Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Do you think it is acceptable to copyright

  1. Jun 30, 2003 #1
    Do you think it is acceptable to
    1. Photocopy a whole book instead of buying it
    2. Download MP3's and burn them into CDs/MDs
    3. Download movies from the internet
    4. Crack trial version of softwares into permanent version for personal use
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 30, 2003 #2
    Re: copyright

    Let's make an analogy:

    A kid steals a video game from a electronics store. His mom finds out when they get home and makes him return the game to the store and apologize. Now imagine that same kid, a teenager, downloading the $1000 VB6 Enterprise Edition, a library of graphic applications worth hundreds, games, and thousands (yes, literally thousands of MP3s). Only this time mommy doesn't know jack about computers and there is no one to return the pirated material to. Which is worse? The thousands of dollars worth of software and music, of course. I think that pirating is oftentimes seen as acceptable by youth and adults because that which is being obtained is intangible - it's not an actual object. People apparently see a difference between stealing the game from the store and stealing it on a P2P network - when in fact it is the same thing.

    This is not to say I have not succum to the dark art of pirating. In fact, it is pathetic that I know it's wrong and yet I still do it (and by the way I didn't steal a vid game from a store, just an analogy :)
  4. Jun 30, 2003 #3
    I agree, many people don't seem to realize the apparent illegal nature of pirating, because of the intangibility of it. I've met many people online who admit to pirating, but don't see anything wrong with it, and actually endorse it. The fact of the matter is that it is illegal, and it is in violation of copyright laws and the such.

    That's not to say that I have been able to resist the temptation, however, heh ^^;;
  5. Jun 30, 2003 #4
    It isn't just that you take an intangeble from someone, dependant upon the nature of the work, it's "unique nature", in a manner of speaking, the "Creator" (Author) should have the right to the accreditation of the work, after all, some of them are, simply, a theft of an intangeble that then is unaccredited in it's usage.

    The expression of "New" Ideas, themselves, should be authorially accredited as it is revealing of the authors nature pertinent to that type/nature of work.

    Otherwise it becomes; "Do what you Love and the Money will Follooooooooooooooooooow/here?".....(Not!)
  6. Jun 30, 2003 #5
    I'm not suggesting that software created by programmers which is intangible is worthless - in fact that is exactly what I am arguing against. To the person pirating the product (lol alliteration there), it doesn't feel as bad to steal software because it's not an object - despite the fact that someone worked extremely hard to construct that product (whether it be music or software).

    In response to "authorial accreditation," please be more specific. Are you suggesting that the products being stolen should have the author's name more visible or are you suggesting that products should not be stolen because the creator put a great amount of time into that product? The first of these two scenarios suggests that it is ok to steal as long as you know who you are stealing from.
  7. Jul 1, 2003 #6
    This is going to sound a bit lame and probably slightly morally corrupt but I don't really have a major problem with 'pirating' for the following weak reasons.

    In the main, people who use illegally obtained software/music/video are unlikely to purchase this material legally, due to prohibitive cost, therefore this act is not effecting the money in the marketplace.

    In addition to this, there will be occasions where these same people want the original packaging, artwork, manuals and will purchase the material to obtain this.

    Using this material does not drain production costs from the manufacturer so the real 'costs' are minimal.

    The majority of people using expensive graphics, music etc. software professionally, started using pirated software. When their skills are developed they are able to move over to a working environment where the software can be purchased legally and because they have used a particular package for so long they will purchase and encourage the use of that package.

    Users of this material are likely to promote the material to people who are in the position to purchase.

    Imagine if you will, Adobe, making all of it's software free for noncommercial use. Considering the prices of their packages, I imagine that the majority of sales go to commercial users, maybe I'm wrong. I think this would create a loyalty base that would encourage 'dobbing in' commercial users who used software illegally. If they added a small royalty system for 'home users' to produce commercial products for distribution and encouraged say a 'made with adobe' logo on webpages that used photoshop images etc. or other non-commercial uses, and possibly promote distribution in 'low-tech' countries, this would promote the product and give a warm fuzzy feeling to people who purchased them. I think this sort of philosophy could actually boost income.

    I personally have gotten over using a huge amount of pirated material. I'm a big fan of freeware and open source and work hard at trying to provide input to the support and improvement of the software, but yes, I still use stuff I haven't payed for. I don't feel great about it but I can live with it.

    The reality is that pirating is going to happen, just like drug use. If producers of copyable material want to do something practical they need to face the realities and work with them in order to maximise their profitability in both a financial and societal sense. I have also been a cracker and philosophy among crackers is not to use downloaded patches. If you want it you work for it. Lots of crackers distribute material about how to get around weak protections and will contact the manufacturers anonymously to inform them of the vulnerabilities.

