Over at the Pirate Party of New Zealand website (where I am now a guest blogger, yo ho ho!), the Pirates outline their core policy. Contrary to what you might expect, the Pirates support copyright laws. Here is what they say about copyright.
Because we see copyright as a legal right, not a moral right, we think it should be up to individual societies to democratically decide whether to implement copyright law, and if so, to what extent. The long title of the Statute of Anne 1709 (widely regarded as the beginning of modern copyright law) describes the statute as being for “the Encouragement of Learning” (British Copyright Act, 1709). Similarly, the stated aim of the provision for copyrights and patents in the USA constitution is “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts” (USA Constitution, art. I, sec. 8, cl. 8). The Pirate Party believes that modern copyright law is more restrictive than necessary to serve this purpose, and that the purpose could actually be better served by less restrictive law.
So copyright is for “the Encouragement of Learning”. But we have state education for that!
So copyright is also “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts”. But we have the Ministry of Science and Innovation for that, and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage!
It would seem that “the Encouragement of Learning” and the promotion of “the Progress of Science and useful Arts” are already more than well catered for by big government with at least three separate ministries with all their ministers, associate ministers and associated minions.
So we don’t need copyright laws!
38 thoughts on “Why we don’t need copyright laws”
I agree, we don’t need copyright laws.
I just realised “copyright” is a misnomer – it’s really “copy prohibition”.
Can you make the case that copy prohibition laws are unjust?
I think we do need them. If a man spends his life writing a novel, it is theft for some publisher to simply run off a million copies and make a zillon dollars… without the authors permission… or to put his own name on the cover and claim he authored the work! And this same principle applies across the board with other inventions.
Like the voting age… I believe their ought to be an arbitrary time frame to such a copy write before it becomes ‘Public domain’. I think the augments used against the patenting of ‘Ideas’ are a typical example of the ‘materialist’ mindset that does not acknowledge *Non-material realities* as property.
Thus as I see the Patents office as legitimate wing of the state, the same as the office where property titles are held and so…It (The state) is not ‘regulating trade’ or ‘granting monopolies’ but legitimately protecting property rights from theft and fraud…which is it’s proper function.
And as we would abollish the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture and Heretage, I know you are taking the Piss here Richard.
“Need” is not a justification for laws.
Copyright laws might be useful without being unjust.
IP laws are patently unjust.
Reed, are you distinguishing between copyright laws and IP laws for any good reason?
Can *you* make the case that copy prohibition laws are unjust?
Tim, I am not taking the piss.
The Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Science and Innovation, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage … AND the Intellectual Property Office … all of them should be gone by lunchtime.
Tim, copying is not theft.
Stephan Kinsella puts this very clearly when he says (in response to Mark Hubbard on SOLO)
and (in response to Lindsay Perigo on SOLO)
I can’t put it any more clearly than that.
Tim, if you think copying is theft then you had better practise what you preach and stop embedding YouTube clips of your favourite rock musicians.
Megaupload vs. YouTube
Try this one…
1) A punishment greater than the harm caused (or intended) is unjust.
2) There is no harm caused (or intended) by copying.
3) Therefore, any punishment for copying is unjust.
It may not be a good reason but ideas are a progression – each building on what goes before – any new idea is almost certain. Copyright isn’t the same in this respect.
I have been talking about this topic with my Wife Joy who is studying Contract Law.
And She pointed out the comon mistake that is made and that is that people like me assume material has been put into the public domain when aparantly it has not.
Yet youtube does remove stuff when there is a copy write issue so we may assume the artists we download off Youtube ‘like having their stuff on youtube because it promotes their interests… and so I have no ill conscience abot it.
If anything it is the person who puts the stuff on youtube whom is morraly accountible… not I. I am merely doing my legal thing… and there is nothing illigal as far as i know about me putting up youtube vids.
