Copyright Alliance Takes On The Aaron Swartz Case With A Post Full Of Bad Analogies

from the again-with-the-'copying-is-exactly-like-stealing'? dept

As the Aaron Swartz saga continues to play out and more information rolls in, the question has been raised as to why no allegations of copyright infringement have surfaced. All this discussion of "theft," especially in relation to digital "goods" usually brings the copyright patrol right up to the virtual doorstep in less time than it takes to say "fair use."

Well, our wishes have been granted (apparently). Copyright Alliance has posted its take on the situation, and it's bringing all the tried-and-patently-false analogies it could fit into a misguided attack post -- a post that still somehow manages to be about "copyright" without actually uttering the word "copyright."

Let's get started. After running the down the list of charges, Sandra Aistars takes on Demand Progress' now-famous response to the indictment, in which Executive Director David Segal compared Swartz's actions to "allegedly checking out too many books from the library:"

Really? It is in fact nothing like checking out books at the library. Checking out books at the library involves walking through the front door (or legitimately signing on online) and presenting a library card (or legitimate online credentials). This is more like sneaking through a library window in the middle of the night and making off with the entire non-fiction section.

Really? It is in fact nothing like making off with the entire non-fiction section. Even the "sneaking in through the library window" analogy is bad. Swartz accessed these documents from a university licensed to access the JSTOR system. This is more like Swartz walking through the front door and making copies of everything on the shelves and replacing everything exactly where he found it so that other patrons (and certain domineering librarians) would have no trouble finding what they needed.

Aistars then goes on to discuss the troubling aspects (as she sees it) of Swartz's actions, especially in relation to his work with Demand Progress:

If the allegations prove true, the episode is revealing in numerous respects. First, of the mindset of those who engage in intellectual property theft. The indictment states that Swartz "intended to distribute a significant portion of JSTOR's archive of digitized journal articles through one or more file-sharing sites." Sound familiar? This is no different than those who steal other kinds of copyrighted works and monetize them through advertising or through subscription fees, only in this instance the victims are a non-profit and educational institution.

Oh, but it is different. For starters, these digitized journal articles are locked up and provided only to certain members of the public at extremely high prices. Considering that the oft-stated purpose of copyright is to "promote the progress of science and the useful arts," it makes absolutely no sense to keep these valuable works tied up behind academic paywalls.

The other difference is that freeing these documents would not have been done for a profit, but rather to spread this wealth of information for the benefit of many, rather than keeping it in the hands of the few holding the keys.

The next part of her argument is ludicrous speculation, especially as Aistars wanders away from Swartz and begins attacking "infringers" as a whole:

These individuals are not "setting information free" as they like to proclaim. And they are not "removing the middlemen." They are flat out stealing the work of others and using it to prop up their own commercial endeavors. It is the perfect example of the unapologetic belief that what's mine is mine, and what's yours is also mine, and if I can get some venture capitalist to cash me out for millions or billions of dollars based on the traffic a library comprised of someone else's lifetime of work has generated to my site, so much the better.

But nothing has been stolen. The university still has all its documents. So do the gatekeepers. To assume Swartz was looking to profit from this interaction is to assign him a motive that fits your particular agenda, and furthermore, the only reason Aistars assumes this is because she assumes this of all infringers. In the Copyright Alliance view of the world, people only infringe for profit. This narrow view extends to the very creative artists Copyright Alliance claims to represent, who apparently only create in order to make money.

She follows this assumption up with claims that stray even further from reality, suggesting that to make this information "free" would undermine JSTOR's efforts and that, without JSTOR's stranglehold on academic documents, further academic research would slow considerably, if not come to a complete halt:

What JSTOR has done by investing in, developing, publishing and accumulating this research in a searchable form, and what MIT has done by paying license fees for the subscription, ensures there is more research, more analysis, and more scientific, peer-reviewed information available to benefit all of us.

I'm sorry but I'm not able to follow that money trail. JSTOR scans documents and sells them to others. Almost all writing for these published documents is done for free. If it's already being done for free, how does freely distributing this information remove the impetus to do more? Add to that the fact that most research is government-funded, and it looks like JSTOR's only true purpose is to stand between the public and the research they didn't actually "invest" in. It's just another intellectual monopoly dressed up in an educator's costume.

If you read Aistar's post, you'll notice that copyright infringement is never mentioned specifically, but the arguments remain the same, despite the specifics of Swartz's indictment. All the old favorites make an appearance: If someone copies something, it's as good as being gone forever. People only copy to profit from it. If this copying is unchecked, no one will have a reason to make originals, etc. The dance around the term "copyright" is delicate, but the partners still look the same.



Reader Comments (rss)

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:02am

    They did say it

    "intellectual property theft" is a synonym for "Copyright Infringement". So they did say it, just not in those exact words.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:13am

    Really? It is in fact nothing like making off with the entire non-fiction section. Even the "sneaking in through the library window" analogy is bad. Swartz accessed these documents from a university licensed to access the JSTOR system. This is more like Swartz walking through the front door and making copies of everything on the shelves and replacing everything exactly where he found it so that other patrons (and certain domineering librarians) would have no trouble finding what they needed.

    Not to quibble, but wasn't it the case that the documents were unavailable to legitimate users for quite some time owing to Swartz's hijinks? I'd also take issue with your characterization of his sneaking into the closet trying to conceal his identity as 'walking through the front door'.

    You really weaken your own credibility when you make fantastic excuses and distort his obvious wrongdoing in your effort to advance your own anti-copyright agenda. And before you waste our time challenging me to prove you ever said that you are anti-copyright, I'll simply point out that time and again you oppose any and every reasonable action designed to slow infringing and never offer any alternatives of your own that reign in infringement and protect rightsholders. Your position is measured in deeds, not words (or lack of words).

     

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      The eejit (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:25am

      Re:

      I find it amusing that you claim Mike has never offered his advice on how to make money, when you do the same.

       

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      Ninja (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:31am

      Re:

      Troll. And you insult and appeal to your 'absolute' truths in your effort to advance your pro-copyright trolling agenda. Add some good arguments to the discussion or shut up.

       

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      Killer_Tofu (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:36am

      Re:

      You really weaken your own credibility when you make fantastic excuses and distort his dance around the TOS in your effort to advance your own anti-freedom agenda. And before you waste our time challenging me to prove you ever said that you are anti-freedom, I'll simply point out that time and again you oppose any and every reasonable action designed to promote progress and never offer any alternatives of your own that serve the needs of consumers and artists without unjustly enriching the middlemen. Your position is measured in deeds, not words (or lack of words).

       

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      Chosen Reject (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:39am

      Re:

      Mike believes that copyright infringement is a business model issue, not a legal one. He didn't write this article, but he did post it, which goes to show that he has been correct on that front.

      Copyright maximalists push for more and stricter laws and infringement doesn't stop. But a new business model comes along and infringement plummets. Going off that record, I'd say it's more logical to see that pushers of more and stricter laws are the ones who are for copyright infringement.

      I mean, if I do X, and see that Y happens over and over again, then I'd be an idiot to assume that if I do X again, Y won't happen. They push for more laws, they see more infringement, and this happens over and over again. Only idiots or people who support more infringement would then push for more laws. So which is it? Are you an idiot, or do you support infringement?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:58am

        Re: Re:

        I mean, if I do X, and see that Y happens over and over again, then I'd be an idiot to assume that if I do X again, Y won't happen. They push for more laws, they see more infringement, and this happens over and over again.

