torrents are destroying the world

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; The simple fact is software piracy is not a significant drain on the income of most publishers. That isnt to ...

  1. #91
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    The simple fact is software piracy is not a significant drain on the income of most publishers. That isnt to say we should abandon existing efforts, which are what keep it not a significant problem. But to suggest that we take unwarranted extraordinary means to further reduce it at the cost of losing a valuable technology such as torrents, is completely out of touch with reality.
    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.

  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by CornedBee View Post
    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.
    It's much easier to copy software than books or paintings, so while it legally could be treated the same, in practice it would get copied left and right. Kind of like it is now.

  3. #93
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    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.
    I have my doubts. Lawrence Rosen claims that: "Because of these partly tangible and partly intangible aspects of computer software, it is possible to have different owners own (1) a tangible copy of software purchased at a computer store or downloaded from a website, and (2) the intellectual property embodied in that software" (Open Source Licensing, Rosen, 2005). Applied to books, this means that when you buy a book, you buy the real and tangible medium of the text, but still do not have ownership of the intellectual property of the text itself. My interpretation of Mario F.'s statement is that software would become entirely tangible (otherwise it would make no sense, since it already has tangible aspects), though it appears that he did not intend it to mean exactly that.

    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.)
    It is not in contrast to usage rights granted under an EULA (though usage rights beyond public performance and display are actually covered by patent law, not copyright law). My reasoning is that you are allowed to use the medium of the book in any way you wish, but you still cannot use the book, as in the text, in any way you wish. For example, if you have a copy of some software on a CD, you can draw a smiley face on the CD and hang it on your wall if you wanted to.

    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.
    Oh yes, you understand the concept too, in which case we merely differ in our (original) interpretation of Mario F.'s hypothesis.
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  4. #94
    Registered User Trennto's Avatar
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    I think that the present software laws need to be revised. They were instated at the start of software production based on other medias such as movies and books and have changed very little since. However, software has proven to be a very different and more powerful object than originally predicted. If a whole new set of laws specifically created for the purpose of protecting software and developers were to be created correctly, it would make things much easier.

    I don't have a very good idea of what those new laws would consist of, but the idea of treating software as a physical object sounds quite interesting.
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  5. #95
    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    > I think that the present software laws need to be revised.
    Maybe in your country, but they're fine here. We have the Digital Agenda 2000 (which includes movies, tapes, software etc) -- that's how it relates Mario. It's the enforcement of the laws that is a bit slack* (But how could it not be?)

    > but the idea of treating software as a physical object sounds quite interesting.
    But it's not. That's like saying you can build a bridge out of marshmallow

    And IMO, there are far bigger fish to fry such as child porn, fraud etc

    * Although in my state this year, the Federal Police shut down a factory which had 8 industrial burners and 40,000 blank DVDs (they were copying software & movies 24/7).
    Last edited by zacs7; 07-09-2008 at 11:13 PM.

  6. #96
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    But it's not. That's like saying you can build a bridge out of marshmallow
    A castle on a cloud, perhaps? *starts singing the song*

    And IMO, there are far bigger fish to fry such as child porn, fraud etc
    I agree, since copyright infringement may have some compensatory effects anyway, as pointed out in this thread.
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  7. #97
    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abachler View Post
    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.
    Although in US, there's the Digital Millennium Something law that prohibits you from cracking the copyright protection on certain DVDs, which is necessary to create a backup.
    In all, that would make it illegal to make any kinds of backup on those DVDs, no?
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

  8. #98
    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    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.
    Not in any legislation I know. You don't ever agree to any "copyright agreement". Copyright is an inherent right of the creator, and violators can be prosecuted even if they violated the right without intent (in Austria, at least), which is pretty rare for laws.
    There is no legal difference between a legally and an illegally acquired copy when it comes to the rights you have under copyright.

    Quote Originally Posted by laserlight View Post
    I have my doubts. Lawrence Rosen claims that: "Because of these partly tangible and partly intangible aspects of computer software, it is possible to have different owners own (1) a tangible copy of software purchased at a computer store or downloaded from a website, and (2) the intellectual property embodied in that software" (Open Source Licensing, Rosen, 2005). Applied to books, this means that when you buy a book, you buy the real and tangible medium of the text, but still do not have ownership of the intellectual property of the text itself.
    When you buy a book, you buy the paper (the real and tangible medium), as well as this particular copy of the text (intangible). You don't buy the intellectual property of the text, which is always the creator's and cannot be transferred.
    Whereas now, when you buy software, you own the CD/DVD/whatever (unless it's distributed online), but you don't actually own the copy of the software on the medium, which is why the software company can require you to agree to the EULA before using the software.
    Of course, this is my interpretation under Austrian law, and other countries may differ in details.

