SOPA talk, yo.

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KnightExemplar
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:09 am UTC

Dauric wrote:Wild question to anyone that's seen (and understood) the actual bill:

Does SOPA deal strictly in 'piracy', or is it a broader statement on "Copyright Infringement"?


I'm Not a Lawyer... but...

The powers granted to the Attorney General (Section 102 of SOPA) are for "Criminal Copyright Infringement".
The powers granted to everyone who can sue Financial Services and Search Engines are unfortunately a broader statement on Copyright Infringement. (And as per section 103, they are granted to any "Qualifying Plaintiff")

It is stupid stupid stupid STUPID to fuck up tort law even more and give another excuse for these bastards to sue people for no damn reason. I think I'm actually fine with section 102 getting passed... if they can better nail down what a non-US site is and maybe have a few more safeguards against abuse. Section 103 is just pure bullshit.
Last edited by KnightExemplar on Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:13 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby lucrezaborgia » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:12 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:It is stupid stupid stupid STUPID to fuck up tort law even more and give another excuse for these bastards to sue people for no damn reason.



You mean like this case?

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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:24 am UTC

lucrezaborgia wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:It is stupid stupid stupid STUPID to fuck up tort law even more and give another excuse for these bastards to sue people for no damn reason.



You mean like this case?


There will always be waste in the US Government. At the end of the day, everyone knew it was a frivolous lawsuit and according to that page, the plaintiff lost $12,000 to the defendant cause he was such an asshole. If anything, thats a HAPPY story. The fact that the US Judicial system is willing to waste time on such a stupid case is a good thing. We live in a country where Judges work their asses off to provide fair judgements. The fact that the judges took even that case seriously is a good thing. (Its a shame it wasted money, but from what I can tell, the judgement was sound).

I'm talking about the bastards who sue dead people from the start. I'm talking about guys who start up businesses with the sole purpose of suing people for copyright infringement. These are the guys behind the "John Doe" lawsuits and the vast majority of their cases are tossed out. Nonetheless, they manage to Strongarm people and scare them into a plea-deal. Do you really want to give them another excuse to sue you, your advertising partners or the search engines that crawl your web pages?

The problem here is that the punishment completely avoids our judicial system entirely. By just threatening a lawsuit, the typical person pays up, even if they have no solid evidence against you. The entire scheme was a PR scam to try and stop piracy... and they ended up suing dead people, children, and blind men for downloading movies. SOPA expands these people's powers to allow them to sue even more people.

And to Ixtellor: have you even read the bill? I understand the importance of setting up a strong "devil's advocate" argument. Certainly, the anti-copyright crowd is very rowdy and it is a shame that they have hurt the anti-SOPA movement. Nonetheless, there is a good reason that even pro-copyright groups like the BSA (Apple, Microsoft, Mathworks, Autodesk, Adobe, etc. etc.) have dropped support of the bill. I mean, holy crap. On the list of shitty companies / groups who overprotect copyright, the BSA are really high up on that list. Adobe + FBI were behind the Dmitry Sklyarov arrest I was talking about earlier. This is a group that LIVES off of copyrights and is extremely hurt by piracy. For them to drop support of SOPA really demonstrates how poorly written it is.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-57330 ... ight-bill/

Official BSA statement: http://blog.bsa.org/2011/11/21/sopa-nee ... derations/
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Randomizer » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:00 am UTC

@Dream I did not use the term theft, nor counterfeiting. But since you mention it, I think those who object to the term theft in regards to copyright infringement are being overly pedantic.

The difference is a legal nicety. If I lend you a book and you read it, there is little more than a vanishing likelihood of you ever buying that book for yourself.
I am under no legal or moral obligation to purchase any product whatsoever. Telling me that the book was terrible also reduces my likelihood of purchasing the product, does that mean it's simply "a legal nicety" that you can tell me a book sucked? Also, if I purchase something, and I'm done with it, I'm not going to throw it away - that's stupid and wasteful. So, terror of terrors, someone might not buy a CD or an Archie comic if I give them a legitimately obtained copy. I guess I should re-buy any CD I play more than twice because every time I listen to the same music instead of buying something new I'm not "supporting the industry"? Feh.

It just irks me when people can't see the difference between acting as an unauthorized publisher and someone lending out a single copy of the work they legitimately purchased. Let's say someone sold a manuscript to Pelican books, they do a run, and some guy buys a copy, reads it, then sells it to a used bookstore. Or, instead of that guy, Random House decides to buy a single copy of the work for $10, and uses that to print 5 million unauthorized copies of the book. Is there a difference between those two things? I think there is.
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Malice » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:07 am UTC

Randomizer wrote:It just irks me when people can't see the difference between acting as an unauthorized publisher and someone lending out a single copy of the work they legitimately purchased. Let's say someone sold a manuscript to Pelican books, they do a run, and some guy buys a copy, reads it, then sells it to a used bookstore. Or, instead of that guy, Random House decides to buy a single copy of the work for $10, and uses that to print 5 million unauthorized copies of the book. Is there a difference between those two things? I think there is.


Judging by your emphasis, the difference between those things has to do with the number of copies. So what's the acceptable number?
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:09 am UTC

Randomizer wrote:I think those who object to the term theft in regards to copyright infringement are being overly pedantic..

