Author Topic: How is using the library different than digital piracy?  (Read 33317 times)

LibrarIan

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 435
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Greater Cincinnati
Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #100 on: August 11, 2014, 06:56:34 AM »
Just to throw this into the fray, here's a perspective from a very successful author on the difference between piracy and library usage:

http://tumblr.libraryjournal.com/post/19968805648/john-green-on-why-libraries-are-different-from-piracy

I'm not saying he's totally right or totally wrong about any of his opinions. Although I tend to agree with him, I simply thought this would be interesting to foster more debate/conversation.

SisterX

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2779
  • Location: 2nd Star on the Right and Straight On 'Til Morning
Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #101 on: August 11, 2014, 02:02:58 PM »
I understand that your viewpoint is widespread.  I am intrigued by your and other member's thoughts or logic on piracy.

That being said, the big grocers (hey, Walmart!) who put such pressure on growers to constantly lower their prices, to the point that some actually lose money on the transactions (read: "Foodopoly") and the corporate labels which consistently screw over artists don't exactly have a moral leg to stand on in all of this.  So arguing it from a morality standpoint seems a little foolish too.  I'm sure there are plenty of smaller, indie labels which aren't gouging their artists and which are getting screwed over by piracy.  But the biggest labels?  They do their best to screw everyone else over, and have used their lobbying power to stack the deck in their favor.  You're never going to make me feel bad for them.  Notice I'm not saying that I endorse piracy, just that I can understand it and don't have any empathy for the giant record labels.

So you appear to be saying that you don't endorse piracy, yet that you can understand it.  You state that Walmart's business practices are so poor that they don't have a moral leg to stand on. You also are stating you have no empathy for the giant record companies when people steal from them. Do you have empathy when people steal from Walmart or other mega grocery stores?

If you found out that someone was pirating movies, music, books, or other intellectual property for their personal use would you turn them in or ignore it because the big company makes plenty of money by screwing over the artists and others?

or

If you saw someone stealing from Walmart or another large grocery store or corporation for their personal use would you turn them in or ignore it because the big company makes plenty of money by screwing over the growers, employees, and society?
 
I truly am interested in the thought process in justifying stealing in any situation and appreciate the question.   

You are still wildly missing my point.  I'm simply saying that arguing this from a moral perspective which says that pirates are the only ones who profit from piracy is specious and ignores all of the facts.  Someone earlier brought up Macklemore.  I can guarantee that part of his success was due to piracy.  Because, for artists, name recognition is almost more important than any other factor.  So pirates shared his music and more and more people were able to listen to it and think, "Dude, this guy's awesome!"  And then it started going mainstream, and people were clamoring to buy tickets, and calling their radio stations asking them to play "Thrift Shop" and then more people heard about him and he got even bigger.**  Sure, he probably would have gotten big even without piracy.  But to say that piracy always hurts the artists is to ignore the fact that some artists actually win.

Think about movies, too.  They're expensive to go see.  Most people would rather spend money on a known quantity.  "I really liked X director, let's go see that movie this weekend."  Or "Y actress is in such-and-such film.  I think I'll see that one when it comes out."  People see movies through piracy and I'm willing to bet that when they choose what movies to see at the theater, they go with what's familiar.  However, what's familiar might be broader because they were able to see something which they might not have seen without piracy.

I'm STILL not arguing that I think piracy is right and good.  There are people who lose out through piracy, including plenty of artists.  HOWEVER, ignoring that there are some people who benefit from piracy and saying that it's completely morally, always 100% wrong because no artists ever gain anything from it is also rather silly.  So find a non-moral argument about why piracy is wrong.  That will be far more convincing.

I would also argue that Sony's sales went down not because of piracy, but because they're producing crap.  Pop music is popular for a reason, but when it all starts sounding the same people don't want to buy new records because it's all just become noise.  That's what Pandora and Spotify are for: listening to music you wouldn't actually shell money out for.

Are you going to accuse me of piracy now because I've admitted to listening to Pandora with a (gasp!) free account?  I'm not paying anyone, and I'm damn good at tuning out the ads....

**Ok, so this argument is a product of my imagination.  I don't know the actual numbers, I have no idea how many times his music was downloaded illegally or what effect that really had on his popularity.  I was just using him as an example based on what I saw and experienced from his rise to fame, and what I've heard about the matter from friends who are musicians and friends who are unabashed pirates.  However, I'm willing to bet that the actual numbers would show that I'm not wrong.

tomsang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1085
Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #102 on: August 11, 2014, 03:18:38 PM »
SisterX - You are missing my point.  I am not primarily talking about the artist.  I am talking about the corporation that owns the rights to their work. The issue is not about the artist. Once the artist negotiates a contract with the label, they are out of the picture on the business side of the art.  The main entity that you are stealing from when you pirate is the label/producer/publisher, etc.  This is like stealing from Walmart.  It does not impact the farmer/employee.  It impacts the entity that owns the rights to the product or service.  They make money or lose money based on the amount of revenue that they obtain from their potential market.  When you pirate, you are stealing.  If you are getting to enjoy the songs on Pandora by listening to the ads, then that is not stealing.  The label/producer made a deal with Pandora to play their music. Pandora is able to pay those royalties based on the royalties that they collect.  If you were smart enough to hack into Pandora and get free/adfree music then it would be the equivalent.  You would be stealing from Pandora.  Pandora would be the one losing money.



