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Swiss Gov't: Downloading Movies and Music Will Stay Legal 463

Posted by timothy
from the wish-that-sanity-was-contagious dept.
wasimkadak writes "One in three people in Switzerland download unauthorized music, movies and games from the Internet, and — since last year — the government has been wondering what to do about it. This week their response was published, and it was crystal clear. Not only will downloading for personal use stay completely legal, but the copyright holders won't suffer because of it, since people eventually spend the money saved on entertainment products."
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Swiss Gov't: Downloading Movies and Music Will Stay Legal

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  • Sanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Peristaltic (650487) * on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:03AM (#38247494)
    ...it's nice to see it in action once in a while.
  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:10AM (#38247518) Homepage Journal

    its stealing either way

    What is the "it" to which the stealing belongs?

    Okay, seriously: no, it is not. Copyright infringement is not theft. "Piracy," in the sense you're using the word, is not theft. And anyone who says it is has shown that they have nothing meaningful to say on the subject.

  • by SensitiveMale (155605) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:12AM (#38247524)

    I don't condone piracy but I can understand it.

  • Re:Sanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:13AM (#38247532)
    I can't believe there is a government that still makes sane decisions. Thank god for Swiss people.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:14AM (#38247538)

    "...the copyright holders won't suffer because of it, since people eventually spend the money saved on entertainment products."

    How do they reach that conclusion? Every dollar I don't spend buying a song or book or movie is not necessarily a dollar I spend on some other piece of media. Those dollars go into the general fund, and get spent on food and gas and rent and utilities. If there's money left over, it goes to general entertainment, but that includes stuff like restaurants and bars and sports tickets and travel. Things that in no way support the people I didn't pay. Maybe some small percentage ends up buying some other piece of media, but it would be a very small percentage.

    So now we've got one side claiming that piracy costs a quintillion dollars a year, and the other side claiming that it costs absolutely nothing. Can we please get some sane leaders to acknowledge the obvious fact: it costs the media companies something, but nowhere near what they claim? That it's bad enough that it should stay illegal, but not so bad that people's lives should be ruined over half a dozen songs? Why does everything need to be black and white?

  • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by king neckbeard (1801738) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:17AM (#38247558)
    True, but practically all of the creative individuals you mention are the accountants that shit on the actual artists.
  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zemran (3101) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:17AM (#38247562) Homepage Journal

    Stealing is the act of taking someone else's property with the intention of permanently depriving them of that property. This is not stealing in any way. There is no intention to permanently deprive anyone of anything.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie@NOsPAM.hotmail.com> on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:19AM (#38247570) Homepage

    It's still getting something for nothing, and maybe you spend the same amount in entertainment, but its distributed totally differently. If you spend $100 on some blockbuster concert and then pirate 10 albums from smaller bands, the only one winning is the big act. Rationalize it any way you want, but its stealing either way.

    And who's to say that the $100 would go to the smaller bands if there was no pirated content available? It's just as likely that the person pirates songs from smaller bands to sample them out and then goes and buys $100 worth of goodies from the ones that feel worth it. You can try and rationalize it any way you wish, but it simply isn't as clear-cut as people try to make it out to be.

    Besides it's not theft. Hell, it's not even deprivation of income as you cannot just assume that the person would buy the content if it wasn't available for free. If anything it's often free advertising.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xeno man (1614779) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:23AM (#38247592)

    It's still getting something for nothing, and maybe you spend the same amount in entertainment, but its distributed totally differently. If you spend $100 on some blockbuster concert and then pirate 10 albums from smaller bands, the only one winning is the big act. Rationalize it any way you want, but its stealing either way.

    First of all, no. It's not stealing. Stealing is the incorrect term. Nothing is being taken, information is being copied. If you want want to use a term, the one your looking for is copyright infringement.

    Second, it's not copyright infringement because you can only break the law when the law says something is wrong. The government has come out to say a particular activity is not against the law.

    Third, finally a body recognizes that money is not infinite. If you only have $100.00 to spend and you plan on spending it, there is no more money to be spent. If you choose to spend it all on a concert then so be it. There is no money left to buy any of those albums if you wanted to or not. You valued that concert more than those albums so that's where your money went. If other people value the concert the same way then it will be successful and make tons of money. Not everyone will think the same way. Some will value those albums more than some stupid concert and will buy albums. If they are good they more people will buy them. If they are crap then no one will buy them. If they are great then maybe I'll go to one of their concerts.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:24AM (#38247604)

    can still get you sued?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:25AM (#38247606)

    The key idea is balance.

