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Can Piracy ever be Justified?

Discussion in 'Serious' started by Darkwisdom, 8 Nov 2015.

  1. Krazeh

    Krazeh Well-Known Member

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    That's still not the same as 1)

    That's may be because in a lot of cases no crime has actually been committed. Well not by the person do the downloading anyway. And depending on where the uploader is and/or what level of uploading they're doing that may not be a crime either. So it can be difficult to focus on the 'crime'.
     
  2. Porkins' Wingman

    Porkins' Wingman Can't touch this

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    Please show me how and where.

    Well otherwise we'd just be discussing whether it was legal or not, which would be a pretty brief conversation.

    Our mummies and daddies may have used the law as a measure of what we should consider as right and wrong, for our own protection in our youth, but most of those who have been around the block a bit tend to have thought about things a bit beyond what the law says on a matter.

    I like to think of myself as increasingly amoral as I get older. Morality is like a social sheepdog of life, and I'm tired of that ****ing dog trying to tell me what to do, because it's unnecessary. I'm not interested in murdering someone, not because it's 'morally wrong' but because I can't see what good it would do me - murdering people (or generally screwing other people over) tends to create problems, not solve them.

    Similarly, Star Wars is probably the greatest single indulgence in my life (although, if we compared time I spent thinking about Star Wars to time I spent masturbating, the figures might be tight) - why would I do anything to harm Star Wars? I thought I outlined pretty clearly how Star Wars has benefitted from me pirating the film while I wait for the DVD, because I can't see it any other way in the meantime, and it's keeping my mind (and hence my spending decisions) on Star Wars. As a massive fan of Star Wars I am well at peace with this contribution I am making - I'm taking away NOTHING, and in fact paying in to it what I can. It's not like I took my camera into the cinema and recorded it before uploading it for others to share. If I didn't have young kids I would have signed up to Cineworld's membership scheme and gone to see it at least once a week since it came out, but I can't. If the DVD was available now I would have bought it already. You tell me how what I have done has aggrieved Star Wars.

    Yes. Yes it is.

    Dittoing all over dat.

    ... Quite. Were those who resisted slavery justified (and no, this is not me equating resisting slavery to piracy, this is me highlighting that the principle that the Law justifies all is toss-in-a-box)?
     
    Last edited: 21 Jan 2016
  3. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Well-Known Member

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    As it stands with today's technology there are compelling arguments to abandon the notion that ideas can be owned. Museums are publicly funded on the principle that cultural enrichment should not be exclusive, however they invariably feature artefacts from a bygone era. In the modern, globalized world contemporary culture is Star Wars, Marvel and Skyrim. Our global culture is proprietary, and exclusive...That's an unsettling thought, but it gets both scarier and more farcical once you follow the technological road-maps we have...

    One day, in the foreseeable future, we will have 3D printers that can print at a molecular resolution allowing users to print their own medicine. The hope is that one day we will also have cured cancer, although it will most likely be subject to patent...But do you think one of us will ever try to convince their grandchild not to torrent the cure for their cancer because that's just not how things were in our day?
     
  4. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    Something along these lines was discussed in Hello Internet episode 2. Grey says that creative works are universally derivative. They are not created in isolation, they are dependant on the culture in which the creator lives in and invariably take from various other previous works.

    The purpose of copyright is to allow the creator a temporary monoply to allow them to earn a living from their work. Once that expires the work becomes the property of the society which has in essence facilitated the creation of that work.

    The 70 years after death time limit on copyright is a perversion of that idea.

    Both creators and pirates are overstepping the mark. If a creative work can't be monotised then there is less incentive to create larger scale works which require time and heavy investment. No copyright limits creative works to hobbyists and removes professional and large scale creators.

    Pirates to some extent reduce the ability of a work to be monotised. Whilst it is unlikely to be 1 pirate =1 lost sale equation piracy should have some negative sales impact. With a fairer length of copyright (some argue 5 to 10 years) a work could become public domain whilst still culturally relevant. This would afford those who can't or won't pay access to works that are still culturally relevant. At the same time it would allow the creator the time to monotise a work during that initial copyright period.

    I think piracy is an indication of a systemic problem. It's probably better to determine what those problems are and how to deal with them than trying to hammer pirates into submission, shoehorn archaic business models and excessive copyright protection into society.
     
    Last edited: 21 Jan 2016
  5. LennyRhys

    LennyRhys Oink!