 

SisterX

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2779
  • Location: 2nd Star on the Right and Straight On 'Til Morning
Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #103 on: August 11, 2014, 03:28:18 PM »
SisterX - You are missing my point.  I am not primarily talking about the artist.  I am talking about the corporation that owns the rights to their work. The issue is not about the artist. Once the artist negotiates a contract with the label, they are out of the picture on the business side of the art.  The main entity that you are stealing from when you pirate is the label/producer/publisher, etc.  This is like stealing from Walmart.  It does not impact the farmer/employee.  It impacts the entity that owns the rights to the product or service.  They make money or lose money based on the amount of revenue that they obtain from their potential market.  When you pirate, you are stealing.  If you are getting to enjoy the songs on Pandora by listening to the ads, then that is not stealing.  The label/producer made a deal with Pandora to play their music. Pandora is able to pay those royalties based on the royalties that they collect.  If you were smart enough to hack into Pandora and get free/adfree music then it would be the equivalent.  You would be stealing from Pandora.  Pandora would be the one losing money.



So according to you, using things like AdBlock means someone is stealing?

I was never arguing that piracy isn't stealing.  Not once.  Nor did I ever say that it's right.  I simply said that talking about it from a moral standpoint is silly because the big record labels aren't exactly in the right either.  They gouge artists all the time because they know they can.  If someone else wants to steal the album so that they can afford to go to the artist's concerts instead, I think it is at best morally muddy waters because there's an argument to be made for both sides.  I do not personally endorse either side.  That's it.  That is my whole point right there, in one sentence.  I do not endorse piracy, nor do I believe the people behind the corporate labels are going to have to eat Ramen for the rest of their lives because some people pirate.  I do not endorse, condone, or sympathize with either group of people.  Is that clear enough for you?

Daleth

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1201
Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #104 on: August 13, 2014, 05:24:05 PM »
SisterX - You are missing my point.  I am not primarily talking about the artist.  I am talking about the corporation that owns the rights to their work. The issue is not about the artist. Once the artist negotiates a contract with the label, they are out of the picture on the business side of the art.  The main entity that you are stealing from when you pirate is the label/producer/publisher, etc.  This is like stealing from Walmart.  It does not impact the farmer/employee.   

That's not correct at all. Stealing content directly impacts the artist's bottom line.

Contracts for books, music etc. typically state that the artist will receive $X (or X% of sale price) per item sold (book, album, single, whatever), leaving $Y (or Y%) for the publisher/record company. If the artist didn't get an advance, that $X per sale goes straight to the author. If the artist was given an advance, that money is first credited to the advance--for instance if the artist got $50k, then the first $50k in royalties would go to the publisher to pay back the advance and every sale beyond that would put $X directly in the artist's pocket.

So every time you steal the content rather than buying it, you are taking $X straight out of the artist's/author's pocket.

tomsang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1085
Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #105 on: August 13, 2014, 05:42:52 PM »
Daleth. I don't disagree with you, but the majority of people are arguing that it is ok to steal as the majority of the $'s are going to the label vs. the artist. My point is that it shouldn't matter.  You shouldn't steal from Walmart and you shouldn't steal from Sony. If you don't like their business practices then don't use their products or services.

I did write that the main entity impacted, not the only entity to provide some wiggle room. Also the part that you highlighted was indicating that the label for the most part gets to decide how to maximize revenues. That could be through selling to libraries, selling to other parties, discounting, etc. Once the contract is signed the artist has limited control on their work. Again, depending how the contract is worded.

To me it isn't ok to steal, even it has minimal impact on the artist. The producer has invested significant resources to bring a product to market.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13774
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #106 on: August 14, 2014, 06:24:48 AM »
Steal:
- To take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it.
- To take (the property of another) without right or permission.

Since we're not talking about property here, can we stop using the word 'stolen' and equating it with property theft in this discussion?  With theft you are depriving someone of something, with piracy you are theoretically depriving someone of the potential to receive money.  Physical theft is related but quite different than piracy.  Note - I am not saying that piracy is good or OK, just that equating it with property theft is nonsensical and weakens your argument.




