Joe Biden: There's No Reason To Treat Intellectual Property Any Different Than Tangible Property

from the really-now? dept

Ah, Joe Biden. Is there nothing about intellectual property that he can't get wrong? Variety has an interview with the Vice President on intellectual property issues, and while there's nothing new, it's like a compendium of wrong or misleading statements. It's no wonder the entertainment industry so loves him. There's no lie or misrepresentation he won't repeat. It starts out with a doozy. Nearly every thing he says in the following paragraph is wrong or a misrepresentation:
"Look, piracy is outright theft," Biden said. "People are out there blatantly stealing from Americans -- stealing their ideas and robbing us of America's creative energies. There's no reason why we should treat intellectual property any different than tangible property."
First, "piracy" is not "outright theft." Infringement and theft are two different things. You would think that someone in Biden's position would know the basics. Second, "ideas" are not protectable under US intellectual property law. Expression can be copyrighted and inventions can be patented. Ideas cannot be. That Biden thinks they can be... is immensely troubling. Third, how do you "rob" one of energy? I'm beginning to think that Biden doesn't know what the word "steal" means. Fourth, if this was "robbing us of America's creative energies," wouldn't we be seeing significantly less output and significantly less revenue? Instead, we're seeing both greater output and greater revenue. True, a few legacy companies within the wider industry are struggling to adapt, but that's not the same thing. Fifth, there are tons of reasons why copyrights and patents should and are treated differently than tangible property. Is Biden really suggesting that we should have infinite copyright and patents that do not expire and do not go into the public domain? Because that appears to be what he's saying, and that's blatantly unconstitutional. The Constitution says "for limited times" for a reason. Does Biden not know this?
He is quick to say that he considers it more than a problem of just the entertainment industry. "When our military is sold counterfeit equipment that is faulty, it affects our national security. And when cancer patients are sold fake cancer drugs that contain no medicine, it affects public health. These are serious issues for the American people."
Biden may be even worse than John Morton at this conflation game. Yes, we agree that counterfeit military equipment and fake drugs are dangerous. No one denies that. The problem, which everyone keeps pointing out and which neither Biden nor Morton seem to want to respond to, is that they're using those small and specific problems to then justify massive legal changes that have nothing to do with those legitimate problems.
"Virtually every American company that manufactures something is getting killed by counterfeiters: clothing, software, jewelry, tires," Biden said. "If an American company has been successful at developing an idea, it's likely getting stolen."
Getting killed? Really? Hyperbole much, Joe? First of all, counterfeiting is a separate issue than copyright or patents, and isn't really an "intellectual property" issue, but a fraud issue. Anyway, when you look at the actual statistics (not the made up ones by the industry) you learn that counterfeiting really isn't nearly as big a problem as people make it out to be, and it's certainly not "killing" most American businesses. Yes, it is impacting a few businesses at the margin, but multiple studies have shown that people who buy counterfeits are not taking business away from the original company, but are doing it aspirationally, with the intention of buying the real product when they can.

Besides, if we're really saying that copying ideas and passing them off as your own is "theft" and should be punished the same as "theft" of tangible goods, shouldn't Joe Biden be in jail? After all, he's a notorious plagiarist, who didn't just copy the words of another politician, but copied his life story, claiming things that happened to this other politician happened to him, when they had not. So, if anyone knows "stealing ideas" and "counterfeits," it should be Biden.

Biden then moves on to what he believes is part of the solution:
"I think the entertainment industry would agree that they have done a poor job in making their case and need to do better," Biden said. "I mean, they have some of the brightest and most creative people working for them."

"They should be able to come up with an intelligent, original and effective public education campaign targeting this issue. To be honest, I am not certain they have dedicated the appropriate resources to this, and I hope they will."
Or, perhaps, it's just that multiple studies have shown that this is not an education issue, and the more propaganda that the industry puts out, the less people respect copyright laws. I mean, we're talking about Hollywood. Does anyone really believe that they don't have the ability to create compelling content? The problem is not the content, it's the underlying idea which people just aren't buying. You can create propaganda all you want. You just can't make people believe it if they know, deeply, that it's false.
"Kids are taught that it is not right to steal a lollipop from the corner store," he said. "They also need to understand that it is equally wrong to knowingly steal a movie or a song from the Internet."
Yeah, the industry has been making that a part of the "education campaign" for decades. How's that been going? The problem is that children aren't stupid. And they can recognize that there's a pretty big difference in stealing a lollipop from the corner store (in which case the store no longer has a lollipop to sell) and in sharing a song or a movie with a friend, in which everyone gets greater enjoyment.
Biden doesn't buy the idea that Hollywood's effort to increase enforcement is merely to protect dying businesses.

"The fact is, media companies have already taken significant steps to adapt their business models to keep up with changes in how we watch movies and listen to music," Biden said. "Content is being offered to consumers in a variety of different ways that make it easy and cost-effective for people to access legal material. Anyone who does not understand this should simply talk with one of my grandkids."
Oh come on! The media companies' "significant steps" all came kicking and screaming, often with lawsuits and attempts to use pliant politicians like Biden to pass laws to outlaw the innovations they eventually come to rely on. This is the same industry that tried to outlaw the VCR and the MP3 player. Significant steps? Yeah, only after being pushed by innovators and consumers. In fact, many of those significant steps were taken because of infringement, which showed what consumers really wanted.
Biden said he sees a shift in China, where piracy is rampant and where Hollywood has long struggled to gain cooperation from the government to address the problem. He said South Korea's strengthened intellectual property laws have led to the "Korean Wave" in entertainment across Asia, and "China's leaders understand this."
And here, Biden is simply lying. The Korean Wave of entertainment across Asia started way before the US (at the entertainment industry's behest) pressured Korea into implementing draconian new copyright laws in 2009. Creative labels like JYP had sprung up years earlier, and the company's founder, JY Park, has stated in interviews that it was, in part, the widespread infringement online that drove him to push his artists into alternative business models that took them across Asia, where they make a ton of money. The idea that it was these laws is simply a lie, and is clear from the timing. Korean artists like Rain and Wonder Girls were known across Asia long before those changes were made. In fact, even the term "Korean Wave" which Biden refers to, was given to Korean cultural exports in 1999, a full ten years before Korea put in place new copyright laws. And, during those intervening 10 years, South Korea had the highest rate of broadband penetration, and some of the highest rates of copyright infringement online as well. And yet, the Korean Wave still happened.

