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Commerce Department Pushing For New "Copyright Czar" 294

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the bogus-stats dept.
TechDirt is reporting that those all-too-familiar "stats" surrounding the cost of piracy are being trotted out in an attempt to push through a new "Copyright Czar" position. "In urging President Bush to sign into law the ProIP bill, which would give him a copyright czar (something the Justice Department had said it doesn't want), the US Chamber of Commerce is claiming that 750,000 American jobs have been lost to piracy. Yet, it doesn't cite where that number comes from."
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Commerce Department Pushing For New "Copyright Czar"

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  • by lecithin (745575) on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:26PM (#25275075)

    The Commerce Department is not the US Chamber of Commerce.

    Chamber of Commerce = non-for-profit business federation.

    Commerce Department = Federal Government Entity.

    As a matter of fact, the Commerce Department OBJECTS to a "Copyright Czar"

  • Progress (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:43PM (#25275273)

    Hey, don't manufacture anything, litigate instead. Sure, that will get you out of a recession!

  • Re:The real costs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by n0dna (939092) on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:47PM (#25275341)

    YOU could turn on a radio or stream a station.

    YOU also have a choice, but please, continue to justify it for us.

    Steal it if you want to, don't steal it if you don't want to, but please don't expect us to believe that you're being forced to download music at gunpoint.

  • Re:The real costs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:56PM (#25275449)
    I have to have a phone thats 40$ a month

    No you don't. My cell costs less than 1/2 that.

    I get internet cause im stuck in the house ...thats another 40$

    Instead of being 'stuck in the house', a second job, or school to get a better job, might be in order. And NetZero is only $9.95/month..:)
    Don't use your apparent insolvency to justify why you think you are entitled to music for free.

    YOU at least have a choice.

    So do you.
  • Yes, great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nimey (114278) on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:59PM (#25275483) Homepage Journal

    because America needs another powerful, unaccountable functionary in the government.

    Suppose, instead, that Congress does its job and shits out a decent copyright law.

  • Incitement Czar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:59PM (#25275489) Homepage Journal

    Has any of these "czars" the US government has been fond of appointing the past decade or so actually accomplished anything except creating more serfs?

    Why does the US government have people modeled on the most hated monarchs, who drove Russians so nuts that they went "Communist" on us for 3/4 of a century, and nearly helped us blast the world back to microscopic life?

    How about Congress just returns copyright to its Constitutional basis: at most 17 years (a human "generation") of private monopoly on any content, but only when that monopoly will "promote progress in science and the useful arts". That regime doesn't need a czar, it needs a searchable content registry archive and an antitrust watchdog.

  • Re:Uh huh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LordNimon (85072) on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:02PM (#25275531)
    The same BLS says the unemployment rate is 6%. That means there are 11.3 million unemployed citizens

    Bzzz.... wrong. Thanks for playing.

    The 6% unemployment rate refers to people who are actively seeking work but haven't found it. That is a small percentage of the total number of adults.
  • Why does a free market economy need czars? Aren't they an invention of the same country that adopted communist central planning to such poor effect?

  • Actually... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SerfsUp (839507) on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:13PM (#25275661)
    Great idea. I nominate Lawrence Lessig!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:14PM (#25275673)

    The anime industry in the US might not exist at all were it not for people who were violating copyright and giving away fan subtitled work -- when I first saw anime ('93) it was all fansubs.

    More recently -- I've purchased anime and manga which I wouldn't have know about were it not for people violating copyright laws: specifically because the friends who introduced me showed me fansubs. I'll grant that absent pirating, some of them might have purchased the shows ... but most wouldn't, the initial price tag is too high. (Once you know you like a series, it's easier to justify spending $15-30/disk.)

    Ah well. Time to write my congresscritters.

  • Re:Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:15PM (#25275691) Journal

    Average Americans used to be restricted to a very small subset of the information and culture that exists. The average person just couldn't afford any more than that.

    Now, thanks to piracy, they have access to most of it.