    Completely ignoring the rights of artists will only discourage people from further creating such works...
    Yet, this notion has been brought to the other extreme in some countries (read: US).

  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rhyder128k (1051042) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:31AM (#38247634) Homepage

    Why not just go out and buy the content? Just print up money on your computer. You wouldn't be stealing anything or depriving anyone of anything.

  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fsckmnky (2505008) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:34AM (#38247658)
    You are permanently depriving them of the time it took to produce the software, and their right to get paid for producing the software.

    Your argument is similar to hiring someone to paint your house, then refusing to pay them after the job is done. You have deprived the painter of his time. When you pirate software, you are depriving the person or people who spent time developing that software of their time.

    If you agreed to work for a company for 6 months, developing software, and when you were done, the company said "Well, sorry, we arent going to pay you that last $10,000 installment, get lost" ... would that be alright with you ?
  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by scubamage (727538) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:34AM (#38247660)
    Stealing something requires that you deprive the owner of the right to posession. So, I can steal your car, and you are unable to drive. To steal a CD, that would require me to break into the music company's office, steal the master, destroy all copies, and then leave. That's not what I'm doing. I'm simply making an unauthorized copy. It is NOT stealing.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie@NOsPAM.hotmail.com> on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:35AM (#38247672) Homepage

    You're missing the point, either deliberately or not by a mistake. First of all, with or without pirated content you're still going to pay for food, gas, rent and utilities, so you cannot count that money. Nor can you count the money you wouldn't use on media anyways. Secondly, they mean the money you'd use on media you're likely to spend on media anyways, with or without pirated content available. There are of course always individuals who differ from the general norm, but it does hold true for the general populace.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie@NOsPAM.hotmail.com> on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:41AM (#38247698) Homepage

    You are permanently depriving them of the time it took to produce the software

    The time they spent to produce the software is a constant, it doesn't change according to the amount of people using the software.

    Your argument is similar to hiring someone to paint your house, then refusing to pay them after the job is done. You have deprived the painter of his time. When you pirate software, you are depriving the person or people who spent time developing that software of their time.

    Not really. A software product is already done, the time on it has been spent already whether or not you're using it. But the painter's time isn't used until you hire him to use it. As such your argument doesn't quite fly right. Comparing virtual things to physical things often doesn't work too well.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:42AM (#38247704)

    You are permanently depriving them of the time it took to produce the software

    No, you aren't. They already used that time, and of their own volition. The pirate had nothing to do with that.

    and their right to get paid for producing the software.

    How does that work? They still very much have that right. You haven't taken it from them. Someone else can still buy the software.

    Your argument is similar to hiring someone to paint your house, then refusing to pay them after the job is done.

    Except, in that case, you've asked them to paint your house (asked them to do a job), and then not paid them. You've actually hurt (depending on how you define "hurt") them by directly wasting their time. Pirates are not people who ask artists to do jobs and then don't pay them. The artist takes the job of their own volition and the pirate has nothing to do with that (they're just potential customers).

  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie@NOsPAM.hotmail.com> on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:59AM (#38247788) Homepage

    The time required to produce the product is a constant indeed. But the expense is amortized by the number of people who will benefit from using the software. Copying and using software without paying for it, is similar to shoplifting, in the sense that, by you not paying for the right to use the product you stole, increases the price that people who do pay for the right to use an item. When you steal a candy bar from Walmart, the loss is spread to the customers who pay for their purchases.

    It doesn't work like that, you're just grasping for strawman arguments here. A candy bar is a physical object, it cannot just be copied. There is always a loss of material that is spent on manufacturing it, whereas there is no material loss at all when you copy a digital object. So of course the cost of the materials used to manufacture something is either absorbed by the budget assigned to it, or spread to the rest of objects being sold. But as there is no loss of materials and thus no costs of producing a digital object there is also no losses to be spread over.

    This is just an excuse on your part. You are receiving the benefit of someone elses labor, without paying for it. It's the same situation if you screw the painter. You receive the benefit of his labor without paying him for it.