FWIW - I like LibrarIan's points, and am glad to know that supporting/using the library is generally a good thing for artists.  It hadn't occurred to me that libraries would be a sizable force purchasing artists works and thereby supplementing their income.

tomsang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1085
Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #107 on: August 14, 2014, 08:36:58 AM »
Steal:
- To take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it.
- To take (the property of another) without right or permission.

Since we're not talking about property here, can we stop using the word 'stolen' and equating it with property theft in this discussion?  With theft you are depriving someone of something, with piracy you are theoretically depriving someone of the potential to receive money.  Physical theft is related but quite different than piracy.  Note - I am not saying that piracy is good or OK, just that equating it with property theft is nonsensical and weakens your argument.

FWIW - I like LibrarIan's points, and am glad to know that supporting/using the library is generally a good thing for artists.  It hadn't occurred to me that libraries would be a sizable force purchasing artists works and thereby supplementing their income.

WOW!!!!  You can't just wiggle your way out of jail time by pulling a definition out of context.  So you would be saying that it would be perfectly legal for someone to steal all the intellectual property of the Boeing 787 jetliner.  No problem that they invested something like $10 billion in developing the plane. 

If you are going to use the dictionary you need to pull the definition of all the words that you are using.  Note 1.a, 1.c, and 2.  I can guarantee that a judge would strongly disagree with your legal analysis of property.  It is stealing.  I didn't even realize that anyone would debate whether it was stealing.  It appeared as if you and others were focusing on the fact that the artist gets screwed by the label, therefore it is ok to steal from the label.

"prop·er·ty  (prpr-t)
n. pl. prop·er·ties
1.
a. Something owned; a possession.
b. A piece of real estate: has a swimming pool on the property.
c. Something tangible or intangible to which its owner has legal title: properties such as copyrights and trademarks.
d. Possessions considered as a group.
2. The right of ownership; title.
3. An article, except costumes and scenery, that appears on the stage or on screen during a dramatic performance.
4.
a. A characteristic trait or peculiarity, especially one serving to define or describe its possessor.
b. A characteristic attribute possessed by all members of a class. See Synonyms at quality.
5. A special capability or power; a virtue: the chemical properties of a metal."

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13774
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #108 on: August 14, 2014, 09:15:22 AM »
Quote from: my post
I am not saying that piracy is good or OK, just that equating it with property theft is nonsensical and weakens your argument.

Quote
So you would be saying that it would be perfectly legal for someone to steal all the intellectual property of the Boeing 787 jetliner.  No problem that they invested something like $10 billion in developing the plane. 

I need to get you one of these:


When you jump to conclusions so often and with such vigor it is difficult to have any sort of conversation.


I'm not trying to "wiggle my way out of jail time", those were the first two definitions I came across.  I'm with you that piracy is wrong.  Although it's wrong (he said again) equating it with physical property theft is a very poor example to use for the reasons I've given.  Bear in mind that it's wrong (he reminded yet one more time):

Quote from: my post again
With theft you are depriving someone of something, with piracy you are theoretically depriving someone of the potential to receive money.

These are not the same things at all.

tomsang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1085
Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #109 on: August 14, 2014, 09:39:29 AM »
Sorry if you feel like I have been jumping to conclusions. I feel like I have been fairly consistent. Piracy is illegal, it is stealing, it is looked upon unfavorably by society and the courts. Using the libraries is legal, is encouraged by society, it is the way to go.

If you now understand that piracy is illegal, is stealing and comes with financial penalties and/or jail time then I think you understand the answer to your forum question unless we need to go further into why it is ok for producers and distributors to sell to libraries.

On a number of replies you indicate that you don't condone piracy, but in the same post you have put up arguments that it is not stealing. Do you understand now that it is illegal and it is stealing?

Daleth

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1201
Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #110 on: August 14, 2014, 10:26:19 AM »
Steal:
- To take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it.
- To take (the property of another) without right or permission.

Since we're not talking about property here, can we stop using the word 'stolen' and equating it with property theft in this discussion?  With theft you are depriving someone of something, with piracy you are theoretically depriving someone of the potential to receive money.  Physical theft is related but quite different than piracy.  Note - I am not saying that piracy is good or OK, just that equating it with property theft is nonsensical and weakens your argument.

It is property--intellectual property. By definition intellectual property is something that can be copied, so if you take the content you aren't depriving someone else of the content--that's the way in which it is different from tangible property, but that doesn't mean it is NOT property. It just means it is a different kind of property. Here's another example of taking property without physically depriving the owner of any tangible object: if you live on 2 acres next to the beach, the city can't just create an easement that lets any random member of the public legally walk across your property in order to get to the beach. If they do create such an easement (such as by eminent domain), they have to pay you for what they took--namely, your property rights. You still have just as much land--nobody *physically* took your land from you--but they took away some of your property by depriving you of the ability to keep strangers from walking across your land to the beach. And if they took it without paying you an amount you are willing to accept for it (or at least an amount that a court says it's worth), that's stealing.