    In addition to having access to more, percentage-wise, it is a fact that despite current conditions, there are more creative works being made than ever before in recorded history. And they get access to most of that too.

    Therefore, rampant piracy has improved the average persons quality of life.

    If it came to pass that there was an end to piracy, and an extra 250 billion a year was divided amongst all Americans, that amount of money wouldn't be anywhere close to enough to pay for what the average person currently has access to because of piracy.

    Therefore, the average Americans quality of life would be significantly diminished should effective copyright enforcement become available and common.

    In conclusion, the victims of the American War on Piracy are... the American people.

  • Re:The real costs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zippthorne (748122) on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:19PM (#25275725) Journal

    He might be stuck in the house because of some disability y'know.

    Note: "Too fat to walk" although it appears to be enough to get yourself a "free" scooter at the expense of the SSA, is not a particularly sympathy inducing 'disability'.

  • by Wildclaw (15718) on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:26PM (#25275779)

    Well, when you have people who are willing to translate (a.k.a. fansub) for free, and most people (atleast those who watch lots of anime) seems to prefer original japanese voice, then it isn't that strange that it is a tough market.

    Of course, at the same time you have people selling bottled water that basically is no different than the water you can get directly from the tap. So it isn't that easy to predict where there is a market.

  • Re:Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OVDoobie (887621) on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:27PM (#25275785)
    Oddly enough, the same goes for the American War on Drugs. 80% of arrests are for simple possession. Before you mod me off topic think about this: if they pass this, and are equally efficient with enforcement how may millions, if not billions, will this cost average Americans (assuming there is no jail time, just fines).
  • Re:Inefficency (Score:1, Insightful)

    by cliffski (65094) on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:30PM (#25275817) Homepage

    if the content those people produced was not useful to society, why was demand for it so high amongst pirates that they risked breaking the law to get it?

    This is the same old complaint that you pirate because mainstream content sucks. If it sucks, why pirate it?

  • Re:Yes, great (Score:2, Insightful)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:35PM (#25275871)
    Hey, our economy is hollowing out, and Hollywood is one of the few things left now that still "produce" things others would buy. But then, our copyright laws can't do squat to piracy in other countries. Genius.
  • Re:Henry Paulson (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxume (22995) on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:45PM (#25275965)

    This is ridiculously reactionary. Up until this point, the vast majority of people who have lost their homes in this crisis have lost their homes because they took on loans that they could not afford (there are people in Detroit who lost their homes because Michigan is imploding, and so forth). Sure, they were offered teaser rates and things probably weren't always made real clear, but it seems pretty reasonable to hold each and every buyer of a home somewhere around 50% responsible for the loan that they agreed to.

    Irresponsible behavior on Wall Street has exacerbated the mess, but to Paulson's credit, Goldman Sachs is having among the least of the troubles (I guess this could be taken as a sign that they are the true bastards, but they weren't the ones originating hilarious securities, they were the ones selling the hilarious securities short).

  • Re:Inefficency (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:50PM (#25276013) Homepage Journal

    More like 75000 jobs GAINED. I would like to Quote Cory Doctorow from the forward to Little Brother [craphound.com] (emphasis mine):

    I recently saw Neil Gaiman give a talk at which someone asked him how he felt about piracy of his books. He said, "Hands up in the audience if you discovered your favorite writer for free -- because someone loaned you a copy, or because someone gave it to you? Now, hands up if you found your favorite writer by walking into a store and plunking down cash." Overwhelmingly, the audience said that they'd discovered their favorite writers for free, on a loan or as a gift. When it comes to my favorite writers, there's no boundaries: I'll buy every book they publish, just to own it (sometimes I buy two or three, to give away to friends who must read those books). I pay to see them live. I buy t-shirts with their book-covers on them. I'm a customer for life.

    Neil went on to say that he was part of the tribe of readers, the tiny minority of people in the world who read for pleasure, buying books because they love them. One thing he knows about everyone who downloads his books on the Internet without permission is that they're readers, they're people who love books.

