Register to reply

Wikipedia blackout

by Hurkyl
Tags: blackout, wikipedia
Share this thread:
Jimmy Snyder
#181
Jan22-12, 05:16 AM
P: 2,179
It's not stealing the copy, it's stealing the right to copy.
cmb
#182
Jan22-12, 05:21 AM
P: 628
Quote Quote by Jimmy Snyder View Post
It's not stealing the copy, it's stealing the right to copy.
Stealing is well-defined and includes the act of denying use to the legal title holder or his agents.

IP is not stolen, it is infringed. IP offences are unlawful infringements on rights to exclusive use/sales thereof.

It is like saying that if a Policeman arrests you he has stolen your right to go about your business. That is, he has actually taken something off you. It's pedantics, maybe, but it is not right. He may have infringed your right to go about your business (he might well have done that lawfully), but he has not stolen something from you.
Curious3141
#183
Jan22-12, 05:32 AM
HW Helper
Curious3141's Avatar
P: 2,949
Quote Quote by cmb View Post
He [Republican Senator Lamar Smith] said: "The online theft of American intellectual property is no different than the theft of products from a store.

Really? Has it not been made to be a theft, by modern conceptions of 'Intellectual Property'?

Theft is 'taking something, without the intention of giving it back'. How can data be 'taken' and 'not given back'?
More precisely: "Theft is the illegal taking of another person's property without that person's permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it."

The "intent to deprive the rightful owner" is the all-important part. This holds even if the thief decides to later return the goods (he still had the original intent to deprive at the time of commission of the crime).

Copyright violation is NOT theft. It's more akin to using water from your well without your permission (even when you have a great excess, so you will never be short). In fact, even this is not accurate since in a lot of cases, the "victim" (in the parallel with the "theft" analogy) is a willing party to the file-sharing - *someone* originally has to buy the music/movie to start sharing it online, right?

So using the analogy to determine the "victim" here is meaningless. The "victim" in copyright cases is said to be the holder of the copyright. They superimpose the faces of the artistes so the little people can make the emotional connection, but in most cases, the copyrights are held by faceless corporate entities trafficking in billions of dollars per annum. If one goes back to the "theft" analogy, it's like Lamar Smith is accusing you of stealing, not from the store per se, but from Kellogg's or Black and Decker directly. It makes absolutely no sense, but when was sense to be expected from a politician?

What's going on here is that the physical medium for the transmission of the product has become redundant. It's the data stream, the 1s and 0s that's become the real commodity. Unfortunately, it's also a commodity that's eminently suited to being effortlessly duplicated ad nauseam, unless it's crippled in some way with DRM (a rather ironic moniker, because rights are actually being taken away from the consumer, without any real rights being conferred on the artistes who dreamt up the product). So instead of a purchasing sort of structure, they're forced to go to a licensing one - when you buy music, a movie or an ebook, you're only buying the licence to use it in certain approved ways. Anything outside those bounds, you're breaking the law. But it still isn't *theft*!

Allow me to meander a little tangentially here - I often think about the "Star Trek" economy - with "replicators" in common use. Right now, when we need to use a hammer or a lawnmower or a car and we don't have one, we have to go to a rightful owner we know and borrow one. Neither the makers nor the designers of those implements are likely to be coming after us. But what if, one day, we could just take a friend's thing and replicate one for ourselves from valueless raw materials? Would the designers of that thing (the "IP holders") come after us for copyright infringement? In Star Trek, stuff like this revolutionised the economy to the extent that it no longer made sense to be remotely capitalistic, but would we get so lucky if that day ever came? Or would we lurch into a half-enlightened state where the only things of value became energy (assuming there was a limited supply and no trivial way to collect/extract it oneself) and "IP"? Will we ever free ourselves of the tethers to greed? I guess it remains to be seen.
Jimmy Snyder
#184
Jan22-12, 05:37 AM
P: 2,179
So theft is bad and infringing is good?
Hurkyl
#185
Jan22-12, 07:32 AM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
Hurkyl's Avatar
P: 16,091
Quote Quote by ginru View Post
The anti-SOPA guy was younger, enthusiastic about the future, and seemed full of passion for new ideas and technology's potential, basically the poster boy for companies like Apple and Google that adapt and succeed in this new economy.
Apple makes hardware and Google sells ad space on its services. Neither one is an example of how to succeed at being a content provider.

