Piracy

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Norsefire, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

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    3,634
    I don't follow your point here. Yes, you are right, that if I offer to sell you a balloon, and someone else gives you one (that that person owns) for free, then you don't have to pay me for it.

    On the other hand, if someone else gives you one of *my* balloons for free, and he does not himself own it, he's going to jail. For your part, if you knew the balloon was stolen when you accepted it, that's also a crime. If you did not know, then you are safe...except that the balloon will be taken from you and given back to me.

    The desire for the balloon to have a certain price is irrelevant in that case, since as the balloon was stolen goods you have no entitlement to it at all unless you meet my price.

    As long as we are agreed that criminal infringers are indeed criminals and unethical, I have no issue with whether you call them "thieves" or "infringers". That's just semantics.

    That said, the name of the NET Act shows that Congress was likening infringement to "theft" , and there are plenty of definitions of theft that would allow for the taking of IP without permission to be included within it. Again, though, its the case of a crime by any other name, still being a crime.
     
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  3. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    And again, you are conflating making a copy of something (which does not leave anyone any worse off than before the copy was made) with taking physical property (which does indeed leave you worse off than before the action was carried out). Rather than someone taking a balloon from your cart and giving it to someone else for free, what if they give away a balloon that is exactly like one of your balloons, but did not come from your cart? Suppose that your stock of balloons is not diminished in any way, and the only "harm" you have suffered is a lost hypothetical opportunity to sell a balloon to someone who wasn't going to pay your asking price anyway. Would you still say that something unethical has occurred?
    That it is criminal is a legal fact; I do not necessarily agree that it's unethical in all circumstances in which it is illegal.
    Yes and no. Many people get very confused and seem to genuinely not understand the difference between copyright infringement and theft, leading to stupid arguments like "So it's okay to steal a TV just because you don't want to pay for it?!?" which do not logically apply to copyright infringement, because the common moral argument against theft (specifically, that it take property away from people unjustly) don't really apply to copyright infringement, which does not actually take anything from anyone.
     
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  5. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

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  7. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

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    I am not conflating those things, the example posed was of a balloon, a physical good, so I responded in kind.

    That said, let's say it were a patented design. If I try to sell you my design, but the price is too steep, you are free to download the blueprints for *some other design* from another person for free...if that other person's holds the patent to that other design or if his license gives him the right to make it available for download for free. If it's not that other person's song (i.e. he does not hold the related patent) and if the terms of his license do not permit him to make it available to others, then he is a criminal, and as with the balloon, if the design in question is mine, I should have the right to stop him, and prevent you from using the design.

    The harm to me is that my right--an exclusive right according to the law--to determine who may use my patented design has been impinged. I went to the trouble of inventing something new, and I expected that patent law would give me the exclusive right to control my invention. The reason we allow this is to encourage people to innovate and work on things that might otherwise be easily stolen, namely ideas like songs books, inventions, etc. Take away the protection of that exclusivity--which is the effect of what you propose--and leave me to rely on the goodwill of people who've already shown that they are willing to wipe their ass with the social contract and its "laws", and you are basically telling me that I should suffer assholes gladly and get used to not being paid even if my idea is wildly popular, because finding an ethical asswiper who will pay me my asking price out of a sense of honor is to cast the inventors and artists of the world as Diogenes.
     
  8. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    But this is not harm per se; the only real harm done to you is the lost potential sale. Control of who uses your patented design is not an end unto itself, but merely a vehicle intended to allow you to make money. If there was never any potential sale in the first place - like in the above example, where the potential customer was definitely not going to pay your asking price - then you have not actually been harmed.
     
  9. birch Valued Senior Member

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    5,077
    wrong, they make too much money for a lot of crap they spew out. it's a job like anything else and if they are doing it also for the love of the art, then they can make a few million less and be okay. pfft

    unless, one can sample music, games etc then it's theft of the consumer by hyped advertising that does not live up to it and then the consumer cannot return it. i've bought all kinds of software and games not only for myself but other relatives and at least half of it was junk or not very good, meaning not worth what i paid. money gone to make those others rich. you make it seem as if it's all one-sided.

    most of the time, you can't return opened games, music, movies etc. i've paid for movies, music, games and other software that were not worth the money. i was one of those people being fleeced so they could get rich because of thier art(often crappy).

    as long as they put in place where all these things can be sampled legitimately, then you can complain about piracy.

    it doesn't surprise me you would hold this position without realizing how it fleeces the public on the other hand and has for a long time until file sharing came about. i'm sure there are others here that have paid for 8-tracks, tapes, cds, dvds, movie tickets etc and they were basically shafted of thier hard-earned money and no returns allowed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2010
  10. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

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    5,502
    More to the point, it's not so much the artists that lose money, as opposed to the particular corporate entity that distributes their work.

    Is it still theft? Sure, by any technical definition. The problem is that there's an implicit assumption that all theft is 'wrong'...
     
