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Thread: Copying is not Theft!

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    the flying pig Capitalist Pig's Avatar
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    Default Copying is not Theft!


    Posting this is mostly coincidental, but considering the recent 16chan.org drama over the copied database, I feel like it's somewhat topical.

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    Hell yeah!
    LII-Ne with strong EII tendencies, 6w7-9w1-3w4 so/sp/sx, INxP



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    Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    Listen to your dual, shitheads.
    God I love that quote.

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    i'm so glad i watched this drunk

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    Who needs artificial scarcity, anyways?

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    While preventing copying does material harm, we have to answer the question of where the motive for making copyable products comes from.
    -Communism - It benefits the society, which provides for my needs.
    -Artificial scarcity - I'm the only one who can copy it, so it becomes a saleable good.
    -Commissioning - I don't make it until the first person to wants it pays me. Then everyone else gets it free. ("I made it for my own use" is the same thing.)
    -Alpha NT - I made it because I wanted to. The results aren't the point.

    It's the same issue, really, as scientific research. Statements made about scientific research in another thread imply that copyable products should be paid for by the government as per the "communism" approach, but with some products i.e. music, it becomes difficult to decide whether the product is valuable without applying free market mechanics.



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    @ C-Pig:
    I see your point and I think there's definitely truth in it, but as Brilliand said, people will lose the basic motivation to produce ideas and copyable goods. Why should corporations spend millions of Dollars for research if their rival finds the answer to the problem and they can just copy it? This and other problems would occur and it will finally lead to stagnation of progress in my opinion. I agree that copying is not a crime, but it is incompatible with today's market situation. It's also one goal of a technocratic society to make know-how available for everyone, because this would lead to the fastest progress.


    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewZ View Post
    Who needs artificial scarcity, anyways?
    Nobody. It really should be abandoned.
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    Quote Originally Posted by MegaDoomer View Post
    I agree that copying is not a crime, but it is incompatible with today's market situation.
    Don't even argue that in public. The Right will seize upon it. Better not to give them ideas they can't come up with themselves....

    Bottom line is, you shouldn't be able to sell a copyrighted product unless you are the holder. Beyond that, distribution should be OK. The only people who fear copyleft are those who fear close emotional relationships with other people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tcaudilllg View Post
    Don't even argue that in public. The Right will seize upon it. Better not to give them ideas they can't come up with themselves....
    lol, do you know the Pirate Party? They are not politically right by any means, but they are basically calling for absolute freedom of ideas, knowledge and copyable commodities. They are rather left and liberal. I may even had elected them, but as I said, I don't believe this to be beneficial for our society in today's circumstances. They would make so many people jobless but they aren't thinking about that a single moment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capitalist Pig View Post
    Posting this is mostly coincidental, but considering the recent 16chan.org drama over the copied database, I feel like it's somewhat topical.
    WRT the copied database, there was a threat that the copied forum would become a competitor to the16types, which is unfair as it uses material directly copied from the16types to be valuable. Forum posts are copyable, but human attention is not; the split would damage both sites overall.

    As a related issue to the thread topic in general, consider plagiarism: passing off a copied copyable resource as your own work. What is being stolen here? Only human attention, reputation, etc. Naturally, attention and reputation must be factored in as commodities in a free market.

    Now let's get back to the copyable resources. Does a copyable resource have more value when it has been copied more times? Yes, it does, though the utility for a single person to obtain more copies drops off sharply. The issue is that the production cost per copy is negligible, and nearly the entire cost is in overhead. This makes the cost-benefit ratio of the product directly dependent on how many people it can be distributed to. In a communal environment (by why I mean, an environment in which only the average benefit to everyone involved is considered and the person causing the benefit does not need to be repayed), then immediately distributing the copied product to everyone in the community who would gain any utility from it is ideal. However, in a free market the source generally does need to be repaid - if the source cannot be repaid with utility to equal his cost, then we must reason that he should not have created the copyable resource. However, if the communal benefit of the copyable resource is greater than his cost, then theoretically the resources to pay him should be available - there only remains the question of how to transfer them from the person receiving the benefit to the person providing the benefit.