        Oh. You mean like this?

        http://torrentfreak.com/us-music-piracy-plunges-after-limewire-shutdown-110324/

        Only idiots or people who support more infringement would then push for more laws. So which is it? Are you an idiot, or do you support infringement?

        Only a liar or a sniveling piracy apologist would deny that enforcement (laws) has an impact on infringement. Which are you?

         

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          Richard (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Only a liar or a sniveling piracy apologist would deny that enforcement (laws) has an impact on infringement. Which are you?

          No - one is saying that enforcement doesn't have an impact but the nature of the impact isn't what you think it is.

          The fact that you have struggled to find the one example that (seems) to back your case really just shows how weak it is.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:17am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            @Richard

            Struggled? It took 3 seconds. How many examples do you need.

            No - one is saying that enforcement doesn't have an impact but the nature of the impact isn't what you think it is.

            Well, the Limewire study makes it seem enforcement is pretty impactful. And if it's not impactful, why do you apologists have your panties in a twist every time a site like Limewire is taken down?

            Am readying my standard reply to your standard specious free speech argument, but perhaps this time you can apply free speech to the Limewire example.

             

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              Richard (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:35am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Struggled? It took 3 seconds.
              This time - of course you'l have used it before.
              s it seem enforcement is pretty impactful.
              In that case why do you feel the need the need to keep going on about it. If it really worked then the problem would have gone away wouldn't it.

              Tghe nature of the impact is mostly to make the general public hate the content industry - if you look at the comments even in MSM like the Daily Mail or Telegraph when the topic comes up you will see that amongst ordinary people your position is pretty rare.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:54am

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

                in that case why do you feel the need the need to keep going on about it. If it really worked then the problem would have gone away wouldn't it.

                Newsflash Richard. There are other sites that engage in Limewire-like behavior. Are you really an academic? I'd have expected this would be apparent to an educated person.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:30pm

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

                  There are other sites that engage in Limewire-like behavior.

                  So you admit that new laws and greater enforcement aren't working?

                  Which is it, does changing the law and buying up ICE reduce filesharing or not? You are saying both out of each side of your mouth.

                  Also, your ugly personal attacks don't really advance the argument, they just show what a petty individual you are.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 1:22pm

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

                    "There are other sites that engage in Limewire-like behavior."

                    So you admit that new laws and greater enforcement aren't working?

                    You must be new to this.

                    Which is it, does changing the law and buying up ICE reduce filesharing or not? You are saying both out of each side of your mouth.

                    Existing law, Protect IP, Felony Streaming and six strikes and emerging distribution models all will help to improve, but not eliminate infringing activity.

                    Also, your ugly personal attacks don't really advance the argument, they just show what a petty individual you are.

                    Are you really such a thin-skinned, little lollipop that a few harsh words bother you so? Try the doily crocheting discussion board.

                     

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                      Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 1:34pm

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

                      Existing law, Protect IP, Felony Streaming and six strikes and emerging distribution models all will help to improve, but not eliminate infringing activity.

                      Indeed! They probably will help "improve infringing activity" - they are already driving the development of better encryption protocols and more effective P2P software!

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 2:08pm

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

                        Marcus,

                        what percentage of the infringing is accounted for by people who will go to the bother of encryption and other measures that require some measure of technical sophistication? The hardcore types won't be slowed much. But the opportunists population will take a pretty big hit.

                         

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                          Richard (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 2:30pm

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

                          what percentage of the infringing is accounted for by people who will go to the bother of encryption and other measures that require some measure of technical sophistication?

                          Go on comforting yourself with that thought.

                          Otherwise realise that it requires technical sophistication now because it's not needed by most people and so is a minority interest. When it becomes necessary then the rough edges will be sanded off and it will become usable by the masses.

                          Even now Freenet is not more difficult to use than BitTorrent.

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 5:22pm

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

                            It will be interesting to see what happens. My guess is that your peer group is more technologically advanced than most of the population. So you conclude that most people will migrate to encryption or some tech solution. I think it's likely that even more people will migrate to services like Netflix and Hulu.

                             

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                      Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 1:50pm

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

                      " Are you really such a thin-skinned, little lollipop that a few harsh words bother you so? Try the doily crocheting discussion board."
                      this would be some that 'reasonable' discussion you're talking about elsewhere? Insulting someone who, quite reasonably and calmly, points out your poor behavior?

                      I think someone else already mentiond that you're the one getting laughed at... and this is another example of why. Cheers!

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 2:10pm

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

                        @Gabriel

                        *sigh* do you have no sense of humor, or are you British or something?

                         

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                          Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 2:21pm

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

                          Congrats! First the teabagger hypocrisy, then the 'reasonableness' hypocrisy, and now a backpedaling hypocrisy... HYPOCRITE HATTRICK!

                          bonus points for the social stereotype.

                          Add it all up, and you win the intarwebs! Minus the parts that are protected by copyrighrs, of course.

                           

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                  Richard (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:46pm

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

                  Newsflash Richard. There are other sites that engage in Limewire-like behavior. Are you really an academic? I'd have expected this would be apparent to an educated person.

                  Of course I'm aware of that - and that IS the point - you shut down one site and 2 others spring up to take its place - that is the reason why enforcement doesn't work. The reason you keep banging on is because, although enforcement may work against a particular site (and even have a short term impact on the overall picure) it doesn't work long term.

                  In the meantime each new ratchet on the enforcement machine has bad effects on perfectly legitimate activities on the internet.

                   

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              Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:37am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              why do you apologists have your panties in a twist every time a site like Limewire is taken down?

              What? If there was any panty-twisting going on, it was because the RIAA first sought damages in the theoretical trillions.

              It finally cashed out at $105 million and then had to be publicly shamed into distributing the funds to its artists.

              Are you here to tell us that $105 million is "game-changing" money? Or is does this have something to do with another "one down, several thousand to go" anti-piracy success story?

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:56am

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

                Are you here to tell us that $105 million is "game-changing" money? Or is does this have something to do with another "one down, several thousand to go" anti-piracy success story?

                I'll bet it was game-changing money for the owner of Limewire. And yes, (but not one down) but several thousand to go.

                 

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                  Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 1:47pm

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

                  It certainly was game-changing money for Limewire. But it had next to no impact on all the artists who keep getting trotted out like starving third-world orphans every time the RIAA angles for another overreaching law or makes ridiculous damage claims. All of this is being done for them, and yet I don't hear much about artists receiving an unexpected royalty check in the mail. Certainly not one of any significant size.

                   

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          Someone from the Loop, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Where do I fit in your classification if I'm a piracy apologist AND I don't deny that enforcement has an impact?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            @Someone

            Hmmmm, a greedy, self-entitled freeloader who does not respect the property and rights of others? That fit?

             

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              Greevar (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 2:46pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Respect? Property? You haven't the slightest inkling what those words mean. This might come as a shock to you, but creative works are not anyone's exclusive property. There is nothing in the law that gives title of property to creative works. It's just not property. It is, in fact, the common wealth of all people. The public domain isn't just a fancy word bucko, it's the default state of all published works. Copyright grants exclusive privilege to control who gets access to works you create. That is all. It is not a title of property (because it doesn't belong to you), it is not a mandate to be paid, and it is completely contrary to the way human beings communicate.

