Copyright

Copyright Enforcement, Now Featuring Wiretaps!

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Declan McCullagh at CNET on the Obama White House's latest proposals to expand tough enforcement of copyright law, including wiretaps. Details:

The White House today proposed sweeping revisions to U.S. copyright law, including making "illegal streaming" of audio or video a federal felony and allowing FBI agents to wiretap suspected infringers.

In a 20-page white paper (PDF), the Obama administration called on the U.S. Congress to fix "deficiencies that could hinder enforcement" of intellectual property laws….

Some of the highlights:

• The White House is concerned that "illegal streaming of content" may not be covered by criminal law, saying "questions have arisen about whether streaming constitutes the distribution of copyrighted works." To resolve that ambiguity, it wants a new law to "clarify that infringement by streaming, or by means of other similar new technology, is a felony in appropriate circumstances."

• Under federal law, wiretaps may only be conducted in investigations of serious crimes, a list that was expanded by the 2001 Patriot Act to include offenses such as material support of terrorism and use of weapons of mass destruction. The administration is proposing to add copyright and trademark infringement, arguing that move "would assist U.S. law enforcement agencies to effectively investigate those offenses."

• Under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, it's generally illegal to distribute hardware or software–such as the DVD-decoding software Handbrake available from a server in France–that can "circumvent" copy protection technology. The administration is proposing that if Homeland Security seizes circumvention devices, it be permitted to "inform rightholders," "provide samples of such devices," and assist "them in bringing civil actions."

The term "fair use" does not appear anywhere in the report. But it does mention Web sites like The Pirate Bay, which is hosted in Sweden, when warning that "foreign-based and foreign-controlled Web sites and Web services raise particular concerns for U.S. enforcement efforts." (See previous coverage of a congressional hearing on overseas sites.)

The usual copyright hawks, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, applauded the paper, which grew out of a so-called joint strategic plan that Vice President Biden and Espinel announced in June 2010.

The White House white paper in question. A link does not constitute copyright infringement. Jeez, I hope….

Jesse Walker from Reason magazine's March 2000 issue on how intellectual property law can conflict with free culture.

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  1. Thank God we have a Dem in the White House! Rolling back the gummint’s intrusions into our lives bit by bit – thanks, Justice [sic] Department!

    1. bit by bit

      I see what you…..aw fuck it, nice pun (memes can eat a dick).

    2. This is a horrific disgusting intrusion and overreach of government authority and the ACLU condemns the current administration’s destruction of civil liberties.

      Vote Democrat in 2012.

    3. Just think how much worse this would be if Obama wasn’t doing everything he can to counter the holdovers from the Bush Administration.

  2. This is interesting. During my fellowship with the Clinton White House, I witnessed firsthand a big push to expand copyright protection. Is this some sort of Democrat thing, or do both parties love enhanced IP?

    I’m not anti-IP like many here, but I do think the dial is turned up too high on the legal protection of IP rights.

    1. As Declan’s article correctly notes, both parties are excessively pro IP, but the democrats are a little worse.

      1. Of course they are–they get their financial support from the entertainment industry, who have bought their cooperation.

        1. Of course it goes beyond simply being supported by the entertainment industry. The “cognitive capitalism” model that’s the center-left coalition tends to favor depends very heavily on “intellectual property.” The big business coalition behind Obama is fronted by people like Bono, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, etc., all of them pushing an economic development model based on the green/cognitive/progressive thing. It’s essentially the “new growth theory” of Paul Romer, in which capitalizing innovation as a source of rents requires enclosure via IP law.

    2. The Chamber of Commerce is rabidly pro-IP, so it’s usually a quick and easy way for dems to try to flex some, “see we’re not hostile to business” muscle.

      It’s kind of funny in a way, because since the CoC backs repubs more often in general, they have less incentive to utterly suck their CoCk on this one particular issue.

    3. Regarding both Pro L and John Thacker’s comments, opensecrets.org states that around 80 percent of entertainment industry money went to Democrats in 2008. The past two decades, it’s been around seventy percent. The link, which was included in the cnet article:

      http://www.opensecrets.org/ind…..hp?ind=B02

      According to a secondary source, the RIAA alone gave ninety million dollars to the government from ’00-10.

      http://www.ip-watch.org/weblog…..um=twitter

    4. I think the Dems just like wiretaps a lot – it’s like iPods for gummint types or something.

      Latest gadget – gotta have more of ’em!

    5. I don’t know, are Hollywood and the music industry left or right leaning?

      1. That’s not cynical, that’s sarcastic.

  3. A link does not constitute copyright infringement.

    However, clicking on that link may.

    You have been warned.

    1. oh wait, you’re serious.
      let me laugh even harder.

      1. I’ve got this one, Eric.

        1. No one ever escaaaaaaapes from DMCAAAAAAAA!

          1. +1

  4. Soooooo

    They must have solved that budget problem I guess.