Shouldn't the "reporters" at Variety point some of this stuff out in response? Or do they just parrot the Hollywood line and ignore facts? Either way, why is Biden allowed to blatantly lie or misrepresent all of these things?


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Marcus Carab (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 12:59pm

    Shouldn't the "reporters" at Variety point some of this stuff out in response?

    Interviewers rarely listen. They just work through through their list of Qs and make sure they get sufficient As to fill up the page. Just another facet of the view from nowhere...

     

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      Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:11pm

      Re:

      "We're not interested in facts. We're interested in content."

      Variety is terrible. They never question anything a major industry rep says. Same with The Hollywood Reporter. They should just leave the reps questionnaires and a "Publish" button.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:16pm

        Re: Re:

        Poor Techdirt. This site is becoming more fringe everyday.

        Does it hurt to know that governments everywhere are seeing what you cannot? That IP is important and worthy of protection, even on the Internet?

        Don't check the news on the Netherlands or New Zealand. You might have an aneurysm. Two more countries down.

        Consensus is building. And it's building towards the recognition that the anti-IP manifesto of sites like this couldn't be more wrong.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:24pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Ah, yes, consensus is so broad that the industry has to bribe representatives to sneak through legislation under the cover of earthquake relief. Great example, TAM.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:28pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            A law is a law no matter how it is passed. Don't like how the system works? You can always become a politician and change it. But good luck getting elected running on this site's policy platform.

            How have your beloved Pirate Parties been doing in elections lately? Not so hot?

            Political consensus is building. And they, like this site, are nowhere near it.

             

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              Dark Helmet (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:31pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Respond to the point raised, oddball. How does the need to sneak through legislation, where concerned politicians didn't even know what the hell was going on, correlate to a "consensus".

              Does basic English elude you?

               

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              Marcus Carab (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              A law is a law no matter how it is passed. Don't like how the system works? You can always become a politician and change it.

              Excellent point, AC - where do citizens get off criticizing their government? They should run for office or shut up. Democracy is not built on people having opinions and discussing them - what a bunch of anarchists!

               

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              crade (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:43pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              In AC's case he/she would need to become a rebel not a politician. If you really beleive the system has become intolerably undemocratic through corruption there would be no way to get that repaired by becoming a politician, you would be relying on the system working properly as a democracy to fix the fact that you think it isn't working properly as a democracy.. That would be kinda silly.

               

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              Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:04pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Ah...political consensus. The governments of the world are always looking at ways to give more freedom to the governed. (Note that the elite are exempt from being governed)

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:12pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              And, again, if there was political consensus, laws could be passed in the open.

              They aren't.

              There is no real consensus.

              Care to actually back up your lies this time?

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:55pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You're adorable!

               

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              Rekrul, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 7:59pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              A law is a law no matter how it is passed.

              So slavery should still be legal, alcohol illegal and the US should still be under the rule of England?

               

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            Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:20pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Sneak legislative through, like with ACTA, which was done in secrecy from the public (but not industry reps) and was released only after it was leaked, and the public criticisms of those leaks convinced the negotiators to make changes. If these things are gaining consensus, why are they all being done in secret.

            and now TPP is being discussed in secrecy as well with the government and industry reps. Yes, a consensus so big that the government won't even release it because they don't want to get our hopes up in case the bill doesn't pass.

             

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          Killer_Tofu (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:30pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Poor politicians and MAFIAA. Their views are becoming more fringe everyday.

          Does it hurt to know that the public everywhere is seeing what they cannot? That copyright is outdated and worthy of reform, especially because of the Internet?

          Don't check the news on the Netherlands or New Zealand. You might have an aneurysm. Two more countries with brainwashed or paid off politicians.

          Consensus is building. And it's building towards the recognition that the max-IP manifesto of the corrupt like this couldn't be more wrong.

           

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          Marcus Carab (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:33pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Oh please. It doesn't matter what your views on IP moving forward are: Biden made some major factual errors in that interview, and he should have been pressed on them.

          Even if you are pro-enforcement - do you believe that IP should be treated the same as physical property? And do you not see how that is quite a massive statement, and deserves some scrutiny, and a hell of a lot of explanation if you are going to seriously make that claim?

          Please, think this stuff through...

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You mean between infringement and stealing?

            Those distinctions are usually only found in a courtroom.

            Even kids that rip off music call it stealing; a kid the other day: "I've stolen more than a terabyte of music".

            Most people are indeed taught that taking something without permission is stealing. Shocking to you, I'm sure.

            I wonder what kind of moral belief system Mike Masnick grew up under that makes him devote his life to things like the above truth-twisting diatribe against the US Vice President.

            Piracy apologist Mike Masnick and his merry band of freeloaders are fringe; lunatic fringe to be precise.