  11. John99 Banned Banned

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    ha ha...

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    yeah sure.
     
  12. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    ???
     
  13. birch Valued Senior Member

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    5,077
    the problem is there is a blindspot where it's okay to fool and steal from the public of often crappy music, movies, and other software since you often don't know until you make the leap and part with your money.

    then you can't return it. i just recently i bought sims 3 and it's total crap which i paid sixty dollars for and which i cannot return. it just sits there. i've also bought educational software for my nieces and nephews and some of them were total crap which they've had to give away. none of these can be returned. i've also paid for movies which were also totally crappy though the trailers led me to believe otherwise and i'm not even complaining about that. i don't demand my money back for it.

    so this theft isn't just a one-way street. if anything the file sharers are at least evening the score!
     
  14. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

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    5,502

    ??

    What. you seriously think it's the artists out there raging about all their lost dollars??

    Come on.


    Hey, I totally agree with you on that.
    The problem is, technology has so rapidly advanced that economic profit concerned entities haven't kept pace.
     
  15. John99 Banned Banned

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    22,046
    um yeah. unfortunately it does effect the starving artist immensely.
     
  16. birch Valued Senior Member

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    5,077
    this must be a joke. they are upset that they might not be filthy multimillionaires but only be moderate millionaires. they make me sick and most do not deserve that kind of pay. it's ridiculous.

    that said, i do understand that piracy is a problem and people do lose money as they depend on profits from sales. i especially feel for those many graphic artists and unknown faces who work on software and games but not most music artists or film artists. just like i don't feel for jocks who make millions.
     
  17. Parmenides Registered Senior Member

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    48
    Generally I think IP protection is already pretty rigorous in most parts of the world. In Australia, the IP legislation imposes serious penalties on people who infringe on someone's IP rights, and courts can impose wide range of civil and criminal penalties and remedies to stop the infringing activity (i.e. issue injunctions) and also to compensate the IP owner (making orders for an account of profits for example for someone who steals IP and derives an illicit profit).

    I am currently doing a course in Copyright and Trademark Law and I have also looked at Patent Law in another course. I think there are some legitimate arguments in favour of strong IP rights (to recoup investment costs and to enable creators of intellectual property like authors and inventors to make a decent living) but I am concerned that these days, many IP rights are held by powerful and wealthy corporations. There is some evidence that rich and powerful corporations can use their IP rights in ways that are repressive. This is more of a concern with biotechnology and agriculture, where biotech and big agribusiness companies have tried to pressure poor developing nations to pay exorbitant prices for vital drugs like AIDS anti-retrovirals, or have taken patent infringement proceedings against farmers it alleges grow patented crops (though in some cases there is evidence the infringement was accidental, perhaps due to patented crop seeds being blown onto farms where the patented crop is not used). There are issues where innovative work being done by some artists using modern information technology could be stifled out of actual or feared lawsuits from powerful music companies or established artists for IP infringement.

    The IP protection regime always has to conduct a balance between ensuring people who try to make a living from IP rights (such as authors who have copyrights and patentees who own patents) are able to make a living from their inventive work and have a certain degree of control over their work, against the costs of imposing what is basically a monopoly on the use of ideas. I think there is a strong argument that society benefits when knowledge, ideas and technology are shared rather than monopolised for use by a single person or entity. But inventors of IP are entitled to be rewarded for their labour and have to make a living, so there does need to be a prevention of the 'free rider' problem. IP protection is a good way to achieve this, but IP regulators need to make sure that IP rights do not become just another way the existing social, informational and economic inequalities in the globalised, knowledge-based economy are increased.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2010
  18. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

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    3,634
    Actually commerical sales are only one potential aspect of it. Nothing limits the exclusive right merely to commercial uses. Suppose I invent a new pharmaceutical that makes people stronger, smarter and taller. Suppose I only want New Yorkers to have it because I am such a fan of New York State, so I distribute it for free to New Yorkers who have a valid state ID and I refuse to allow any sales or distribution outside the State of New York.

    Suppose I invent a new and highly effective cleaning compound and get a patent on it, but I discover that with little effort it can be converted into an explosive. The ethical concerns over consumers inappropriately doing just that might make me decide not to sell or distribute my product to *anyone*. I may prefer to simply sit on my patent and never ever allow anyone to use the technology.

    In those cases, I am myself limiting my own customer base and commercial prospects. It doesn't matter that my intended use might not be a "good idea" (or even is "bizarre") in the eyes of other people, and it doesn't matter that I could earn more money using another strategy. What matters is that I have the exclusive right to determine how and by whom my invention is to be used.

    The same goes for any work of art. I may very well, as an artist, object to certain people using my artwork (because I disagree with their politics, for example). Nice of Bush's People to pirate "I Won't Back Down", but Tom Petty was pretty annoyed when he found out, because he didn't like Bush's politics.
     

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