist.

    Exactly how are they even remotely analogous?!

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:37am

    Re: Re:

    Metaphor: You're a vacuum.
    Analogy: You're like a vacuum.
    Reality: You suck.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "The two concepts are similar in enough key points that you can make a quite valid analogy."

    Which points, I wonder. I can see an analogy based on the idea that something is "taken" without permission from the owner, but the concepts are entirely different (i.e. with theft, the owner loses the original item whereas it remains intact with infringement).

    I'd honestly be interested to see how many similarities you can come up with that are stronger than that.

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    People seem to forget that there is not only those who create content and those who obtain content, but also those who selflessly share content they have.

    Oh, please. Tell me you're joking. I actually agree that copyright it out of control and that the overall media business would be better off if they embraced file sharing, but are you seriously saying that letting your friend copy your MP3 collection is a "selfless" act? I'm sorry, but that's just absurd.

     

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    A Dan (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:39am

    Re: War of words....

    improtance-of-words.html

    There's some irony here somewhere.

     

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    Modplan (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Because a friend who wants you to hear this awesome new band is doing so with evil intent.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What exactly is selfish about letting a friend copy songs from your iPod? Wouldn't the selfish act be "OK, I'll charge you $50", or "no, buy them yourself, you leech"?

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "the idea that something is "taken""

    But nothing is taken. A government granted monopoly right is infringed upon. Government mandated rents are not paid. But nothing is ever taken.

    Unless you steal a physical CD, which is not copyright infringement.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, I'm not.

    If I have a friend visiting my home and he likes one song that is playing, why would I not give him a copy?

    Think about the motivation of all these people who make content available on Bittorrent and several other file sharing mechanisms. It would not surprise me if only a small fraction of them are doing so for bragging rights or as a way to say "screw the system". I believe most of them just want other people to be able to appreciate the content.

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    When I copy your truck, you're not denied a single one of your rights of ownership

    Look at the word "copyright". What do you think it means? Strip away all of the underlying legal issues and the word itself tells you that it is the right to copy something. If I have a copyright on something, I and only I have the legal right to copy that something or to confer that right on someone else. If I don't authorize you to copy that something and you copy it, you've not only denied me a single one of my ownership rights, but the most fundemantal of my ownership rights when it comes to copyright. You are 100% wrong.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, kind of my point... sorry if I wasn't clear.

    Anyway to clarify: theft = depriving somebody of something tangible, be it a physical item or a service they've paid for.

    Infringement = depriving somebody of nothing tangible, the copyright owner is still free to use the original as they wish.

    One of these (theft) is quantifiable. The other is not, and any attempt to do so depends on making wide-ranging and unsupportable assumptions (such as that songs would have been purchased if a P2P download was not available).

     

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    A Dan (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:51am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You should try arguing that unauthorized copying takes money from the creator in the same way that printing more currency is essentially a tax. It doesn't directly take money from the creator, but it dilutes the value of his bargaining chip when he tries to exchange it in the market.

     

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    Modplan (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Except that copyright isn't a right of ownership, it's a granted privilege. Your privilege to be able to deny other people the ability to copy - including when they already own the property that "contains" a copyrighted work. You get to deny other people normal things they'd enjoy from ownership rights, not a protection of ones you'd ordinarily have.

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Exactly how are they even remotely analogous?!

    First off, I think that the term "ownership" and "property" suffer from the same problems as "theft". Copyright is a set of rights that are analogous to ownership and property, but not the same. Using these terms shortcircuits mind into thinking they are the same. In any case...

    Theft and infringement are similar in terms of denying the "owner" to use the "property" in the way that they so choose. If I own a truck, I can use that truck any way that I want and because there is not such thing as a Star Trek replicator, the issue of someone else using a copy of my truck isn't an issue. But say that there were Star Trek replicators and I designed a new kind of truck and received a copyright on it. Given today's laws, it would be up to me whether I wanted to drive around town in my new truck and be the only one with that kind of truck. As in your example, you copied my truck you are taking away that right. In that key respect, theft and infringement are analogous.

    Now, it may not make any business sense to invoke a copyright. But that is irrelevent as to whether this right exists.

     

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    RD, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:55am

    Re:

    "I think it's pretty simple: Infringement isn't theft, but it's analogous to it."

    That may work from an emotional viewpoint, but it wont stand up in court, where specific meaning of both terms and the law are crucial. When we are talking legalities, no, you are absolutely wrong in that assertion. Anyone who says otherwise is being intellectually dishonest.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, that's the right direction. Counterfeiting is definitely a better analogy than theft, even if it does still have fundamental flaws.

    The problem for the IP maximalists is that it doesn't have the same emotional sting (and most people see nothing wrong with buying a counterfeit designer bag or clothing while on holiday - it's not like they can afford the originals, so nothing is truly "stolen").

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "You are 100% wrong."

    I might be 100% wrong, but nothing you wrote explained how I might be wrong.

    "If I have a copyright on something, I and only I have the legal right to copy that something or to confer that right on someone else."

    Not true. There are fair use rights associated with copyrights. For example, it's not infringement for me to copy the CDs I bought and convert them to MP3 format. I can make legal back up copies of my software. I can make legal copies of TV shows and movies.

    "you've not only denied me a single one of my ownership rights, but the most fundemantal of my ownership rights when it comes to copyright"

    When I infringe your copyright, I agree that I infringe upon your copyright. But that does not make it theft. You've never explained how infringement is analogous with theft.

    And one last thing, copyright is not an "ownership" right. it's a government granted monopoly right.

     

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    Modplan (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Theft and infringement are similar in terms of denying the "owner" to use the "property" in the way that they so choose.


    Nothing about infringement:

    Stops you being able to listen to your song.

    Stops you from being able to perform it.

    Stops you from trying to produce copies of it.

    Stops you from trying to sell it.

    The only thing it can be said is to harm the potential market for the third, which is increasingly coming under fire it seems. It is not a guaranteed right to make money from something, only to have the opportunity to do so.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:58am

    Natural rights gives a straightforward explanation

    An individual has a natural right to exclude others from their private domain (spaces/possessions) - that which a human being is naturally able to occupy, secure and exclude others from.

    Theft is the removal or communication of any material or intellectual work from an individual's private domain by someone not privy (given authorised access). It matters not whether the thief has been 'helpful' and left substitutes, copies or originals behind.

    If someone has been granted a privilege that enables them to sue anyone who competes with them in the marketplace concerning manufacture and supply of covered works, whether baskets or books, then manufacture & supply contrary to this is purely an INFRINGEMENT of that privilege. It is violation of no-one's privacy, but competing supply contrary to the grant of monopoly. One could infer that there may have been illicit collection of market revenue reserved to the monopoly holder, but this is rather inexact and nebulous.

    'Theft' should be reserved for violation of the natural right, not infringement of a state granted privilege.

     

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    Modplan (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:59am

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

    4th I mean.

     

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  42.  
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    Anon, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But if I indefinitely lent them the CD "containing" the song, that wouldn't be selfless either? Do i have to lose something for an act to be selfless?

    Content creators demand that consumers lose something if they share. I'm sure they are implicitly ok with me giving away a CD as long as I don't still have the contents. But if i want to have it and share it with a friend, now they've been wronged.

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 10:00am

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

    Except that copyright isn't a right of ownership, it's a granted privilege.

    I never said it was. Nor does the question of whether copyright is an ownership right have any effect on the validity of the analogy between theft and infringement.

    Your privilege to be able to deny other people the ability to copy - including when they already own the property that "contains" a copyrighted work.

    My privilege to be able to deny other people the ability to copy...what? I think you forgot to complete that sentence.

    You get to deny other people normal things they'd enjoy from ownership rights, not a protection of ones you'd ordinarily have.

    Not sure what you're saying here. How does what one would "ordinarily have" relate to the literal meaning of copyright?

     

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    Michael Kohne, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 10:02am

    Boiled down...

    If you call it 'theft', then your reaction is never going to get past 'Stop Theif!', and if you never get past that point, you are doomed because you CAN'T stop it.

     

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    cc (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 10:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But it's not a "right" other than in name. It's a *privilege* instated to achieve a goal, which congress is at liberty to take away if that goal is not being met.

    As debated above, this is a "war of words". You can call it a "right" all you like, call it a "property right", call it an "ownership right" but IT WON'T MAKE IT THAT WAY no matter how many times you say it. Copyright is not property, it is not absolute, and infringing copyright is not theft or analogous to it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    "but the most fundemantal of my ownership rights when it comes to copyright. You are 100% wrong."

    Thank God copyright is just BS otherwise people who believe in it would be ruined can you imagine if copyright was serious and all the assumptions behind it were correct?

    Radio would have destroyed music, TV would have destroyed the Cinema, because everybody copy those things and they have done it for decades.

    That "fundemantal"(LoL) right you speak of is denied how?
    You lost the ability to copy anything? you lost the capability to distribute something? nope you loose the ability to stop others from doing so, which by the way was never possible in the first place and a billion pirates are just showing people how true that is.

    Copyright today is like a unicorn, people want to believe in it, but is just not real.

     

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    Modplan (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 10:14am

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

    Nor does the question of whether copyright is an ownership right have any effect on the validity of the analogy between theft and infringement.


    Erm, yes it does. Theft is an issue that is entirely based around the fact that if I have something you do not - my having an item may disadvantage you in not being able to have that item and potentially any benefits that item brings. Taking that item from you deprives you of something literally and of the benefits of that item - a case that occurs out of property and rights associated with that. Copyright infringement on its own involves the deprivation of the ability to interfere with other peoples property and what they can do with it.

    y privilege to be able to deny other people the ability to copy...what? I think you forgot to complete that sentence.


