Music Industry Paper With '50 Years' At The 'Forefront' Of The Business Details Sentencing Of 'Copyright Thief'

from the we've-made-it-50-years-without-an-editor-and-we're-doing-just-fine dept

I'm not in any hurry to call out the average person for the abuse of IP terminology. For many people, a copyright is a trademark is a patent. It all means a way of legally stating "I made this." But they're certainly not interchangeable terms, especially not when you're in the business of reporting on developments in IP-related cases. AFP, the world's third-largest newspaper, did exactly that while reporting on Kim Dotcom's threatened patent lawsuit earlier this year, claiming the Mega man was suing Google and others for copyright infringement.

A regrettable mistake to be sure. Even if the article was farmed out to a low-level staffer, it still behooves the news agency to ensure its writers do a minimum of fact-checking when using unfamiliar terminology. Regrettable, almost forgivable, but still disappointing.

What we have in front of us today is inexcusable. MusicWeek, an industry paper with "50 years" experience at the "forefront of the music business" under its belt, recently delivered this dumbfounding headline.

Copyright thief given 18-month prison sentence
For (what assuredly won't be) the last time, you can't steal copyright. You can infringe, but you can't steal. And when people use the word "theft" in these situations, they're usually referring to infringing copies of content, not copyright itself. (Also: infringement isn't theft, no matter how much the MPAA's lawyers wish it to be...) MusicNews has dumped out a headline that makes it appear as though the perp somehow hacked copyright registrations in order to list himself as the rights holder.

The article does go on to use the correct terminology (copyright infringement) but that's only because it's copying from a sentencing report -- and only after it repeats its claim of "copyright theft."
A man who was found to be in possession of one of the largest hauls of hi-tech equipment for use in copyright theft ever found in the UK has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.

The sentence was handed to 52-year-old Keith Tamkin from Bognor yesterday (December 3) after previously pleading guilty to six offences - one offence of distributing articles infringing copyright, two of money laundering a total of £140,000, one of transferring criminal property - a computer - and two of possessing prohibited weapons – a pepper spray and a stun gun.
So, as is cleared up later in the article, this was a counterfeiting operation. Tamkin burned games, movies and music to blank discs as one of (apparently) several criminal activities. The rest of the article is filled with statements from BPI (the UK's RIAA) and the Sussex police, congratulating each other on their fine work in shutting down Tamkin.

Tamkin's shuttered operation proves that people will still pay money for content, contrary to industry claims. (The laundering money charge suggests Tamkin wasn't doing this for free.) It just appears pricing is still an issue.

But returning to the original thrust of this post -- using terminology this poorly isn't excusable for an AFP intern, much less an industry-focused publication. I realize entities like the RIAA and MPAA would prefer to use the term "theft" rather than "infringement," but this desire shouldn't be indulged by reporters covering these industries. Using the industries' favored terminology to cobble together such a broken and nonsensical headline is inexcusable and it does no favors to the site publishing it or the industries it's trying to serve.



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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 4:46pm

    Using the industries' favored terminology...

    From now on can we stop using the word "cyberlocker" too? It's another industry made up word that really annoys me and gets under my skin.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 11:45pm

      Re: Using the industries' favored terminology...

      That and "The Cloud".

      The latest thing that is grating on me is "Get your own cloud". In my opinion as clouds are mostly water vapor I have a feeling they wont mix with my home network very well.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 4:47pm

    Perhaps people call it theft because that's what it looks, feels and smells like. It is the taking of something of value that you're not entitled to. For many folks that is just as important of whether the owner was physically deprived of a good. But you piracy apologists will do whatever you can to minimize the actions scumbags like this because most of you are up to the same thing.

     

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      Andrew Norton (profile), Dec 12th, 2013 @ 4:57pm

      Re:

      So, should we call manufacturing 'craftsman theft'?
      How about printing 'scribe theft'?

      If you're going to make up terms, don't forget to apply them to the exact same situations in history.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 5:06pm

      Re:

      average_joe just hates it when due process is enforced.