              As far a respect, you have a lot of gall coming here, trolling the place up, and trying to lecture us on respect. If you had the capacity for respect, I wouldn't have to explain how puerile and vindictive you are. Add to that, completely ignorant. If you can't make your points with civil and factually-based arguments (which, by the way, you don't have the facts), I suggest you shut your mouth and let the grown-ups talk, little one. Find something better to do than your mouth writing checks your brain can't cash.

               

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              Chris Rhodes (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 3:07pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I respect both property and rights. That's why I suppot abolishing IP law.

               

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          Chosen Reject (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:52pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Awesome, so you think an example of enforcing laws that existed for 100 years is an example of why we need more and stricter laws? I mean, the RIAA could have gone after Limewire with the same laws that were around after the Copyright act of 1909, so why do we need new and stricter laws?

          Also, your example is merely speculation. I'll quote from NPD's press release:
          "In the past, we've noted that hard-core peer-to-peer users would quickly move to other Web sites that offered illegal music file sharing. It will be interesting to see if services like Frostwire and Bittorrent take up the slack left by Limewire, or if peer-to-peer music downloaders instead move on to other modes of acquiring or listening to music."
          Meaning, even NPD recognizes that this very well might be a temporary thing.

          You've managed to come up with an example of enforcement (not new and stricter laws as orginally stated) might possibly maybe making a temporary difference. Bravo good sir.

           

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 3:56pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Only a liar or a sniveling piracy apologist would deny that enforcement (laws) has an impact on infringement. Which are you?

          And only a liar or someone totally ignorant would deny that decreasing infringement is not the same thing as increasing sales. Which are you?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 5:48pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Masnick if you are going to attempt to use my own words against me why don't you copy and italicize them? Oh that's right, I never said what you are trying to attribute to me.

            Nice try though.

             

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              Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 12:02am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Masnick if you are going to attempt to use my own words against me why don't you copy and italicize them? Oh that's right, I never said what you are trying to attribute to me.

              Wait, what? I did copy and italicize them. Are you now trying to deny you said what you said?

              Dude. You're losing it.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 8:06am

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

                Masnick. You truly are a douchebag. You wrote, "And only a liar or someone totally ignorant would deny that decreasing infringement is not the same thing as increasing sales." Implying that I stated that decreasing infringement was the same as increasing sales. As you know, I never said that.

                You are quite accomplished at deceit and twisting words. Maybe you should put in your resume to Rightshaven, You'd fit right in.

                 

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          Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 4:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          How much did sales increase after that stunt?

           

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        Fickelbra (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:58am

        Re: Re:

        As Einstein put it, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 1:42pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Hence Protect IP, six strikes, felony streaming. The DMCA isn't worth a bucket of warm spit. Many of the other laws are ineffective and technologically outdated. Bright fellow that Einstein.

           

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            Chosen Reject (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 2:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If it's not worth anything, we ought to repeal it.

            If it's not worth anything, are you finally agreeing that new and stricter laws are useless? The DMCA was a new and stricter law that was hailed by the copyright maximalists as their savior.

            Was it just not strong enough? A new and stricter law wasn't enough to stop infringement? You say infringement was worse after the new and stricter laws? "Impossible!" is what I thought I heard you say. "Inconceivable" is probably what you did say, but then, that word doesn't mean what you think it means.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 2:14pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              What I am saying is that the law has been outpaced by technology.

               

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                Chosen Reject (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 2:49pm

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

                Which part of the DMCA are you referring to specifically?

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 5:50pm

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

                  Notice and takedown.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 6:25pm

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

                    Notice and takedown has next to nothing to do with technology of any sort.

                    Which part of the DMCA specifically has been outpaced by technology? You could make everyone gasp in awe by citing a section or even giving a URL to a section.

                     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:55am

      Re:

      I'll simply point out that time and again you oppose any and every reasonable action designed to slow infringing and never offer any alternatives of your own that reign in infringement and protect rightsholders.

      Um. Have you read the thousands of articles on this site about new and innovative business models?

      You know how you "protect" rightsholders? By helping them make money by embracing what consumers want.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:03am

        Re: Re:

        @Masnick

        New and innovative business models are half the equation and are indeed very valuable. And you are seeing the rise of those models from Amazon, Netflix, Hulu Plus, MLB, NBA, iTunes etc. But that does not excuse those who seek to get something for nothing that belongs to someone else; and it really doesn't excuse those who take the intellectual property of others and monetize it for their own personal benefit.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I guess that explains why copyright has to last so long.

           

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          Sneeje (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:18am

          Re: Re: Re:

          And if you are paying attention, the general sentiment here is not to support or engage in criminal infringement. HOWEVER, the general sentiment here is also that the laws supporting the protection of IP are foolish and a giant waste of resources.

          Kind of like how you can hate red light cameras but still not condone running red lights.

          The point is to solve the problem not the symptoms. We all want a healthy and prosperous market ecosystem. I (and many others) believe that things like extraordinary monopolies and government enforcement tend to harm that ecosystem. Many, many economic studies back that up.

          You can draw your own conclusions, but at least try to understand the perspectives being shared here.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:36am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            @Sneeje

            There are some more mainstream people here who are worthy of that characterization. And it is one I respect and understand. However, many of the loudest voices are anti-copyright Tea Bagger types whose shrill, doctrinaire raving drowns out the reasonable perspective you apparently embrace. Sadly, like the Republican party has found, they are all being heard as through the Tea Bagger filter.

             

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              Anon, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:09pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You are EVERYTHING that is wrong with this planet. Someday we will kill you evil bastards.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:19pm

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

                Yikes! Nerdrage and death threats!

                 

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                Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:23pm

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

                Yah, I must admit, you're not making a great case by going directly to hyperbole and death threats, anon...

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 2:57pm

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

                  OMG, please don't defend me Marcus. It's just another Techdirtbagger on a rant. Means nothing.

                   

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                    Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 3:19pm

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

                    Sorry if you misunderstood: I have no interest in defending you. It just happens by insane chance that I agree with you for once: his comment was uncalled for.

                    Funny how you bitch and moan that us "Techdirtbaggers" will always toe the party line and never ever admit mistakes and all that shit, then the first time I mildly agree with you on something, you jump down my throat for it. It further confirms my assertion that you are indeed nothing but a troll: you are only interested in arguing, and you don't actually believe half the things you say.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 3:51pm

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

                      LOL. No, you misunderstand, I was and still am accusing you of saying that. Reading comprehension fail.

                      I guess this is one of the occasions I take my lumps. My initial point was that you stating that I would actually equate one with the other was an absurd distortion. I quickly wandered into the weeds from there. Sorry, I've been fighting a multi-theater war here with little help. Enjoy your pyrrhic victory.

                       

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                        Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 4:24pm

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

                        I don't think Pyrrhic is the right word. It implies great loss to the victor. Victory over you is more like swatting an irritating fly on the fiftieth try - your arguments are pitifully fragile but masterfully evasive.

                         

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 3:59pm

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

                      Marcus,

                      You take yourself (and me) a bit more seriously than necessary. I was breaking your balls over the irony of us being on the same side of the issue.... for once. The AC is a douche and a nobody. He ran out of anything worthwhile to say so he went for shock value. He is an insignificant loser, comfortably ensconced in his Mom's basement and isn't a threat to anyone.