    No, it's not an excuse. If you literally hire someone to use their time on you, then you are indeed depriving them of their time. But if that person uses their time with or without you involved then you cannot deprive them of their time since they're depriving it all by themselves.

    If a company hired you to work for them, and the company received the benefit of your labor, then refused to pay you for it, you would be outraged. But when you want to receive the benefits of other peoples labor without paying for it, you justify it by saying "It's okay because its really easy for me to copy it and receive benefit without payment."

    See above.

    By your logic, its okay for me to steal your car because I have a screwdriver and I know how to disable alarms and hotwire it. It only took 30 seconds. It was so easy for me to steal it that you don't deserve a car.

    No, you're depriving me of a physical object that I don't have accessible to me afterwards. If you however e.g. copy an ebook I have written I will still have the ebook in my possession, too.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by king neckbeard (1801738) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:59AM (#38247794)
    You are using some fuzzy economics there. The economic impact of not buying and illegally downloading are identical, so it's just as much theft as not getting it at all.

    The economics of theft and copyright infringement are completely different. If your argument has any merit at all, it can stand on it's own instead of free riding on the economic arguments of theft. People who call copyright infringement theft are either idiots or relying upon an appeal to emotion.
  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @02:04AM (#38247812)

    So you're building yet another strawman, right?

    Industrial espionage is not a copyright violation, in fact you can commit espionage WITHOUT copyright violations. For example, if I steal a document from your company's safe and then use it to learn your $PROPRIETARY_DESIGNS then I won't be violating copyright as no new copies of your document would be made.

    Besides, your scenario does not happen in the real life because either:
    1) New widgets with $BILLIONS spent on R&D require complex supply chains and development setup.
    2) Replicating widgets on which $BILLIONS were spent is not easy.
    3) Replicating other company's widgets is self-defeating. You won't have in-house expertise to build newer and more advanced versions.

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @02:04AM (#38247814)
    Because of all the harassment of the RIAA and MPAA, I won't go watch things in theaters anymore or buy music. I'm not pirating either. I simply stopped consuming because I feel rights holders are causing problems in society such as suing grandmothers for millions and lobbying congress for laws that impact the freedom of speech. I know I'm in the minority and they'll make money from others, but if we vote with our dollars, I'm done voting RIAA and MPAA.
  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @02:07AM (#38247834) Homepage

    Officially, the Swiss government has decided that they have no more right to get paid for each copy of that software than I have to get paid for your reading my post. Finally, the legal understanding has caught up with material reality: you can no longer treat strings of numbers (which is what a digital file is) as "things" in the physical sense. Technology briefly created a period where you could treat music as a "thing," technology has ended that period.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AdamWill (604569) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @02:14AM (#38247864) Homepage

    The person to whom you're responding did not say "piracy is right" or "there is absolutely no situation in which copyright infringement can cause anyone any kind of problem". He said that it is not the same thing as theft.

  • Re:Sanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @02:21AM (#38247892) Homepage

    Most of our bosses don't pay us for our code. They pay us to code, and when they stop paying us, we stop coding.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by X86Daddy (446356) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @02:28AM (#38247932) Journal

    A software developer is spending time, of her own volition, on the speculation that the time spent will be rewarded with purchases. This expectation driving her speculation comes from a very old social contract: copyright. An "agreement" between information producers and information users, brokered by governments, copyright offered content producers a limited period of exclusive copying so that they might profit from their work (not to guarantee it... quality and market would still matter), and to encourage content producers to make that speculation to promote "the useful arts and sciences" in our society. In exchange, the work would enter the public domain at the end of that limited period, benefiting all.

    The social contract has been violated. Industrial alliances of gigantic corporate content copyright aggregators purchased laws from various governments, firstly, to extend the limited term, further and further, retroactively, until the point that to most living humans, the period of copyright is "permanent." Secondly, with the rise of better and better digital technologies, and the increased ease and lowered expense of information copying and distribution, the industrial alliances invented DRM to directly violate and damage the easily copied nature of information. The same alliances then purchased legislation against thwarting DRM, etc... Information restricted by DRM is information that cannot enter the public domain and become freely copyable, unless some non-DRM copy was stored in escrow or some such arrangement. Those who have violated the copyright social convention haven't even considered such an action, as their intention with regards to eroding the concept of "limited term" has become their way of life: hence the invention of the term "Intellectual Property."

