A Pirate Act Even Worse Than Johnny Depp's

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A draft bill Wired has received would make it easier to go after P2P file traders.

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  1. What’s up with all the shitty acronyms?

  2. Sam I Was said,
    “Once again, Reason readers reveal their contempt for those who create.”

    Maybe I’m seeing nuances where they don’t exist, but I think the contempt here is not for intellectual property, but instead for the attempts being made to legislate its protection.

    If the government really cared about preserving IP, and didn’t want to be seen as attacking a hot trend for political gain, I think blank media (tapes, CD/DVD-Rs, etc) would have been made much more expensive long ago.

  3. I was opining on this subject earlier today at my half-ass mini-blog.

    And have you ever noticed that all horrible copyright laws are biparisan? Each is always sponsored by one R and one D. Fucking over fair use rights is a bipartisan affair….

  4. “In defending the Pirate Act, Hatch said the operators of P2P networks are running a conspiracy in which they lure children and young people with free music, movies and pornography. With these ‘human shields,’ the P2P companies are trying to ransom the entertainment industries into accepting their networks as a distribution channel and source of revenue.”

    Yes, its a conspiracy run by “Dr. No”; or maybe its “Dr. Evil.”

  5. It is always about the “children” – how in the world did our precious children ever survive BEFORE these sanctimonious SoBs started legislating for their benefit!

    What about the budget deficits and the Social security scam? Aren’t they harmful to our children? Where are the senators and congressmen?

  6. “…the contempt here is not for intellectual property, but instead for the attempts being made to legislate its protection.”

    That’s precious, Dave. I guess my novel or symphony is only mine so long as I don’t print or record it.

  7. So what was wrong with Jonny Depp’s pirate act? I thoght it was hilarious!

  8. I second Philip’s emotion. Depp’s performance in “Pirates” was one of the best of 2003!

  9. critic: You’re welcome to infer whatever you wish…

  10. Depp should have won the Oscar. He did win the SAG award, properly.

  11. > I think blank media (tapes, CD/DVD-Rs, etc)
    > would have been made much more expensive long
    > ago

    Blank cassettes and I think also blank VCR tapes already include a fee that goes to the industry. I’m sure blank CD’s are next.

    I don’t know about other people’s contempt, but my contempt is for the record industry who provide little or no worthwhile service for the amount of money they are charging.

  12. … my contempt is for the record industry who provide little or no worthwhile service for the amount of money they are charging.

    Why hold it in contempt? Just don’t buy its products. That’s how most of us operate. If we don’t like the price that’s being charged for something — if we don’t think the value of a product is equal to or more than the value of the dollars in our wallet — we don’t buy it.

    I won’t pay $1.50 for a can of beets, because I don’t like beets enough for them to be worth the six quarters in my pocket. But I don’t hold the beet industry “in contempt” for such a scenario. That would be kind of, you know, goofy.

    Before P2P, few consumers concocted these convoluted emotional diatribes about the music industry and copyright. It was only with the birth of Napster that people scrambled to invent the necessary rationales to justify free downloading.

  13. I don’t justify using P2P to download things you haven’t paid for, but there are legitimate uses for such software. Look at Bittorrent, which is rapidly increasing in popularity, it’s excellent for sharing large files which people would otherwise be unable to distribute. But that can also lend itself to sharing copyrighted material in far larger sizes than was previously feasible.
    So if being against overly broad legislation with limited justification (luring kids in and showing them porn? Please…) is against the rights of people who create, then, well, I guess I am against them.

  14. I guess my novel or symphony is only mine so long as I don’t print or record it.

    That’s it exactly.

    (I find lately that it’s often hard to come up with better arguments than those made sarcastically by those on the other side.)

  15. Let’s not get too sanctimonious about “copyright holders.” Disney held a “copyright” on Mickey Mouse for 50 years, and then got Washington to extend copyrights after 1923 by another 20 years. Guess what? They went back to congress in 1998 to extend it again.

    I’m all for certain copyright protections, but 70 years? Give me a break.

  16. OK, I confess: I didn’t actually see POTC, I just liked the headline.

  17. Julian,

    You missed a surprisingly good movie. Definitely worth the rental, IMO.

  18. Why hold it [the record industry] in contempt? Just don’t buy its products. That’s how most of us operate.

    Well sure, that’s part of it.

    Before P2P, few consumers concocted these convoluted emotional diatribes about the music industry and copyright. It was only with the birth of Napster that people scrambled to invent the necessary rationales to justify free downloading.

    That’s because before P2P, there was no alternative to paying the bloated prices offered by the record companies. Now I can download an album for $10, but the record companies are still charging almost double that. Hence, my contempt for them.

  19. Hatch’s reasons for proposing this legislation are just plain dumb. He calls unauthorized copying stealing. I always thought that if someone stole something from me, I would no longer have access to that thing. If someone copies software I write, I guess they’ve just stolen it, according to Hatch, and I can no longer use it. Moron.

    He was also incorrect about how “… creators and distributors of copyrighted content worked together to negotiate the complex licensing agreements and technological protections needed to distribute copywrited works in ways that accommodated both the expectations of users and the copyrights of artists.” Everything from piano rolls to DVDs has had an initial disruptive effect on current distribution channels. I doubt any of the distributors ever thought about “the copyrights of artists.”

    GRRRR….

  20. Once again, Reason readers reveal their contempt for those who create.

    Never ceases to amaze.

  21. (Off-topic: Is anybody else experiencing long waits after they hit “POST” on a comment here? This seemed to kick in a couple of weeks ago.)