I feel it's a very important distinction between them- theft is taking something from someone that they have, piracy is not. The severity and impact of the actions is quite different, and calling piracy theft is hiding it behind a worse crime to make it seem more horrible, and more necessary to eliminate.

EDIT: Removed responses to one person, as the thread seems to have moved on from them.

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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Randomizer » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:53 am UTC

Malice wrote:Judging by your emphasis, the difference between those things has to do with the number of copies. So what's the acceptable number?
The number legitimately purchased, of course. :p Five million people making one duplicate is still five million extra copies. Though given the state of technology, one person could put out a lot of digital copies of something all on their own (how many depending what it was, of course. Books require far less bandwidth than movies), and could potentially have a significant impact.

Ghostbear wrote:I feel it's a very important distinction between them- theft is taking something from someone that they have, piracy is not. The severity and impact of the actions is quite different, and calling piracy theft is hiding it behind a worse crime to make it seem more horrible, and more necessary to eliminate.
"Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea."

Yeah, theft sounds so much worse than that. No wonder people who downloaded music illegitimately decided to say they were violently robbing people for it. :roll:

Oh, and Don't Download This Song. But Pirate This Song.
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:06 am UTC

Malice wrote:
Randomizer wrote:It just irks me when people can't see the difference between acting as an unauthorized publisher and someone lending out a single copy of the work they legitimately purchased. Let's say someone sold a manuscript to Pelican books, they do a run, and some guy buys a copy, reads it, then sells it to a used bookstore. Or, instead of that guy, Random House decides to buy a single copy of the work for $10, and uses that to print 5 million unauthorized copies of the book. Is there a difference between those two things? I think there is.


Judging by your emphasis, the difference between those things has to do with the number of copies. So what's the acceptable number?


Well... 10 is the number required to turn this into a felony worth up to 3 years... (5 years if they had financial gain)
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:21 am UTC

Randomizer wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:I feel it's a very important distinction between them- theft is taking something from someone that they have, piracy is not. The severity and impact of the actions is quite different, and calling piracy theft is hiding it behind a worse crime to make it seem more horrible, and more necessary to eliminate.
"Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea."

Wrong definition of piracy- it has at least two definitions in modern English, and you know this (else you'd be very confused in this discussion). If somebody says "I'm going to pirate this movie", nobody is going to imagine them boarding a cargo freighter and taking copies of it with the crew at gunpoint. People will know that they mean "I'm going to download this movie without paying for it". Searching for "piracy" on Google gives eight pages (including the first one) related to copyright infringement, one page giving a definition for either term, two pages dealing with "robbery or criminal violence at sea", and four piracy images that all relate to copyright infringement. There is no confusion when people use piracy to mean copyright infringement. There is intellectual dishonestly when people equate piracy to being equivalent to theft. One is a case of a slang term and / or based on broad definitions in historical legal states, leading to evolved language, the other is a case of false equivalence of actions. The first is inevitable for many parts of language, the second is insulting and disingenuous.

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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Malice » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:01 am UTC

Randomizer wrote:
Malice wrote:Judging by your emphasis, the difference between those things has to do with the number of copies. So what's the acceptable number?
The number legitimately purchased, of course. :p Five million people making one duplicate is still five million extra copies. Though given the state of technology, one person could put out a lot of digital copies of something all on their own (how many depending what it was, of course. Books require far less bandwidth than movies), and could potentially have a significant impact.


So in your example, it would be immoral for more than one person to read the same copy of a book at a time (say, out loud, or over a shoulder, or on a projector), but it would not be immoral for the same copy to be resold 50 times to a used bookstore and read by 50 people one at a time; nor would it be immoral for the same copy to be donated to a library to be checked out and read 500 times by 500 people one at a time. Yes?

The point I'm trying to get at is essentially the same one as Dream was before, which is: why exactly does your moral system rest on the artist's right to determine the precise number of extant copies of their work? Isn't that simply a legal fiction whose design is based on a moral framework resting more naturally on the artist's financial security?
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Zarq » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:37 am UTC

lucrezaborgia wrote:
Sockmonkey wrote:It's to scare anyone they don't own into not creating anything out of fear they might get sued over a trivial similarity.


Which is hilarious considering that practically everything that Hollywood and other major media companies produce is a remake of previous content in some form or another.


And ironic considering that the intended goal for copyright laws was to promote creativity, the monetary gain is merely a tool.
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Randomizer » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:04 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
Randomizer wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:I feel it's a very important distinction between them- theft is taking something from someone that they have, piracy is not. The severity and impact of the actions is quite different, and calling piracy theft is hiding it behind a worse crime to make it seem more horrible, and more necessary to eliminate.
"Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea."

Wrong definition of piracy- it has at least two definitions in modern English, and you know this (else you'd be very confused in this discussion). If somebody says "I'm going to pirate this movie", nobody is going to imagine them boarding a cargo freighter and taking copies of it with the crew at gunpoint.
Actually, the intent is to evoke that sort of imagery. Not to make others think that they're actually doing that, but that they're as "cool" as real pirates and what they do is as "cool" as what real pirates do. It's a deliberate association.

But I'll concede that maybe the term has been around long enough and become popular enough that not all people who infringe copyright are pretending to be pirates when they talk about software/music/etc. piracy, and are just using the term as slang these days.

There is intellectual dishonestly when people equate piracy to being equivalent to theft.
I think it's just easier for someone to say, "Stop stealing music!" than "Stop breaking copyright law by making unauthorized duplications of copyrighted musical works!" I know what the difference is between "stealing music" by downloading it and someone grabbing a CD off the shelf of a record store without paying, and I presume the person I'm talking to does as well, so I don't see the big deal in someone calling it stealing when it's technically copyright infringement. The "You wouldn't steal a car..." ads, though, sure those are being deliberately dishonest, but they're easily ignorable (or mockable). Maybe it would be right to take a company to task for that, but in everyday conversation? Meh.

Malice wrote:So in your example, it would be immoral for more than one person to read the same copy of a book at a time (say, out loud, or over a shoulder, or on a projector), but it would not be immoral for the same copy to be resold 50 times to a used bookstore and read by 50 people one at a time; nor would it be immoral for the same copy to be donated to a library to be checked out and read 500 times by 500 people one at a time. Yes?
Is your point that copyright is insufficient to protect a creator's interest in their work, or are you splitting hairs? I'd say you can read a book to your friend, but you can't make an audiobook and distribute that. Copyright protects the creator's right to be the only one to make copies, that's about it. (Well, that and public performance, but I'm not going to speculate on exactly how many people one has to read a book to at once or under what circumstances before it's officially a performance.) There's a difference between a kindergarten teacher reading Strega Nona to her class, and the school making thirty copies of the work so that thirty teachers can read it to thirty classes while only paying for one legitimate copy. If you want thirty classes to have the book, either buy thirty copies or go to the trouble of passing your one copy back and forth.

The point I'm trying to get at is essentially the same one as Dream was before, which is: why exactly does your moral system rest on the artist's right to determine the precise number of extant copies of their work? Isn't that simply a legal fiction whose design is based on a moral framework resting more naturally on the artist's financial security?
I don't see it strictly as a matter of financial security. If I write a bunch of embarrassing poems or keep a diary, and decide I don't want anyone to read that, ever, that's my prerogative. I have the right to prevent others from copying my work. I doubt that's the intent of copyright law, but I value that aspect. After I'm dead I won't have much say in the matter (unless I've burned my writings) and it'll be up to my heirs as to what to do with it, at least until copyright expires.

Now, if someone is publishing, attempting to publish, or planning to eventually publish their work, odds are they do want it to be seen and it's (mostly) a financial matter, yes. Someone doing research for a university might be paid a salary while the research itself is, after review, released into the public domain. That's fine, that's what they signed up for. Someone writing a book is paid by how many copies are sold (and perhaps also an advance by the publisher). If a lot of people like the book and want to buy it, he should be rewarded. If no one wants to buy it, well, better luck next time.

On the other side you have people who purchase the work. They've spent money on a product, and have an interest in the money they spent not being thrown into the fire. And of course there's the idea of preserving knowledge and culture, which setting fire to a CD after you listened to it would run counter to. People not being allowed to make copies protects the creator's interests, and people being able to pass around, read more than once, etc. something they bought protects their and society as a whole's interests. Is there some reason to draw the line between those interests somewhere other than copying rights?
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:19 pm UTC

Zarq wrote:
lucrezaborgia wrote:
Sockmonkey wrote:It's to scare anyone they don't own into not creating anything out of fear they might get sued over a trivial similarity.


Which is hilarious considering that practically everything that Hollywood and other major media companies produce is a remake of previous content in some form or another.


And ironic considering that the intended goal for copyright laws was to promote creativity, the monetary gain is merely a tool.


And even more ironic considering that Hollywood and the major media companies are notorious for violating copyright law themselves. You know Lars Ulrich, the guy that made the biggest deal about Napster? Turns out he may not have created most of "his" songs he was "defending".

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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:27 pm UTC

Randomizer wrote:But I'll concede that maybe the term has been around long enough and become popular enough that not all people who infringe copyright are pretending to be pirates when they talk about software/music/etc. piracy, and are just using the term as slang these days.


Fun fact: Using the term "piracy" to refer to copyright infringement dates back to 1603.

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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:28 pm UTC

Randomizer wrote:Actually, the intent is to evoke that sort of imagery. Not to make others think that they're actually doing that, but that they're as "cool" as real pirates and what they do is as "cool" as what real pirates do. It's a deliberate association.

But I'll concede that maybe the term has been around long enough and become popular enough that not all people who infringe copyright are pretending to be pirates when they talk about software/music/etc. piracy, and are just using the term as slang these days.

The intent very well could be that, no disagreements there. And you agreed with me in the end, so not much to say here.

Randomizer wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:There is intellectual dishonestly when people equate piracy to being equivalent to theft.

I think it's just easier for someone to say, "Stop stealing music!" than "Stop breaking copyright law by making unauthorized duplications of copyrighted musical works!" I know what the difference is between "stealing music" by downloading it and someone grabbing a CD off the shelf of a record store without paying, and I presume the person I'm talking to does as well, so I don't see the big deal in someone calling it stealing when it's technically copyright infringement. The "You wouldn't steal a car..." ads, though, sure those are being deliberately dishonest, but they're easily ignorable (or mockable). Maybe it would be right to take a company to task for that, but in everyday conversation? Meh.

