Obama administration: "Piracy is flat, unadulterated theft"

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AndyFromMonday:
I just lost respect for this administration.

I had no respect for it to begin with.

Come to think of it, I don't have much respect for politics in general.

I'm totally in agreeal with the Obama Admin, but I think they're gonna do way more harm than good by signing off on ACTA. It'll ruin a lot of peoples lives because of it's retarded technicalities.

Piracy is flat, unadulterated theft? That's BULLSHIT! The only thing I pirate is porn, and I can assure you that in nothing I pirate the words "flat" can be used!

... Wait, what's this about music? Um... Oh. Never mind that, then.

(Somewhere out there, someone will take this comment seriously)

Er, yes. Yes it is. Why was this actually in doubt?

Deshin:
Hello all, long time lurker and first time poster. I decided to finally make an account because this topic is a lot like a recent convo I had with a friend regarding piracy and felt I had to contribute.

StriderShinryu:
Makes sense to me. Sure, if you really want to get technical about the definition, it may not be theft but really, you're gaining an experience that is available for sale without compensating the author of said experience. Whether there's a physical product involved or not is pretty much beside the point. The actual physical copy of a disc based game technically costs, what, a dime. What you're really paying for when you buy a game is the experience and that's what a pirate is taking for free.

Isn't it exactly the same if you buy a game/movie used or even rent it? If you rent a game then you're "gaining an experience that is available for sale without compensating the author of said experience" are you not? You're compensating the game shop sure, but not a cent of that goes to the author, just goes straight into the game shop's pockets.

Sure, I agree with you completely (though one could/should certainly argue that at least with a rental/used copy you can probably count the number of people who get the experience based off of a single purchase, which is not the case with piracy assuming there even was an initial purchase). But that's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about piracy and how it equates to theft.

StriderShinryu:
*snip* (am I doing that right?)

Well if a small group of friends (say 5 people argument's sake, I'll use this group again soon) all chip in and buy a single movie and the make "backups" of the movie so each person has a copy at home. Even though there was a single purchase it still doesn't make it any more right.

Please permit me to give another example... say that same group of 5 above only one person decides to buy a movie (let's say, Titanic). He watches Titanic and enjoys it, all is good. Then he asks his friends to come round to his house to watch Titanic, now people are experiencing it without paying for it but that initial purcahse is still there so it's all good.

He asks his friends to come round again the following week to watch Titanic again, but one person can't make it because he has a cold, so his friends decide to put a laptop with a webcam on the couch so he can still watch Titanic with them from home, it's starting to get a little blury now but all is legal.
One of his friends calls him up because he really wants to watch Titanic again. The original purchaser is at work but tells him to just go in (he has a spare key) and watch it. This is totally ok and still lawful.

The friend with the cold calls up the original purchaser and says he wants to watch Titanic again. The original purchaser doesn't feel like watching the movie again but humors his friend and sets up the webcam and lets him watch it while he goes and does something else. All is still good.
The friend who lives miles across town and has missed the last bus calls up the original purchaser and asks to watch Titanic. The orginal purchaser at this point has had enough of having the movie showing so puts it up on his personal FTP and gives his friends all logins to watch it whenever they want from the comfort of their own homes, now THIS is illegal.

But in practicality and reality, what has changed whatsoever from previous examples to that last example that crosses the line from law abiding citizen to filthy pirate?

Sacman:
No crap, that's why it's called piracy...

Thank you!

Deshin:
Hello all, long time lurker and first time poster. I decided to finally make an account because this topic is a lot like a recent convo I had with a friend regarding piracy and felt I had to contribute.

StriderShinryu:
Makes sense to me. Sure, if you really want to get technical about the definition, it may not be theft but really, you're gaining an experience that is available for sale without compensating the author of said experience. Whether there's a physical product involved or not is pretty much beside the point. The actual physical copy of a disc based game technically costs, what, a dime. What you're really paying for when you buy a game is the experience and that's what a pirate is taking for free.

Isn't it exactly the same if you buy a game/movie used or even rent it? If you rent a game then you're "gaining an experience that is available for sale without compensating the author of said experience" are you not? You're compensating the game shop sure, but not a cent of that goes to the author, just goes straight into the game shop's pockets.

Yes, it makes sense, but I can't shake the feeling that that's just a wierd protecion method for pirates - 'libraries do it too, why can't we?'