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    /facepalm... I'm not trying to show that it's the same as stealing. I'm trying to show that it doesn't matter, because in both cases somebody is being robbed of something that is rightfully theirs, regardless of whether it is merchandise, profit etc. etc. Again, /facepalm.

    I already did, in the paragraph that followed. You want the law to be considered irrelevant, but you also want there to be a standard by which piracy (or copying) can be shown to be right or wrong. Ergo, the perfectly functional and reasonable standard in place inconveniences you, so you want an alternative. Seriously, I'm running out of palms for my face! :lol:

    Hilarity aside, the main thrust of your line of thinking is that the end justifies the means - you appropriate merchandise unlawfully, but it's okay because... [insert justification here]. There simply isn't any arguing with that.

    But the "copying doesn't impact anyone" falsehood really needs to be laid to rest. Granted, it impacts some a lot more than others, but the impact is still there. If nobody pirated and everybody purchased software/media, what kind of "non-impact" would we be talking about financially? The figure would be in the billions, easily.
     
  6. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    The difficulty I have with your interpretation is that there are infinity potential copies of a digital entity.

    I'm a firm believer (based on almost no evidence I'll admit) that the majority of digital pirates were never going to spend their money on the warez they choose to appropriate, therefore the content owner is not actually left in any different a position than they would have been.

    One knock on of piracy stats is that they can actually increase the hype of he most popular targets, and at best interest potential future customers.

    Traditional, analogue theft involved the rightful owner of 'something' being deprived of that 'something' without their consent or remuneration. My argument is that since the original code is never removed from the ownership of a digital piracy victim, it cannot logically be classed as the same thing without fundamentally redefining the word theft.

    I realise I'm saying very little about justification here, but I think it's an important definition that needs to be made to provide the groundwork of the arguments.
     
  7. LennyRhys

    LennyRhys Oink!

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    No argument from me there - as I've been saying, theft and piracy are not the same thing, but in principle they are equally wrong (or unlawful) because both result in a negative impact on an individual/business (I believe the accounting term is shrinkage).

    I get what you're saying by referencing the tried-and-tested line of "they wouldn't have paid anyway," but even if that were true it is irrelevant because it's essentially a "what if" argument. If you really wanted to pursue that line of thinking then you'd have to concede that there'd be other variables resulting from the absence of piracy, and before you know it you have a model that is not viable for direct comparison. That model is Eutopia. :)
     
  8. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    But if the copyright holder is neither richer nor poorer based upon the pirate's actions (indeed, probably knows nothing about it), can we genuinely suggest that there really has been a negative impact?

    We can extend the "what if" argument to the scenario that the item is not pirated but not bought either - the most common scenario by far. As far as I can tell, the copyright owner is no differently off in this scenario than they were when their work was pirated.

    "Most pirated" seems to be a badge that more and more content creators are wearing with pride these days - it is one of the marks of a successful project.
     
  9. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    That's the crux of it really. The situation of someone consuming a creative work, one which they would not have bought were it not pirated. You can view it as the creator has not lost anything since the work would not have been purchased were the consumer unable to pirate it. Or you can view it as, the person has consumed the work and therefore owe the creator money.

    The thought of libraries comes to mind. People can take books and media from the library for essentially free. The library only buys one copy of the book or other media, many people can then come and consume it. That is many people who are not spending any money (like the second hand market) consuming one copy of a creative work. It kind of sounds like piracy doesn't it?
     
  10. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    You are right to an extent, but were there no piracy, I think the would be pirate is likely to purchase some content, albeit much less than they would have pirated. It's not a one download one lost income for the creators, but there are some creators who would loose out. Essentially those creators that make the works the would be pirate values the most are the ones that would loose out because of piracy. (assuming they would just pirate those works as well)

    I know I have a handful of games sitting in Origin, some I have played for 5 minutes some for zero minutes and the only reason they are sitting in my account was because I could get them for free. Never would I pay a cent for those particular titles were they not available to me for free. Free stuff makes people take more than they need or even want and the same applies to piracy.
     
  11. sonicgroove

    sonicgroove Radical Atheist

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    I'll start my reply by saying I am a pirate, and a purchaser. That being now established, I will tell you the stuff I buy and the stuff I pirate. I'm a MASSIVE music fan. Once upon a time I used to spent every available penny on CDs, Vinyl and cassettes, along with at least 3 gigs a week. I have paid my dues tenfold to the bands I love, but since the advent of digital media, I have replaced my entire collection with digital copies and consigned the hard copies to the annals of time (the 2nd hand shops) mainly due to storage/convenience constraints. With the exception of new artists I have never paid a penny for the digital files I now have stored, which number in the 10s of thousands. I usually download the flac versions of entire back catalogues, so I'm hardly saving any cash as HDD's aren't cheap either. The artists I used to fund have already had my hard earned cash once and I'll be damned if I'm giving it to them again. Sometimes, in the download there is an album that I didn't used to own. I don't feel guilty about it. I spent 20 years paying vastly inflated prices for the originals that I did own. They are simply paying a bit back to me now.

