Ethics of AdBlock

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morriswalters
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Tue Aug 09, 2016 12:23 am UTC

Right and wrong have very little to do with forces of nature. The technology itself is neutral, it's the actors that make it one way or the other. But I'm okay with AD Block or whatever. I tinked with it, but self censoring is working better for me. Anybody, outside a limited number of sites, waiting to make a living from me and my visits are going to starve to death.

That EdBlock is called a blue pencil. If you care about content, assuming you had a normal education, you should be able to strike all the extraneous content. If a story is about black dogs, strike every descriptor that carries emotional content referring to black dogs. Granted that if you do that there won't be much left. But if you do that, you'll just get the few facts that exist, and if you are really good, you can then tell which way they're pushing you.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:38 am UTC

Interesting development:

brave ad replacement

Near as I can figure out, this software replaces "bad" ads with brave's own ads (advertisers presumably sign up for this) which are fast, safe, and don't track you. The revenue from these ads goes (in part) to you, and then you can redistribute this money to websites you like (in exchange for ad-free browsing). It's more involved than this, and I'll wait for it to prove itself, but it's an interesting salvo. I doubt it's the final solution, because the current ad ecosystem won't stand still. But maybe it will cause a good change.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby HES » Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:55 am UTC

So instead of serving ads that pay the website you are on, a third party serves ads that pay someone else? Am I misunderstanding that, because that seems way less ethical than simply blocking ads outright.
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Sun Aug 14, 2016 3:48 pm UTC

Unfortunately their website is poorly designed from a navigation POV, but
https://blog.brave.com/braves-response- ... ublishers/
shows where the money goes (though without being specific enough for me). The model seems to be under development. 55% goes to "publishers", but I don't know what that means. 15% goes to the visitor in a special wallet that they can use to pay for more blocking, or to fund websites they like (thus encouraging "good" ads).

As to the ethics, brave is =user= software, and does not affect any other user. It would be like buying a newspaper - you are NOT obligated to read the ads just because they came with the paper. So, you hire somebody to buy the paper for you, clip the ads, and give you the result, so you don't have to read the ads, and you don't have to carry around a heavy newspaper. There are no ethical issues here. In this case, the ad clipper is a volunteer who is paid by somebody (else) who gives you other ads to read - ads that you would (presumably) find ok. The ad clipper is paid by those other companies. There is no ethical issue here either, because of the basic assumption that a reader is NOT required to read the ads.

This only affects the (end) user of the software - the individual web visitor who has signed up for this. Everyone else sees the original ads.

Of course this may change the ecology, encouraging "good" ads and discouraging ads consisting of bricks and bombs glued to the newspaper. That is an intended result. Influencing the ad ecology is not at all unethical.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:38 pm UTC

This sounds like a way of selling advertisements on someone else's content.

This seems sketchy.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:35 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:This sounds like a way of selling advertisements on someone else's content.

This seems sketchy.

Got it in one. I'm not a fan of web advertising myself, but let's call this what it is.
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:05 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:This sounds like a way of selling advertisements on someone else's content.
This seems sketchy.
What about dead trees? Why would this be different?

Is it "sketchy" for me to hire somebody to clip newspaper articles for me, instead of carrying (and being exposed to) the entire newspaper?

Is it sketchy for somebody to make a business of clipping newspapers (that their clients buy) as a service for them?

Is it sketchy for me to offer the service for free, in exchange for enclosing my own ads?

And on the flip side, isn't it sketchy for newspaper advertisers to glue bricks and fireworks to their ads to help them get noticed?

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:10 pm UTC

Yes, if you are redistributing someone else's articles with your own ads without explicit permission from them, that's somewhere in the range of sketchy to illegal.

Your analogies seem to rely on some incorrect assumptions about how the physical world works.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:16 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Yes, if you are redistributing someone else's articles with your own ads without explicit permission from them, that's somewhere in the range of sketchy to illegal.
Yes to which one(s)?

John gives me a newspaper (he bought) and $5, asking me to pull out all the articles about the election and give him the result. Sketchy?

John gives me a newspaper (he bought) and no money, asking me to pull out all the articles about the election and give him the result along with whatever "interesting promotional messages" from anywhere, that he thinks I might like. Sketchy?

Redistribution is not involved here, nor is it in Brave.com. "Reformatting" is more like it.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:23 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Yes, if you are redistributing someone else's articles with your own ads without explicit permission from them, that's somewhere in the range of sketchy to illegal.
Yes to which one(s)?

John gives me a newspaper (he bought) and $5, asking me to pull out all the articles about the election and give him the result. Sketchy?

John gives me a newspaper (he bought) and no money, asking me to pull out all the articles about the election and give him the result along with whatever "interesting promotional messages" from anywhere, that he thinks I might like. Sketchy?

Redistribution is not involved here, nor is it in Brave.com. "Reformatting" is more like it.