    People who study the habits of music-buyers have discovered something curious: the biggest pirates are also the biggest spenders. If you pirate music all night long, chances are you're one of the few people left who also goes to the record store (remember those?) during the day. You probably go to concerts on the weekend, and you probably check music out of the library too. If you're a member of the red-hot music-fan tribe, you do lots of everything that has to do with music, from singing in the shower to paying for black-market vinyl bootlegs of rare Eastern European covers of your favorite death-metal band.

    No artist ever starved because of copyright infringement. Many artists have starved because of obscurity.

  • by Dan667 (564390) on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:56PM (#25276083)
    He can start by suing Sony, EMI, Warner Brothers, and Universal (the RIAA) for the unnecessary burden to the tax payers of them trying to make their businesses a government problem.
  • Re:Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gnick (1211984) on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:57PM (#25276091) Homepage

    That's an interesting way to phrase that - And you're not actually wrong. Piracy spreads culture to a much wider audience than could appreciate it otherwise.

    However, there are a number of activities that people can undertake that improve their quality of life without any cost to other individuals or society as a whole. But some of these we've decided to outlaw because of various problems. For example:
    * Jumping over subway turnstiles rather than walking to your destination or buying a ticket.
    * Sneaking into private museums/movie theaters/plays to observe the goings-on rather than buying a ticket.
    * Peeking into your sexy neighbor's window while she's changing for a cheap thrill rather than going to a strip club.
    * Breaking into a house that's are nicer than your own and living there when the normal tenants are known to be away on vacation before cleaning up after yourself and leaving the house as you found it.

    I could go on, but hopefully you see my point. All of those activities improve one person's quality of life without any noticeable cost to any other person or society overall (assuming that nobody gets noticed - then society suffers due to law-enforcement.) The first couple of examples are outlawed because, if everyone did them, the business model would fall apart and we (society) would lose things that we value - The same logic used for copyright enforcement. The latter couple of examples are outlawed because they offend our popularly accepted morals, although they are still examples of one person benefiting with no cost to others (assuming again that nobody gets caught or causes damage).

    So do you jump subway turnstiles and sneak into museums/movies/plays/concerts? If not, why not? I see very little difference assuming that you would not have ridden or attended if you would have had to pay.

    As a side note, I really need to learn to post A/C when countering somebody here who advocates rampant piracy. For some reason I just can't bring myself to do it... I must mention this to my analyst.

  • by SaXisT4LiF (120908) on Monday October 06, 2008 @03:00PM (#25276145)
    I think that parent AC makes a valid point. While fansubs may technically be a violation of copyright law, those viewers that become fans of the series will probably end up purchasing the DVDs, T-Shirts, Video Games, and other merchandise related to the franchise.

    In respect to the Anime market in the US, there are a number of other factors that could be contributing to low sales:
    • Bad voice acting. There are exceptions to this (i.e. Mononoke Hime), but many of the English dubs are terrible. The English actors don't seem to convey the same tone and mood of the original voice-overs. Most anime fans prefer Japanese voice-overs with English sub-titles. The only real reason to include an English dub is if the target audience is very young and can't be expected to read.
    • Price tag. The average cost per disk is about $25-$30 and it contains 3 episodes on average, 4 if you're lucky. It probably works out to about $8 per episode. Considering that many of the series contain upwards of 200 episodes, this becomes a hefty chunk of change. I think the problem here is the cost of producing the English dubs. You can often import the same series without English VOs in a box set for closer to $1 an episode. Why pay 8 times the price for English VOs that you're not going to listen to anyway?
    • Release delays. The DVDs don't hit the US stores until almost 3 years after the original air date. Presumably this is due to the time it takes to record the English VOs. By the time the DVD hits the US market, the buyer has lost interest in the series and moved on to something else.

    In short, Anime publishers should ditch the English VOs and get the product to market sooner and for a lower price.

  • Re:Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday October 06, 2008 @03:03PM (#25276173) Homepage

    If it came to pass that there was an end to piracy, and an extra 250 billion a year was divided amongst all Americans, that amount of money wouldn't be anywhere close to enough to pay for what the average person currently has access to because of piracy.