    Now that I've established that the issue of payment remains the same for copyable and noncopyable resources, what is causing the desire to not pay for these copies? The issue is that each copy of the copyable good provides the full benefits of the overhead. With that in mind, possibly the most sensible payment method would be for the first buyer to pay the full value of the information, then gradually get his money back as the product is sold to more people.

    Example:
    Artist - Creates music at a cost of $10,000, including the value of time.
    First buyer - Pays $5,000 to the artist
    Second buyer - Pays $3,333, which is divided evenly between the artist and first buyer
    Third buyer - Pays $2,500, which is divided evenly between the artist and first two buyers
    Fourth buyer - Pays $2,000, which is divided evenly between the artist and first three buyers

    The problem with this system is that the first buyer may not want the risk involved in paying $5,000 for a song and hoping that enough copies sell that he gets most of it back. However, anyone who isn't willing to pay the real value of his share of the overhead should not receive the power to prevent the author from receiving the full value of his work. That means, anyone who pays only $10 for a song must agree not to distribute any copies until the price according to this model drops below $10... otherwise the first buyer may simply pay $10 and distribute it to the world, depriving the author of his profits.

    Now, what if buyer #3 chooses to give away the product for free, thus making it impossible to make any further profits? Well, at least he lost as much as the other two did. To prevent this, the author could conceivably sell only the copyright and not individual copies, though this puts even more of the risk on the buyer.

    In conclusion, I seem to have established that the value of a copyright reflects an actual expenditure of resources that must be accounted for in a free market. Such a deficit cannot be arbitrarily disposed of; if it is paid in full, or if the esteem and recognition will be sufficient (Einstein's Relativity would be a case of this), then the author ought to release it into the public domain, but only then. Of course, the question of whether it has been paid in full is a fuzzy one, as the free market can do strange things to prices...



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    Quote Originally Posted by MegaDoomer View Post
    lol, do you know the Pirate Party? They are not politically right by any means, but they are basically calling for absolute freedom of ideas, knowledge and copyable commodities. They are rather left and liberal. I may even had elected them, but as I said, I don't believe this to be beneficial for our society in today's circumstances. They would make so many people jobless but they aren't thinking about that a single moment.
    Today's circumstances were deliberately shaped by a handful of very evil people. If you use "today's circumstances" as an excuse, you will find that things never improve because as soon as people who don't want to see your changes come about learn that you react in that way, they will make things all the worse as a means of controlling you. (while contriving a means of padding their own pockets... ah that's the challenge of it all, isn't it? Destroying the people without destroying yourself. Very difficult but ah, maybe...!)

    You don't understand that your sentiments are not unique... they've already been accounted for by the evil and are being mechanized as we speak.

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    @tcaudilllg
    You are right, unfortunately. It's true that nobody and nothing will ever change if the people who want change say it's not possible in today's life. But the reason why I said this is, that some changes can't be made in little steps. They have to be made, or not to be made, there are no states between that. That's why it's so difficult. Utopian Communism is exactly such an issue. It won't help if you manipulate the old system until it looks like Communism as it was actually planned. No, there must be a cut through the whole life we lived until now and every subsystem has to be build up again from it's foundations. Some Communists believed they could only realize their idea through a world revolution. I really think they were right.

    I know that my sentiments are not unique, there are other who can think of alternative social systems or different things which might work better. But the fact is, 'we' are small, insignificiant. Single people or small groups of them just don't have the power to start something like this which alters our social lives to such an extend. And those who might even are powerful enough won't change it because they benefit themselves from the system too much. They don't see the point in changing something which is very stable and beneficial for them personally.
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brilliand View Post
    As a related issue to the thread topic in general, consider plagiarism: passing off a copied copyable resource as your own work. What is being stolen here? Only human attention, reputation, etc. Naturally, attention and reputation must be factored in as commodities in a free market.

    ...

