Attn: Gordon: Your "Electronics for Dummies"

Christopher X. Candreva wrote:


Weird. I just looked up most of these words in the dictionary and they're all defined using the word "theft" or "stealing." I don't get your point, but in any case, are things like fraud and larceny okay compared to theft? One is more socially acceptable than the other?

You're just one person. If the practice is acceptable (as you appear to want it to be), multipled by thousands of people who share your view, then how could copying even for personal use yield a sustainable living for anyone? This is a point you're not appearing to grasp. I don't care just about Chris. I acare about Chris X 1,000, or Chris X 10,000.

Um, not at all the point. My original manuscript after the book is published is worth exactly what each copy is worth. If the copies are worthless because of rampant illegal distribution, so is my manuscript.
-- Gordon
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Christopher X. Candreva wrote:

Actually many of the above are classified as theft. Embezelment certainly is as are many of the others. Dumping isn't theft but may or may not be a crime depending on where you are.

Copyright infringement is *not* theft. I agree there. However copyright infringement can deprive the copyright owner of money.

And at this point you've gone into serious crime. Properly copyrighted material is protected under US law and the copyright owner is entitled not only to the value lost, but also damages. That is, if you ever get caught. And for this purpose it doesn't matter if you sell it or give it away.

Yes. Strangely enough that may be a much lesser crime under US law unless the victim can prove that his manuscript is worth something. For example, stealing my manuscript is barely a crime; stealing a Steven King manuscript would get you into a world of hurt. -- D. Jay Newman Author of _Linux Robotics_ http://enerd.ws/robotos /
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D. Jay Newman wrote:

By international treaty, the US recognizes copyright as property. Like it or not that's the law, we assume created by lawmakers the world over for the benefit of the people. If you take the wiki definition (just for one) of "theft," then the word squarely applies to misappropriation of a copyrighted work, in any form:
'Theft (also known as stealing) is, in general, the wrongful taking of someone else's property without that person's willful consent. In law, it is usually the broadest term for a crime against property. It is a general term that encompasses offences such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, trespassing, shoplifting, intrusion, fraud (theft by deception), and sometimes criminal conversion. Legally, theft is generally considered to be synonymous with larceny.'
WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) involves 183 member countries, and is based in Geneva, Switzerland. Far away from Washington DC, the US Congress, Disney, the RIAA, or the MPAA. It doesn't really matter how you or I or anyone else defines the word "theft"; what matters is how 183 nations around the world define it, and how these terms are used within the laws these countries have agreed to follow.
-- Gordon
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Gordon McComb wrote:

Gordon:
I based my notes on seminars we had on copyright when I worked for Penn State. Things may have changed since then. I will look up the various definitions.
And yes, I still think that copyright infringement is wrong, besides being illegal.
However, the legal release of on-line materials may enhance the sales of printed material. -- D. Jay Newman Author of _Linux Robotics_ http://enerd.ws/robots /
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Padu wrote:

Pigs are flying. I'm actually agreeing with mlw!
The problem with your last statement is that you would get the "worthy" albums but only pick the popular tracks from the rest.
How would you know which albums are "worthy" without hearing the entire album?
Also I've had albums grow on me. After a few listenings I find I like some of the songs I previously thought were crap.

No. Piracy is a word meaning a specific type of stealing: robbing a ship at sea.
What we're talking about is copyright violation.
While violating your copyright may cost you some sales, it doesn't actually take anything from you. And sometimes illegal copies may increase sales.

I'm an unrepentent capitalist. However, capitalist values in no way prohibit copyright violation or stealing in any form.

