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Last post Author Topic: Pirating abandoned content?  (Read 17131 times)

iphigenie

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Re: Pirating abandoned content?
« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2008, 04:31:39 PM »
On the original topic I had an interesting case in the last year.
I was looking for 2 japanese films which I had seen at the Leeds film festival in 2002 (or so). I figured by now they would be available somewhere, since they had been quite successful on the independent circuit around the world.

Found out that of course they had not been released in the west - just wasnt available.

But I also found out a semi-pirate site which sold copies.
Now these are people who copy DVDs who are not released in certain territories, create decent quality subtitles, and sell them at reasonable price. They also say that if a work ever gets an official release they stop selling them

A grey area, I was amazed at the dedication of people creating subtitles like that for films. Since rights are sold by territory, it technically doesnt really infringe anyone's distribution contract, although it does of course violate copyright. And it distributes a work where it is not being sold or promoted.

I did buy it, I wanted to see that film again and show it to my friends. But I thought about it for quite a while.

iphigenie

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Re: Pirating abandoned content?
« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2008, 04:48:36 PM »
--soapbox--

Although what bothers me in this thread is all the mention of poor starving students. It's a nice myth but I have yet to meet a starving student. Most students are dressed, clothed, fed, they have help for all the basics. They get rebates on everything, access to an incredible amount of things for nothing. They certainly have a lot of the basics covered, and quite a few luxuries thrown on top. Access to leisure, sports, culture all for free. Access to all sorts of opportunities. They can get books on loan, used, from the library. Most of them get student loans, and if they cant afford textbooks its usually because they choose to spend it on other luxuries to keep up with all the rich kids. They can afford the stuff, they just prefer to buy fancy shoes/music/insert luxury here

I was a poor student, I worked to put myself through university. But I never struggled to eat or get clothed. And I never struggled to get the books for my courses either. Some I bought new, some used, many I read in the library.

Although I totally understand what you mean when you say "these are useful for poor students" - but there are a lot of free resources available to someone wanting to learn, without having to go and steal a particular one. Saying "i'm a poor student" just is no excuse for stealing, not when there is so much available for students.

I'm a poor self learner is a different thing. It is far harder to try to learn without being an official student - suddenly you are expected to pay full whack for everything. You dont get rebates, you dont get access to the university libraries, you dont get access to academic prices, and you dont get access to people to help explain things, or co learners to bounce ideas off.
 
PS: I.T. is terrible for that. Imagine someone trying to get an IT job after he has lost a job he's had 12 years. Keeps hearing he cant qualify for this of that job because he needs C# or Sharepoint or websphere. Figures "I can learn that". Gets told it will cost 10K in licenses so he can learn - and since employers want experience in those products working with alternatives just wont help. Oracle and Sun are ok for letting people play and learn for free, MS and IBM are not.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2008, 04:50:28 PM by iphigenie »

mikiem

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Re: Pirating abandoned content?
« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2008, 05:04:42 PM »
FWIW I think that from a legal perspective it's a matter of if you will get prosecuted or sued successfully. In this shifting realm there are few guarantees, though you also get the concept of the victim , i.e. who was harmed, how, and how much... Pragmatically it often has little to do with fairness, & much to do with legal resources available & your true cost of litigation.

Totally separate is the moral realm... If we all acted out of the highest moral standards, our world would not have any disparity of income, & in fact perhaps no income as we know it at all. But we're not there yet, obviously, so morals, as most of us practice them anyway, are the closest we can (or are willing to) come towards some ideal. Debating a topic like this is really comparing, exchanging ideas and concepts forming our individual level of compromise. We can and do rationalize our individual stance, but ethics and morals are thought of and taught as absolutes with intentionally very little wiggle room: it *might* be OK to shoot someone in self-defense, but that argument doesn't fly if you broke into their home and took preventative action. :)

Now the original intent of copyright was to promote new things and art and literature; who would devote time that could be spent earning room and board to new pursuits, if an outcome of starvation was an absolute certainty? Since no one was willing to give potentially everyone a blank check to just go off and create something, s/he had a right to charge customers for their labor without fear of someone selling duplicates & thus reducing their income.

If the owner has no intent of deriving [further] income from their work, then according to it's intent and original purpose any copy right has fulfilled it's purpose, & should logically lapse with the owner releasing any holds or claims. Unfortunately that's a bit rare, so we set an arbitrary date when enough's enough & put it into law. Therein lies the problem...

Something can have absolutely zero worth, as in this case an out of print book, which as long as it is kept out of print, has absolutely no monetary value -   -   - *until* someone wants to buy it. Morally, or at least in the spirit Copy Right was intended, the owner should have given up any exclusive rights the moment they decided not to print the book any longer. But let's say they didn't, maybe for legitimate reasons that made another run impossible - maybe out of greed the same way some people will hoard food knowing that it exceeds their needs and much of it will spoil.

If the copy right holder is being greedy, as many assuredly are, do they revoke their rights to be treated equally? In my opinion the popular consensus is no -- without advocating for or against, I'd say it's basically the same argument we have often enough, globally today: when do your actions cause you to forfeit rights?