    I think you forgot to read it properly in your haste to reply. Copy is not referring to anything specific like a song or a table, it refers to the overall ability to copy regardless of the item.

    Not sure what you're saying here. How does what one would "ordinarily have" relate to the literal meaning of copyright?


    Everything. Copyright suspends a natural ability of ownership - the ability to copy or reproduce the item you own. Infringement bears no resemblance to theft simply because of that.

     

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    cc (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 10:16am

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

    "Except that copyright isn't a right of ownership, it's a granted privilege.

    I never said it was."

    Liar. It's right there^^

     

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    Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 10:21am

    For what it's worth, I did a survey of about a dozen languages in 5 different language families. Out of those, two (one of which is Indo-European, which includes English, Spanish, Russian, and many others) have the concept of "steal"ing ideas or other intangible things. The other three lack this concept, and use words such as "take" or "misuse" to refer to intangible things.

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 10:26am

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

    I might be 100% wrong, but nothing you wrote explained how I might be wrong.

    I provided a very clear example of where a copyright holder is deprived of an "ownership" right. If you disagree with that example, then you're free to explain, but please don't deny that I even tried.

    There are fair use rights associated with copyrights. For example, it's not infringement for me to copy the CDs I bought and convert them to MP3 format. I can make legal back up copies of my software. I can make legal copies of TV shows and movies.

    Agreed. So you're just 99.9 percent wrong.

    When I infringe your copyright, I agree that I infringe upon your copyright.

    The specific point that I was responding to was your assertion that infringing copyright does not deny "a single one of your rights of ownership". That is where I think you're wrong.

    But that does not make it theft.

    I never said that it did make it theft. What is it with people not understanding the analogy? If people wanted to say that two ideas are exactly the same, we wouldn't need the the concept of the analogy. If seems like if someone fines one dissimilarity between two ideas that this somehow invalidates an analogy. It doesn't.


    You've never explained how infringement is analogous with theft.

    See my other posts in this thread.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 10:36am

    Copyright is for the publishers, not the artists.

    That's why we are having these debates in the first place. Artists don't need copyright and they never did. They can sell their services to create, get paid, and everyone can freely enjoy that which they create if it is shared, all without copyright. You can't copy what hasn't been created. In this scenario, everybody wins. It's the publishers that need copyright. They don't create anything the public wants to pay for, they just sell copies of work someone else did. At its core, publishers are just plagiarizers that leech off of the creativity of artists.

    Publishers need these government protections, badly, because without them, they don't have a business model. So, they use the tactics that are most effective. They use doubt, prejudice, and fear to rule the minds of the people in order to rally their support to defend the publishers over those who are truly important: the people. It's a battle of semantics.

    Well, two can play at that game. It's the publishers that are the thieves, pirates, and terrorists. They take what others create and try to sell it for profit. Is that really any different than bootleggers? They are thieves and pirates. They abuse those that try to use the content others have created by suing them in court for outrageous damages that no one could ever afford, all to scare people away from sharing content. They are terrorists. They then use these funds to launch more terrorist attacks on others. That's funding terrorism.

    The statements in the third paragraph have some errors in logic, but to the unwashed masses they would appear to be compelling arguments for those that dislike big media.

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 10:38am

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

    Theft is an issue that is entirely based around the fact

    So? If we were just talking about theft, you'd have a point. But because we're talking about the relationship between two things, theft and infringement, you don't. You can describe theft by itself for a thousand years and unless you relate that back to the infringement, it's for nothing in terms of this conversation.


    I think you forgot to read it properly in your haste to reply.

    This is getting a bit tedious, but here we go. Here's your sentence...

    Your privilege to be able to deny other people the ability to copy - including when they already own the property that "contains" a copyrighted work.

    Where is the verb in that sentence? "Your privilege to be able to deny other people the abilility to copy" is the noun. "including when they already own the property that "contains" a copyrighted work" is an extension of that noun. What does my privilege do?

    Copyright suspends a natural ability of ownership - the ability to copy or reproduce the item you own.

    Agreed.


    Infringement bears no resemblance to theft simply because of that.

    That's a non-sequiter. The latter does not follow from the former.

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 10:41am

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

    Liar. It's right there^^

    Modplan was the one who said "Except that copyright isn't a right of ownership, it's a granted privilege". I was just replying to his statement.

     

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    crade (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 10:43am

    Re: Natural rights gives a straightforward explanation

    I'm not sure where you get this idea of natural rights. All your rights are either granted by society or by your own decision and ability to defend them.

     

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    Greg G, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    YOU'RE a vacuum!

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What exactly is selfish about letting a friend copy songs from your iPod?

    Nothing. I didn't say it was selfish. I said it wasn't selfless.

    Selfish != Not selfless

    Selfless means that you're sacrificing something. Other than the trivial time it takes to let your friend connect to your hard drive, what exactly are you sacrificing if you let your friend copy your MP3 collection?

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 10:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If I have a friend visiting my home and he likes one song that is playing, why would I not give him a copy?

    I don't know. How does the question of why would give a copyrighted song to a friend relate in any way whatsover to whether or not that act would be selfless?

    It would not surprise me if only a small fraction of them are doing so for bragging rights or as a way to say "screw the system".

    Again, please tell me that you're joking. Do you seriously think that bragging rights and screwing the system are the same as being selfless? Please look up the word selfless before you reply.

     

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    Nick Dynice (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 10:54am

    Re: War of words....

    Even the use of the word "creator" is bad word to use in the discussion because in most cases it is a corporate right holder in the fist, and they try to play the sympathy card by saying they "represent the creator" when evidence shows otherwise: their lobbyists try to sneak language into Section 101 of Title 17 of the United States Code that would make audiovisual works "work for hire", or when PROs cannot find artists so they just hold on to the money, accruing interest, they strongarm artists into giving away more rights, labels lie and lie some more to and cheat musicians out of their rights. So the most truthful way to say it is "infringers vs. rights holders" and the most cowardly way to say it is "thieves or pirates vs. creators."

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Do i have to lose something for an act to be selfless?

    Uh, yes. That's the definition of selfless.

     

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    Jack Repenning (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 10:55am

    It's true that "Creators often use words like 'theft'." That does not make it correct. I'm not convinced that creators use these words in that way "to reflect how they feel"; if I'm asked to judge their motives, I have to say there's a lot of appearance that they use these words to influence how *others* feel, but that is not the same thing.

    The real harm of misusing the term is to render meaningless the crucial sentence "infringement is not theft."

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 11:04am

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

    Nothing about infringement:

    What's missing from your list is the most fundemantal aspect of copyright, the right to copy. Except for fair use -- thanks Ima Fish -- copyright grants the holder the exclusive right to copy said content. I can do all kinds of things with a song I wrote even if someone has infringed on it. I'm not debating that at all. So you can stop citing examples where infringement and copyright are different. The fact that two concepts have a difference does not invalidate those two concepts from being analogous. If they did, we wouldn't need analogy.

     

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    Comboman (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 11:11am

    Murder = Theft

    If you kill someone, you are "taking their life", so that's really stealing right? So murder should also be called theft. Why argue about semantics?

    If you try hard enough, I'm sure all crime could be redefined as theft (defamation = stealing someone's reputation, assault = stealing someone's health/safety, etc). Eventually, theft just becomes a synonym for crime and loses any specific meaning it had.

     

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    Jeremy7600 (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 11:13am

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

    Really? Not the way I see it, nor does Websters.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/selfless

    Where does losing anything I have come into that definition?

    Where does it say anywhere in that definition that I have to lose something to be selfless?

    It also references Unselfish as a synonym. That itself leads to Generous.

    Still nothing in those words about losing anything. To be sure, there is giving, but giving doesn't imply you've lost anything. There is not necessarily a sacrifice.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 11:17am

    Re: Re: Natural rights gives a straightforward explanation

    It may be time for you to decide whether society grants you your right to life, or whether nature imbues you with it.

    Any state that attempts to convince its citizens that their (natural) rights are granted to them and can be rescinded where expeditious soon finds a tadette of disquiet - ultimately ending with insurrection.

    You may have noticed this sort of thing happened concerning slavery with respect to a certain class of citizens and their (natural) rights.

    Even the privilege of copyright's derogation of people's natural right to liberty (their right to copy) is currently challenging your assertion that the right to liberty or to copy is granted to people at the state's convenience.

    Saying that there are no natural rights, that all rights are granted by society (thus making copyright a right rather than a privilege), is a denial of reality (no doubt led by an ulterior aspiration to power).

    The nature of Homo Sapiens has been determined through millions of years of evolution, not the whim of social engineers operating under the delusion they can extract a 'social contract' from people to surrender aspects of their natural rights for the 'greater good'.

    Ask the millions of file-sharers why they do not continue to respect the social contract they notionally agreed to in 1790 to recognise the exclusive right of copyright holders to manufacture copies of covered works and no-one else. For you this is presumably delinquency to be remedied by 're-education'. For those who recognise natural law it is human nature, natural cultural liberty.

    It is copyright that is unnatural, cultural liberty that is natural.

    It is not a matter of cultural liberty granted to people or rescinded from them according to the state's need for a wealthy and well behaved press - except in the minds of those with contempt for the natural rights of human beings (such as the boards of publishing corporations).

     

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    Anon, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 11:19am

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

    mmm, no.

    selfless (slfls)
    adj.
    Having, exhibiting, or motivated by no concern for oneself; unselfish:

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/selfless

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 11:20am

    Here's my solution to intractable problem.

    First off, forget the semantics. Yawn. Endless repetition.