People like me assume super cheap full HD LCD flat panel TVs fell off the back of a truck when apparently they’re stolen. Yet the police do recover stolen goods when theft is reported so we may assume my super cheap 50″ full HD LCD flat panel TV is legit … and so I have no ill conscience about buying it from the dodgy-looking guy at the pub. If anything it is the guy at the pub who is morally accountable … not I! I am merely doing my legal thing … and there is nothing illegal as far as I know about buying a 50″ full HD LCD flat panel TV for $50.
Tim, do you really believe that unauthorised copying is theft?
I dont understand your comparison Richard. Youtube complies with copywrites.
They remove stuff that is an infringement. So I simply dont get what your on about. there is nothing unethical going on.
Tim, please read my post Megaupload vs. YouTube.
For example, The Verve uploaded their own Bitter Sweet Symphony to YouTube, and Queensryche uploaded their own Silent Lucidity (both via Vevo) so that’s OK. But someone called MofaFrisierer uploaded the Scorpions’ Wind Of Change and someone called DondeEstaLaFiesta uploaded Big City Life by Mattafix. I very much doubt that, in either of the latter two cases, permission of the respective artists was sought and subsequently given. So, technically and legally speaking, both uploads are most likely unauthorised copies. When you embed those videos, you are making further unauthorised copies. Simple as that. It may be the case that the artists concerned “don’t mind” but do you think it’s morally acceptable simply to assume that they don’t mind and that it’s quite OK to copy their stuff unless they go to the trouble of complaining to YouTube? And what if they do? The offending YouTube videos get taken down, and someone else re-uploads them the very next day. Have you ever looked for something on YouTube and NOT found it? I find 99% of whatever I look for. Do you honestly think that 99% of rock musicians are happy that I can listen to their stuff for free without ever paying them a cent? I don’t.
Unauthorised copying of copyright material deprives the copyright holder of royalty income that he would otherwise have received, that is theft.
The loss you are appealing to only exists under copyright law.
You can not appeal to that loss to establish copyright law.
Again I cant be responsible for what someone else does wrong.
I cant be expected to search out if songs on Youtube are legit or not Richard.
There is a code of ethics about posting videos, and they have a policy of removing videos that breach copy write… and they put up a notice when that happens and they ban the person who downloaded it.
You are making assumptions about the Scorpions and Matafix songs…and you err.
Here is a valid principle that Youtube fans apply…
The videos that Remain up may be assumed to have *tacit consent*… just as Laws that remain on the books through out the generations are said to be consented to because they have not been erased by the next generation.
This is how Youtube functions.
And as you well know its not a matter of ‘All unauthorized copying’ being theft.
‘That is childishly simplistic’
Even what Mark said is too broad… for eg If I buy an LP, and tape it for my car… that is *not theft* because I have bought the right listen to those songs when I bought the LP. As long as I am not running off copies for Sale or giving them away to my friends and family, i have no ill conscience about using My Turntable/cassette recording machine for the purpose for which I bought it.
When I ran my New Freeland Radio Show I was allowed to use any songs I liked because theRadio Station had a contract with the music industry and paid them royalties. If Youtube was a Pay site you would then have a choice to pay and use or simply not use if you dont want to pay… and so under those circumstances I would probably pay Youtube to be a member if it was not too high… or I simply would not be a member and would not post links to Youtube on my blogposts (Because I am *Not downloading* the songs Richard… but merely posting a link. I never take ‘possession’ of anything… I dont profit…. i dont ‘give anything away’ I am merely sharing a link.
What amazes me is that you guys seem to think its an ‘All or nothing situation’… and that is childish. There are ways that Material can be rightfully ‘owned’ and sold… yet still in many ways be ‘freely copied’… linked to etc.
… it’s not.
You are not merely sharing a link. When you listen to a song on YouTube, you have *downloaded* the song. How else could you listen to it otherwise? (It’s not saved as a file on your computer, but it is stored in your computer’s memory.) When you embed a YouTube video, the big play button in the middle might as well have written on it, ‘Click here to commit theft’.
