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

by Tiefling (Monk)
on Jun 05, 2001 at 21:02 UTC ( #85884=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


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

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
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(tye)Re2: Software piracy- what would you do?
by tye (Sage) on Jun 05, 2001 at 21:12 UTC

    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

        To discuss this, we have to use the same language. Um, I'll choose English. I didn't add the word "personal"; that is how it is listed in the dictionary. The purpose of that is to distinguish what is meant by "property". The word "property" has a lot of definitions (such as a synonym for "a characteristic") most of which don't have much to do with "theft".

        In English, "theft" involves "personal property" which is something physical that you can possess (which means that information isn't personal property). When I copy information, I don't deprive you of it. Income is not property either ("potential income" doubly so).

        You can make arguments that so-called "intellectual property" has some things in common with property. But if you wish to redefine the English word "property" to include "information", then, sorry, no, I can't have an intelligent discussion with you.

        Copyright has to do with control of information.

        Copyright discussions inherently use the axiom that (original) information is property.

        No, copyright holders like to talk about their information as "property" as it pretty much makes all of the decisions go their way. "Fair use" goes from "when should I be allowed to copy this information?" to "when should I be allowed to violate your copyright?" to "when is it okay for me to steal your property?".

        Information is only 'not property' because you're denying it.

        I saw a whole lot of people blithely talking about information as if were "property". That is quite a conclusion to jump to. I'm telling you to not jump to that conclusion. I'm not saying "information" is "electricity" or anything else. I'm saying "information" is "information". If you want to argue that it is also "property", then it is your responsibility to make that case. "Information" can have some aspects in common with "property", but it isn't the same thing as "property".

        Restate your arguments using terms other than ones that people have foregone conclusions about (like most people do for "stealing property").

        But the difference between "information" and "property" is trivial compared to the difference between copying information and theft. There isn't much point in me discussing copyright with someone who has already concluded that copying is "theft". Since you can't even understand that "information" is not identical to "property", then there is a ton of ground to cover before the discussion has much point.

        Just in case anyone has missed this point: I haven't really said anything about my thoughts on copyrights.

        Whoa. Calm down.

        You seem to be making assumptions about emotional state. I suggest you stop that as doing so in text-only communication is probably going to cause you problems.

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

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