    Anyway, let's refine the state-granted privilege of copyright to have a *means* test. The only *reasonable* basis for copyright is to promote the creation of works that the public values (possibly even benefits from), not for further enriching millionaires and up. Those who manage to make out from this granted privilege are in fact *elevated* out of any need for it, and should no longer be granted the privilege. In practical terms, I think this solution would be widely accepted as just, so I'd *then* have no problems with draconian enforcement. "Theft" from the poor and middle class *is* an entirely matter than "infringing" on rights of millionaires.

    By the way, analog or analogous has been used here, by my count, at least 28 times. That's why I support a ban on the use of analogies, adds *nothing*, only diverts debate into whether the "analogy" is apt, and *none* are.

     

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    Derek Kerton (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: War of words....

    Right. Dark Helmet only worked on half the equation in his examination above. Those trying to manipulate the masses go further, taking:

    1) "infringer vs. Universal Music, Inc."

    and changing it to:

    2) "infringer vs. starving artist"

    and then change the left side of the equation:

    3) "thief vs. starving artist".

    In the first, the man-on-the-street would side with the infringer. In the third, the MOTS would side with the starving artist.

    Not that any of the wording games should change what is right or wrong, the act of infringing has not actually changed. But the bad guys know just how powerful words can be in their campaign to alter perception, and use specific words to deliberately paint a more sinister picture.

    Each word they choose is just a slight stretch of the truth, but put them all together in a sentence, and it builds a lie.

     

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    KB, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 11:31am

    Theft vs Infringement

    Agreed. Nice set of arguments. I have always felt the same way, but just didn't put my finger on it because, well honestly, I didn't care. It's not going to impact me unless I become a poor starving artist at the grinding hands of corporate media conglomerate. Thanks for the wisdom. I like it.

     

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    Derek Kerton (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 11:38am

    Re:

    Right.

    Copyhope's problem is, as Mike wrote, that he is strictly looking at the legal arguments to differentiate the two words and their meanings. And he and Mike both concede that this is just anal, detail-oriented bickering over really not much of substance. In the legal perspective, the difference exists, but isn't substantial.

    But Copyhope is being blindly ignorant of the economic differences. Mike says this, but doesn't explain them (in this article). The big difference between infringement and theft is:

    infringement: I take a copy of your music, using my own tools and labor, and use it for myself, and I'm better off, and you have lost NOTHING.

    theft: I go into your recording studio, and take the original digital tapes of your album before it went into production. You now don't have your tapes. You are deprived of your music.

    piracy: I sell copies of your work, as you might sell them, taking away your ability to sell copies.

    I added piracy to the discussion only to note that it is different, and not something we defend here.

    So, Copyhope, please stop looking at the world through only legal lenses. If I put in front of you two yellow pill capsules, one full of arsenic, and the other full of vitamin C. To a lawyer, both pills look the same, but to a chemist, they are very different. I will choose to understand the pills using the advice of both lawyers and doctors, and consume just one. You can rely on just legal expertise, and consume the other.

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 11:38am

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

    Where does losing anything I have come into that definition?

    OK, you're right that the dictionary definition doesn't include the word "sacrifice". I actually clicked on the first result in Google which brought me to the Wikipedia definition which does include "sacrifice". So, in that respect, I stand corrected. However, I actually think that the Wikipedia defintion gives a more explicit definition of the term. I mean "having no concern for self" could mean that you're suicidal or that you're clinically depressed. To use the term selfless, you have to sacrifice something you find valuable -- money, reputation, your time, your physical safety -- for the sake of someone else.

    Giving your friend the password to your network drive may involve "sacrificing" some time and effort, but it doesn't reach any where near the level to qualify as a "selfless" act.

     

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    Derek Kerton (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 11:49am

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

    Good point. The mere use of the word "right" inside of the word "copyright" is an exaggeration of words.

    It is presently being leveraged to imply a "right" on the order of "Human Rights" for something as mundane as a gov't-granted monopoly for a finite period, which was offered as a known negative (monopoly) in a trade-off for the possibility if stimulating more content.

    Certainly, Copypriviledge describes the true meaning better. Or Copyexclude.

    If it was truly an important human Right, then why would our founding fathers only have it last a few years?

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 11:54am

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

    Well, in spite of the fact that you called me a liar in another post and that you're attributing beliefs to me that I don't have nor professed to have, I think that the issue just comes down to what we each consider to be an analogy. We both agree that copyright is not property and probably many other things about copyright. But while my definition of analogy allows for key differences as long as there are key similarities, you appear to have such a hard line view of copyright that you won't even allow for the idea that it infringement has key similarities to theft. Personally, I think that this kind of attitude gives proponants of copyright reform a bad name. It's the same kind if thinking that spawns inaccurate statements like "I don't care what you say, infringement is just a fancy word for theft", just on the opposide side of the argument.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 11:57am

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

    "Your privilege to be able to deny other people the ability to copy - including when they already own the property that 'contains' a copyrighted work....Where is the verb in that sentence?"

    There are two of them...deny and copy.

     

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    Derek Kerton (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 12:01pm

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

    Yeah, but you're making a circular argument.

    He's saying that theft and copyright are different, in that theft has all the negatives he put in his bullet list just above. But infringement is just a willful blind eye to a gov't granted, temporary right to exclude others from making copies.

    So, yeah. Infringement does break the law. It breaks the one you mention, Copyright. It breaks the one law that is committee-made, the one that isn't about fundamental human fairness, or economics, or have and have nots. But theft causes the victim much greater harm than harm created by the removal of a right granted by a gov't.

    You are basically saying that if the gov't defines copying your truck as theft, then it is theft if he copies it. A tautology.

    So theft and infringement are only analogous if you accept a gov't rule that says infringement is theft. And BTW, such rule doesn't exist.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 12:04pm

    Re:

    While it was just a joke, I felt the need to link to the proof that unicorns are real!

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/stuff/41/unicorn-meat.shtml

     

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    Derek Kerton (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Murder = Theft

    "taking their life"

    Duh...so what, now the killer has two lives? Seven more and he's a cat?

    Clearly "take a life" is a turn of phrase, and the killer doesn't actually "take" the life. Nope, that life is pretty much murdered...which is why we call it murder.

    Yes, if you try hard enough, you could make silly and weak connections between theft and other crimes. Please stop trying.

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 12:17pm

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

    There are two of them...deny and copy.

    OK, it's gone from being tedious back to being fun again. You'll probably be surprised to learn that you can have a sentence fragment that actually contains verbs. English is awesome!

    Honestly, maybe this sentence makes sense and I'm just not seeing it. Here's how I'm reading it...

    Your privilege to be able to deny other people the ability to copy (including the scenario where these other people already own the property that 'contains' a copyrighted work) __________.

    I don't see how you can consider that a sentence unless you fill in that blank with a verb. My privilege is what? "is wrong." "invalidates your argument." "is stupid."

     

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 12:23pm

    this is soooo simple

    society gives YOU the right to a monopoly to gain some economic wealth to keep making or doing. WHAT do we have now is not copyright but a scam by those that dont want to do work and get paid for it. FOREVER.

    AS member of this thing called society i hereby declare your right null and void. Slandering and defaming people aside, they need to just stop and realize that if they keep pushing taxpayers having to now start imprisoning the youth wont be able to afford it and the system will crash.

    IT WILL CRASH....
    as i have said what happens when we create food replicators?
    Are we gong to have farmers want FARMRIGHT.....
    what about when all physical work is done by a robot?
    What about all your needs are looked after for you ned or want not?

    THIS is what they want to prevent.

     

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    ChrisB (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Natural rights gives a straightforward explanation

    I agree with crade, there are no natural rights. The US has the death penalty, which takes away the "right to life" you think "nature imbues you with".

    Humans have a drive for self-preservation, but that is because evolution tends to weeds out those people who don't have it. But that is different than a "natural right".

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 12:33pm

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

    Copyright is so called, because it is the right to copy, annulled in the majority, left by exclusion, in the hands of a few.

    So it is a right, naturally yours (and everyone's), but derogated by statute to create a privilege for the exploitation of printers/publishing corporations.

    Thus copyright is a privilege - everyone else's right to copy specially suspended and reserved to a certain holder - initially the initial possessor of the original work (the author).

    In other words copyright constitutes theft, theft from you of an act you would naturally be able to perform in the privacy of your own home - making copies of your possessions (songs, stories, pictures, etc.). This is why publishing corporations would like to invade your privacy in order to detect any private copies you make or share with your friends.

    Now as for natural or human rights such as the author's exclusive right to their writings (as recognised in the US Constitution), this is logically limited to the natural lifespan of the individual. Corpses have no privacy (barring familial considerations).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 12:35pm

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

    Wiktionary disagrees with you.

    selfless (comparative more selfless, superlative most selfless)

    1. Having, exhibiting or motivated by no concern for oneself but for others; unselfish.

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 12:38pm

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

    It is presently being leveraged to imply a "right" on the order of "Human Rights"

    I'm sorry, but this is just going too far. A perfectly legitimate use of the word right is a reference to a legal right. Copyright maximalist read this kind of bunk and feel justified in thinking that copyright reform proponants are wacky conspiracy theorists. Making a distinction between infringement and theft? Perfectly OK. Misunderstood by copyright maximalists, but OK. Questioning the use of the term "property" or "owner" when applied to copyright, patent, or trademarks? Perfectly OK. Also misunderstood by copyright maximalists, but still OK.

    But saying that copyright isn't really a right because it's not a human right just adds to the misunderstanding. It feeds into the stereotype that many people have of the kid who downloads music even though they know it's wrong. Rather than splitting a hair that doesn't really exist, proponants of copyright reform should explain to the "other side" why it makes sense to not conflate the terms that are actually materially different, like theft and infringement.

     

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  83.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 12:38pm

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

    > How does the question of why would give a copyrighted song to a friend relate in any way whatsover to whether or not that act would be selfless?