    What if we added in an extra $700 billion? Because I've heard that if you throw in an additional $150 in pork projects, Congress will pass anything.

  • true in some sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot&hackish,org> on Monday October 06, 2008 @03:07PM (#25276221)

    Sure, you could say that the lender and lendee are each about half responsible. But the difference is that the lender is supposed to have known better: their job is finance. By contrast, the average homeowner has no financial expertise.

    Thus two sides mutually entered a stupid contract, but one of the sides was actually staffed by full-time professionals whose supposed expertise lay precisely in evaluating contracts for non-stupidity.

  • made up statistics (Score:2, Insightful)

    by weiserfireman (917228) on Monday October 06, 2008 @03:09PM (#25276237) Homepage
    For there to have been 750,000 lost jobs, wouldn't you have to prove that these people have been employed in the industry first?

    Can they show that businesses decided to leave Copyright protected industries because of piracy?

    Or are they trying to show a decrease in production of Copyrighted materials because of production?

    Maybe they are trying to say that Piracy accounted for $XX lost sales and the money from those sales could have employed as many as 750,000 other people.

    It is probably the latter, but it is made up statistics anyway. To prove the lost sales, you have to prove that people who acquired the material through piracy would have paid the higher price to acquire the material if piracy didn't exist. My hypothesis is that a significant number of them would never have bought the item, they would have done without, or acquired a competitive at a lower cost.

    Stupid statisticians
  • Re:The real costs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Monday October 06, 2008 @03:10PM (#25276239)

    No you don't. My cell costs less than 1/2 that.

    Mine costs triple that. I couldn't bring it down to save my life. If I had your deal at ~$20/mo I'd end up paying hundreds a month in airtime. If he says he HAS to have a phone at $40/month, why not take him at his word. Maybe if he shaves $20 bucks of his plan, it will cost him hundreds. Sure he could talk less, but that might mean not talking to clients, again costing him hundreds...

    Instead of being 'stuck in the house', a second job, or school to get a better job, might be in order. And NetZero is only $9.95/month..:)

    1) Going to school costs money, and likely conflicts with work.
    2) Getting a 2nd job likely conflicts with his first job, and usually results in massive stress. Lots of people CAN'T just get a 2nd job. If you work a mc-job or mall-job for example, where they seemingly schedule staff blindfolded with a dart board, you can't possible hope to find a compatible 2nd job, and if you limit your availability at one job to give your self some gaurantee for the other one, they more often than not retaliate by dropping you down to 1 shift every two weeks... meaning you now have no job.

    Getting a 2nd job for a lot of people usually means finding a 1st job that has static reliable hours first, before they can even think about getting a 2nd job. And who knows, maybe he's looking for a new, better, first job, that's as good as his current job but with better hours. It doesn't happen overnight.

    And Netzero? Please.

    Don't use your apparent insolvency to justify why you think you are entitled to music for free.

    He's not saying he's entitled. He's saying he's not costing the industry anything, because if he couldn't download the songs for free its not like he would buy them. He's saying, rightly, that "losses" due to copyright infringement are inherently false because the majority of the billions of dollars of "lost revenue" don't exist. For a lot of people, including him: if they couldn't consume for free they wouldn't consume at all.

  • Re:Incitement Czar (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday October 06, 2008 @03:11PM (#25276245) Homepage Journal

    I wasn't grammatically clear. The Czarist regime drove the Russians nuts, so nuts that the Russians went Communist, which nearly got us all mutually killed. That had everything to do with the Cold War, which the bloody demise of the Czars, replaced by "Communist" bureaucratic monarchs, inexorably produced.

  • Re:Henry Paulson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday October 06, 2008 @03:11PM (#25276259) Homepage Journal

    I'm not talking about those who have lost their homes, I'm talking about those who WILL lose their homes. Prepare for a really really bad recession; perhaps even a depression. I'm not the first to say "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it" but nobody listens to them, either.