Just as owning land gives you the right to keep other people from using that land, owning intellectual property--a book, music etc.--gives you the right to keep other people from copying that book, music etc. You have the right to set a price for giving people the right to copy it (just as you, a land owner, have the right to set a price for granting an easement across your property). If people DON'T pay you for it, that is stealing, just like it would be stealing to eat dinner at a restaurant and leave without paying.

Oh, and BTW, when you download a song without paying for it, you are not "theoretically depriving someone of the potential to receive money." You are actually depriving them of money that they would have received if you had bought their intellectual property instead of stealing it. The only exception is when the artist was given an advance and hasn't earned it out yet, such that each purchase is credited towards their advance (and once there are enough purchases to pay back their advance, every subsequent purchase puts hard cash in their pocket). So if an artist didn't receive an advance or has already earned it out, you are depriving them of actual cash. If they did receive an advance and haven't earned it out yet, you are depriving them of a cash credit to their account, which means that it will take more purchases than it should have for them to earn out their advance. IOW they will not start getting paid more royalties until later than they should have--which means you're causing money to go into the record company's pocket that should have gone to the artist!


« Last Edit: August 14, 2014, 11:15:03 AM by Daleth »

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13774
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #111 on: August 14, 2014, 10:39:25 AM »
Sorry if you feel like I have been jumping to conclusions. I feel like I have been fairly consistent. Piracy is illegal, it is stealing, it is looked upon unfavorably by society and the courts. Using the libraries is legal, is encouraged by society, it is the way to go.

If you now understand that piracy is illegal, is stealing and comes with financial penalties and/or jail time then I think you understand the answer to your forum question unless we need to go further into why it is ok for producers and distributors to sell to libraries.

On a number of replies you indicate that you don't condone piracy, but in the same post you have put up arguments that it is not stealing. Do you understand now that it is illegal and it is stealing?

I do feel that you've been jumping to conclusions, and I agree you have been fairly consistent in doing so.

Piracy is kind of illegal.  That's something I understood before my initial post.  Individual piracy doesn't come with financial penalties very often and never jail time in Canada to my knowledge (as it's never brought to court - the proceeds from the plaintiff winning are less than would be spend on the court case with).

Legally I can make copies of video games, CDs, or movies in Canada for backup.  To give a perfectly moral usage of piracy which is not stealing . . . I ripped all my movies to .mkvs many years ago to store them on my computer at home.  The ripping procedure would take forever.  Eventually (about half way through this procedure) I figured out that I could download the movie in less time than ripping it on my own.  So I downloaded the remaining movies to save time.

Can you explain how this piracy was an example of stealing, or hurt the copywrite owner in any way?  The movies were paid for.  This is why I don't think you can always equate piracy with stealing.

SisterX

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2779
  • Location: 2nd Star on the Right and Straight On 'Til Morning
Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #112 on: August 14, 2014, 10:40:22 AM »
Sorry if you feel like I have been jumping to conclusions. I feel like I have been fairly consistent. Piracy is illegal, it is stealing, it is looked upon unfavorably by society and the courts. Using the libraries is legal, is encouraged by society, it is the way to go.
Do you understand now that it is illegal and it is stealing?

Ah, so much missing the point of what we've been saying in just a few sentences!  It's rather comical how much you misunderstand what we've been arguing.  None of us has ever said it wasn't illegal.  I really don't think anyone has argued against it being a type of stealing, just that it's not theft in the same sense as stealing a physical object, which you keep equating it to.  They're just not quite the same.  It does not make piracy better that there is no physical object being stolen, but it's not quite the same as breaking into someone's house to steal their jewelery. 
You seem, from the way you've been writing, to be getting all worked up over this without realizing that no one is actually arguing against the points you've made, we're just discussing in a theoretical sense where the moral differentiation comes in.  We keep saying we don't condone piracy, and yet you keep accusing us of it.

Daleth. I don't disagree with you, but the majority of people are arguing that it is ok to steal as the majority of the $'s are going to the label vs. the artist.

No.  No one has said that that makes it ok to pirate stuff.  Once again, I went out of my way to clearly state that I think both sides are wrong and that neither has the moral high ground.  Do you view the world in such black and white terms that a gray area is impossible to understand?

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13774
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #113 on: August 14, 2014, 10:44:41 AM »
Quote
Just as owning land gives you the right to keep other people from using that land, owning intellectual property--a book, music etc.--gives you the right to keep other people from copying that book, music etc. You have the right to set a price for giving people the right to copy it (just as you, a land owner, have the right to set a price for granting an easement across your property). If people DON'T pay you for it, that is stealing, just like it would be stealing to eat dinner at a restaurant and leave without paying.

Yeah, because you are deprived from using your piece of land or you have physically taken food from the restaurant without paying for it.  These involve physical things.  You haven't physically taken anything via piracy.  It's wrong when done in place of buying an album, but it's certainly not the same as the examples you're providing.


Oh, and BTW, when you download a song without paying for it, you are not "theoretically depriving someone of the potential to receive money." You are actually depriving them of money that they would have received if you had bought their intellectual property instead of stealing it.

See, this whole line of argument falls apart in a couple ways here.  Downloading a song doesn't mean that the song would have been purchased otherwise.  Downloading a song doesn't mean that the person downloading hasn't already purchased the song (as with my video example before).  You aren't actually necessarily someone of money they would have received.  That's where the comparison between stealing and piracy doesn't work.

Granted, there are only few cases where it's morally acceptable to pirate things, but I was happy that I didn't have to take the time to rip all those movies.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2014, 11:29:56 AM by GuitarStv »

tomsang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1085
Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #114 on: August 15, 2014, 01:23:40 PM »
None of us has ever said it wasn't illegal.  I really don't think anyone has argued against it being a type of stealing, just that it's not theft in the same sense as stealing a physical object, which you keep equating it to.  They're just not quite the same.  It does not make piracy better that there is no physical object being stolen, but it's not quite the same as breaking into someone's house to steal their jewelery.

This whole thread is about justifying the stealing of someone's Intellectual Property.  Stealing is illegal!  There are words about the moral high ground, there are pleas to stop calling it stealing, there are words like "kind of stealing", a "type of stealing", there are yes, HOWEVER explanations.  If you are stealing from a bad person you are still stealing.  Just to be clear.  If you legally check out a book, movie or CD at a library you are not stealing.  You are operating within the law within the contract between the distributor, the artist, and the library - You are not stealing, you are not doing anything illegal.  If your buddy sends you 5,000 songs it is probably stealing, which is illegal. If you know it is a "Type of Stealing" and using a library is not a "Type of Stealing" is there really an argument? 

No one has said that that makes it ok to pirate stuff.  Once again, I went out of my way to clearly state that I think both sides are wrong and that neither has the moral high ground.  Do you view the world in such black and white terms that a gray area is impossible to understand?

So the owner of the IP does not have the moral high ground if someone steals their IP?  I think the courts, jury and most of society would disagree with you.

To address whether others are questioning whether anything is stolen or illegal, we can start with the OP's first post.

Nothing is stolen in either scenario.

Their IP is stolen.  The owner of the IP has not given the pirate permission to take, use or distribute their Intellectual Property.  The owner of the IP and the laws surrounding IP have given the library permission to lend out the IP.  They are paying the owner of the IP for that right and are doing so within the scope of the law.

Here's a tough question for you . . . how is it morally wrong to download a book/movie that is available and has copies free at the public library?  Who is being harmed in any way by doing so?

The owner of the IP has sold the IP to the library with a legal binding contract.  The owner of the IP has done this so that they can get revenue from the library. The owner of the IP has lost revenue if people are not willing to buy the IP because it is readily available in a pirated form.

Then we get back to the bad guy squeezed the little guy so we(not you, as you already said that you wouldn't pirate) should be able to steal from the bad guy arguments.
But the biggest labels?  They do their best to screw everyone else over, and have used their lobbying power to stack the deck in their favor.  You're never going to make me feel bad for them.   Notice I'm not saying that I endorse piracy, just that I can understand it and don't have any empathy for the giant record labels.

Then we are back to Nothing is "Stolen" even though it is acknowledge that the owner of the IP would lose "Theoretic" revenue argument.
With piracy nobody loses property.  The part that ends up being 'stolen' is the theoretical money that theoretically would have been paid if the person committing piracy would have purchased the item were it not available for free.

This one is interesting as it pretty much condones a hacker penetrating a bank and sending all of their cash through a wire transfer to another person.  Nothing tangible has been stolen, just theoretic money.

Then we hit the I am not for Piracy, HOWEVER argument:
I'm STILL not arguing that I think piracy is right and good.  There are people who lose out through piracy, including plenty of artists.  HOWEVER, ignoring that there are some people who benefit from piracy and saying that it's completely morally, always 100% wrong because no artists ever gain anything from it is also rather silly.  So find a non-moral argument about why piracy is wrong.  That will be far more convincing.

Those who are losing out are the owners of the IP.  There is no way to say that the big label/producer/distributor who owns the IP is better off by people stealing their Intellectual Property.  Throw in a "you are silly" for thinking that it isn't ok to steal from the owner as some other party may benefit.  Probably the person that got the IP for free vs. having to pay for the IP.