    "Having, exhibiting or motivated by no concern for oneself but for others"

    I am having no concern for myself, only for my friend; thus, selfless.

    > Do you seriously think that bragging rights and screwing the system are the same as being selfless?

    No, I don't. Read my reply again. Only a few do so; the rest are being selfless.

     

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  84.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Here's my solution to intractable problem.

     

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  85.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Murder = Theft

    Yes, if you try hard enough, you could make silly and weak connections between theft and other crimes.

    I believe that is the exact point that Comboman is making about people saying copyright infringement is theft. They use silly and weak connections to call it that.

     

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  86.  
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    Michael Long (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 12:52pm

    Re: War of words....

    "It's a war or words, and one side is going for accuracy while the other wants to play mind games."

    Actually, BOTH sides are attempting to play mind games and frame the debate. One side uses loaded connotations (steal, theft, pirate) in an attempt to illustrate the damage caused, while the other side deliberately attempts to portray the damage as minimal (infringe, copy, "share").

    As has been said, once you accept the other fellow's terms, you've effectively lost the debate.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 12:54pm

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

    Legislatively granted 'rights' or legal 'rights' (properly termed privileges) are unethical - instruments of injustice.

    Natural/human rights used to be simply rights, needing no qualification, until the granted ones displaced them in common parlance as they do today.

    Unsurprisingly, because (natural) rights are ethical and privileges (legal rights) aren't, many so called IP lawyers will prefer to use 'right' rather than privilege to describe copyright and its decomposition - obviously, because it sounds FAR better (ethically legitimate).

    "I have a right to exclude you from singing my song" sounds far better than "I've been granted the privilege of being able to sue you if you sing my song".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 12:57pm

    Perhaps the overall confusion stems from the fact that while infringement isn't theft, theft definitely is a type of infringement. If you're not used to thinking in exact terms, and few people are, it's easy to get confused.

    Another mistake is thinking that intellectual property is the same as actual property, i.e. owning something. It's not. You can only (successfully) own what you can control. For this simple reason, no-one has tried to own the air we breathe yet. I can't think of any way to control an idea or an image without some sort of totalitarian regime keeping tabs on everyone, so it's no surprise legislation everywhere is headed in that direction.

     

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  89.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 12:59pm

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

    > copyright is theft

    Wow, somehow we went all the way and landed at the opposite side.

    Let's just agree to stop with the hyperbole on both sides, shall we?

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 12:59pm

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

    You are basically saying that if the gov't defines copying your truck as theft, then it is theft if he copies it. A tautology.

    I said no such thing. What, in any of my posts, leads you to believe that I did? The government doesn't define infringement as theft. They define it as...infringement. The two concepts are quite different. Not so different as to prevent an analogy between them, but different none-the-less.

    So theft and infringement are only analogous if you accept a gov't rule that says infringement is theft

    No, theft and infringement are analogous if they have a key similarity. Another way to phrase your statement above is "So theft and infringement are similar in some respect only if the government says that they're exactly the same in all respects." What is that? A reverse tautology?

    To qualify as an analogy, a "resemblance in some particulars between things otherwise unlike", all that you need is some similarity. You can cite differences between any two ideas until you're blue in the face and this will have absolutely no effect whatsoever on whether those two ideas can be analogous.

     

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    jc (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:11pm

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

    Wow, I skipped past like 10 of your posts and you've gone from arguing what the word analogy means to arguing about what the word selfless means ... and you're wrong on both counts.

    You are not the arbiter of words or the decider of meanings; just because you feel the word selfless should mean more than being not selfish doesn't mean that the word is semantically incorrect.

     

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    jc (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:12pm

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

    *is not semantically correct.

     

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    Hulser (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:14pm

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

    So theft and infringement are only analogous if you accept a gov't rule that says infringement is theft.

    One other point about the above...

    Sorry to lump you in with other posters, but I get the sense that you, Mike, and the others who don't think that infringement and theft are analogous have way too strict a definition of the term. If I say that "Cats are like dogs because they can both be your best friend", I'm guessing your reaction would be "What! Are you crazy! They're totally different! One purrs and one barks. One craps in a box and one craps outside! Dogs are man's best friend, not cats!" This attitude makes me think people are looking at the world in a totally polar way. Either it's the same or it's not. Analogy is just a tool to see the similarities between two things, not a case for them being identical.

    I feel sorry for some poor schmuck of a politician who makes an analogy that includes something that people don't like. "You heard him! He just said that all Republicans lick their balls!" would be the inevitable reaction to a Democrat who even came close to making an anology between Republicans and dogs. Sheesh.

     

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    The Buzz Saw (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:16pm

    I blame kindergarten.

    Elementary schools teach kids that they can become whatever they want. Maybe we should condemn that practice now because now we see nothing but millions of "artists" who feel that because they "wanted" to become a singer, painter, whatever, they are immediately entitled a substantial paycheck. Copyright only goes to reinforce this mentality.

    Everyone (artists included) has a right to TRY to make money. I have zero problem with artists making money, but I have major problems with artists chasing down people transferring bits among one another. I am a software engineer. I make it a point to sell my talent, not my output. I am valuable because I am a field expert. Someone can request a custom solution because I have the expertise to deliver that solution, and I am paid accordingly. I am never going to trap myself into depending on royalty checks from a product that costs ZERO to reproduce (software).

    Infringement is not theft. There's nothing else to be said. Sure, sometimes I'll accidentally use "steal" in reference to someone pirating music/movies during casual conversation, but in a serious debate about facts, theft has no place. No one is suggesting that infringement is ethical, but only irrational artists call it stealing.

     

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    hegemon13, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:16pm

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

    Nope. There are three, but they are all infinitives: "to be able," "to deny" and "to copy". Verb infinitives are nouns.

    You could simply say "Your privilege IS to be able to deny other people..."

    But a better way to say it, in order to provide clear context would be "Copyright grants you the privilege to deny other people..."

    Either way, Hulser is right on the grammar.

    On the other hand, I think it was quite clear what you mean, so arguing against the grammar is counter-intuitive.

    On the theft vs. infringement argument, I agree that interchanging the words is a very bad idea. They are different enough to require a very different reading. However, to say they are unrelated is disingenuous. Whether you like it or not (I don't), intellectual property is treated as real property in many ways. Companies can include it as an asset. Companies can even include intellectual property licenses as an asset. So, it could be argued that the value of that asset is decreased by unauthorized copying. Your action is taking value from the company by decreasing the value of it's intellectual property, which could be viewed as a form of theft through fraud.

    The problem is, that argument does not really hold up anymore. The digital age has made it obsolete. When the number of copies of a book were limited, printing and selling unauthorized copies could literally devalue the authorized copies by saturating the market and creating too much supply. This is very analogous to counterfeiting, which is certainly a form of theft by fraud.

    In the digital age, however, the quantitative limits are completely artificial. There is no scarcity for media except that which is falsely imposed. That means that copies of the content have no monetary value, being infinitely available to whoever wants it. Copies also have no measurable cost. So, even if you insist that infringement is actually exactly equal to theft, it doesn't matter, because the item stolen has no monetary value or cost, meaning there *really is* no victim, nor any crime. The industry associations sees themselves as a victim, but all that's happening is that the veil is being stripped away. They are simply no longer necessary. They are producers of an infinite good (copies) that doesn't really need to be produced, only transferred.

     

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    jc (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Natural rights gives a straightforward explanation

    That is a well written synopsis of the concept of natural rights ... ignore the trolls who are unable to comprehend it.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:18pm

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

    Queen Anne diminished our property rights such that we can do less with our own property than we used to be able to.

    I can still read my book of folk tales, but I can no longer write out a copy nor embellish or alter it for the benefit of my child. If I do take back my natural liberty to do this, I commit copyright infringement.

    Copyright is theft.

    Copyright infringement is liberty.

    Copyright is an instrument of injustice and should be abolished.

    Those who want to keep the privilege will describe detractors as pirates, anarchists, or extremists and their words as hyperbole.

     

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    hegmon13, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:21pm

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

    Woo, so I guess I never made it back to my main point, which is that theft and infringement are related due to the historical treatment of intellectual property. However, that relationship no longer matters in most instances because there is no scarcity.

    The historical relationship, however, means that the terms are related in the minds of the public, so confusing them is even more damaging than if they were completely unrelated in the first place.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re:

    Pedoexecs got to the unicorns OMG!

     

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    average_joe (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:23pm

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

    Sorry to lump you in with other posters, but I get the sense that you, Mike, and the others who don't think that infringement and theft are analogous have way too strict a definition of the term.

    Wish I had time to join in the debate... but I think you hit the nail on the head. Analogous simply means comparable in some respect. The only way theft and infringement aren't analogous is if you define them so narrowly that there's no similarity.

     

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    JEDIDIAH, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Counterfeiting is a not bad way to put it.

    There is a subtlety to counterfeiting physical goods that also applies to the digital variety. People are willing to use fake real goods in lieu of the real thing because they are far cheaper and most conspicous consumers don't know well enough to tell the difference.

    With counterfeiting, you not only have to worry about whether or not the "author is harmed" but whether or not the consumer is too. The consumer could be as much of a victim of a counterfeit as the "author".

    Grave harm caused to consumers quickly gets conflated with disputable economic harm to "creators". (ACTA)

    This is why treaties about fake drugs should be separate from ones about generic drugs and separate from ones regarding any sort of "entertainment" product (real, fake or otherwise).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:29pm

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

    From Wiktionary:

    theft (plural thefts)

    1. The act of stealing property.

    to steal (third-person singular simple present steals, present participle stealing, simple past stole, past participle stolen)

    1. (transitive) To illegally, or without the owner's permission, take possession of something by surreptitiously taking or carrying it away.


    Diminishing what you can do with your property is not to take possession of it. So, it is not theft.

    Even if I agree with you that copyright is wrong, I cannot agree with mangling words to say it, sorry. "Copyright is theft" can only be described as a figure of speech, an hyperbole, and it only inflames the debate and puts the opponent on the defensive. The two sentences you wrote after it are much better; they do not stretch the meaning of the words to convey your message.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:31pm

    Re: I blame kindergarten.

    > No one is suggesting that infringement is ethical

    Some people are, in this very discussion.

     

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    JEDIDIAH, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:32pm

    The intuitiveness of "sharing"

    > I don't know. How does the question of why would give a
    > copyrighted song to a friend relate in any way whatsover
    > to whether or not that act would be selfless?


    What? You've never encountered someone that gets upset because you won't "share" some bit of copyright material with them? They act like you just opened a big bag of candy and won't give them any.

    The idea that "copying" == "theft" just doesn't occur to them.

     

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    Nick Dynice (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    @average_joe Here is a re-education video for you.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeTybKL1pM

     

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    Any Mouse, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:34pm

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

    You truly are dense, aren't you?

    'Except that copyright isn't a right of ownership, it's a granted privilege. Your privilege to be able to deny other people the ability to copy - including when they already own the property that "contains" a copyrighted work.'

    Read that again. It makes perfect sense. Your privilege is the ability to deny others the ability to copy. English is fun, isn't it?

     

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    JEDIDIAH, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Natural rights gives a straightforward explanation

    Rights are subject to due process. Saying that your home can be searched with a warrant does not mean that the relevant right is completely null and void.

     

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    JEDIDIAH, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:39pm

    Define the crime.

    >> No one is suggesting that infringement is ethical
    >
    > Some people are, in this very discussion.

    That leaves open the interpretation of "infringement".

    Of course the publishers will have a wider definition that serves their interests. This definition will likely be at odds with the interests of individuals, future artists and society in general.

     

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    cc (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Natural rights gives a straightforward explanation

    I agree with Crosbie.

    The reason people don't go around killing each other is not because laws exist to stop that sort of thing. It's because there's an unwritten agreement between them that says "you don't kill me, I don't kill you". I believe this agreement is literally written in our DNA. Most of us couldn't take a human life even if we wanted to.

    A similar agreement exists for theft -- real theft, of real property: "you don't steal my car, I don't steal yours".

    Laws exist to discourage those who somehow decide to break this agreement. Is it not an abuse of the law to discourage acts that are totally normal and natural?

    Since intellectual monopoly is a fairly new idea, such an agreement doesn't exist. It's not naturally immoral to make copies without permission -- in fact, it's an evolutionary advantage to be able to copy a good idea when you see one.

     

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    Any Mouse, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:51pm

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

    I think you spelled your name wrong.

    'Husler'

     

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    cc (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:53pm

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

    No, I think we agree on what an analogy is. You are just trying to justify an analogy that makes no sense. Copying is not theft. Do I have to actually sing it to you?

     

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    cc (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:58pm

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

    Actually, comparing copyright with theft is like comparing Sony Aibo with a real dog, not with a cat.

    There's another analogy to confuse you.

     

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    Karl (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re: War of words....

    Even the use of the word "creator" is bad word to use in the discussion

    This is exactly right. The correct terms are "infringer" and "copyright holder."

    By calling them "thieves" and "artists," respectively, it frames the debate so that the actual rights holders (corporate entities) are let off the hook entirely.

    This is very deliberate. The debate is framed by those corporate entities, for the purpose of pitting artists and the public against each other. They do this so to distract from the fact that copyright holders are exploiting both parties.

    If you meet someone who thinks that infringement is "theft," ask them this. If Bob Marley's widow sells CD's of his music, is she stealing from the record label?

    I've said this before, but I think the proper way to think of the debate is in terms of a contract. Infringement isn't "stealing," it's not living up to your side of a social bargain.

    But this would admit that the public (including infringers) are equal parties in this contract. Acts that stifle the public's use of art, such as extending copyright terms or punishing non-commercial infringement, are also breaking that contract, so are equally as bad as infringement. Obviously, no commercial copyright holders want anyone to think in these terms.

    For hundreds of years, this seemed to be the view of the law. That's why you had to register a copyright to have one at all (until 1976), and why you had to place a copyright notice on any work that you wanted to protect (until 1989).

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 2:01pm

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

    I would accept a definition of theft as anyone (I have not given authorised access to my private domain) who violates my privacy to reduce/diminish/destroy/remove/appropriate/access/operate/copy/consume/exploit/borrow/communicate my possessions.

    Copyright, in prohibiting my liberty to make copies or derivatives of my own possessions, even in the privacy of my own home, is therefore a violation of my privacy and diminishment of my use of my possessions.

    Now even if you can't bring yourself to call this theft (as obtaining possession), perhaps you'll at least see how it is far closer to theft (as act of burglary and impairment of property) than illicit manufacture and sale of goods contrary to grant of monopoly (infringement of copyright).

    I respect your argument. When I say 'copyright is theft' I'm certainly not saying "copyright meets the popular definition and understanding of the meaning of the word 'theft'". I'm asserting that it could and should be regarded as theft, at least in some aspect.

     

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    The Buzz Saw (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Re: I blame kindergarten.

    Infringement against the artist's wishes is certainly disrespectful, but frankly, I don't think artists should have any say in what happens to their art after it is released. If I want to use chairs as firewood, the original creators have no say in that. I paid for the chairs; what I do after that is none of their business. If people want to share, let 'em.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 2:18pm

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

    ""Copyright is theft" can only be described as a figure of speech, an hyperbole, and it only inflames the debate and puts the opponent on the defensive."

    And that, my friend, is the other reason why using the correct words is so fucking important. It's also why anyone who watches cable news is absolutely not only wasting their time, but contributing to the problems of discourse in this country.

    On most issues of disagreement, there are two sensible, relatively benign, true positions to be taken by honest people. Most people fall into the category of honest parties. The problem is that one or both sides fuck EVERYTHING up by turning to hyperbolic nonsense that doesn't really mean anything and CERTAINLY doesn't prove anything other than the person saying these things has no idea what they're talking about or else is actively trying to muck up the discourse. Examples of this type of stupidity are:

    1. Infringement is theft
    2. There's nothing at all wrong with downloading copyrighted works
    3. AHHH! Socialism!!! AAAAHHHHH
    4. Authoritarian governments are illegitimate
    5. Democracy is always the best option
    6. Religion is good
    7. Religion is bad
    8. Republicans/Democrats are bad for our country because __________


    Can we please all just stop with that silliness? I'm sure we all have the ability to put forth valid, thoughtful arguments without resorting to one end of the spectrum or the other. Or do I have way to much faith in humanity?

    And seriously, turn off the news. And I mean ALL of it. Probably best to turn off the television in general, actually. Follow a sports team or two, maybe watch a drama, and that's really about it. There is no information coming out of that box....

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: I blame kindergarten.

    There are many unethical and ethical things people can do with respect to intellectual works.

    Copyright is unethical.

    Copyright can be ethically neutralised, e.g. by providing a copyleft license.

    Some of the ethical things that you can do with respect to an intellectual work will infringe a holder's privilege of copyright.

    So, some copyright infringement is ethical.

    Generally all acts that individuals are naturally at liberty to do are ethical irrespective of whether they infringe copyright.

    Singing a song you've heard on the radio in public (even in a supermarket) is ethical even if you haven't paid the compulsory license fee.

    Selling five million t-shirts with the lyrics to Lennon's song Imagine printed on them is not unethical - despite being a large scale commercial infringement.

    Copyright is an instrument of injustice - it prohibits and criminalises ethical acts of cultural engagement and exchange.

     

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  118.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 2:54pm

    Wow, unemployment must be worse than I thought. What other reason might there be for so many people with nothing better to do...

     

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    Karl (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 3:02pm

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

    The only way theft and infringement aren't analogous is if you define them so narrowly that there's no similarity.

    It's not defining them "narrowly," it's defining them fundamentally.

    Copyright infringement does not take posession of the copyright, so it's not "stealing" anything. And since copyright is not a property right, it should not be called "theft," even colloquailly.

    When a guy in a blues song says "Woman, you stole my heart," he means, "Woman, my heart is not mine anymore, it's all yours." He does not mean "Woman, you made a copy of my heart and gave it to someone else."

     

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    Derek Kerton (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 3:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Murder = Theft

    @#$@#$. I hate when one goes over my head.

     

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    RD, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 3:05pm

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

    "Wish I had time to join in the debate... but I think you hit the nail on the head. Analogous simply means comparable in some respect. The only way theft and infringement aren't analogous is if you define them so narrowly that there's no similarity."

    Yeah, like how, say, the law defines it....

     

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    Michael Long (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 3:21pm

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

    "Natural/human rights"

    There are no "natural" rights, other than one's ability to take what one wants. In nature, what's yours is yours only so long as you can protect it. If you can't, it usually gets eaten.

    Human rights are ethical concepts. They're ideas. They exist only because we agree that they do so. In that way, they're no different than any other idea that we can think up and call a "right".

    The "right" to bear arms is a legislative concept, granted by the Constitution. Is it a "human" right? Depends on who you ask. My grandfather would say that he has a "right" to protect his family and himself. Someone else, who just lost a kid to a drive-by shooting, might say that right should be abridged. Which one is "ethical"?

    You're simply attempting to split hairs in order to benefit your argument, and probably would be better off debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

     

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    average_joe (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 3:25pm

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

    You can't think of any way in which they are comparable?