    In conclusion, I seem to have established that the value of a copyright reflects an actual expenditure of resources that must be accounted for in a free market. Such a deficit cannot be arbitrarily disposed of; if it is paid in full, or if the esteem and recognition will be sufficient (Einstein's Relativity would be a case of this), then the author ought to release it into the public domain, but only then. Of course, the question of whether it has been paid in full is a fuzzy one, as the free market can do strange things to prices...
    I'll leave C-Pig to present the "property 'rights' only exist as a necessary response to scarcity" argument. The basic premise of which is that it is nonsensical to engage in "ownership" and prohibit a person's use of an object (or, in this case, idea) when said person's use does not in any way interfere with another person's use of the object. Rather, I'll focus on addressing the one in the post I've quoted.

    The essential idea I'm seeing in this post is a utilitarian argument: that the 'system' (presented as a sort of 'free-market' for ideas) cannot function optimally without intellectual property. Setting aside the possible concern that the ideas of a 'free-market' and 'necessity of a monopoly' cannot simultaneously held without a contradiction, I'll address the actual utility of Intellectual Property.

    As is a common fact, Intellectual Property, as an idea, has not come around until the past few centuries, and, arguably, this absence did not negatively affect creativity or the functioning of the economy at the time. (I'll give the widely-known fact that the essential plots of Shakespeare's plays were taken from previous stories and later retooled for the Bard's purposes) Of course, I'm sure most people here are aware of an "idea-expression" divide, and the most "reasonable" view of Intellectual Property consists of limiting the "copying" of an idea's expression, not the idea itself. Prohibiting the spread of an idea itself is, naturally, censorship and a few other things I don't think anyone here is going to try to defend. Thus, the concern here is over the legitimacy of "stealing" an expression of an idea.

    (to be finished)

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    the flying pig Capitalist Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MegaDoomer View Post
    @ C-Pig:
    I see your point and I think there's definitely truth in it, but as Brilliand said, people will lose the basic motivation to produce ideas and copyable goods.
    Tell that to Julia Nunes and the guys over at Rooster Teeth, creators of the popular machinima video series Red vs. Blue, who have used the Internet to gather attention to themselves and utilize it as a content distribution platform, rather than paying out the nose for traditional publishing and advertising methods.

    You can download their products, watch them for free anytime on YouTube, or simply rip the streams, just as easily as you can find Metallica MP3s, yet it has not affected their profit shares any. In the case of Ms. Nunes, she has gained not just notoriety, but makes a decent profit selling her albums and merchandise, not to mention what she makes in ticket sales.

    Quote Originally Posted by MegaDoomer View Post
    Why should corporations spend millions of Dollars for research if their rival finds the answer to the problem and they can just copy it?
    People don't just buy things because they cost the least. Buyers have preferences other than prices, such as quality of the product, warranties and service agreements, convenience, brand loyalty, etc and so fourth.

    So just because Briggs & Stratton can make an amazing lawn mower only to have Murray copy their design and produce it for cheaper, doesn't mean everyone will end up buying Murray mowers.

    Finally, if something isn't worth producing, then it won't be produced. There's nothing really lost here, either on the investment side or the consumption side. It's not as if Pfizer will refuse to market a cure for cancer because AstraZeneca will just steal the formula for themselves. Pfizer will still gain significantly from the initial point of sale.

    Quote Originally Posted by MegaDoomer View Post
    This and other problems would occur and it will finally lead to stagnation of progress in my opinion. I agree that copying is not a crime, but it is incompatible with today's market situation. It's also one goal of a technocratic society to make know-how available for everyone, because this would lead to the fastest progress.
    I think the abolition of intellectual property will have the exact opposite effect on innovation. Take my lawnmower example. If Murray could produce the same exact mower for cheaper, and if Briggs & Stratton's sales did suffer from the sale of the copy, then Briggs & Stratton will simply have to work on producing a better product to compete with Murray. Say Murray's production costs are the same as Stratton's, but they simply modified the design to better suit consumer demand -- a more efficient bagging system, say -- why should the consumer be punished just because Murray thought of a better way of doing something than B&S?