    The agreement a homeowner makes with a painter to paint the house is direct, simple, and real. House painters never purchased laws stating that they could, once hired at an hourly rate, paint half of the remaining job, each day, in perpetuity, and be paid for it. The "agreement" involved in the concept of copyright has been broken for a long time, by the content industries, and most people on the other end of that brokered-before-they-were-born "agreement" no longer support it and many rightly no longer honor it. Intelligent information producers have already started looking at other revenue models and incorporate the above facts in their speculative calculations before spending time on a work. So who gets "deprived" of something to which they have a "right?" The people are deprived of the public domain works they were due prior to every retroactive limit extension.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AdamWill (604569) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @02:30AM (#38247938) Homepage

    It depends what you mean by 'costs'.

    Fundamentally the Swiss argument is correct.

    Let's say you spend 10% of your disposable income on music. Now Napster comes along and you download all your music for free, depriving record company executives - I'm sorry, starving artists - that 10% of your disposable income.

    Now, the key question is: what do you do with the savings?

    Your piracy is only ultimately 'costing' the overall economy anything if you then reduce your working hours and take a pay cut that exactly offsets the money you would otherwise have spent on music. If instead you do the same amount of work and take the money and do something else with it - anything else - then the overall world economy has lost precisely nothing. That money winds up going to someone, somewhere. It stays in the system. It isn't magically destroyed.

    There's some interesting subsidiary questions, of course. Like 'what do you spend the money on instead'? At _this_ specific point the Swiss argument is on somewhat shaky ground; I'm not sure they sufficiently proved that the money would be spent on other entertainment products. It would seem more reasonable that maybe people would spend it on _other_ discretionary spending instead. Maybe clothes, put it towards a car, drinks - it doesn't really matter. The point is that if you take the saving and spend it on something else, you're now not just 'costing' the specific music artists in question money, you're 'costing' the entire entertainment industry money.

    This is the key point: this is really what the entertainment industry is worried about. And to a degree it's a legitimate worry. Making it very easy to pirate stuff probably _does_ cost the entertainment industry some amount of money, overall, compared to what they could theoretically make if it wasn't possible. It's a complex argument, maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, but the point of view that it does can at least be sustained.

    Now, the entertainment industry is of course entirely self-serving and therefore attempts to portray this specific loss of economic activity in their sector as if it is some sort of magic overall loss to the economy. It Costs X Billion Dollars, they say - though those X Billion Dollars are not, as we've already seen, magically destroyed. They just go somewhere else. It Costs X Hundred Thousand Jobs - again, it probably doesn't. The jobs just wind up in some other sector.

    However, the entertainment lobby again has a legitimate argument - to some degree, in some jurisdictions. See, you can make the argument that there is an overall cost to an even bigger entity than 'the entertainment industry' - it can be reasonably sustained that there's some degree of overall concrete negative effect on the economies of specific countries. Particularly those countries which are dominant in the entertainment industry.

    Now maybe it becomes a little more clear why America is always pushing for jackbooted copyright laws: America is at the forefront of the worldwide entertainment industry. Hollywood probably represents a huge net trade surplus to the American economy: lots of people who aren't Americans spend part of their disposable income on American movies, American music and so on. Maybe if you go spend that money on clothes instead, more of it winds up in China. Maybe if you go spend that money on a computer instead, more of it winds up in...er, China. Maybe if you go spend that money on a vacation to Beijing instead...hey, okay, I kid. But you see the point. While it's almost inarguably true that piracy does not have any overall impact on the global economy, it's certainly plausible to argue that, to some degree, it hurts America and benefits just about everyone who isn't America.

    That degree is probably proportionally tiny. But you can bet it's a scare card the entertainment lobby plays as hard as it can to politicians.

  • Re:Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, 2011 @02:33AM (#38247952)

    Authors can't focus all their attention on their writing projects if they have to commit time towards making an income from other jobs just to insure they can afford a living quarters, food, computers, and an Internet connection to to distribute their work. Musicians incur the same expenses as well as things like studio time, instruments, sound engineers, and other support personnel needed to produce their work.

    Boo fucking hoo. The people that love to do that shit will do it no matter what, you can't keep them from it. And the people that do it because they are makin a buck, typically speaking are not really the ones anyone wants to hear from anyways so... yeah... waaa....