Jose


This is roughly akin to saying
"it's not sketchy for me to demand money" and "it's not sketchy for me to enter a bank" and "it's not sketchy for me to hand someone a note" and "it's not sketchy to rapidly run to my car" to support bank robbery. Uh, no, it's illegal, and clever combination of legal activities doesn't matter in the slightest, because the overall goal is obvious. "which one" is irrelevant.

At the end of the day, they didn't write the content they're serving ads for, and making money from. It's an attempt to profit off of someone else's work without any consent from that person. Duh, it's sketchy.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:17 pm UTC

Uh... no. While you are correct that clever combinations of legal actions can be sketchy or illegal, that's not what is happening. I am building the analogy in stages. During a bank robbery, there is a point at which, given what has gone before, the next action makes it illegal. Handing the teller a note demanding money is it. (If it's an armed robbery, entering a bank with a weapon is it.)

There is nothing at all sketchy about me giving Bob a newspaper and $5, and having him clip articles for me.

There is something very sketchy about my paying Bob $5 to paste over newspaper ads of somebody else's newspaper. It's vandalism. But there's nothing sketchy about doing it to my own newspaper. Brave is a browser - a user agent. (Note that it's called a user agent, not a server agent). User agents do what the user wants, given the HTML stream that it receives.

So, at what point in the dead tree analogy do you see things getting sketchy? Or is the internet somehow "different"?

Tyndmyr wrote:It's an attempt to profit off of someone else's work without any consent from that person.
Yanno, so is a newspaper delivery service. Nothing sketchy about delivering newspapers from a panel truck with "Eat at Joe's" written on the side. (Tacky maybe, but that's different.)

Here's where I think you're coming from:
Fred buys newspapers, clips articles from them, attaches his own ads, and then resells the result as a standalone product. Yeah, that could be sketchy. But that's not what brave (the browser) is doing, and it is not what ad-blocking software does either. It is, arguably, what google and yahoo do (except with links and not copies), and there was a legal to-do about it. But that is really something else entirely.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Coyne » Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:50 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:This is roughly akin to saying
"it's not sketchy for me to demand money" and "it's not sketchy for me to enter a bank" and "it's not sketchy for me to hand someone a note" and "it's not sketchy to rapidly run to my car" to support bank robbery. Uh, no, it's illegal, and clever combination of legal activities doesn't matter in the slightest, because the overall goal is obvious. "which one" is irrelevant.

At the end of the day, they didn't write the content they're serving ads for, and making money from. It's an attempt to profit off of someone else's work without any consent from that person. Duh, it's sketchy.

I see your point...and most likely, that is what will be argued when this hits the courts (which it will).

But your argument--and the ad companies'--proceeds from a false assumption: that the ad company is entitled to "eyes" and that the eyes can be taken away...stolen.

I buy a newspaper. If an ad company could, they would hold a howitzer to my head and force me to carefully read every advertisement, cover to cover. The reality is that I ignore probably 95% of the ads or more.

Now, the ad company paid the newspaper to print those ads: did I steal from the ad company by not reading them? No? Then the ad company has no entitlement to my eyes.

This is the way it always has been. The ad companies: well, that's why the ads are so d____d annoying: nuisances get noticed (at least in theory). In reality, make the ads on a site annoying enough and I'll stop visiting. Which raises a question: how is me never going to the site again--giving them no eyes--different from me ad-blocking a site--giving them no eyes? It might seem obvious in the latter case I'm stealing content...but...

That is a big but, because the above fails to take into account the business model. Compare that to this software package. The site gets paid, no one can tell the difference between the ad being behind the curtain or not, so the ad company pays the site for the "eyes" that apparently viewed the ads. The ad company might try to argue that the software stole my eyes, but they were never entitled to the eyes in the first place.

I'm sure that they'll be outraged, but that's based on false entitlement.
In all fairness...

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:20 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Uh... no. While you are correct that clever combinations of legal actions can be sketchy or illegal, that's not what is happening. I am building the analogy in stages. During a bank robbery, there is a point at which, given what has gone before, the next action makes it illegal. Handing the teller a note demanding money is it. (If it's an armed robbery, entering a bank with a weapon is it.)


You can break down a great many crimes into innocent steps by choosing arbitrarily small steps and looking at each without context.

This is not how the law or ethics works.

ucim wrote:Fred buys newspapers, clips articles from them, attaches his own ads, and then resells the result as a standalone product. Yeah, that could be sketchy. But that's not what brave (the browser) is doing, and it is not what ad-blocking software does either. It is, arguably, what google and yahoo do (except with links and not copies), and there was a legal to-do about it. But that is really something else entirely.


They're taking money from those other ads, are they not? In an ad supported model, yeah, that's taking the payment for using someone else's content.