    1. We’re swimming in money now! Boom times! No fiscal crisis anywhere!

      1. Fuck, yeah!

    2. Everyone knows that Copyright Enforcement is the 700-pound gorilla, uh, elephant in the room.

      1. Everyone knows that Copyright Enforcement is the 700-pound gorilla, uh, elephant Mickey Mouse in the room.

        FIFY

        1. Disney’s lawyers want to have a chat with you, dude.

          1. Will that be before or after The State kicks down my door and shoots my cat for infringing on Walt’s copyright?

            1. Should be pretty much at the same time, actually.

    3. They solved the terrorism problem.
      “What good is having this superb Homeland Security you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”

  5. The usual copyright hawks

    Protecting your property makes you a “hawk”? What about anti-eminent domain advocates? Are they “hawks” too? Or does physical property trump digital property? Discuss. (Extra credit for ad hominem, appeal to ridicule, bandwagon and guilt by association.)

    1. You’re not laughing at our clay tablets now, are you?

    2. Discuss.

      No. Fuck you.

    3. Actually OK, the physical v. digital property argument has been beaten to death on several websites. The debate is essentially, property rights exist due to scarcity (you and I can’t both exclusively own the same thing); this is not a grant of gov’t, but part of natural rights (I control what I own). However, since digital items can be reproduced almost infinately, there is no scarcity, thus no conflict of use, and thus the only “rights” granted to it is an artificial gov’t monopoly.

      That’s the line put forward by the anti-IP stalwarts anyway, and I’m sure I’m not doing it justice with that overly simplistic description, but I’d encourage you to check out Kinsella’s work on Mises.org for a more in-depth discussion of the subject. The comments after his anti-IP articles are usually entertaining and worth the read, as well.

      1. However, since digital items intangible property can be reproduced almost infinately, there is no scarcity, thus no conflict of use, and thus the only “rights” granted to it is an artificial gov’t monopoly.

        Proves too much.

        Substitute “cash” or “stock” (the vast majority of which exists only in digital form) for “intellectual property”, and try to state a principled distinction.

        1. I’d leave out cash, because it isn’t a good; it’s a medium of exchange, which means it’s prime function involves retaining value (fat lot of good that’s done us since Nixon, though).

          Stocks are an excellent example to use though. Stocks, though represented digitally, represent a portion of tangible property (the company) which is scarce. Using music as an example, you’re not diluting the value of something the artist currently holds; you’re POSSIBLY diluting the value of POTENTIAL future sales, by removing the artificial scarcity generated by gov’t fiat. Most libertarian thought isn’t in the habit of using unquantifiable future potential as a basis for determining theft.

          If you don’t buy that natural rights arise from scarcity though, I doubt you’ll ever really be on board with the anti-IP arguments. We simply disagree. I think natural rights exist due to scarcity (there’s only one of me = right to life, we can’t both have exclusive use of this cave = right to property, etc), and IP laws invent artifical scarcity (in a neutral setting, I’m not harming Ug by copying his method of making fire in my own cave, after having witnessed it in his).

          I know you said you browsed earlier, but I’d recommend this as the “master link” for the anti-IP arguments, because while this article itself doesn’t lay out the case much, it contains a huge number of links to all the other articles which address these things fully, along with their lively comments sections.

          http://mises.org/daily/4601/

    4. You are probably the whiniest little bitch I’ve ever seen. How do you even do that on the internet? You found a way.

      1. ADHOM ADHOM ADHOM!!!

        Did everybody catch that? The EPIDOUCHE IS ADHOMMING AT ME!!!WAAAHHHHHAAHAAAMOMMY!

        —————————–
        I wish the fat kid from Warty’s morning link would bodyslam the bitchy cunt that pollutes the tubez with his whining excrement. I could totally lock away the NAP long enough to watch that shit…and chuckle.

        Now why don’t you post a slimy little complaint, fucker.

    5. Apparently, IP is bad because government ‘created’ it. Or something. I guess property rights only apply to physical stuff and are arbitrarily dismissed when things get digital or intellectual. When has ownership of the products of one’s mind ever been important?

      1. You mostly got it.

        What makes you think you own the shit in my mind or on my hard drive?

        Cause you don’t motherfucker.

        1. What makes you me think you I own the shit in my mind or on my hard drive?

          It works both ways, you know.

      2. You can’t have both. Almost every product consists of both creative and physical labor — all products are designed, and most of those designs are not merely pulled off a centuries-old shelf.

        If I, the designer, can tell the my customer upon purchase “you may use this thing, but you may not make a thing like it, or even based off it”, then I am retaining property rights — that is, I am denying the new owner some property rights. You might even say I am permanently renting the object to him under very lax conditions. Software retailers have decided to go a similar route, by calling their products “services” instead of “products”.

    6. “Or does physical property trump digital property?”

      Yes? Possession tends to lead towards exclusivity by its nature, whereas publication tends to promote inclusivity. Property is less of a moral and practical imperative in such cases.

      Physical property has a much stronger grounding in natural law as physical objects are scarce by their nature; in the digital era, copies of information are not (in any meaningful sense). Of course, the labor involved in producing original works is quite scarce.

      Intellectual property is just a kludge because of the inherent problems in getting large unorganized groups of clients to divide up the payment for artistic labor, particular given the quality of the end product is highly variable and difficult to ascertain until experienced. It works, but it is an artificial system created by (and requiring) a state to mimic the more organic bottom-up nature of physical property. As a result, it’s much more susceptible to corruption and rent-seeking, as evidenced by the ever-increasing length of terms and increasingly draconian punishments and methods of enforcement.