One day, I want to actually go to one of those rental shops, and ask them why their shop is different to piracy. If nothing, then I submit to them. If there is something - even a tiny thing that makes them more justifiable - I'll stick to my guns.

Have fun trying to enforce anti-piracy laws you guys :D

Hope you get that War on Drugs finished beforehand, though.

This changes nothing, people will still torrent huge amounts of copyright material. The only difference being that instead of making it easy to find and monitor as it is, for the most part, just now. The people who pirate will simply find ways of encrypting and hiding what it is they are doing. The most significant difference is it makes those who are in power look more like right idiots than they did before.

What you're really paying for when you buy a game is the experience and that's what a pirate is taking for free.

In terms of games that is both technically and factually incorrect. What you are paying for is the right to run the software on your system. If you study the fine print in most EULAs you'll find that most publishers / developers will have included a get out clause that specifically states that they will not even guarantee that the software will work at all and you just have to look at the forums of any major release and read the posts from people having trouble running the game to see just how much the average developer / publisher cares about the end users experience of the game.

Er, yes. Yes it is. Why was this actually in doubt?

because they aren't, simple answer really. As someone else has pointed out they aren't even dealt with in the same proceedings.

Wait what? piracy isn't theft.

Theft is where you deprive someone else of a material item i.e. take it from them. Piracy on the other hand merely copies the original and the owner hasn't been deprived of any goods. yes this may have an indirect impact on sales but you are not directly taking anything material at all from the copyright holder.

It maybe a species of criminal activity in some forms, but that doesn't make it theft, a different word is required. There is a big danger in branding copyright infringement "theft" with a broad brush, its far more complicated than that.

AndyFromMonday:

As someone who has tiresomely explained this same concept far more times than I care to recall, I feel your pain at the obtuse just not getting it. Pirates are, for the most part, jerks, and piracy isn't especially ethical (with certain limited exceptions), and it isn't legal, but it isn't theft either. From a purely fiscal standpoint there is no difference between the sale of a second-hand good and a copy pirated - if everyone who buys used games now pirated them instead, publishers would have made the same amount of money.

Which is a concept a surprisingly large percentage of the population here cannot seem to grasp - they'll yammer on about how those used copies all still had to be sold originally and pirated copies didn't, so that must make them better, but that reasoning is a load of bullshit: if 30,000 copies of a game are sold new at full price, and through the course of trade-ins a total of 60,000 are re-sold as used titles, the publisher/developers make exactly as much as they would if their title sold 30,000 new full price units and a million people pirated it. Yes, used copies had to be purchased originally, but that doesn't change the fact that, by buying a title used, your purchase has the same benefit to the content producer that software piracy does (none whatsoever). The only real impact the used game market has on first hand sales is that some people who buy new copies now then go on to trade them in, and if there was no readily available option to do so sale of new units might go down; when you buy a used game though you are contributed nothing to the people who bought it and do absolutely nothing to bolster sale of new goods in the process.

So if used game sales, which are perfectly legal mind you, if those cannot be considered theft, how can unauthorized copying be an act of theft when it produces an identical financial outcome? Theft is taking somebody's stuff, piracy (or rather, the way the term is used in this context as actual piracy has nothing to do with discussions of copyright infringement) is copying it. That members of the Obama administration seemingly cannot tell the difference is not a good sign at all.

Deshin:

StriderShinryu:
*snip* (am I doing that right?)

Well if a small group of friends (say 5 people argument's sake, I'll use this group again soon) all chip in and buy a single movie and the make "backups" of the movie so each person has a copy at home. Even though there was a single purchase it still doesn't make it any more right.

Right or wrong, that's not really the topic being discussed. I was simply saying that, for example, your average used game may go through for example 5 owners but if put up on a torrent that same single copy could be distributed to thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of downloaders. I'm not going to say where one should draw the line, and I'm in agreement that rentals/used sales are not anywhere near as good as new sales where the creators are concerned, but there is a pretty clear and debatable difference between common sharing and internet file sharing if that's what someone wanted to discuss. No matter how you slice it 60/5 or even 60/20 is better than 60/1000000.

