Of course there are laws against this. Lots of laws. For example, "[A] person shall not . . . Intentionally communicate another individual's social security number to the general public[.]" Va. Code Ann. § 59.1-443.2.
As far as I can tell, less then half of all the states have such a law. And it's a stupid law. Indeed, all the laws regarding SSN use and privacy form nothing more than a sad patchwork attempt to shore up utterly useless security. The idea that your entire identity is guarded solely by a single password which is difficult to change and which you must hand over in plaintext to dozens of different companies and agencies over the course of your life is... idiotic.
Many companies and agencies use your mother's maiden name as a piece of identifying data too - my bank sometimes seems to accept just that & my birthdate as confirmation that they are talking to me. So... should publishing someone's mother's maiden name and birthdate be illegal, too? After all, it can be "dangerous" for that information to be out there...
(as for comparing the breaking of copy protection to a mere number, that's because in the cases I'm referring to it literally was. AACS encryption was broken and the cryptographic key became public knowledge. It was in hexidecimal: 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
For a while, websites that so much as printed that number started receiving cease & desist orders from the MPAA. Digg.com removed a bunch of articles and started banning people who mentioned it in a comment.
A simple number 128-bit number had become illegal.
As I understand it, there is no law against knowing or sharing someone's SSN. Indeed, there shouldn't be any danger inherent in anyone knowing your SSN, since that's a pretty abysmal security system - it's only dangerous because many organizations treat it as a piece of authenticating data, even though they really shouldn't, any more than they should your mother's maiden name.
Now, if you use that social security number to do something like commit fraud, then you have broken the law. But outlawing the number itself is just silly.
This is the very last time we'll be offering the Vote2016() shirt. And the very last time this year that we'll be offering any of the other shirts.
Shirts, by the way, are not artificially scarce.
[This comment posted for the benefit of anyone else who might not have been clear on our plan for these shirts - not for the jackass who will find something to whine about regardless of any and all factors.]
It's predominantly about the current debate around encryption for the public, since encryption is just math - but the government wants to legislate limits and backdoors. Though it has applied to IP situations in the past, when encryption for copy protection has been broken which, thanks to the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions, has created situations in which a mere number is illegal to publish.
Re: It kills the (obviously American) editors of the Wiki page on The Man Trap..
Heh yeah. And if you head down to the "Broadcast" section it continues - they bury the fact a couple paragraphs deep in the "Overseas Broadcast" section after telling the entire story of its first American airing in great detail.
If you play my song in the privacy of your home, I have no issues. If you play it at a public venue and represent it as yours, I would say that is theft.
But doesn't that right there demonstrate one of the many ways in which copying is so different from theft?
After all, you wouldn't say "if you steal my car and drive it in your back yard, I have no issues. If you steal my car and drive it on the public streets, it's theft" — no, you would be equally deprived of the car and equally stolen from in either circumstance.
Copying doesn't necessarily harm or effect you in any way - in fact you can be copied and not even know about it. Only under very specific circumstances can it be said to cause any harm, and even then the harm is almost impossible to quantify. That's a very, very different situation from theft of property.
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.