This I agree with. Yes, people *should* pay for things if there is a charge and they feel it is worth it. If it isn't worth the charge then they shouldn't use the product.
However, often times copyright violation (or fair use depending on the ruling) increases sales. My wife and her friends make "mix tapes" (CDs now) to give to each other. My wife and her friends have bought albums by the groups they liked. -- D. Jay Nemwan http://enerd.ws/robots / Author of _Linux Robotics_
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D. Jay Newman wrote:

Oh, thanks, now I have to wipe down my monitor screen. Wow, that was a good laugh.
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D. Jay Newman wrote:

So, let's say I hire you to do some work for me. Maybe you're a lawyer and I need you to write my will. You turn over the work and I accept it.
Only, I don't pay you. By the definition you've given, what harm have I done to you, seeing I didn't *take* anything away from you? Or haven't I. You never had my money to begin with, so it's not like I took it away from you. But didn't I just taken away from you your hard work, effort, and skill for MY benefit, without giving you anything in return? Or is stealing only limited to tangible things, like candy bars or TV sets? I don't think so.
Apply this to the situation where the business model is based on selling multiple copies of something. This model provides a way for someone to impart knowledge or skill or talent at a price that everyone can afford. Without the multiple copies business model, the person would have to charge a single recipient a tremendous amount, and few could afford it. This is how copyrights directly benefit the public. But somehow, a portion of the public think it's not enough to be have cheap books or music or sofrware, they think it shouldn't cost anything at all.
-- Gordon
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Gordon McComb wrote:

Actually, your analogy is poor, a lawyer is "work for hire." There is a contract between you and the lawyer that defines what he is expected to do, and how much you are expected to pay him.
In your case, you chose what you wanted to write and the assumed value is the public sales of your product. There is nothing you can enforce.

How easy are those "somethings" to copy?

This may simply be an anomaly of technology. Before the printing press, it was very difficult, one had to teach in person or write by hand. Cost was VERY prohibitive.
With the printing press, it is much easier. Cost was slightly prohibitive and became less so over time.
Now with computers and world wide networks, it is so easy that it may not be a viable business.

Thus, technology has changed, yet again, the business of men. For the better? For the worse? Who knows? It is certain that scribes probably hated the Gutenberg press.

We are in a transitional time. Our old methods of conveying creativity for profit man no longer be viable. Laws to protect business models are bad.
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mlw wrote:

Title 17 U.S.C. disagrees with you. The law says I can enforce my copyrights, and the ownership of copyright confers upon me the same validity as a contractual agreement. If you are a citizen of the US, my declaration of copyright very much forces you to adhere to the laws of the United States, as much as any contract would. In fact, copyright law would probably trump contract law, but that's beside the point.

How does practicality change integrity? If someone forgets their wallet on the top of their car is it okay to just take it? The ease with which a crime can be made in no way diminishes the crime.

No longer viable perhaps if you accept that people are no longer willing to be honest, and will not pay for something that they very happily use. Sadly, in the end people will get LESS rather than more from digital technology. Hope you like DRM.

Copyrights don't protect business models. They do protect people who wish to share their skills or talent with the public, and -- in order to make a living -- use the business model of mass market distribution copies for pay. Take away copyright and the business model goes away, but this doesn't mean copyright law is expressly designed to protect any type of business.
-- Gordon
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I would like to just inter-ject one comment-If Gordon doesnt write any more books because of theft of works, We the readers of this thread(and uncountable others) will be made to suffer. I personally am hoping for some more technical reading, whether the "market" is or is not ready for it. Personal experience and track records of the volume of reading on this particular resource leads me to think lots of folks want more. I meet them and talk to them everyday. I sure hope ,however the deed that started this thread is corrected. I hope to see more technology get to everyone-Yep even if they have to and should pay for it.
Mark
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Gordon McComb wrote:

Gordon: I *agree* with you.
I have two points:
1. Copryright infringement is not classified as theft under US law. 2. Openly free copies, ilegal or otherwise, sometimes help sell books.
Of course I agree that copyright infringement is wrong. It's also a fact of life.
And another point: it's probably a bad idea to do that to a lawyer. :)

The problem with this is that the lawyer has spent time on one specific item (your will). He has billable hours. These are technically (by US law) different from intellectual property.

Morally I agree with you. However, under US law copyright infringment is *not* classified as theft.