             

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              Dark Helmet (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:06pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Piracy apologist Mike Masnick and his merry band of freeloaders are fringe; lunatic fringe to be precise."

              Ah, but at least we're merry! You should join us, because, truthfully, you sound kind of pissed off. It's much nicer here in the lunatic fringe, where we happily skip around, sing kumbaya, and then have a mass orgy (which is wierd, cuz it's mostly fellas around here, I think).

              But it's fun! And you can smile, laugh, and twiddle your nipples in delight! That's got to be better than what's sure to be a short life due to stress-induced heart disease, no?

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:07pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I was also taught the importance of sharing, but I guess we should probably cut that form the kindergarten curriculum. I mean if i have a song and let you listen to it, now i am a thief! Teachers stop making our kids thieves!!!

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:01pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Even kids that rip off music call it stealing; a kid the other day: "I've stolen more than a terabyte of music"."

              please don't quote children that live in your mind.

              Most kids dont call it stealing. words more likely to be used in place of stolen in that sentence:
              downloaded
              torrented
              shared
              acquired
              pirated
              limewired

              do you have any idea how much a terabyte of music is? if some kid you overheard actually did download that much guess what, he will never listen to the vast majority of it. I wish I had my music library in front of me so i could give you an exact number but thats at least 6-8 months of solid music. So at eight hours a day it would take him *YEARS* to listen to each song once.

              So if the children in your mind are downloading that much music there is very little loss to the artists because he wont listen to any of it. They do however have a problem has a problem, digital hording, where he just downloads shit to have it cause he wants it on his computer, just so its there.

               

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              techflaws.org (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 9:37pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              > Even kids that rip off music call it stealing; a kid the
              > other day: "I've stolen more than a terabyte of music".

              Citation needed.

              > I wonder what kind of moral belief system Mike Masnick grew
              > up under that makes him devote his life to things like the
              > above truth-twisting diatribe against the US Vice President.

              So he nailed him on a lie concerning the Korean wave but Mike is the one with a truth-twisting diatribe?

              Don't embarass yourself in public.

               

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              Merl, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 10:14pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Then I guess that makes the everyday actions of a vast number of the population criminal...

               

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            Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 5:36am

            Maybe not all bad...

            If IP was to be treated the same as physical property, you would never see fines for infringement of up to $150000 per item. Either that or you would see lawmakers promoting the idea that some kid caught shoplifting a CD at Walmart should be fined a million bucks instead of the two or three hundred dollars it is now. You gotta admit, it would be rather entertaining watching some congress critter trying to make that case, actually far more entertaining than any of the mind-numbing Hollywood drivel that Biden thinks os so deserving of protection.

             

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          Gwiz (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:37pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Poor Techdirt. This site is becoming more fringe everyday.

          Poor AC. You are becoming more desperate everyday.

          Does it hurt to know that governments everywhere are seeing what you cannot? That IP is important and worthy of protection, even on the Internet?

          Does it hurt to know that IP protection will never be more important than the rights guaranteed by the Constitution?

          Don't check the news on the Netherlands or New Zealand. You might have an aneurysm. Two more countries down.

          Right, two more governments going against the wishes of their populations with sneaky political maneuvers.

          Consensus is building. And it's building towards the recognition that the anti-IP manifesto of sites like this couldn't be more wrong.

          Your right. Consensus is building, but not like you think it is. The average person is starting to realize just how underhanded and devious the legacy gatekeepers (and the lawmakers in their back pockets) are becoming.

           

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          BWAHAHAHA...., Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:49pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          ...HAHAHAHahahahahahaaaaaaahhhhhh.

          That's a good one.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:22pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Does it hurt to know that governments everywhere are seeing what you cannot?"

          Some people see pictures of Jesus in pieces of toast.

          "Consensus is building. And it's building towards the recognition that the anti-IP manifesto of sites like this couldn't be more wrong."

          You keep telling yourself that. Who knows... you might even convince yourself to believe it.

           

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          Chris Rhodes (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:29pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          *checks*
          *notices exactly no statement that could be used to refute a single sentence written in the original post*
          *hits 'Report' and moves on*

           

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          The Devil's Coachman (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:07pm

          More malarkey from the anonymous sack of dung!

          What consensus are you referring to, Zippy? You and your pet turtle? Yeah, thought so!

           

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          bshock, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 7:53pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Poor Techdirt. This site is becoming more fringe everyday."

          ...

          "Consensus is building. And it's building towards the recognition that the anti-IP manifesto of sites like this couldn't be more wrong."

          Okay, I know I shouldn't feed trolls like AC here, but it's so gosh-darned fun.

          AC (or several ACs) are saying that political consensus is coming down against IP infringement. But is this consensus coming from the politicians or from the people who elect the politicians?

          If it's coming from the politicians -- like Mr. Biden -- how could we possibly take it seriously? Mr. Biden demonstrates himself to be a drooling idiot every time he opens his mouth. The vast majority of politicians seem to mouth whatever corporate position they're paid to mouth, regardless of how destructive it is to the American public.

          If this consensus is coming from the American public... then who's actually doing the infringement? I mean if there wasn't a huge percentage of the American public infringing, then infringement wouldn't be a problem. But if there does happen to be a huge percentage of the American public infringing, then there's no consensus on it being a bad thing.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 1:51am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            What's Mom making you for breakfast tomorrow?

             

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            John Doe, Apr 16th, 2011 @ 9:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "If this consensus is coming from the American public... then who's actually doing the infringement?