       

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      Rikuo (profile), Dec 12th, 2013 @ 5:12pm

      Re:

      There are two very important parts to theft -
      A) Unjust loss of possession of something from its rightful owner
      B) Unjust enrichment of the thief through taking possession of something from its rightful owner.

      Both parts must be satisfied before someone can be said to have committed theft. You can't just say I enrich myself by downloading a song and handwave away the first part. It cannot look, feel or smell like theft if both parts aren't satisfied.

      Notice how no-one here is defending the actions of the "scumbag" mentioned in the article. As for us being up to the same things as the guy...well apart from distributing copyrighted content by simply opening up a web browser, what about his other charges? I've never laundered money, never transferred criminal property and have never owned prohibited weapons. If you think I am breaking the law, then feel free to provide your evidence to the police.

      Oh wait, was that the sound of your teeth grinding, because I've neatly shattered your accusations?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 8:05pm

      Re:

      so we can start calling Copyright Lawyers whores then?

      Because if it looks, feels and smells like a whore then it is probably a copyright lawyer.

      I know, this is a bit harsh on the whores, being compared to a copyright lawyer.

       

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      G Thompson (profile), Dec 12th, 2013 @ 10:37pm

      Re:

      Do I hypothetically sign your name to a loan and receive monies or goods that I don't have to pay fror since it is in your name. I have taken value from you..

      Interestingly NO ONE CALLS THIS THEFT!

      THIS IS CALLED FRAUD!

      Oh and if you can 'smell' theft.. I would seriously consider getting a CATscan since there is something seriously wrong with your olfactory senses.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 12:34am

      Re:

      "Perhaps people call it theft because that's what it looks, feels and smells like."

      Right. So if there are threats from the copyright groups over infringement (there are), which can involve violent acts designed to intimidate (See Dotcom raid), it it okay to refer to the uncrupulous copyright groups as terrorists?

      The moral high ground is something you're not entitled to. Stop trying to steal it.

       

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    Scote, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 5:01pm

    Actual copyright theft is stealing the copyright registration.

    Actual copyright theft is stealing the copyright registration, which is something generally limited to sleazy music industry insiders ripping off original artists.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 5:42pm

    SO, call Kim Dotcom a mass-copyright-indirect-paid-infringer.

    Sheesh, minion. Your thesis here is objecting to the totally justifiable use of "thief" when the guy is duplicating and selling games, stealing income from the creator and taking it for himself? That's your basis for maundering on like prim schoolmarm over ordinary terminology? While you omit the proper description of Kim Dotcom that I put up? (And you're the one dragged him in for useless filler.)

    Mega-grifter Kim Dotcom got millions by hosting infringed content. That's not even capitalism, that's THEFT.

    13:42:26[o-765-8]

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 6:10pm

      Re:

      out_of_the_blue just hates it when due process is enforced.

       

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    out_of_the_blue, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 5:46pm

    Return of censorship here at glorious Techdirt:

    Here's something so egregious, so outside the bounds of ordinary discourse that the fanboys have to click the report button -- OR Mike or a minion does it behind the scenes: WE can't audit that, even IF were legitimate to suppress this opinion:

    This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 4:47pm

    Perhaps people call it theft because that's what it looks, feels and smells like. It is the taking of something of value that you're not entitled to. For many folks that is just as important of whether the owner was physically deprived of a good. But you piracy apologists will do whatever you can to minimize the actions scumbags like this because most of you are up to the same thing.

     

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      AC Unknown (profile), Dec 12th, 2013 @ 7:17pm

      Re: Return of censorship here at glorious Techdirt:

      It's not "censorship" if you can click to unhide it, moron.

       

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        PaulT (profile), Dec 13th, 2013 @ 2:37am

        Re: Re: Return of censorship here at glorious Techdirt:

        It also can't "return" if it's never left. The functionality has never been disabled to the best of my knowledge.

        Funnily enough, I did click to unhide his first comment. The first two words were a direct attack using childish name calling. I clicked to hide his insane drivel again.

        The narcissistic psychopath can't stop to wonder for long enough to work out why his insane drivel is being hidden. To the rest of us it's obvious - nobody wants to read that crap.