Well, first, saying "Stop illegally downloading music!" or "Stop pirating music!" is more or less just as easy to say as "Stop stealing music!" is, while being far more accurate. So I don't see much of a counter there. :)

Second- many people (not meant to be you, since you, I believe, have acknowledged that they are different)- here or in other threads- equate the two actions directly when they call it stealing, and it is worth taking them to task for it. They are different actions, despite their similarity. Equating piracy to theft is, I feel, an attempt to claim an emotional high ground in attacking piracy- many (hopefully not most- but I haven't looked up figures) people will experience some form of robbery in their life- either a mugging, or someone breaking in, or similar- and it creates a very strong feeling of helplessness in many of them, and many others fear for experiencing the same thing. In equating piracy to theft, they're attempting to associate that negative emotional reaction to piracy. Calling it theft is essentially a marketing campaign to make it out to be a worse crime than it is in the public consciousness. It's very disingenuous, and I will take issue with people doing it every time I need to, because it is worth doing so.

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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Williks » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:45 pm UTC

Randomizer wrote:I don't see it strictly as a matter of financial security. If I write a bunch of embarrassing poems or keep a diary, and decide I don't want anyone to read that, ever, that's my prerogative. I have the right to prevent others from copying my work. I doubt that's the intent of copyright law, but I value that aspect. After I'm dead I won't have much say in the matter (unless I've burned my writings) and it'll be up to my heirs as to what to do with it, at least until copyright expires.

Presumably someone making copies of and distributing your diary would already be punishable under theft (how'd they get ahold of your diary or embarrassing poems if you never distributed them?) or privacy laws, no? I'm not a lawyer, but it doesn't seem like copyright law adds any additional security for these kind of situations.
Randomizer wrote:Now, if someone is publishing, attempting to publish, or planning to eventually publish their work, odds are they do want it to be seen and it's (mostly) a financial matter, yes. Someone doing research for a university might be paid a salary while the research itself is, after review, released into the public domain. That's fine, that's what they signed up for. Someone writing a book is paid by how many copies are sold (and perhaps also an advance by the publisher). If a lot of people like the book and want to buy it, he should be rewarded. If no one wants to buy it, well, better luck next time.

On the other side you have people who purchase the work. They've spent money on a product, and have an interest in the money they spent not being thrown into the fire. And of course there's the idea of preserving knowledge and culture, which setting fire to a CD after you listened to it would run counter to. People not being allowed to make copies protects the creator's interests, and people being able to pass around, read more than once, etc. something they bought protects their and society as a whole's interests. Is there some reason to draw the line between those interests somewhere other than copying rights?

If one person distributes ten thousand copies of a book through the pirate bay, and their exist five thousand legitimate customers who lend it to at least one friend, what's the appreciable difference in terms of how this affects the success of any given creative work? If, in the end, it's about making sure the artist get's paid then both forms of distribution will have affected the artist's profits (this is assuming no one goes out and buys a copy for themselves after downloading/borrowing one). Why then, is the former considered morally dubious, while the later is considered being a proper friend?

I'm not sure the fact that physical copies can only be in one person's possession at a time really matters. There is still the very real possibility that after borrowing a copy, the individual in question does not choose to purchase a copy for themselves. The fact that the original owner couldn't make use of the copy while it was lent out only matters if it becomes necessary for them to purchase a new copy for themselves in the meantime. I don't see this as being especially likely. To go back to some of the earlier discussions on libraries. Many libraries are now offering the option to check out an eBook. I don't have an eReader, so I'm not fully aware of the specifics, but I imagine the supply of those eBooks is effectively unlimited. So presumably libraries can in fact lend out copies of a single work to every single one of their patrons (providing they all happened to own eReaders).

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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Ixtellor » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:08 pm UTC

Zarq wrote:Ok, how about this then. Currently, the only illegally downloaded stuff on my computer is the 4th season of QI. This is not legally available anywhere, and there are no plans of making it so. It is still illegal for me to download though, the right holders have not giving permission for this. They are not losing money (potential or real) from me downloading this, since there is no option for me to give them money for it. I would if I could. Shoot.


You asked me to respond twice,

Your didn't really ask a question, but here is what I will say.

Morals are relative. Are you technically committing a crime... yes. Is it the equivilent of car jacking, obviously not. We all commit crimes. I have an illegal tint on my car and occasionally speed.

I personally would not take something that doesn't belong to me, but it sounds like if there was a reasonable case, your damn close to it.

Have you tried contacting the company with rights to the product you desire? I find that most people are far to lazy to actually attempt to make personal contact. Its also, considerable easier than most people imagine. I frequently receive personal emails from people most people would perceive to be far to busy. (Senators, Columnists, Artists, Scientists, etc).

My advice, pursue making contact with people that can legally get you a copy.

Short of that, sounds like you have exhausted your means to get a legal copy. If you want to make the choice to illegal obtain it, after all that, then what... I don't think anyone would consider you a bad person, and there is 0% likelyhood of getting caught, and even if you did, the punishment would be minimal. Enjoy the series, and you sound like a fine upstanding citizen.
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:24 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:I frequently receive personal emails from people most people would perceive to be far to busy. (Senators, Columnists, Artists, Scientists, etc).


Scientists I can imagine responding to your emails. Columnists too. Artists only if they have a relatively small fanbase; smaller bands that only hipsters like love to have fans contact them. But Senators? Unless you mean state senators, they hire people specifically to deal with all the mail they get.

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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:31 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Scientists I can imagine responding to your emails. Columnists too. Artists only if they have a relatively small fanbase; smaller bands that only hipsters like love to have fans contact them. But Senators? Unless you mean state senators, they hire people specifically to deal with all the mail they get.
Even state senators don't handle their mail; not in any of the states I've noticed, anyway.

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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby paulisa » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:31 pm UTC

Williks wrote:I'm not sure the fact that physical copies can only be in one person's possession at a time really matters. There is still the very real possibility that after borrowing a copy, the individual in question does not choose to purchase a copy for themselves. The fact that the original owner couldn't make use of the copy while it was lent out only matters if it becomes necessary for them to purchase a new copy for themselves in the meantime. I don't see this as being especially likely. To go back to some of the earlier discussions on libraries. Many libraries are now offering the option to check out an eBook. I don't have an eReader, so I'm not fully aware of the specifics, but I imagine the supply of those eBooks is effectively unlimited. So presumably libraries can in fact lend out copies of a single work to every single one of their patrons (providing they all happened to own eReaders).


Sadly, at least in my library, that isn't the case. If a book is borrowable as an e-book, only one copy at a time can be actively borrowed. There is a time limit on how long you can read the digital copy, so you also can't forget to return it on time. Once your time is up, the next person who requested the e-book can download and read it. It's similar with their e-journals, but you can only borrow them for one day and there is apparently only one e-journal license but one paper journal per library (about 30 in the city I think).
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Ixtellor » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:42 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Scientists I can imagine responding to your emails. Columnists too. Artists only if they have a relatively small fanbase; smaller bands that only hipsters like love to have fans contact them. But Senators? Unless you mean state senators, they hire people specifically to deal with all the mail they get.


Artists that sell millions of dollars in their 'art'. Depends on the medium. (Music... no) Compossers, poets, authors (not Steven King), far more accessable than people imagine.

Senators. Get 100 people to chip in $20 bucks for a cause you believe in. Give it to the senator, you will get your email. (negotiate before you give the money) It is also going to depend on the size of your State, I imagine I could get a personal email from a Senator in Wyoming if I was a resident. First try... no. Be persistant, reasonable, and non-crazy with a valid question/concern.
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Williks » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:56 pm UTC

paulisa wrote:Sadly, at least in my library, that isn't the case. If a book is borrowable as an e-book, only one copy at a time can be actively borrowed. There is a time limit on how long you can read the digital copy, so you also can't forget to return it on time. Once your time is up, the next person who requested the e-book can download and read it. It's similar with their e-journals, but you can only borrow them for one day and there is apparently only one e-journal license but one paper journal per library (about 30 in the city I think).

Hmm, I knew there was a time limit wherein the content would be locked out or you'd have to renew the rental. Thought they'd provide more than a single copy, though.

You could apply the same logic to services like Netflix, though. Sure, there is a fee involved, but there's no limit on how many movies you can stream per month (other than obvious time/netflix library constraints) or how many people can be streaming the same movie simultaneously. So does the netflix monthly subscription fee adequately compensate the creator's of the content that's being viewed? Would anyone question the morals of an individual who watches a greater than average number of movies on netflix?

I just don't find the argument's against piracy particularly compelling when there's plenty of casual sharing between friends and acquaintances all the time. Ostensibly piracy is easier to combat, legally, but from a moral perspective I'm not sure I see much of a difference.

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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Malice » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:18 pm UTC

Williks wrote:
paulisa wrote:Sadly, at least in my library, that isn't the case. If a book is borrowable as an e-book, only one copy at a time can be actively borrowed. There is a time limit on how long you can read the digital copy, so you also can't forget to return it on time. Once your time is up, the next person who requested the e-book can download and read it. It's similar with their e-journals, but you can only borrow them for one day and there is apparently only one e-journal license but one paper journal per library (about 30 in the city I think).

Hmm, I knew there was a time limit wherein the content would be locked out or you'd have to renew the rental. Thought they'd provide more than a single copy, though.

You could apply the same logic to services like Netflix, though. Sure, there is a fee involved, but there's no limit on how many movies you can stream per month (other than obvious time/netflix library constraints) or how many people can be streaming the same movie simultaneously. So does the netflix monthly subscription fee adequately compensate the creator's of the content that's being viewed? Would anyone question the morals of an individual who watches a greater than average number of movies on netflix?

I just don't find the argument's against piracy particularly compelling when there's plenty of casual sharing between friends and acquaintances all the time. Ostensibly piracy is easier to combat, legally, but from a moral perspective I'm not sure I see much of a difference.


Netflix purchases streaming rights from content providers, at a price much, much higher than "so we bought a DVD and put it on the internet", negotiated by both parties to ensure that the provider feels it is worth it to them to give the content.

However, as Netflix is essentially a lending library for movies and television, is there a moral difference between paying for Netflix and having them mail you a movie, versus paying for Netflix and downloading the movie illegally?
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Yakk » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:28 pm UTC

I have a vague memory that there is at least one company that is aiming for a "DVD lending library via streaming". Basically, they stream an individual DVD in their possession to you over the 'net. They buy 1 DVD for each movie of that kind that they want to stream.
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Soralin » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:01 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:I have a vague memory that there is at least one company that is aiming for a "DVD lending library via streaming". Basically, they stream an individual DVD in their possession to you over the 'net. They buy 1 DVD for each movie of that kind that they want to stream.

Yeah, 1 DVD->1 stream at a time. Last I heard the recording companies were trying to sue them into oblivion to prevent that.

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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby lucrezaborgia » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:41 am UTC

Zarq wrote:
lucrezaborgia wrote:
Sockmonkey wrote:It's to scare anyone they don't own into not creating anything out of fear they might get sued over a trivial similarity.


Which is hilarious considering that practically everything that Hollywood and other major media companies produce is a remake of previous content in some form or another.


And ironic considering that the intended goal for copyright laws was to promote creativity, the monetary gain is merely a tool.


...but don't you know that no one innovated anything in the past because they weren't guaranteed profits for life + 50 years?!?

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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Williks » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:03 am UTC

Malice wrote:Netflix purchases streaming rights from content providers, at a price much, much higher than "so we bought a DVD and put it on the internet", negotiated by both parties to ensure that the provider feels it is worth it to them to give the content.

Right, but my point is more that for 7.99 per month I have unlimited streaming ability. Does 7.99 truly cover unlimited movie streaming? Or does 7.99 only cover some "reasonable" amount of streaming per month?

I am having trouble phrasing this. :/ I'm not sure I can adequately explain what I mean. I'm trying to focus more on the morality of the situation rather than it's legality. Obviously I can legally stream unlimited movies per month based on my subscription to netflix, but is it possible to abuse that? Or can I not abuse that because the artist has given the okay for unlimited streaming? When it comes to the rights of the creator, should what they perceive as beneficial trump that which is actually beneficial, assuming their aim is to maximize profits (which I think is a fair assumption for most commercially released artistic works)?

Am I making any sense?

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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby phillipsjk » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:40 am UTC

Williks wrote:
Malice wrote:Netflix purchases streaming rights from content providers, at a price much, much higher than "so we bought a DVD and put it on the internet", negotiated by both parties to ensure that the provider feels it is worth it to them to give the content.

Right, but my point is more that for 7.99 per month I have unlimited streaming ability. Does 7.99 truly cover unlimited movie streaming? Or does 7.99 only cover some "reasonable" amount of streaming per month?
...
Am I making any sense?


You are making some sense, but the whole concept of "streaming" doesn't make any sense to start with. In exchange for not being able to cache a local copy, they allow you to play the bandwidth intensive remote copy any time you want (The same model YouTube uses). Netflix even briefly dropped their DVD rental service, despite DVD mail-outs being higher bandwidth and allowing higher quality than most home Internet connections*.

Ever since they signed an exclusive deal with Dreamworks I have been of the opinion that Netflix is dieing. At $30 million per title, it will take Netflix 3.57 million subscribers just to break even at $8/month (not including hosting costs). One slashdot commenter pointed out:
jandrese wrote:So Dreamworks has produced a little over 100 titles, so that would be a 3 billion dollar deal to get a tiny sliver of the movies they're about to lose with the Stars deal back. That is not sustainable by any measure. For comparison, with the DVD rental business the Disks would have cost somewhere on the order of $2 million.


At $96/year, Netflix needs about 31.25 million subscribers to break even on the Dreamworks deal.

* 4.7GB/day -> 54398 bytes/second -> ~544kbps of bandwidth needed.
While that may be lower than the burtable bandwidth on many Internet connections, keep in mind that is with spending 24 (-2) hours buffering. Also, 20 movies per month would consume 94GB: possibly pushing you over your monthly cap.
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby buddy431 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:59 am UTC

phillipsjk wrote:
Williks wrote:
Malice wrote:Netflix purchases streaming rights from content providers, at a price much, much higher than "so we bought a DVD and put it on the internet", negotiated by both parties to ensure that the provider feels it is worth it to them to give the content.

Right, but my point is more that for 7.99 per month I have unlimited streaming ability. Does 7.99 truly cover unlimited movie streaming? Or does 7.99 only cover some "reasonable" amount of streaming per month?
...
Am I making any sense?


You are making some sense, but the whole concept of "streaming" doesn't make any sense to start with. In exchange for not being able to cache a local copy, they allow you to play the bandwidth intensive remote copy any time you want (The same model YouTube uses). Netflix even briefly dropped their DVD rental service, despite DVD mail-outs being higher bandwidth and allowing higher quality than most home Internet connections.

Ever since they signed an exclusive deal with Dreamworks I have been of the opinion that Netflix is dieing. At $30 million per title, it will take Netflix 3.57 million subscribers just to break even at $8/month (not including hosting costs). One slashdot commenter pointed out:
jandrese wrote:So Dreamworks has produced a little over 100 titles, so that would be a 3 billion dollar deal to get a tiny sliver of the movies they're about to lose with the Stars deal back. That is not sustainable by any measure. For comparison, with the DVD rental business the Disks would have cost somewhere on the order of $2 million.