            Likewise there is a consensus that America needs taxes (some people want higher taxes than others) but many Americans still cheat on their taxes, because just like with piracy, it's nice, but immoral, not to pay (for either music or government)

             

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          kfreed (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 2:20pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Concensus is building? If you consider a aorporation and a politician fondling each other, then okay.

           

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        The Devil's Coachman (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:26pm

        Re: Re:

        Variety is by, for, and about douchebags. This particular case is a perfect example. Douchebaggery from beginning to end!

         

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:09pm

    Actually...

    You know, I kind of like Jobi. I mean, I hate what he stands for, but I like his style. He's got that Bill Clinton thing going for him, where when he talks he makes it plain that he's completely full of shit and knows it, knows YOU know it, and really couldn't care less. You've got to respect that in today's politician.

    What do you want? Another Bush or Obama? Where they say things like, "I believe God wants everyone in the world to be free, and that's a part of my foreign policy", and your brain comes to a skidding halt as it tries to figure out how anyone could possible say something so idiotic?

    Or maybe you're watching your President on television one day, and he says, "The Middle East is obviously an issue that has plagued the region for centuries", and the next thing you know, it's ten years later and you've just woken up from the coma you've been in after stabbing yourself through your left eye with a metal spoon to avoid having to think about life in America with a leader who could possibly utter that statement.

    No, no, Michael. I for one prefer a Biden-esque politician, one who walks up to you, his hair slicked back and his goofy top-teeth-only smile on his oddly tanned face, a little American flag pinned to the lapel of his hundred thousand dollar suit just so you KNOW you're dealing with a special kind of douchebag, and he looks you right in the eye and says, "Look, piracy is outright theft", does a little two step dance while giving you the middle finger, throws six campaign buttons at your face, and then cartwheels away laughing maniacally.

    I prefer that, because once he's done spewing his nonsense we can all just have a good laugh an go back to our daily lives, comforted by the fact that no vice president since LBJ has meant shit in the greater scheme of things....

     

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    Spaceboy (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:32pm

    I hope Mr Biden starts with Disney and goes after them for ripping off Kimba the White Lion.

    http://www.kimbawlion.com/rant2.htm

    Oh but it's okay because it was an American company stealing from the Japanese...

     

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    crade (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

    "multiple studies have shown that people who buy counterfeits are not taking business away from the original company, but are doing it aspirationally, with the intention of buying the real product when they can"

    I would think a great deal of people buying counterfeits would be doing it accidentaly. Where is the fraud issue if consumers are buying the counterfeits wittingly with the intention of buying the real product when they can?

     

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    ASTROBOI, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:38pm

    Re: etc

    If Biden is so intent on making real and imaginary property the same how about levying a tax just like they do for real property. I wonder how many IP "owners" would be ready to pay their fair share of the cost to harass the public. How many obscure movies, records and books would go into foreclosure and finally fall into the public domain. Or maybe they would be auctioned off like derelict buildings. Then we would see their true value. It would be gratifying to see a few stinker movies along with their negatives for failure on the owners part to pay their IP taxes!

     

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      Greevar (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:08pm

      Re: Re: etc

      I like the progressive registration fee idea. The longer you hold a copyright, the more you have to pay. Copyright is not automatic and you have to pay an ever-increasing fee to keep it. That would shut them up and there would be a hell of a lot more works in the public domain as there should be.

       

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    James Carmichael, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:46pm

    My friend Paul bought a Radiohead album.
    Then I downloaded a Radiohead album.
    Now Paul can't listen to his Radiohead album because I downloaded it.
    Piracy harmed Paul.

    Also, Joe Biden is old and the intranets are confusing. Politicians should ask experts about what they're talking about instead of just being humanly ignorant and say stupid shit about things they don't even begin to understand.

    (Seriously though, I can't wait to get the Newspaper Album delivered. Come OOOOOON May 9th!)

     

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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:50pm

    Transition

    It's no wonder the entertainment industry so loves him. There's no lie or misrepresentation he won't repeat.

    He's just getting ready to replace Dodd in 2012...and hopefully not in 2016.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:50pm

    First, "piracy" is not "outright theft."

    This is where I usually stop reading techdirt rants.

    Yes, it IS theft.

     

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      Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:52pm

      Re:

      Yes, it IS theft.

      Care to give us a thoughtful argument why it IS "outright theft"?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:13pm

      Re:

      That's okay, I stopped reading your comment when you lied. Of course, that was the entirety of your comment.

       

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      Atkray (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:39pm

      Re:

      It is sad that you are so closed minded, but I admire your gumption in admitting you prefer not to read and understand the opposing point of view.

      For what it is worth I agree that "Piracy" ie:a war-like act committed by non-state actors (private parties not affiliated with any government) against parties of a different nationality, or against vessels of their own nationality at sea, and especially acts of robbery and/or criminal violence at sea. is theft.


      Infringement != piracy != theft

       

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      Ron Rezendes (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:08pm

      Re:

      Since you and those of your ilk keep repeating this mantra of yours, I'll continue to post my usual reply...