                      I appreciate your concern for my well-being and apologize that my remarks were taken the wrong way.

                       

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                        Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 4:29pm

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

                        I'll grant you enough credit to assume you don't live in your mom's basement, but other than that: that was as fine a description of yourself as it was of kill'em'all up there.

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 5:55pm

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

                          ...maybe you should convert your insults to poetry and recite them to music. Might be more effective.

                           

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              MrWilson, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:12pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You don't seem to bother figuring out (or asking) what exactly people think about these issues. You just react to anyone's post that seems to you to advocate something you oppose. You yell at people for being piracy advocates when they aren't, so saying that you respect and understand the people who don't is bullshit. You jump to conclusions and pigeon-hole people based on a single post. Your references to the Tea Party are a good example of this. The Tea Party has nothing to do with this discussion and I doubt many of us here actually agree with the Tea Party's politics.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:34pm

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

                You don't seem to bother figuring out (or asking) what exactly people think about these issues. You just react to anyone's post that seems to you to advocate something you oppose. You yell at people for being piracy advocates when they aren't, so saying that you respect and understand the people who don't is bullshit. You jump to conclusions and pigeon-hole people based on a single post.

                There's talking the talk and walking the walk. People here exclaim that they're not anti-copyright and/or pro-piracy then vociferously oppose any reasonable move to enforce copyright and oppose piracy.

                Your references to the Tea Party are a good example of this. The Tea Party has nothing to do with this discussion and I doubt many of us here actually agree with the Tea Party's politics.

                Neither do the various analogies about the library have much bearing. The Tea Bagger example was offered up to show how the extremists are able to commandeer the debate and drown out more reasonable voices that are more closely aligned with their position. Unfortunately, because the extremists dominate that side of the discussion- they are easily dismissed as kooks by lawmakers when crafting legislation and policy. Groups like EFF, CDT and PK are effective because the realize what is doable and know that intransigent histrionics are self-defeating.

                 

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                  Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:39pm

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

                  vociferously oppose any reasonable move to enforce copyright and oppose piracy

                  No, see, the disagreement is over whether or not they are indeed "reasonable"

                  What shifty, subtle little games you love to play - slipping that word in there to make it sound like you are automatically right, and anyone who disagrees is automatically unreasonable. Good thing nobody here is dumb enough to fall for that.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:55pm

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

                    No, see, the disagreement is over whether or not they are indeed "reasonable"

                    Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I often hear that no anti-infringement laws, policies or measures are needed. The rest of the time I hear how the ones proposed are unconstitutional. What I never hear is a proposal to combat piracy that the Techdirtbaggers think will do the job. At least groups like CDT engage in meaningful ways. They were largely responsible for shaping the definition of a rogue website. They don't like the bill, but rather than be dismissed as loonies they worked to make it more palatable.

                    What shifty, subtle little games you love to play - slipping that word in there to make it sound like you are automatically right, and anyone who disagrees is automatically unreasonable. Good thing nobody here is dumb enough to fall for that.

                    I operate under the assumption that those reading my words (other than Eejit) understand English and can comprehend the meaning. Reasonable and right are two different things. You can be reasonable and wrong and you can be right and unreasonable.

                     

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                      MrWilson, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 1:13pm

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

                      You have a very narrow view of what's reasonable and if we don't fall into that category, you simply fail to respect our opinions and call us piracy advocates. Many of us don't believe that copyright laws in their current state warrant harsher enforcement, so no, you won't hear many of us think it's reasonable to pass more laws in favor of a rich monopolist elite who attempts to control our culture.

                      You keep talking about enforcement but you've assumed that copyright is worthy of enforcement. If copyrights lasted a reasonable amount of time, say, 5-10 years, maybe 15 or 20 with graduated registration fees, I might be more open to stricter enforcement of copyright. But when copyright lasts longer than anyone (other than non-human corporations) will ever live, it's absurd. So when you start advocating for much more reasonable (i.e. limited) copyright terms, I'll start advocating for better copyright enforcement. When you start advocating for harsher penalties for those who would use copyright to silence free speech or extort money from people in lieu of due process, I'll be all for that kind of copyright law.

                       

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                        Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 1:22pm

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

                        Well said. If I may presume to summarize:

                        No proposal for enforcing modern copyright laws can be "reasonable" because the laws themselves are already unreasonable.

                         

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                        Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 1:55pm

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

                        Ok, I hear you. I don't disagree that copyright has extended to a number well beyond reason. But honestly, most of what is being stolen (sorry, habit) is well within the number of years you just threw out there. So I have a hard time believing that the douchebag who can't wait a few weeks to see the last Harry Potter film still in theaters is suddenly going to wait 5 to 20 years. At I have a harder time believing that compressing the copyright terms would do much to satisfy most of the Techdirtbaggers.

                        I oppose the misuse of copyright to silence legitimate free speech, but not legitimate use of the law to stop free loading. And I oppose copyright/patent troll law firms and the like who manipulate the legal system to score a quick buck.

                         

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                          MrWilson, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 2:36pm

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

                          "But honestly, most of what is being stolen (sorry, habit) is well within the number of years you just threw out there. So I have a hard time believing that the douchebag who can't wait a few weeks to see the last Harry Potter film still in theaters is suddenly going to wait 5 to 20 years."

                          This is where business models rather than copyright enforcement comes in. If the entertainment companies would give customers what they want (i.e. no DRM, no artificial release windows or regional coding, and cheap and easy accessibility to large catalogs of media on multiple platforms), you wouldn't have to worry as much about copyright infringement. Sure, there will always be pirates, just as there will always be greedy copyright maximalists. But there's no reason why we can't technologically or profitably set up an online database full of media with very simple accessibility for customers. We already have this in various forms, they're just extremely limited by copyright issues and corporate greed (Netflix) or illegal (The Pirate Bay).

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 3:22pm

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

                            @MrWilson

                            I was with you right up until the Netflix comment. I (and a shitload of others) think it's a very good model. DRM, regional coding and release windows are really complicated and I frankly don't have an in-depth enough grasp to discuss those issue well. We're pretty close there.

                             

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                              MrWilson, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 3:36pm

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

                              I agree that Netflix is a great model. I used to work for them even. The problem with Netflix is not Netflix itself, but rather the entertainment industry overvaluing content and expecting too much for too little in return. The MPAA companies should have invented Netflix. They should have dumped their entire collections into digital formats and made it available for a monthly fee that customers could view on their computers, TVs, and mobile devices. Instead, they screw with Netflix via ancient/obsolete licensing deals and release windows and exclusivity deals.

                               

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                                Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 4:24pm

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

                                Thanks for the insights. Pricewise, it seems like whatever Netflix is is paying they appear to be able to deliver a robust, high-quality menu of programming at a reasonable price. Nice to know there's room for improvement.