At $96/year, Netflix needs about 31.25 million subscribers to break even on the Dreamworks deal.


It's $30 million per title (once), vs. $8 per month per subscriber, right? I'm sure that Netflix doesn't think they're going to pay off the deal in a single year. It might be a questionable business move, but it's not as insane as you make it out to be. Currently Netflix is sitting on about 26 million subscribers.

Edit: and anyways, we're pretty far off topic, as I don't think even the strongest SOPA opponents are suggesting that Netflix would be directly affected by SOPA - they tend to do a pretty good job playing by the book, and users can't submit their own content.
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Malice » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:11 am UTC

Williks wrote:
Malice wrote:Netflix purchases streaming rights from content providers, at a price much, much higher than "so we bought a DVD and put it on the internet", negotiated by both parties to ensure that the provider feels it is worth it to them to give the content.

Right, but my point is more that for 7.99 per month I have unlimited streaming ability. Does 7.99 truly cover unlimited movie streaming? Or does 7.99 only cover some "reasonable" amount of streaming per month?


I'm suggesting that, in terms of the financial benefits, a creator has made the decision to sell his right to price his work to, say, Viacom; Viacom negotiates with Netflix on the creator's behalf, and a figure is agreed upon which will allow Netflix to profit (based on the expected demand for that work) and give reasonable compensation for Viacom (and hence the creator). This seems like a standard use of market forces to determine the value of the work; and to me, since "fair value" has theoretically been paid, any use of the work through Netflix is moral.

I am having trouble phrasing this. :/ I'm not sure I can adequately explain what I mean. I'm trying to focus more on the morality of the situation rather than it's legality. Obviously I can legally stream unlimited movies per month based on my subscription to netflix, but is it possible to abuse that? Or can I not abuse that because the artist has given the okay for unlimited streaming? When it comes to the rights of the creator, should what they perceive as beneficial trump that which is actually beneficial, assuming their aim is to maximize profits (which I think is a fair assumption for most commercially released artistic works)?

Am I making any sense?


The bolded is kind of the fundamental question here; it's another of way of asking whether the moral questions here rest on the notion of the creator's rights or only the creator's financial success. The question is further muddied by the fact that most creators don't actually own their rights, but sell or lease them to large corporations, it being difficult to believe that our behavior towards corporations even has a moral component.

I believe most creators in my experience are generally less concerned about their right to determine what copies are made of their work; usually their primary concerns are derivative works (Donald Westlake and his Parker character, for instance, or JD Salinger's attitude towards Catcher in the Rye adaptations), getting their work actually seen/experienced by people, and making a living. To me this suggests that the original intentions of copyright law were in the right place--using the notion of "copy" rights as a method of balancing the creators' financial needs with the desire for a free and open culture.

So my answer is that I personally see nothing immoral about circumventing copyright, particularly if that circumvention has the effect of making the culture more openly available AND is ultimately to the creator's financial benefit (as piracy can encourage purchases, directly and through word of mouth).
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby dragonmustang » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:18 am UTC

I know this is somewhat separate from the current flow of the thread, but it's official. Reddit's doing a blackout to protest SOPA: http://blog.reddit.com/2012/01/stopped-they-must-be-on-this-all.html

Not sure how likely it is that other sites will follow suit, but I hope they do. This is just about everywhere online, but basically nowhere on TV. Not that I'm surprised, all the major news outlets are owned by SOPA/PIPA supporters who likely want to sneak this through as quietly as possible.

On that note, however, can anyone find any recent updates on where we are with either bill? I know SOPA's still in committee with a hearing with security tech experts scheduled for the 18th (hence the timing of the Reddit blackout), but what about PIPA?
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby yurell » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:26 am UTC

Wouldn't it be beautiful if YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Wikimedia did that for a day?
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:57 am UTC

Wikipedia's Blackout is under debate and deliberation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative

The main argument against the Wikipedia Blackout is Wikipedia's current reputation as a neutral source. Is it worth compromising Wikipedia's reputation to make a stance on SOPA? But yes, the motion is under debate, and there is an amount of support for even a full World-Wide blackout, instead of a US specific one. (As Wikipedia is subject to US law, then they would be subjected to SOPA). Everyone on Wikipedia is against it, but a number of foreigners who use Wikipedia literally can't do jack against SOPA.

Half support - I absolutely agree with the "soft blanking" concept but I don't think the message should claim this is what Wikipedia would look like - that's hyperbolic and probably not true in the literal sense. I also don't think the decision tree for the user should be: <read a message and then choose whether to read another message or go to the article>. One thing we know from the Fundraiser is that you want to get to the 'ask' right away. So the 'blank screen' should be a direct appeal to action - we want to get hundreds of thousands of people protesting to their representatives - and at the end of that appeal, you can continue to the article. (And optionally dismiss the appeal and not have it come back.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:05, 7 January 2012 (UTC)


For those who aren't aware, Jimbo Wales is the founder of Wikipedia. He typically has strong opinions, but wants the community to make its own decision. He's a good guy.
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby buddy431 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:17 am UTC

Yurell wrote:Wouldn't it be beautiful if YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Wikimedia did that for a day?


