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(tye)Re: Software piracy- what would you do?

by tye (Cardinal)
on Jun 05, 2001 at 08:38 UTC ( #85691=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: Re: Re: Re: Software piracy- what would you do?
in thread Software piracy- what would you do?

I'll just note that using a term like "online theft" shows your bias. I doubt you'll agree as it has become a pervasive bias. The term "intellectual property" is another example of the bias. Nothing was "stolen". A student violated the contract that they entered into when they purchased that CD (presumably). That is not "theft".

Assuming that the analogy between property and (so called) "intellectual property" is a strong one really closes your mind to a lot of ways of thinking about the situation. Talking somebody out of buying a car isn't the same thing as stealing a car from the manufacturor. Loaning someone your car isn't the same as talking somebody out of buying a car. Go ahead, make a copy of your car and see if anyone acuses you of stealing a car from the manufacturor because now you have two cars but you only bought one.

The reasons for copyright are much different than the reasons for making theft illegal.

Now, I'm not at all trying to argue that "it isn't really stealing, so there is nothing wrong with it". There are plenty of things that aren't stealing that are plenty wrong. But if you can't think of this in terms other than "stealing", then there just isn't much point in discussing it.

Here is an interesting talk on the subject.

        - tye (but my friends call me "Tye")


Comment on (tye)Re: Software piracy- what would you do?
Re: (tye)Re: Software piracy- what would you do?
by Tiefling (Monk) on Jun 05, 2001 at 21:02 UTC
    If we can step away from the legalese for a bit, and technical words like 'felony' and 'misdemeano(u)r', which seem to belong chiefly to the US justice system, we may get some clarity.

    The non-lawyer understands by 'theft' the attempt by one party to deprive another of what is rightfully theirs.

    Merlyn's income from sales of his work is certainly rightfully his. There are contracts to say so.

    Therefore, if anyone comes into possession of his work (that cost money to buy) by not paying for it, they have stolen from him (and his associates) the revenue from the sale of an equivalent product. Just because the physical object has not been stolen does not mean that the author has not been deprived of what is rightfully his.

    Thank you.

    Tiefling

      I never said "felony". "Theft" is not legalese, and it means taking someone's personal property (go look it up in a simple, English, non-legalese dictionary). Depriving someone of income is not "theft". Violating copyright is not necessarilly depriving someone of income.

      So violating copyright is quite a bit removed from "theft". But you have so missed the point of my note that I doubt you'll be able to understand what I'm talking about here either.

      And, again, I'm not advocating the violation of copyrights. I just find even discussing the concept of copyright pointless if we can't get passed the (mistaken) idea that the information is "property", much less getting passed the idea that copying it is "theft".

              - tye (but my friends call me "Tye")
        I never said "felony". "Theft" is not legalese, and it means taking someone's personal property (go look it up in a simple, English, non-legalese dictionary).

        I'm aware of what you said. I apologise for confusion created by using your note as a peg on which to hang some of my thoughts on notes including yours but also a number by MeowChow.

        If we're going to argue semantics, what function is performed by the word 'personal' in your definition, and why is yours better than mine, except in that it backs up your argument?

        Depriving someone of income is not "theft". Violating copyright is not necessarilly depriving someone of income.

        Ever hear of people suing/being compensated for loss of earnings? While that's (not) necessarily theft, it does highlight that earnings are a legal right. I'm legally entitled to the earnings I generate in my work, so if someone were somehow to prevent me gaining those earnings, they've robbed me just as much as if they'd pinched my wallet. And while not all copyright is income-generating, it is all potentially so.

        So violating copyright is quite a bit removed from "theft". But you have so missed the point of my note that I doubt you'll be able to understand what I'm talking about here either.

        Whoa. Calm down. I did not miss the point of your note. I merely refuted it. If you can't make the connection between my point and yours, fine. But don't accuse me of not understanding. I ken fine wha' ye mean.

        I just find even discussing the concept of copyright pointless if we can't get past the (mistaken) idea that the information is "property".

        That view is only mistaken in your opinion. If you refuse to discuss the concepts involved because you disbelieve their existence, fine. But at the moment, you're employing proof by vigorous assertion. Information is only 'not property' because you're denying it. There's clearly a decision axiom here - that is, a choice you must make in order to continue deducing - and you've jumped one way and I've jumped another. (Read the history of non-Euclidean geometry some time.) Copyright discussions inherently use the axiom that (original) information is property.

        Tiefling

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