      While I tend to see copyright and to a lesser extent patents as useful rules, I don’t really see them as moral rights, insofar as they create obligations which circumscribe speech/trade rights with or without consent (that is, if you happen to see an open book, you are as constrained from memorizing a passage and copying it out later as the person who bought the book — despite having never deliberately engaged in any contract with the author). Patents are even worse in this regard, since two inventors can expend equal effort in discovering the same new process (this is rather more likely than two authors writing the same book, word for word) and yet the government will grant one a monopoly and cheat the other out of his labor altogether.

      In general, the fact that those who benefit from intellectual property rights the most show not only disregard for the well-being of the actual artists who create the works (ie, bullshit recording industry contracts) but also utter disregard for the physical property rights of others (ie, Sony secretly installing rootkits on computers with its CDs to prevent unauthorized copying) sours me rather tremendously on the concept — so much so that, while I would prefer a return to small copyright terms, I would be comfortable with eradicating them altogether and dealing with the economic fallout just to watch a lot of very bad people suffer.

      1. This is well said. I would add to it what I consider the most overriding aspect of IP in the digital age: it is impossible to enforce. Even increasingly draconian punishments and methods to prevent copying gain almost nothing, except for causing ridiculous situations of people being made examples of.

        It doesn’t matter whether you think IP is valid or not; it is not possible to enforce it in the digital age. For artists and the like to be compensated for their creations, new paradigms will have to be tried.

      2. Well put, cynical. The bad simply outweighs the good, esp. when you consider most patents & copyrights are held by the industries that the creators work for, and not by the creators themselves, thus rendering moot the argument that it “protects” individuals against big biddness.

      3. +1.

        I still think I basically said all this shit above though in super-condensed-form.

        If anybody was convinced by cynicals argument, but wasn’t convinced by mine, please chime in.

        I’d like to know just for general sake of humanity purposes.

        please show your work.

      4. Only if you accept scarcity as a pre-condition for a natural rights argument to property. Bob Schaeffer, who I just looked up, frankly, disagrees. Scarcity didn’t sound right to me.

        By the way, that was impressive to just bust out with, but there’s always been a ton of regulatory and judicial “bleeding” when it comes to copyright and the natural law vs. utilitarian arguments that can wind up in tension.

        Authors’ rights and natural law have always had at least something to do with even American IP jurisprudence. It’s why a copyright course might start with INS v. AP, which has a whole host of relevant policy issues (it’s not even decided under copyright law) that illustrate the tension between the stated goals of copyright and the tension inherent when those goals, logically extended, violate a traditional sense of justice. Or when intellectual labors fall outside the contours of traditional IP doctrines.

        For an example of this policy bleeding, see this quote from 1783, illustrating the need for copyright law in the U.S., even though the utilitarian justification eventually was the only concept codified into law:

        “that nothing is more properly a man’s own than the fruit of his study, and that the protection and security of literary property would greatly tends to encourage genius and to promote useful discoveries.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Act_of_1790

        Also of interest, maybe

        http://www.guardster.com/?Tuto…..n_the_U.S.

        Also, I got a chance to browse Kinsella. Thanks for that, Jim and cynical. Interesting.

        Epi, according to Kinsella, Spooner argued for eternal copyrights because of the labor theory under Locke. Thought that might interest you.

        1. Scanning it now. It’s a concept of wealth Spooner uses. He says:

          “So the thought, that guides the hand in labor, is ever as clearly wealth, as is the hand itself; or as is the material, on which the hand is made to labor; or as is the commodity, which the hand is made to produce. But for the thought, that guides the hand, the commodity would not be produced; the labor of the hand would be fruitless, and therefore valueless.”

          http://www.lysanderspooner.org…..ch1s1.html

        2. That is interesting about Spooner, but I still think that you cannot get around the un-enforceability of copyright when I can effortlessly copy something.

          Even if eternal copyright were the moral thing to do, the enforcement of it will become immoral.

          1. Sure thing. I don’t really disagree. It was the scarcity issue that seemed wrong. I’d love to see fair use greatly expanded in copyright, and if the protections and punishments keep expanding like they are, it wouldn’t be so bad if a forced adjustment happened.

            It’s getting flat ridiculous.

            1. hmmm … I’m a pure buyer of the scarcity argument.

              Just because my cavemen neighbor invented fire, and I see how he does it, doesn’t mean I have to pay him (or his infinite stream of descendants) a tribute whenever I make a fire too. Tough shit. Fuck off. If you try to steal my stuff I will still fucking kill you back.

              Actual land usage rights … what’s yours is yours, what’s mine is mine. So there is a difference. I don’t even see why it’s considered controversial anymore. It’s been figure out. See Kinsella.

        3. I don’t really buy the labor argument mainly because copyright itself demands that creative and physical labor be treated differently. That is, if I apply physical and a little mental labor in order to create a set of carpentry tools, which I then sell to a man, and he uses them in combination with wood in order to create a table, I have no claim on that table. If I use mental and a little physical labor to create an original copy of a book, which I then sell to a man, and he uses it in combination with paper in order to create a derived work, suddenly he has violated my rights.