Then there is the I never said it was ok, but if you steal from the owner of the IP, which allows you to go to the concert then you are in morally muddy waters argument:
I was never arguing that piracy isn't stealing.  Not once.  Nor did I ever say that it's right.  I simply said that talking about it from a moral standpoint is silly because the big record labels aren't exactly in the right either.  They gouge artists all the time because they know they can.  If someone else wants to steal the album so that they can afford to go to the artist's concerts instead, I think it is at best morally muddy waters because there's an argument to be made for both sides.  I do not personally endorse either side.  That's it.  That is my whole point right there, in one sentence.  I do not endorse piracy, nor do I believe the people behind the corporate labels are going to have to eat Ramen for the rest of their lives because some people pirate. I do not endorse, condone, or sympathize with either group of people.  Is that clear enough for you?

Again you start off saying that you don't condone it, but the rest of your post is why you think it might be morally ok.  You also are more definitive that you would not sympathize for the party that got their IP stolen as they won't have to eat Ramen for the rest of their lives. Having their asset value destroyed by people stealing it is ok as they are rich and won't be eating Ramen argument is interesting.

Of course GuitarStv went down the legal path that because IP is not tangible it is ok to steal.  That we have a weak argument with that approach. 
Since we're not talking about property here, can we stop using the word 'stolen' and equating it with property theft in this discussion?  With theft you are depriving someone of something, with piracy you are theoretically depriving someone of the potential to receive money.  Physical theft is related but quite different than piracy.  Note - I am not saying that piracy is good or OK, just that equating it with property theft is nonsensical and weakens your argument.

Don't call it stolen if it is only Pirated argument.  So what if the owner spent money to create, acquire, or build the IP it is not stolen if others take it and distribute it to others if it is not tangible.

And after he and you have claimed that you are not advocates for Piracy, he claims that Piracy is kind of illegal. Tell the judge that one:)
Piracy is kind of illegal.  That's something I understood before my initial post. 

Not sure what Kind of Illegal is, maybe it is everyone is doing it so it can't be too bad.  Definitely not in the murder category!

Then he goes with the straw man argument of in Canada it is legal to make copies of CD, movies, games of IP that he currently owns.  And calls it piracy for argument sake.   
Legally I can make copies of video games, CDs, or movies in Canada for backup.  To give a perfectly moral usage of piracy which is not stealing . . . I ripped all my movies to .mkvs many years ago to store them on my computer at home.  The ripping procedure would take forever.  Eventually (about half way through this procedure) I figured out that I could download the movie in less time than ripping it on my own.  So I downloaded the remaining movies to save time.

Can you explain how this piracy was an example of stealing, or hurt the copywrite owner in any way?  The movies were paid for.  This is why I don't think you can always equate piracy with stealing.

Piracy is not making a legal copy of something that you own.  You are legally able to make a copy of the IP that you have purchased for backup.  You are not legally able to give or provide this backup to anyone else.  If it sits in your safe, then it is not piracy.  If it is given to your friends and family then it is piracy. You can't call it piracy, so that way you can prove that piracy is always stealing.  One is stealing and one is legally making a backup copy of the IP that you purchased.

I hope that you now understand why there is a difference between using a library and digital piracy.       

SisterX

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2779
  • Location: 2nd Star on the Right and Straight On 'Til Morning
Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #115 on: August 18, 2014, 02:13:10 PM »
None of us has ever said it wasn't illegal.  I really don't think anyone has argued against it being a type of stealing, just that it's not theft in the same sense as stealing a physical object, which you keep equating it to.  They're just not quite the same.  It does not make piracy better that there is no physical object being stolen, but it's not quite the same as breaking into someone's house to steal their jewelery.

This whole thread is about justifying the stealing of someone's Intellectual Property.  Stealing is illegal!  There are words about the moral high ground, there are pleas to stop calling it stealing, there are words like "kind of stealing", a "type of stealing", there are yes, HOWEVER explanations.  If you are stealing from a bad person you are still stealing.  Just to be clear.  If you legally check out a book, movie or CD at a library you are not stealing.  You are operating within the law within the contract between the distributor, the artist, and the library - You are not stealing, you are not doing anything illegal.  If your buddy sends you 5,000 songs it is probably stealing, which is illegal. If you know it is a "Type of Stealing" and using a library is not a "Type of Stealing" is there really an argument? 

No one has said that that makes it ok to pirate stuff.  Once again, I went out of my way to clearly state that I think both sides are wrong and that neither has the moral high ground.  Do you view the world in such black and white terms that a gray area is impossible to understand?

So the owner of the IP does not have the moral high ground if someone steals their IP?  I think the courts, jury and most of society would disagree with you.

To address whether others are questioning whether anything is stolen or illegal, we can start with the OP's first post.

Nothing is stolen in either scenario.

Their IP is stolen.  The owner of the IP has not given the pirate permission to take, use or distribute their Intellectual Property.  The owner of the IP and the laws surrounding IP have given the library permission to lend out the IP.  They are paying the owner of the IP for that right and are doing so within the scope of the law.

