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Last post Author Topic: Thoughts on "Piracy".  (Read 8986 times)

Renegade

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #25 on: November 26, 2014, 06:44:41 PM »
Here's a fun real-world example of "piracy/not piracy" for people to chew on...

In Australia, films and movies come out significantly later than elsewhere.

So, many people in Australia get a VPN account, then get a Netflix account (or similar) in an area where movies and TV shows are available.

Is this piracy?

I believe that the answer is obvious:

Yes. It is piracy.

You see, there are copyright and licensing agreements in different areas. The local providers in Australia do not have the rights to distribute a lot of content.

By getting a VPN and foreign Netflix account, these people are circumventing the jurisdiction of Australia, the laws, and they are stealing from the local providers.

You see, there's an opportunity cost there. Were the people merely to wait a year or so until the proper licensing could be negotiated, those local providers would then be able to sell/rent that content to people in Australia.

But noooo! Instead people get that content when it hasn't been properly licensed for their region. This is immoral. It is theft. It is piracy.

I say we keelhaul 'em all!  8)

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

eleman

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2014, 06:57:17 PM »
I say we keelhaul 'em all!  8)

What did you expect? They are the grandsons of criminals exiled to down under. I say burn them all. But only after we pile stakes through them.

4wd

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #27 on: November 26, 2014, 08:40:51 PM »
In Australia, films and movies come out significantly later than elsewhere.

So, many people in Australia get a VPN account, then get a Netflix account (or similar) in an area where movies and TV shows are available.

Is this piracy?

I believe that the answer is obvious:

Yes. It is piracy.

Actually, I don't believe the answer is that clear cut.  Broadly speaking, in Australia if you can find a product cheaper anywhere in the world and you can get it to Australia to use then that's OK as far as the governing body in Australia is concerned, which is the ACCC.  And is what the idea of competition is supposedly all about.  It doesn't matter if the product is or isn't for sale in Australia.

What you would be violating would be Netflix' and their distributors Terms & Conditions.

That's not piracy, that's bypassing regional restrictions which is probably summary execution under DMCA.

Another interesting example is games on Steam, technically it's illegal, (under Australian Consumer Law), for Steam to not allow Australians to buy a, (Steam based), game from Russia where it's far, far cheaper and register against their Steam account.
Since Steam offers their service in Australia, they are required to abide by Australian law but do they?  Nope.

What did you expect? They are the grandsons of criminals exiled to down under. I say burn them all. But only after we pile stakes through them.

And yes, a pair of my ancestors were convicts - one was a highwayman and the other a prostitute  ;)
« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 08:55:58 PM by 4wd »

wraith808

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #28 on: November 26, 2014, 09:06:39 PM »
^ +1  :Thmbsup:

Renegade

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #29 on: November 26, 2014, 10:48:21 PM »
Actually, I don't believe the answer is that clear cut.  Broadly speaking, in Australia if you can find a product cheaper anywhere in the world and you can get it to Australia to use then that's OK as far as the governing body in Australia is concerned, which is the ACCC

<puts on & sharpens horns while twirling black & red trident />

Ok. Sure. I'm cool with that.

The products are available for $0.00 at EZTV, The Pirate Bay, and a plethora of other places.

 8)

Their check-out process is super fast & easy too! 5 stars for customer service!

What you would be violating would be Netflix' and their distributors Terms & Conditions.

And thus also violating the copyright under which they are licensed. There is still a copyright violation there, even if there's some fancy-dancy, mumbo-jumbo, legalese layer of abstraction. The copyright is still violated because the copyright license is issued conditionally, and by violating the T&C, you're also violating the copyright conditions it is based upon.

That's not piracy, that's bypassing regional restrictions

So... are you trying to say that whether or not something is pirated depends on the laws of the country? ;)

http://www.freeandle.../resources/copyright

Quote
Countries with no known copyright law: Afghanistan, Anguilla, Aruba, the Cayman Islands, Eritrea, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, San Marino, São Tomé, Turkmenistan, and Vanuatu.

So, if somebody downloads a movie from The Pirate Bay, while at home, it's piracy, but if they go on vacation to Aruba and download the same movie, then it's not piracy?

