My apologies in advance for taking one small element out of this article and expanding on it. Yet perhaps it is the crux of the incorrect viewpoints and interpretations behind the outdated view of things.
STEALING = STEALING as you point out, is a tautology.
Let's play around with logic a little.
GRAND THEFT AUTO = STEALING is true.
SHOPLIFTING = STEALING is true.
Therefore GRAND THEFT AUTO = SHOPLIFTING. Uh wait a sec.
You would think that smart people would recognize that STEALING is not in fact always equal to STEALING and if you boil complex issues down to false tautologies, you are going to have unintended consequences that ruin people's lives.
Then of course you can get back to the point that COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT != STEALING or VIOLATING ACCEPTABLE USE POLICIES != STEALING to completely blow up their argument.
(By the way, Toronto's Globe and Mail has fallen so far from its peak as a widely respected source of news and opinion that I am hardly surprised at their clueless stance on this issue.)
Please re-read the comment. My interpretation of it was that the commenter was trying to get us to use examples of speech that we really disagree with... that we personally would love to censor... but in making the argument against censorship that we STILL wouldn't censor.
You introduced an ad hominem criticism of something that I think AGREES with your viewpoint.
Misinterpretation and misunderstandings are MAIN reasons I disagree with censorship. Sometimes (as with the famous Swift piece "A Modest Proposal") horrendous ideas are actually presented as an argument AGAINST those very ideas. Allowing people to discuss and figure out the sarcasm or metaphor or parody is all part of communicating and it simply can't happen if part of the communication is censored.
(Of course, yes, exposing idiots is another reason we don't want censorship.)
I'll repeat a point that I've made before: "You can't go ahead and lump copyright infringement in with theft because someone acquired something that they are not legally entitled to have. That logic makes driving with an expired license the same as grand theft auto, because you are enjoying the use of a vehicle that you are not legally entitled to use."
As much of a pain as the law is sometimes, distinctions and choice of words remain important.
I can't remember which petition originally got me to sign up on Avaaz, but I am now informed at least once a week about the plight of someone somewhere needing a petition to help them out. Many of the issues are heartbreaking and horrifying. But I am somewhat offended by the constant reminders in my inbox of how horrible the world is. I would rather Avaaz just host the petitions and let the individual petition creators try to drum up signatures.
This latest strangeness of asking people about a particular petition seems to solidify my concerns about Avaaz as an organization.
I think leaving the question without the snarky addendum might have been more productive.
Good point. Words matter. However, the story is not just about the error of the ContentID system pulling down material incorrectly... it is also about the willful use of material from "the Internet" whose copyright was "obviously" held by "someone".
When an individual does this to a corporation, the word used to describe the action is "theft". When a big corporate entity does it to an individual, the words used are: "We are big and you are small. You know our lawyers will crush you if you try to seek compensation. Besides, the exposure benefits you. So get over it."
Those code snippets sure look a heck of a lot like the IBM VisualAge C++ library code for exception handling from several years before Java came out with theirs. Okay, the EXACT code would not have existed, but the variable and function names were almost identical... and in those snippets there's not much else that COULD be different. And I bet IBM derived theirs from something else too. Copyright in software code is a very tenuous concept. Dare I say "totally bogus concept"?
"Common people... share information useful to them but harmful to the entrenched players."
I believe Techdirt has a very strong purpose in HELPING the entrenched players figure out new business models. As we've seen... the middleman has a place but as an ENABLER not as a gatekeeper. Techdirt is like a warning beacon for these players... those that fail to heed it will end up smashed on the rocks. But those that see how to BENEFIT from the disruption will come out ahead.
I always get a little depressed at how much hatred there is for real estate agents whenever items like this hit the news. I think that's mostly because Internet denizens are on the leading edge of trends. They see that open access to information is the norm now and will be the future of EVERYTHING. They are also highly intelligent and motivated people who can take all the information they get and do their own real estate transactions.
My business model is based around personal service and education (teaching people the ins and outs of a real estate transaction). Maybe that means I am augmenting what they have learned online. Maybe that means I teach them so much that they will handle their next transaction on their own. I know some agents get angry when they lose a client like this. I think it is fantastic. If it happens, I have done my job well. I even have one client who went on to become a real estate agent himself because I gave him such insight into the business. Mostly though, I create happy clients who generate eager referrals for me. That's the way I build my business.
Early cable television ventures were actually "community antennae". The guy with the best antennae in the area picked up the far off signals and shared them with his neighbors via cables.
Of course the broadcasters screamed "piracy" or whatever the equivalent in-vogue epithet was at the time. Eventually the cable companies were swimming in money and they could work out a very lucrative deal with the broadcasters.
Did they forget this part of their history when they see what Boxee and similar "integration" technologies could do for cable's future?
Robbery is different from burglary is different from shoplifting is different from embezzlement is different from fraud... yet the results are the same: someone had money or property taken FROM them -- money or property they can no longer use. That is what makes these all forms of "stealing".
You can't go ahead and lump copyright infringement in with them too because someone acquired something that they are not legally entitled to have. That logic makes driving with an expired license the same as grand theft auto, because you are enjoying the use of a vehicle that you are not legally entitled to use.
You need a license to operate a television in Britain, right? I suppose with that kind of thinking, they were predisposed to having such a law and a ruling like this to support the law.
Still, I wonder if the electrical power company will be held responsible next because without them, the bits would not flow down the series of tubes that the ISPs provide. Should they not also contribute to the education of UK youth? What better way to educate than to plunge them into darkness?
Communications people: "no comment" sounds like a cop-out, but it is far better than committing your organization to a course of action. The peons in a company are usually advised to direct all questions from the public and press to the communications officer. I would think that similar advice would be given to the communications officer: If you get a financial inquiry, direct it to the accountants. If you get a legal inquiry, direct it to the lawyers.