Here's a tough question for you . . . how is it morally wrong to download a book/movie that is available and has copies free at the public library?  Who is being harmed in any way by doing so?

The owner of the IP has sold the IP to the library with a legal binding contract.  The owner of the IP has done this so that they can get revenue from the library. The owner of the IP has lost revenue if people are not willing to buy the IP because it is readily available in a pirated form.

Then we get back to the bad guy squeezed the little guy so we(not you, as you already said that you wouldn't pirate) should be able to steal from the bad guy arguments.
But the biggest labels?  They do their best to screw everyone else over, and have used their lobbying power to stack the deck in their favor.  You're never going to make me feel bad for them.   Notice I'm not saying that I endorse piracy, just that I can understand it and don't have any empathy for the giant record labels.

Then we are back to Nothing is "Stolen" even though it is acknowledge that the owner of the IP would lose "Theoretic" revenue argument.
With piracy nobody loses property.  The part that ends up being 'stolen' is the theoretical money that theoretically would have been paid if the person committing piracy would have purchased the item were it not available for free.

This one is interesting as it pretty much condones a hacker penetrating a bank and sending all of their cash through a wire transfer to another person.  Nothing tangible has been stolen, just theoretic money.

Then we hit the I am not for Piracy, HOWEVER argument:
I'm STILL not arguing that I think piracy is right and good.  There are people who lose out through piracy, including plenty of artists.  HOWEVER, ignoring that there are some people who benefit from piracy and saying that it's completely morally, always 100% wrong because no artists ever gain anything from it is also rather silly.  So find a non-moral argument about why piracy is wrong.  That will be far more convincing.

Those who are losing out are the owners of the IP.  There is no way to say that the big label/producer/distributor who owns the IP is better off by people stealing their Intellectual Property.  Throw in a "you are silly" for thinking that it isn't ok to steal from the owner as some other party may benefit.  Probably the person that got the IP for free vs. having to pay for the IP.

Then there is the I never said it was ok, but if you steal from the owner of the IP, which allows you to go to the concert then you are in morally muddy waters argument:
I was never arguing that piracy isn't stealing.  Not once.  Nor did I ever say that it's right.  I simply said that talking about it from a moral standpoint is silly because the big record labels aren't exactly in the right either.  They gouge artists all the time because they know they can.  If someone else wants to steal the album so that they can afford to go to the artist's concerts instead, I think it is at best morally muddy waters because there's an argument to be made for both sides.  I do not personally endorse either side.  That's it.  That is my whole point right there, in one sentence.  I do not endorse piracy, nor do I believe the people behind the corporate labels are going to have to eat Ramen for the rest of their lives because some people pirate. I do not endorse, condone, or sympathize with either group of people.  Is that clear enough for you?

Again you start off saying that you don't condone it, but the rest of your post is why you think it might be morally ok.  You also are more definitive that you would not sympathize for the party that got their IP stolen as they won't have to eat Ramen for the rest of their lives. Having their asset value destroyed by people stealing it is ok as they are rich and won't be eating Ramen argument is interesting.

Of course GuitarStv went down the legal path that because IP is not tangible it is ok to steal.  That we have a weak argument with that approach. 
Since we're not talking about property here, can we stop using the word 'stolen' and equating it with property theft in this discussion?  With theft you are depriving someone of something, with piracy you are theoretically depriving someone of the potential to receive money.  Physical theft is related but quite different than piracy.  Note - I am not saying that piracy is good or OK, just that equating it with property theft is nonsensical and weakens your argument.

Don't call it stolen if it is only Pirated argument.  So what if the owner spent money to create, acquire, or build the IP it is not stolen if others take it and distribute it to others if it is not tangible.

And after he and you have claimed that you are not advocates for Piracy, he claims that Piracy is kind of illegal. Tell the judge that one:)
Piracy is kind of illegal.  That's something I understood before my initial post. 

Not sure what Kind of Illegal is, maybe it is everyone is doing it so it can't be too bad.  Definitely not in the murder category!

Then he goes with the straw man argument of in Canada it is legal to make copies of CD, movies, games of IP that he currently owns.  And calls it piracy for argument sake.   
Legally I can make copies of video games, CDs, or movies in Canada for backup.  To give a perfectly moral usage of piracy which is not stealing . . . I ripped all my movies to .mkvs many years ago to store them on my computer at home.  The ripping procedure would take forever.  Eventually (about half way through this procedure) I figured out that I could download the movie in less time than ripping it on my own.  So I downloaded the remaining movies to save time.

Can you explain how this piracy was an example of stealing, or hurt the copywrite owner in any way?  The movies were paid for.  This is why I don't think you can always equate piracy with stealing.