KnightExemplar wrote:Wikipedia's Blackout is under debate and deliberation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative

The main argument against the Wikipedia Blackout is Wikipedia's current reputation as a neutral source. Is it worth compromising Wikipedia's reputation to make a stance on SOPA? But yes, the motion is under debate, and there is a huge amount of support for even a full World-Wide blackout, instead of a US specific one. (As Wikipedia is subject to US law, then they would be subjected to SOPA).


Wikipedia's different than the other websites mentioned in that it is run by a non-profit, and their revenue comes from donations. Youtube is owned by Google, which is a public company, so they'd need at least some level of support (or at least not strong opposition) from the board of directors (representing shareholders) who might be worried by lost revenue. Twitter and Facebook are private, so presumably they can do whatever the CEO feels like.

Morally, the private companies can do whatever the hell they want, and I think Google (and it's board) figure to be impacted heavily by SOPA, so I'd be on-board if they shut down. I wouldn't be so happy if Wikimedia took an official position. They solicit donations (including from me), with the expressed goal of building an encyclopedia (and increasing knowledge through their other projects, and through developing the Mediawiki software and such). If they want to get into advocacy, they should tell their donors that, and put it into their mission statement, or whatever. If I want to donate to an organization that advocates for a particular cause, I will do so, but I'm not really happy with organizations that solicit donations for one stated purpose, and then use them to advocate for another, that the donors may or may not agree with or care about.
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:29 am UTC

By law, non-profits are allowed to lobby to a limited extent. Wikipedia, by nature of this bill, is threatened by SOPA. So it is their right and duty to tell Congressmen and inform their readers about issues that affect Wikipedia. If say... the Red Cross felt a certain law made them more liable to lawsuits regarding Blood Donations, then the Red Cross SHOULD be allowed to protest the matter. Similarly, Wikipedia's legal liabilities are directly affected by SOPA, and thus have a right to inform their users about the issue.

I'm perfectly fine with Wikipedia taking action on the issue if they so decide. The main concern I have is again, its got a massive reputation as a non-political completely neutral organization, and they put that at risk by putting things into political action. But since SOPA is so poorly written that it affects even Wikipedia, they have a right to defend themselves from that legislation.
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby dragonmustang » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:35 am UTC

They solicit donations (including from me), with the expressed goal of building an encyclopedia (and increasing knowledge through their other projects, and through developing the Mediawiki software and such). If they want to get into advocacy, they should tell their donors that, and put it into their mission statement, or whatever.


I doubt something like this would turn into general advocacy (this seems like a one-time emergency situation), though I do see your concern, as does the Wikimedia Foundation. One time advocacy could turn into long-time advocacy if the situation keeps cropping up again and again. That seems to be the entire point of the debate that they're holding at the link KnightExemplar posted- they're asking the editors and donors what they want to do, and they will support them in that.

I do know that other large sites have been considering it, but some, as you mentioned, do have their shareholders to worry about (Facebook would be included in this, but it keeps pushing back its IPO). The real motivation (and I think exceptionally good reason) behind it would be I think to make sure the general public, who aren't generally on tech blogs all day, knows exactly what's going on. I think I've talked to only one or two people about it in my school/work who knew about it before I mentioned it and understood what exactly was going on and the seriousness of it. However, these same people are always on Facebook or Twitter, so if these sites suddenly were gone for several hours with a banner explaining why, they'd likely start taking notice.
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby phillipsjk » Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:26 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote: Everyone on Wikipedia is against it, but a number of foreigners who use Wikipedia literally can't do jack against SOPA.


Not true. As I said in my first post, this legislation specifically targets foreign websites that normally fall outside US jurisdiction. This is likely a sufficient loss of sovereignty to justify an International campaign of contacting local representatives about the issue. If major sites like Google, Wikipedia, Twitter and Facebook participate: there will likely be enough people calling their local representatives to be noticed. Once noticed, this should result in diplomatic pressure on the United States.
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Ixtellor » Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:40 pm UTC

phillipsjk wrote:If major sites like Google, Wikipedia, Twitter and Facebook participate: there will likely be enough people calling their local representatives to be noticed. Once noticed, this should result in diplomatic pressure on the United States.


Likelyhood of that happening?

Also if everyone would just stop stealing that would solve the problem as well.
(Sorry... I mean pirating... taking stuff that doesnt' belong to you)
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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:58 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:(Sorry... I mean pirating... taking stuff that doesnt' belong to you)
You mean 'copying stuff that doesn't belong to you'. To take something is to deprive someone else of something, and the capital you lose via piracy is often nebulous--or not a loss at all.

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Re: SOPA talk, yo.

Postby Ixtellor » Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:18 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:You mean 'copying stuff that doesn't belong to you'. To take something is to deprive someone else of something, and the capital you lose via piracy is often nebulous--or not a loss at all.


If you owe Music Company X 99 cents for a song, and you don't pay... they lost 99 cents.

You have in your possesion and reap the benefits of a product you didn't pay for, more importantly, violated the law to do avoid paying.

Its not like murder, but its still theft. Sure Metallica doesn't 'need' your 99 cents, but that doesn't give you a right to deny them their due.

The most dangerous part of piracy in my mind, is the ease with which people rationalize away crimes to absolve themselves of wrong doing.
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