    It is not in contrast to usage rights granted under an EULA (though usage rights beyond public performance and display are actually covered by patent law, not copyright law).
    Patent law and copyright law have very little to do with each other. Patent law covers inventions - ideas, basically - whereas copyright covers concrete works - text of a story, the storyline itself, the characters, software source code. There are no circumstances where a single thing can be covered by both copyright and a patent, although a copyrighted work may make use of patented ideas.

    My reasoning is that you are allowed to use the medium of the book in any way you wish, but you still cannot use the book, as in the text, in any way you wish. For example, if you have a copy of some software on a CD, you can draw a smiley face on the CD and hang it on your wall if you wanted to.
    The difference is this: the typical EULA forbids me to reverse-engineer software in order to extract ideas from it (which cannot be copyrighted). It can do this because I don't own the copy of the software I have.
    Nothing can prevent me from "reverse-engineering" a book to extract the ideas behind it. Of course, the analogy is strained, but basically, if a science fiction author comes up with a wonderful way of resolving time travel paradoxes, nothing stops me from using that same way in my own book - it's an idea, not a work. More importantly for the analogy, if the author found some magic way of imprinting the story in our brains without making us realize how the time travel resolution works, then an EULA along the software lines would forbid us to actually read the text. But since I actually own my copy of the text, nothing can make me sign the EULA, so I can read the text all I like.

    I could also shuffle the pages of the book and create my own weird work - as long as I don't distribute it. But the typical EULA forbids me to do a similar thing for software. (Whatever a similar thing would be. Hooking into the app in unplanned places to create more powerful plugins? Rearranging elements of the app's GUI in ways not directly supported by application configuration?)
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  9. #99
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Patent law and copyright law have very little to do with each other. Patent law covers inventions - ideas, basically - whereas copyright covers concrete works - text of a story, the storyline itself, the characters, software source code.
    That is correct and it backs up my point: usage rights, beyond public performance and display, are covered by patent law, not copyright law.

    There are no circumstances where a single thing can be covered by both copyright and a patent, although a copyrighted work may make use of patented ideas.
    Precisely: a work can be under copyright and also involve patent law because it makes use of a patented idea. By itself, the work certainly is not patented, but the idea it implements (or expresses) may be patented.

    When you buy a book, you buy the paper (the real and tangible medium), as well as this particular copy of the text (intangible). You don't buy the intellectual property of the text, which is always the creator's and cannot be transferred.
    Whereas now, when you buy software, you own the CD/DVD/whatever (unless it's distributed online), but you don't actually own the copy of the software on the medium, which is why the software company can require you to agree to the EULA before using the software.
    Of course, this is my interpretation under Austrian law, and other countries may differ in details.
    I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal opinion, but I think that the cause and effect is reversed: you do not actually own the copy of the software on the medium because you agreed to a EULA that is actually a contract. Your payment for the software is the consideration, your opening of the package (or clicking agree, etc) is the acceptance.

    But since I actually own my copy of the text, nothing can make me sign the EULA, so I can read the text all I like.
    Now, could an author not shrink wrap a book and require that you agree to a contract before reading it? I think that this is possible, though it would take a rather eccentric author/publisher to do this. However, if this is the case, then there is nothing different between books and software in this respect. It so happens that software companies include a contract, but book publishers do not. The reasons for this would be historical, and also because software often makes use of ideas that are patented, thus the contract must grant a patent license for the use of the software.
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  10. #100
    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal opinion, but I think that the cause and effect is reversed: you do not actually own the copy of the software on the medium because you agreed to a EULA that is actually a contract. Your payment for the software is the consideration, your opening of the package (or clicking agree, etc) is the acceptance.
    No, I don't think so. The important action here is going to the store and buying the software/book. There is an implicit contract in doing so, between you and the store. The content of this contract for a book is that you now own the copy of the text. The content of this contract for software is that I bought usage rights for the copy of the software, which I don't actually buy. (It is supplied - rented out, so to say - as part of the contract.)
    I'm not sure why these differences are implicitly there. It may be because it's accepted practice. It may be because some law actually regulates it. It may be because of the note on the package saying that the usage of the software is subject to the included EULA. Note, though, that for example in Russia it used to be (not sure if it still is) that the typical software practice was not actually possible, and that you actually owned the copy of the software you bought. This implied that the EULA was not legally binding. The cracker who routinely cracked the copy protections on Adobe software successfully used this fact as a legal defense - since he wasn't bound by the EULA, the restriction on reverse-engineering didn't apply to him.

