torrents are destroying the world

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  1. #76
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Things could change if software became recognized as a physical object. Instead of buying the rights to use a certain piece of software, I would be buying a copy of a certain piece of software, much like I buy a copy of a Siemens washing machine. The act of downloading illegal software could then more easily charged, not just the act of making it available.

    Of the top of my head I can't see a problem with such a legal description of software. But certainly there must be something, or it would have been done earlier.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  2. #77
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Instead of buying the rights to use a certain piece of software, I would be buying a copy of a certain piece of software, much like I buy a copy of a Siemens washing machine. The act of downloading illegal software could then more easily charged, not just the act of making it available.
    In that case, the distributors would not be distributing software illegally, since they have every right to distribute copies of what they own. What can stop them is patent law, but now we would talk about patent infringement versus theft.
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  3. #78
    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    You don't have every right to distribute copies of what you own. Where'd you get that idea? That's the entire point of copyright.

    However, once the end user actually owns the software, EULAs are no longer valid. Specifically, think of all those clauses in typical EULAs - no reverse engineering (everyone), no publishing of benchmarks (Microsoft) - I don't think software companies really want to give those up.
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  4. #79
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    You don't have every right to distribute copies of what you own. Where'd you get that idea? That's the entire point of copyright.
    Yes, you do have every right to distribute copies of what you own. The point of copyright is that you do not own the work, but are granted a license by the copyright holder. In any case, copyright no longer applies in Mario F.'s scenario.
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  5. #80
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laserlight View Post
    Yes, you do have every right to distribute copies of what you own. The point of copyright is that you do not own the work, but are granted a license by the copyright holder. In any case, copyright no longer applies in Mario F.'s scenario.
    No, legally, you can freely distribute what you own in the sense that you would need to deprive yourself of ownership.
    Copyright protection is available to protect physical embodiment of certain creative or artistic works. Copyright attaches upon fixation of the creative work by the author in a "tangible medium of expression," from which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, directly or indirectly, or with the aid of a machine or device. 17 USCA Section 102(a)
    Most important to realize is that copyright protects how the work is reproduced. To take what you own and create more is illegal by copyright in many cases, often including derivative works and so forth. Lawyers are hired if some band wants to cover a song on a new album and so on, just so that it's established who owns what share of the profits.

  6. #81
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    No, legally, you can freely distribute what you own in the sense that you would need to deprive yourself of ownership.
    Ah, but Mario F.'s scenario has us in a situation where we can freely distribute what we own without depriving ourselves of ownership of the item. Remember, you have to suspend what is currently the case in law, and consider the hypothesis where "software became recognized as a physical object". So, what we see here is a problem: if software is a physical object, then it is a strange physical object indeed.

    Most important to realize is that copyright protects how the work is reproduced. To take what you own and create more is illegal by copyright in many cases, often including derivative works and so forth.
    Again, you made the same mistake as CornedBee: we are considering Mario F.'s hypothesis, that is, software is real and tangible property. Under this scenario, it is not covered by copyright law (though the invention behind the software may be covered by a patent).
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  7. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by laserlight View Post
    we are considering Mario F.'s hypothesis, that is, software is real and tangible property. Under this scenario, it is not covered by copyright law (though the invention behind the software may be covered by a patent).
    Which is untenable. To obtain patent can take years and of course you still may not get one. That leaves a software vendor (or author, or movie studio) with no recourse but to release a product without any protection, allowing someone to buy it, burn copies, and open up shop.

  8. #83
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    Oh, it seems we both misunderstood. I'm sorry.

  9. #84
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Which is untenable. To obtain patent can take years and of course you still may not get one. That leaves a software vendor (or author, or movie studio) with no recourse but to release a product without any protection, allowing someone to buy it, burn copies, and open up shop.
    Worse still, I do not think that book authors can get patents for their ideas to begin with (though why this does not apply to software is a puzzle to me). Not sure about movie studios though, maybe they have tricks up their sleeves.

    Oh, it seems we both misunderstood. I'm sorry.
    No worries.

    Personally, I am in favour of just using copyright protection instead of patents for software, so I certainly would hate to see this hypothesis become reality (though I am willing to bet that it will not as the intangible nature of such works just seems too... intangible ). We might be missing something that Mario F. had in mind though, so I'll be waiting for his reply
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  10. #85
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    I'm thinking more in terms of the software "object" being composed of one or more intangible pieces of code covered by copyright laws, all put together into a cohesive unit (e.g. Microsoft Word). Once that is done it could become an object.

    You are right it would be a strange object. But that is probably the case with software; It is a strange object. But still one capable of producing stuff, generating work, running machines, ...

    This dual object could still be protected under copyright laws since its contents are themselves protected in this way. As such, no free distribution. But it could also be protected in a way that would make it criminal the act of downloading.

    I'm just thinking out loud however. Not that I believe any of this makes sense. Well, I mean, I do... but I don't trust my own judgment on an area I know very little about.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  11. #86
    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    Have you ever recorded a VCR? Or a DVD? To watch it later?

    Under Australian law (copyright act that is), it's illegal to keep the VCR longer than a week, give it to your friends to watch or watch it more than once. That'd make Australia a country full of criminals by your definition (cue the jokes about Australia being a convict colony anyway )

  12. #87
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    I'm not interested in video or music content. I'm talking about software.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  13. #88
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    Things could change if software became recognized as a physical object. Instead of buying the rights to use a certain piece of software, I would be buying a copy of a certain piece of software, much like I buy a copy of a Siemens washing machine. The act of downloading illegal software could then more easily charged, not just the act of making it available.