A given, specific action X cannot not be X simply because somebody wrote a few words on a piece of paper.

e.g. If I eat a piece of toast, can someone undo my eating of that toast with a piece of paper?

...which is probably summary execution under DMCA.

I would at least hope that they'd get a kangaroo court trial! 8)

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

4wd

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #30 on: November 26, 2014, 11:20:24 PM »
The products are available for $0.00 at EZTV, The Pirate Bay, and a plethora of other places.

Including BD, DVD, VHS media for sale in other countries even if they are not for sale in Australia.

Quote
So, if somebody downloads a movie from The Pirate Bay, while at home, it's piracy, but if they go on vacation to Aruba and download the same movie, then it's not piracy?

No, but if they buy the legally available DVD while in Aruba and then take it home, that's not piracy.  If they buy it online while in Australia, that's not piracy either.
Sure it may be region encoded but since region-free DVD players aren't illegal in Australia that's not a problem.

At any point in my post, (apart from the Steam example), did I mention purely downloadable content?

You mentioned Netflix, probably almost everything on there is available in non-downloadable form from somewhere - there ain't nothing stopping you from buying in that form.

And while I think of it, if I'm in a country where it's legally available for download online, buy it and download it - you're saying I should hand it in when I get to the airport?

Are you going to leave anything behind in Australia, that you have legally bought, that is regionally restricted to Australia when you leave the country?
I don't think so.

I'll go out on a really thin limb here:

Piracy is theft, pretty simple and pretty much illegal everywhere - your non-copyright countries included.  Whether or not it's enforced is another matter.
However, if I can legally acquire anything, anywhere on this planet that's not illegal to own/use within Australian law then, broadly speaking, as far as Australian law is concerned I can own and use it.

EDIT: Actually I think I just painted myself into a corner there ... I'm going to shutup now  :-[

Quote
e.g. If I eat a piece of toast, can someone undo my eating of that toast with a piece of paper?

If I soak it in Ipecac I bet I could  :)
« Last Edit: November 27, 2014, 12:06:06 AM by 4wd »

Renegade

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #31 on: November 27, 2014, 04:20:03 AM »
EDIT: Actually I think I just painted myself into a corner there ... I'm going to shutup now  :-[

Hahahaha~! ;D 8)

Actually, yeah... you did. But that's a good thing. :)

You're going to run into problems whenever you start talking about laws and governments and jurisdictions or any of that.

No, but if they buy the legally available DVD while in Aruba and then take it home, that's not piracy.

But you can legally buy DVDs for which no royalty has been paid.

So, you're divorcing the payment of royalties there from whether or not it's piracy.

Do I have you summed up right here?

"Legally purchased = not pirated"


If they buy it online while in Australia, that's not piracy either.

Remember the Russian site that wasn't paying royalties but was selling music? People bought there.

You seem to be trying to tie payment to whether or not something is piracy. "Paid = not pirated?"


And while I think of it, if I'm in a country where it's legally available for download online, buy it and download it - you're saying I should hand it in when I get to the airport?

Side Note: I nearly ended myself up in prison when I first landed in Australia because I had some simple, innocuous items in my checked baggage that I'd entirely forgotten about.


Are you going to leave anything behind in Australia, that you have legally bought, that is regionally restricted to Australia when you leave the country?
I don't think so.

You're right. I wouldn't and I won't. But I can't think of anything that I have that is restricted to Australia... Still... I wouldn't care if it was.


I'll go out on a really thin limb here:

Piracy is theft, pretty simple and pretty much illegal everywhere - your non-copyright countries included.  Whether or not it's enforced is another matter.


YES!!! THANK YOU!!!

That's what I wanted to tease out of the conversation here.

The consequence of rejecting that (the opposite of what you said) is that, just for example:

A) It's not ok to kill homosexuals in Australian, but "those faggots" in Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Mauritania, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Sudan deserve to die.

B) By some kind of magic, aboriginals in Australia became "human" instead of "flora and fauna" in 1967 with the stroke of a pen.

C) Certain plants and flowers are magically "ok" in Colorado, but will land you in prison in California.

The insanity is obvious.

The principle is that whether or not something is right/wrong/criminal is not dependent on any law or any government or any jursidiction.

Laws *can* reflect what is right or wrong, but they cannot dictate what is right or wrong.
 

However, if I can legally acquire anything, anywhere on this planet that's not illegal to own/use within Australian law then, broadly speaking, as far as Australian law is concerned I can own and use it.


And that's what I want to eliminate - any kind of "legal" argument as to whether or not copying is illegal. Legal arguments are just silly, which I think I've shown above.

 
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

4wd

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #32 on: November 27, 2014, 04:50:11 AM »
Do I have you summed up right here?

"Legally purchased = not pirated"

No, I meant legally purchased as in all the middle men get their extortion while the artist gets a pittance.

Quote
Remember the Russian site that wasn't paying royalties but was selling music? People bought there.

You seem to be trying to tie payment to whether or not something is piracy. "Paid = not pirated?"

No, I don't tie payment to legal.  Paying for heroine doesn't make it legal does it?

Quote
Side Note: I nearly ended myself up in prison when I first landed in Australia because I had some simple, innocuous items in my checked baggage that I'd entirely forgotten about.

I'm sure it was nothing personal.

Quote
And that's what I want to eliminate - any kind of "legal" argument as to whether or not copying is illegal. Legal arguments are just silly, which I think I've shown above.

Yes, but your definition of legal is twisted, mine encompasses the whole transaction not just the handing over of money.

And I'm still sure I could get a trebuchet to throw a flaming rock 30km ... so duck  :P

eleman

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #33 on: November 27, 2014, 05:27:17 AM »
Piracy is theft, pretty simple and pretty much illegal everywhere - your non-copyright countries included.

Oh no not again the implicit loading.

Piracy = copyright infringement <> theft.
As in piracy <> murder, or piracy <> battery, or piracy <> oral sex.

Different terms have different meanings for a reason. If we are to use just one regardless of differences, there's no need for so many. Think about it, why are there different words for crime, felony, misdemeanor etc.? Because they refer to somewhat similar albeit essentially different concepts.

Theft is a case where the thief deprives the victim, of something.
Copyright infringement does not necessarily lead to deprivation.

Renegade

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #34 on: November 27, 2014, 07:30:01 AM »
Let's keep the fun rolling~!(TM) ;D

Do I have you summed up right here?

"Legally purchased = not pirated"

No, I meant legally purchased as in all the middle men get their extortion while the artist gets a pittance.

You're trying to have your cake and eat it too.

If it's legal to purchase a copy in Aruba (or any of the others), then it's legal. We don't get to make up new laws for some country out of the blue -- that the job of our regional overlords! :D 8)

You're trying to impose legislation from another jurisdiction on that legal transaction, and then say it isn't legal.

This was the point of me pointing out the illegality of homosexuality in a few different countries.

By applying the exact same logic you used above, we can get to the conclusion that homosexuality is also illegal in Australia.

The example of the first peoples of Australia not being human until 1967 was to illustrate the temporal nature, as opposed to the geographical nature above.

My point here is to show that either you accept the geographical nature of law being right/wrong or you don't.

I'm also trying to point out the absurdity of some action X being ok here, but bad there.

I'm firmly in the camp of rejecting that right/wrong has any geographical boundaries, etc. etc.

If you accept that right/wrong isn't bound to geographical areas, then you cannot accept that X is both right and wrong depending on where you are standing/sitting.

Now, if someone does accept that X is both right and wrong depending on where you are standing/sitting, then it necessarily follows that piracy/copying can be done in a "right" way, e.g. through proxies, etc.


Quote
Remember the Russian site that wasn't paying royalties but was selling music? People bought there.

You seem to be trying to tie payment to whether or not something is piracy. "Paid = not pirated?"

No, I don't tie payment to legal.  Paying for heroine doesn't make it legal does it?

I wouldn't tie payment to it either. It's a silly idea. Just clarifying there.

As for heroine, again, the legality of it has nothing to do with the right/wrong of it. But, let's skip that. I made that point in "C" above. (Heroine is just processed flowers, and not significantly different than marijuana in that aspect.) The point is C was the same as A - right/wrong/legal/illegal with respect to geography.


Quote
And that's what I want to eliminate - any kind of "legal" argument as to whether or not copying is illegal. Legal arguments are just silly, which I think I've shown above.

Yes, but your definition of legal is twisted, mine encompasses the whole transaction not just the handing over of money.

Here's where we really do agree:

1) Whether it is paid for or not doesn't matter.

So, that's progress.

I've tried to divorce the right/wrong of the matter from the legal/illegal of the matter by pointing out absurdities.

I'm not sure if you're on board there. You seem to want to use the arbitrary legal definitions that we live under. But the entire discussion of country ABC is rather boring as many DCers are from all over the world. Imposing a legal system on whether or not piracy/copying is right/wrong doesn't seem like a productive avenue to go down.


Yes, but your definition of legal is twisted, mine encompasses the whole transaction not just the handing over of money.

And yes - I did twist what "legal" is because there is no clear sense of what it is. Gay in Nigeria? Die. Die because you're gay in San Francisco? Crime. Aboriginal in Australia in 1950? Not human. Aboriginal in 2014? Human.

Whether or not something is legal is completely uninteresting. The interesting thing is whether something is right/wrong or ethical/unethical or moral/immoral/amoral or something along those lines. That's the direction I'm trying to steer the conversation in.

My above banter is just to try to lay the "legal" aspect to rest and be done with it as not useful.


And I'm still sure I could get a trebuchet to throw a flaming rock 30km ... so duck  :P


Running for cover the moment I click POST! ;D

Theft is a case where the thief deprives the victim, of something.
Copyright infringement does not necessarily lead to deprivation.

Great points!  :Thmbsup:

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

40hz

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #35 on: November 27, 2014, 10:23:40 AM »
Theft is a case where the thief deprives the victim, of something.
Copyright infringement does not necessarily lead to deprivation.

Great points!  :Thmbsup:



More like great rationalizations, but there you go. :-\

BTW: the Obama administration probably has a job for you, gentlemen. They love the art of "nuancing" definitions as much as you do. :P ;)

4wd

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #36 on: November 27, 2014, 12:16:07 PM »
You're trying to have your cake and eat it too.

No, but the problem is mine - I'm trying to explain something but unfortunately I can't get the terms I want to use correct or I'm not using the correct terms.

As soon as I can get it straight in my head I'll you know.  :)

Quote
The interesting thing is whether something is right/wrong or ethical/unethical or moral/immoral/amoral or something along those lines. That's the direction I'm trying to steer the conversation in.

And unfortunately that's where you lose me because those terms have close to zero meaning for me.

Quote
Theft is a case where the thief deprives the victim, of something.
Copyright infringement does not necessarily lead to deprivation.

Great points!  :Thmbsup:

So getting back to your Netflix scenario:
a) Are the copyright holders being deprived?
They're still getting paid.
b) Is the content distributor being deprived?
They're still getting paid.
c) Are the people using VPNs breaking Australian Copyright Law, (which, while it has some elements of the USA DMCA, is not identical)?
Interesting question.
d) Are they breaking anything?
Netflix T & C by not being in a country that Netflix serves.
e) How about Netflix?
Are they not breaking the T & C of their contracts with the copyright holders by supplying material to "unauthorised" (for want of a better word) users?

So, are the people in Australia using VPNs to access Netflix or Hulu in the USA "pirates"?

Who knows but according to the Australian Federal Government in 2011:

Quote
A spokesperson for Attorney-General Robert McClelland told The Australian last week: “In relation to the use of VPNs by Australians to access services such as Hulu and Netflix, on the limited information provided there does not appear to be an infringement of copyright law in Australia.”

This, (AFAIK), is classed as parallel import and in Australia, you're free to parallel import any item, (providing it's legal to own/use, etc), without restriction since about 2000, (I believe the only two items exempted were books and cars but I think that changed for books).

That still holds true to this day ... so who is really at fault here?

1) The people using VPNs and false information to deceive Netflix?
That's not piracy, that's receiving by deception.
2) Netflix, (and other content distributers), for not abiding by their contracts with content providers?
They should be policing who has access ... but they don't want the responsibility.

Until the Australian Federal Government makes a ruling one way or the other, or it's tested in an Australian Court of Law, the subject of whether or not these people are pirates is pretty much irrelevant.
AFA the content providers are concerned they are, AFA the Government are concerned they're not - take your pick.

You seem to have jumped on the side of the content providers ... me, I don't care.

So my original reply to your Netflix post still stands except my remark about 'summary execution under DMCA' was wrong.

Renegade

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #37 on: November 27, 2014, 06:58:50 PM »
BTW: the Obama administration probably has a job for you, gentlemen. They love the art of "nuancing" definitions as much as you do. :P ;)

Oh come on! It's all good fun!

Quote
The interesting thing is whether something is right/wrong or ethical/unethical or moral/immoral/amoral or something along those lines. That's the direction I'm trying to steer the conversation in.

And unfortunately that's where you lose me because those terms have close to zero meaning for me.


That's not a very common position to take, but I understand it.


You seem to have jumped on the side of the content providers ... me, I don't care.


Oh, that? No. I was merely trying to point out the absurdity of laws.


So my original reply to your Netflix post still stands except my remark about 'summary execution under DMCA' was wrong.

Don't be so quick to retract there about summary execution! :D It's just a few strokes of a pen away at any given time!



One of the problems with piracy/copying is that while a lot of people will certainly jump on it being wrong, nobody ever seems to be able to articulate why very well, or to address counterfactuals very well.

I'll leave off with a couple essays, both titled "Against Intellectual Property" for anyone that wants a more serious treatment of the topic:

https://mises.org/li...ellectual-property-0

It's rather long at 71 pages. No excerpts.

This one is rather short though:

https://www.uow.edu....rtin/pubs/95psa.html

Quote
There is a strong case for opposing intellectual property. There are a number of negative consequences of the ownership of information, such as retarding of innovation and exploitation of poor countries. Most of the usual arguments for intellectual property do not hold up under scrutiny. In particular, the metaphor of the marketplace of ideas provides no justification for ownership of ideas. The alternative to intellectual property is that intellectual products not be owned, as in the case of everyday language. Strategies against intellectual property include civil disobedience, promotion of non-owned information, and fostering of a more cooperative society.

But, I suppose I've played the Devil's Advocate enough, and it's about worn out now.


Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

40hz

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #38 on: November 27, 2014, 10:42:55 PM »
What IP does is create the opportunity for "walk-away income" which is saying it allows someone to separate income from hours.

A popular lecturer has only so many hours in a year in which he/he can make money lecturing. And so many venues in which to do it.

Record the seminar on a video, and the money earned is not directly linked to the lecturer's presence. And the venue becomes what is most convenient to the listener. No need to run out somewhere to hear something you want to hear. You can put in on when and where you wish - and listen to it as many times as you want. Big benefit to the listener that's not possible otherwise.

Put the same information in a book and it has the potential to reach millions and doesn't require sophisticated technology to access it. Big benefit for the less financially well off - or those in less advanced environments - yet still retains the benefits of the recorded seminar.

Publish electronically and the buyer gets all of the above plus the convenience of instant access. Benefit again.

Pirate any of the above and the lecturer gets zero for all the additional benefits provided. His/her income opportunities are reduced to what can be made by doing a live presentation. Their income once again becomes tied to physical hours. Furthermore, the pirated copies have the potential to reduce what might have otherwise been a valuable product to a commodity. Why pay for it at all when you can get it for free?

Basically, the creator of intellectual property is once again reduced to swapping hours of lifetime for dollars on a one-to-one basis. Which serves to put an absolute cap on one's earning potential even under the most ideal set of circumstances.

But it gets worse. With the commoditization of IP something else bad happens. Piracy serves to drive out professionals. Because once you can no longer make a living, the only people that can afford to pursue an activity are the wealthy and the amateurs.

If you look at literature prior to the 20th century, writing was the playground of the wealthy and privileged. And the books reflected the interests and biases of those who wrote them. Books were written by "the establishment" and preached establishment politics and mores. It wasn't until independent publishers started making inexpensive books and pamphlets (and paying authors) that differing viewpoints got more broadly into circulation - sometimes with disruptive ideas that reshaped the societies themselves.

Pirating IP isn't liberating. It does little more than reduce people that create IP to an hourly wage since it destroys the opportunity for walk-away income. Which on turn puts a cap on creative earnings. Which eventually kills off professionalism and gives the stage to the amateurs and the idle. Because why would anybody with an ounce of brains want to go through all the trouble of being creative when they could just get a job doing something a lot easier. And likely for the same (or more) money?

Pirating is a game changer. But not in the way some people think. What it mostly does is switch the formula for who is doing the screwing. It used to be the studios and record labels who were ripping off the talent. Now it's their fans.

Yeah...that's so much better.

-------------------------------------------------------------

@Ren - you still didn't answer my earlier question about whether or not you felt there would be harm if I were to crack your software and start giving it away to as many people as I could. And also encourage them to do the same. Because if I read some of what you're saying correctly, by your calculus and rationale, I wouldn't be doing anything wrong or hurting you in the slightest. In fact, from an anarchist (or libertarian or whatever) viewpoint it seems I'm almost morally bound to do exactly that.

Y'know..."Power to the People - off The Man" and all that other 60s stuff dudes like this used to go on and on about?

power.jpg

(And mostly in coffee shops or Student Union buildings.) :P



TaoPhoenix

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #39 on: November 28, 2014, 01:23:16 AM »

Good post 40hz. I want to drift this slightly sideways that the "college model" is under fire from all this. Typical "entry level" college semesters are jut batches of 40 lectures per course per year. For X thousands of dollars.

I've remarked here and there, just release the set of lectures, and the only "value" is about ten questions per semester.



eleman

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #40 on: November 28, 2014, 03:25:38 AM »
What IP does is create the opportunity for "walk-away income" which is saying it allows someone to separate income from hours.

A popular lecturer has only so many hours in a year in which he/he can make money lecturing. And so many venues in which to do it.

Record the seminar on a video, and the money earned is not directly linked to the lecturer's presence. And the venue becomes what is most convenient to the listener. No need to run out somewhere to hear something you want to hear. You can put in on when and where you wish - and listen to it as many times as you want. Big benefit to the listener that's not possible otherwise.

Well, this is a creative rewriting of the history. It is obvious that IP was not invented to let lecturers broadcast over paid youtube channels. You might wanna check this out for a more accurate (methinks) version of the history of copyright.

Put the same information in a book and it has the potential to reach millions and doesn't require sophisticated technology to access it. Big benefit for the less financially well off - or those in less advanced environments - yet still retains the benefits of the recorded seminar.

Publish electronically and the buyer gets all of the above plus the convenience of instant access. Benefit again.

So put them in a book, video, mp3, whatever. Pirates don't hinder your ability to publish. They may hinder publication as a commercial venture, but not publication per se.

Pirate any of the above and the lecturer gets zero for all the additional benefits provided. His/her income opportunities are reduced to what can be made by doing a live presentation. Their income once again becomes tied to physical hours. Furthermore, the pirated copies have the potential to reduce what might have otherwise been a valuable product to a commodity. Why pay for it at all when you can get it for free?

Basically, the creator of intellectual property is once again reduced to swapping hours of lifetime for dollars on a one-to-one basis. Which serves to put an absolute cap on one's earning potential even under the most ideal set of circumstances.

But it gets worse. With the commoditization of IP something else bad happens. Piracy serves to drive out professionals. Because once you can no longer make a living, the only people that can afford to pursue an activity are the wealthy and the amateurs.

Well... you consider writing (and comparable activities) as a source of income, a way to earn living. I consider them an outburst of creativity, some goal in and of itself. Again, historically, writers were not entitled to anything just because they wrote. They received some benefits, often indirectly, such as the theater proceeds Shakespeare received. But he knew from the start that writing alone would not create any rights for him.

Consider Spinoza. He was a great philosopher who laid the foundations of the Enlightenment. He thought, and he wrote. Not to earn a living, but because he felt he had to. Man he was awesome. Yet he knew writing was not something to create a living for him. Instead he worked as an optical lens manufacturer. If working as a full-time lens manufacturer did not prevent laying the foundations of the Enlightenment, I believe today's writers will also do fine working as a nurse, waiter, carpenter, programmer, whatever.

If you look at literature prior to the 20th century, writing was the playground of the wealthy and privileged. And the books reflected the interests and biases of those who wrote them. Books were written by "the establishment" and preached establishment politics and mores. It wasn't until independent publishers started making inexpensive books and pamphlets (and paying authors) that differing viewpoints got more broadly into circulation - sometimes with disruptive ideas that reshaped the societies themselves.

Well... to think of it... It makes sense... Marx wrote what he did to earn royalties didn't he?
Anyway check out publication statistics comparing pre- and post- extended copyright regime.

Pirating IP isn't liberating. It does little more than reduce people that create IP to an hourly wage since it destroys the opportunity for walk-away income. Which on turn puts a cap on creative earnings. Which eventually kills off professionalism and gives the stage to the amateurs and the idle. Because why would anybody with an ounce of brains want to go through all the trouble of being creative when they could just get a job doing something a lot easier. And likely for the same (or more) money?

Again refer to the Spinoza paragraph.
 
Pirating is a game changer. But not in the way some people think. What it mostly does is switch the formula for who is doing the screwing. It used to be the studios and record labels who were ripping off the talent. Now it's their fans.

Why do you create an entitlement on part of the writers in the first place? They were not entitled to anything in the 17th century, and virtually anything prior to 1920s. Yet they did write. Somewhere in the 20th century, we invented this entitlement idea. And now they constantly feel the fear of being screwed.

What IP ultimately does is to make thoughts commodities, which can be bought by the wealthy, and then used to further their interests.

If I may put words in the mouth of an actor known for 1950s westerns, IP is not the solution to our problems. IP is the problem.
And piracy is a symptom of this problem, an irrelevant and mostly useless practice in my humble opinion.

ed.: typo fixes
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 03:32:03 AM by eleman »

40hz

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #41 on: November 28, 2014, 05:31:13 AM »
^You claim I'm creating an "entitlement" for writers? As opposed to the entitlement you seem to be comfortable claiming for yourself? Seems a bit of a double standard don't you think?
 :)

BTW - just for the record, where do you come down on the question I put to Renegade earlier?

Should I feel free to crack and use his software (and share it with others) wthout bothering to get a license since he's not "entitled" to anything for it by your standards? Sure, he's a friend and a respected member of this community, but so what?

How say you? Yea or nay.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 05:43:58 AM by 40hz »

eleman

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #42 on: November 28, 2014, 05:33:42 AM »
Nope. I'm not creating anything for me. Writers may write. Or they may not. It's at their discretion. I'm not entitled to anything. I can't demand them to write.

If they want their ideas to be adopted by wider masses, it's in their best interest to write. But if they don't, that's fine by me as well.

40hz

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #43 on: November 28, 2014, 05:46:56 AM »
^Apologies. I added a question to my previous post but hit the save key by mistake before I got it in. I' d be interested in your answer.

eleman

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #44 on: November 28, 2014, 05:58:25 AM »
^Apologies. I added a question to my previous post but hit the save key by mistake before I got it in. I' d be interested in your answer.

This will sound like avoiding the question, but I never saw myself as one to write commercial software. So I may be ignorant of some aspects of life as a commercial software programmer.

I could write free (as in beer, as well as as in FSF) software if I were good at it (and I'm not). Perhaps I could ask for a donation if users liked it.

The closest personal comparison I can see myself in with respect to your question is this: I have a blog. If someone took something I wrote, and published it without due reference, and even charged for my articles... I probably wouldn't mind. But as I said, I'm not making a normative judgment here. I'm not in a position to impose my ethics to others. And god forbid if I ever be in a position to impose. That would be unethical :P

40hz

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #45 on: November 28, 2014, 06:37:57 AM »
I'm not in a position to impose my ethics to others.

Nor am I. But I'm looking for a clarification of your argument using a real 'real world' example. And one that is very close to home.

Because none of this exists in an intellectual non-space. There are real people involved. And real people are being affected in real ways. See Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal for how an even logical and seemingly moral suggestion can bear strange fruits once the implementation of said proposal is considered. I'm sure you've read it, but there's a PDF here if you need a refresher. (I did since the last time I read it in full was 30 years ago. ;D)

So... I'll ask the question again while slightly rephrasing it: Do YOU feel that if YOU wanted the aforementioned software, you'd (in your own mind) be ethically correct in acquiring and using it without first obtaining a license. And for extra credit (and logical consistency), would you still remain ethically correct if a good friend, in turn, asked you for a copy of same?


eleman

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #46 on: November 28, 2014, 06:48:27 AM »
Today IP is abused to skew the distribution of wealth. Its primary purpose is to make commodities out of thoughts and ideas, so that capital can buy them, and subsequently sell them to consumers at a substantial profit. The "compensating artists" point is no longer relevant, for most, albeit not all, of them earn their living by appearing on events and shows, rather than through royalties.

From this thoroughly political perspective, my conscience is free with respect to downloading things released by billion dollar firms.
For shareware released directly by the programmer, however, I check out the trial version. If I like it, I write to the programmer and tell them $39.99 is a lot of money here in Turkey, and I'd be really happy if they would give me a discount. They often do. Regardless of the discount, in the end I buy the software.

So, to answer your question:
I'd not act against the will of an ordinary natural person who thinks he/she is better off charging for the software. I'd pay for it, or not use it.
The legal persons with the clout (and the will) to shape the laws through lobbying, regulatory capture etc. are fair game to screw however. Because they screw me anytime they get the chance to do so.
But in practice, (nowadays) I rarely bother to pirate their products as well, for I have free alternatives. Why bother cracking ms office, when libre would do?

40hz

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #47 on: November 28, 2014, 07:25:06 AM »
I'd not act against the will of an ordinary natural person who thinks he/she is better off charging for the software. I'd pay for it, or not use it.

An interesting but very real distinction. It could be considered "situational ethics" by some. But since all ethics are (of necessity) situational, calling them 'situational' is not a valid criticism. It points to a higher level of ethical distinction. Something too many people who are in love with a "zero tolerance solution" fail to consider. Thank you for not being one of those. :Thmbsup:

The legal persons with the clout (and the will) to shape the laws through lobbying, regulatory capture etc. are fair game to screw however. Because they screw me anytime they get the chance to do so.

So your quarrel is with the regulatory environment and the 'players' rather than the content creators themselves? Ok. I got it now.

That's also a very humanizing distinction and clarification.

Question: How do you break the current framework without sacrificing the creators in the process? The interest groups and corps are the last to get hurt in this sort of battle. The people that make the product are the first to get put on the block or thrown to the wolves. This isn't meant as a comeback. I really am curious how that might be accomplished with minimal casualties to the creatives.

But in practice, (nowadays) I rarely bother to pirate their products as well, for I have free alternatives. Why bother cracking ms office, when libre would do?

I hear you. I do the same, along with providing financial support to those projects whenever possible. (Oddly enough, I do practice what I preach. Go figure.) 8)

eleman

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #48 on: November 28, 2014, 07:40:40 AM »
Question: How do you break the current framework without sacrificing the creators in the process? The interest groups and corps are the last to get hurt in this sort of battle. The people that make the product are the first to get put on the block or thrown to the wolves. This isn't meant as a comeback. I really am curious how that might be accomplished with minimal casualties to the creatives.

Well, that's the one I have yet to figure out a good answer for.

The best I have so far is to go back to the creative compensation system which was in place before the royalty system (i.e. how Spinoza, Mozart or Shakespeare paid their bills). But it's not practical for immediate application, and would disrupt the economic system to an extent to cause unbearable hardship to millions. And you would never see products such as Pixar movies in the lone-wolf creative system I preach. So it would take away certain things we are used to and like.

Therefore, I'm always all ears for better solutions. But making creations "property" is not the way to go from my political perspective. I can say that.

What would you suggest to reform the existing intellectual creativity compensation regime, if you think we have to?

40hz

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Re: Thoughts on "Piracy".
« Reply #49 on: November 28, 2014, 08:16:25 AM »
What would you suggest to reform the existing intellectual creativity compensation regime, if you think we have to?

We do - and I'm not at all sure how to do it.

It will probably first require a major shift in attitude on the part of the creators and consumers. That and some management of expectations by both sides before anything lasting gets accomplished on that front. Right now both sides feel hurt and angry and are constantly doubling down and getting more and more ridiculous with their claims and arguments.

Which is why the vultures are having such a field day. Any time a buyer and a seller aren't being civil and reasonable, it's only a matter of time before a middle-man shows up, inserts him or herself in the process, and fleeces them both bare.

"So it goes..." :-\