    If you want the crap scared out of you, I have three uncaracteristally SFW mcgrew journals to chew on:
    Hoover for President [slashdot.org]
    More Hoover (DAMN!) [slashdot.org] and
    I hate it when I'm right [slashdot.org]

    I already lost one house. It was back in '04 after my marriage went south. I'd bought my ex-wife a brand new PT Cruiser two months before she and her income left. She'd not paid the bills in order to save up for an apartment. She left me with months worth of bills, a broken van that I was still paying for, a mortgage, and two teenaged daughters to feed.

    After declaring bankrupcy I gradually got my credit good enough to buy another house (after throwing my money away in a basement apartment for three years).

    My house payments tripled this month. Yeah, it's MY fault.

    I'll be able to make my payments, barely, but I won't have much if any left over to buy anything with. My lack of money caused by the mortgage company's greed will hurt all the people I normally do business with, who will all have a hell of a lot less of my money, because I have a hell of a lot less of my money.

    You'd better hope you're not one of the millions that will lose their jobs in the next year. Can you afford your mortgage payments on unemployment insurance?

  • Re:The real costs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Monday October 06, 2008 @03:24PM (#25276413)
    The dude says has has $20/week for food/transport/clothes, etc. Whatever he's doing, he's doing it wrong.

    Oh, and that $20 (actually ~$18) cellphone rate? Thats total. monthly + airtime. What's the trick? PAYG, and don't live on the damn phone.

    "it's not MY fault, it's the fault of people with good jobs". Please...waa waa waa.
  • Re:Easy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by n dot l (1099033) on Monday October 06, 2008 @03:52PM (#25276723)

    The first couple of examples are outlawed because, if everyone did them, the business model would fall apart and we (society) would lose things that we value - The same logic used for copyright enforcement.

    One small nitpick here. Subways, museums and theaters are selling the use of a finite resource (a spot on the train/the space in their building). A person that sneaks in without paying is actually robbing the company in that they cause wear on the train/building for which the operator is not compensated, and they take up space, physically preventing paying customers from using it. At the very least they force the company to pay more for security to throw out the thieves at peak hours so that the actual paying customers can ride the train/view some art. A copied song, on the other hand, is made at the infringer's expense and maybe costs the artist a potential sale.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Monday October 06, 2008 @04:09PM (#25276937) Journal

    Who said anything about a free market economy?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06, 2008 @04:28PM (#25277113)

    I care if you produce something that is worth the asking price.

    You don't.

    Neither do the CD recording companies.

    So stop leeching off MY taxes to get YOUR fat arse paid for by suing anyone and everyone for a years' work sixty years ago.

    WORK YOU FAT FUCK.

  • Re:Henry Paulson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by coyote_oww (749758) on Monday October 06, 2008 @04:36PM (#25277229)
    This is hyperbole. We're perhaps seeing one reason why his wife left - wild exageration can get old in an intimate partnership.

    1) ARM (adjustable rate mortgages) can and usually do have annual increases in interest rate, resulting in an increase in the monthly payment. Usually, ARMs are limited to 1% per annum, and have a cap interest rate around 5% higher than the starting rate. I was in an ARM when I first bought my house, so I have a little experience to draw from.

    (aside - ARMs typically offer a lower interest/payment for the first 2y, making them attractive for entry-level buyers)

    2) Adding 1% to your interest rate on a 30y mortgage will not cause your payment to triple. That's just really bad math.

    3) Buying a house 3 years after declaring bankrupcy puts you, by definition, into the high-risk pool.

    4) Anyone posting on Slashdot ought to have the savvy to read a mortgage, look through the payment schedule, calculate the worst case scenario, and not be suprised by anything that happens. Some people can claim stupidity, but that won't fly here.

    5) Further, the OP is on his second mortgage - he's been through this before. So he really has no grounds for complaint. He made a financial bet - that housing prices would continue to rise, even though they were at all-time highs. The bet failed, in that housing prices are now declining. Smart money would have stayed in the apartment for 1 more year, he'd be $100K ahead or something like that (based on my area's housing prices). If only we could see into the future....