                                 

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                        Richard (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 1:58pm

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

                        The real problem is that the copyright advocates have been drip drip drip brainwashing the body politic for 300 years and so people like the AC can portray the theirposition as reasonable with a straight face. The fact is that it isn't. The reasonable position is one that he calls extreme. If you go back in time you will find people in high places who sound like our side of the argument here - like for example Lord Camden in 1774

                        "The arguments attempted to be maintained on the side of the respondents, were founded on patents, privileges, Star Chamber decrees, and the bye (sic) laws of the Stationers' Company; all of them the effects of the grossest tyranny and usurpation; the very last places in which I should have dreamt of finding the least trace of the common law of this kingdom; and yet, by a variety of subtle reasoning and metaphysical refinements, have they endeavoured to squeeze out the spirit of the common law from premises in which it could not possibly have existence."

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 3:41pm

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

                          @Richard

                          So 300 years of status quo is out the window because you don't like it? And the closeness of my position to that historic status quo is not grounds to characterize my position as reasonable?

                          I have no idea in what context your Lord Douchebag was speaking, but he does sound like a pretty eloquent Techdirtbagger. The big question is why there was never an uprising against it? Government was smaller back in the day. Corporations were less influential and there was to MPAA or RIAA.

                          Sorry, if you argued your doctoral thesis like this, you'd be shredded and driving a cab somewhere.

                           

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                            Richard (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 3:58pm

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

                            So 300 years of status quo is out the window because you don't like it?

                            Not 300 year of status quo - 300 year of a constantly advancing ratchet of increasing length and reach.

                            and not because I don't like - rather because it threatens to create a totalitarian state and/or cripple our technology.

                            There was no revolution in those days because the number of people directly affcted was tiny (printing presses were expensive and the labour required to typeset a book was beyond what one person could do in their spare time). Most of those who were affected reasoned that they were better off as part of the cartel than they would have been on the outside.

                            The world changed with the invention of the tape recorder and the photocopier. Now ordinary people were affected by copyright law -and most of them broke it without a thought. The copyright industry largely ignored them because their activities weren't public (apart from a few ridiculous and short lived campaigns).

                            Then along came Napster and put their infringment into the public space. It probably didn't do any more economic damage than home taping but it was a public taunt. It also came at a point when (for other reasons) music sales were peaking out and it was readily adopted as the culprit. This was a mistake - and it led the recording industry into a self destructive spiral.

                            I am also puzzled by your apparent argument that simply because something has existed for 300 years it somehow has acquired legitimacy - you wouldn't pass the exam for cab drivers arguing like that!

                             

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                              Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 4:30pm

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

                              I am also puzzled by your apparent argument that simply because something has existed for 300 years it somehow has acquired legitimacy - you wouldn't pass the exam for cab drivers arguing like that!

                              hahahahaha. Well played, Professor. I'll leave it at a draw and allow to return to your rightful place leading the revolution.

                               

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            Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Listen to the AC, Sneeje. He's laying it out nice and clear for us: only people who talk the smarmy language of DC policy experts are allowed to take that stance. If your opinion stems at all from personal experience and opinions, it is instantly null and void. If, for example, you have ever expressed a fondness for remix music, you are no different from the Tea Baggers calling for Obama's birth certificate.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:43pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Listen to the AC, Sneeje. He's laying it out nice and clear for us: only people who talk the smarmy language of DC policy experts are allowed to take that stance.

              Feel free to take whatever stance you like. However, if you want to be taken seriously you ought to at least try to give the appearance of reasonableness.

              If, for example, you have ever expressed a fondness for remix music, you are no different from the Tea Baggers calling for Obama's birth certificate.

              Really Marcus? That's just the sort of idiotic claim I was talking about. You know it's not an accurate analogy , you know it's not even close to being one but you open your big, stupid mouth and say it anyway. So anyone that may have been inclined to listen to your position is going to dismiss you as a nutjob. Is that really what you want?

               

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                Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:50pm

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

                "Really Marcus? That's just the sort of idiotic claim I was talking about. You know it's not an accurate analogy , you know it's not even close to being one but you open your big, stupid mouth and say it anyway. So anyone that may have been inclined to listen to your position is going to dismiss you as a nutjob. Is that really what you want?"
                Holy sweet jessus shitting on a stump. Did he really just open that one up?

                Nope... I'll shut up... take it Marcus. All yours.

                 

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                Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:54pm

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

                LOL, do you listen to yourself? Or is your memory so bad that you forgot what you typed a few seconds ago?

                YOU are the one who just called the majority of the techdirt community "Tea Bagger types" while at the same time attempting to act as though you respect certain elements of the ideology. It seems to me that you draw that line based on your own subjective assessment of the person speaking: if they are a smarmy policy-talker like you, then they are respectable, but if they come at it from any other angle (say, liking and defending remixes) you write them off as piracy apologists and, now, "tea bagger types"

                Physician heal thyself... or at least read thine own notes that thy just typed a moment ago

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 1:04pm

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

                  Marcus:

                  You equated "expressing a fondness for remixes" with being branded Tea Bagger "birther". Now you move the goalpost to make it suggest that "expressing a fondness for remixes" was instead defending of the legality/propriety of remixes. While you may have meant the latter, you SAID the former. It's that sort of histrionics is what reduces you to a laughingstock and has your position dismissed.

                   

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                    Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 1:23pm

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

                    You equated "expressing a fondness for remixes" with being branded Tea Bagger "birther"

                    LOL. No, you misunderstand, I was and still am accusing you of saying that. Reading comprehension fail.

                     

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                    MrWilson, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 1:25pm

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

                    Look around. You're the one getting laughed at here. You're the only one dismissing Marcus' position. Are you an army of one?

                     

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 3:46pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          New and innovative business models are half the equation and are indeed very valuable. And you are seeing the rise of those models from Amazon, Netflix, Hulu Plus, MLB, NBA, iTunes etc. But that does not excuse those who seek to get something for nothing that belongs to someone else; and it really doesn't excuse those who take the intellectual property of others and monetize it for their own personal benefit

          I think you're wrong. If the new and innovative business models provide even more money for the creators *and* "fighting" piracy costs more than it brings in in terms of revenue, then it's STUPID and COUNTERPRODUCTIVE to spend your time fighting piracy.

          Thing is the evidence is pretty clear that both my statements above are true.

          The problem, of course, is that it does shift some of the revenue streams... it shifts them in a way that takes it away from the gatekeepers. And it's your paymasters, the gatekeepers, who are freaking out about it.

          So you abuse the system to try to prop them up. You should be ashamed.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 4:58pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If the new and innovative business models provide even more money for the creators *and* "fighting" piracy costs more than it brings in in terms of revenue, then it's STUPID and COUNTERPRODUCTIVE to spend your time fighting piracy.

            Not sure who you consider a creator. If creator is the actual artist; I am unsure how Netflix-type business models impact things like residuals and contributions to benefit plans. I'd guess that there'd be some impact.

            Also unsure about who is a gatekeeper in your book. Studios? Cable companies? Satellite providers? Theater owners? All of the above?

            I think the debate is really over the payoff on anti-piracy measures. It's also hard to quantify the beneficial impact of proposed laws without many assumptions and suppositions. I suppose that someone has performed a cost/benefit analysis, I've never seen one though.

             

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              Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 5:16pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              f creator is the actual artist; I am unsure how Netflix-type business models impact things like residuals and contributions to benefit plans

              Netflix has already started going directly to the producers. The first exclusive-to-Netflix show (starring Kevin Spacey, so it should have some draw) is set to begin next year.