          Certainly, there are different incentives at play, but they’re circumstantial. It’s a question of economics, not morality — copyright was hardly an issue when copying was itself physically labor intensive; the greater threat was that works would be lost entirely due to insufficient copying.

          1. Which is partially why a utilitarian system was adopted, but author reimbursement was always lurking in the background. I think everyone is trying to put a logical or philosophical consistency on a doctrine that isn’t. It’s sorting out the dialectic of property, authorial rights, information, knowledge, societal benefits, etc. It’s line-drawing. It doesn’t satisfy a logician, but that’s what it is.

      5. Count me in.

        If you want to attack IP, I think you would be well advised to steer clear of sweeping “if it ain’t physical, it ain’t property” arguments, which prove far too much, and stick to the practicalities.

        1. Here’s the thing though: if we’re counting intellectual exertion as property, then doesn’t that just play into the discredited labor theory of value? I.e. even though this item could be infinitely replicated at virtually no cost, it has some kind of intrinsic value deserving of gov’t protection because of the effort that went into producing it.

          1. The labor theory of value is discredited because it doesn’t explain pricing, I think. It’s not what I’m talking about when it comes to how the addition of labor qualifies one for a grant of ownership from an autonomy or morality perspective.

  6. Stephan Kinsella over at Mises.org is going to have a heart-attack.

    That having been said, for those of you who are not anti-IP (as PL indicated up above), if you search his articles on the subject, he’s made a convincing case against the whole thing.

  7. In trying to look up some RIAA and MPAA numbers at opensecrets.org, I found this little bit of loveliness. Chris Dodd just now happens to be the CEO of the MPAA. Huh. Like he didn’t have enough of a hand in dirty lobbying money before.

    http://www.opensecrets.org/revolving/index.php

  8. According to the ruling in the 2600 lawsuit (Universal Studios v. Reimerdes), merely linking to code that can be used as a circumvention device is a violation of the DMCA.

    1. Yes, but merely linking to something is not, because you can’t copyright a fact, and a website (and therefore the url) is a fact.

      1. Just wondering, what’s the last line on this page?

      2. The link to the White House paper would not be a copyright violation (in any case, it is probably not under copyright as it is a government work). The link to Handbrake is questionable though.

      3. what about the fact that the first bit of “One” by Metallica is a “1”?

        Isn’t that a derivative product?

  9. I know I keep asking this, but has the Obama administration done anything right?

    The only thing I can think of that even comes close is not going full retard on defending DOMA. But even that they took two years to get right.

    1. Nope. They suck at EVERYTHING! It’s a wonderment…

    2. has the Obama administration done anything right?

      Of course not. We’re total leftists.

    3. Well they closed Gitmo, ended the Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and on Drugs. Didn’t raise anyone’s taxes one thin dime,created or saved millions of green jobs, restored hope, instituted change,ushered in our post-racial society,rolled back Chimpler’s Gestapo AmeriKKKan hate state.
      Been the most open and transparent administration in history,saved the economy from the total ruin caused by the radical free-market deregulatory policies of the past. The only thing Obama has done wrong is to sometimes forget how great he really is.

    4. Well, We didn’t invade Iran. So there is something.

      1. Eh, that’s just another case of following in Bush’s footsteps.

    5. Did he get his daughters a puppy?

      Yes?

      Then fuck you.

    6. I honestly think that they wouldn’t have repealed the ban on gays in the military if the Republicans hadn’t won the 2010 elections, meaning that the lame duck session really was the last chance to do so. Even though I think that the politics had already changed, they were too scared to do so.

  10. IOW, everyone who has ever watched an old music video on YouTube, or an old porn video on RedTube, is now liable for copyright infringement, and can be wiretapped in the same way as someone trying to smuggle smallpox into the US.

    Genius.

    I am not anti-IP, but copyright doesn’t make sense when anyone can share, distribute, and consume at a marginal cost of zero.

  11. I already consider all information to be public domain. If you don’t want people to have information, don’t create it.

    1. or don’t share it.

    2. If you don’t want people to have information, don’t create it.

      You could make the same argument about food. If I create a crop of wheat, does that give you the right to have steal it from me? That makes you a looter, regardless of how you attempt to mitigate your behavior.

      1. I would add that the very act of having looting my property undermines the anti-IP argument. The looter doesn’t steal things that have no value. In his act of theft, he is acknowledging that the property is tangible, that it exists, that it has value. He didn’t create it, but he desires it. The looter pays homage to the creator by desiring the product of his mind, then slaps him in the face by stealing it.

        1. Bad comparison. Your wheat has exclusivity of use; both myself and someone else cannot eat the same wheat, so we have to have some mechanism (price) to determine who gets it. IP can be replicated almost infiniately with virtually no cost, thus not causing conflict except when a completely artificial gov’t mandate says so.

        2. If I had a machine that could replicate your wheat just by looking at it, would that constituting theft of your wheat?

