"If you play it at a public venue and represent it as yours, I would say that is theft."
Actually that would be plagiarism, which is a completely different thing that pretty much everyone here would be strongly against. But it's a different topic altogether. Simply copying, even if infringing, is not plagiarism. Nobody is downloading a film or song and then claiming it's theirs. Very few are brave/stupid enough to publicly perform someone else's song and claim it's their own.
"So... you are saying that it's perfectly fine to take the team emblem, put it up in your shop, over the donuts in question, and say 'Buy these donuts'?"
Why don't you instead explain how it's not? Tell us exactly how the university is harmed in any way by this. Does it compete with their own baked goods? Oh that's right, they don't have any? Does it disparage them in any way? Nope, how could it? Fill in what's missing here.
"Implying that they are associated with the school?"
How does anyone leap to that conclusion? It obviously suggests they support the university team, but how is any formal association implied by a mere donut?
"I am far from an IP maximalist..."
The fact that you're happy to see this as a valid trademark instead of a symbol of how broken the system is does not help this claim...
"While pirating (aka copying without permission) does not deprive the artist of the original, it does take away certain rights that the artist had, namely the right to license it as they see fit (and to deny you a license if they so wish)."
That would be hilarious if true, because the entire concept of copyright would cease to exist in an instant. Make one copy - poof! - copyright gone! Except that's obviously stupid and wrong. No rights have been taken from anyone, they still have them.
"It's clearly impossible to deny the idea that the end result of piracy is you having something, where before you had nothing."
Maybe that's why nobody here has claimed otherwise...
"Morally, it's not hard to draw the conclusion that you have stolen something, even if it is just a copy. At best, your copy was fraudulently obtained."
You know what fraud is right? Where's the fraud in copyright infringement? Nobody pretended to be or do something other than make copies. Who's being mislead or fooled?
"It should be noted that until 2006 or so, the UK legal system treated fraud as theft - obtaining something via deceptive practices."
And then they obviously decided that was wrong and changed it. You're not helping your argument with that one.
"Piracy has absolutely stolen the economic value out of the product. Infinite number of copies, market price zero."
You're going to stick with that old trope despite overwhelming proof that it's wrong? Seriously? Your reality denial is amazing.
So there is theft, but the value of the theft is perhaps very small when calculated by itself."
'Statutory minimum damages' would disagree with you on the "very small" part.
Even if there is some element of greed here, calling it "pure" completely ignores the huge societal benefit to this problem being made public. Lives are literally at stake, so highlighting it is not just a Good Thing to do, it's morally imperative.
"This is where the TD staff can start to seem a little nutty and I think it's a big reason why this place is perceived as so anti-artist."
I'd love to see evidence that TD is perceived as anti-artist from anyone that doesn't have a vested interest in making money off artists.
"You're conflating the common word steal with the specific legal definition of theft..."
Correct, because that's the whole point of accusing copiers of theft; to equate their actions with an act that is generally despised and universally illegal. They want the average person to think that copyright infringement, or even non-infringing copying, is just as bad as actual legal theft. Remember the "You wouldn't steal a car" anti-piracy campaign? Direct, explicit comparison to removal of a physical object.
"I don't understand why TD insists on burying its good message (i.e. illegal downloading isn't necessarily a problem worth fighting and can be a good thing) within this sophomoric game of switcheroo semantics."
It's ironic that you would accuse TD of exactly what the copyright industry has been doing for years, using language to paint a very misleading picture of what copyright is all about. Also note that I would argue the exact opposite, that TD spends far more time talking about the real-world effects of piracy compared to the horror story painted by the copyright industry than it does the definition of a word. I think your memory is selective.
"Why would the objective be that my creation is only my property for a period of time until I then have to let others monetize it?"
Because as soon as you publish it, or even let anyone see/hear/read it, it's NOT yours anymore. That's just the natural state of world as it has always been. Copyright was introduced very recently in human history as a set of temporary (hah!) restrictions on the public's ability to use works created by others, after which things are supposed to revert to that natural state (i.e. the public domain).
If having sole possession of your creation is so important to you, keep it to yourself. But don't you dare use any one else's work as inspiration for your own!
"EFF's entire spiel here seems to be based on (at best) second hand knowledge."
Which is kinda the whole point, since the first hand knowledge is being jealously guarded. When you mess with people's privacy but won't be up front about exactly what you're doing, expect to be called on it.
Gawker is a lot more than just one story and Gawker Media (who've been forced into bankruptcy) is a lot more than just the website Gawker. It's laughable to say Gawker Media doesn't do journalism.
"What they did with Hogan was right up there with revenge Porn."
Whether or not that's true (and I'm not entirely in disagreement), the $140M verdict is unjustifiable and likely to be overturned, and Thiel's actions set an extremely dangerous precedent. Try to look at the bigger picture beyond the narcissistic has-been celebrity.