    Maybe if Metallica said that they're music was free for use in thrid world countries, people would feel a bit guiltier about not paying for them. Instead it happens anyway and they come across like twats.

    Raavin ;)


    Quick question

    Who uses a payed version of Winzip??
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2003
  8. Jul 1, 2003 #7
    This is nothing against you or your opinions, but it almost seems as if you want to take a laissez faire approach to things - just let things run their own course.

    I seriously believe that in 10-15 years most of us will look back and think about how easy it was to obtain copyrighted material - in future years I don't think it will be as easy. Only recently has pirating reached the masses, before it seemed like it was advanced users. User-friendly GUIs like Kazaa, Limewire, etc are making it extremely easy for ma and pop to get the hundreds of MP3s they want.

    I believe it is a gross overgeneralization to say those that pirate advanced software have always been pirating that material (considering I myself go against that idea). Moreover, to say it builds loyalty is not always the case. In fact, in most scenarios, that advanced product is the only of its kind (there is really no other choice). Really, what compares to Adobe Illustrator 10.0 - basically nothing.

    Where there is a will there is a way, I understand. In future years, however, I think that way will become increasingly harder.
  9. Jul 1, 2003 #8


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member


    Bah, y'all expect me to reply to the points raised, don't you?

    (a) If a lot of people buy a product, it can be sold cheaply. If few people buy a product, it must be sold more expensively (if it remains in production at all).

    (b) In general, the only reason (most) people couldn't afford to buy the product is because they spent their money on different products. Why buy CDs when you can pirate them and spend your money on that fancy new sweater?

    That's Adobe's choice to make. Some companies DO release at least partial products for free; for example you can get command line versions of Microsoft's VB.net and C#.net compilers for free.

    Until we reach an economic system where producers of potentially mass distributible products (such as music and software) can be adequately compensated for their effort, we have to stick to the free-market paradigm. Pirating just ruins the whole thing for everyone.
  10. Jul 2, 2003 #9


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: copyright

    What would you say if you were the author of said book/music/movie/software?
  11. Jul 2, 2003 #10
    Neither, the "sincerest form of flattery, is imitation" but when it is "imitated"/aped/mimed/emoted/copied/duplicated and the imitation is not realized, as such, by the "viewing audience", (an 'unpublished works' usage) then it becomes the greatest form of Insult!

    Damaging, insulting, offensive in the extreme, usurpacious, etc.
  12. Jul 2, 2003 #11
    Who the hell cares? Companies should figure out ways to protect their material rather than try to guilt people into not stealing from them. It's their problem. They have to deal with it. If they don't, they are nothing but fools.

    If a man leaves a plate of apples on the side of the street with a sign that says 25 cents please, you'd laugh your @ss of at him for trusting people to not steal his merchandise.

    You see all these companies want is money. So, the fundamental question we need to ask ourselves is, "what is money?" I'll tell you what money is. Money is an exploitation of human nature, and human nature is evil.

    Seriously, why do value money? We are greedy; we want to use money to indulge ourselves and demand the jealousy of our neighbors. If this monetary system is based on characteristics we, as a society, consider wrong, then why are we so surprised when people do the wrong thing?

  13. Jul 2, 2003 #12
    If I were the author

    #1 Photocopy a whole book
    If I were the author of a reference book, say Calculus, and I spent 1 whole years to write it, and finally it got published. I wouldn't really mind if students or parents photocopy my book, afterall, the purpose of writing the book is to help others to learn.

    #2 Download MP3s and burn them into CDs
    If people liked my musics so much so that they wanted to burn it in CD's, I wouldn't worry about my income coz there must be lots of guys out there who would buy my CDs.

    #3 Download movies from the internet/buy pirate VCD's
    If I were the director/actor, I couldn't tolerate it! I spent years to film the movie so as to express my point of view and to provide you a good source of entertainment. You had to either choose not to watch it or to watch it in cinemas or to buy genuine VCDs. Besides, if too many guys bought pirate VCD's or downloaded movies from the internet, it could affect my income a lot.

    If I were the author, I couldn't tolerate it neither. Afterall it was my interlectual property and it could affect my income.

    For point number 1 and number 2, books and musics were my interlectual properties too and should be protected. I would be nice if you informed me beforehand.
  14. Jul 2, 2003 #13
    Pirating has been going on for many many years (IRC???). It's only recently that it's been brought into the mainstream public eye. I was downloading songs years before naptser existed, I even ran my my server for a period of time (note: all statutes of limitations have expired, can't sue me;)

    Is it morally wrong? yes. Am I taking away from revenue when I do it? Probably not. I have to reiterate that most of the music and/or software I download, I wouldn't go out and actually spend money for. I own a great deal of software I actually purchased. Some of which I downloaded to try out first. Others I downloaded and found that it wasn't worth buying, or I wouldn't have paid the exhorbinant asking price, but it was worth the effort to play with for free.