    Intellectual property laws discourage this kind of innovation by putting the fear into the person who can do something better or cheaper will be taken to court by the so-called originator. Everyone suffers in the long-run.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brilliand View Post
    WRT the copied database, there was a threat that the copied forum would become a competitor to the16types, which is unfair as it uses material directly copied from the16types to be valuable. Forum posts are copyable, but human attention is not; the split would damage both sites overall.
    Unfair according to what standard? If people decided to post at .org as opposed to .info, then that is their choice, and clearly they wouldn't be posting there if they didn't feel it would benefit them greater than remaining here, for whatever reason or rationale they use. Also, as I had stated in the16types.org thread, you don't own the words you write.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brilliand View Post
    As a related issue to the thread topic in general, consider plagiarism: passing off a copied copyable resource as your own work. What is being stolen here? Only human attention, reputation, etc. Naturally, attention and reputation must be factored in as commodities in a free market.
    Plagiarism is distinct from copyright infringement, however. Plagiarizing is a form of fraud, you are misrepresenting yourself to the public by claiming something as your own. Plagiarism can still be prosecuted under a legal system devoid of arbitrary intellectual property laws.

    MatthewZ has taken care of the rest of this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Capitalist Pig View Post
    People don't just buy things because they cost the least. Buyers have preferences other than prices, such as quality of the product, warranties and service agreements, convenience, brand loyalty, etc and so fourth.

    So just because Briggs & Stratton can make an amazing lawn mower only to have Murray copy their design and produce it for cheaper, doesn't mean everyone will end up buying Murray mowers.
    It does not? I do think everyone would buy the cheaper one, given that's not of obviously lower quality. Maybe they would buy it anyway, even if it's just a piece of junk. Some people only look at the price, seriously. The money which Murray saved because they didn't need to design that mover can be used to make better service offers than B&S or for better advertisement and whatnot. These arguments don't convince me, sorry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Capitalist Pig View Post
    Finally, if something isn't worth producing, then it won't be produced. There's nothing really lost here, either on the investment side or the consumption side. It's not as if Pfizer will refuse to market a cure for cancer because AstraZeneca will just steal the formula for themselves. Pfizer will still gain significantly from the initial point of sale.
    It's the same thing. Whoever sells these pills for less money will get the major part of the sales. Pfizer will have a handicap, because of the research costs. The other companies just sat back and waited for the pill against cancer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Capitalist Pig View Post
    I think the abolition of intellectual property will have the exact opposite effect on innovation. Take my lawnmower example. If Murray could produce the same exact mower for cheaper, and if Briggs & Stratton's sales did suffer from the sale of the copy, then Briggs & Stratton will simply have to work on producing a better product to compete with Murray. Say Murray's production costs are the same as Stratton's, but they simply modified the design to better suit consumer demand -- a more efficient bagging system, say -- why should the consumer be punished just because Murray thought of a better way of doing something than B&S?
    Sorry, it's a bit late now and I'll go to bed after writing this, but I'm not sure if I fully understood this. However, you shouldn't misunderstand what I wanted to say. When I talk of abolition of patents and so on in a technocratic society, I always presuppose that our current economical system was abolished, too. But that's an other story. In todays circumstances, I think intellectual property is necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by Capitalist Pig View Post
    Intellectual property laws discourage this kind of innovation by putting the fear into the person who can do something better or cheaper will be taken to court by the so-called originator. Everyone suffers in the long-run.
    Yes, I agree here as well.
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Capitalist Pig View Post

    People don't just buy things because they cost the least. Buyers have preferences other than prices, such as quality of the product, warranties and service agreements, convenience, brand loyalty, etc and so fourth.

    So just because Briggs & Stratton can make an amazing lawn mower only to have Murray copy their design and produce it for cheaper, doesn't mean everyone will end up buying Murray mowers.
    My question to you is; why would Briggs & Stratton be interested in dumping money into research for a newer, more efficient and all around better lawn mower if the product of their financial efforts will go to waste through Murray, which will simply copy the product at no financial loss and sell it, creating identical products?

    For example, in matters involving costly scientific research create a new product, eg the drug industry. In the drug industry it is very costly to fund giant research projects, and once you've made your miracle drug to cure AIDS if all the other drug companies can simply copy and distribute your miracle drug there wasn't any reason to fund the costly project in the first place. Giving them a monopoly on the miracle drug (atm in America I think it's like two decades) for a few years provides them with a massive profit incentive to fund these projects for the benefit of mankind, because every aids person ever is going to want your aids cure (plus governments, aid programs etc.).
    -Contrast this to the music industry in which all it takes is a little motivation, innovation and an instrument to produce and distribute your product.

    Next, certain aspects of copyright laws are necessary for the protection of the notoriety of the owner of the material in question, i.e. you can't take my written work and simply call it your own. Where are we drawing the line at and why? You can copy my machine plans but not my ideas? Are they not the same thing?

     
    Copying of digital material means loss of theoretical revenue, not actual loss. As the video correctly states, you are not physically stealing that which you copy because you are not physically stealing the revenue of the distributor.

    You can't say that they are for certain losing theoretical revenue either; just because I copy something does not necessarily mean I even represent demand for the object, i.e. am able/willing to pay to purchase it.

    Things other than copying cause the loss of this 'theoretical revenue' as well. For example, a small town boycotts a business. The business loses the revenue it would have supposedly gotten from the townspeople; however, should the townspeople be held accountable for the loss in theoretical revenue of the business because they abstained from purchasing their product? Absolutely not. So you see how the digital world is a special case.

    In the case of programs on the computer, we run into the same problem as the drug industry above. Companies like adobe, microsoft etc have to put to use lots of real resources that take the form of humans, machinery, etc. that require lots of wages, maintenance etc. This means that if you take away their profit incentive, i.e. the sales of their only product, the incentive to produce the program will go down due to the costs of production and lack of an ability to gain revenue through other means. So unless a solution can be had to provide incentives for the production of things like drugs and the like, we will be unable to find a solution to this problem as well.

    However, there are admittedly some overdone parts of the digital sensation.
    For example, the nature of digital music, pictures or other related media is that there are other means of getting revenue than just selling the product. For example, a musician could not charge a cent for his digital product and instead charge for his concerts, books, appearances; the digital media provides free advertising and he will gain more notoriety for higher quality music production.

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    i want shit other people have made through time and effort and i want it for free asshole.

    haha. i still pirate, but i dont pretend i'm not ripping someone off.
    asd

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    Yeah the drug thing is a scam. If it were that risky to make drugs, people wouldn't be making billions in profits off of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skeptic View Post
    For example, in matters involving costly scientific research create a new product, eg the drug industry. In the drug industry it is very costly to fund giant research projects, and once you've made your miracle drug to cure AIDS if all the other drug companies can simply copy and distribute your miracle drug there wasn't any reason to fund the costly project in the first place. Giving them a monopoly on the miracle drug (atm in America I think it's like two decades) for a few years provides them with a massive profit incentive to fund these projects for the benefit of mankind, because every aids person ever is going to want your aids cure (plus governments, aid programs etc.).
    Being able to produce a miracle drug in a market with a massive demand, albeit with competition, isn't going to yield a profit? Can there really be no incentive to enter an untapped market other than a temporary monopoly?

    Also, I'm highly skeptical of the existence of a one-step "miracle drug." More likely than not, a cure for AIDS would need to develop gradually, and granting a 20-year monopoly on an individual phase is going to do nothing but hamper research and cut other companies out of the pool from developing the final cure.

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    Goddamned, now we need an 11th commandment. Thou shall not copy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarno View Post
    Goddamned, now we need an 11th commandment. Thou shall not copy.
    Granted.

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    lol, Skeptic, I guess we are in complete agreement.

    Well, basically, there's another argument for my opinion. It is quite easy: Thinking is work, too! While you can measure the working effort of a factory worker in a very simple way, (e.g. number of assembled machines/hour) it his much harder to see how many hours of thinking and working were necessary to compose a song, to design a car or find a cure for Aids. If you won't pay a factory worker after he has done his job he would probably say somethign like: "Fuck you, I stop working until I get my money." and that with reason. Of course, the musician, designer or scientist will think similarly. I know you say they'll get their share even if their ideas are copied, but nobody actually can guarantee this. If the people know that other's will work with their ideas after they invented it, they will finally lose the interest in inventing anything (except for Alpha NTs maybe). This might not be the best solution ever, but it's the best we got at the moment.
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
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