No, nobody is entitled to make money off of any ads. However, using other people's content to profit instead of them, without their permission, is generally dirty pool. The usual term is "content theft". Serving someone's content and applying your own ads is sleazy as shit. The fact that this isn't technically serving the content, merely hijacking it, isn't really any different from the old issues with image linking. You're still stealing the content, but also leaving the legitimate person responsible for the bandwidth of hosting it. It's a dick move.

Businesses are not entitled to sales, but if you go into a business, take their shit, and sell it, that's still illegal.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Tue Aug 16, 2016 3:27 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:but if you go into a business, take their shit, and sell it, that's still illegal.

Yes. That's what Fred
Fred buys newspapers, clips articles from them, attaches his own ads, and then resells the result as a standalone product.
is doing. It's theft of content. But it's not what John
John gives me a newspaper (he bought) and no money, asking me to pull out all the articles about the election and give him the result along with whatever "interesting promotional messages" from anywhere, that he thinks I might like.
is doing

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 16, 2016 3:33 pm UTC

It is.

John is merely accepting money from the advertisers, instead of from you. John is doing the exact same thing, he merely has a different customer paying him.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Tue Aug 16, 2016 3:50 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:John is merely accepting money from the advertisers, instead of from you. John is doing the exact same thing, he merely has a different customer paying him.


It isn't. John bought the newspaper. He already has acquired the right to read the articles. He hires me to reformat the newspaper for him. It is personal use, like using videotape to time shift my own viewing (whether I skip ads or not). It is not at all the same thing as Fred, who is redistributing content he does not have the right to distribute. Fred is doing the equivalent of distributing pirated videotape.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 16, 2016 3:55 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:John is merely accepting money from the advertisers, instead of from you. John is doing the exact same thing, he merely has a different customer paying him.


It isn't. John bought the newspaper. He already has acquired the right to read the articles. He hires me to reformat the newspaper for him. It is personal use, like using videotape to time shift my own viewing (whether I skip ads or not). It is not at all the same thing as Fred, who is redistributing content he does not have the right to distribute. Fred is doing the equivalent of distributing pirated videotape.

Jose


It's not personal use. It's corporate use. For profit. He's not buying it, he's selling it.

This ain't one dude casually handing you something he thinks you'll be interested in. That would be fine. It's someone systematically exploiting third party content for profit to sell you ads.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:12 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It's not personal use. It's corporate use. For profit. He's not buying it, he's selling it.
No, it's private use. John bought the newspaper. It's his. He has the right to read it. He also has the right to hire somebody to read the included articles aloud to him while dancing naked with a bicycle, so long as John is supplying the newspaper. And that's the key thing.

The naked bloke can tattoo ads for dessert toppings all over his body and get paid for it, commercially; he's still not supplying the (newspaper) content that is being read - it came from John, who acquired it legally. He is therefore not stealing that content (that he's not supplying).

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:24 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:It's not personal use. It's corporate use. For profit. He's not buying it, he's selling it.
No, it's private use. John bought the newspaper. It's his. He has the right to read it. He also has the right to hire somebody to read the included articles aloud to him while dancing naked with a bicycle, so long as John is supplying the newspaper. And that's the key thing.

The naked bloke can tattoo ads for dessert toppings all over his body and get paid for it, commercially; he's still not supplying the (newspaper) content that is being read - it came from John, who acquired it legally. He is therefore not stealing that content (that he's not supplying).

Jose


Your example entirely ignores entities. It is therefore a shitty example. John also isn't supplying the newsletter. John is requesting the newsletter, which is served off the content provider's site, which this injects ads into.

Yeah, John can hire whoever John wants. This is not John hiring someone.

This is a third party person who wishes ads displayed hiring someone.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:36 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Your example entirely ignores entities.
I don't know what that means. It's an analogy, not an identity.

Tyndmyr wrote:...which is served off the content provider's site, which this injects ads into.
The ads are injected into John's version of the content, which John has the right to do. They are not injected into the content provider's site.

Tyndmyr wrote:Yeah, John can hire whoever John wants. This is not John hiring someone.
Yes it is. John is hiring the user-agent (browser and add-ons).

Whether dead trees or electrons, John is free to hire somebody to format content he acquires. That the browser is also the one that requests the HTML stream is irrelevant; John could hire somebody to go to the newsstand too. And if John knows and accept that Alice (whom she hired) will wrap the newspaper in an envelope that says "Eat at Joe's", there's nothing sketchy about that either, even if Alice gets paid for that ad.

Tyndmyr wrote:This is a third party person who wishes ads displayed hiring someone.
Sure, the third party hires Alice to display ads, but Alice doesn't display ads unless John also hires Alice to get the newspaper and read it to him naked on a bicycle, in the privacy of John's own home.