  22. so far Leahy has received $170K and Hatch $150K from the RIAA …

    That is all one needs to know what is pulling their strings. The “unorganized” people have no clout in Washington DC. I wonder why the music loving peers (as in P2P) don’t think of organizing something. Like mass petitions to their elected reps or boycotting the music peddled by the RIAA. You know, postpone the gratification for a few months and see RIAA suffer the consequences.

    Also wondering. Has the Justice department successfully completed their war against terrorism, war against drugs, and prosecuting interstate crime, that they need to get into ‘civil prosecution’ of music sharing?

    Congress needs to trim their budget.

  23. > What’s up with all the shitty acronyms?

    Yeah, right? I thought I was reading The Onion for a second there. I guess that’s what you get when you get the “creative” forces behind the record industry to write your laws for you.

  24. Sam I Was,

    It is entertaining indeed to peruse the daily justifications by thieves for their thievery.

  25. Sam I Was and Critic,

    At what point do think something should enter the public domain, if at all? How would you handle P2P sharing? Outlaw it completely in all of its forms? What do you consider “fair use?”

    Answers to these questions would be much more enlightening than ad hominem arguments calling Reason commentors “thieves” who “have contempt for people who create,” while offering absolutely no argument to back it up.

  26. I’ve been offering arguments here on this topic for ages. And it still never ceases to amaze how many Reason readers show contempt for those who create.

    Are you so convinced of the rightness of some position — presumably, that distributing or taking copyrighted files is OK — that those who don’t share your stance are inherently guilty of “attack” when they make characterizations based on their own positions? If someone thinks copyright infringement is stealing, then they are going to describe copyright infringers as “thieves.” Just because “thief” has a negative connotation doesn’t make it an ad hominem argument.

    People who believe perjury is wrong often call perjurers “perjurers.” The word “perjurer” is not an ad hominem attack in the context of a discussion on the right and wrong of perjury.

    An ad hominem attack here would be saying, “Hans, you have bad taste in furniture, so your views on P2P are wrong.”

    As for your questions…

    Would I “outlaw (P2P sharing) in all its forms?” Of course not. Under what justification would we outlaw P2P? That’s crazy. We don’t need any new laws. Copyright infringement is already copyright infringement.

    What do I consider “fair use”? I consider fair use to be what the law considers fair use — it exists simply as an available defense against a claim of copyright infringement, and its parameters are already spelled out nice and neatly in statute.

    As for public domain, that’s a political argument … one that the founders recognized when they gave Congress the power to determine copyright terms.

  27. samIwas said, “Before P2P, few consumers concocted these convoluted emotional diatribes about the music industry and copyright. It was only with the birth of Napster that people scrambled to invent the necessary rationales to justify free downloading.”

    Hey, maybe it’s different for most people, but personally, my boycott of the music industry outdates Napster’s invention by a long shot. When you’re charging $18 for a CD, well, what do you expect?

    Plus, it’s not like I really NEED cd’s anymore anyway. Sure, FM radio blows, but nowadays, you have a plethora of options outside of FM. In your car? XM. At your computer? Netscape Radio. In your living room? Music Choice. Or you could just play XM everywhere. Or wire your PC to your stereo. There’s a million options (including the ease of copying CD’s) that make $18 CD’s a terrible financial investment. The fool record industry likes to place the blame solely on P2P, but where was the bitchin’-n-moanin’ 15 years ago, when people had truckloads of bootlegged cassette tapes taking up all their closet space and littering the floorboards of their cars? Everyone knows the old “obvious irony” of Lars Ulrich fighting music sharing…since Craptallica got its initial following in part because of bootleg tape sharing.

    The record industry simply doesn’t want to face the cold hard facts: that their perpetual gouging of the consumer, coupled with the aforementioned technology, is the reason people don’t want to buy their exorbitantly expensive plastic discs anymore.

    BTW, I don’t use P2P filesharing. But I am still boycotting the music industry. It’s not a justification for anything: it’s my simple statement that I refuse to be gouged by the record industry so that Jack Valenti and his ilk can buy a second yacht. If they still want to charge $18 for a little plastic disc, fine. It’s their funeral.

  28. SamIWas,

    Benjamin Tucker wrote his criticisms of copyright in the 1880s, when the photocopier was science-fiction technology; and Rothbard wrote his when a dubbing-capable casette deck was still a fancy piece of equipment. I’ve got a shitty dial-up modem and no CD burner, so it’s not like I’ve got a dog in this fight, either.

    I seem to recall James Merrit is a musician of some sort (or a “creator,” as critic says), and he’s written some pretty good criticism of intellectual property and the RIAA culture in the music industry.

    So these ideas aren’t new, and they weren’t just invented by people with an emotional need to justify downloading.

  29. And BTW, critic, you still haven’t said whether you believe “intellectual property” is an absolute property right grounded in natural justice, or just a legitimate creation of the state. If the former, you must surely believe, as did Lysander Spooner, that a copyright should exist forever, with a creator’s heirs and assigns having absolute disposal over the reproduction rights until the end of time. After all, what kind of property right automatically expires unless it can be arbitrarily extended by legislative action?

    Property in land and moveables existed, as an outgrowth of the common-sense understanding that possession of finite resources was necessarily exclusive, long before they were codified in law. Copyright, on the other hand, is entirely a creation of government, and within relatively recent times (one of the Tudor or Stuart monopolies, along with those granted on lace-making, etc., I believe).

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