     

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  124.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 3:35pm

    Re: Re:

    With one key difference if you somehow got access to my iPod without my knowledge. I paid for the songs and you didn't.

    Whether or not quantifiable, the rights holders of the music on my iPod may have very well lost an opportunity to sell copies of those songs to you.

     

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  125.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 3:40pm

    Re:

    It's not unemployment, it's this:

    http://xkcd.com/386/

     

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  126.  
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    Michael Long (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Natural rights gives a straightforward explanation

    "The reason people don't go around killing each other is not because laws exist to stop that sort of thing. It's because there's an unwritten agreement between them that says "you don't kill me, I don't kill you". I believe this agreement is literally written in our DNA. Most of us couldn't take a human life even if we wanted to."

    Don't even know where to begin here. Some people may have problems killing one another... and I dare say that some have no such compunction. Law itself doesn't prevent many of the later from doing so. The threat of punishment does.

    The "agreement" of which you speak is a societal one, backed by law. It's not "natural". Visit Somalia and tell me how far that "agreement" goes between you and the local warlord. Or if his DNA offers you any protection from harm.

    Theft is backed up the same way. Some people may not steal because of "morals". But others don't steal your car, again, not because of some "agreement", but because of the consequences. Stealing a car isn't worth going to jail for 10 years.

    Stealing music or movies isn't done because we have no "agreement". It's done because the thief can obtain something of value for free, it's extremely easy to do, and there's little to no risk of getting caught or of ever facing any consequences.

    Something for nothing? No downside? Where do I sign up?

    The same person would never think of swiping a CD off the shelf. Why? Not because of his or her morals, or because they're worried about the store owner violating some nebulous agreement and coming to his house to steal his CDs, but because getting a $10 CD isn't worth the chance of getting arrested.

     

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    cc (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 4:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Natural rights gives a straightforward explanation

    This is the nature vs nurture debate, which is not really worth going into here.

    Either way, I think our behaviour is conditional, and we'll act differently depending on different circumstances. The warlord probably wouldn't need to act ruthlessly if he was living in a less competitive environment. That shouldn't come as a surprise.

    In this instance I think we ARE genetically predisposed not to kill each other, and not to steal from each other. Look at examples of other animals:

    Moose fight by locking their horns and pushing each other around, but they don't strike to kill.

    Dogs have some sense of ownership. A dog's bone is *his* bone, and other dogs won't try to steal it unless they are starving.

     

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    Karl (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 4:54pm

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

    You can't think of any way in which they are comparable?

    Sure, but just about everything can be compared to something else.

    You could call raping a prostitute "theft," since she's not getting paid. (This one provided by CC above).

    Or, you could call freeing the slaves "theft," because it infringes on the property rights of the slaveholders.

    But neither of these mean that they're truly "analogous" with theft. They're fundamentally different. So much so, that the two examples aren't comparisons so much as reductio ad absurdum.

    Now, corporations make the "theft" comparison all the time, whenever they want more money. "Our competitors are stealing our clients." "If you slack off at work, you're stealing from the company." In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Jamie Whyte even called corporate philanthropy "tantamount to theft" (though it was OK if it increased profits).

    And so on. Most people see this as the bloated hyperbole that it really is.

    Comparing "infringement" with "theft" is done by mostly the same people, for exactly the same reasons, and is just as hyperbolic.

     

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    Karl (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 5:09pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Even if that's true, you can't "steal" an opportunity.

     

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    Daryl, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 5:30pm

    No matter who is on which side of the debate, i just would like to say that "THEFT" is not just the stealing of a "Physical Object", and if anyone disagrees i would love to hear why.

     

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  131.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 5:51pm

    Re: Re: War of words....

    Except the first side is lying and the other side is right.
    ;-)

     

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  132.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 5:58pm

    Re: Re:

    WRONG!

    Piracy: A war-like act committed by private parties (not affiliated with any government) that engage in acts of robbery and/or criminal violence at sea. The term can include acts committed in other major bodies of water or on a shore.

    Copyright infringement (or copyright violation): The unauthorized or prohibited use of works covered by copyright law, in a way that violates one of the copyright owner's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works.

     

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  133.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 6:02pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Continued...

    "I sell copies of your work, as you might sell them, taking away your ability to sell copies." = Counterfeiting

     

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    Richard Hack (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 6:12pm

    Once again, this is about a distinction frequently not made

    When someone infringes on an IP, it removes a SALE.

    This is what IP promoters complain about. They lose a SALE.

    To them this is "theft". Except it's not. Because while someone has valid reasons to be paid by a product, they have no valid reasons to expect a SALE - which is a voluntary act on the part of the purchaser. If the purchaser does not want to buy, the seller is deprived of a sale, but NOTHING IS STOLEN.

    On the case of infringement, the prospective consumer of a product has simply acquired the product from an "unauthorized distributor". Said "distributor" also did not "steal" anything - they simply copied something they possessed, which the technology allows. The net effect of the confluence of technological capability and someone willing to redistribute their copied product is that the original producer loses a sale.

    But nothing is being stolen anywhere up or down the line.

    There is no difference between this situation and the situation I usually use as an example: If I borrow my neighbor's hammer to do a job instead of buying one of my own, I have denied the hammer producer of a sale. But I have not "stolen" anything from the producer because I DO NOT OWE THE PRODUCER A SALE.

    The essence of intellectual property is to persuade the state to coerce consumers to give a producer a sale by enforcing intellectual property laws OVER AND ABOVE the laws enabling freedom of possession of objects and freedom to use objects purchased in free trade as the owner sees fit.

    Nothing proves this more than the repeal of "first sale" by the recent court decision.

    Intellectual property is first and foremost an attempt to abridge personal freedom for the benefit of a select group. It is coercive by definition. And historically there isn't the slightest shred of evidence that this coercion has ever had a socially beneficial impact.

    The institution of the state is by definition coercive. In history, it has been argued that the state is "necessary" or at least a "necessary evil" because of human nature. In fact, one could argue the exact opposite - that because of human nature, no state can be anything other than coercive and imperialist. But regardless of that debate, no valid argument can be presented to justify intellectual property as anything other than an attempt to suppress personal freedom for another's benefit.

    The argument that IP is necessary for the promotion of inventions to improve the human condition has been shot down empirically and historically, and has no logical basis other than speculation.

    Bottom line: You bet it's important to distinguish between copying and theft. It's the difference between coercion and non-coercion - and anyone trying to blur that distinction (and it's not surprising it's a lawyer trying here!) is trying to coerce YOU, by fraud now, and undoubtedly by force later.

     

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    BearGriz72 (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 6:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Look at the word "copyright" ... that is part of the problem. People assume that "copyright" implies a (natural) RIGHT it does NOT! It is a government granted monopoly PRIVILEGE, not a right. The name itself has become part of the semantic problem that we the knowledgeable public face when trying to clarify the situation.

    The same goes for "Intellectual Property" it implies something owned by someone such as land, buildings, or goods, a physical item. However You cannot own an idea, you cannot destroy an idea. Thomas Jefferson explained that, just as a man could light his taper from an existing candle without diminishing the original flame, so too could he acquire an idea without diminishing the original source.

    Jefferson wrote further "If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is ... an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it."

     

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    Daryl, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 6:58pm

    Re: Once again, this is about a distinction frequently not made

    "If the purchaser does not want to buy, the seller is deprived of a sale, but NOTHING IS STOLEN."

    That is just absolutely not true because the "purchaser" in your words should have never had the item in possession to begin with, that is what is called theft. I have heard your argument many times and it just isn't true. Your claim is that i can go to bit torrent, download avatar, watch avatar, and decide not to buy the movie avatar all along and that is perfectly ok just because it wasn't a "loss of sale" because you never planned on buying the movie to begin with. That line of thought is false because you should have never downloaded the movie in the first place because you do not own the copyright to have it in your posession without purchase, thus making it an infringement to the law.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 7:21pm

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

    My right to protect myself and my family should not be determined by a few psycopaths. It should be determined by me. Doesn't that make perfect sense?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 7:21pm

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

    My right to protect myself and my family should not be determined by a few psycopaths. It should be determined by me. Doesn't that make perfect sense?

     

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  139.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 7:24pm

    Re: Re: Here's my solution to intractable problem.

    TV Tropes!?! Well, there goes my evening.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 7:25pm

    Re: Re: Once again, this is about a distinction frequently not made

    You're hilarious!

     

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    Karl (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 7:52pm

    Re:

    "Theft" is by definition the deprivation of someone else's private property.

    It's pretty straightforward when that property is physical. Physical things cannot be in more than one place at once, so if you've got it, someone else doesn't have it. (As a side note, you would also need to accept that there is such a thing as private property. That's not really in debate here, though it might be if we were Native Americans.)

    It's much harder to make a case for non-physical entities, since most can (by their nature) be equally possessed by more than one person at the same time.

    Now, you might have a case if you're talking about unpublished works, or trade secrets. These are still private. But the very act of publishing makes them, by nature, public. Published works cannot possibly be private property.

    That's the idea behind the "social contract" of copyright. The citizenry temporarily gives up its public right to profit off of art - and only that right - and grants a short-term monopoly on profit to the artists. In exchange, the artists agree to publish their works, so that they become public, and can be possessed by all.

     

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    Richard, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 8:08pm

    Re: Re: Once again, this is about a distinction frequently not made

    ok, so... 15 "stolen" songs is petty theft. Not a 300 trillion dollar offense. I'll call it theft if you can except that reality.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 8:09pm

    I can hardly wait to read comments about the referenced website once it is noted that it has a long series of articles contradicting the ACTA "Chicken Littles".