Jeremy, who has not hired Alice, does not see Alice's ads. It's all between John and Alice. It's private. This is about John (whose name is becoming more and more unfortunate) hiring someone.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:55 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Yes it is. John is hiring the user-agent (browser and add-ons).

Whether dead trees or electrons, John is free to hire somebody to format content he acquires. That the browser is also the one that requests the HTML stream is irrelevant; John could hire somebody to go to the newsstand too. And if John knows and accept that Alice (whom she hired) will wrap the newspaper in an envelope that says "Eat at Joe's", there's nothing sketchy about that either, even if Alice gets paid for that ad.


John is the reader. John isn't hiring anyone, because he's not paying anyone. That's what hiring is.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Tue Aug 16, 2016 5:07 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:John is the reader. John isn't hiring anyone, because he's not paying anyone. That's what hiring is.
Does not matter. But if it matters to you, substitute "engaging" for "hiring" in all my posts. And no, that doesn't mean anybody is getting married.

The point is that the user-agent that John engages is reformatting information that John already has the right to have. John is doing nothing skeevy.

Alice (whom John hired engaged but is not marrying) to do the reformatting, states upfront that if she does this, she'll do it naked with tattoos on her body that advertise other stuff. John is ok with that. There's nothing skeevy about this either, neither alone nor in combination with the above. Bad taste perhaps, but that's between John and Alice. (Brave is a user-agent. A browser, if you will. It is not an aggregator.)

The businesses that pay Alice to wear their tattoos know that Alice will only dance for somebody that engages them and either supplies them with content, or with the legal means to obtain the content, that those people want read to them in this particularly tacky manner. Those businesses are ok with that too. Nothing skeevy about this either, either alone or in combination with any or all of the above.

As to your concern - the businesses that paid the newspaper for ad space - they are not happy. But I'm ok with that too, because they had no right to John's eyeballs in the first place.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 16, 2016 5:16 pm UTC

Sure, you can define all information to be merely "reformatting", if you like. Not "adding entirely new content".

Go for it. You're ethical. You've decided you're ethical. All of the laws and society are holding you back. You're freeeeee. They simply don't understand that the rules don't apply to you because you have the power of pedantry. I suggest you refer to them as sheeple, henceforth.

For the rest of the world, regardless of technical nitpickery, repackaging other people's shit to make money off their work without permission is a dick move.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Aug 16, 2016 6:09 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Unfortunately their website is poorly designed from a navigation POV, but
https://blog.brave.com/braves-response- ... ublishers/
shows where the money goes (though without being specific enough for me). The model seems to be under development. 55% goes to "publishers", but I don't know what that means. 15% goes to the visitor in a special wallet that they can use to pay for more blocking, or to fund websites they like (thus encouraging "good" ads).

As to the ethics, brave is =user= software, and does not affect any other user. It would be like buying a newspaper - you are NOT obligated to read the ads just because they came with the paper. So, you hire somebody to buy the paper for you, clip the ads, and give you the result, so you don't have to read the ads, and you don't have to carry around a heavy newspaper. There are no ethical issues here. In this case, the ad clipper is a volunteer who is paid by somebody (else) who gives you other ads to read - ads that you would (presumably) find ok. The ad clipper is paid by those other companies. There is no ethical issue here either, because of the basic assumption that a reader is NOT required to read the ads.

This only affects the (end) user of the software - the individual web visitor who has signed up for this. Everyone else sees the original ads.

Of course this may change the ecology, encouraging "good" ads and discouraging ads consisting of bricks and bombs glued to the newspaper. That is an intended result. Influencing the ad ecology is not at all unethical.

Jose


I'm not really sure I understand how this works. Suppose that I run a website, and I have some space set aside for Company A, and they pay me $0.001 per click on that space. A user comes in and Brave replaces the ad for Company A with a different ad for Company B, the latter of which isn't affiliated with me, but rather with Brave. As a result, I don't get paid--rather, all the advertising revenue that I would get is redirected to Brave. Is that about right?

I think the problem with your analogy above is that you're saying that somebody is buying the paper and clipping the ads for you, in which case, the paper still gets money from the sale; and still gets money from the advertisers because it's still recorded as a sale as far as the paper's distribution goes. It's not clear to me how Brave is analogous to this situation at all, since Brave (presumably) isn't paying for the content, and clicks on Brave's ads presumably don't count as clicks on the content provider's actual ads.

Remember, the advertisers don't get money from people looking at the ads; the content creators do. The advertisers only get money if you actually buy their shit.

[edit]A more analogous situation might be this. I go onto the New York Times website, copy all of their articles, and host them on my own site, using different ads that are more palatable to a my audience. Audience is happy because they get the articles they want to read with ads they prefer; I'm happy because I make money from the ads; my advertisers are happy because they get customers. The big loser in this arrangement is the New York Times, who get all of their content, audience, and revenue co-opted.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Tue Aug 16, 2016 6:40 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:As a result, I don't get paid
I'm not completely sure about this. The brave.com website implies that content providers do get paid, but doesn't really quite say how. But in any case, content providers are not being paid by the impression, they are being paid by the click. If an ordinary user sees the ad and doesn't click, the content providers still don't get paid. And nobody is obligated to click on the ad.