    6) It is his fault his mortgage is increasing - he decided to buy, he picked the mortgage, he signed on the dotted line. I certainly didn't - so I don't want it blamed on me. "The Government", George Bush, Henry Paulson, et. al. did not sign on the dotted line. Part of life is trying to pick and choose what to do and when. In a free country, you can make your own choices, but you have to live with the consequences. Buying was his choice. He certainly could have chosen NOT to buy - home-ownership is not legally required of anyone. Renting is sometimes the better financial choice. Given housing prices at historic highs (relative to wages), not buying would have been a sound decision, and time has proven it would have been the prudent course.

  • Re:Easy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gnick (1211984) on Monday October 06, 2008 @05:04PM (#25277519) Homepage

    Secondly: In your post you are equaling piracy with drug consumption, that is not only offtopic as you say but also is pleasing to the media industry wich used more than once this association to make it look bad. ...
    In conclusion: Then next time try to equate piracy with pedofilia and terrorism, just to close the loop and make RIAA happy.

    To be fair, OVDoobie never equated piracy with drug consumption. He made an analogy between a potential "War on Piracy" with the "War on Drugs". Both are unwinnable, but compensate by being expensive.

    When you start putting words in people's mouths or blatantly misinterpreting what they say, it's hard to take seriously any valid points you may or may not have. It's even worse than assuming that TYPING LIKE THIS will win some points because, presumably, otherwise WE CAN'T HEAR WHAT WE'RE READING.

  • Re:Easy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Endymion (12816) <slashdot...org@@@thoughtnoise...net> on Monday October 06, 2008 @05:43PM (#25277929) Homepage Journal

    As I have talked about before [slashdot.org], why do you support violence in our streets by pushing for drugs to be illegal?

    There are three options on how society can handle the drug market: private industry, public (government) programs, or illegal black markets. By saying you want to remove the options of the legitimate public or private industries that can be regulated. controlled, and taxed, you want to hand that entire profitable market to organized crime.

    Note: I didn't say anything about the effects of any particular drug (which are largely exaggerated), nor did I say people should run out and start using such chemicals. I am simply commenting on pure Capitalism. Supply rises to meet demand, and the demand has said that being the supplier for drugs is going to be very profitable.

    Help remove the violence in our streets by moving that market into legitimate business! ...

    And to stay on topic here about the copyright stuff, it's obvious that the powers that be want another method of social control now that the War On (some) Drugs is losing a bit of momentum. Controlling other forms of culture such as music/etc is the next obvious step.

    $oldmsg = "It's not a War On Drugs, it's a War On Personal Freedom - keep that in mind at all times!"
    $oldmsg =~ s/Drugs/Music and Other Culture/

  • Re:The real costs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kocsonya (141716) on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:07PM (#25278193)

    When you talk about the subsidizing of leeches, I take you mean the **AA?

    I mean, they are not operating on a free market, are they? They have a government granted monopoly to charge money for 100-150 years for the same thing over and over again. Do *you* have the right to charge for your singular production output for an infinite number of times?

    What's more, the **AA do not create anything. They are the middlemen, or rather, middle-organisations for they are not natural persons. Yet, they keep enjoying the government granted benefits long after the actual human being creators of the things they control are dead.

    Note, I do *not* download books, movies or music. I can afford to buy what I want and I have a really large collection of books, CDs and DVDs. Yet, I have no problem with pirated material at all when for example the publisher decides that they do not offer the material any more or in the format I want it (film X is only available on VHS for $60 - a pirated, reasonably good quality copy on DVD+R from eBay at $12 is the way to go, although I would have paid $30 for the real DVD, had it been available).

    Piracy is, to a large extent, an indications that the market has been distorted significantly. Often the pay-per-view proponents come up with the analogy of a concert or a theatre, you have to pay every time you want to see the performance. True. However, the artist *has to perform* every time as well. What the entertainment industry wants is to perform once and be paid for eternity. Preferably without paying the artist at all...