  • by Chexsum (583832) <chexsum&gmail,com> on Saturday December 03, 2011 @02:52AM (#38248016) Homepage Journal
    Real artists want everyone to enjoy their performance regardless of monetary reward. Real artists are also pirates that have chosen to spend their money wisely. Real artists are not complaining about supposed theft of digital copies because the poor artist is well-known. Burn, Hollywood, Burn!
  • Re:Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fsckmnky (2505008) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @03:04AM (#38248072)

    What is the value of something that can be replicated perfectly, forever. For near zero cost... Logic says... Near zero.

    If it's of no value, then why is there a debate over the subject ?
    If it is of no value, then why do producers want protection from pirates ?
    If it is of no value, then why do pirates want to copy it ?

    As for the greed comment, this shows your lack of understanding. People work to make a profit, not because they are greedy ( although of course *some* people are in fact greedy ) but because of property taxes. In order to nest and reproduce ( ie build a house and raise a family ) a human being requires land. In order to use land, one must pay taxes on said land, annually. Taxes payable in currency, which is kept artificially scarce in order to promote production. This is why everyone has an "occupation." We literally spend our time, occupied, with an activity which benefits society, in order that society will allow us the use of land to nest and reproduce.

    Welcome to natural selection as it applies to hairless social apes.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symbolset (646467) * on Saturday December 03, 2011 @03:10AM (#38248094) Homepage Journal

    Back when copyright expired in a reasonable period of time this might have been a reasonable argument - even though the fraction of benefit that fell on actual artists was less than one percent. Now it's not even that, and copyright is forever.

    The social contract of copyright is to grant the artist a monopoly !for a limited and reasonable time! to encourage the art by making it more profitable. But art is art, and culture is the sum of our art. All art must enter the public domain if we are to advance as a culture. Art is what defines our culture. So the monopoly should be limited and brief, not endless and without scope.

    So now some people break the law when they'd rather not. It's the law, not them, that's wrong. By assimilating illicitly this forbidden art they are advancing culture, which is a higher calling.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by X86Daddy (446356) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @03:12AM (#38248102) Journal

    Interesting concept... again, a brokered "deal" where a sitting government officer of some sort removes land from the public domain and sells it to a private entity... but "the people" are compensated with the cash exchanged for that land. Most government brokered "deals" are far shadier than that, but let's imagine that the money went into some other public domain investment. So there was an equitable trade: the people lost the public use of that land parcel and got a new bridge somewhere instead, for example. And the deal is done at that time. This is an actual exchange, honored by both parties... it's respectable. It's not at all like what has happened to copyright.

    And of course, we're talking land, physical space, subject to scarcity, which is the opposite of information, infinitely copyable. Oddly enough, exclusive use rights of land are quite often overturned in the interest of the public... not just eminent domain either. There's various "squatters rights" laws that allow for a parcel to change ownership if it has been occupied by a new entity for enough years without being noticed and evicted by the previous owner. To continue making analogies and pursue your question, shouldn't every work that falls out of publication for some set duration enter the public domain for preservation of our culture? The law recognizes that land parcels shouldn't just sit, deteriorating, used by no one, due to a forgotten ownership claim, etc... So even with the widely disputed "information is property" concept in play, there's plenty of precedent for the public good to be considered.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xeranar (2029624) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @03:14AM (#38248104)

    . . .That's called industrial espionage [wikipedia.org] and it is in fact a serious crime. In most western countries it's enough to get you a very long prison term. The apples to oranges argument is really obnoxious. Nobody is saying it's OK to tromp around stealing information from your corporation. The Swiss have agreed that media (music, pictures, movies, etc) are legal to obtain through torrent and P2P sites along with other traditional routes that are called "piracy" because ultimately Swiss citizens still pay a vast amount into these industries.

    Also, it's far more realistic for people to be pirating mega-hits than little known bands. Plus if anything has been shown over the last two decades is that smaller bands make more of their money touring than cutting albums. Cutting albums are for elite acts that can sell 10 million copies. Then their tours are really a promotional arm to their album sales.