Yes, the analogy is not perfect - it is not an identity. However, in the dead tree case, people not looking at ads (whether this is assisted or not) reduces the value of the ads, and thus eventually reduces income to the newspaper. On the net it's more direct, but the effect is still there with dead trees. And further, the brave browser allows the user to pay content providers with the money the replacement ads generate. The user gets 15% that they can distribute to "good" content providers. The idea is to discourage bad ads and encourage good ones.

LaserGuy wrote:[edit]A more analogous situation might be this. I go onto the New York Times website, copy all of their articles, and host them on my own site, using different ads...
No, that is piracy, because you are copying and hosting the content. Brave is not a website; it's a browser, like Chrome or Firefox. Brave waits for you to ask it to request content, and then it displays some of that content for you, while displaying some of its own.

Tyndmyr wrote:Sure, you can define all information to be merely "reformatting", if you like. Not "adding entirely new content"...
I'm defining the display of information as reformatting. I'm free to display your website on my computer as white on white if I wish to. I'm free to display some of your website on my computer as white on white also. This does not count as "repackaging other people's shit without permission", because I don't need their permission to not read something. For the same reason, automating the process on my own computer is not evil.

Whether other people's ads are shown or not is really a red herring. I am simply not obligated to read advertising, even if it is attached to something I want.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:14 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:[edit]A more analogous situation might be this. I go onto the New York Times website, copy all of their articles, and host them on my own site, using different ads...


No, that is piracy, because you are copying and hosting the content. Brave is not a website; it's a browser, like Chrome or Firefox. Brave waits for you to ask it to request content, and then it displays some of that content for you, while displaying some of its own.


What does it matter if it's a browser versus a website? The effect of Brave is equivalent to the content being copied and hosted on a different website with different ad services. In fact, a point that I've made repeatedly in this thread is that there is very little difference between adblocking (and this sort of thing) and piracy.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:38 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:What does it matter if it's a browser versus a website?
A website is public and hosts the content (which still needs to be rendered by a browser or other user-agent).

A browser is private and formats the content, solely for and at the behest of the user.
LaserGuy wrote:The effect of Brave is equivalent to the content being copied and hosted on a different website with different ad services.
No, it's not. For one thing, your hosted website still has to be rendered by a user-agent. The user-agent has the final say in the presentation of content. And for another thing, how you get the effect matters.

It's the difference between going to your friend's house to listen to her record collection, and burning a copy of that CD for yourself. In both cases you get to listen to the music for free.

It's the difference between reading a book at the library and scanning the book into your computer. In both cases you get to read the book for free.

It's the difference between letting my friends watch the ball game on pay cable at my house, and rebroadcasting that game to the entire neighborhood over wifi. In both cases your friends get to watch the game for free.

It's the difference between showing your research colleague a scientific article from a pay journal to which you have access, and posting it verbatim on your blog. In both cases he gets to read the article for free.

Now these are not identical situations, but they straddle the same line. And while you may find that in one or another pair, you consider both to be on the same side of the line, it is that line that makes the difference.

Brave is a browser. It is like Firefox + adblock. (Actually, it's like Firefox + adblock + addcontent, but addcontent isn't really the contentious issue, it's just disguising it) The contentious issue is whether or not a website visitor is required to read the ads and run the scripts.

LaserGuy wrote:In fact, a point that I've made repeatedly in this thread is that there is very little difference between adblocking (and this sort of thing) and piracy.
...and a point I've made repeatedly is that there is a world of difference.

Websites are not entitled to control my eyeballs by dint of my visiting them.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Tue Aug 16, 2016 11:33 pm UTC

The closest analogy that I can come up with is that this is like buying the Times and covering the ads and then reselling the paper at what it cost you to buy it. You've paid the Times what they charge but you have harmed the Times advertising department by destroying what it is they are selling to advertisers. What the Times is selling is the potential of getting my attention. Any site is selling the eyes and connected minds that visit it. The two concepts are not synonymous. You can choose not to look, ad blocking. Or you can choose to look and see ads by Brave which you can't block. Else what would be the point.


@anyone

I have yet to see anyone define a difference between not looking at an ad or blocking it. Are ads magic? Can they make us do anything.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Aug 16, 2016 11:48 pm UTC

ucim wrote:It's the difference between going to your friend's house to listen to her record collection, and burning a copy of that CD for yourself. In both cases you get to listen to the music for free.


Except that your friend has purchased the music. Not equivalent to what we're talking about. And if it's a public performance, then he has to pay a royalty.