    Why should a kid, who was born decades after Walt Disney went fertiliser, pay royalty to a corporation when he buys a keyring with a mouse on it? In what way does it advance the arts and culture of humanity?

  • Re:Easy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dun Malg (230075) on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:28PM (#25278409) Homepage

    Who am I to tell someone they can't destroy their own body?

    You are a taxpayer and you have to cover the social costs of drug use.

    This is a bullshit argument. If "society" thinks it's unfair that it has to pay the price of helping those who fuck themselves up with drugs, then it bloody well ought to stop paying. It's completely asinine to ban a substance because of the irresponsibility of a small subset of the population. The substance isn't what fucks people up. Fucked up people turn to substance abuse. It's idiots like you parroting discredited religious nutjob temperance bullshit from the turn of the previous century that are the problem. The foolish notion that the only difference between a drunkard and a pious churchgoing citizen is the bottle of whiskey is what keeps reasonable programs to address the root of the problem from being created. Do you treat suicidal tendencies by banning razor blades, ropes, guns, etc.? Of course not. You treat the person so they don't feel like they need to kill themselves! Why, then, does it make sense to you that the way to treat drug problems is more aggressive prohibition of drugs?

  • Re:Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Endymion (12816) <slashdot...org@@@thoughtnoise...net> on Monday October 06, 2008 @07:25PM (#25278907) Homepage Journal

    This entire problem seems to be based on two really idiotic 'theories':

    1) That banning something with laws actually changes the rate of occurrence of something, in any significant society-changing scale.

    2) That if someone cannot do something stupid with a particular thing, they will magically turn into an upstanding member of society.

    These are such obvious bullshit that I put anyone who seriously believe in this idiocy into the "(mildly?) mentally handicapped" group. It's what psychs call "Magical Thinking" - that wishing something would happen makes it happen, and is a pretty significant delusion.

    The example of suicide you bring up is a good one. If someone wants to kill themself and they can't get a gun, they'll use a rope. If they can't get a rope, they'll use pills. If they can't find pills, they will find a tall bridge. You cannot stop a determined person* simply by stopping one of the methods they might use. With drugs, it's the same. If they want to get messed up on drug "A", and they simply cannot get it, they'll use drug "B' instead. You actually see this behavior all the time: people that cannot use relatively safe drugs like marijuana end up moving to other, more dangerous things.

    As a society, are we better off by spending money on a drug test that pushes a heavy user from marijuana to, say, cocaine? That one is a pretty obvious "no"...

    * - Speaking of "determined persons", it's worth noting that the same reason banning razors to prevent suicide is a stupid idea makes "banning XYZ on an airplane to prevent terrorism" a really stupid idea. The big thing that 9/11 showed us is that terrorists can be innovative if they need to. Nobody had thought of box cutters in that manner before, and we aren't thinking of the weapon for the next terrorist attack for the same reason.

  • Re:Easy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by musicalwoods (1115347) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @01:50AM (#25281787)
    Wait, aren't we already paying the social costs of drug use? The prison system isn't cheap.
    Neither are the ER overdose visits, the police enforcement, the lack of a tax on illicit drugs, etc. etc.
  • Re:Easy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kokuyo (549451) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @05:17AM (#25283021) Journal

    I agree with some of the other replies to your post but I would like to state that I belief the amount of money a country could save if the police force didn't have to waste so much time on possession and if the prisons weren't three fourths full with drug related inmates, you could finance many a drug addict before you'd lose any gains.

  • Re:Easy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by electrictroy (912290) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @06:22AM (#25283357)

    >>>You are a taxpayer and you have to cover the social costs of drug use.

    (1) Why is alcohol still legal then? Maybe we should ban that too. Along with McDonalds fries, burgers, Kentucky fried chicken, .....

    (2) I don't think society should pay for healthcare. Let the durg abuser pay his own bills, rather than swipe money from his neighbors' wallets. If the drug abuser can't afford the bill, then let them pass-on to heaven. He/she will be far happier there than here.

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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