Piracy is not making a legal copy of something that you own.  You are legally able to make a copy of the IP that you have purchased for backup.  You are not legally able to give or provide this backup to anyone else.  If it sits in your safe, then it is not piracy.  If it is given to your friends and family then it is piracy. You can't call it piracy, so that way you can prove that piracy is always stealing.  One is stealing and one is legally making a backup copy of the IP that you purchased.

I hope that you now understand why there is a difference between using a library and digital piracy.       

Ok, ranty-pants.  Once again, I'm going to point out that you're getting all bent out of shape about a theoretical discussion.  You keep pointing out that it's illegal because the courts have made it so.  That was never in question.  The question is, why have the courts deemed this one circumstance illegal whereas this other circumstance, which is very similar in nature, is perfectly legal and even encouraged?  Where are the nuances which separate these two things?  I think LibrarIan, among others, answered the question very well.
I also feel that I should give you two pieces of information about myself, lest you think I'm truly on the side of those Dreadful Pirates you seem to despise so much.  First, I work in a library.  I love libraries.  I see no need to pirate things when there are libraries, Netflix, iTunes, digital publishers, etc.  It doesn't cost that much to get media and books these days and you don't even need the physical object cluttering up your life.  So nice.
Second, I've written a book which I'm hoping to get published.  It will almost certainly end up as an ebook, either through a traditional publisher or (if I decide to go this route) through self-publishing.  So I'm very interested in protecting the artist's interests, and even the publisher's because a publishing house wields more power than individual artists do.
However, I don't see the world in black and white, good guys vs. bad guys the way you seem to.  There are shades of gray and I brought up several examples so that I could play devil's advocate.  I'm willing to challenge my own beliefs because if they can't be challenged and still stand up, then they're not beliefs worth holding onto. 

ariapluscat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 486
Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #116 on: August 20, 2014, 10:11:14 AM »
"Library items are steeply discounted."

Probably not. Unless items are donated or the vendor puts them on sale because no one is buying them, libraries normally pay more for items to counterbalance the fact that lots of people are going to check them out.

Confused. In every publishing option I've worked with, libraries are offered a special rate (40-45% discount) for books they purchase.

Every public library I've worked at paid higher prices. I would've loved those discounts though.

The higher price might be because the library you work at is purchasing more expensive and hardier library binding on their copies.

Unrelatedly, the reason that some people find piracy fundamentally wrong is because the publisher/author didn't give permission for their work to be shared in that way. Some books are not available to be borrowed through a library due to lack of permission for libraries to purchase said book but pirates would make them available anyway. If the creator doesn't want their work available in that way, then picrary leads to that desire being ignored, possibly decreasing the integrity of the content, discouraging the author to share content, and going against the law.

Everyone is focusing on sales and the like, but I think there's something very meaningful in a content creator having a say on how their work is available. Piracy is acceptable to some artists. Some industries rely on the sharing of the original product to sell marked up merchandise.

Daleth

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1201
Re: How is using the library different than digital piracy?
« Reply #117 on: August 21, 2014, 11:51:59 AM »
Quote
Just as owning land gives you the right to keep other people from using that land, owning intellectual property--a book, music etc.--gives you the right to keep other people from copying that book, music etc. You have the right to set a price for giving people the right to copy it (just as you, a land owner, have the right to set a price for granting an easement across your property). If people DON'T pay you for it, that is stealing, just like it would be stealing to eat dinner at a restaurant and leave without paying.

Yeah, because you are deprived from using your piece of land or you have physically taken food from the restaurant without paying for it.  These involve physical things.  You haven't physically taken anything via piracy.  It's wrong when done in place of buying an album, but it's certainly not the same as the examples you're providing.

You're not deprived of your land when other people are allowed to walk across it. Your land is still there. You can still do with it as you please. You just have to let other people walk across it to get to the beach. There's no physical deprivation at all--what there is, is a deprivation of your intangible rights.

As for the restaurant: WHY is it wrong to leave a restaurant without paying for your dinner?
Answer: Because the restaurant *spent time and money* getting the food, preparing it, serving it, cleaning up after you, and paying overhead (rent etc.) for the space in which to do so.

IOW, it's not because food is physical that you have to pay for it. You can grow food for free by yourself. The reason you have to pay for your restaurant dinner is that the restaurant invested time and money in doing something for you, namely selecting the food, preparing it, giving you a nice place to eat it, serving you and cleaning up after you.

How is that different from a musician investing time and money in recording and distributing a song or album?

If you want to cling to the physical/nonphysical distinction that you think justifies your stealing the time and money of musicians, you're free to do so, but it makes no sense and is not the law. It's just your justification for why you don't think you should pay musicians. It looks like we're going to have to agree to disagree because you are obviously more invested in justifying your own stealing than in opening your mind to the possibility that you've done something ethically wrong.