      Let's take the legal definitions (courtesy of Law.com)of both because neither mentions the other so I will just add you to the group of those who really just talk out of their ass because that's where their head rests. Theft involves TAKING something and infringement involves USING something, there is quite a bit of difference which I doubt you can see from in there.

      theft
      n. the generic term for all crimes in which a person intentionally and fraudulently takes personal property of another without permission or consent and with the intent to convert it to the taker's use (including potential sale). In many states, if the value of the property taken is low (for example, less than $500) the crime is "petty theft," but it is "grand theft" for larger amounts, designated misdemeanor or felony, respectively. Theft is synonymous with "larceny." Although robbery (taking by force), burglary (taken by entering unlawfully) and embezzlement (stealing from an employer) are all commonly thought of as theft, they are distinguished by the means and methods used and are separately designated as those types of crimes in criminal charges and statutory punishments.
      See also: burglary embezzlement larceny robbery


      infringement
      n. 1) a trespassing or illegal entering. 2) in the law of patents (protected inventions) and copyrights (protected writings or graphics), the improper use of a patent, writing, graphic or trademark without permission, without notice, and especially without contracting for payment of a royalty. Even though the infringement may be accidental (an inventor thinks he is the first to develop the widget although someone else has a patent), the party infringing is responsible to pay the original patent or copyright owner substantial damages, which can be the normal royalty or as much as the infringers' accumulated gross profits.
      See also: copyright patent plagiarism royalty trademark

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:01pm

        Re: Re:

        You didn't take a copy? The bytes were there. You downloaded them to your computer. The copy was made on their computer. You took it.

        When you take something without permission, that's theft.

        Duh.

         

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          Ron Rezendes (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "When you take something without permission, that's theft."

          Exactly!!

          When you COPY something without permission, that's infringement.

          Got it yet?

          Didn't think so...

          See when you take something it is no longer there and it can no longer be used by the previous holder.

          When you copy something - you both have the item and can both use it.

          Still don't get it?

          Didn't think so.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 10:46pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Hint: You need to start by learning the definition of "take."

           

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 1:57pm

    If there was ever an ad that supported file sharing...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:06pm

    Grammys on the Hill?

    "Biden is being presented with one of the Recording Academy's Grammys on the Hill awards today."

    These quotes ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammy_Award#Criticism ) by people receiving regular grammy's seems appropriate:

    "I don't know what this means. I don't think it means anything". - Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam

    "I think the Grammys are nothing more than some gigantic promotional machine for the music industry. They cater to a low intellect and they feed the masses. They don't honor the arts or the artist for what he created. It's the music business celebrating itself. That's basically what it's all about." - Keenan of Tool

    ""Oh, it's a Grammy" - from the Simpsons, as the worker throws the trophy out the window.

     

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    ReallyEvilCanine (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:33pm

    No Reason

    This from the man whose own presidential bid was torpedoed by his own "reuse" of a Neil Kinnock speech.

     

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    sheenyglass (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:40pm

    Ripper!

    robbing us of America's creative energies.


    I wonder if they are also adulterating our "precious bodily fluids"

    Speaking of General Ripper, how is the military buying counterfeit goods? Are they in NYC, picking up missiles laid out on the sidewalk next to the $5 coach bags?

     

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    Animous Howard, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:40pm

    There Once was a Politician...

    There once was a politician named Biden,
    in the entertainment industry's pockets, he would hide in.
    He tells lies for their cause
    to pass draconian IP laws
    He's a puppet of the industry's narrow-minded.

     

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    Phil Bowyer, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:45pm

    There is no difference between creating, selling & marketing a widget and creating a book / record /video. Both require skill, time, effort and are essentially products (whether they are digital or not). While many don't realize it, artists are in fact small businesses.

    The argument that if someone steals a song, that it's theft, is correct. Infringement is the act of distributing something that's not yours. Two very different things.

    I don't think the issue is necessarily with the copyright law, I think it's how that law has been bastardized by the entertainment industry, lawyers and politicians to mean something that it doesn't. They rely on using copyright as an excuse to stifle innovation and protect their antiquated business model.

    I think copyright is fine, it's how it's abused that is the problem.

     

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      JEDIDIAH, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:53pm

      Not the same at all.

      > There is no difference between creating, selling &
      > marketing a widget and creating a book / record /video.

      There is a considerable difference when it comes to creative works. They are all highly derivative. Any act
      of creation is much more like deciding to set up a factory
      in a federal park and then trying to claim ownership on all
      of the things you produce from raw materials stolen from the
      commons.

      It doesn't matter if it is a 3500 year old story lifted
      wholesale or just the accumulated cultural wisdom of the
      ages.

      This is one of the key reasons copyrights and patents
      are supposed to expire.

       

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        Phil Bowyer, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 7:25pm

        Re: Not the same at all.

        I'm not really understanding your argument... are you saying that creative works are different because they build on something before it? A song uses a note that used before?

        That can be applied to anything. A guy creates a new style of car, one that uses water rather than gas-- it's still unique even tho it's a car, which has already been invented. Hell, even a car comes from a horse and buggy.

        You could freeze your brain if you go down that road. Very few things, if any these days, are 100% original, but that doesn't make them any less unique.

        The thing is there is no difference between selling and creating the next great car and a song. They still need to be created, and those ideas come from somebody's mind, hence the latest Dodge Challenger could be considered IP since some car designer used his mind (Intellect) to come up with it.

        Anything can be considered art. I happen to think that cars are a work of art, and I'm not alone. Why do you think there are so many car shows? People love to look at them just like any painting. Are they sold as IP? No, the are sold as products. You buy a car, you own it, you don't license it.

         

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          Jay (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:34pm

          Re: Re: Not the same at all.

          ...

          "The argument that if someone steals a song, that it's theft, is correct. Infringement is the act of distributing something that's not yours. Two very different things."

          Steal a song, eh? Really? So I decide to add a song to my personal collection and that's stealing? Doesn't matter where the song came from but I'm stealing it because the 1's and 0s on my computer matched the 1s and 0s of a server and allowed the transfer? Do you really want to go with this argument?