Yes, you can. If someone offers you a 50″ full HD LCD flat panel TV for $50, you *are* expected to make a judgement call. If you get it wrong, you can be charged and convicted of receiving stolen goods. How is listening to a song on YouTube any different, Tim? Self-righteousness is a form of blindness!
Of course, Tim, I do not share your views on intellectual property (copyright, in this case). I self-righteously do not see unauthorised copying as theft. Rather, I see it as a case of disrespect and ingratitude towards the artists concerned – unless I show respect and gratitude. Perhaps by buying their CDs, DVDs or merchandise or paying to go to their gigs. Or, perhaps, by promoting their music on my blog. 😉
Reed, that is such an obvious point I’m at a loss to explain why I didn’t think of it already. Any ideas?!
Richard, I think the rights paradigm might be a handicap.
Any idea where the idea of rights originated? It’s not Christian.
I’ve copied my argument to solo for testing.
‘Rights’ of various description, are comon to many cultures Richard, yet *Inalienable rights of individuals* are of Christian origin derived directly from Christian Theism.
I will concede your point regarding ‘downloading’ rather than posting a link, as I am not familiar with how computers/ the internet works. yet this concession changes nothing, and so still I reject all your arguments Richard, for the reasons I have already stated. I could present a raft of other considerations on top yet don’t see any need to flog a dead horse.
Reed, doesn’t the commandment “Thou shalt not steal” presuppose property rights?
Tim, I reject all your excuses! (But I enjoy listening to your YouTube choices! … even the BeeGees!)
BTW Tim, I heard a guy from the recoding industry on the radio some months ago explain that it is actually illegal in NZ to format transfer (e.g. transfer a CD to an ipod) but he gave a reassurance that people would not be prosecuted for trivial breaches.
Which comment of mine are you addressing, my comment on rights or my syllogism?
I have been thinking about this issue long and hard, weighing up your arguments and accusations… as the last thing I wish is to be a blatant hypocrite… which is a heinous sin.
If I was to accept your arguments as valid rest assured that I would cease to ‘Download’ Vids and pictures with my blogposts.
That would be the obvious solution… yet contemplating that actually cements my belief that I am right and that you are wrong… and that If I ceased to ‘Download’ Vids and Pictures I would be falling into the very trap that the governments of the world are attempting to use to restrict Internet Freedom.
Lets be honest. Governments dont give a rats anus about ‘Private property rights’… nor do they loose a minutes sleep if some capitalist does not receive his dues in full. Thus we can be certain the only reason they hassle guys like Dot Com is because they want to regulate the internet both for *Power* and *Loot*… and they are using the idea of intellectual property as mere *Pretext* for usurping power over the net… and they have no compunction about sacrificing a few souls to achieve their ignoble ends.
*Now You react to this threat to freedom by denying Intellectual property rights*
… thus you have bought into the States false Dichotomy… as if such property rights are a threat to Legitimate Freedom.
Nay saith I.
I say that Freedom and property rights can coexist!
Legitimate Freedom is not Lawlessness.
Thus though we know that The State has evil intent, that in itself does not nullify the legitimate need to have Laws that distinguish legitimate Freedom, from theft, etc. Thus we ought to concentrate on seeing ‘Good legislation’ being enacted, and be on guard against tyrannical and rapacious powers. (Needing permission etc)
I do think this internet situation is one of those examples we talked about regarding the shape of the Justice system in ‘New Freeland’ where a *special Court* may needed to manage the Law regarding what is legitimate free access, and what is theft, etc.
My arguments that I have already presented regarding Pay sites, regarding Codes of ethics for ‘posters’, Regarding assuming Tacit consent, etc all hold good, yet I do believe there is also a need for prosecution of internet crimes.