         

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      Pragmatic, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 5:42am

      Re: Return of censorship here at glorious Techdirt:

      I clicked the Report button because you're a dribbling loon, Cathy. You have a constitutional right to speak, but not one to be heard. These are different things and no amount of attention-whoring will make them the same.

      duplicating and selling games, stealing income from the creator and taking it for himself


      As your beloved corporations, whom you pretend to decry, do? I'm still waiting for the "everyday good of copyright" to be defined and cited. Who are the creators who make a living with copyright rents as the main income stream?

       

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    Carl "Bear" Bussjaeger (profile), Dec 12th, 2013 @ 5:50pm

    Does this mean we have to stop calling them "bank robbers"...

    ...since they only steal money from banks, rather than the actual buildings?

    C'mon, complaining about "copyright thief" in a very abbreviated headline that indicates topic and not specific details is nitpicking. They used the term to indicate a general class of theft, not that a copyright was stolen.

     

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      MrWilson, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 10:39pm

      Re: Does this mean we have to stop calling them "bank robbers"...

      Copyright theft is no more accurate a description of the crimes committed than calling it copyright rape or copyright murder. Victims of rape and relatives of murder victims would rightly be upset by such an inaccurate description. While being a victim of theft is preferable to being a victim or rape or murder, actual victims of theft should be upset (to a lesser degree of course) to this inaccurate description. I had a large CD collection stolen out of my car a decade ago. That was theft. Musicians who have had their copyrights stolen by corporations are victims of theft. The public who has had its public domain works stolen by Congress and their masters in those corporations are victims of theft. As Nina would say, "copying is not theft," and if you have to intentionally distort the truth with these bad metaphors in order to tout your moral high ground, you're not as high up as you think you are. And let's ask Captain Phillips if he thinks pirate is a good term for a copyright infringer while we're discussing offensively inaccurate words of corporate propaganda.

       

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        Carl "Bear" Bussjaeger (profile), Dec 13th, 2013 @ 1:40am

        Re: Re: Does this mean we have to stop calling them "bank robbers"...

        Oddly enough, MrWilson, I didn't use the terms " copyright rape" or "copyright murder"; you did. Now, I might call that technique a "strawman argument", but I'm sure you'd come up with something that makes you sound like less of an @ss. Similarly, I didn't use the term "pirate" as you did.

        I do note that you admit that this unauthorized use constitutes a crime (" a description of the crimes committed "). Even though you don't want to call it theft. Get used it. You may -- as even I do -- think the current system of copyright law is wrong. But... it is the law for now. A great many people whose works have been used without authorization do colloquially refer to this as theft, since it often does (contrary to "information wants to be free" types') negatively impact sales.* "Colloquial" is the key here. Possibly it escaped your notice that musicweek.com is not a court, and their article was not a formal legal ruling from the bench.

        Interestingly, in the US, copyright infringement has formally been considered theft, as opposed to mere colloquial usage. Public Law 113-52 (17 USC 504) includes language that implemented... ...wait for it... the Digital THEFT Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999 (emphasis added-cb).

        "Musicians who have had their copyrights stolen by corporations are victims of theft. The public who has had its public domain works stolen by Congress and their masters in those corporations are victims of theft. As Nina would say, "copying is not theft"

        Now you've confused me. Help out a slow guy by explaining why "copyright infringement" by an individual isn't theft, while copyright infringement by a corporation is theft. Are you suggesting that the record companies are breaking into musicians' houses at night at making off with all their sheet music and lyrics, leaving no copies behind? Did all those works that were in public domain magically evaporate (some sort of scifi-ish retroactive temporal anomaly) from the universe when Congress changed the rules? And if Congress were to abolish copyrights would currently protected works in the physical hands of artists everywhere somehow vanish and reappear in in someone else's hands, or would such legislation only affect... copying which "as Nina would say, 'copying is not theft.'"?

        Why is something affecting copies sometimes "theft" and sometimes not?

        ---
        * I'm all for reforming, or even eliminating, the current copyright system. I await a reasonable explanation of what incentive creators will have to write books, songs, or otherwise create new works in a "the words aren't yours/info wants to be free" (two phrases I heard many times from people who didn't think they should even kick in a small voluntary donation for my books) scenario. When I get that explanation, maybe I'll dust off the next two manuscripts in my series and publish them.

         

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          PaulT (profile), Dec 13th, 2013 @ 2:50am

          Re: Re: Re: Does this mean we have to stop calling them "bank robbers"...

          "Help out a slow guy by explaining why "copyright infringement" by an individual isn't theft, while copyright infringement by a corporation is theft."

          Copyright infringement by an individual is usually only performed by copying something. Nothing is lost. the owner of the original still has it. They can still sell other copies and do what they wish with it. There's a vague implication that a sale has been lost, but this cannot be proven nor substantiated, and many studies suggest that this is often not the case. Something cannot be said to have been stolen if the original owner still has full control over the original. That's why if I copy a painting and try to sell it, it's called a forgery, not a stolen painting. If I copy a game and sell it, it's called a counterfeit copy, not a stolen game. If I shoplifted the copy, that would be theft as the store no longer has that copy, but that distinction is irrelevant in digital goods that can be infinitely duplicated without loss.

          On the other hand, in the other example given, something HAS been lost. The original owner no longer has access to the copyright taken by the corporation. If something is removed from the public domain, the public who should rightfully be able to access or use that material are no longer able to do so without permission from the new owner. There's only one copyright, and it has been taken from one entity and put into the hands of another. Therefore, since something has been taken, the term theft can be applied quite accurately.

          This isn't a particularly difficult distinction, and it's a shame that 20 years after these stupid argument started people are still whining over semantics rather than the real problems. Just use the words that apply. The only people who routinely call it theft are people trying to elicit an emotional response and skew the argument, and that's dishonest.

           

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            Carl "Bear" Bussjaeger (profile), Dec 13th, 2013 @ 4:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Does this mean we have to stop calling them "bank robbers"...

            MrWilson wrote: "Musicians who have had their copyrights stolen by corporations are victims of theft."
            Which prompted me to ask: "Help out a slow guy by explaining why "copyright infringement" by an individual isn't theft, while copyright infringement by a corporation is theft."

            Whereupon PaulT disingenuously pretends that I asked something else.

            "Copyright" is a government created privilege that protects the fair chance of a creator to make a buck. Like it or not, and I figure you don't -- nor do I actually -- in our current system, "copyright" is a legal doctrine which assumes that unauthorized copying does deprive the copyright holder. Therefore, in the existing system, something "is lost".

            If, as you assert, "copyright" does not protect against unauthorized copying, then "copyright" is an intangible that can't be taken physically. You are in the position of saying that the word "copyright" only means something when you want it to mean something, then accusing meof playin g games with semantics. Why not "Just use the words that apply"?

            You'll note that in my examples I very specifically addressed whether copies or pysical originals were taken in each scenario. I wasn't speaking of a legal fiction, a government-provided privilege that protects the ownership of data being taken; I spoke of the data being taken of copied.

            Back to my original question, paraphrased for the logic-impaired. Why is unauthorized copying by an individual not theft if the same act by a corporation is theft? How does MrWilson's "copyrights stolen by corporations" deprive the artists of the data/information/songs/books/etc they still have? How does a corporation steal a an intangible government-provided privilege; a forged contract assigning the rights to the company? That's a clear criminal violation -- fraud -- right there, as is a company defrauding others of money be lying and claiming to own a copyright it doesn't possess.

            For Bog's sake, if the information is an intangible that isn't lessened, nor the creator deprived, by copying, then how is a gov-granted monopoly on that very data any more tangible lessened by "taking".

             

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              PaulT (profile), Dec 13th, 2013 @ 5:02am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does this mean we have to stop calling them "bank robbers"...

              "Whereupon PaulT disingenuously pretends that I asked something else."