     

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    Karl (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 8:34pm

    Re: Re: Once again, this is about a distinction frequently not made

    You know, in that one paragraph you went from "theft" to "infringement" without batting an eye. You're basically proving Mike right.

    the "purchaser" in your words should have never had the item in possession to begin with, that is what is called theft.

    They're not supposed to have it, because it's infringement. Nobody - including the law - says they're not supposed to have it because it's theft.

    Why they're not supposed to have it is a different subject. Copyright only takes away the public's right to profit off of published works. If nobody profits, then - in theory - it shouldn't be considered infringement at all. Until very recently, it usually wasn't.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 8:36pm

    Re:

    I can hardly wait to read comments about the referenced website once it is noted that it has a long series of articles contradicting the ACTA "Chicken Littles".

    I love how he's actually selecting the original complaints about what ACTA would do -- from two years ago -- rather than the more recent concerns based on the more up-to-date version of ACTA.

    That seems a lot more FUD-like.

     

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  146.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:21pm

    Re: Re:

    As the author acknowledges, the draft provisions are in a state of flux, so for his analysis he selected the version of the agreement released by the USTR in April 2010. It is this version that is examined in each of the four (4) articles, and not a draft from two (2) years ago when the provisions of the proposed agreement were in their infancy.

     

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  147.  
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    Terry Hart (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 11:03pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I continue to see uncertainty about what the contents of ACTA actually are - see this recent discussion on Wikipedia, for example - and had yet to see a workhorse, provision-by-provision examination of ACTA provision, so I thought it would be helpful to do so.
    To that end, I purposely limited myself to a side-by-side comparison of the officially released ACTA text to existing US copyright law. This was done only to place the scope of the substantive provisions in the context of existing US copyright law.
    I didn't mean to imply anything beyond this comparison - like, for example, US copyright law is perfect, ACTA mirrors US copyright law, thus ACTA is perfect. I certainly didn't mean to imply that there aren't concerns beyond the effect ACTA would have on existing US copyright law.
    My hope instead was to provide a starting point for understanding ACTA. Here's what it says, here's how it relates to existing US law. I think once we have that in place, it's easier to discuss the merits of the proposed agreement.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 14th, 2010 @ 11:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    My concern is not with which text of ACTA you are using, but picking strawmen claims to knock down as "FUD." The initial complaints about how it would change US law were from the leaks from 2008 (hence 2 years ago). And, those leaks did, in fact, indicated items that would change US law. Since then, the USTR has been careful to "cave" on most of those items.

    However, Terry, you are suggesting that this complaint still regularly makes the rounds, and that you are somehow debunking it. While I'm sure some folks are still making those claims, most people involved in the debate have focused on the actual problems with ACTA beyond that.

    That's my issue with the FUD point. If you had just called it "comparing ACTA to US law" it would be fine. Instead, you choose the derogatory term "FUD," not putting into context where the concerns over changes to US law came from.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Sep 15th, 2010 @ 12:36am

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

    Well, of course, everything we talk about is a concept or idea.

    The argument it seems you would have is whether the concept of natural rights does have a basis in nature. Whether people's need/ability to preserve their lives, need/ability to exclude others from the spaces they inhabit and objects they possess, need/ability to pursue and apprehend the truth, and need/ability to evade capture or control by others are powers they have by nature or because a state thinks it would be useful to grant them.

    Natural rights are recognitions of the individual's self-evident needs and abilities and their power to fulfil and protect them - and that individuals come together to empower a government to protect these rights (equally).

    If you don't recognise any truth in that, you may prefer to consider the corporation primary, and the state as subordinate marshal of a secondary human workforce, with 'rights' being privileges granted/rescinded to citizens for good/bad behaviour.

    The thing is, the word 'right' and its meaning precedes the invention of the corporation (and the elevation of the corporation above the individual).

    Thomas Paine was by no means the first to recognise the existence of (natural) rights and explain them, but he wrote some good stuff in the 18th century. See Wikipedia (Rights of Man):
    Human rights originate in Nature, thus, rights cannot be granted via political charter, because that implies that rights are legally revocable, hence, would be privileges:

    It is a perversion of terms to say that a charter gives rights. It operates by a contrary effect - that of taking rights away. Rights are inherently in all the inhabitants; but charters, by annulling those rights, in the majority, leave the right, by exclusion, in the hands of a few . . . They . . . consequently are instruments of injustice.

    The fact, therefore, must be that the individuals, themselves, each, in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a compact with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist.

    I really don't think it's wise to persist in claiming that individuals don't have any (natural) rights, that all we have are privileges (legally granted rights) that a paternalistic state considers conducive to a well behaved populace.

    There is an incentive of course, to denigrate natural rights, because if individual liberty is a natural right that ethically supersedes the monopoly that derogates the right to copy from it, then supporters of copyright will be keen to deny any distinction between rights individuals have by nature and transferable privileges granted by law (that lucratively end up amassed and enjoyed by legal entities we call corporations).

     

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    Terry Hart (profile), Sep 15th, 2010 @ 2:09am

    Mike,

    I'd be interested to know what strawmen I am picking. I cite some extraordinary claims about ACTA in my introduction to the series to give a general sense about what is being said, but each one is backed up with a link, so it's not like I'm making the quotes up. One of them was indeed from you, claiming that ACTA "could outlaw Google." Admittedly, that statement was made several months before the USTR draft release, so I apologize if I missed where you retracted that statement afterward.

    At the outset of my series, I stated my purpose. "There's a lot of confusion about what's in the treaty as well as concerns that it will radically alter the scope of US copyright law. With that in mind, I want to go through ACTA point by point and compare it to existing law." I provided a link to show an example that it is still valid that people still have confusion about what is in the treaty.

    I have chosen the point-by-point comparison because I have not seen it elsewhere, and I felt it would be somewhat helpful to understanding the context of the content of the treaty. It's an ongoing series, so I have not gotten to the point where I would address concerns outside of those based on uncertainty over the treaty's content or how they differ from existing US law.

    More to the point, I told you all of this in an email earlier today. I told you I actually share some of your concerns and am planning to address them when I complete the provision-by-provision comparison.

    I apologize if you take issue with the term "FUD" and how a look at the actual provisions of the ACTA takes away from your ability to raise concerns over it.

     

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    darryl, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 3:35am

    Infringement is breaking a law, THEFT is the ACT of braking a specific law. Murder is also infringement,

    Once again, another classic from Mike, playing free and lose with semantics and common sense. And finding his "followers" eating it up like pie.. :)

    Arguing between infringement and theft is quite stupid really its like trying to argue that apples are oranges.

    Infingement is what you call breaking a rule or law, it is not the actual ACT of the 'infringement'. And Mike you damn well know this, or you should.

    When was the last time you saw someone convicted of "infringement". you havent, thats just stupid.

    You infringe a specific rule or law, by commiting a specific ACT that infringes that rule or law. Get it ??

    Probably not,, but I will try.

    If you infringe the law, you commit an act that is against a specific law, you might murder someone, you have infringed the law, and committed the ACT of murder.

    If you steal something, you commited the act of THEFT, which is an infringement of the law.

    So not all infringements are theft, it could be murder, speeding, theft, driving unlicenced, or doing any ACT that infringes on the law.

    Get it yet ?

    Probably not...

    Also to say that something you can copy is not physical or that you do not deny the rightful owner of it, is also wrong, and again Mike, you should be allready aware of that FACT.

    You do not have to take anything physical for something to be THEFT, and with copyright, what you are taking is not a or the physical copy of the song, what you are stealing is his right to copy that work, you do not have that right, so for you do copy that material, you are stealing his sole right to copy (HIS) property. You dont have that right, and taking that right is infringing the law by commiting the ACT of theft.

    In your world if I loged into your computer and read the contents all the credit card numbers, and customers, R&D and so on, as you dont actaully remove any information it would be legal and ok, and not theft.

    Try it, and find out.. it is theft according to anyone who understands the meaning of the word, and what infringment means..

    So if you murder someone, its not murder, its just 'infringement'. Sure, that sounds SO MUCH LESS CRIMINAL.. but does not change the act itself. but nice try Mike, one thing I can say for you, is that you have conviction, if little understanding....

     

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    RT Cunningham (profile), Sep 15th, 2010 @ 4:33am

    I call dumbass

    For those who argue about copyright infringement without reading what the copyright act actually says. It is defined as infringement in the act itself, so this is not some made up point or any attempt to be disingenuous.

    So, regardless of what the dictionary says, the actual law says what it is. Not so in the case of theft. There is no "copyright theft" law.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 5:29am

    Re: Infringement is breaking a law, THEFT is the ACT of braking a specific law. Murder is also infringement,

    > you are stealing his sole right to copy

    If you actually stole his right to copy, he would not be able to copy anymore, which is not the case being discussed here.

    > if I loged into your computer and read the contents all the credit card numbers, and customers, R&D and so on, as you dont actaully remove any information it would be legal and ok, and not theft.

    It would be illegal and not ok. It would still not be theft. As you yourself said, not all illegal things are theft.

     

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    rwahrens (profile), Sep 15th, 2010 @ 5:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, counterfeiting does NOT take away the owner's ability to sell copies. It can reduce the number of copies they can sell, by satisfying some potential customers' desire for the product, but the owner can still sell copies of his/her work.

    Depending on the counterfeiters' market penetration and price, that reduction can be minimal or severe.

    But it will rarely completely stop the owner's ability to sell.

     

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    rwahrens (profile), Sep 15th, 2010 @ 6:00am

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

    Bravo! Nice take.

     

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    greg.fenton (profile), Sep 15th, 2010 @ 7:06am

    What's missing

    The biggest question I have when it comes to whether "infringement is theft" is: what is actually stolen? what is actually missing from the owner?