    I'm not much of a gamer, but the one game I do play (footy manager) got my cash every year without fail for over a decade, and you know what? I got sick of receiving a sub standard, half finished product. Sports interactive are by no means the only company that treat their customers like unpaid testers either, so screw them I thought, you ain't getting another penny from me. I download and play the game now till such a time that it has been patched and repatched and is finally a working product, then I buy it on the 2nd hand market for a reasonable price.

    One area that I will not pirate is independently financed products, and startup bands. I still buy them straight from the bands themselves, at gigs ( I still try to get to around 100 gigs a year)

    Regarding movies, We are a family of 7. To visit the cinema costs upwards of £120 each time, so it is reserved for the 'specials' such as Star Wars, or the latest Pixar, but I wouldn't hesitate to download it once I got home if it was available in good quality and I wanted to see it again (sometimes I fall asleep in cinemas which angers me after spending so much)

    Should I download any other movie, There wouldn't be a chance of me visiting the cinema to see it, and I don't buy DVDs, Blu rays etc. so it wouldn't be a lost sale as the only way I would have seen it otherwise would have been on the TV or Netflix/Amazon, all three of which I pay in excess of £100 a month to use. I pay £30 pm for my broadband connection and I consider that a 'subscription' charge to digital media that I can download on torrent sites. It'll be watched once and deleted, or as explained earlier, has either already been paid for once or would never have been paid for in the first place.

    What I do impacts on no one other than myself yet I am considered a pirate. Surely, the people that put out shoddy releases/overpriced products are the real pirates. The people that attack pirates have just been swept along with the bullcrap that global multi conglomerates put out to mistakenly attempt to protect/increase profits.

    Anyone that wants to defend the position of non pirates, I have one example for you that should stop you in your tracks immediately......WOLVERINE. Had that film not been extensively pirated, it would never have made the money it did. It was a mediocre film, with millions of £/$ of free publicity. It was, at the time, the most pirated film of the day and still went on to gross way more than it should at the box office. The reason it did so well was down to 'pirates' watching it, telling their friends about it who told their friends etc.

    There is a great author by the name of Steven Leather, who actively promotes piracy as a part of his business model now. He's one of the most forward thinking people I know. He uploads his back catalogue to torrent sites himself, because he knows that if someone comes across him on there, there's a good chance that they will buy his latest tome when it's released. He does this because he knows that he puts out a quality product that will stand on its own merit.
     
  12. Porkins' Wingman

    Porkins' Wingman Can't touch this

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    How is what is 'rightfully theirs' determined? Copyright law. You're still adhering to the idea that the Law trumps everything.

    And aren't the bandwidth, storage, electricity, playback hardware and my time all rightfully mine - these are all the actual cost of me watching a pirated film, and I am left to finance those costs, while the film producer incurs no cost. And if the film is not to my liking, what compensation am I entitled to for my costs from the film producer?

    The idea that content producers need only create something and then put enough effort into advertising their product to tempt us in to trying it to be entitled to full payment is dead. If you want me to support your product make it so that I care about it. If I don't care about it there is no logical reason to support its production.

    Please put the law to one side for a moment. What is the logic behind supporting a product that you don't care about. Capitalism is supposedly based on letting The Market determine the future. In the case of piracy the market is saying "Dear Music Industry, we are fed up with financing the production of all this conveyor belt content; we are fed up of overpaying for albums with 75% dross on them; just give us the good stuff".

    The Market will determine what is the good stuff, and the market will support the good stuff. Copyright law prevents the market from doing its thing. Copyright law supports the concept of the producers calling the shots. Piracy has happened because The Market has had enough of that ****.

    Piracy will never destroy the production of creative content, because then the supply for The Market would dry up, and The Market probably won't want that, so The Market has a vested interest in supporting the products it wants.

    There's you're logical justification. The law is being used to inflate the profits of the creative industry to greater than what a free Market would do otherwise. Let piracy do its thing and The Market will determine a healthy equilibrium that supports the content we care about and let's the content we don't care about go away.

    Notice how well Adele's 25 album has sold? That's because The Market likes Adele. I could pirate it this minute - have it downloaded within 100 seconds probably, but I won't bother right now as we have the CD in the kitchen. I'm happy to support Adele's music as I like it. But if I do pirate it anyway, just for shits and giggles, please explain how this has impacted Adele.


    Logic is the only standard I ask you to consider. Where have I asked for some official standard on right and wrong? If you could stop facepalming yourself for a minute and pay attention to what you're reading you might stop trying to keep twisting this back to the Law.

    That's what this whole thread is about - OP wanted us to 'insert justifications here' - have you read the OP yet?

    So are you saying that because we're unlikely to ever get a free market there's no justification for pursuing free market ideals?

    So it's never justifiable.. but you'd be happy to do it. How does that work? Adobe doesn't offer a pricing scheme that matches your need for the product. A free market could help you out with that.

    Piracy is not some evil that has emerged from the depths of hell. It is society's response to the 20th Century model of production and consumption. It's a sign of socio-economic evolution. Copyright Law is the attempt by the legally privileged to stifle such evolution. Copyright Law and piracy are both products of human development. They are here and undeniable. That's the only justification humanity needs. We created it, ergo it's justified.

    Paedophilia isn't generally considered nice or beneficial, but it is inarguably a product of human development, and therefore it is justified. Not in law. Not in morality. But in nature. Nature (or Physics, or God, or whatever you want to call the driving force of change that's occurred for the past 14 billion years) has created paedophilia. Nature has created slavery. Nature has created Nazism and the Holocaust. Nature has created copyright law. Nature has created piracy. Nature created Jedward and the Cheeky Girls. They are all justified by nature. As is everything else, whether you like it or not.
     
    Last edited: 22 Jan 2016
  13. d_stilgar

    d_stilgar Old School Modder

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    I'm just going to change this a bit to see if your logic applies to anything else . . .

    Major Trigger Warning - Rape


    I didn't even need to edit a single thing in your paragraph about pedophilia.
     
  14. Porkins' Wingman

    Porkins' Wingman Can't touch this

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    ...and does it?
     
  15. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    That was almost as bad as invoking Godwin's law on the thread. Copyright infringement isn't even close to rape on any level, other than that both are included in common legislation.

    Remember it was illegal to be homosexual until not that long ago. Laws can and must change and evolve with societal norms.
     
  16. loftie

    loftie Well-Known Member

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    I think the rape victim might say they did, physical and mental harm. I understand what you were trying to do, but I don't think your analogy works.
     
  17. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    Don't go telling the MPAA & RIAA that, they'll be very upset. :D
     
  18. d_stilgar

    d_stilgar Old School Modder

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    I agree with the Godwin's law thing, but Porkins seems stuck on semantics of what is or isn't "theft" or "stealing" vs "copyright infringement" or "piracy". The point is that piracy is taking something which isn't yours. It's going outside of a mutually agreed transaction. His "logic" and justification only works in his favor. By changing the language I point out that his "logic" could be applied to other things that we obviously find abhorrent.

    My analogy doesn't work if you're on the side of piracy. You can throw it out as being extreme and not being the same at all, but there are similarities. Porkins' whole justification is based on him throwing out any of the cost of the content creators before printing the essentially free discs. It negates the hundreds of millions it costs to make a film. More than that, his whole argument boils down to, "I want it, so I'm going to take it, and you can't stop me," which is pretty much like a mugging or other theft or . . .
     
  19. loftie

    loftie Well-Known Member

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    Not really mate, when porkins pirated star wars he didn't go find Mickey and abuse the crap out of him. I'm sure any rape victim would gladly trade what happened to them for some copyright infringement, and I'm sure anyone shouting about their content being pirated wouldn't want to trade.

    Potential loss of income does not definitely cause harm. Pirating leaves the original work intact. Theft deprives the owner of their work/possession.

    If we're going to argue that anyone who pirates something would definitely 100% bought it instead and it's a guaranteed loss of money, then we could definitely argue that the work in question would definitely 100% have been given away to the public domain and it's not copyright infringement. Since no-one can read the future, we have no idea if either of these would happen - granted the latter has less chance of happening. Statistically I'm sure you could estimate the % of people that would have bought it.

    Over here, i'd wager most of the british public are dirty copyright infringers that you seem to hate. Mostly because we can't format shift - pretty sure that falls under C.I. stuff.
     
  20. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Well-Known Member

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