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Re: when did piracy/theft become expression of freedom
From: Benjamin Kreuter <ben.kreuter () gmail com>
Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2012 17:41:09 -0500

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On Sat, 28 Jan 2012 02:16:45 +0000
"Thor (Hammer of God)" <thor () hammerofgod com> wrote:

-----Original Message-----
From: full-disclosure-bounces () lists grok org uk
[mailto:full-disclosure- bounces () lists grok org uk] On Behalf Of
Valdis.Kletnieks () vt edu Sent: Friday, January 27, 2012 4:06 PM
To: Michael Schmidt
Cc: full-disclosure () lists grok org uk
Subject: Re: [Full-disclosure] when did piracy/theft become
expression of freedom

On Fri, 27 Jan 2012 18:06:28 GMT, Michael Schmidt said:
You want to be very careful with that line of thought. You are
taking the creator the rightful owners profits, which they are
entitled to if it is a product they created to be sold.

You might want to go read "Courtney Love Does The Math", and then ask
yourself the following:

1) You can make a case that if you copy an album intead of buying
it, you're depriving somebody of profits.  But what if it's an album
that you would *not* have bought at full price anyhow?  Or one that
you bought used (see "first sale principle")?

These arguments do more harm than good.  You can't base property law

This is not a discussion about property law, it is a discussion about
copyrights.  Copyrights, at least in my country, are very much
different from property rights:

1. Property rights never expire; copyrights are required to expire by
the constitution.

2. Property rights are not optional, but automatic; copyrights are an
optional system according to the constitution, and if Congress wanted
to they could do away with copyrights.

But if you were not going to pay full price, that doesn't
give you any right to steal it.  That is simply absurd.  

This is not a discussion about stealing either.  We do not charge
people with theft/robbery/larceny/etc. when they download or share
music, even when they do so on a felony scale.

But whether or not the behavior ends up
benefiting the industry or not is irrelevant; I've still broken the
law.  

That is up to a judge; copyright cases must be heard by a judge, who
decides whether or not a particular act of copying is fair use (or at
least that was the original theory).

That's where is should end, but it doesn't.  Sharing music not
purchased is already illegal.

Not always; Wikipedia has a large selection of public domain music
available for download, as do many other sources.  There is music that
is licensed under one of various creative commons licenses.

The companies already have legal remedies available.

Which are not appropriate for dealing with cases of home users
downloading and sharing music/etc.  Copyright law is designed to be
heard in front of a judge, with expensive lawyers arguing the case;
there is no way that such a system could possibly work to prevent
individual people from downloading/sharing and everyone knows it.  The
RIAA sought such huge, headline grabbing damages in an attempt to scare
people away from P2P, and even that failed -- they just damaged their
reputation and drove people to use file sharing websites, which are
shielded by the DMCA.

This is not to say that the law should be strengthened or that the
government should be hijacked to further the interests of copyright
holders.  This just means that copyright is out of date and needs to be
completely overhauled.  Unfortunately, the people who are supposed to
benefit from the copyright system, the general public, have nothing
close to the political and financial power that the copyright industry
lobbyists have.

The best compromise I can think of is to treat noncommercial copyright
infringement like a parking violation:  you get a ticket for some small
but annoying amount of money.  That is the only way to enforce a law
that everyone is meant to follow and that anyone can easily break.  It
is absurd to think that our judicial system can handle the volume of
cases that would be required to enforce copyrights, and the other
option is to just let the old industries die (which is probably not a
bad idea).

The fun begins when the record companies start sniping each other.

That is how it is supposed to be.

Remember when The Verve got their pants sued of by the Rolling Stones
copyright holder for "Bittersweet Symphony"?  It was a clean cut case
of copyright infringement.  What if SOPA or the next round of it does
pass - will ABKCO Records legally be able to get Hut Records entire
web site shut down?

The point of SOPA is to kill the Internet; that is what all these laws
and government actions are building towards.  The old media giants do
not want to die, and they know that a network where anyone can share
entertainment with anyone else will ultimately kill them.  What they
would prefer is something like the cable TV system:  a network where
the consumers are only able to consume.  They love the cable TV system
because they only have to deal with other corporations, who can be
taken to court where copyright law can be reasonably applied.

- -- Ben



- -- 
Benjamin R Kreuter
UVA Computer Science
brk7bx () virginia edu

- --

"If large numbers of people are interested in freedom of speech, there
will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it; if public
opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even
if laws exist to protect them." - George Orwell
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