Which all may be moot anyway if the mortgage problems lead to proposed changes in how we legally & commonly calculate value... If it becomes common practice to value any property on what it's worth, not what it might be worth *if* there was a buyer, then grabbing an out of print book may be the same thing as dumpster diving or picking something out of the trash. If you can in good conscience consider an out of print book worthless, taking it is perfectly moral & ethical, depending of course on what you intend to do with it... You could pick up a bat from the trash and beat your neighbor with it & that's just wrong.  :)


mouser

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Re: Pirating abandoned content?
« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2008, 05:38:48 PM »
iphigenie's points remind me of a very important long term theoretical issue:
even if piracy does not in any way hurt the company whose product is being pirated -- it may end up subtlety damaging the free/open source community, by decreasing the demand and support for free/open source alternatives.

it could even turn out that a certain amount of piracy would be tolerated specifically because it prevents the demand for free/open source alternatives from reaching a critical mass.  that's a scary though.

mikiem

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Re: Pirating abandoned content?
« Reply #29 on: May 16, 2008, 05:40:04 PM »
Take two... much less philosophical - purely pragmatic...

Some people for whatever reason collect, & they will collect & collect until they can't any longer. Not as much going on now-a-days, but it happens. No rhyme, reason, or ethics aside from feeling that since it isn't used, just collected, no harm done.

Many people just cannot afford - period. Morals, ethics, none of that makes much difference - is more a luxury of those who have the good luck to spare the time debating it. They are not themselves harming anyone if they read a pirated book, or run a pirated/cracked version of Windows - they can not buy it - there is no choice. Trying to tell them that they do not deserve even such minimal benefit from technology, when they hardly stole supper off anyone's plate, is both insulting and irrelevant.

Finally, I'm always amused by an argument I find logical to a fault... If a rental service sells used DVDs at 1/2 price, & retailers discount DVDs as they become old, then their value is tied both to the physical media & the age of the content. The same could be said of books, with price reflecting both age and what they're printed on - damaged books commonly go for a fraction of retail list. Downloaded content then, particularly something not just out, should logically have a value much less than the cheapest price for damaged &/or used books and DVDs/CDs.  ;D


mouser

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Re: Pirating abandoned content?
« Reply #30 on: May 16, 2008, 05:43:57 PM »
Quote
Some people for whatever reason collect, & they will collect & collect until they can't any longer. Not as much going on now-a-days, but it happens. No rhyme, reason, or ethics aside from feeling that since it isn't used, just collected, no harm done.

Many people just cannot afford - period. Morals, ethics, none of that makes much difference - is more a luxury of those who have the good luck to spare the time debating it. They are not themselves harming anyone if they read a pirated book, or run a pirated/cracked version of Windows - they can not buy it - there is no choice. Trying to tell them that they do not deserve even such minimal benefit from technology, when they hardly stole supper off anyone's plate, is both insulting and irrelevant.

i tend to agree with you there, at least in my gut i do.

mikiem

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Re: Pirating abandoned content?
« Reply #31 on: May 16, 2008, 05:51:15 PM »
...even if piracy does not in any way hurt the company whose product is being pirated -- it may end up subtlety damaging the free/open source community, by decreasing the demand and support for free/open source alternatives.

I think with biz, maybe -- there are benefits to showing clients you're running the latest, best, hi-$ tools, rather than taking the risk that your client may know or accept that the open source alternative is just as good if not better. 

Otherwise IMHO no... Hang out in the video forums and sure some folks will go after the pirated stuff just to say they use it... The majority though would rather have optimized, open source software that works, even preferring it in many cases to the hi end stuff.

Edvard

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Re: Pirating abandoned content?
« Reply #32 on: May 16, 2008, 06:19:28 PM »
Guilty as charged. Let me explain...

About 7 years ago, I received a 100MHz 486 with Windows 95 from my Mother, who had got it from someone who didn't need it anymore.

I found out I could make music with it, and scoured the (dialup) internet for freeware music software. I upgraded to a 233MHz pentium around the time I found d-Lusion who had some VERY nice drum and synth programs for download.
Here's where it gets sticky...

I wanted to purchase these products because they worked very well. Guess what?
I couldn't.
On the front page was a notice that "due to the actions of one of the developers" they were "no longer selling licenses" for their software, even though they were still up for download.
I wanted to use the software and was more than willing to pay for it, but... :huh:

I did what many before have done and Googled a serial.  :nono2:
I checked back at the website every few months or so, waiting for my opportunity to pay for the time I had, in reality, stolen. But it never changed

Lo and Behold, I discovered a year or so ago that their software is now freeware, with a PayPal donate button.
I have less money than I did back then, but one day my conscience is going to have a meeting with my wallet and we are going to push that button, even though I don't use the software anymore...

