Re: [Full-disclosure] when did piracy/theft become expression of freedom



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On Fri, 27 Jan 2012 19:02:09 -0800
"Zach C." <fxchip@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

On Jan 27, 2012 4:07 PM, <Valdis.Kletnieks@xxxxxx> wrote:

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")?

If you buy an album used, the seller generally loses possession of
it, you gain possession of it at a reduced cost, and the original
purchase still gave the original seller and producer value. Value has
still been exchanged, assuming no literal theft was involved to make
the whole thing criminal anyway. If you make a copy, you're pretty
much creating (or, if you prefer, *re*-creating) value out of
basically nothing using source material, but nothing of value goes
back to the original creator of what was copied.

Except that there are plenty of legal and unquestionably ethical
situations where things are copied without any transfer of value to the
original creator. Nothing is created in a vacuum; musicians are
inspired by other musicians, film makers by other film makers, authors
by authors, etc. Nobody is so original that they can claim that their
creative work did not borrow ideas from other creative work.

Moreover, even copying a work in its entirety may fall under fair use;
when was the last time you paid royalties for the use of the Happy
Birthday song?


2) Who gets those profits, the artist, the label, or the RIAA? Are
you stealing profits from the artist, or are you stealing them from
somebody
else
who was attemting to steal them from the artist?

All of the above; while the companies' creative accounting is almost
criminally bullshit, the artist *still* gets a cut and even a profit
if they do well enough. As a nasty little bonus, any profit taken
from those companies will never, ever be seen by the artist
regardless. There is a 100% better chance of an artist receiving
money via a record company getting paid for the artist's work than a
record company *not* getting paid from the artist's work. It's gotta
come from somewhere. So if you're screwing them and they're screwing
the artist, you just wind up making them screw the artist that much
harder.

This is not as clear-cut as one might think. Musicians make a lot of
money doing live shows, and a live show is an experience that cannot be
downloaded. Attendance at live shows is driven by the popularity of
the musicians, which is increased by downloading as much as it is
increased by radio broadcasting, if not more. One of the major
criticisms of Metallica's lawsuit against Napster users was that in
their early days, Metallica became popular because people would record
them at their concerts and distribute the recordings.

The way I see it, the way we cling to copyrights and try to protect
industries that were built on the copyright system when we now have
computers and computer networks is equivalent to hiring scribes and
protecting their jobs in an age of printing presses. Copyrights were a
great idea back when copying creative works required specialized
industrial equipment. Since that is no longer the case, we should
instead be investigating new systems for promoting art and science and
building new industries around such systems. Copyrights are not going
to die overnight, just like scribes continued to be employed for some
time after the printing press spread, but eventually copyrights are
going to die -- or else computers and global computer networks are
going to have to die. I doubt that technology can be rolled back, but
creating a new legal framework does not seem to be infeasible.

- -- Ben



- --
Benjamin R Kreuter
UVA Computer Science
brk7bx@xxxxxxxxxxxx

- --

"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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