-- D. Jay Newman Author of _Linux Robotics_ http://enerd.ws/robots /
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D. Jay Newman wrote:

OTOH several amendments to Title 17 have the word "THEFT" in their titles.
I know there is some debate over "theft" vs. "infringement," involving, IMO, a misunderstood US Supreme Court ruling that, in any case, is now moot because of the DMCA.
"Infringe" means nothing more than to encroach, and that is nothing out of context. As I pointed out in another message, the US is legally bound by international treaty, as implemented by the DMCA, to consider copyright as a form of property. Therefore it can be "stolen." Most people know the DMCA as the law that makes it illegal to circumvent encryption, but it also includes provisions that bound the US to a number of international copyright treaties.
-- Gordon
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"D. Jay Newman"

Not the popular, but the ones I like. It is not always that I am in agreement with popular picks. iTunes let me listen to a sample of the music, which is often times enough for me to like or not like a music. But in general, the criteria for an album being worthy or not worthy is highly personal. Sometimes it is worthy independent of the music quality (Vitalogy from Pearl Jam is a very good example).

And a mouse is a word meaning a specific living thing from the animal kingdom.

If you are Microsoft, perhaps. Well, even them are taking more active measures to avoid piracy. And yes, you are taking money from me. While I admire people on the open source initiative (and I sometimes helped the effort), there is this notion around shared by some that software should be free. How come?

Capitalist values may not, but capitalist countries do, and socialist countries even more.

The market is too big to make general assumptions. While the act of distributing mix tapes may have produced a sale or two, I doubt downloading music increase general sales. If it did, the industry wouldn't be so desperate by now.
Cheers
Padu
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: While violating your copyright may cost you some sales, it doesn't : actually take anything from you. And sometimes illegal copies may : increase sales.
I made a number of posts in this discussion that seem to have been swallowed by my news provider. Which may be a good thing, as not only was I not saying what I was thinking correctly, there are people who say it better.
Aside from you :-) Baen books has been giving away free un-DRMed copies of some of their books for a few years now, and claim it makes them money. There are essays on the subject there by actual professional authors who say why much better than I did:
http://www.baen.com/library /
If the marked for technical books has gotten as bad as you (collective you) have said it is, IMHO as a reader y'all might want to talk to Jim Baen. If anyone has figured out how to make money in a niche market, he has. Not necessarily the same niche, but I would bet he has some ideas.
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Padu wrote:

How do you know "today" what is worthy "tomorrow." I have many CD (and used to have albums) that I purchased over a decade ago, and find that I like different tracks than the ones I did when I originally bought the CD. Art grows with you, or at least it should.
I have the Burt Reynolds movie "Hooper," and I watched it the other day. When I was young, I identified with the character "ski" (the young kid) and now I am more established and experienced, I identify more with "Sonny." (Burt's character) It is not long until I will identify with the older character "Jocko."
As "art," the movie was a typical light weight Burt Reynolds good ol'boy film, but it really was a treatment of growing older. Three generations: beginner, expert, and aging master. Of course there was a lot of car crashes, beer, and fights, but it was art damn it!!
Anyway, your tastes change as you get older. I recognize it more the older I get. Reducing an artist message to one small clip that you may be momentarily attracted too, will probably blind you to the larger and deeper message that a true artist wishes to convey.
Britney Spears, that isn't art, it is product. Arranged and mixed by people who want to sell albums. That works for the MP3 download world.

Well, that is a known problem with the current music business.

I read this one time: A computer file can not be made uncopyable any more than water can be made unwet.
There is an amount of zen you have to use. It is easy to get mad about certain things, but one needs to thing a little more broad mindedly.
I've been writing software for over 20 years. Not many people have the luxury of making money on their software. Yea, there are a number of companies that do but for every Microsoft there are at least a thousand software companies that go out of business each year. For every small consultant or software house that sustains a living with software NRE time, there are tens of thousands who do not.
Believe me, I wish I could write something once and sell it over and over again, but it hasn't worked that way, and unless you have a particular vertical market that you have been particularly good at targeting, I don't see how it can.

I is precisely capitalism that says your stuff will be copied. There is no economic limit to copying, only a repressive legal regime that forbids it. Capitalism always wins.

It is far more complex. If I copy a file and you never know it, I never sell it, and I would never have bought it in the first place, has any harm been done? How about if I have it, someone hears it, and then buys it? You actually derive benefit from my actions.
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"mlw"

I'm buying today. I have no means to foresee what I am going to like tomorrow. Apart from vintage value, if I like something else tomorrow, I'll buy it tomorrow. What't the big deal?