  • by Xeranar (2029624) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @03:21AM (#38248126)

    This has NEVER been true. This same argument has been applied to taxing those who make millions, that somehow this sort of regulation (or deregulation in this case) will discourage the creation and perpetuation due to lost revenue. Theoretically huge budget movies could be affected by long-term piracy but that's about the only area that could discourage investment due to lost revenue. To cut an album and then go tour is miniscule for an independent band, to make a funny movie or even a classic without it being an epic retelling of a Greek war or Lord of the Rings costs far less than what people think. Ideally this will shift media back towards a pay-for-play ideal where production costs will step back in line with profitability. For decades with the VCR movies have been able to recoup all losses in the box office by simply waiting it out. Music has a similar low overhead except for the mega-hits who spend ten times as much promoting it as they do recording it. The money in music though is in concerts and selling out smaller venues makes more sense than trying to fill a 30K arena every other night.

    So your argument really has leg to stand on. You're playing into a false dichotomy in an effort to come across as the sensible middle. It doesn't work since the sensible argument is to do nothing about this sort of piracy and reinvent how you do business.

  • Re:Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BeefMcHuge (1594193) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @03:26AM (#38248134)

    If NancyBoy the pirate had paid

    You must not be able to comprehend what TFA said. People still spend AS MUCH AS THEY CAN on entertainment. So the pirate could not pay NancyBoy the artist even if he wanted to. What the pirate did get was enjoyment from his NancyBoy 's product and NancyBoy the artist got some PR (maybe the pirate told all his friends to buy the album). Maybe in the future the pirate will consider buying NancyBoy the artists album because he really liked the last one, or maybe if the album goes on sale and the pirate can afford it he will buy it.

    You seem to assume that every download is a lost sale and as its been shown over and over and over and over and over its not. I know for a fact that while I was a poor student that could not afford every game I wanted (I was still buying at least 2x more games then most people at the time) the good games i pirated I told friends that were not planning on buying that game that it was awesome and they should buy it (and they did so they got at least a few more sales then if I had not pirated the game). I buy a lot of old games on the steam sale even though I pirated them along time ago and don't want to replay them, I feel I owe the developers something and now I can afford to pay them so I do. While that is somewhat a rationalization because i'm sure that's not always the case, there is no way to equate digital content to physical objects. Software/Music/Films in the digital world are all fixed cost (bandwidth costs are almost nonexistent) which you would think means the price would go down? That's not the case because publishers are greedy as hell. I would buy so many more games if they cost say 30 instead of 60 and i'm sure alot more people would as well.

    From a straight utilitarianism argument, as the study showed people still spend just as much on entertainment which means they have no extra money to spend. This means that publishers/artists are not going to get any less money from people pirating digital content. What it does mean is people are getting more happiness from the same income. So before we had 200$ = x happiness and now we have 200$ = 5x happiness. Its hard to argue that thats a bad thing when people are still spending all they can on entertainment.

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Saturday December 03, 2011 @03:54AM (#38248230) Homepage

    I don't get this. Why would someone pay for something they already got for free?

    Added value. Most people are not going to download full BluRay iso from the net, but .avi's that lack extra features, extra languages, resolution, quality, etc. thus buying the movie again after having verified that it's actually worth to have will still give some things they haven't seen yet. This might of course only apply to a lesser degree to other media.

    The article claims that game pirates play more games and music downloaders visit more concerts, but that doesn't mean piracy is contributing to that

    That however doesn't mean that it is not contributing to that. A heavy movie watcher will get their movies through all available channels, some of them might be piracy, because there simply isn't any commercial offering that offers him what piracy does.

    I just don't get the mindset that not only thinks they are entitled to something they didn't pay for

    Well, most people pirate simply because they can, a lot because they don't have the money, some because they like to try before they buy, some because they want to "catch'em all", etc. In essence there are lots of reasons why people might pirate. It's not about entitlement, but simply about availability.

    Also, do you have a clear conscience while forwarding through commercial breaks on a TV recording? As that's pretty much the same thing as piracy, at least morally speaking.

    The lengths some people go to try to establish themselves as freedom fighters, setting up a "Pirate Party" or ranting about the evils of copyright signifies a level of denial I can't even begin to imagine suffering under.

    There is no level of denial. Copyright is not something 'God given" or "law of nature", it's something that was established to benefit society. The problem today is that fighting piracy is causing far more harm then good and has absolutely no benefit to society. It also has lead to a lot of invasion into privacy and other corrupt laws.

    (but don't you dare steal copyrighted GPL code!)

    That's about deriving profits from other peoples work, while not following the license. Very different thing. Your average pirate isn't all that big of a fan of commercial piracy either.

