This is a discussion on torrents are destroying the world within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; Originally Posted by mike_g No its not. There is a big difference. What do you call it when you take ...
Well, brewbuck already explained the difference. I'm not saying piracy is good, but its not the same as stealing from someone.
Sorry, Brewbuck. I miss-read your post. You were disturbed by my attack of torrents, not my attack of piracy. (plus, I couldn't help turning someone's line against them)
However, thinking that piracy is not theft is nonsense. There are many ways to steal, it doesn't just have to be taking away someone's possession's literally. In this case, a product was illegally duplicated, which in a way simulates the act of actually taking it from the store. Someone still has something that belongs to someone else without paying for it.
If you had the power to instantly copy someone's car for example, no it would not be theft (although quite an unfair advantage). However, if someone is selling cars and you copy one so you don't have to buy it, you didn't physically take away a car, but you stole possible profit and still got the product for free. Piracy is illegal for a reason.
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I think it is clear (to most people) that software piracy is illegal. It is not theft in the eyes of the law. You may simplify the legal separation and say that it is or amounts to the same thing, but technically, by law, copyright infringement (which is "copying without the right to do so") is not the same thing as theft (which is "taking an object without the right to do so").
Copyright law is also quite different in different countries, which makes it more complicated, whilst, essentially, the laws against theft are very similar.
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No, that is not true. If it were theft of copyright, then it implies that the infringer has somehow become the copyright owner. This is clearly not the case.So it's theft of copyright.
That is also not true, since if that were true, then the infringer could validly demand that the creator cease and desist from distribution.You're taking from the creator his control of distribution.
This may or may not be true, but I think that this is what people normally have in mind when they claim that software (and music, etc) piracy is theft. I suspect that it may be true that where criminal law applies, copyright infringement could be considered theft, but even then it seems to me that copyright infringement is not classified as theft, so they may remain distinct as legal terms.It's also theft of potential sales.
However, note that we are talking about legal semantics. Whether or not copyright infringement is theft has no bearing on it being illegal, and since this is all arbitrarily created, it certainly is possible to make copyright infringement a criminal offense separate from theft.
For example: the one doing the copying is the one who uploads a file. So classically, downloading a file is not illegal in many countries, only making it available for downloading is.
On the other hand, the way modern P2P works, everyone who downloads automatically uploads the file too, so he's doing something illegal. But, and this is important, the presence of music on one's computer without proof that one bought the music is not actually proof of misdemeanor. If the songs were not acquired via a Kazaa-like system, the owner of those files might not actually have done anything illegal (only unethical).
"Potential sales" is not something that can be stolen under the definition of any law that I know.It's also theft of potential sales.
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The thing is, it is precisely because the copyright holder continues to have control over distribution (since that is part of the copyright) that he or she can seek a court order for the infringer to cease and desist from distribution.I disagree. The copyright holder cannot control how the infringer(s) distributes his work. He has lost that control. He can only control how he distributes it, not how it is distributed altogether.
He has the *right* to control over distribution, but he doesn't regain control until he takes legal action (which isn't free).
Last edited by medievalelks; 07-09-2008 at 08:13 AM.
That is a flawed analogy since it posits that intellectual property is the same as real and tangible property.Well, sure, but that's like saying that the owner of a car didn't lose control of it when it was stolen because he can get it back by suing the person who stole it. Until he gets it back, he lost it.
I can agree with the crux of the analogy as you put it, but it is simply incorrect to say that the copyright holder loses exclusive distribution rights until a remedy has been granted. The copyright holder does not lose his or her rights due to unauthorised distribution, but rather has had those rights violated by the infringer.The crux of the analogy is that you lose something until you enlist the legal system to give it back to you. In one case it was physical property, in the other it was exclusive distribution rights.
How about this - they don't lose exclusive distribution *rights*, but they lost exclusive distribution, which their *rights* to enable them to get back through legal remediation.