          "That can be applied to anything. A guy creates a new style of car, one that uses water rather than gas-- it's still unique even tho it's a car, which has already been invented. Hell, even a car comes from a horse and buggy. "

          Just a suggestion, you should look into how BP uses patent law to stifle invention in the car industry. Their incentive is to keep having people use gasoline rather than experimenting in the market. What the market needs is innovation that is stifled as people use copyright, trademarks, and patents to lock up the market in various ways. Doesn't always work, but it does happen.

          "The thing is there is no difference between selling and creating the next great car and a song. They still need to be created, and those ideas come from somebody's mind, hence the latest Dodge Challenger could be considered IP since some car designer used his mind (Intellect) to come up with it. "

          Please. Stop. If I want to use my laptop, trick out the engine to my own specifications, use third party parts, the company can do nothing to stop me. It's my money to use MY car as I see fit.

          Just like a song can be used and has greater benefit when used through derivative works. It's funny that you say a song isn't licensed...

          Was there not just recently a verdict favorable to Eminem regarding a license vs a purchase of an iTunes song?

          How about people posting songs on Youtube? Are they stealing?

          You argument seems quite flawed. It's time to rethink piracy, because your argument seems to have very little room to breathe.

           

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      techflaws.org (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 9:41pm

      Re:

      > The argument that if someone steals a song, that it's
      > theft, is correct.

      Right. And since noone is able to actually steal a song since the artist still has it after someone infringed, there's simply now way for theft to take place.

       

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        Svante Jorgensen (profile), Apr 18th, 2011 @ 5:08am

        Re: Re:

        In theory you could steal a song (or a recording of it at least). If you physically without permission take the medium (maybe a harddisk) of the only copy of the song (or all the media of all the copies of it), you would have stolen it.

        So if you steal a song it really is theft. It's just very hard to do if it has been distributed or copied to somewhere else.

        If you copy it, it is potentially infringement. Never theft.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:51pm

    You legacy fools...you can't stop piracy. It's here to stay. There's absolutely nothing you can do.

    AC, no matter what is done, no matter what laws are passed, your income is NOT going to go up. People either want to pay for something or they don't.

    None of these motherfuckers including you are in this to actually protect content creators or artists. No matter how many people you sue, no matter how many corrupt politicians you finance, the artists are making NO more money than they would if you didn't even exist.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:56pm

    Hey Phil, how many times does it have to be stated that copyright infringement is NOT theft. You're trying to redefine a word.

    If it was theft then the labels WOULDNT HAVE THE PRODUCT TO FUCKING SELL. THEIR PRODUCT IS NOT BEING STOLEN. THEY AREN'T BEING PREVENTED FROM SELLING IT BECAUSE IT'S NO LONGER THERE.

    WHEN SOMEONE BUYS A $50 KNOCKOUT GUCCI BAG THEY AREN'T STEALING MONEY FROM GUCCI. THE AVERAGE PERSON CAN'T AFFORD A $1,000 HANDBAG THEREFORE IT'S NOT A LOST SALE. DOES IT LESSON THE EXCLUSIVITY OF THE HANDBAG? POSSIBLY, BUT IF YOU USE THAT HALF BRAIN OF YOURS YOU'D LOOK AT IT FROM THE FLIPSIDE AND SEE IT ACTUALLY MOTIVATES PEOPLE TO BUY THE REAL THING.

     

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      Phil Bowyer, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:14pm

      Re:

      If you read my comment, that's not what I said. I said, when you download a song illegally, that is theft, not infringement. When you distribute a song that you don't own the copyright to, that is infingement.

      I'm not redefining anything, I think you need to fix your cap lock key, and learn to read.

       

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        Jay (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:38pm

        Re: Re:

        You really are. There's nothing in the Constitution saying you have to buy a product from an original author.

        The best example is the book market which continues to thrive because of the abundance of books in various areas.

        Ebay
        Flea markets
        Official stores
        Waiting rooms

        The list can go on and on. Where you buy books is up to you. But you still have derivative stores such as used book stores that buy or sell books of an unofficial capacity.

         

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        Any Mouse (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:44pm

        Re: Re:

        Except that you're wrong. Downloading a song does not deprive another of that song. Thus, not theft. Nice try, though.

         

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        techflaws.org (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 9:43pm

        Re: Re:

        > that is theft, not infringement

        That is bullshit.

         

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    MrWilson, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:06pm

    Me: There's No Reason To Treat Joe Biden Any Different Than An Entertainment Industry Shill

     

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    John Doe, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:21pm

    "Third, how do you "rob" one of energy?"

    You steal everything they produce, just as one robs slaves of energy to work by stealing their labor.

     

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    BongoBern (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:21pm

    BidenBabble

    It dismays me to inform that most if not all of our politicians are or were lawyers. Not only can you NOT get them to answer a direct question with a direct forthright answer, the information they have will be spun into any piece of intellectual yarn they choose. Having said that, you are probably right; most of them don't know what a cold boot is.

     

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      Jake, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:44pm

      Re: BidenBabble

      This is not necessarily a problem, mind you; someone who's spent a few years having to work with -and occasionally around- the intricacies of the legal system should by rights be pretty well qualified to draft and vote on new legislation.

      At least as long as they were actually good at practising law, which many if not most lawyers-turned-politicians probably weren't.

       

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    John Doe, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:39pm

    Theft involves TAKING something and infringement involves USING something,

    So if you TAKE someone's artistic work you are a THIEF.
    And if you USE someone's car for a joyride you just INFRINGE on their rights?

    You are trying way to hard to rationalize your theft.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 10:47pm

      Re: Theft involves TAKING something and infringement involves USING something,

      Umm, good straw man, but no.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:55pm

    Joe Biden the guy who took someone else's work and claimed it as his own.