    Irony with that of cause is that current laws drive people into commercial piracy, as services like Rapidshare, Megaupload and whatever provide better privacy protection then Bittorrent.

  • Re:Really? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by BeefMcHuge (1594193) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @04:06AM (#38248278)
    You really are dense. As about a million people have pointed out, a physical product has NOTHING in common with a digital product.

    If for the customers who do pay for their use, and denies them of a lower cost

    What lower cost? Software does not lower in cost as more people pay for it, that would make to much sense?

    Make no illusions. CompanyA is not in business, producing games, to make you happy. They are in business, producing games, to make a profit, and feed their family. Now that you are an adult, working, getting paid, surely you can understand that. You couldn't possibly feed your family, if your customers ( or your companies customers ) had the means to just take the benefits of all your efforts without compensating you for them.

    You say you comprehend but you really don't. Let me try to explain it again. I have 200 to spend on games. I buy all the games I can for 200. I have no more money to spend on games so I pirate a game. I copied bits, they cost the game company 0 and I could not buy the game because I had 0 money. Now I have a game that I enjoy and it cost the company nothing. Ill say it again because you seem to not understand this part. People spend all they can on entertainment, the extra they get from pirating things is NOT A LOST SALE. They had no ability to buy that product because they already spend all they could on entertainment. Your comparing a limited resource to a unlimited resource and that does not work.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheLink (130905) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @04:18AM (#38248306) Journal
    Plagiarism is not stealing either, but it is a form of fraud and deception.

    But I suspect in this case he/she will be happy if you keep repeating those two lines (unchanged and in context) to the whole world, even if they are unattributed.
  • Re:Sanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hyperhaplo (575219) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @05:08AM (#38248442)

    Don't expect it to last.
    No doubt the US will try and strongarm this down sometime soon.

    Meanwhile, does anyone else have the urge to move to Switzerland?

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toriver (11308) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @05:18AM (#38248460)

    Art was created by creative individuals long before we even had the reasonable copyright laws of old. Now that we have laws that only serve the entertainment industry middle-men, it is even less relevant. And is really the art of the 10% or so practitioners who get to make a living off it better than that of the hobbyists?

    I see you, too, trot the old "think of the artists" argument, but given what meager fraction of a work's price the artist in general gets from a sale, most of them might as well have stayed amateur and held a well-paying ordinary job and made more money that way.

    Unless you somehow can come up with an argument for why the salary of some director in Vivendi Universal has any effect on the quality of an artistic creation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, 2011 @05:18AM (#38248466)

    You know, I'm Dutch. Nowhere I've lived does anyone leave the stroller outside the store, people would consider anyone who did so careless. What I have noticed however is the total idiocy of Americans when they hear the word socialism, it's like the magic word to turn their brains inside out; if you so much as mention the word that conflicts with their very deeply held belief in their governmental system they perform the same acts of miraculous mental gymnastic that extremely religious tend to do.

    People here are greedy, people are shit, individualist, selfish. You know what? They're still human. Hey imagine, we also have crime and stuff.

    Please try and decipher the world without adhering to socialism as some antagonizing feature for ideas. If I go out of a job, I am fucked just as you are. I pay insurance every month to make sure I can afford a doctor and dentist. I also pirate, I pirate the shit out of things; especially popular american culture. All my money goes to artists who rise above that level of discourse. I pay my taxes happily knowing that some people benefitted from that education 'socialist' me provides so I can enjoy the fruit of their labor instead of watching something made to appeal to some total zombie.

    There will always be a difference between any two countries, but please don't draw utterly stupid and uneducated conclusions from brainwashed guesswork. And thanks to socialism you can even disagree with me because I speak your language. Ace.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @05:23AM (#38248482)

    Are you actually trying to claim, that if it takes me 5 years to produce a software product, and I charge $1,000 for use of the software product, because it will save people the expense of producing their own at a cost of 5 years of effort and $500,000 of expense, that I am participating in "rent-seeking" behavior and attempting to manipulate a market ?

    Yup. Precisely. Copyright is government enforced monopoly. The behavior to create revenue via monopolies is called rent-seeking. This is basic economics. I'm sorry that these words offend. That's just how it is.

    Here's the problem: the copy cat is out of the box. You're not gonna put it back in. The question is, how do you provide an incentive for people to create something that costs $1M, but can be copied exactly for less than a cent? Furthermore, how do you provide that incentive without stealing from what is already in the public domain?