  12. There is no such thing as intellectual property. Only what exists can be property.

    1. Not if you focus on the act of the labor as opposed to that with which it commingles.

      “Nor is it so strange as, perhaps, before consideration, it may appear, that the property of labour should be able to overbalance the community of land, for it is labour indeed that puts the difference of value on everything; and let any one consider what the difference is between an acre of land planted with tobacco or sugar, sown with wheat or barley, and an acre of the same land lying in common without any husbandry upon it, and he will find that the improvement of labour makes the far greater part of the value. I think it will be but a very modest computation to say, that of the products of the earth useful to the life of man, nine-tenths are the effects of labour. Nay, if we will rightly estimate things as they come to our use, and cast up the several expenses about them – what in them is purely owing to Nature and what to labour – we shall find that in most of them ninety-nine hundredths are wholly to be put on the account of labour.” – Locke, Two Treatises, On Property

      1. Labor Theory of Value?

    2. Music exists. Books exist. Blogs exist.

      Copyright 2011, Reason Magazine

  13. So IP = Labor Theory of Value?

    I agree 100%, it is utter bullshit.

    1. ^^ Damn, beat me to it.

  14. From the handbrake site:

    Sources: Any DVD or Bluray-like source: VIDEO_TS folder, DVD image, real DVD or bluray (***unencrypted — removal of copy protection is not supported***)

  15. The link to Handbrake is questionable though.

  16. The link to Handbrake is questionable though.

  17. What the patent and copyright laws acknowledge is the paramount role of mental effort in the production of material values; these laws protect the mind’s contribution in its purest form: the origination of an idea. The subject of patents and copyrights is intellectual property.

    An idea as such cannot be protected until it has been given a material form. An invention has to be embodied in a physical model before it can be patented; a story has to be written or printed. But what the patent or copyright protects is not the physical object as such, but the idea which it embodies. By forbidding an unauthorized reproduction of the object, the law declares, in effect, that the physical labor of copying is not the source of the object’s value, that that value is created by the originator of the idea and may not be used without his consent; thus the law establishes the property right of a mind to that which it has brought into existence.

    It is important to note, in this connection, that a discovery cannot be patented, only an invention. A scientific or philosophical discovery, which identifies a law of nature, a principle or a fact of reality not previously known, cannot be the exclusive property of the discoverer because: (a) he did not create it, and (b) if he cares to make his discovery public, claiming it to be true, he cannot demand that men continue to pursue or practice falsehoods except by his permission. He can copyright the book in which he presents his discovery and he can demand that his authorship of the discovery be acknowledged, that no other man appropriate or plagiarize the credit for it?but he cannot copyright theoretical knowledge. Patents and copyrights pertain only to the practical application of knowledge, to the creation of a specific object which did not exist in nature?an object which, in the case of patents, may never have existed without its particular originator; and in the case of copyrights, would never have existed.

    The government does not “grant” a patent or copyright, in the sense of a gift, privilege, or favor; the government merely secures it?i.e., the government certifies the origination of an idea and protects its owner’s exclusive right of use and disposal.

    Ayn Rand, “Patents and Copyrights,” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 130.

    1. Between say, the above encapsulation, as well as what ‘Farmer’ previously stated, this settles it then.

      As for Kinsella and his vacuous nonsense, it’s just mind-boggling, that so many clueless fucks on ‘Reason,’ actually buy into it.

      Imbeciles!

      1. Not every libertarian is a card-carrying Objectivist.

        1. To their discredit. By the way, there are no cards. No cults, either. Just rational people who have studied philosophy and don’t have to resort to obscenities and name-calling to win points from the peanut gallery.

          1. “To their discredit”

            GO TEAM!!!

          2. I apologize for the obscenities and if I could remove them I would. I was angered by Ancap’s threats and ad hominem attacks. I’m not trying to score points from the peanut gallery. I don’t care what others here think of me. Obviously I appear to be in the minority here. Fine.

    2. Just because you got to the patent office 2 minutes before me doesn’t mean you should have exclusivity over something we both invented at the same time.

  18. If you rob someone of wheat, they have less wheat and you have more. If you “rob” an artist by copying their mp3 file, they still have their mp3 file, you just have one too. That’s a key difference here.

    Copyright is nothing more than a veiled way of “paying tribute.” It’s hard to see how a scarce good or service is being rendered by paying a copyright fee, especially as the terms of copyrights and patents get longer and longer. At the end of the day this becomes little more than a game of dominance and submission. Hollywood is trying to bully the rest of us.

    I say this as someone who still proudly buys CDs, and is happy to support artists. I still think a CD or record has enough utility that it can be bought and sold on the open market. Even digital files can be bought and sold. Being an “official” copy does mean something. The entertainment industry just isn’t going to be able to rake in the huge profits it used to. It no longer has a monopoly on the mediums of communication.

    Let a free-flowing exchange of ideas and inventions occur, and let the market operate. I don’t like the government getting too involved in the protection of these entertainment rackets and glorified “tribute” payments.

    1. By the same token, concert space is clearly scarce, and therefore it is completely proper for an artist to charge for admission to an art exhibition, concert, or lecture. I have no problem with that. That should be the direction the entertainment industry looks to become profitable.