              No I didn't. I addressed the idea of corporations "stealing" copyrights - which can mean via contract fraud or via changing copyright rules to rob the public domain (where the original artists also have access). Tanginble or intangible, the point is that it's only stealing if the original owner is deprived of something. Copying a digital file does not do this, removing (or adding) a copyright does.

              What did you think I was addressing? Instead of writing another few paragraphs of crap, try to clarify what you're questioning. It'll be easier.

              "then "copyright" is an intangible that can't be taken physically."

              It's a legal construct. Of course it can't be taken physically. Are you confused about that concept too?

               

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              PaulT (profile), Dec 13th, 2013 @ 5:08am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does this mean we have to stop calling them "bank robbers"...

              "How does MrWilson's "copyrights stolen by corporations" deprive the artists of the data/information/songs/books/etc they still have?"

              Oh, I missed this gem, which indicate that you've missed the point.

              It deprives them because if the copyrights have transferred, then those people have lost the rights to sell, modify, remix, re-record, etc. their own work. They had the right to do these things, now they don't.

              yes, they have the data. But they've lost the right to do what they wish with their work. A person copying your song for their own listening purposes does not do this. A corporation taking the copyright to that song does. Is that simple enough?

               

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                Carl "Bear" Bussjaeger (profile), Dec 13th, 2013 @ 5:50am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does this mean we have to stop calling them "bank robbers"...

                PaulT: "What did you think I was addressing?"

                Since you prefaced your post with my request...

                "Help out a slow guy by explaining why "copyright infringement" by an individual isn't theft, while copyright infringement by a corporation is theft."

                ..and immediately started talking about "Copyright infringement by an individual", I just naturally assumed you were addressing my request. Silly me.

                T"ry to clarify what you're" answering. "It'll be easier."


                As for this: "It deprives them because if the copyrights have transferred, then those people have lost the rights to sell, modify, remix, re-record, etc. their own work."

                Make up your mind. If copyright doesn't legally prevent individuals copying files, then it doesn't prevent creators copying their files. If an assigned copyright prevents a creator copying the files, then it prevents other nonholders of the copyright copying the files. Either copyright exists, or it doesn't. You can't have it both ways. Unless your meds have worn off.

                Moreover, if the "copyright" itself -- not the work -- was stolen as you and MrWilson would have it, then the copyright reassignment by definition is invalid, and the invalid reassignment confers no privilege on the thief.

                 

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                  PaulT (profile), Dec 13th, 2013 @ 6:23am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does this mean we have to stop calling them "bank robbers"...

                  Is English your first language? You're having problems with some very basic concepts.

                  "..and immediately started talking about "Copyright infringement by an individual", I just naturally assumed you were addressing my request"

                  I was. I'll try to keep it to short sentences, since although you love to write long paragraphs in response, you seem to be having problems reading them.

                  The first paragraph explained what infringement by an individual was, and why that would not be considered theft. The second paragraph explained the differences that and the copyright "theft" described by MrWilson that you were questioning, and why under those circumstances theft has taken place that would not apply in the first example.

                  How was this not addressing your question?

                  "Make up your mind. If copyright doesn't legally prevent individuals copying files, then it doesn't prevent creators copying their files"

                  Are you playing stupid, or are you really having this many problems with these basics?

                  In BOTH examples, the data itself has not been lost. HOWEVER, in the second example, the copyright itself has been transferred, so the rights the creator has to use that data has changed. In the first example, they have not. It is the COPYRIGHT that's "stolen" in the second example, the data is irrelevant to the argument since it's not stolen in either case. The creators still have the content in both cases, but their rights on how they can use it have been changed in the latter example, and ONLY the latter example. Thus, two different words to describe the action are applicable.

                  Do you understand this blindly simple concept yet?

                   

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                    JEDIDIAH, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 9:13am

                    Re: Does this mean we have to stop calling them "bank robbers"...

                    Copyright is a set of rights granted to you by the government in exchange for your creativity. It is a thing that can be treated like property and transferred for money. This is how Michael Jackson ended up owning the Beatles back catalog.

                    It's like any kind of contract that can be bought or sold. There are entire trading exchanges dedicated to such sales.