     

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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:16pm

    Quote:
    There's no reason why we should treat intellectual property any different than tangible property.


    I love that part, because if IP is like real property or services then it should fallow the same rules like:

    - You contract something and get paid and have no further claims on it.

    - You pay taxes on it just like everybody else.

    What is with this crap of having a say on how others can use something after it has been SOLD?

    The real thieves are the ones trying to make everybody pay them again, and again and again without working for it.

     

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      JEDIDIAH, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:55pm

      Don't forget the squatters...

      ...and let's not forget adverse possession.

      You can LOSE real property if you choose to abandon it.

      IP maximalists should take the bad with the good if they want to play fast an loose with definitions, rules and the law.

       

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    Bob Vila, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:50pm

    What I really always loved about Biden is how quickly, during any political campaign, he would work his dead wife into a speech. It takes a special guy to do that.

     

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    John Doe, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 6:55pm

    Don't forget the squatters...who are also steal land?

    I don't get your point unless you don't believe in any property rights.

    In developed countries, squatters run away when the police come.

    But in less developed countries without good rule of law, people can band together to squat, take over, steal, land.

    It's rare, almost unheard of for anyone to "abandon" land of any value. I think what you mean by "abandon" is not fight over.

     

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      Any Mouse (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:47pm

      Re: Don't forget the squatters...who are also steal land?

      Not necessarily. squatters must be evicted by the courts in some states. Oh, and there's a useful link at the bottom of posts. It says 'reply to this'. You might want to start using it, because you're getting lost in the signal.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 7:37am

      Re: Don't forget the squatters...who are also steal land?

      That is so not true.
      Come to Philly, or any major American city and you can see "real" property abandoned all over the place.

       

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      Nicedoggy, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 3:04pm

      Re: Don't forget the squatters...who are also steal land?

      Are you sure?
      http://www.villagevoice.com/2002-08-27/news/better-homes-and-squatters/1/

      Also you need to brush up on the history of squatting and why laws about giving the property to squatters if they have been there long enough exist.

      In the U.S. it got so bad at one time that juries everywhere were refusing to find anybody guilty of squatting on Englishmen owned property.

      So if we were to treat IP like real property should there be a clause stating explicitly that if the copyright holders doesn't use it and others use it, they should become the legal owners of said copyright? or better yet it should fall under public domain, after all if they are not using it, they can't possibly claim that it is harmful to them.

      Since all copyright material is squatted right now and some have been for more than a decade by know those works should revert to the public domain if they were real property.

       

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        Svante Jorgensen (profile), Apr 18th, 2011 @ 5:21am

        Re: Re: Don't forget the squatters...who are also steal land?

        It would never come to this. If IP was real property the owner would loose it the first time he sold it, just like if you sell a house or a car - it's not possible (or legal at least) to sell the same thing twice. Basic tangible property logic.

        Further more, it would be perfectly legal to copy the IP. If I see a house that looks nice, there is nothing to stop me from building my own house that looks exactly like it - no matter how creative the house looks and works. And I could tell my friends all about this new house and let them build their own copies of it.

         

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    John Doe, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 7:14pm

    There is a considerable difference when it comes to creative works. They are all highly derivative?

    Have you ever done any work in your life?

    By definition, non-creative work is 100% derivative.

    If you get a job flipping hamburgers, building houses, or mopping floors, you will be doing the same thing day-after-day, which millions of other people have done before you.

     

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    John Doe, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 7:21pm

    When you copy something - you both have the item and can both use it.

    Please post your type of car, where your car is located to allow people to use your car at night when you are not using it.

    Aside from dishonest people not returning your car, I don't think you would like people lessening the value of your car even if the car is back in the morning.

     

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      Rekrul, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:06pm

      Re: When you copy something - you both have the item and can both use it.

      Please post your type of car, where your car is located to allow people to use your car at night when you are not using it.

      If someone wants to come over, study anything I have and then go make their own, they're perfectly welcome to.

       

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      Any Mouse (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:48pm

      Re: When you copy something - you both have the item and can both use it.

      It's in my garage. You get it running, I'll sign the title over. I can't drive, anymore, anyways.

      By the way, the car analogy is overworked, and not very good. Get a new one since you're so damned creative.

       

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      Fushta, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 7:46am

      Re: When you copy something - you both have the item and can both use it.

      Car example = fail.
      First, the extra mileage reduces (even slightly) the value of the car. Second, it uses gas that is no longer in my tank.
      I guess, if anything, they are stealing gas because that gas the I paid for is no longer there, and I have to pay to replace it.

       

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      Nicedoggy, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 3:10pm

      Re: When you copy something - you both have the item and can both use it.

      Why do you not fallow the proper logic?

      If you copy his car you are not depriving him of the use of that car in any way you are creating a new car that you can use, that is wealth creation in action without the need for money.

      The only dishonest person here is you, with that nonsense about taking his car away.

       

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    Rekrul, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:14pm

    "Look, piracy is outright theft," Biden said. "People are out there blatantly stealing from Americans -- stealing their ideas and robbing us of America's creative energies. There's no reason why we should treat intellectual property any different than tangible property."

    I think treating IP the same as real property is a great idea. I have several defective Windows games that I'd like the companies to repair. They're defective because they have visible bugs or because they refuse to work on my system, which meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements printed on the box. Currently, IP is released without any kind of warranty, but since most all tangible products come with a warranty, or there are laws to protect consumers from defective products, IP should be required to come with the same protections.

    So when I buy a game and it doesn't work, the company should be required to fix it, or give me a refund.