    Incidently, because I make payment before actually reading and agreeing to the EULA, stores are required to take back (with full refund) any software if I say that I don't agree to the license, assuming that I didn't do anything with the software except what is necessary to read the EULA.

    That is correct and it backs up my point: usage rights, beyond public performance and display, are covered by patent law, not copyright law.
    Well, there's the usage of the copyrighted work, and the usage of a patented idea. Those are different things, so I don't think the term "beyond" is applicable.

    The reasons for this would be historical, and also because software often makes use of ideas that are patented, thus the contract must grant a patent license for the use of the software.
    Depends on the country, of course. There are very few software patents that managed to sneak through the European patent office, so very, very little software is covered by any of them.
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  11. #101
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    The important action here is going to the store and buying the software/book. There is an implicit contract in doing so, between you and the store. The content of this contract for a book is that you now own the copy of the text.
    I agree.

    The content of this contract for software is that I bought usage rights for the copy of the software, which I don't actually buy. (It is supplied - rented out, so to say - as part of the contract.)
    I'm not sure why these differences are implicitly there. It may be because it's accepted practice. It may be because some law actually regulates it. It may be because of the note on the package saying that the usage of the software is subject to the included EULA.
    Yes, but my point here is that "the contract is the law". Because of this implicit difference (though I think they tend to be explicit in software EULAs, heh), there is a difference between software and books, but other than that, they would actually be the same in this respect.

    Note, though, that for example in Russia it used to be (not sure if it still is) that the typical software practice was not actually possible, and that you actually owned the copy of the software you bought. This implied that the EULA was not legally binding. The cracker who routinely cracked the copy protections on Adobe software successfully used this fact as a legal defense - since he wasn't bound by the EULA, the restriction on reverse-engineering didn't apply to him.
    Sounds interesting. Where can I read up on this?

    Well, there's the usage of the copyrighted work, and the usage of a patented idea. Those are different things, so I don't think the term "beyond" is applicable.
    Yes, they are different things, but a patent holder can restrict the usage of a work not under his or her copyright if it embodies his or her patented idea.
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  12. #102
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elysia View Post
    Although in US, there's the Digital Millennium Something law that prohibits you from cracking the copyright protection on certain DVDs, which is necessary to create a backup.
    In all, that would make it illegal to make any kinds of backup on those DVDs, no?
    Well, first of all, just because it's illegal doesn't mean there aren't reasons to do it. A copy doesn't replace a physical DVD, and you shouldn't sell a DVD that you've copied and you shouldn't copy rentals (because it damages them) but it's handy to have an archived copy so that you can replace what you've purchased if it gets scratched. And some people are just pack rats.

    But, it's a legal conundrum. Critics have argued successfully that knee-jerk legislation like the the DMCA conflict with existing copyright laws. However it's still on the books, so while in virtually every other medium archival copies are expressly legal, it is not the same for production DVD. Your legal defense would consist of reconciling the DMCA with existing copyright law, but I personally would recommend a settlement.

    If you're private about it you can probably get away with archiving production DVDs in America, since circumventing protection methods is easy these days (it's the reason you can watch DVDs on Linux). Even as people complain, lawsuits brought by the RIAA and the MPAA usually involve the really guilty -- the people who are uploading content.

  13. #103
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by citizen View Post
    you shouldn't copy rentals (because it damages them)
    That is complete and utter bull.........
    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. #104
    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    Speaking of the DMCA, this is probably interesting:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...18/BU71052.DTL

    Can't find anything on the case of the serial cracker - Google results are too obscured by actual keygens and cracks.
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  15. #105
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    I'm honestly still not convinced turning software into an object while retaining original copyrights is not possible or isn't going to put more pressure on the download side.

    I'm certainly missing something of the whole discussion we had here, because none of the arguments seemed to address the fact it is indeed possible to criminalize the download of illegal copies without that necessarily meaning a witch hunt on downloaders. More a determent and the official acknowledgment that downloading illegal software is a criminal act that can in theory led to prosecution.

    Castles in clouds and marshmallows aren't simply convincing me. Not that you are obliged to do so, but I would prefer other type of arguments.
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    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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