(edit: I had meant to say "content producer" when I wrote this)
MarcoD
#186
Jan22-12, 07:44 AM
P: 98
Quote Quote by Hurkyl View Post
Apple makes hardware and Google sells ad space on its services. Neither one is an example of how to succeed at being a content provider.
Yah, I feel a bit silly since I didn't know Netflix (unavailable in my country) already sells flat rate services. I have the feeling that there's a small battle going on between the old manner of doing business, the new manner of doing business, and what are now illegal unrestricted content providers.

I looked at youtube, they want to offer a similar service as Netflix, but they only wanted to throw 100 million at the problem. Which isn't enough to buy enough content and break the hegemony of cable, and at the same time is probably too much given that you can also look at content with no cost illegally.

The problem is that YouTube would need to become a content producer (to break the old hegemonies), a content provider, and needs several tens of millions of subscribers at a low cost flat rate at the same time.
Char. Limit
#187
Jan22-12, 01:21 PM
PF Gold
Char. Limit's Avatar
P: 1,951
Quote Quote by Jimmy Snyder View Post
So theft is bad and infringing is good?
Please point to where someone says infringing is good. You know you need evidence for that sort of claim.
russ_watters
#188
Jan22-12, 01:29 PM
Mentor
P: 22,286
Quote Quote by Char. Limit View Post
Please point to where someone says infringing is good. You know you need evidence for that sort of claim.
Jimmy was probably making a commentary over the silliness of nitpicking the difference between the two definitions if there is no moral difference.
ginru
#189
Jan22-12, 04:01 PM
P: 2
Quote Quote by Hurkyl View Post
Apple makes hardware and Google sells ad space on its services. Neither one is an example of how to succeed at being a content provider.

(edit: I had meant to say "content producer" when I wrote this)
The key is that they adapt to the consumers. Goggle acquired Youtube while Apple has iTunes, both popular means of content distribution in a new market where much of the content is user-generated or digitally replicated. In addition, they both made sure to get a firm grip on the smartphone app markets as again, this is where consumers are shifting.

Businesses that stick to old, one-dimensional models (like Blockbuster and Borders) will struggle in this new market. Another thing to mention is that the content itself isn't really what has the value but rather it's the fan culture around that content. For example, when I dropped my cable TV, I realized that I didn't actually miss any of the shows I was once addicted to but I did miss the water-cooler chat about those shows. I no longer have the patience to sit through the fluff of an entire series, but I do enjoy the short clips and comments that I read on Youtube. It's like watching a long trailer of all the good parts while chatting with fan geeks who read the book.

As for conventional content providers, Disney was smart to re-release their beloved classics in 3D. In addition, they also bought the established fanbases of Pixar and Marvel Comics. Not only does that still pay off in terms of movies, but they can reap the benefits in other media, like gaming.

I'm glad MarcoD mentioned World of Warcraft because it reminds me of my old addiction to Diablo. The game itself was ok, but what really sucked me in was the Battlenet multi-player network/chat. Blizzard and other game makers are a great model to follow as they provide a total package with their own built-in fan culture that gives the users a dynamically evolving experience. This reflects the essence of what consumers want from technology. If these companies had simply focused on that instead of trying to continue exploiting consumers through overpriced CDs and DVDs, then perhaps they wouldn't be so desperate now for legislative help.
Galteeth
#190
Jan22-12, 04:27 PM
P: 320
Quote Quote by Hurkyl View Post
Apple makes hardware and Google sells ad space on its services. Neither one is an example of how to succeed at being a content provider.

(edit: I had meant to say "content producer" when I wrote this)
An interesting note: MTV is now offering their shows online with commercials. I think this is the way it has to be done now.
MarcoD
#191
Jan22-12, 05:20 PM
P: 98
Quote Quote by Galteeth View Post
An interesting note: MTV is now offering their shows online with commercials. I think this is the way it has to be done now.
I think so too. Together with stuff like international and national entertainment and news Internet channels. So the whole world can talk about the same subject when having coffee.

(I have the feeling that a flat rate subscription on a number of channels would work best. Where the provider essentially would sell you the 'experience' of being among the first to watch new content. Guess it needs to happen because I don't think movies or series have a lot of value left once they have been aired anywhere on the world.)
Curious3141
#192
Jan22-12, 08:17 PM
HW Helper
Curious3141's Avatar
P: 2,949
Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
Jimmy was probably making a commentary over the silliness of nitpicking the difference between the two definitions if there is no moral difference.
There is a moral difference. They're both crimes under current law, but with vastly different implications and ramifications.