And I am prepared to submit to the ‘good rules’ myself, and don’t see them as a threat to my legitimate liberty. Thus if I am ever found to have intentionally ‘stolen’ something by downloading it, I am prepared to go to court…pay a fine, whatever… I don’t see how there could be a Law that prohibited me from embedding a vid or downloading a picture, that was on a free site that had ‘Embed’ available. (this is not at all like buying fenced Goods from a Thug in a back alley… Your comparison is seriously flawed… Its more like shopping on Trade me… thus the crime is committed by the person who puts the stolen item up on the web… not the bargin hunter )
In this instance I would say if there was a crime to be answered, the prosecution ought to go after the thief… not the innocent person who was simply enjoying/ using the internet… with no ill intent… as it is intended to be used.
Thus I believe basic Precidents need to be established… eg I would assume clear copyright symbols need to be visible on all copyright Materials vids/pics , and ‘Common sense’ applied (It is ridiculous to expect internet users to investigate everything they download ‘just in case’ it may be an illegal download.
That is an *impossibility*.
Good/ simple rules would actually protect both sides. The Property right holders, and the free users.
It is not as you seem to argue Richard a black and white choice between tyranny vs anarchy… with you picking Anarchy… and calling me ‘A tyrant and a hypocrite”!
These rules may disappoint some people, yet be just, and still allow legitimate liberty.
Thus I shall carry on… business as usual…
… doesn’t the commandment “Thou shalt not steal” presuppose property rights? If so, Christianity endorses the idea of rights, at least.
Tim, I am a philosopher. My job is to make you think long and hard. You have paid me the highest compliment. 🙂
Tim, I am a philosopher! My view that there is no such thing as IP is purely “academic”. It is not a reaction to any government threat. (You are charitable.) It is certainly not an after-the-fact rationalisation to excuse theft on my part. (Certain SOLOists are less than charitable. I have been called “a brazen thief,” and a “perfidious cunt.” Apparently, my name is “a synonym for moral botulism” and my view that there is no such thing as IP is “the looter morality in full, wide-screen technicolour.” Badges of honour, I collapse under your weight!)
My view that there is no such thing as intellectual property is not self-serving in the least. (If anything, it is the opposite.) My view that there is no such thing as IP is simply what I believe to be the truth of the matter. And I have presented my case.
Tim, I will concede these points. Grudgingly. Please read my post Megaupload vs. YouTube if you haven’t already done so.
No, if you were to accept *all* my arguments as valid, you would
What I have been trying to do is to use your own premises (which I do not accept) against you. To do so is to engage in a time-honoured, legitimate rhetorical practice. It is argumentum ad hominem in the traditional sense.
In physics electricity is thought of in terms of electron flow.
In electronics electricity is thought of in terms current flow.
Current flow and electron flow are essentially the same thing but viewed from opposite perspectives. Electrons flows -ve to +ve and current flows +ve to -ve.
Current flow is to electron flow what rights are to justice. I hope that makes sense to you.
The bible speaks of justice and not rights. I’m just curious to know where the rights paradigm originated.
Reed, Have you Read John Locke’s Two Treatises of Civil Government?
That is where Jefferson got his doctrine for The American Declaration of Independence. Rights are synomymous with Law… thus even Pre-European Maori Culture alocated certain ‘Rights’ to certain types of people.
*The Rights of Individuals as equals* comes from Protestant Christianity…specifically the teachings of St Paul.
Perhaps you can derive rights from what Paul said but Paul did not speak of rights AFAIK.
It is the Christian cosmology that underpins The God given inalienable Rights of individuals.
Reed, that makes perfect sense to me. But I disagree.
Current flow is to electron flow as rights are to obligations.
Are you familiar with the distinction between “thin” and “thick” moral concepts? Justice is a thick moral concept. Obligation is a thin moral concept. Even moral nihilists can believe in things like honesty, fairness and justice. But moral nihilists cannot believe in rights, obligations or good and evil.
I should know. I wish I did. (Tim is right, of course, about what underpins rights.)
There is too much to discuss from that last comment.
No, but I just looked it up on wikipedia.