                    Copyright infringement or "piracy" is more like counterfeiting. You are making illegal copies of something. Those copies are illegal because of the copyright that someone else owns.

                    "Copyright theft" here is COPYING.

                    Industry shills use loaded language because COPYING does not sound impressive enough.

                    COPYING is not a common law crime. The idea of it doesn't get at people the same way that murder, rape, theft, and burglary do.

                     

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          MrWilson, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 9:28am

          Re: Re: Re: Does this mean we have to stop calling them "bank robbers"...

          You seemed to have taken my response to your comment as an attack on you and your comments. It wasn't. I was making the point that the misnomer of "copyright theft" is important to call out because it is as inaccurate a term as if someone called it "copyright murder." I'm saying it's not nitpicking to point this out. It would be just as absurd to call copyright infringement "copyright defenestration" or "copyright vomiting."

          It's not a strawman because I'm not saying that you or even the copyright maximalists have called it "copyright murder" or "copyright rape," though calling it piracy does historically come pretty close to implying that level of violence, ironically enough. You are indeed correct in that I said that.

          "Even though you don't want to call it theft. Get used it."

          No, I won't. And we shouldn't. And that's my overall point. It's not theft. Accepting the term theft as a stand-in for copyright infringement is accepting propaganda. Why would you willingly let corporations define your language for you? That concept is actually more offensive than copyright law because its akin to cultural mind-control. It's little better than brainwashing children to be racist or to hate the poor.

          Copyright infringement is a crime. But it is not theft. And no amount of grandstanding politicians who get campaign contributions from copyright maximalists putting the term THEFT in the name of a piece of legislation actually makes it theft or makes theft a legally accurate term for copyright infringement. It is not nitpicky to point out that no copyright infringer has ever actually been charged with copyright theft because infringement is not theft, realistically or legally. Colloquialisms aren't legal terms, by definition. So you just proved my point.

          "Now you've confused me. Help out a slow guy by explaining why "copyright infringement" by an individual isn't theft, while copyright infringement by a corporation is theft."

          PaulT did an excellent job of explaining what I meant, but you still didn't seem to understand him, so I'll try to summarize:

          Copyright infringement, also called, incorrectly, "theft," involves making unauthorized copies. This is a crime, but not "theft," in any way, shape, form, or legal definition. Loss of hypothetical profits is not theft either.

          Corporations, specifically those in the recording industry, have actually stolen (notice the lack of quotes) copyrights (I'm not talking about making copies here) from artists. This is actual theft of the copyrights, not the euphemistic "theft" of copyrighted material. The same corporations, through their lackeys in Congress, have stolen copyrights (again, not copyrighted materials) from the public domain. While a copyright is not a physical piece of property, it is treated like property in some legal senses (though not one in which a copyright violation is equivalent to theft), especially when it's expiration consists of a right. Once a copyright monopoly has expired, it is a true right of the public to do whatever it wants with it. If Congress and their corporate masters retroactively change that expiration, they have literally stolen the right of the public to do whatever they want with the work. They have taken that right. The public does not have it. That's not a euphemism for anything. That is theft.

          So your confusion is that I wasn't referring to something that corporations do that affects copies. There are no copies of copyrights, only of copyrighted materials.

          Human beings have had incentive to create artistic works for milennia prior to the creation of copyright, prior to anyone even thinking they could make a living from art. The words truly aren't the artists' once they've been published because they then become a part of the dialogue of culture to be repeated and remixed and opposed and parodied and twisted and reinvented (e.g. Samurai movies, Buck Rogers, westerns, and mythology being turned into Star Wars and Star Wars being present in the collective cultural memory and serving as material for newer stories). Artists are culture-birthed filters for more cultural expression. This is not to diminish individual expressions since the artistic process is indeed magical, but no artist exists in a vacuum. Your words are not your own because you've learned them from others. Even if you invent a language, that concept is borrowed from predecessors, who likewise invented languages based on other languages (Tolkien anyone?)