      1. This is a bunch of arbitrary nonsense. The argument at hand has nothing to do with “artists,” per se, or with the propriety of charging for certain arbitrarily defined products or “events.” It has nothing to do with the “entertainment industry.” The discussion here is about concepts and principles.

        1. Correct. Which is why “libertarians” fail so miserably in the area of intellectual property. They seem to be stuck at the perceptual level.

          1. Objectivists are stuck at the a priori level.

    2. Matt, please, stop the nonsense.

      It’s not your property to begin with…

      Therefore, anything after that… and I mean anything… is the prerogative of the creator. Not yours, not your neighbor’s, etc…

      So just kindly, respect another individual’s property… lest someone decides, to start pillaging yours…

      1. Is that a threat, Ancap? Are you going to send your lawyers after me?

        You guys are nothing but a bunch of mafiosos raiding other people’s bank accounts. Go sue some more grandmothers.

      2. I’ve probably bought more CDs than you’ve ever listened to in your life. I’m just asking Hollywood to take it easy on the freaking lawsuits and stop alienating their fans.

        1. You are free to ignore “Hollywood” by choosing not to purchase their products. Likewise with “the record industry” and all the other “libertarian” bogeymen. You are free to ignore them and all the other creators in the world. But you are not free to steal from them.

          1. I don’t steal from them. I’ve given them plenty of my hard-earned dollars over the years.

            1. In fact, the internet has made it possible for me to buy more CDs than I could have every dreamed of, by exposing me to artists I never would have heard otherwise.

            2. It’s immaterial how much you have purchased over the years. A million dollars in purchases does not justify one dollar in theft.

              1. “A million dollars in purchases does not justify one dollar in theft.”

                Wow I think any business who took that stance would quickly go out of business.

                Oh no, I happened to read the headline of the USA Today without buying it. Better throw me in the slammer.

                1. “A million dollars in purchases does not justify one dollar in theft.”

                  I think most industries would KILL to have customers that purchased a million dollars of my products and stole one dollar worth of goods.

              2. Dogmatic much?

      3. You do realize your handle is a joke right, because in an Ancap society, there’s damned little chance that some kind of over-arching IP law would exist that all the various entities would voluntarily subscribe to.

  19. Is that a threat?

  20. The entertainment industry isn’t the only one that thinks it is entitled to have the profits it’s accustomed to enshrined in law. Still, terrorists, drug lords, people who obtain illegitimate copies of a set of ones and zeroes? One of these doesn’t seem to fit.

    1. Clearly the second one doesn’t fit, because we need to end the Drug War. (just kidding, I’m against the drug war).

      I’m not saying that copyrights are bad. I can see the justification for protecting them. I just think Hollywood and the government are going way overboard with this. Is it really worth the cost of all these lawsuits and fear-mongering? Do we really want the government to be Hollywood’s paid piracy sleuths? All of this costs taxpayer dollars.

      Is the fetish for protecting Hollywood profits really worth it? Is that really what we want to the government we support with taxes to be spending our time and money on. Do we really want to be prosecuted in Court because our 8 year old got through our internet filter and downloaded a bunch of tunes off Limewire? Is that really necessary and just? Don’t we have better things to do with our time and resources?

      1. Matt, with your last post above, you have clearly disqualified yourself from a rational discussion on this subject matter.

        Please supply me with your residential address, as well as any other investments, asset holdings, inheritances, etc…

        This will allow me to post your kind of gibberish in the future too:

        Is it really worth the cost of all these lawsuits and fear-mongering? Do we really want the government to be Matt’s paid piracy sleuths? All of this costs taxpayer dollars.

        Is the fetish for protecting Matt’s assets really worth it? Is that really what we want to the government we support with taxes to be spending our time and money on.

        Ummm… what was your address again?

        1. I’m not suing grandmothers for their grandchildren downloading songs, asshole.

          1. Go sue some more grandmothers, you snake.

            1. As I’ve stated before, and that you’re too fucking dumb to understand, there’s a big fucking difference between copying an mp3 file and stealing someone’s car. Dipshit.

              1. Oh, you stated that? Well, in that case, the debate is over!

                1. I have yet to hear a convincing argument against that distinction, Tom. Ancap isn’t responding my assertion, instead he’s decided to threaten me personally like the thug he is.

                  1. you’re too fucking dumb to understand…Dipshit…He’s decided to threaten me personally like the thug he is

                    Matt is like the guy who kills his parents, then complains that he is an orphan. Poor Matt. He tries to justify theft with all sorts of third-rate rhetorical tricks, and when that fails he resorts first to name-calling, then obscenities, and finally to claims that he is being victimized! It’s both funny and sad, like the efforts of a Special Olympian. But the Special Olympian has an excuse.

                    1. Well all decorum went out the window when Ancap threatened me.

                2. TomD you crack me up!

                  😉

              2. And if you can’t freaking understand the difference between a zero sum game (stealing someones car, there’s still a net of ONE car in existence) and a copying a digital music file (1 + 1 = 2), you need to go back to the 5th grade. Fuck if someone wants to COPY my car, they can. No skin off my ass. But you can’t steal my car.