To assert there is no moral difference would be as ridiculous as asserting that shoplifting and armed robbery are equally reprehensible crimes.
Pythagorean
#193
Jan22-12, 08:25 PM
PF Gold
Pythagorean's Avatar
P: 4,287
We can talk moral philosophy all we want, but if you want to be practical about it, people are going to take the free copy, given a choice. If companies want to preserve profit margins, they just have to come up with a better method of product delivery and development. That's it, no matter how wrong they feel piracy is.
Curious3141
#194
Jan22-12, 08:36 PM
HW Helper
Curious3141's Avatar
P: 2,949
Quote Quote by Pythagorean View Post
We can talk moral philosophy all we want, but if you want to be practical about it, people are going to take the free copy, given a choice. If companies want to preserve profit margins, they just have to come up with a better method of product delivery and development. That's it, no matter how wrong they feel piracy is.
This, I agree with. And the (reasonably-priced) paid distribution of said content should be done equitably across the world. Right now, when I try to access legitimate media services hosted in the US from outside the US, I often get a message that tells me such access is prohibited from my location. This is another example of the unfair practices of "copyright holders" - presumably they're holding back on this so that they can make more lucrative deals with the local (non-US) cable networks to release the TV shows at a later date. In the meantime, the avid-TV watching consumers who want to keep current of the latest shows without being done in by the spoilers prevalent on the Internet are disenfranchised.
Jimmy Snyder
#195
Jan22-12, 08:39 PM
P: 2,179
Quote Quote by Curious3141 View Post
To assert there is no moral difference would be as ridiculous as asserting that shoplifting and armed robbery are equally reprehensible crimes.
Don't be silly. The only difference between shoplifting and armed robbery is the weapon. No such difference exists between theft and copyright infringement.
Evo
#196
Jan22-12, 08:49 PM
Mentor
Evo's Avatar
P: 26,524
Quote Quote by Curious3141 View Post
There is a moral difference. They're both crimes under current law, but with vastly different implications and ramifications.

To assert there is no moral difference would be as ridiculous as asserting that shoplifting and armed robbery are equally reprehensible crimes.
If the end result is loss of income, it's the same damage to the victim. That's the point. Anyone really not understand that?
Pythagorean
#197
Jan22-12, 08:54 PM
PF Gold
Pythagorean's Avatar
P: 4,287
The difference is the loss of value. Theft = loss of value. Copyright infringment does not necessarily mean loss of value. It's circumstantial.

There's an obvious loss of value if you copy materials then sell them to the customer yourself. There's no loss of value if someone who would have never bought it, makes a copy for personal use.

This is why it's the responsibility of the company to enforce copyright, not the government:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyrig...responsibility

Whereas government can enforce theft, because it ALWAYS involves a loss of value. A company can tell me not to copy my CD and give it to a friend. They can't arrest me for it until I start mass distributing (or have evidence that I intend to) and make the loss of value indisputable.
ParticleGrl
#198
Jan22-12, 08:58 PM
P: 685
Quote Quote by Jimmy Snyder View Post
No such difference exists between theft and copyright infringement.
There is actually a tremendous difference between the two. Theft deprives someone of a good, copyright infringement does not. If I break into a bookstore and steal a bunch of books, or break into a Best Buy and take a bunch of software, the store no longer has the property I stole.

Now, if I break into a bookstore and photocopy the books, or into the Best Buy and copy all the software, they still have the property. This is an important distinction. There is no material loss in infringement.

A friend of mine has a netflix subscription, and invites many people in the apartment building for a movie night once a week. He probably does more damage to the movie rental industry (within our apartment building) than any illegal downloading that occurs in the building- and yet no one would suggest cracking down on having a friend over to watch a movie. Its "theft" in the same way most digital piracy is- enjoying media content you didn't personally pay for.

In my mind, the issue with piracy comes down to two large points-
1. there is a tremendous cost to increase our efforts at policing IP
2. we are in no way suffering from a serious lack of entertainment- movies budgets seem to grow and grow, and yet are still profitable. Itunes has more new music every weak than the local cd shop when I was growing up. Even TV is much better than when I was younger (every cable channel seems to be producing their own content now!).

Until 2 is no longer true, its simply not worth the cost of 1.

If the end result is loss of income, it's the same damage to the victim.
Inviting a friend over to watch a movie you own (or have rented) results in loss of income for movie companies. Should it be in the same moral area as theft?


Register to reply

Related Discussions
Interferometer BlackOut General Physics 8
Blackout Bomb Current Events 22
Winter blackout General Discussion 9