Thoughts?

cathodera

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Re: Pirating abandoned content?
« Reply #33 on: May 16, 2008, 08:30:31 PM »

the thing I am enjoying most about this thread is that almost everybody is looking at the question from the standpoint of "what's fair?" Not what is best for this or that company, not would adhere to this or that law (which depending on what country we're talking about, was probably written by this or that company), not even trying to decide what would be most compliant with one or another religious doctrines - just "what's fair?"

What is fair to the author, what is fair to the aspiring reader.

My own view, by the way, which I don't think I bothered to insert into any of my 7000 word treatises, is that abandoned is abandoned, as in I left it on the park bench. Enjoy.

And how can one better honor an author than by reading his work? Even if you read it in a library or obtain an electronic copy of it from the personal home page of a 13 year old in Ulan Bator.

If you don't have a way to pay an author for an abandoned work, the work itself might give you some clues about other people the author would like to see get some money. If you can afford it, send them some.

Or if it is something like that math textbook, maybe you could send money to an org that provides books to people who don't have them!

Just because you can't pay the author doesn't mean you can't pay it forward.   :P
One man's conspiracy is another man's business plan

Deozaan

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Re: Pirating abandoned content?
« Reply #34 on: May 16, 2008, 08:56:11 PM »
The only abandoned software I've pirated is FARR. :P



cranioscopical

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Re: Pirating abandoned content?
« Reply #35 on: May 16, 2008, 10:07:30 PM »
The only abandoned software I've pirated is FARR. :P

Hey, that's not farr fair!  It is funny, though -- or furry as we dyslexics would say.


Armando

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Re: Pirating abandoned content?
« Reply #36 on: May 16, 2008, 11:04:39 PM »
The only abandoned software I've pirated is FARR. :P



Hey, I know the author... So, if you feel like sending him a few $. I've heard he's struggling and all he can afford to eat is mice.

mouser

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Re: Pirating abandoned content?
« Reply #37 on: May 16, 2008, 11:12:06 PM »
 :mad:


edit: someone messaged me asking if the smilie meant that i really got upset about the posts teasing me.  it takes a lot more than that to offend me, i was just playing along with the funny joke.

« Last Edit: May 17, 2008, 12:56:18 AM by mouser »

Fred Nerd

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Re: Pirating abandoned content?
« Reply #38 on: May 17, 2008, 04:54:53 AM »
Quote
it could even turn out that a certain amount of piracy would be tolerated specifically because it prevents the demand for free/open source alternatives from reaching a critical mass.  that's a scary though.

As far as I know, Windows used to do this, they knew how many pirate copies of 98 were being installed in the private market, but allowed it because then businesses would run the OS that most employees already knew.
Same with Photoshop, this might have changed, but it used to be the 2nd most pirated software, simply so that it could be the standard, and businesses (and people with more morals) would buy it.
Office was that way as well,

So I think there is a point that pirating is playing into the hands of big business.

steeladept

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Re: Pirating abandoned content?
« Reply #39 on: May 17, 2008, 05:28:04 AM »
A few months ago I heard about a university professor, at GMU in Washington DC, that required students to purchase a textbook from him, that he wrote. He charged students a very high price for it, wouldn't allow them to buy it used, and the book included a label with the student's name and a serial number (how is that for anti-piracy!). If you didn't purchase the book, you could not pass the course. It was required! You couldn't even sell this book when you were done with it, because every student that took his course was in the same position that you were and couldn't buy it used.

It is quite possible that this teacher was making more off his book, by taking advantage of his students, than he was from teaching the course. People like that should die in an avalanche of used textbooks.

In the UK that wouldn't be allowed - it is tantamount to extortion and at least a huge conflict of interest. The best thing the students could do is boycott his course en masse until he gets sacked.

Actually that is illegal here too.  It is monopolistic practices and he can actually have his book shut down, in the least, for it.  Any competing publisher could take him to court for damages as well, since he prevented them from earning anything on their offering if it would have been chosen.  However, that is a somewhat tenuous claim, and let's face it - the university systems (including the suppliers and their systems, at least in the USA) are VERY totalitarian.  They love command economies and monopolies, or at least that is how they operate.  I have been to too many schools to believe otherwise.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Pirating abandoned content?
« Reply #40 on: May 17, 2008, 06:30:19 AM »
In the UK they often force academics (and many other professions) to not take part in 'other paid work'. Whether that would include academic writing I very much doubt but I am sure that UK universities would take a very dim view of lecturers extorting their students to the point of failing them if they don't purchase a brand new copy of their book.

I certainly had lecturers at university that based courses on texts they had written but you were free to take the course using your own lecture notes, other books or their books (and there were plenty of second/third and fourth hand copies knocking around in a variety dog-eared and other defaced states).

app103

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Re: Pirating abandoned content?
« Reply #41 on: May 17, 2008, 08:44:55 AM »
There are a lot of professors that write their own textbooks for their courses, but I think the vast majority let their students have it at cost, or very low cost, since they are more interested in teaching well and using their book to help accomplish the job. They aren't profit driven.

I have even heard of a teacher that made his 800 page textbook free, not only for his students, but the entire world, in electonic form.