It's the difference between reading a book at the library and scanning the book into your computer. In both cases you get to read the book for free.


Except the library pays a royalty to have the book on the shelf and somebody purchased it for the library in the first place. Not equivalent to what we're talking about.

It's the difference between letting my friends watch the ball game on pay cable at my house, and rebroadcasting that game to the entire neighborhood over wifi. In both cases your friends get to watch the game for free.


Except you're paying for the cable either way. Not equivalent to what we're talking about. And if it's a public performance, you have to pay a royalty for it.

It's the difference between showing your research colleague a scientific article from a pay journal to which you have access, and posting it verbatim on your blog. In both cases he gets to read the article for free.


Except you're paying for access to the article to begin with. Not equivalent to what we're talking about. Depending on the terms of your access, you may not be able to distribute copies of articles you've acquired from your university regardless.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:07 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Except that...
Ok, you're getting it.

In the case of brave.com (the putative aggregator), you (the user) are sending your assistant (the browser, or user-agent) to a place which has illegally copied content and packaged it with foreign ads, and have then asked your assistant (the browser, or user agent) to present that illicit content to you.

In the case of brave (the browser), you are asking your assistant (the brave browser, or user-agent) to go to a legitimate place to acquire the content through legitimate means (an HTTP request), and to present some of this legal content to you, alongside of whatever other legally acquired content it would like.

So, they are the same except that in the one case, the content itself is stolen and republished, and in the other, it is not.

Purchase of (rights in) the content is not at issue, since the content is legally available for free (to the requesting individual for personal use but not for republication) from the source that is used.

morriswalters wrote:and then reselling the paper
The browser does not resell the content. Brave is a browser. Ergo, Socrates is mortal.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:50 am UTC

ucim wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Except that...
Ok, you're getting it.

In the case of brave.com (the putative aggregator), you (the user) are sending your assistant (the browser, or user-agent) to a place which has illegally copied content and packaged it with foreign ads, and have then asked your assistant (the browser, or user agent) to present that illicit content to you.


I'm going to withdraw my objections to brave. It's replacing ads with micropayments, which I have no problem with.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:17 pm UTC

I have no problem with paying the content provider for a no-ads experience. That's cool.

Not sure if Brave.com does that. But they DO also replace ads on sites with ads of their own choosing. IE, people who have paid money to them. They then pay you 15% of the take to go along with this.

It seems implausible that they have gotten permission from the entire internet to go along with this scheme.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:31 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It seems implausible that they have gotten permission from the entire internet to go along with this scheme.
They don't need permission from "the entire internet". They only need permission from the user...because brave is a user-agent. Brave.com (the putative, or hypothetical ad-swapping site) does not exist. Rather, the brave browser that is under the control of the single user that is visiting a single site, does it.

I don't need permission from the entire internet to have my browser display ads white on white. I don't even need permission from the ad, because I am not obligated to the ad.

When I visit Fred, it doesn't matter to me that Judy pays Fred money to punch me in the face. I don't want to be punched in the face, and I am not obligated to Fred or to Judy to take the hit.

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:30 pm UTC

It's about their obligations, not yours(at least, directly).

Making money by substituting other ads for existing ads has usually been considered malware. This attempts to legitimize it in some fashion, but if they do not have the consent of the sites they are profiting from, while systematically disabling their revenue stream, that seems to be pretty unreasonable.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:36 pm UTC

It may be a user agent but it is also a money generating source for the developer. Your splitting some pretty fine hairs, maybe even non existant. The rights holder allows the ad service to place ads on his site in return for cash. Brave is interfering with that relationship by substituting. Brave has no relationship with the content owner. Brave didn't go to the content owner and offer him a deal. And the ad server may have some type of exclusive use of the content which excludes other uses. You can't print books of a writer, even if you reimburse him. You have the right to view the content, Brave does not have the right to monetize it in any fashion.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Wed Aug 17, 2016 4:54 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Making money by substituting other ads for existing ads has usually been considered malware.
...but not because it was making money, and not because it was substituting other ads. It's malware because it shafts the user. This is why many ads are also considered malware and need to be defended against.

morriswalters wrote:It may be a user agent but it is also a money generating source for the developer.
So is just about every other piece of software. Whether it generates money for the developer or not isn't relevant to the issue.

morriswalters wrote:The rights holder allows the ad service to place ads on his site in return for cash. Brave is interfering with that relationship by substituting. Brave has no relationship with the content owner.
Right. And the brave browser has no obligation to the content owner either. Neither does Firefox or Opera or noscript or adaware. And neither do I. Which means I am not obligated to view an ad just because some third party made some arrangement with a fourth party.

morriswalters wrote: You can't print books of a writer, even if you reimburse him.
Correct - that would be piracy. And that's not what's happening. What's happening is I'm displaying the books to myself, next to a poster of a Big Mac. The fact that somebody made money creating that poster is irrelevant.

morriswalters wrote:Brave does not have the right to monetize it in any fashion.
That is absurd. If I create a browser, let's call it DoubleHung, which displays websites in the first two-thirds of the screen, and displays important messages in the bottom third of the screen, and I create a source of these important messages for my browser to draw from, and I charge people to make these important messages available in DoubleHung, I am monetizing every website in existence. This is not sketchy in the least. It is completely legal, moral, and ethical, and probably even has a market. You are not required to use DoubleHung. It is a user-agent.