          I'm a non-professional artist who spends a good amount of spare time creating and releasing artistic works for free and with no expectation of profit. I know this opens me up to the whole, "well, you're not a professional so your opinion doesn't matter" argument, however inane that argument is. I have had works for which I could have charged used by a small number of people in various places around the world, even commercially. I am not offended by this. I think it's awesome. I don't create art for money. I'm not saying I don't expect professional artists to not expect payment for their work, but there are business models in which artists can make money on their art that don't involve copyright. And corporations, not artists, are the primary beneficiaries of copyright (artists don't live 70 years after their deaths, so they're not incentivized by posthumous copyright durations, much less by posthumous copyright extensions). But the point of this is that artists create art, whether they get paid or not. And they can get paid in ways that don't involve copyright. If you're not aware of these methods, you haven't been looking around on Techdirt very much.

          The "information wants to be free" strawman is just stupid. Information doesn't want anything and I haven't heard or read anyone use that phrase seriously for at least 10 years. The only place I hear that phrase anymore is by maximalists tilting at windmills.

          If you have to be motivated to create art by money, it's not art, it's just work. The only thing money does is allow you more time to work on art instead of having a dayjob (like I do).

           

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      WysiWyg (profile), Dec 13th, 2013 @ 2:24am

      Re: Does this mean we have to stop calling them "bank robbers"...

      Eh, no, because you are ROBBING the bank. Calling it "bank theft" would be a better example, and also one no one uses. Perhaps because it would be ambiguous as to what was actually stolen.

       

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        Carl "Bear" Bussjaeger (profile), Dec 13th, 2013 @ 4:36am

        Re: Re: Does this mean we have to stop calling them "bank robbers"...

        -sigh-

        That was my point.

         

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          Pragmatic, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 5:51am

          Re: Re: Re: Does this mean we have to stop calling them "bank robbers"...

          @ Carl,

          If I am a dressmaker and see an expensive dress in a shop window, then go home and make my own version of what I saw in the shop window and sell copies of it, have I stolen or infringed?

          http://publicknowledge.org/issues/fashion-copyright

          Currently, the answer is no. So why is it different for songs? Movies? Other content?

          Your argument is based on, "We can only make money from our art by selling copies of our stuff."

          Actually, that's not true. http://www.techdirt.com/blog/?tag=business+models

          In any case, most performers earn more from performances than from copyright rents, the main beneficiaries of which are the middlemen/mega corporations and collections agencies.

          We've got to stop thinking of cultural activity as property and promote alternative business models that ensure that artists are properly compensated. What we've done is carved out exceptions the market forces of supply and demand by making creatives a special case. That's not fair on fashion designers, is it?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 8:20am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Does this mean we have to stop calling them "bank robbers"...

            "In any case, most performers earn more from performances than from copyright rents, the main beneficiaries of which are the middlemen/mega corporations and collections agencies."

            Which is exactly how the music industry worked before Vinyl, 8-Track, Cassette, CD, MP3, BT, etc. Killed the music industry.

             

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      The Wanderer (profile), Dec 14th, 2013 @ 6:33am

      Re: Does this mean we have to stop calling them "bank robbers"...

      ...since they only steal money from banks, rather than the actual buildings?

      No, because "rob" and "thieve" mean different things.

      "To thieve" means more or less the same thing as "to steal", with variation in nuance.

      "To rob", by contrast, means more or less the same thing as "to steal from" (though there may be more details involved that I don't recall at the moment, such as the ones which define the difference between robbery and burglary).

      Thus, "bank robber" means "person who steals from a bank", but "copyright thief" would mean "person who steals copyright", i.e. takes the copyright away from its previous owner.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 5:55pm

    Megaman is suing Google and others for copyright infringement?

    You mean rockman? That megaman?

