No, quite the opposite. Wrong/right aside, it is NOT theft.
That's the point. You can certainly still say some forms of copying are wrong — but they are still entirely distinct from theft.
You ask "how do you argue that it's not theft" but, well, we don't really have to argue it - it's pretty clear that it's not the same thing. How do you argue that it IS theft? If someone sings your song or dances your dance, you still have the song or the dance - they haven't taken it away from you. They copied it, they didn't steal it.
Fair point. Bad phrasing on my part. Hypothetical morals are overly flexible anyway - I'm sure we could invent some sort of trolly problem in which copying ends up being worse than murder, too. Let's say this: with all other situational ethical factors being the same or very similar, copying is almost never as wrong as theft.
Re: Re: Re: I appreciate linking to my RPG Maker project that is on hiatus, but...
Sure I'll swap it out, no worries :) I doubt you'd be in that much trouble (you're hardly the only JRPG designer using some existing assets as a shortcut!) but hey, who wants to tangle with the DMCA, right?
I tend to agree. I do think there are situations in which copying is wrong to varying degrees, though in none of them is it as wrong as theft. Of course, almost all of the situations in which it's notably wrong are the opposite of the situations that the "copying is theft" rhetoric generally targets (consumers pirating the works of big media companies). Rather, the worst copying is when big media companies use their resources and market reach to copy and capitalize on the works of independent creators, or when they copy things from the public domain then attempt to establish copyright control over them, or when they avail themselves of fair use by copying a clip for commentary/criticism then turn around and issue takedowns not only over further fair use of their clips but even over the original clip they copied.
Of course, none of those forms of copying are theft either — but I do think they are wrong to varying degrees (and in many cases the analogy to theft, while still incorrect, is actually much much closer than with run-of-the-mill piracy).
We all try! But the truth is we're a very, very small team and we usually have quite a lot of projects on the go, and the result is that sometimes we're semi-absent from the comments despite our best efforts. If there's ever anything really important in the comments that we appear to be missing or ignoring, please do ping us on Twitter or by email!
We'll definitely be writing up some reports on what gets discussed at the event, and building off of it for later articles and such. We also hope to come out of it with some concrete strategies for copyright reform that we will begin turning into ongoing projects. As for video - can't make any promises on that front just yet, but we'd definitely like to shoot some video if possible. The format of the event probably won't lend itself well to a live feed though, since the bulk of it will be a bunch of separate informal group discussions rather than a series of presenters.
OK, I want you to imagine you're asking the people at Twitter a question. It's a simple question, it goes like this: "When users of your platform - including huge ones like PewDiePie - are unhappy about something, would you prefer they talk about it and lodge complaints when necessary, or would you prefer them to immediately bail on the platform entirely because they 'can't do jack shit'?"
This helps with things like extending copyright law over and over (if it's "stealing" then it must "belong" to the copyright holder, and having copyright expire is taking something that "belongs" to them, right?) and it helps whenever they want people to make sacrifices of freedom (especially other people's freedom) in the name of controlling copyright infringement or when they want to put in levies to compensate them for all the money that is being stolen and such.
Indeed. Consider, for example, Fair Use — an absolutely critical component of copyright that must be defended and in fact expanded. With a proper understanding of what copying is and why copyright exists, fair use only makes sense — but it sounds ludicrous to say "sometimes it's okay to steal people's property for the purposes of criticism, education, transformative works, etc". Every person who buys into the idea that "copying is no different from theft" is one less person who will stand up to defend fair use, or take advantage of fair use themselves to create something great.
Identity theft is considerably more analogous to traditional theft because, though there is some copying and fuzziness involved, ultimately the perpetrator is taking scarce things from the victim and leaving the victim without those things. "Identity" is a bit of a nebulous concept to say someone stole outright - but "identity theft" generally involves stealing money and other assets, and also making use of a person's identity in a way that ruins their life and makes it punishing and difficult for them to continue living under their identity. And so while "identity theft" is still a technically slightly imprecise use of the term theft, it's one that doesn't bother me because it isn't so starkly at odds with the fundamental nature and results of what is going on.
Even inasmuch as we think certain forms of copying are wrong, we don't think they are theft. And we think that distinction is important. In the ongoing cultural and legal conversation about how we structure our laws to do with digital content and information, and as we continue to analyze and try to understand the evolving economy of that content and information, it is vital that everyone remember the critical differences between copying and theft.
Your attempts to make this sound analogous to linguistic purists who complain about things like the changing definition of "literally" are very weak indeed. This is an entirely different conversation about concepts not about the casual usage of words. It's also not about natural drift - the inception of terms like "piracy" and "theft" were driven by intentional campaigns by the copyright industries.
Uh, no. This is about more than linguistic drift - it's about the conflation of two concepts that, while they share certain surface similarities at a cursory glance, are actually marked by extremely relevant distinctions that are of concern to everyone in the age of digital media and information.
The fact that those things are often colloquially referred to as theft - when in reality they are fundamentally different, and our digital culture badly needs people to begin thinking about the two in a more nuanced way - is precisely one of the reasons we made a shirt like this.