This is key to the whole thing.

Computers serve the user. They do not serve the broadcaster. People are losing sight of this.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:13 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Making money by substituting other ads for existing ads has usually been considered malware.
...but not because it was making money, and not because it was substituting other ads. It's malware because it shafts the user. This is why many ads are also considered malware and need to be defended against.


It does not necessarily operate on the user machine. It can operate, say, off a compromised router. And it won't necessarily add MORE ads than exist already, just replace them. This is pretty similar, save that they're avoiding the intrusion aspect by essentially bribing users with a pittance.

With the commonly accepted as malware versions, it may not be apparent to the user at all that ads are being substituted. Primarily it exists not to shaft the user, but to get that sweet ad money instead of the legitimate advertisers. This is pretty close to that. It's not exactly the same, but close enough to at least warrant a close, skeptical look.

morriswalters wrote:The rights holder allows the ad service to place ads on his site in return for cash. Brave is interfering with that relationship by substituting. Brave has no relationship with the content owner.
Right. And the brave browser has no obligation to the content owner either. Neither does Firefox or Opera or noscript or adaware. And neither do I. Which means I am not obligated to view an ad just because some third party made some arrangement with a fourth party.


....this isn't about you being obligated to view the ad.

This is about if content owners have the right to determine who makes money off their shit. The vast majority of society says they should.

morriswalters wrote:Brave does not have the right to monetize it in any fashion.
That is absurd. If I create a browser, let's call it DoubleHung, which displays websites in the first two-thirds of the screen, and displays important messages in the bottom third of the screen, and I create a source of these important messages for my browser to draw from, and I charge people to make these important messages available in DoubleHung, I am monetizing every website in existence. This is not sketchy in the least. It is completely legal, moral, and ethical, and probably even has a market. You are not required to use DoubleHung. It is a user-agent.


Adding additional ads is safe, so long as you're up front about what you're doing, and everyone is on board with it.

This is substituting compensation to others with compensation to you(from the perspective of the addon creator). In most contexts, this constitutes some form of fraud. There's nothing inherently wrong with compensation. Depriving others of compensation, without their agreement, so that you might have it, while still relying on them to provide the goods/services to begin with...cmon man. That's so freaking obviously dirty.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Wed Aug 17, 2016 6:19 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It does not necessarily operate on the user machine. It can operate, say, off a compromised router.
So can any software. This is irrelevant.

Tyndmyr wrote:With the commonly accepted as malware versions,...
I don't know what this is.

Tyndmyr wrote:This is about if content owners have the right to determine who makes money off their shit.
They have the right to not offer the content on the open internet. They could put it behind a paywall. But if they put it on the open internet, they do not have the right to determine how much of the content I am exposed to, and I have the right to limit my exposure.

Tyndmyr wrote:Adding additional ads is safe, so long as you're up front about what you're doing, and everyone is on board with it.
But by adding additional ads, I'm monetizing the other window's content. So, if you accept this, then you must also accept that it's ok for me to monetize somebody else's content. Your objection must be elsewhere.

Tyndmyr wrote:This is substituting compensation to others with compensation to you(from the perspective of the addon creator).
I'm not substituting compensation at all, and neither is the browser. In fact, the browser (if I read it right) is compensating the content provider, and giving me the chance to compensate them some more. The content creator has not earned any compensation. They don't get compensation unless the user clicks. If the user doesn't click, nobody gets any compensation. What the brave browser does (as far as I can tell) is, by the user's request (through the use of the brave browser in the first place), eliminate the ability for me to see the ad (and thus click on it). There is nothing wrong with that, because I, the user, don't want to see the ad, and don't have the obligation to read the ad or to click on it.

I spent a lot of money on my computer and screen. Ad servers have no right to use my computer or my screen. I have no agreement with ad servers to allow them to run software on my system, to take up memory and screen real estate, to steal my attention away from the thing I'm trying to do, to spy on me, to invite their friends onto my computer, or to let them entice me into spending money. These are all things that I may choose to allow, or choose to disallow.

It is not immoral for me to choose to disallow this, especially given the freaking obvious dirty dealings that ad servers do to my system. You raise moral issues, well, where's the morality on the other side?

Jose
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Aug 17, 2016 6:39 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:It does not necessarily operate on the user machine. It can operate, say, off a compromised router.
So can any software. This is irrelevant.