    The response often gets into "well, the potential of (something-or-other)".

    This is not an argument over semantics. NOTHING is missing or stolen. There has been no theft.

     

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    greg.fenton (profile), Sep 15th, 2010 @ 8:16am

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

    Depends on your definition of "psychopath". It also depends on whether you correctly identify yourself as not being a psychopath.

     

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    Paul, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 9:05am

    Some questions

    I find some of what is said here quite extraordinary, so extreme as to drive me away from the side of the argument I thought I’d be on. For instance:
    “Legislatively granted 'rights' or legal 'rights' (properly termed privileges) are unethical - instruments of injustice.
    “Natural/human rights used to be simply rights, needing no qualification, until the granted ones displaced them in common parlance as they do today.”
    Crosbie Fitch
    Those who see real property rights (in land, cars or whatever) as somehow completely different from those in intellectual property aren’t thinking this through. What, for example, is the natural root of property rights in land? If there is such a root, does it extend indefinitely? If someone owns land on several continents and never visits or uses it personally, is their property right less natural than that of the smallholder who walks their land every day? If land is flooded and the actions of others may have had a bearing (e.g. there is mining nearby, or irrigation works), does that mean we can say a natural right may have been infringed? Are the pronouncements of courts on the question to be spurned because they may introduce some legal element which is an ‘instrument of injustice’? What does this argument drive us to do?

    “Copies also have no measurable cost. So, even if you insist that infringement is actually exactly equal to theft, it doesn't matter, because the item stolen has no monetary value or cost, meaning there *really is* no victim, nor any crime. The industry associations sees themselves as a victim, but all that's happening is that the veil is being stripped away.”
    hegemon13
    Leaving aside the definition of the term ‘theft’, statements like this seem to suggest that the claim that any harm is done is nothing more than a sham. Of course it may be the case that many artists self-publish. Does the statement apply equally in the case where the artist is directly deprived of revenue? For better or worse, most of us live in capitalist market societies and artists support themselves through the sale of their work which might be in hard copy like CDs and books but can easily be converted to digital format and passed on or even resold. So is this statement a maximalist one that the market be swept away (presumably with all the works of the state)? Or do you feel differently about, say, apples than music or books? An apple is a tangible object which cannot be shared through Bittorrent but my work in producing one may have ended when I planted the tree years ago, whereas my book or music may have taken years of work. You seem to think you should have it for nothing, but when you have the benefit what are you going to do for me? The existing systems of copyright etc may well have objectionable aspects but can you simply say they are of no worth at all, even if I starve before your ideal society arrives?
    “Intellectual property is first and foremost an attempt to abridge personal freedom for the benefit of a select group. It is coercive by definition.”
    Richard Hack
    Such an extreme a priori argument helps not at all in determining what to do. Knocking Microsoft / Universal Music / Pixar is probably not going to annoy anyone reading this page, but, although these monopolies are enormous world-spanning corporations, they’re not the only game in town and nor does it make any sense to see them purely as a conspiracy against the common good. Life is more complicated than that and it needs more complex understandings.
    Lastly a lot of this discussion is about the meaning of specific terms in US law, and about theft/not theft in relation to specific US legislation (and perhaps precedent). These questions have an international dimension but that’s complicated by the different ways other jurisdictions deal with these issues. However it seems to me that at least some contributors are making a different point instead of or through these questions, which is that without qualification they see nothing wrong in the act, whatever you call it. It is not at all clear to me what conclusions those who oppose Hart but would see something wrong in the act are drawing – are you willing to go along with those who see no problem in ‘infringement’ at all?

     

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  159.  
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    RT Cunningham (profile), Sep 15th, 2010 @ 9:53am

    Re: Some questions

    I think you're reading something into the discussion that isn't there. There is no one here saying that copyright in itself is wrong and shouldn't exist.

    The problem is that the original intent of copyright has been twisted into something it was never designed to do. Copyrights were established as short-term methods to get the authors paid for that work and then to encourage them to create more.

    Copyright was never intended to be a royalty system and that's what the entertainment industries have managed to do with it. By doing so, they deprive the public the ability to build on that work.

    I have a book in storage that was written in 1939. According to the copyright law as it now stands, I'm not allowed to make a copy of it and give it to someone else. I'm not allowed to use substantial portions of it to write a related novel. The author is dead, for Pete's sake. His family isn't making any money off the book because it's been out of print for decades. Still, if I did either of those things and his heirs found out about it, they could sue me for violating his copyright.

    This is what's wrong with the copyright law and no argument about theft vs. copyright infringement is going to make a difference if the law is only going to get more draconian as time passes.

     

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  160.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Sep 15th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    I am

    I think most copyright supporters have a safety shield that prevents them reading abolitionists' comments - as if by hypnosis, such writing collapses into white space.

     

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  161.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 2:09pm

    Re: Re:

    Any sentence or adjacent sentences that contain the words "Internet" and "important" are automatically questionable if not totally wrong.

     

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  162.  
    identicon
    darryl, Sep 19th, 2010 @ 1:41am

    Its also about taking away the right of the copyright holder not to copy.

    No, counterfeiting does NOT take away the owner's ability to sell copies. It can reduce the number of copies they can sell, by satisfying some potential customers' desire for the product, but the owner can still sell copies of his/her work.

    Depending on the counterfeiters' market penetration and price, that reduction can be minimal or severe.


    Not only do you take their right to make copies if they wish, and SELL those copies. You are also by counterfeiting stoping them from the right **NOT** to make copies available. That is what the theft is, if I create a copyrighted design for a single client, if you copy that design and sell it or make it available to my client for free you have stolen my right to copy and distribute my works as I see fit.

    That is where you 'system' fails, you as the NON-copyright holder have NO RIGHT, if you want rights to works, create those works yourself.

    But dont expect that society owes you something for nothing that is at any level theft, and things like counterfeiting or copying money (no intrinsic value, just paper), but fake money is theft from the entire economy, you included.

    It makes the value of the money you own less worth, less worth means that you have LOST money and the counterfeiters have gained that money..

    Same with all copyright material.

     

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  163.  
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    rwahrens (profile), Sep 20th, 2010 @ 7:00pm

    Re: Its also about taking away the right of the copyright holder not to copy.

    "Not only do you take their right to make copies if they wish, and SELL those copies. "

    No, again, the rights owner CAN still make and sell copies. Fewer, perhaps, but they still have the RIGHT, and the ability. Nothing has been stolen.

    Note that a counterfeit item CAN affect the numbers of legal copies, and you ARE right in that counterfeit stuff does make copies available where the rights holder may not wish to distribute.

    But none of that equals theft, because nothing has been stolen - i.e., removed from the rights holder's possession, thus depriving him/her of possession. Which is the definition of theft.

    Don't conflate the counterfeiting of money with copyright violation. It is a separate crime altogether, for the reasons you mention, which are nothing like either theft or copyright violations. It is a crime against the State which can affect the state of the economy as you mention.

    The State makes counterfeiting money a crime not because it is a copyright violation - money isn't copyrighted - but because of the economic affects, and the negative affects of it on the honest citizens that get stuck holding useless money. There are good solid reasons why only the Federal government is allowed to print money, and copyright is NOT one of them!

     

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  164.  
    identicon
    Andre Friedmann, Nov 12th, 2010 @ 3:54pm

    Re:

    "There is no deprivation in infringement. Only an infringement of a government granted monopoly."

    That's wrong, but an understandable confusion.

    Infringements deprive copyright holders of their temporary, government-granted monopoly. Deprivation is -- in the public mind and in colloquial use -- a form of taking. Taking without permission is -- in the public mind and in colloquial use -- theft. Be very, very careful entering any United States District Court with that argument. You'll leave without your clothing, and yes, IAAL.

    It is fabulously cool that digital copying and distribution allow ready multiplication of human-apprehensible works. Opponents of copyright will fail to persuade the public for as long as they confuse creative works with copyrights.

     

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  165.  
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    rwahrens (profile), Nov 12th, 2010 @ 8:16pm

    Re: Re:

    "Infringements deprive copyright holders of their temporary, government-granted monopoly. Deprivation is -- in the public mind and in colloquial use -- a form of taking. Taking without permission is -- in the public mind and in colloquial use -- theft. "

    But the flaw in your argument is that a District Attorney won't go into Diatrict Court and charge a defendant with theft. He will charge that defendant with "copyright infringement", because that is the violation of law that has taken place.

    Our argument here isn't with the law, but with proponents of the idea that copyright infringement is equal to theft in an attempt to persuade the public that ALL copying of copyrighted materials, including that now allowed under the fair use doctrine, is equal to theft, which is generally considered by the public to be a reprehensible act of violence.

    At least, that is my complaint with those that use the term theft synonymously with copyright infringement.

    What is argued here by many is that the two are NOT synonymous, and are not the same, neither ethically nor legally.

    As a lawyer, you should know that, instead of trying to confuse the issue two months after the thread has effectively died.

     

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  166.  
    identicon
    Jebus, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 9:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "it would be up to me whether I wanted to drive around town in my new truck and be the only one with that kind of truck. As in your example, you copied my truck you are taking away that right. In that key respect, theft and infringement are analogous."

    All you explain here is that copyright infringement and theft are analogous because they both violate some of your rights. That's the only similarity between the two that you seem to mention.
    Murder and rape also violate your rights. Is copyright infringement analogous to murder and rape?

     

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  167.  
    identicon
    Eileen Donohue, Feb 18th, 2014 @ 6:58am

    infringement v. theft

    The word infringe and theft were made separate and apart as to be defined in law according to legal category. That is all it is. Infringement is copyright law (civil) and theft is criminal (penal law). That's all it is and why it is. Nothing more. I dont' care who graduated from law school.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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