     

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    Loki, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 6:50pm

    The simple fact is that I know a lot of people (myself include) who, when they here the words "copyright theft", discount/tune out anything the speaker/writer says after those words are uttered regardless of whether the rest of their point/argument is valid or legitimate (which is like less than a tenth of one percent).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 7:21pm

    Next time someone ask me to borrow my car I'm going to tell them "HEY NO! get your ass over to the Found on road dead dealership and buy your own THEIF! You're always borrowing my car mom."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 7:54pm

    Copyright theft CAN exist

    You can steal copyright. But what he's describing isn't it.

    e.g. Happy Birthday is claimed by AOL Time Warner, based on a claim that "Mildred J. Hill and Patty Smith Hill" wrote the lyrics (not the tune). However nobody can find any evidence that the Hills actually wrote those lyrics, they used the "Good Morning to you" lyrics in the evidence they can find.

    Assuming its true (long copyright means its difficult to determine who actually wrote what because they're all dead and can't testify in court).

    Then the companies claiming rights to that song, actually stole the copyright from the actual person who wrote those lyrics.

    ---

    Other cases are common, a record company pretends to own the copyright to a song when in fact it doesn't. That's copyright theft too. Possibly fraud too if its used to make money.

    There are cases where 'copyright theft' crime is a real thing, but he's just doing hyperbole.

     

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      G Thompson (profile), Dec 12th, 2013 @ 10:32pm

      Re: Copyright theft CAN exist

      There are cases where 'copyright theft' crime is a real thing


      No there isn't..

      You can NOT steal something that is intangible. The only thing you could steal under the old US system was the physical certificate of registration and claim that it was registered by someone other than the original registrant.. This is commonly called Fraud and document theft.

      As for copyright which is a legal fiction of an intangible 'right' (though not a Natural right) it CANNOT be stolen since it is automatically applied to any and all created works. It can only be infringed upon or fraudulently claimed.

       

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    G Thompson (profile), Dec 12th, 2013 @ 10:26pm

    If copyright has been stolen.... does that mean it can't be used anymore?

    WOOT!!!

     

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2013 @ 10:44pm

    This blog appears to be where all the douchebags hang out, eh?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 2:18am

    'it does no favors to the site publishing it or the industries it's trying to serve'

    the term was used intentionally and please dont think it wasn't! the whole idea is to try to get the attention of people and make out that this is a crime so serious it deserved a prison sentence.
    if the industries weren't so fucking scared of the progress of humanity and technology, they would do something more sensible about it than keep locking people away!

     

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    Peter Wakefield Sault, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 2:40am

    Theft of Copyright

    Actually one CAN effectively steal copyright by falsely claiming it and in the USA it is a federal criminal offence to register with the Library of Congress a copyright in one's own name for someone else's creation thereby fraudulently obtaining a Copyright Certificate.

    I myself have several such certificates from the Library of Congress, including one covering the solution to John the Divine's "Riddle of The Beast" in Revelations.
    http://www.odeion.org/atlantis/chapter-4s.html

     

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    wec, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 7:42am

    Remember, today's copyrights are not necessarily for the creators but mainly for copyright holders(usally middlemen).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 7:46am

    Amazing. An apparent scumbag gets his just desserts, and your take mentions this man almost in passing and drones on about infringement vs. theft. Seems to me this article exhibits a loss of perspective given the article that was referenced. Why not send your comments to that paper directly where it might actually be informative instead of yet another article here that is merely cumulative to many, many others?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 8:20am

      Re:

      How do you know they haven't don't exactly that by sending the author/editor a link to this Article?

      Amazing you didn't think of that.

       

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      JEDIDIAH, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 9:21am

      Ignoring lies because some guy is "scum".

      That newspaper probably has already received ample responses in whatever formats it allows.

      This idea that "scum" don't deserve legal protection is the exact antithesis of the principles upon which the USA was founded. Any time a demogogue successfully fools you into demonizing someone enough that you are willing to disenfranchise them, you are forging your own chains.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 8:40am

    I'm laughing at those who think theft can't be applied to intangibles. Have you actually even Googled the point?

     

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      Julian Perez, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 10:52am

      Re:

      Intangibles can be stolen, but that doesn't mean copyright theft is.

      Copies of a work are non-exclusive and non-rivalrous, whereas if someone else uses my identity, I can't use it. This is a fraudulent comparison I've seen the willfully dishonest like the lobbyist paid off maximalist Devlin Hartline. Best opinions money can buy.

       

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