You seem very, very focused on the user and technological nitpickery. Except when it's inconvenient to your argument.

Tyndmyr wrote:With the commonly accepted as malware versions,...
I don't know what this is.


This: https://sentrant.com/2015/03/25/ad-fraud-malware-hijacks-router-dns-injects-ads-via-google-analytics/

Tyndmyr wrote:This is about if content owners have the right to determine who makes money off their shit.
They have the right to not offer the content on the open internet. They could put it behind a paywall. But if they put it on the open internet, they do not have the right to determine how much of the content I am exposed to, and I have the right to limit my exposure.


Why? You keep asserting this right, but you never, ever justify it.

It's certainly not a constitutional right, nor a legal right. Government seems entirely okay with say, adding required anti-piracy notices to content, and enabling no-skip technology so you can't avoid them. The idea that you have some unfettered right to use anything entirely without restriction does not seem supported by law or common understanding.

Tyndmyr wrote:Adding additional ads is safe, so long as you're up front about what you're doing, and everyone is on board with it.
But by adding additional ads, I'm monetizing the other window's content. So, if you accept this, then you must also accept that it's ok for me to monetize somebody else's content. Your objection must be elsewhere.


Stop with the nitpickery and ignoring the topic. It is not merely than monetizing is evil. It isn't. This has already been said repeatedly. The WHOLE scenario is the problem, not merely the money.

Bank robbery is wrong. Not every way of getting money from a bank is wrong. Address the actual scenario, not one you've created with a single similarity to the scenario.

Tyndmyr wrote:This is substituting compensation to others with compensation to you(from the perspective of the addon creator).
I'm not substituting compensation at all, and neither is the browser. In fact, the browser (if I read it right) is compensating the content provider, and giving me the chance to compensate them some more. The content creator has not earned any compensation. They don't get compensation unless the user clicks. If the user doesn't click, nobody gets any compensation. What the brave browser does (as far as I can tell) is, by the user's request (through the use of the brave browser in the first place), eliminate the ability for me to see the ad (and thus click on it). There is nothing wrong with that, because I, the user, don't want to see the ad, and don't have the obligation to read the ad or to click on it.


It is functionally indistinguishable from content theft. http://marketingland.com/newspaper-group-blocks-brave-172465

The point is that buying things requires an agreement. The consumer cannot unilaterally decide what he will pay for something, or how he will experience it. You can't just decide that you're going to attend a movie, pay ten cents, and occupy three seats while eating the food you have brought from home.

You can opt to come to a mutually agreeable arrangement with the theater, and pay the appropriate prices/adhere to the conventions for behavior. Or you can opt not to patronize them. But you have absolutely no right to force them to do whatever you want.

You're not being forced into anything. Brave is attempting to force content creators into lacking all control over their own compensation.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:08 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:You seem very, very focused on the user and technological nitpickery. Except when it's inconvenient to your argument.
It isn't "nitpickery" to distinguish between software the user runs on their own machine (such as a browser), and software a malevolent third party injects into a compromized router, such as the example you gave.

Tyndmyr wrote:Why? You keep asserting this right, but you never, ever justify it.
Why what?

Are you actually questioning my right to limit my exposure to ads?
Tyndmyr wrote:The idea that you have some unfettered right to use anything entirely without restriction...
I am not espousing that idea. And you know this.

Tyndmyr wrote:The WHOLE scenario is the problem, not merely the money.
The WHOLE scenario is that you seem to think that advertisers have rights to me and my machine, and I don't.

Tyndmyr wrote:It is functionally indistinguishable from content theft. http://marketingland.com/newspaper-grou ... ave-172465
Then so is borrowing a book from the library. Look, of course the newspaper group that now has a harder time intruding itself on my machine and planting spyware will say this. Brave responded here:
https://brave.com/blogpost_4.html
They say it's totally different from content theft.

Tyndmyr wrote:The point is that buying things requires an agreement.
Visiting a public website is not "buying something". You make an HTTP request, you get an HTTP response with content. You view however much of the content you want. End of story.

How they pay for the content is their problem. But I will not let them pay for it by inviting them into my home, letting them set up a movie projector and loudspeaker to deliver "important commercial messages", inviting their friends over to stage a play with "important before/after commentary", have them empty my kitchen to feed the crew, having the cast monopolize my telephone lines while they call their agents with the details of this house and its contents, and while I'm still waiting for the crew to finish, find that they've unlocked the back door and invited other people to rifle through my personal filing cabinets and make notes. And at the end of it all, I have to pay the electric bill for the klieg lights, and repair my dining room table.

And when I put up a barrier that doesn't let their trucks onto my driveway, they have a lot of gall to cry foul, saying I've prevented them from getting paid. They are not my responsibility!

Jose
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