    Additionally, treating IP as real property, means that you would be able to sell your legally downloaded games and music. And that companies would be liable for any damage that their defective IP causes.

    Yes, let's make it a law that companies have to start treating IP exactly the same as real products.

     

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      Fushta, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 7:51am

      Re:

      If I buy a song that I downloaded from Amazon's new cloud store and it is considered the same as physical property, I can do with it whatever I want because it's mine, right?

      Then I have the right to distribution that physical property any way I want, right?

      Therefore, I can upload and torrent the song because that copy of the song is mine alone to do with what I wish. Is that what Biden is saying?

       

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        Nicedoggy, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 3:13pm

        Re: Re:

        Those dishonest people won't let you do that, it is only real property when it fits, in your case they will tell you that what you "bought" was not a sale but a rental or lease.

        Because if it was anything like real property people could play that damn music on their places of business and wouldn't have to pay anything to anybody anywhere because it is theirs to use it like they see fit, but it is not real property now is it?

         

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    Gwiz (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:38pm

    Plagiarist or Narcolepsy?

    After all, he's a notorious plagiarist, who didn't just copy the words of another politician, but copied his life story, claiming things that happened to this other politician happened to him, when they had not.

    I have a theory about this.

    Maybe Biden fell asleep during this other guy's speech and dreamed that it was his life.

    Kinda like this:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/video/biden-falls-asleep-obama-debt-plan-speech-13367372

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 9:09am

      Re: Plagiarist or Narcolepsy?

      Lol! I happened to see Rep. Schuster tweet this yesterday on CSPAN...which was on only because I was changing channels to avoid excessive commercials...

       

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    Mike Gogulski, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 4:52am

    Mandrake, get in here!

    "People are out there [...] robbing us of America's creative energies."

    Purity of Essence... Purity of Essence...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 7:03am

    Surely Jo Biden should be guilty of repeating (copying) the RIAA's ridiculous claims.

     

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      Fushta, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 7:54am

      Re:

      "Surely Jo Biden should be guilty of repeating (copying) the RIAA's ridiculous claims."

      Actually, they licensed it to him, so he's safe.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 7:17am

    I was going to illegally download an mp3, but I think I'll help myself to this sportscar instead - after all, if the Vice President insists there's absolutely no difference between those two things, why the hell have I been settling for a 3 minute mp3?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 7:20am

    Joe Biden Plagiarist

    "After all, he's a notorious plagiarist"

    Thanks for calling him out on this. Joe Biden gave the commencement speach at the University of Delaware in 1987, and he lifted almost his entire speech from JFK. Not suprisingly, this fact only made it the local campus paper.

     

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    Mosaic User, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:38pm

    Hey wait a minute....

    Let's talk more about that tax idea. If IP is important real property, shouldn't it be assesed amd taxed as it goes up in value? You know..Capital Gains?

    If ten thousand songs were stolen,did the record companies pay any inventory tax on those songs?

    And if they were stolen,shouldn't their losses be being covered by the insurance company?

    Something is not right here....

     

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    kfreed, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 2:12pm

    Buying Counterfeit

    "people who buy counterfeits are not taking business away from the original company, but are doing it aspirationally, with the intention of buying the real product when they can."

    I'm not so sure about that. People who buy counterfeit do so because they can't afford the brand name or designer label or whatever the case may be. So I would have to argue that these people aren't costing a brand name company anything because these people would never purchase its products in the first place - simply because they can't. Anyone who had a choice between a Rolex, for example, and a Rolex impersonation would chose the quality over the knock-off, hands down.

    Personally, I think the copyright issue is being taken to the furthest extreme and then being pushed off a cliff. Anyone who has ever heard of Righthaven will agree to that, I think.

    I've noticed, too, that the books I've purchased lately come with a notice which forbids copying of any kind, even for archiving purposes. How tight-arsed can you get? What is a publisher deprived of if a book is referenced in archive?

    Meanwhile, artists are protesting inclusion in a Google archive... which to me seems ludicrous: " NO, you CAN'T post a thumbnail of my work - art history can survive without me. Asinine and entirely self-debilitating.

    I'm sure many of us remember when we used to make mixed tapes and share them around with friends. If anything, doing so meant exposure, popularized an artist, and increased sales. I don't see what's different about sharing files online. Okay, so we donít want a company mass producing, but sharing between friends is criminal? Let's get a grip - aim for the mean between extremes.

    In any event, ever since the music industry started going after teenagers for fear of losing a cent and a half, I haven' purchased a CD or download since and donít intend to in the future.

    I mean, DO you want people to hear your music, see your art, and worship your brand even if theyíll never have a chance in hell of owning the real McCoy? (Museums or entire buildings that canít be photographed are probably my worst pet peeve). I remember when art claimed to be universal. Now it just seems to want to become another product. It cheapens the experience and turns people off. You copyright Nazis aren't doing yourselves any favors.

    How'd we get to be such greedy buggers anyway?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 7:33pm

    I think I figured out how they get him to say these silly things...
    They start talking about math and the numbers lull him to sleep... then they whisper in his ear all of the stupid things they want him to push for... then they applaud and he wakes up to take his bow.

    Its a nicer way to think of it happening than him just getting a truckload of cash "contributed" to him.

     

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    Tomas, Apr 15th, 2011 @ 4:59am

    -_-

    This article is great, however it's to long to make a differance, i read it because i care about this subject, but i can't make someone who don't care read it, because its too long. I wish that there were articles of this quality, but short enough to make someone not interested in this more inclined to read it :P (Sudden struck of "GOD DAMIT")

     

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