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Educating Youngsters About Piracy 544

Colin Winters writes: "The New York Times has an article that is a follow-up to the recent raid by the government on pirates in universities. Some professors believe that "By the time we get them, they already believe it [piracy]'s right." An interesting read. There's also an interesting bit on how business software is now 1/3 pirated, down from 1/2 in 1995. In America, it's only 24%. From the way companies like Microsoft whine about piracy, I'd assumed the figures were increasing, not decreasing."
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Educating Youngsters About Piracy

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  • A question (Score:5, Funny)

    by 13013dobbs ( 113910 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @03:05PM (#2749677) Homepage
    By educating you mean show them where to download the latest P2P program and show them where the warez/crackz sites are. Right? :)
  • by arkham6 ( 24514 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @03:08PM (#2749685)
    Piracy. It seems to evoke some romantic image of sailing the seven seas, drinking rum and singing sea shanties. People, when told 'you are a software pirate' seem to shrug it off. Call it its real name, and you can change people's minds.

    Its not piracy, its stealing.
  • by pyramid termite ( 458232 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @05:45PM (#2750057)
    This is a bunch of crap. Speeding does *not* kill people.

    Yeah, it's those sudden stops that get you.
  • by Chasuk ( 62477 ) <> on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @06:37PM (#2750137)
    Scarcity has everything to do with it, and nothing to do with it.

    Let us perform a thought experiment, and imagine that we live in a world where K. Eric Drexler's nanotechnology has come to pass, and we all have garage-sized devices in which we replicate anything smaller than the devices just by dumping in refuse or bits of obsolete technology and pressing the appropriate buttons.

    Nothing is scarce, except for maybe the garbage that we use as raw ingredients, and the objects that we want to reproduce that are larger than the replication units.

    So, in 2056, or whenever this future comes to pass, the big steaming pile of shit I've collected straight from the bottoms of dogs living comfortably in their luxury condo-kennels has incredible value.

    Or does it? It is worth more, the same, or less than the expensive "original" that I have copied? Yes, I've commissioned a unique sculpture by an octogenarian artist (or older, this _is_ Science Fiction) and, the day after the unveiling, thugs break it from its moorings and duplicate it in their own replication units. Is my original suddenly worth less? Is there any sense in visiting the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, when I can just download the pirated blueprint off of the Internet, and copy it from discarded tennis shoes in my own replicator?

    Would copying the artist be acceptable? What if he - meaning the original - gave his consent? Now we have 20,000 copies of the most important artist of the year 2056 running around creating original works which are then ripped off by admirers. Or do you object that we shouldn't be allowed to duplicate living things? Does life, then, have some special quality that that should exempt it from copying? Would that quality, perhaps, be rarity? That argument wouldn't work anymore, in an age when anything can be copied.

    To take this to absurd extremes, suppose it is an offence to duplicate persons. What do we do with the duplicates, once the offence has been committed? And the offender, suppose that he has made 20,000 copies of himself before making a copy of that formerly rare original artist, do we arrest them all, as they are all sworn to continue in their duplicating ways?

    Why would anyone, or any corporation, spend billions of dollars and years of work developing the next great consumer gizmo - say, another copier capable of duplicating objects bigger than itself - why would they bother, if their efforts were immediately stolen?

    Yes, I know, they'll just support their employees and continued research providing service and support for products that have in-built AI, hence require no service, and can always be duplicated with a downloaded blueprint using yesterdays (valuable?) rubbish, so it effectively never breaks down. I can see that as highly profitable.

    We need a new paradigm in which scarcity can't be trotted out as the supposed underpinnings of everything we value. If we can't do that, maybe the idea of "consent" needs to be discarded, as it would have virtually no meaning. But shouldn't I have the right to say no to you copying my creations, regardless of the media? If you answer in the negative, just wait until my projected Science Fiction tomorrow isn't Science Fiction, and deal with it then, but by then it will be too late, and our current selfishness will have given the government the excuse to make all of our IP decisions for us, because, darnit, I want to copy my MP3's NOW, and rip of Big Evil Corporations NOW, and not worry about the eventual consequences.

    So, scarcity has everything to do with it, and nothing to do with it, and fuck what may happen tomorrow because I want it NOW.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva