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Piracy Australia Technology

The Case For Piracy 318

An anonymous reader writes "A mainstream media outlet has published an article called 'The Case for Piracy. The writer shows how copyright has been hijacked by corporations and that publishers are their own worst enemies. 'One of the main reasons we all have anti-piracy slogans embedded in our brains is because the music industry chose to try and protect its existing market and revenue streams at all costs and marginalise and vilify those who didn't want to conform to the harsh new rules being set.' There's a lot in the article that Slashdot readers can relate to, and it's interesting that so many replies seem to agree with the author."
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The Case For Piracy

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  • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Friday October 21, 2011 @10:37AM (#37791884)

    The secondary problem with "strong copyright" is that copyright has become disconnected from the lifetime of the medium on which the performance/art/work is rendered.

    Copyright is what now, 95 years for "work for hire" and life-of-author-plus-70 for independent? Compare that to the sales lifetime (or even TWICE the sales lifetime) of a standard video game console - a "decade lifetime" is pushing it. Atari 2600's and original NES units are considered antiques. Good luck even FINDING a working Vectrex.

    Hell, even for non-gaming - a while back Slashdot had a story about a guy who built a homebrew Cray-1 replica []. His biggest problem? FINDING SOFTWARE TO TEST IT WITH. Nobody kept the discs around, and the few discs that are even findable today have succumbed to bit-rot.

    From that article:
    After searching the internet exhaustively, I contacted the Computer History Musuem and they didn’t have any either. They also informed me that apparently SGI destroyed Cray’s old software archives before spinning them off again in the late 90s. I filed a couple of FOIA requests with scary government agencies that also came up dry. I wound up e-mailing back and forth with a bunch of former Cray employees and also came up *mostly* dry. My current best hope is a guy I was able to track down that happened to own an 80 MB ‘disk pack’ from a Cray-1 Maintenance Control Unit (the Cray-1 was so complicated, it required a dedicated mini-computer just to boot it!), although it still remains to be seen if I’ll actually get a chance to try to recover it.

    Under current "copyright", his asking for software copies is technically a violation of copyright.

    "Copyright" has ceased to be what it originally was. The promise of copyright is that the protected creation is protected for a limited time, WHENCE IT SHALL ENTER THE PUBLIC DOMAIN AND BE AVAILABLE. Increasingly, copyright has instead become a fucking scam to promote forced obsolescence and premature death-of-product and prevent even historians from preserving the work for posterity.

  • by captainpanic ( 1173915 ) on Friday October 21, 2011 @10:39AM (#37791954)

    My parents had maybe 100-200 albums, and paid a certain percentage of their income for music.
    I have 1000-2000 albums, but I certainly am not going to pay 10 times as much as my parents (if only because logically I listen to them 10 times less on average, and because I have only some Mb of harddisk space, rather than a fancy disk in a nice cover on a real shelf).

    The music industry just have to get to grips that prices have to drop dramatically for people to stop downloading. I cannot afford to buy music now.

  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Friday October 21, 2011 @10:40AM (#37791992) Homepage

    OK, so if we accept that corporations/publishers are evil and worthless, the MPAA and RIAA are worse than worthless, and they don't deserve the benefits of copyright..... what about individual creators? As someone who has developed software, written stories, and created art, all as an independent creator, why should I be expected to relinquish all my work to the Pirate Domain? Why should I have to depend entirely on a day job to support myself, while everything I manage to create in the rest of my waking hours must be "shared" with everyone with no compensation? Wouldn't it better support the creation of new works if it were possible for someone like me to actually make a living from it?

  • Taken out of context (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Deliveranc3 ( 629997 ) <deliverance AT level4 DOT org> on Friday October 21, 2011 @10:49AM (#37792174) Journal
    I'm an english major, though I'm also a computer scientist. My preference is to speak as simply, rapidly and directly as possible. I find that there are often misunderstandings where people should have been able to make inferences but were distracted or under a false impression initially.

    I think everyone has things in their life that if taken out of context could be interpreted poorly. Friendships with people who became troubled. Comments that could be taken out of context. Teenage angst that if applied to an adult might indicate extreme sentiments.

    The deaths caused by unibombers, Bin Laden's, serial killers, etc. Are really a tiny tiny fraction of deaths. Further these acts tend to be caused (at least from the perspective of the perpetrators) by mistrust from society and the victims. Adding the level of security that the U.S. intelligence agencies seem to be so keen on will vastly increase the amount of paranoia, social distance and hostility in that type of mind.

    By looking at possible causal factors you drive practitioners of victim-less but socially frowned upon activities underground, where they will form groups united by their distrust of society and authority.

    It is unclear whether these government agencies would act to prevent true subversion (such as bitcoins or revolution) but they certainly seem to be used for things like Watergate, monitoring peaceful protests and tracking down people who borrow subversive materials from the library far more than they are used to detect real threats.

    The Jury system where you are innocent until proven guilty has given westerners a level of trust in authority not seen before in the world (minus certain minorities who may or may not be justified in their distrust). The current action of intelligence services completely undermines that. It will have consequences.

    I'm still in my late twenties but I've found that no one thinks they are a bad person. Many violent or seemingly vindictive acts are thought of as retaliation. Asymmetric warfare is a real thing, and giving motivational ammunition to groups like Anonymous, gangs or "Fight Club"s would seem to be building pressure in a vessel.

    If the president (Obama) can't pass the legislation he wanted to enact (removing the troops) because of interference from the administrative elements of security councils then the will of the people is already being subverted.

    Eventually someone will stop the rat race for success with a goodly amount of resources and decide that blowing up say, Langley, Microsoft, T-Mobile or New York is the most meaningful accomplishment they can leave behind.

    I hope the think tanks at Darpa and RAND to consider the implications of a world with $20 remote control airplanes, 3D printers, open source software, global communications combined with a selfish governing body.

    Louis the XIV had spies everywhere, didn't help much.

    A guillotine is still a simple thing to make and being middle class is the safest place to be.

    I've tasted blow fish, it's delicious, but if I hadn't I really would have missed nothing. If we move towards removing copyright, patents, etc. People will be happily driving around in well made cars, eating food that's delicious and cheap and not willing to commit horrific crimes. If you make poverty a crime... well Liberty, Equality and Brotherhood might come again.
  • by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Friday October 21, 2011 @10:49AM (#37792176)

    You're making an argument AGAINST strong copyright. Strong copyright diminishes incentive to produce new work, and increases pressure on new writers due to retarded "you copied me" issues. Art has traditionally influenced other art, and one fundamental part of locking down copyright is to charge for anything that has been significantly influenced by your art.

  • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Friday October 21, 2011 @11:01AM (#37792442)

    It's hard to argue with supply and demand. Once created, the supply of your work is infinite, it is effectively 0 cost to make another copy. Having an unlimited supply is going to drive prices down to near zero as a matter of course. Rather than asking 'why' you shouldn't be paid, you should be asking 'how'.

    You can try to artificially restrict your supply with DRM but that pisses off your customers. You can try to litigate, in which case you aren't really selling your works, you're selling a no sue guarantee, and also pisses off your customers (especially since if you sue enough people you will eventually catch an innocent person in your net).

    Or you can accept that some X% of your users are going to pirate, and you can charge the rest enough to make your money. Some anecdotal evidence even suggests that properly managed piracy can increase sales, so actively go out and use the pirates as a free advertising agency. More radically, you can put your old works out in public domain, and make a preorder for your next work available, basically a modern day, crowd sourced patronage model. I can think of at least one author who has managed that effectively (Charles Stross). Or you can publish your works to your blog and get some extra money from advertising. Or, if your product is software, you can give it away for individuals but require payment from businesses (who are less likely to pirate given the higher risks they face).

  • by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Friday October 21, 2011 @05:04PM (#37798676) Homepage Journal

    How many people do you know that go out and by movies 40 years old? 20 years old? 10 years old? less than 5 years old? How about movies? This still holds fairly well for music, ...

    Huh? You must know a very different crowd of musicians than I do. There is a lively market for music over a century old. There are a lot of publishers still profiting from selling the music of Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, etc., although everything they wrote is long out of copyright.

    Just last night, I played for a Simchat Torah service, and we played a number of tunes that are known to be over 100 years old. The audience loved it. We also did some songs that were newer, 10 or 30 years old, and the audience sang along. A couple of days earlier, I played at a local contra dance, where we also played tunes that were several centuries old. Several were published by Playford, back in the 17th century. The dance crowd gave us lots of compliments for our music, although none of it was "new" by the recording industry's standards.

    There is a serious copyright problem that is starting to hit the "old music" part of the market, though. Publishers have developed the idea that, although a tune may be public domain, their published version of it is copyrighted -- and if you play exactly the notes they published, you have violated their copyright (even if you've never seen their publication). I know a number of people who consciously refuse to play exactly the same tune that's in any of their tune books, as a result. This sorta causes problems when people are trying to play together. And it doesn't actually protect you from the threat of a lawsuit, because you can't have all the published versions in your head, or if you do, it's hard to avoid accidentally duplicating one of them occasionally.

    It used to be that "copyright" existed to prevent one publisher from copying and republishing another publisher's work. Now, it's used to prevent musicians from performing music that has been published. This is a serious perversion of the original concept of copyright. In the long run, it could kill much of the publishers' market for printed music. In particular, many original editions are now available online, mostly free in academic archives. If you learn music from them, you will probably be safe from prosecution. I have a PDF of an out-of-copyright work from the 1820s on my screen right now, and I'm prepared to present it in court if any publisher sues me for copyright infringement when I perform any of the music. And I'll probably file a countersuit if they do. A lawyer friend has assured me that claiming copyright on an 1820s original manuscript is a clearcut case of consumer fraud that he'd enjoy fighting. So far, experience is that when you mention this, publishers tend to quickly back off, but you never know when they'll decide to push it.

In English, every word can be verbed. Would that it were so in our programming languages.