    That's the real debate. How do you balance the need to have people recoup their investment into something that is trivial to copy, but don't create an environment that is best compared to the tariff situation in 18th and 19th century Germany? Grandstanding about pirates is not going to help.

  • Re:Sanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toriver (11308) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @05:49AM (#38248572)

    I would love to pay an artist for his work. Maybe they could print an email address I could Paypal some money to?

    But in general I cannot. I instead have to pay a store for my copy. There is absolutely no way for me to know if any of that money end up in the hands of the artist. Yet you somehow seem to accept that? That there are multiple layers between the customer and the artist, each "ripping off" a few dollars?

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @07:06AM (#38248790)

    he report states that around a third of Swiss citizens over 15 years old download pirated music, movies and games from the Internet. However, these people don’t spend less money as a result because the budgets they reserve for entertainment are fairly constant. This means that downloading is mostly complementary.

    This is what many just don't get. People don't have an unlimited amount of money. The ridicolus amounts of money that publishers claim to use due to piracy doesn't exist. Most of the time, the amount of what people spend on entertainment is constant. When they can pirate films and music for free, they will spend the remainder to go to cinemas and concerts. Of course, that changes the structure of the whole business, with new players entering and the old ones losing money, and those who can't change will try to use legislation to stay in business.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by king neckbeard (1801738) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @08:51AM (#38249142)
    It's actually in line with a lot of the tradition of copyright law. It has generally been an industrial issue, so personal usage wasn't regulated, at least in practice.

    If society determines that software producers, musicians, artists, and authors, do not have protections of copyright in order to recoup their expenses and investment, then I say fine, so long as I can eat the farmers crops, drive the car makers cars, wear the miners gold, and live in the carpenters house, all for free, without paying for the benefits the use of said items bring.

    All of those are naturally scarce resources. The scarcity created by copyright is artificial, and the ultimate goal of said scarcity is to benefit society. It might be worth considering how the printing press changed things. Before the advent of the printing press, making a copy required close to the same amount of labor as the creation of the original, and we had no copyright. The change the printing press brought about was not that it took more labor to author original works, but rather, that existing works could be copied with less labor. That someone else didn't have to do so much work didn't give the author the copyright, as such a statement makes no sense whatsoever. Rather, the change was thinking that by controlling the lower costs the printing press brought, the King and Church could proliferate pro-establishment works while squelching dissent, err, I mean, learning could be advanced.

    Also, you haven't really quantified the matter of 'do not have the protections of copyright'. At what point do you feel that this happens? Anything shorter than eternity would be inferior to naturally scarce property. Or is it fine for the period to be brief, so long as such a period exists. How about two seconds for copyright? That's technically protection, but it is so little protection that it's not worth filing the paperwork.

  • The multiple layers serve a purpose: they promote the product to people who don't live their lives on the Internet. Some genres of music are popular with people who rarely or never listen to music on the Internet. The major labels are especially skilled at getting music into rotation on big corporate FM radio. It just so happens that a recording artist can't have it both ways, both self-promotion on the Internet and label promotion on media other than the Internet, because major labels stipulate exclusive rights to an artist's entire output.
  • Re:Sanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mattcelt (454751) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @10:08AM (#38249466)

    "How is it sane to rip artists off and never pay them for their work?"

    You're right, it's insane. Someone really needs to prevent the major labels and their *AA thugs from doing that.

  • by ultranova (717540) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @10:09AM (#38249470)

    Completely ignoring the rights of artists will only discourage people from further creating such works...

    Really? Because it seems to me that "such works" keep on getting created despite the pretty much total disregard for the copyrights by pretty much everyone.

    Besides, if you want to make a career of acting/directing/stuntmanning/CGI creating/whatever, fine; but why should I subsidize it, either through taxes or by giving up freedom of communication? If you can't succeed without forcing the entire rest of the society to bend over backwards, man up, seek other line of work, and continue making movies or music as a hobby if you like it that much. Or you could admit that you can't succeed without financial support from the rest of the society, and seek such support - it's available, both through the government and private donations.

    This whole War on Access is even more pointless than the War on Drugs. This one doesn't even make for good victims to hate-campaign against.

No hardware designer should be allowed to produce any piece of hardware until three software guys have signed off for it. -- Andy Tanenbaum

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