Is Piracy Wrong?

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what do you think?

piracy is wrong
7
28%
copyright laws are wrong
14
56%
I don't know
4
16%
 
Total votes : 25

Is Piracy Wrong?

Postby headhonchoII » 08 May 2012, 20:50

Deuce Dropper wrote:Didn't The Avengers just break the box office record this weekend?

I think Hollywood is coping well with the pirates.


I laughed at this one, I guess lowest common denominator really works for these type of films.
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Re: Is Piracy Wrong?

Postby trubadour » 09 May 2012, 08:13

yeah - the people keep going! :loco:
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Re: Is Piracy Wrong?

Postby finley » 09 May 2012, 09:29

sandman wrote:Seediq Bale bored the fucking PANTS off me! I would have been EXTREMELY pissed if I'd paid to see such unadulterated crap.

I thought I was the only person who hated that movie. Fortunately it was a free ticket. Guess they couldn't sell them at full price.

What bothers me about copyright restrictions on electronic media is that they take away traditional property rights. If I buy a paper book, I'm implicitly granted the right to sell, lend, or give away that book to anyone I like. Same with a music CD. And why should I not? If I buy an electric drill, a wok, or even a cup of coffee, it is my right to share it as I see fit. If electronic books or music are being rented - available for my use only until I get bored with them, and then taken away or left idle - then I expect to pay rental prices, not just a $ or two discounted off the physical price.

DRM even restricts my right to use things myself. A few years ago, I bought an expensive (technical) e-book. I wanted it in electronic form so it was easily portable (the paper version weighed a couple of kilos). I forget exactly what happened - Adobe Acrobat upgraded itself, IIRC - and the ebook stopped working. I wrote to Amazon: I want to download the book again. No. Bad luck. We have a "policy". No skin off their nose to give me another copy, but they have their policy. Well, my policy, when companies rip me off, is to head over to The Pirate Bay, where I was lucky enough to find an unlocked copy. I honestly wouldn't have downloaded it otherwise, but that book was mine. I paid for it.

When I was a kid, my cousin had the same computer, and we use to 'share' - i.e., copy - games, which at the time were on cassettes and easily duplicated. Did the publisher lose anything? No, because neither one of us would have bought the product for our own individual use, but we considered it worthwhile to buy one between us. The publisher almost certainly sold more copies because the tapes were easy to copy and share around. I think economists have a word for this phenomenon. It's not just me justifying my childhood of petty crime.

Paradoxically, the difference today is that copying is TOO easy. Copying a tape was a pain, and it often didn't work, so virtually nobody was making a business out of it. The method was used only to share as one would normally share one's stuff.
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Re: Is Piracy Wrong?

Postby trubadour » 11 May 2012, 08:22

finley wrote:
Paradoxically, the difference today is that copying is TOO easy. Copying a tape was a pain, and it often didn't work, so virtually nobody was making a business out of it. The method was used only to share as one would normally share one's stuff.


To copying is wrong because it's too easy. It was OK with tapes but not with CDs? It was OK with tapes, so-so with CDs but WRONG with mp3?
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Re: Is Piracy Wrong?

Postby Icon » 11 May 2012, 13:25

Ehem

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Re: Is Piracy Wrong?

Postby finley » 12 May 2012, 00:05

trubadour wrote:To copying is wrong because it's too easy. It was OK with tapes but not with CDs? It was OK with tapes, so-so with CDs but WRONG with mp3?


No, I didn't say that.

I was arguing that I have a right to share (for example) a cassette tape in the same way as I have the right to share any other item of my property. Any physical item can be shared when it is not being used, and nobody makes a fuss about that. Sharing is usually considered a Good Thing. I could, for example, have lent my cousin the original tape to let him play the game, and I doubt anybody would cry "piracy!".

Giving him a copy of the tape is essentially identical to lending him a sole copy because, although I can't actually guarantee it, it's a bit unlikely we'd both be playing the game at the exact same time. Giving a copy to my entire class at school - different thing entirely, but then again: because I was able to share the tape (by copying it), the game company made one extra sale. Had I been physically prevented from doing that, it would have made zero extra sales. I can imagine a scenario in which a very expensive game, which no single one of my classmates would have thought worthwhile to pay for, might have been sold to a group of half-a-dozen kids. Again, one extra sale (although one-sixth of the profit), which is better than no sales.

