What's your opinion on intellectual property?

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Registered User
I used to agree with the anti-piracy mindset, however after thinking of real-life analogues to digital piracy I find it absurd.

For example - let's say you legally purchased a painting from an art exhibit. You then xeroxed it and gave a copy to your friends; and afterwards the artist tried to sue your friends claiming they "stole" his painting. That seems absurd to me.

Or if a car dealership legally sold you a car, but told you you aren't allowed to let anyone else drive it but yourself, or else you'll be sued for 6 figure amounts.

To me the only difference in what's actually being done is that the person is copying and sharing it online, and with a lot more people, as opposed to just sharing it with a few people they know personally. (Obviously I'm not talking about instances in which something was illegally leaked online - I'm talking about instances in which a person legally purchased music, DVDs, etc and then shared them online).

Sure it's definitely worth taking into account that this action might harm the musicians, directors, etc by causing them to lose money (especially in the case of independent artists) - however the arguments against it seem more to be based on what the end result of the activity is, rather than whether or not the action really amounts to theft.

What is your view on this?



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It's hard, because me and a musician friend were talking about this. I've had some things bought on Amazon that didn't come to me. Quick explanation - I published a CD/Book/Play, etc., and within minutes there are already "used" and "new" that's always cheaper, which I'm sure are Amazon people disguised and cutting into my profits. I'm waiting for my new royalty check to raise hell. Part of me thinks "Well, I might not be getting $3.57, but someone is reading or listening to my work, which is the entire purpose."

As long one isn't making money off pirated stuff... I also think if a band is being downloaded by millions, they're probably already doing well. I might have downloaded a few songs by a band, but then I spend a lot more in concerts, etc etc...



Registered User
It's hard, because me and a musician friend were talking about this. I've had some things bought on Amazon that didn't come to me. Quick explanation - I published a CD/Book/Play, etc., and within minutes there are already "used" and "new" that's always cheaper, which I'm sure are Amazon people disguised and cutting into my profits. I'm waiting for my new royalty check to raise hell. Part of me thinks "Well, I might not be getting $3.57, but someone is reading or listening to my work, which is the entire purpose."

As long one isn't making money off pirated stuff... I also think if a band is being downloaded by millions, they're probably already doing well. I might have downloaded a few songs by a band, but then I spend a lot more in concerts, etc etc...
Interesting thoughts.

I'm more concerned whether or not the act really qualifies as stealing.

To me the mindset that it doesn't matter if it's stealing if "they don't need the money" doesn't cut it - it really hinges on what's being done.



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I think Michael Moore brought up the idea of someone renting or buying a video, letting someone borrow it. That person could record it as well to keep for their personal collection. I think it's tough to draw a line in the sand - so this should make a good discussion. It does seem like artistic property is the kind of property that isn't respected enough - by the industry or the masses.

I think I'm going to go steal a car.



I used to agree with the anti-piracy mindset, however after thinking of real-life analogues to digital piracy I find it absurd...What is your view on this?
I would never download a brand new movie. I do watch old movies online. There are 10,000s of movies that are legal to watch online.

12 Free Ways to Watch Movies Without Breaking the Law



I could tell you, but I'm afraid you'd read it whenever you felt like it without having paid for it.
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I've downloaded movies illegally that I have then gone on to purchase a real, honest copy of. These would be films that at the time I wouldn't have seen in the first place as baulked at paying for them sight unseen and have been proven wrong about, so I content myself in the knowledge that if it wasn't for piracy, those sales would never have happened. Additionally, there is no substitute for good press, so word of mouth, regardless of its original source (be it legal or illegal) is not bad for a good film/album/whatever. Would the artists in question rather it was seen/heard for free or not seen/heard at all?



The painting analogy isn't quite correct; the friends are getting something that is different and obviously inferior to the original whereas with a high-quality illegal download, you are getting what you would get if you bought the DVD/bought a legal digital copy. Also with the car, you own it; anyone else driving it would just be borrowing it- they wouldn't be owning it. Also the car isn't really an intellectual property; it would be the design of the car.


I do think that the risk balances out; people who watch illegally but then like the movie often go out and buy a DVD/BluRay copy. People are less likely to take a punt on something that they haven't seen before; as long as they are getting something inferior to the main product (thus motivating them to buy it), I don't see it as a bad thing.
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stevegotlen's Avatar
The Terminator
I download movies illegally I admit to it. Why? Because if something is available to you in DVD quality already for free, why should i spend some bucks for it?



Would the artists in question rather it was seen/heard for free or not seen/heard at all?
This is a false choice, and not a choice you're actually giving them, anyway.

I download movies illegally I admit to it. Why? Because if something is available to you in DVD quality already for free, why should i spend some bucks for it?
Pretty sure this is the real reason people do it, yeah. Everything else is just a rationalization.



I download movies illegally I admit to it. Why? Because if something is available to you in DVD quality already for free, why should i spend some bucks for it?


Generally DVDs do have special features so there is some reason why people might go for a DVD- or if they want the film on BluRay.



Registered User
Pretty sure this is the real reason people do it, yeah. Everything else is just a rationalization.
True, but it's also the reason that a person would watch a movie lent to them in person by a friend instead of declining the offer and going out and purchasing it themself.

In the case of downloads I don't see any difference in the action above, and in downloading the movie - the only difference is that it's done online, and that it's being lent out to many more people than a person could in "real life".

The actual "property" however is the physical DVD, CD, etc with the movie or music on it - if this property is purchased legally and lent out to someone then I don't see how this is equatable to "stealing".

So yeah, the reason that people download or accept anything for free is because they don't want to pay for it, however whether or not they need to rationalize it or not is contingent on whether the action is actually "stealing" to begin with, which is what my concern here is.



Registered User
The painting analogy isn't quite correct; the friends are getting something that is different and obviously inferior to the original whereas with a high-quality illegal download, you are getting what you would get if you bought the DVD/bought a legal digital copy
My concern here is whether the action amounts to stealing or not.

To me the anti-piracy mentality is based too much on the "end result" of the action (ex. causing artists to lose money) than what type of action is actually being done.

For example, let's say an talented artist bought a painting and painted a nearly identical copy, which he gave to a friend for free. Should the painting's original artist be able to sue the friend and claiming he "stole" his work because he didn't pay for it?

Now claiming the idea as mine and attempting to profit from it (ex. copyright violation) is a different situation, but I'm talking about simple copying/sharing, rather than profiting off of someone else's ideas.



The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible
I download movies illegally I admit to it. Why? Because if something is available to you in DVD quality already for free, why should i spend some bucks for it?
Because it's somebody's job! Try to go to your doctor and ask him for a free surgery! If it goes well, you promise him you will talk about it to your friends so he has more clients but you won't pay him! Strange, isn't it?



The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible
My concern here is whether the action amounts to stealing or not.

To me the anti-piracy mentality is based too much on the "end result" of the action (ex. causing artists to lose money) than what type of action is actually being done.

For example, let's say an talented artist bought a painting and painted a nearly identical copy, which he gave to a friend for free. Should the painting's original artist be able to sue the friend and claiming he "stole" his work because he didn't pay for it?

Now claiming the idea as mine and attempting to profit from it (ex. copyright violation) is a different situation, but I'm talking about simple copying/sharing, rather than profiting off of someone else's ideas.
You're copying someone's intelectual property, that is steal, no matter if you profit from it or not!



Registered User
Because it's somebody's job! Try to go to your doctor and ask him for a free surgery! If it goes well, you promise him you will talk about it to your friends so he has more clients but you won't pay him! Strange, isn't it?
Poor argument, because you're not focusing on whether the action is actually stealing - you're just arguing that "if everyone did it they'd lose money".

But if a scientist invented a robot which performed surgeries for free, it might be true that "if everyone used it then surgeons would go out of business" - but that doesn't mean that the scientist or the people making use of the robot are "stealing" anything.



Registered User
You're copying someone's intelectual property,

that is steal,
Based on what? Natural law, or simply the law of ink and pen.

I see no natural law basis for ownership of an "idea" - to me the only thing you "own" is the physical DVD or CD with the music or films on it - you can't legally "own" something which isn't a piece of physical property.

Basically you're equating "depriving" someone of potential profits with "depriving" them of something which they actually physically own.

There aren't really any accurate "real life" equivalents to piracy.

The best equivalent however would be if a scientist invented a "cloning machine" which could duplicate anything he wanted (ex. meaning instead of buying a new Camaro at a dealership, he could just "zap" it and make a free copy).

However equating this to someone actually stealing a Camaro out of the dealership lot seems absurd to me.

no matter if you profit from it or not!
Are you sure your avatar's public domain? lol jk



How about the flip side of this argument?

How many times have you paid to watch a movie, whether it was in the movie theater, on DVD, on PPV, etc. and hated it, but you didn't get your money back? There's no return policy on movies if you don't like them, so why should people have to pay for something that they hated?



I watch like 70% of the stuff I watch for free. I think it results in a net gain in cash for the industry. The only movie last year that I didn't spend money on that I would have if I didn't watch it free was Big Hero 6. List of 2014 movies that I spent money on in some form after a free watch: The Lego Movie, Selma, Nightcrawler, Gone Girl, Into The Woods. I also don't believe in purchasing foreign films. If I buy Akira for 15 dollars from Amazon, about 40 cents are actually going to Japan. The rest is prepaid in royalties and distribution rights. That money goes to Amazon, not the filmmakers. I don't have any moral problems with it.



Registered User
How about the flip side of this argument?

How many times have you paid to watch a movie, whether it was in the movie theater, on DVD, on PPV, etc. and hated it, but you didn't get your money back? There's no return policy on movies if you don't like them, so why should people have to pay for something that they hated?
Guess that depends on whether or not a movie's the equivalent of a "hard good" like a car, or a "consumable" good like a candy bar.