ADMINS LOCK THIS INANE THREAD

StriderShinryu:
Right or wrong, that's not really the topic being discussed. I was simply saying that, for example, your average used game may go through for example 5 owners but if put up on a torrent that same single copy could be distributed to thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of downloaders. I'm not going to say where one should draw the line, and I'm in agreement that rentals/used sales are not anywhere near as good as new sales where the creators are concerned, but there is a pretty clear and debatable difference between common sharing and internet file sharing if that's what someone wanted to discuss. No matter how you slice it 60/5 or even 60/20 is better than 60/1000000.

Yet the 60 remains a constant across those 3 variable situations. The only difference is either 65, 80, or 1,000,060 people enjoyed the experience. The more people enjoy something the more they discuss it and create fandom around it, which may lead the author to create sequels to the original item. This would not happen if the numbers were limited to 65 or 80.

I'm definitely not getting into this debate again, last time it was a nightmare. Though it's nice to know I have Obama on my side now.

Actually, it's copyright infringement the words are different because they have different implications. Still illegal, but please get it right.

Really, why do they have to make a statement like this? It would be like me going to a crowded street in Boston screaming "APPLES ARE APPLES!" at the top of my lungs. There's just no reason for it, and it's time I could have spent doing more constructive things.

Great.

So the Obama administration is being manipulated into destroying the internet for the sake of a few overly weathy labels/studios/publishers that exploit their talent more than anyone who's ever downloaded anything.

Well guys, it was nice being able to have any sort of contact with you. ACTA pretty much makes the internet, as it currently exists, illegal. If only the copyright holder can "copy" information, then every ISP has to buy said rights from each copyright holder. Steam is dead, google is dead, forums are dead. All hail the forces of the obsolete and their war against the future.

jasoncyrus:

Locke then lamented the fate of songwriters. "Recently, I've had a chance to read letters from award winning writers and artists whose livelihoods have been destroyed by music piracy. One letter that stuck out for me was a guy who said the songwriting royalties he had depended on to 'be a golden parachute to fund his retirement had turned out to be a lead balloon.' This just isn't right."

He should've got himself a REAL job then and done like everyone else and put money away that he actually EARNED. (que flaming contraversy).

Yes there is reason to give him money for having done such a thing. But not so much that he can make his retirement off it. Unless he's written thousands upon thousands of songs. At which point I somewhat doubt pirac has wrecked his idiot pension plan unless all he ever wrote were say...britney spears songs.

Music is a career path just like any other - if a guy is good at writing songs, let him write songs and pay him to do so. Music has to come from somewhere, so someone has to make a living out of it, given the effort that goes into creating mainstream music. As much as the indie crowd would beg to differ, music on a global scale really can't be created in basements on weekends.

I get you pointed out that it's a controversial statement, but you seem to be saying that a professional songwriter shouldn't be able to make a retirement out of songwriting...?

AndyFromMonday:

JuryNelson:

AndyFromMonday:
I just lost respect for this administration.

Seriously? Well, I just lost respect for you.

You won't even ask why I lost my respect for the administration? Oh well, I'll just tell you anyway.

Piracy is not theft, period. To state that it's theft shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what piracy is and giving that it's coming from an administration that's pushing an act to give copyright holders the ability to more aggressively pursue pirates it's just unforgivable.

Respect -25
And piracy isn't theft because...?

AndyFromMonday:

AgentNein:

AndyFromMonday:
I just lost respect for this administration.

Cuz it's such a stretch to consider piracy theft? I mean, the only people who've fooled themselves into thinking otherwise are pirates and idiots.

Is it different than physical theft? Absolutely. But it's still theft.

HOW many times will I have to EXPLAIN THIS?!

PIRACY does not DEPRIVE the holder of his object. It COPIES IT. There's a fundamental difference between copying and stealing. Piracy is COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT, NOT THEFT! Let me repeat that for you. YOU ARE NOT, I REPEAT, YOU ARE NOT TAKING ANOTHER PERSONS PROPERTY, YOU ARE COPYING IT!

It's not theft, it's not even a form of theft, it's COPYRIGHTS-INFRINGEMENT

Piracy is many things, including a form of sharing, but it is NOT THEFT.

SODAssault:

AndyFromMonday:
I just lost respect for this administration.

You're really of the opinion that obtaining something for free, when it was only able to be created because somebody sunk a lot of money into it with the intent of having their investment refunded (at the very least) by sales... is in no way a form of theft?