The point about ease-of-copying is that a CD can be replicated thousands of times with virtually zero effort, with the copies being sold for profit, whereas tapes simply weren't worth the trouble, so piracy was self-limiting. Making thousands of copies DOES rob the publishing company of profits, because many of the buyers would have been willing to pay full price. A very small number of copies, shared between people who would otherwise definitely not buy the product, increases company sales.

Of course, you might consider it "wrong" that the company is prevented from making their predetermined per-unit profit margin on a smaller number of total sales. Fair enough, although I bet their accountant would be more than happy with the aggregate outcome. I was simply making the point that I consider it wrong for a company to restrict the rights which I normally expect when purchasing property, while pretending that they are not. If I am not being granted my full set of rights, then the price should be reduced accordingly, or alternative incentives offered to make it worth my while to accept that reduced package of rights.

I think the various pay-per-use distribution methods (for software) are a much better idea. They accurately describe the transaction - it's NOT a sale of property, but a charge for services - and they'll go a long way towards reducing piracy and satisfying people like me who think the present rules are unfair to consumers.
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Re: Is Piracy Wrong?

Postby trubadour » 13 May 2012, 10:15

So we are back at square one.

The argument you are making (that the quality and the number of the copies made effects the ethical staus of copying per se) is, to my mind, essentially the same as the argument 'copying is piracy, piracy is wrong.'

Surely you are not going to make the argument that one murder is OK but hundreds of murders are wrong? Or stealing $10k is OK but stealing $100k is wrong. I say surely because then we are in the awkward position to ask at what point right becomes wrong; i.e. what is the essential ethical difference between 100,000 or 99,999? Surely, we have to say it is not the amount of stealing that you do but that stealing per se that you do is wrong.

Therefore, with piracy (and in ethics generally) we usually reduce it to the single act - the copy (or the murder, etc). Be it done once or be it done twice, or three times, or three thousand times!

Perhaps you are arguing that it is not really wrong if I sit at home and make a thousand copies of my favourite albums, just to keep them backed up, say, or from copying them from one hard drive to another over whatever time? If this were the case you perhaps would be arguing that DRM should be implemented that only allowed a certain number of copies by a given owner, or each should copy according to the maximum allowed by his conscience.

Perhaps then you were arguing that it is OK to share but not OK to profit from the sharing? So, in that case you would argue it is OK to copy and give one to a friend but it is not OK to sell the copies (as bootlegs) at a market (like they used to with tapes). And again, it's OK to make a torrent but it is not OK to have a website that sells advertising to people who download torrents.

So, please clarify: is your argument to do with the numbers of copies or is it to do with who you give them to or is it do with where you share or is it to do with how many sales you might be denying the copyright holders?
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Re: Is Piracy Wrong?

Postby finley » 13 May 2012, 22:52

Perhaps then you were arguing that it is OK to share but not OK to profit from the sharing? So, in that case you would argue it is OK to copy and give one to a friend but it is not OK to sell the copies (as bootlegs) at a market (like they used to with tapes). And again, it's OK to make a torrent but it is not OK to have a website that sells advertising to people who download torrents.

Something like that. Copying does not equal piracy. Under certain conditions copying can actually cause an increase in the copyright owner's profits; some under-the-radar musicians have exploited exactly that effect to turn a profit. Theft is wrong is because it deprives someone of something that they've worked to acquire. Mass copying and re-sale does that; it is therefore theft. Small-scale copying does NOT appear to do that - it puts MORE money in the originator's pocket. Therefore, it isn't theft. Unfortunately it's hard to tell where the "crossover" occurs, and it would certainly be impossible to define in law.

The comparison with murder is spurious because no such effect occurs.
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Re: Is Piracy Wrong?

Postby trubadour » 14 May 2012, 21:45

Again the evidence seems to contradict what you say.

What is the Pirate Bay (and torrents in general) but mass impersonal copying and a profit making enterprise, to boot?

Yet, this year, we have the biggest grossing movie and record breaking record album sales.
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Re: Is Piracy Wrong?

Postby Mucha Man » 14 May 2012, 22:12

There are two parts to copyright: one, protecting works so that the creators can make a profit thus not only rewarding them but encouraging future work; and the creation and protection of a rich public domain of work. From the start the public good was considered as important as rewarding work. Therefore copying works is not the same as theft as copyright law in essence grants that your access to any piece of work is a fundamental good. And eventually you will get complete free access to it unlike a piece of property which you never get a piece of no matter how many years you stand outside looking at it.
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