We're talking about personal tastes now. Perhaps I may think that Britney Spears music is more art than any Burt Reynolds movie.

They do. When I was 15 I used to like Michael Jackson... I don't know how could I. I had a mullet... what the heck! Give me a razor and a time machine please!

Completely irrelevant to the discussion. I don't buy music because it is art or not. I buy music because I like it or not. I buy albums if they are worthy or not, and I reserve the right to tell if they are worthy or not according to my own criteria, that may or may seem logic by you.

Perhaps not, but there is technology out there to avoid unauthorized use. I'm not naive enough to say that they are completely effective. A pirate will steal from you if he wishes so and have enough skills, as well as a thief will enter into your house and rob you no matter what you do. The challenge is to find the balance between blocking people from making use of your software without being authorized and annoying the legit users to the point they don't buy from you anymore.

I've made money in every company that I owned and/or worked for. If not, I'd be doing something else now. The need for software is big enough to afford a huge market, and if you stay on top of things, you can make a decent living out of it. I'm not denying that it is difficult though, there's competition, and technology is always changing, but busting your ass doing a product to find out that it is being stolen somewhere is not of my liking.

And it is precisely capitalism that tells me (and the whole industry) that copy protection mechanisms are vital for the business.

In theory, if you would never buy it, then why copy in the first place?
In practice, it's never black and white. I like the shareware approach to general applications. Download it and if you like it then you buy. For example, I use an unlicensed MikroPascal copy for firmware development at home, and the software developers were clever enough to allow you to use it like this forever, with the limitation that you cannot compile programs bigger than a certain size. I'm so used to that environment now that I had to buy it here in the company.
Cheers
Padu
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It misses serendipity. There are many songs I've liked that never got any airplay, and I never would have heard them if they weren't on the CD. Likewise, I tend to think of a CD as a coherent work (showing my age, I guess), so unless there's something totally unlistenable I listen to the whole thing. There are many songs I've listened to grudgingly on the first hearing, but by the 20th found they were some of my favorites. That wouldn't have happened without the whole CD.
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: year olds) will more likely see. Grandpa isn't typically trolling : Gnutella looking for Montovani. The labels are slowly learning how to : cope in the Internet age.
You might be surprised. I haven't looked for Montovani, but I have found a large number of old time radio shows (Jack Benny, Burns & Allen, etc) on the OpenNap remanent of the old Napster network, there is even a particular server dedicated to them (OldShows.no-ip.info)
(When Napster shut down, there were already freely available clones of their servers, so people just kept running them. Lots of out of the US ones with illegal stuff. I suspect that no one renewed the copyrights on the Jack Benny radio show however. :-)
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Gordon McComb wrote:

Ok I know that this thread has been beat to death, but I hadn't checked the group in a while and this is a subject that is dear to me. As someone who has made a living at creating software, I feel the pain of writers who now face illegal copying and publishing of their work.
It's true that the publishing world is changing thanks (or no thanks) to the Internet, and this means that book publishing as we know it will soon be dead, mostly that is. I believe that books will never go away completely, only the ability to make large sums of money on them. I, like Gorden, prefer to have an original paper copy of someone's work. However, within a few generations, that will no doubt change as the digital world becomes second nature to most humans, and the idea of paper as medium is looked down upon as old tech.
There may still be a silver lining for writers though. One possible direction is pay per access web sites. By removing the publisher altogether and making your work available to the masses through a self controlled pay site, you may be able to generate enough revenue to live off of (maybe), especially if the text is searchable by search engines, but not accessible without a password. This means there needs to be an API that allows seach engines like Google to search copyrighted text, but only return an excerpt of the original text and the main web address.
This would mean that all the search engines would have to be on board with the idea, or at least be forced to be on board with it by the feds. I'm not in favor of the feds strong arming the industry, but this is about copyright infringement and if the industry is not willing to police itself and protect original work, the feds will have no choice.
Just a thought...
Shawn
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Shawn B. wrote: ...

Someone must have forgotten to tell JK Rowling, the author of the popular Harry Potter series who is now richer than the Queen of England.
-- JC
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