              3. Oh my, you’re getting so emotional…

                An endearing quality, I’m sure…

                But listen up, clueless punk: Just because a new form of technology permits you to steal my personal property, without so much as physically taking away the original article, doesn’t mean it is not theft! Get it???

                That’s the old paradigm, capisce?

                If you can steal by means of a new technology, then I too, can protect myself via the new technology, geddit?

                And I say leave my property alone! Copyright! By what right do you think you can simply use my creation, but without my authorization?

                Who the fuck are you and where do you reside? You know… minor technicality… like your address, AGAIN!!!

                Fuckwit!

                1. New technology or not, it’s simple math.

                  Stealing a car:

                  1 car (theif) + 0 cars (victim) = 1 total car

                  Copying an mp3 file:
                  1 file (artist) + 1 file (pirate) = 2 total files. The artist still has their file.

                  1. The artist still has their file.

                    And you have deprived him of a sale by stealing a copy of it. If it really has no value, then why did you steal it? You really can’t have it both ways.

                    1. If air really has no value, then why did I breathe it?

                    2. So now we’re passing laws to compensate people for “potential” sales? You must be kidding.

                      I’m shocked at the hatred for low consumer prices and competition on this forum.

                    3. It’s one of the four considerations of the fair use doctrine we currently use.

                    4. Farmer, how can you be so sure the artist would have sold the file if it wasn’t copied? Maybe the copier wouldn’t have bought it at all.

                      In fact I’m not convinced that “selling” a digital file that can be copied even qualifies as a sale. Where’s the exchange? The buyer is certainly paying, but the artist gets to keep their copy of the file. Doesn’t that seem one-sided?

                2. Threatening someone over the internet then calling them a clueless punk, man that’s real mature and rational.

                  The whole point of copyright is to protect the original author from someone using their material and making money off of it.

                  If I go and buy a copy of Great Expectations, type it up on my computer and slap my name on as the Author, then try to sell it as my own original work, that is theft and fraud. If my friend comes over and likes the cd I’m listening too and I burn him a copy, that is not the same thing as I am not making any money off it. It does become theft if I make 50 cds and try to sell them.

                  1. Nate thanks for backing me up. To be fair, I called Ancap a lot worse. There’s no excuse and I apologize for my obscenities. Uncalled for and unwarranted. I was wrong and I’m sorry.

                    1. It happens. I get frustrated too, especially since I can see both sides of the issue being in the creative field myself.

                    2. But I stand by my arguments, despite my lack of poise in making them. And I agree Nate, copyrights have a role and I see that role as mostly to protect people from fraudulently taking credit for something they didn’t create.

          2. Oh really?

            But you would be suing those same grandmothers, if they were negligent enough to allow their own grandchildren to drown, while taking an unsupervised bath, right?

            Still, I do partially agree with you, inasmuch as it falls under contributory negligence. Yes the kids are at fault, but so are the grandmothers, who could deduce the trouble that those same kids could get into, by using the grandmothers’ property.

            1. So I guess nobody should get internet access, cause someone might hack into your account and download songs under your name, and the music industry will come after you.

              1. That’s a different baby…

                Break & enter, fraud, misrepresentation, etc…

                1. Well the government and music industry isn’t making that distinction in their enforcement. I’ve read numerous articles where defendants have claimed that they weren’t the ones who downloaded or shared music, but they’ve still lost. The burden of proof should be on the plaintiff but in these cases it’s guilty until proven innocent.

    2. But these people are part of that same group of rich people that you are always bitching don’t pay their fair share of taxes Tony.

  21. …people who obtain illegitimate copies of…

    Well there you go… and aren’t you the bright one…

  22. Look, there is an argument to be made on the entertainment industry side that copying “dilutes” the value of their work. The same way a government devalues currency by printing more money. That’s what I’ve been hoping to elicit out of their advocates here.

    But it’s still not as clear cut — to me — that the “dilution” argument holds. A bunch of mini-dictatorial copyright holders specifying what others can or cannot do with their “intellectual property” seems less important to protect than physical property that is truly scarce and cannot be copied. Like I said before, you can’t copy wheat, you can copy mp3s.

    What if you could copy wheat? Would you want the government to prevent starving people from eating to protect the patent of the wheat manufacturer, when it would be essentially free to copy and distribute?

    1. Actually, thanks to Monsanto et al, you CAN in fact copyright wheat, or any other seed for that matter and keep farmers from planting or growing food for people.

  23. For the record, I apologize for my expletives. I got too worked up. But please do not threaten me personally.

    1. But please do not threaten me personally.

      Hey, nothing could be further from my mind…

      It’s just your un-copyrighted property that I covet…

      😉

      Cheers!

      1. Bravo, Ancap. Please comment here more often.

  24. If you rob someone of wheat, they have less wheat and you have more. If you “rob” an artist a stockholder by copying their mp3 file digital stock, they still have their mp3 file stock, you just have one too.

    Obviously, we don’t allow people to make digital copies of intangible property that exists only in digital form. Why not?

    Because doing so dilutes the value of the “genuine” intangible property. The more shares of Apple stock you “create” by digital copying, the less every share is worth.