    Of the top of my head I can't see a problem with such a legal description of software. But certainly there must be something, or it would have been done earlier.
    Under U.S. Law a legal owner of a software can LEGALLY make archival copies of said software for backup purposes. The legal owner of said software may then possess both the original and archival copies legally. I can legally use EITHER the original or the archival copy with full legal rights to either. Therefor, if I purchase a movie, and I rip an ISO of that movie, and then I convert the ISO to an AVI, I can legally use the AVI, the ISO or the DVD. I cannot however give a copy of that AVI to a friend.

    There are also technical restrictions in that a physical copy of the software must, in fact, be copied into electronic form in order to serve its purpose, whatever that may be. The legal owner of said software is free to use it in any manner they see fit, including but not limited to uses which were unforseen by the original developer. I am perfectly within my rights to use the binary code from my Windows Vista DVD as a source of pseudo-random noise, for example, while running a program on said operating system.

    As for teh copyrigth/patent issue. You cannot patent software in the U.S. You can patent a process, but not the actual implimentation of that process. Everythign else is covered under copyright. If MS had patented windows 95, it would now be in the public domain, as patents run out after 7 years. However if MS owned the patent on windows, WINE would be illegal patent infringment. So basically a patent covers the concept of an invention and gives you much more control over it, btu for a shorter time. Copyright only covers the specific implimentation of a concept, not the concept itself, but last much much longer (life of the author + 99 years).

    So if i patent the Pet Rock™, noone else can make a rock for the purpose fo being a pet regardless of the materials it is made from.
    If I copyright the Pet Rock™, noone else can make a Pet Rock™ that looks like mine, but they are free to make a Pet Stone™ or Pet Boulder™
    Last edited by abachler; 07-09-2008 at 03:24 PM.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

  14. #89
    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laserlight View Post
    Ah, but Mario F.'s scenario has us in a situation where we can freely distribute what we own without depriving ourselves of ownership of the item. Remember, you have to suspend what is currently the case in law, and consider the hypothesis where "software became recognized as a physical object". So, what we see here is a problem: if software is a physical object, then it is a strange physical object indeed.


    Again, you made the same mistake as CornedBee: we are considering Mario F.'s hypothesis, that is, software is real and tangible property. Under this scenario, it is not covered by copyright law (though the invention behind the software may be covered by a patent).
    No mistake. "Software as a physical object" isn't a hypothesis where we have to guess how the law would work. We know how it would work, because it would work the same way as with any other physical object covered by copyright law, such as books or paintings.

    If I buy a book, I buy a real and tangible copy of the text (unless it's an e-book - let's not get into that). Therefore, the situation is the same as if software was treated as tangible.

    And yet, I'm not allowed to distribute copies of said book, because I'm not the copyright holder. Not being the copyright holder, I'm allowed to make a copy for backup purposes. I'm allowed to resell the copy I have (thus depriving myself of it, meaning that I must pass along or destroy all backups I made). I'm allowed to use the book in any way I wish, under the restrictions of copyright law (public performances and the like). (This, by the way, is in contrast to current software distribution, where I don't own the copy I got, but merely get usage rights granted under the EULA.)

    I'm not allowed to create copies of the book and sell them. I'm not allowed to change the book and sell the resulting work as my own. I'm not allowed to do public readings of the book. I'm not allowed to transform the story of the book into another form (like a movie) and distribute that. I'm not allowed to take the characters of the book and use them in my own story. All these rights are reserved for the copyright holder of the "work" (a legal term specifying the thing that contains the creativity of the creator - not the paper the book was printed on, but the story and characters and stuff like that), and only he can do these things, or grant others the right to do these things.


    Therefore, even if I buy a copy of a software in the traditional sense, I'm still in no way allowed to create copies of it and redistribute them.
    All the buzzt!
    CornedBee

    "There is not now, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be, any programming language in which it is the least bit difficult to write bad code."
    - Flon's Law

  15. #90
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    There seems to be a gap in the way software is protected in that the process of illegally downloading software onto my machine effectively generates a copy of which I acquired no rights to.

    Under current copyright laws, it has been always my understanding that only those who purchased the software (and consequently agreed to the copyright agreement) are answerable to it in a way that may involve prosecutions. This always seemed unbalanced to me in that from my own ethical standards the act of downloading and using an illegal copy of software is as bad as that of putting it up for distribution.

    I cannot question the fact if we were to start prosecute every person who downloads illegal software, we might as well free the prison from murderers, rapists and others in order to make room for the new population. But it still stays in my mind the fact there seems to be no effective legal resources in those few cases where it could make a difference.

    Theoretically, copyrights laws should stop piracy activities at the source; the act of putting up software for illegal distribution. But as it is obvious it never did. So measures should be taken in order to also put some pressure on the other side.

    Unless you are a business, the act of downloading illegal software and using it for generating money goes completely unchecked.

    Regardless, my main concern in all this is not so much a witch hunt on downloaders. I was just basically thinking out loud. What does concern me is the culture of an illegal activity going unchecked, even promoted as a "smart thing to do" or "the right thing to do" and being practiced also (and in great numbers) by adolescents and young teenagers.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 07-09-2008 at 05:45 PM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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