It cost somebody else a lot of money to create what you're pirating. If you obtain it without payment, and without their consent, you're taking money from them without their permission. That's a very basic form of stealing.

Fine, let's go down this road again.

Let's say my neighbor has an orchad and sells apples for a living. I buy an apple from him and use the seeds from that apple to grow my own orchad. I then start distributing apples for free. Is what I'm doing illegal?

TheRightToArmBears:

It's still taking something without permission. It's kinda half-theft. You get something that's someone else's unlawfully (that's theft right there), but they don't lose it (the not-so-theft bit).

NO YOU'RE NOT! What I an downloading from the internet isn't the game I bought at GameStop, I'm downloading a copy of that game.

And does the game designer/developer/creator get any money for that piracy, which they would had you paid for it? No, then theft.

Theft: The criminal act of taking another's property or services without consent.

They would make money off the game you bought, thus the money that the game would earn is their's, due to the copyright they hold on the game, by pirating the game you are taking their money without their consent. Theft.

Also, to say you lost respect for an entire adminstrationg because of this one issue is just childish, and if you can't engage with this subject on an adult level maybe you should stay away from it.

And because putting something in big letters doesn't make it true, let's address copyright infringement and for a moment entirely accept your point that stealing, piracy, theft and copyright infringement are all entirely unrelated issues.

Copyright infringement is against the law in almost every first world country, thus you are a criminal if you are a pirate. One way or the other, when you pirate something you have broken the law (various international treaties and national laws to be precise) you would be treated the same as a thief anyway.

I suppose in response to the actual point, I agree in the broad strokes (for reasons stated above), but I believe the response should be mediated correctly instead of a knee jerk reaction, Knee jerking never works, you need to find an intelligent solution (one that preferably ends with all pirates being deported to the moon)

no oneder:
And piracy isn't theft because...?

Prove damages.

Oops, you can't.

Alex Cowan:
Music is a career path just like any other - if a guy is good at writing songs, let him write songs and pay him to do so. Music has to come from somewhere, so someone has to make a living out of it, given the effort that goes into creating mainstream music. As much as the indie crowd would beg to differ, music on a global scale really can't be created in basements on weekends.

I get you pointed out that it's a controversial statement, but you seem to be saying that a professional songwriter shouldn't be able to make a retirement out of songwriting...?

The problem with his entire comparison is a "golden parachute" implies an effortless glide through life, while all the little people below him, at best, tread water. Hes angry he got a lead balloon because it means he might actually have to work for a living.

He can get fucked.

it never really pangs me as theft. Piracy is about duplication, there's no physical goods being taken from some one. Its like stealing candy from a baby, only instead of the baby no longer having its candy the pirate has the candy as well. Only they usually end up with a lower quality candy at the end, but some people would rather experience something at its worst than pay for it at its best.

Why are people pissed that the government takes piracy as stealing?

Seems like pure common sense to me. If you loose respect for someone for them pointing out the obvious, you probably aren't deserving of a whole lot of respect yourself.

I mean, it's called piracy. PIRACY. If there's one thing that should link to theft in your mind, it's the word piracy. If it doesn't, you should probably stop and think for a second why that is, and why you blame Obama for pointing the relationship out.

Besides, this will not stop me pirating, even though I only pirate games with insane DRM on them, just out of pure spite.

I am disappoint people.

XT inc:
it never really pangs me as theft. Piracy is about duplication, there's no physical goods being taken from some one. Its like stealing candy from a baby, only instead of the baby no longer having its candy the pirate has the candy as well. Only they usually end up with a lower quality candy at the end, but some people would rather experience something at its worst than pay for it at its best.

Well, this isn't true. The candy is typically of identical quality. This is the reason "piracy" is such a problem to the old guard. They no longer have complete control over distribution, which is the linchpin of most 20th century business models.

Jaeriko:
Why are people pissed that the government takes piracy as stealing?

Because when the government steals its called "taxes."

Rubs some people wrong for the government to act as if it deserves a monopoly on specious terms.

Cynical skeptic:

no oneder:
And piracy isn't theft because...?

Prove damages.

Oops, you can't.

Well, for one, people aren't getting paid for their copyright properties, that's for sure. Like less paid musicians and such. For two, it's against the law, ever heard of it? And for three, something or other.