              It's not about Netflix and other models contributing, it's about them taking over.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 6:20pm

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

                It's kind of like the evolution of HBO and Showtime. They started out as distribution outlets for the studios, then began creating original programming. Big difference here is that Netflix can be a standalone distributor as well.

                 

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      DannyB (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:18am

      Re:

      > wasn't it the case that the documents were unavailable to
      > legitimate users for quite some time owing to Swartz's
      > hijinks?


      No that is not the case.

      The documents were unavailable because the gatekeeper decided to make them unavailable.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:40am

        Re: Re:

        @Danny


        "wasn't it the case that the documents were unavailable to legitimate users for quite some time owing to Swartz's hijinks?"


        No that is not the case.

        The documents were unavailable because the gatekeeper decided to make them unavailable.

        And would the 'gatekeeper' have found that necessary had Swartz not been engaged in his unlawful behavior? Is there no depths that you will go to make excuses?

         

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          Ron Rezendes (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:07pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Care to point out what law, specifically, that was being broken?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:14pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            read the indictment. If it makes you feel better I'll stipulate "alledged" though his behavior is what caused the gatekeeper's action. Happy now?

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 2:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Guilty until allegedly innocent.

               

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              Any Mouse (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:58pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The 'gatekeeper' is not the one pressing the charges, actually, so that's really a non-starter. It's the government pressing on this, or so was my understanding. It is ridiculous for them to do this when neither MIT nor JSTOR feel they need to be 'made whole.' This is pure vindictiveness, and makes one suspicious of other publishers pressing the government on doing this.

               

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 6:34pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I don't understand why JSTOR was forced to take stuff offline because of a BitTorrent.

          What law of nature or man, or what armed force mandated this particular action?

          It seems petulant to me.

           

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      Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:19am

      Re:

      Not to quibble, but wasn't it the case that the documents were unavailable to legitimate users for quite some time owing to Swartz's hijinks? I'd also take issue with your characterization of his sneaking into the closet trying to conceal his identity as 'walking through the front door'.

      According to the indictment documents, there was some downtime as JSTOR blocked off MIT's IP addresses in an attempt to block the downloading. And you can take issue with my characterization of his alleged acts as "walking through the front door," but the underlying aspect behind all these analogies (good or bad) is the fact that JSTOR isn't out anything and neither is MIT or any other university that accesses that system.

      The words "steal" and "theft" are getting thrown around an awful lot for something that doesn't actually involve "stealing" or "theft." JSTOR still has all their documents. Swartz may have downloaded millions of documents but nothing ever left JSTOR's collection, not even for a second.

      Even JSTOR's press release seems somewhat unclear on the concept:

      "We secured from Mr. Swartz the content that was taken..."

      http://about.jstor.org/news-events/news/jstor-statement-misuse-incident-and-criminal-ca se

      By this, I assume they mean they were handed the laptop, usb drives and whatever else was involved. It's not as though their hard drives were wiped clean and only by "securing" Swartz's equipment were they able to stay in business.

      You really weaken your own credibility when you make fantastic excuses and distort his obvious wrongdoing in your effort to advance your own anti-copyright agenda. And before you waste our time challenging me to prove you ever said that you are anti-copyright, I'll simply point out that time and again you oppose any and every reasonable action designed to slow infringing and never offer any alternatives of your own that reign in infringement and protect rightsholders. Your position is measured in deeds, not words (or lack of words).

      I'll deal with my personal credibility as I'm having a hard time determining whether this is directed at Mike or at the actual author of the article.

      You throw around "anti-copyright" likes it's some sort of dire insult that should frame me as little more than a thug with an internet connection. I won't waste your time asking you to prove that anything I've said (Tim Cushing, that is) has been "anti-copyright."

      I will tell you this, though: I am very definitely anti-copyright as the laws stand today. The length of the average copyright is excessive and too many industries are overly-reliant on them, which leads to them using copyright as a weapon rather than a tool.

      And of course I oppose any (and we'll definitely have to quibble about "reasonable") action designed to slow infringing. So far, the efforts have all been made by industries who are unwilling to change their business plans to better suit customer demands and instead have tied up legislators and judges with bad laws and bad lawsuits.

      If nothing else, "reasonable" actions to slow infringing are a waste of time, money and effort. What alternative would you propose, or rather, what alternative do you think I should propose considering I view the entirety of anti-piracy efforts to be a lot of noisy barking up several wrong trees.

      You seem to want me to shrink away after being called "anti-copyright" or get wildly defensive about my... well, I don't know what exactly.

      Feel free to point out my anti-copyright stance as often as you can. I don't mind having my consistency on display.

       

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      DannyB (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:40pm

      Re:

      > again you oppose any and every reasonable action
      > designed to slow infringing

      What kind of infringement?
      Patent?
      Trademark?

      I'll assume you mean Copyright. But maybe you're just deliberately trying to avoid the issue because there really is no infringement.


      > reign in infringement and protect rightsholders.

      If there were rightsholders, they would be stepping up, claiming copyright infringement, showing their ownership of the rights, etc. This is prerequisite to claiming infringement.

      So stop with the infringement nonsense already.

       

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      Almost Anonymous (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 2:22pm

      Re:

      """...I'll simply point out that time and again you oppose any and every reasonable action designed to slow infringing..."""

      There. Right there is your basic problem. What the people like you just don't get. Pandora's Box is opened, and if you have any education, you should know that it never closes again. You may as well go to the beach and fight the tide.

      """...and never offer any alternatives of your own that reign in infringement and protect rightsholders."""

      Because you innately misstate the problem, likely because you don't even understand the problem. The "rightsholders" have plenty of protection, too much in fact, in the form of practically never ending monopolies. Mike has in fact offered many many alternatives, not to reign in infringement (see Pandora's Box, above), but to make money in SPITE of infringement, or even better BECAUSE of infringement. Yes, it is possible to monetize, but your complete inability to grasp that simple fact is what causes you to continually fight an un-winnable battle.

       

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      Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 4:13pm

      Re:

      Reasonable, in whose point of view? You mean the laughably ridiculous, frothing-at-the-mouth actions that copyright holders cling to when their precious little intellectual properties are 'stolen'? The frivolous lawsuits clogging up the legal system?
      The accusing of 90 year olds of downloading porn?
      Of printers alledgedly sharing the latest top40 songs?
      Of dead people sharing files over the great celestial information highway?
      Of the highway robbery of people who dare to legally purchase the precious little IPs?
      Of the unwillingness to see when the world around them has changed?
      Of the downright lieing? "copyright infringement is theft and is a criminal matter." or "piracy costs us a gazillion trillion dollars. Each download is directly attributable to a lost sale."
      Of the "think of the artists" excuse that gets trotted out every few hundred meters, while in the meantime, even the artists get shafted?

      You mean those reasonable actions?

      Maybe, what Aaron Swartz has done was wrong, but the crime was not copyright infringement, because he was legally allowed to make said copies (there was a license in place), and he hadn't distributed them yet. Also there was no intent to make money with these files. Often the infringement is not to make money, but to share knowledge, information, entertainment. "Hey you guys, I like this band, you should listen to it, totally!"

      But you don't dare to see that side of the conversation, because it doesn't fit with your narrative.

       

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    out_of_the_blue, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:16am

    JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

    And, at the very least, if JSTOR is paying for bandwidth, then it's been injured. May be low, but there's the principle.

    "This is more like Swartz walking through the front door and making copies of everything on the shelves and replacing everything exactly where he found it..." -- That's simply not allowed in any library. And it's certainly no defense, as you merely say that he GOT something for nothing. That's a basic objection that you continue to overlook by saying "but the original is still there". -- Where's the incentive for JSTOR to even collect and collate this info if anyone can just come in and reproduce it all? Libraries are "gatekeepers" because they perform more services than just tossing everything onto a hard drive.

     

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:18am

      Re: JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

      Libraries are "gatekeepers" because they perform more services than just tossing everything onto a hard drive.

      Then someone who just comes in and tosses everything on a hard drive doesn't represent real competition, and they shouldn't worry about it

       

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      Richard (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:28am

      Re: JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

      Where's the incentive for JSTOR to even collect and collate this info if anyone can just come in and reproduce it all? Libraries are "gatekeepers" because they perform more services than just tossing everything onto a hard drive.

      Sorry - as an academic - writing and reading these articles- I think these antiquated organisations should just get out of the way - they don't perform any useful service anymore. The institutions could do it all themselves, free it all up, and save themselves a pot of money in the process - academics do almost all the work for free anyway.

       

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        Ninja (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:36am

        Re: Re: JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

        Amen, it was so hard to me to do my post-graduation article because of all this. I didn't have time to go to the College library because I also worked while studying so I had to rely on my own internet connection. And whoa! $50 for one article? Sorry, I have a life to live.

        Open things are open. JSTOR had a great goal when they started, they were supposed to make online access easy to everyone so the ones that couldn't visit a determined University to read an article could do it online. And now they are but the Berlin Wall of the modern academic digital world. Pisses me off.

         

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          MrWilson, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:20pm

          Re: Re: Re: JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

          Agreed. JSTOR doesn't provide a service unless by service you mean costs for and barriers to accessing information. If the authors aren't getting paid for it, the articles should be posted online for free. The internet can archive better than JSTOR can. Not to mention JSTOR uses a bunch of PDFs which are less user friendly than simple HTML. I don't need a browser plugin for HTML...

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:41am

      Re: JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

      Actually the library analogy is rather lame. This is much more like breaking into a privately owned bookstore.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:15am

        Re: Re: JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

        Like Borders? Hey, aren't they bankrupt? Must be all those pirate's fault.

         

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        HothMonster, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:41am

        Re: Re: JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

        only if that bookstore gets all their books for free and only bought the shelves

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 6:40pm

        Re: Re: JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

        Wait, you're really trying to make an identity between a digital copy and a real book?

        That makes exactly no sense, and if you keep doing that, you'll damage your already severely listing credibilty more.

        Making a digital copy is infringement, not theft. I thought you went to a law school. Where did you get your JD? That postal mail school that advertises in matchbook covers?

         

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      Chosen Reject (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:44am

      Re: JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

      I agree that Mike's analogy was not quite correct. In his analogy copyright infringement would have occurred, but Swartz didn't commit copyright infringement (otherwise he would have been charged with it, no?).
      Where's the incentive for JSTOR to even collect and collate this info if anyone can just come in and reproduce it all?
      I counter with this question: Where's the need for JSTOR if anyone can come in and reproduce it all?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:55am

        Re: Re: JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

        A little back-of-the-envelope math indicates that the entire holdings of JSTOR would fit on a single external 2T drive...which, these days, retails for under $100.

        (I'm assuming a reasonable compression rate.)

        Why aren't all these articles on the web? On Usenet? In torrents? Why aren't they mirrored at 500 universities around the world? Why hasn't JSTOR been shut down, as an antiquated relic of a bygone era?

         

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          Richard (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:09am

          Re: Re: Re: JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

          Why aren't all these articles on the web? Mostly they are - at individual author's institutional sites.

           

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          Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 1:40pm

          Re: Re: Re: JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

          A little back-of-the-envelope math indicates that the entire holdings of JSTOR would fit on a single external 2T drive...which, these days, retails for under $100..

          Can you get a quote on what JSTOR's charging for that envelope?

           

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      Nicedoggy, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:51am

      Re: JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

      For the incentive to do so see PLoS One.

      Everybody can go there and download everything apparently since it is an open publishing house for scientific research.

      Maybe instead of using JSTOR people and universities should be using things like PLoS.

      Then we wouldn't have those kind of problems now would we?

       

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      Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:52am

      Re: JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

      "May be low, but there's the principle."
      Before defending the principle of the thing, I'd want to look into how much JSTOR is paying for that bandwidth and how much they're charging for access.

      Since they're not paying for most of the items they're controlling, where's the 'principles' in making money off of the control of works that were given for free in the first place? And if you ask the authors of most of those works, they'd probably tell you that they DIDN'T give them to JSTOR with a note attached saying "please DON'T distribute".

      So, if they got the material for free, and are charging large amounts of money for it, and you're arguing that the actual cost to that access (bandwidth) is low in the first place... not much of a high ground to shout "principle" from.

       

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      DannyB (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:22am

      Re: JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

      > Where's the incentive for JSTOR to even collect and
      > collate this info if anyone can just come in and
      > reproduce it all?


      That excuse might have worked 15 years ago. Not today.

      There are parties who would come in, collect and collage that info, and make it available to everyone for free. Google for instance.

      In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if there aren't parties who would pay to collect, collate and make it available for free with ads.

      Now let's ask the academics which they would prefer? A Google like model or a JSTOR pay model?

       

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      HothMonster, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:40am

      Re: JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

      "This is more like Swartz walking through the front door and making copies of everything on the shelves and replacing everything exactly where he found it..." -- That's simply not allowed in any library."

      Copies at my local library are 5 cents a page, its very much allowed it just wouldnt be cheap.

      I can see your confusion though I have doubts you have ever been in a library

       

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        Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:10pm

        Re: Re: JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

        "Copies at my local library are 5 cents a page" And last time I checked, that money goes to paper, toner and upkeep of the copy machine... not the 'privilege' to copy stuff.

         

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          Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 4:19pm

          Re: Re: Re: JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

          Actually, there is a right for you to make a copy.. Maybe not of the entire book, but certainly of pages. I've done this many times for schoolwork. And my country doesn't even have fair use in the lawbooks.

           

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      Almost Anonymous (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 2:36pm

      Re: JSTOR is "selling scarcity": isn't that your advice?

      """Where's the incentive for JSTOR to even collect and collate this info if anyone can just come in and reproduce it all?"""

      This is possibly the first rational question I've seen from you under your new username. And you should give it a lot of thought. But an even better questions is, Who cares? If JSTOR no longer has incentive to collect and collate the data, great! They can piss right off, a dozen different entities would fight for the chance to host that data at little or even no cost! (think Google, Wikipedia, etc.)

      And if you are so ready to go to bat for JSTOR, would you mind please pointing out what extra value they bring to the table? Not just hosting and indexing, those are trivial nowadays, but true extra value for the outrageous prices they charge.

      The only extra value I can think of is this: they are keeping the data out of the hands of everyone unwilling or unable to pay their prices.

       

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    Richard (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:24am

    Motivation

    I've written 60 or 70 academic articles. I've never been paid a penny for any of them. I've also taken part in the reviewing process - and for all the hundred or so articles I've reviewed I've no been paid a penny. (I was once paid 30 to review a book proposal - it was more trouble than it was worth).