    The same analysis applies to IP. While its true that the artist or author still has his copy of the IP you just duplicated, the IP has less value the more it is duplicated, until ultimately it is valueless.

    So its not true that the artist isn’t harmed when people make free copies of his works. He is harmed; the earning potential of his works is diminished.

    Note: none of this is a defense of IP in its current form. I’m just trying to clear the underbrush a little.

    1. Thank you Dean for responding to my post with an attempt at rational argument instead of an ad hominem attack.

      However, I still don’t quite buy the analogy and I’ll tell you why.

      A stock has to be certified as legitimate from the company that issued it. Apple and Apple alone controls how many stocks are in existence, and I’d assume they have some way of certifying that those stocks are in fact legitimate. The stocks act as a claim on the right to Apple’s scarce resources (their tangible assets, stores — which take up physical real estate, etc). Thus there is still scarcity involved. Even if Apple issues more stock, each one is still a slice of a finite pie.

      I see digital music as something different. A digital file is not a percentage stake in ownership of a company. It can be replicated indefinitely as long as there is enough hard drive space.

    2. If Detroit figures out a way to produce cars more efficiently and cheaply and puts more supply out there, lowering prices, the earning potential of my used car is diminished. Should I then sue Detroit for “stealing” the money I could potentially make by selling my car on craigslist?

    3. Artist make very little for the songs they perform in the recording studio. Surely they get a cut of the record sales, but the bulk of their income is from concerts and merchandising. That’s why groups like Rolling Stone and Metallica are constantly touring.

      My point, specifically for music, has always been, what’s the difference between burning a cd for my friend across the street (Using the album I bought on the equipment Sony produces) and sharing that same album with my friend in Bangkok?

      1. “My point, specifically for music, has always been, what’s the difference between burning a cd for my friend across the street (Using the album I bought on the equipment Sony produces) and sharing that same album with my friend in Bangkok?”

        Actually the music industry considers both to be criminal, sadly.

    4. Copying on its own does not devalue the ip. The majority of music and video sales today are conducted by purchasing the ability to copy a media file from a business server onto your computer. They’re competing by selling easier, less time consuming ways to copy the files. Even game developers and software vendors are increasingly relying on downloadable content (again copied from their server to your computer) to make their product valuable. You might be able to argue that letting others copy a file on your computer is devaluing the product, except that exposing new people to the product is also creating consumers of concert/movie tickets, clothing, and other real world goods.

      The main cause of music, video and software losing market value is technology that makes it easier for individuals to create products of the same or better quality and distribute whatever is on their computer for a relatively low price. Instead of responding to new technology with efforts to compete as an industry in the free market should, the major players in the ip business went to the government and demanded special protections. Copyright has since become an excuse as bad as child porn for horrible legislation that infringes the individual’s right to privacy and security in their property.

      That said, copyright laws are not all bad, and many times valuable in keeping the market competitive. Patents, on the other hand, are inherently harmful to a free market. It does not matter if the invention was originally Matt’s idea. If someone else improves on it they should be free to do so and compete for Matt’s customers.

      To quote Kinsella who’s been referenced a few times in this thread “A patent is a grant by the state that permits the patentee to use the state’s court system to prohibit others from using their own property in certain ways ? from reconfiguring their property according to a certain pattern or design described in the patent, or from using their property (including their own bodies) in a certain sequence of steps described in the patent.”

      1. Ditto to etc

        Well put.

        I still think “official” releases by software, movie and music companies have a big competitive advantage over copies — for many reasons including the ability to download rapidly and securely. Software companies are also being very creative and offering exclusive benefits and services (like technical support, warranties, etc) to people who buy their product in order to “sweeten the pot.” So despite some of the hysteria the truly innovative players are adapting to changing technology.

        Remember folks, pro-business (or pro-industry) does not equal pro-market.

  25. But from a “dilution” standpoint I do see the parallel. And that’s why I said earlier that copyrights do deserve protection — UP TO A POINT. I don’t think the means of wiretaps and suing grandmothers and guilty until proven innocent justify the ends.

  26. Such wiretaps can be defeated by using an offshore VPN. If this goes through, expect VPN providers to have a booming business

  27. For those insisting that there’s no distinction between intellectual property and physical property, consider this.

    Even if you’re right, it takes time and energy to defend both of these kinds of property. Which should the government be more zealous in defending? A person’s house, his life, his car — or a song that George Gershwin wrote 80 years ago and his heirs are still collecting royalties for while they sit on their butts.

    There ARE scarce law enforcement resources — and I’m much more in favor of protecting the former than the latter given the choice between the two. Not that we can’t devote some law enforcement toward massive, hugely widespread instances of copyright infringement or clear fraud where someone is profiting off of it by taking credit for something they didn’t write or plagiarizing. But this jihad against individual small-time file sharers and grandmothers makes no sense and just reeks of bullying. It’s a predatory tactic that sickens me.

  28. Could someone please describe how one becomes a member of this site and where the settings are? I’ve searched but can’t find any sign-up area.

    Thanks.

    1. this is an interesting thread.

        1. I knew you would agree.

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