    And the RAIA is doing nothing but alienating thier customer base by being progressively aggressive in thier crusade. Suing people won't prevent this, it will just encourage people to be more creative in aquiring MP3's, while at the same time they will be less likely to patronize the music industry with purchases.
  15. Jul 2, 2003 #14
    The reason I don't mind downloading a few mp3s is you always hear the music industry talking about how much money they're loosing.

    Well sorry, but last time I looked, you were doing pretty well.
    And as for fringe bands who aren't makign millions off selling albums, I don't download your stuff anything...

    Infact the only thing I sometimes download is stuff I would never buy anyway.
  16. Jul 2, 2003 #15


    User Avatar

    the fringe bands usually offer free downloads, in the hopes that more people will find out about them. think about it, would you buy a cd of a band you'd never heard of, just to see if they're good or not?
  17. Jul 2, 2003 #16
    Not in my current fianica situation. But in the future I guess it would be possilbe, but that's the power of mp3s. You download, you like, you buy!
  18. Jul 2, 2003 #17


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The companies care. The justice system cares. And I care. I resent the vermin who steal music/software/et cetera, which drives up retail prices which forces law-abiding citizens like myself to pay higher prices to legally obtain items, the annoying hoops through which I have to jump to use said items (such as CD-Keys), and the overall degredation of quality because most companies don't have the budget to design and test a quality game underneath the flashy graphics.

    No they should not. First and foremost, people should not be stealing. Secondly, it's the job of the justice system to protect a company's material; the scope of the problem is just too great for the justice system to handle. Finally, the measures that the companies have to resort to protect their material are resented by the legal end users. Stealing is bad for everybody.

    So? All this hypothetical situation demonstrates is that the problem of theft is pervasive; I can't imagine how you thought this was actually defending your position.

    We have money because it is not convenient to bring a pig with me to the grocery store in order to barter it for bread. We have money because it allows people to make a living through ways that don't create a product that can be bartered. We have money because it makes possible centralized production and distribution centers. We have money because, to date, no alternative means is known that can sustain today's standard of living.

    If you consider indulging one's self wrong, then why are you condoning theft?

    I doubt you have spent all of your spare cash on the software/music you did purchase; I'm sure that you have spent your money on some other luxuries. In effect, you're just redistributing revenue from industries that have difficulty protecting their material to those that have less difficulty.

    In an ideal world, the government (or the people!) would compensate a company for developing a piece of software/music, which would then be subsequently made available for all to download (or purchase in stores). We don't live in that ideal world and the only way for a company to secure revenue is through sales.

    One of the more interesting tests of an ethical code is what would happen if everyone followed it. If everyone downloaded music/software for free, companies wouldn't be able to secure any revenue and would fold and we wouldn't have a music or software industry at all. The only way the system works is because people like you are taking advantage of the law-abiding citizens who do pay full price.
  19. Jul 3, 2003 #18


    User Avatar

    i'm just curious, how the cost of a $15 cd is broken up. how much are production costs per disc, how much goes to the artist, and how much goes to the record execs?
  20. Jul 3, 2003 #19
    I agree with you hurkyl that technically, piracy is a type of theft. I just think it's different to the apple scenario in that you can't make an apple into more apples. Somebody who has produced a 'hardware' product has cost associated directly with the production of duplicates. 'stealing' these things cost the producer directly. There is no way I would condone that.

    I believe that my arguments are valid about the minimal effect that this type of piracy has on the money in the market. I think it is also a false assumption that if more people purchase this type of product, the prices go down. That's not generally the way that businesses work. Most go by the supply and demand rules whereby, when demand increases, so does the price. If you honestly think that if music sales tripled that producers would cut their prices by two thirds, I think you might be deluding yourself.

    In regards to the 'other luxuries' that people spend their money on, if you call luxuries clothing and decent food, accommodation etc. then I guess that people do spend their money on other luxuries rather than music or software. If anyone is in a position to spend thousands of dollars on graphics applications, word processors a cd or movie collection, purely for use at home then good luck to them. I'm certainly not one of them. I am completely out of the market in that case.

    There is little justification for 'pirating' that I might partake in. It is indulgent to have access to good technology. Millions of poeple around the world have nothing while I play with $5000 computer packages. I feel bad about that but I doubt that I will be losing sleep over whether multi-million dollar companies will be effected by me playing at home real soon.

    We can justify pretty much anything to ourselves. I justify this. Other justify other things. In the grand scheme of things I am into harm minimisation. I feel comfortable that if there is any sort of sumpreme power that judges us at the end, then my indiscretions, when weighed up against the positive things I have done, will hold me in good stead.

    Raavin ;)
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook