If Even The Death Penalty Won't Stop Infringement... Perhaps A Different Approach Is Needed

from the enforcement-doesn't-work dept

We've argued for years that stricter enforcement doesn't stop "piracy," no matter how many times industry folks and politicians insist it otherwise. There's been some recent new empirical evidence that enforcement doesn't work, from the massive SSRC report, but still politicians and industry folks seem to think enforcement is the only way forward. Rick Falkvinge questions how far it needs to go before people realize enforcement won't stop copying when copying feels totally natural. He points to the situation a few centuries ago in France, where the king set up (and sold) monopolies on certain fabric patterns -- and when people kept copying the fabric patterns, they kept ratcheting up enforcement mechanisms until it was punishable by death. And out of that, sixteen thousand people ended up dying.

But at least copying went down, right? Nope. There was no noticeable change in the amount of copied fabrics:
Capital punishment didnít even make a dent in the pirating of the fabrics. Despite the fact that some villages had been so ravaged that everybody knew somebody personally who had been executed by public torture, the copying continued unabated at the same level.
So why do politicians and industry folk still think that greater legal threats will make a difference?

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2011 @ 1:05am

    Re: Crime and Punishment

    I am not a religious person myself but the core beliefs of most religions such as Christianity and Islam require respect for other people and their property. These are pretty good principles to live by and I strongly recommend them to everyone. I can't imaging that the internet has had any influence on the fundamental tenets of ethical behaviour, they remain unchanged.

    Let me tell you a little story. There was once a man who wanted to feed a bunch of people. About 5000 of them, actually. However, he only had 5 loaves of bread and two fish, certainly not enough to feed all of them. So, did he run down to the local market with a bunch of money and buy more form the bakers and fishermen? No, despite their loss of potential sales, he just made copies of what he had and shared them with the crowd. You can read more about it here. Contrary to your assertion, that story and the principle of sharing is one of the fundamental ones in Christianity. The greed that you promote is not.

    However that gives no one the right to devise means to steal the product, that is immoral behaviour.

    Claiming that making copies of things and freely sharing them makes someone immoral and a thief is calling Jesus Christ an immoral thief. Such a belief is *not* a basic tenant of Christianity. In fact, Christianity teaches that espousing such a thing is a slap in the face to G*d and an unforgivable sin, the result being eternal damnation. Of course, you already admitted to not being a religious person, so I suppose you don't care, but Christians should be careful to not follow your example.

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