    I'm now in the situation where (because our institution is short of money) I would have to pay to access my own articles in conferences I organised (if I didn't have my own backup copies). What's more they don't even typeset things for you these days - you have to do it all yourself.

    The ONLY reason anyone uses these journals is because of the magic "impact factors" that help you get further funding. These organisations used to provide a service back in the old days (but as soon as the photcopier came along academics routed around the delays with the preprint system). So now we do all the work and they get all the money - it can't last for long. /rant

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:46am

      Re: Motivation

      I've written 60 or 70 academic articles. I've never been paid a penny for any of them. I've also taken part in the reviewing process - and for all the hundred or so articles I've reviewed I've no been paid a penny. (I was once paid 30 to review a book proposal - it was more trouble than it was worth).

      Richard, were you doing this as a hobby? Or was this part of what was expected of you as part of your job? If you weren't getting paid and didn't find it personally satisfying or an expectation of your job, then why did you do it? I know of teachers who grade tests and papers at home because it is expected of them, even though it's not usually done during the work day. How does your experience differ?

       

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        Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:14am

        Re: Re: Motivation

        Or was this part of what was expected of you as part of your job? If you weren't getting paid and didn't find it personally satisfying or an expectation of your job, then why did you do it?

        "Publish or perish."

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:47am

          Re: Re: Re: Motivation

          My point exactly. Doubtful that authoring 60-70 academic articles was done without some self-interest. (pssst, It's me)

           

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            Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Motivation

            Doubtful that authoring 60-70 academic articles was done without some self-interest.

            So we're in agreement: the motivation to create already exists, so there's no point in locking them up behind a paywall.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:09pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Motivation

              @Marcus

              See Richard's backpeddling below. He writes these articles because it's an expectation (or perhaps requirement) of his employer (who pays him) and he finds it satisfying. Who knows if he or anyone else would have expended that sort of time and energy without a personal financial benefit. Not likely I'd say as most people have to devote most of their waking hours to earning a living.

               

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                Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:21pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Motivation

                I'm not sure how Richard is "backpedaling"...

                Yes, he gets a financial benefit (overall, not directly) from doing this - and that financial benefit has absolutely nothing to do with JSTOR. So again, we're in agreement: there's no point in locking them up behind a paywall.

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:50pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Motivation

                And if Richard or his employer was the one putting up a paywall, (or conversely, JSTOR was the one paying for Richard's research) you might have a point.

                 

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                Richard (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 1:00pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Motivation

                See Richard's backpeddling below.

                No backpedalling here - you missed the crucial sentence -

                However the key point is that the institutions that have been paying me haven't received a penny directly either.

                 

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                  Richard (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 1:03pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Motivation

                  btw I'm not sure what backpeddling is -

                  Selling stuff in reverse?

                   

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                    Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 1:25pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Motivation

                    Haha, nice catch - and actually I think "backpeddling" is exactly what JSTOR does! Taking free and open information from the public then peddling it back at a price.

                     

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 2:02pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Motivation

                  @Richard

                  Didn't you say something like institutions commission this activity to add to its prestige? If they're not getting paid, I can only infer that there is some value to the institution to have articles by its scholars included in the database. I presume the institutions themselves submit the articles to JSTOR, so something must be in it for them?

                   

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                    Richard (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 2:47pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Motivation

                    I presume the institutions themselves submit the articles to JSTOR, so something must be in it for them?

                    The publications go to JSTOR (or simila paywalled sites such as ACM, IEEE etc because they are regarded as "prestigeous" (and it helps when the institutions are ranked). However this prestige is just a historical legacy from the days when the physical journal mattered.

                     

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                    Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 4:07pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Motivation

                    See, that's the whole point here: there is plenty of value in academic journals for everyone involved - but none of it comes from people paying JSTOR to access those journals. In fact it seems that the value will only increase as the content becomes more freely available.

                     

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        Richard (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 11:52am

        Re: Re: Motivation

        Richard, were you doing this as a hobby? Or was this part of what was expected of you as part of your job? If you weren't getting paid and didn't find it personally satisfying or an expectation of your job, then why did you do it?

        I do the job I do because I find it personally satisfying - and yes I do get paid - but not directly for writing articles. Doing research and publishing are voluntary activities that the institutions encourage (and in some cases require). However the key point is that the institutions that have been paying me haven't received a penny directly either. Their interest is purely in the prestige - and yes, also in the value of the work itself - that is after all what Universities were intended for.

        I am really angry that people like JSTOR lock my stuff up behind paywalls - the reason I still publish there is because of the impact factors - which are really a historical legacy from an earlier situation.

         

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    Ninja (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 10:26am

    Pitiful. Universities produce academic material since some1 invented them. And they'll keep producing them because this is a sign of how healthy the University is. JSTOR could die tomorrow and no1 would miss it. Oh wait, we will because things that should be public and have public access will be buried with them but they'll still be around in the libraries for free.

    Walking to the library and showing your card is no different from clicking on the link and maybe providing a user name and password. The difference is that online you have to pay.

    What amazes me is that she's so focused on attacking every single "intellectual property thief" (and Aaron hasn't even done anything that she wasn't entitled to other than disrupting the system by downloading too much and disregarding some ToS portions), so focused that she doesn't realize how clueless she is about the issue (and how what she says has NOTHING to do with Aaron's case).

    Srsly, I can see NO difference between ppl like her and the reasoning of a religious fundamentalist (ie: terrorists that blow up innocents to prove some point). This type of ppl is dangerous. And they are everywhere.

     

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    Andrew D. Todd, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 7:33pm

    Corporate Rigidities.

    Richard is a bit cagey about his identity (presumably his employers might not like his posting on Techdirt), but, given that he's English, and an academic, I don't believe there is such a thing as a private university in England. The Russell Group (Oxford, Cambridge, etc) are government-funded, and much more overtly controlled by the government than an American private university. The British government tells them what tuition they can charge, what subjects they can teach, etc. On the whole, the system seems pretty much like the University of California, or the SUNY system. Lower tiers of universities and colleges are still more controlled. The English don't have anything comparable to the American Ivy League or the American Catholic Universities. That makes Richard basically a government employee. Of course, most American academics are also government employees, only a bit more indirectly, via various and sundry programs.

    What it works out to is that firms like JSTOR want to take government-funded work and sell it back to the government, at prices which only the government can afford to pay. Problems result from cracks developing in the system. Someone who, for one reason or another, does not have official sponsorship, is locked out. Corporatism, carried to its ultimate level of rigidity, becomes the old Soviet Union. The Soviet dissident Andrei Amalrik first got in trouble when he wrote a graduate thesis which expressed views on nineth-century history which were not in keeping with official doctrine. One thing led to another, and he eventually wound up in Siberia.

    What seems to be happening is that the various journal publishing companies are responding to leaks by closing down campus-wide access and replacing it with systems of individual sponsored accounts, meaning a student gets a piece of paper from his professor, saying he needs certain journals for a certain period; and he takes that to a dean, and the dean gives him a piece of paper addressed to the journal company, and some clerk in India interviews the student by telephone, and decides whether or not ot give him access. The Soviet system, in fact. [sarcasm] All hail the peoples' commisars! [/sarcasm]

     

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