Could this mean that illegal downloading is actually...illegal??

If Software-piracy is theft, then xerox machines are Satan's children!

In the court of law, it is.

Morally things start getting ambiguous though. I don't pirate, but developers aren't necessarily losing money from people pirating, as said pirates may not have bought the game anyway. Still, if you can't afford something, you simply don't get it.

There are way to many intricacies in this issue for me to make a solid decision. So my opinion is this:

1) I will not pirate because I personally believe it is morally wrong in general.
2) Pirating should stay as an illegal practice, although not necessarily equal to physical theft.
3) If you pirate, I won't judge you if you don't have the means to afford the product. If you DO however, I will most likely curse you out.

no oneder:
Well, for one, people aren't getting paid for their copyright properties, that's for sure. Like less paid musicians and such. For two, it's against the law, ever heard of it? And for three, something or other.

Prove they would've gotten paid in the absence of piracy. Law is not absolute. Bananas.

Where were all you anti-piracy people when we were having this argument the other day?!

TheRightToArmBears:

AndyFromMonday:

AgentNein:

AndyFromMonday:
I just lost respect for this administration.

Cuz it's such a stretch to consider piracy theft? I mean, the only people who've fooled themselves into thinking otherwise are pirates and idiots.

Is it different than physical theft? Absolutely. But it's still theft.

HOW many times will I have to EXPLAIN THIS?!

PIRACY does not DEPRIVE the holder of his object. It COPIES IT. There's a fundamental difference between copying and stealing. Piracy is COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT, NOT THEFT! Let me repeat that for you. YOU ARE NOT, I REPEAT, YOU ARE NOT TAKING ANOTHER PERSONS PROPERTY, YOU ARE COPYING IT!

It's not theft, it's not even a form of theft, it's C O P Y R I G H T S - I N F R I N G E M E N T

It's still taking something without permission. It's kinda half-theft. You get something that's someone else's unlawfully (that's theft right there), but they don't lose it (the not-so-theft bit).

Only you're not taking anything. Piracy is the same crime as selling a fake designer purse. You're not stealing a purse from the company by buying it, but it is still illegal.

You can argue all you want about it, but they make the laws and they're pretty adamant about the situation. Complaining about it isn't really gonna do anything, no matter what your stance.

no oneder:
Respect -25
And piracy isn't theft because...?

You didn't quote me but mind if I try to answer it?

Before we go into that, what is law? Law and justice are man-made concepts created at the dawn of mankind. Before people had money or shops there was trade of goods and workers and farmers. It was decided that to forcibly take an item from another person was to deprive that person who worked or traded for that item and so the concept of theft as crime was born.

Then the advent of currency now we had shops and money was used as a medium of tradable goods or services. A universal middle man to symbolise trade if you lacked specific items which was redeemable at a later date or time. Theft as crime was also applied to stealing money because it was depriving the victim of money or items that could be traded for money which could be traded for the desired item.

Now in the modern ages we have concepts and ideas as "copyright infringement" and "software piracy". Even ideas can be stolen, we have given the tangible and the abstract a value and an owner. In olden days if you stole an apple from a store the owner would lose the money for sure from not selling the apple, however with regards to copyright piracy there is no clear cut guarantee of the loss of money. As such the punishment should not be as harsh from a moral and even a philosophical standpoint.

To further illustrate a point: Hundreds of years ago if a man had a book and another man wanted it, he would lend it to him and he would copy it down onto fresh paper and bind it himself. This is what one would consider "copyright theft" is it not? Yet it was perfectly legal, in fact if I were go to my friend right now and transcribe an entire book word for word onto paper to read at my own leisure it would fall well within the realms of legality. Yet when a book becomes removed from ink and paper to 0s and 1s and the act of manually copying becomes an automatic act I have become a criminal, yet is it not the same in principle even though the execution has evolved?

Cynical skeptic:

no oneder:
Well, for one, people aren't getting paid for their copyright properties, that's for sure. Like less paid musicians and such. For two, it's against the law, ever heard of it? And for three, something or other.

Prove they would've gotten paid in the absence of piracy. Law is not absolute. Bananas.

You truly are a cynical skeptic bastard. There is no prove needed, it's right there in front of you, or are you that blind to not see? Open your eyes dammit! And of course law is absolute! Or do you live in the Old West?

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