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Why Money Doesn't Motivate File-Sharers

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the just-wanna-watch-tron dept.

Music 633

nk497 writes "File-sharers aren't motivated by financial gain, but by altruism, according to an economist. Joe Cox, of the Portsmouth Business School, said those uploading content for others to share don't see what they're doing as illegal, meaning current tactics to deter piracy are doomed to fail. 'The survey data suggested there was a deep-seated belief that this type of activity shouldn't be illegal, that there was no criminal act involved.'"

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633 comments

Duh? (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473480)

This is news? Did anyone think that file sharers were making money?

Re:Duh? (4, Informative)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473504)

This is news? Did anyone think that file sharers were making money?

The *IAAs do. That was the basis of the pirate bay case.

Re:Duh? (5, Insightful)

choko (44196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473720)

The IAAs can't fathom why a person would do ANYTHING unless they are being paid for their work. There is a fundamental difference in philosophy here. These are the same people that think everyone is motivated by the same greed that they are.

Re:Duh? (3, Interesting)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474116)

ObStarTrek reference:

Think Ferengi. Altruism is criminal, or insane, or both. Not turning a profit on any transaction is Against The Ferengi Way.

That's the *AA for you.

Re:Duh? (5, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474178)

I put this post up before with a few more spelling mistakes but I think it might fit this topic too...

You know I sometimes wonder if the world would be a richer or poorer place without copyright, plenty of things would be different certainly and those who make their money from the current system will of course tell you the world would be a poorer, worse off world for it.

It's almost taken as a given that the world would have less creativity without copyright but I do wonder.

If the chef at your local restaurant had to pay royalties whenever he used a recipe published by a celebrity chef would you have a tastier and more enjoyable meal?
What if he risked being sued into the ground if he created a derivative work by altering the recipe slightly without a license?
or would you just have a more bland, unoriginal, uninspired and ultimately vastly more expensive meal?

If your hairdresser had to pay royalties whenever some kid comes in with a magazine picture and says they want their hair to "look like that".
Would everyone have far more interesting hairstyles or would it just cost far more and see people getting sued for doing their own hair at home in a copyrighted style?

Both these things are creative and also involve a skill much like storytelling or playing a musical instrument and in both cases I've heard of people trying to get copyright protections extended to cover them.

Imagine a world where in the 17th century someone had decided that recipes and cooking should fall under copyright along with books.
You can be sure that were someone to call for it's repeal 300 years later there would be no lack of "professional recipe composers" who would talk about how much work they put into working out new recipes and the time and effort it takes and how we're bad people for implying that they haven't worked hard and that they somehow don't deserve a cut whenever someone follows their recipes.

of course in a world where we're all free to take someone elses recipe, use it, copy it, publish it or even claim it as our own we know very well that fuck all harm has been done to the industry for the lack of legal protection on such creativity.
We live in a world where everyone has family recipes but hardly anyone has family music.

In a world where such legal protections existed and nobody ever knew such an open and unprotected situation as we have in this world it would be very easy to claim that there would be no creativity, no well paid chefs and that setting up a kitchen would be pointless since someone else would just copy the chefs recipes.

Similarly it's taken almost as a given that the world would have less good books, less good stories and less origionality without copyright but try questioning that even for a moment.

Of course someone is going to complain that composing and cooking a good meal can't be compared to composing and playing a good piece of music because..... well just because!

Who knows, the flip side of my argument is that perhaps if recipes had been made copyrightable 300 years ago and someone could charge you money every time you used their recipe there would have been more investment in automatic food preparation(for the sake of consistency, avoiding unintentionally creating unlicensed derivative works and accounting of who has used what recipe) and we'd all have autocooks like we all have MP3 players and every meal would be up to the standards of a master cheff.

Re:Duh? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473512)

Yeah - this is news to some people, which just confirms how out of touch many government and business leaders are.

I think it's safe to say that as much as they've tried, people can see that file sharing causes no harm. I don't think it's anything new that people ignore laws with no underpinnings in reality.

Re:Duh? (2)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473654)

I can see how file sharing does harm some. The issue is, as I see it, the entities it does harm are greedy and have been screwing us for years. Unfortunately the little people, ("artist", "developers", etc..) are the ones getting caught in the cross hairs.
If I buy a piece of music I should be allowed to share it with my wife, so the fact that the *IAA comes out and says, "No your wife also needs to buy a copy of that to listen to it", only infuriates me and makes me see sharing as a cause.

I'm a developer, but I love what I do, I want people to use my software and am paid on salary. If I was paid a minimal amount per-copy of my software sold, I might be a little more upset when I find one of my applications on a torrent site. However, my company doesn't make money off my software, they make money of the results of it, so people sharing the application I wrote makes my company money.

Re:Duh? (3, Insightful)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473662)

I'm pretty sure it's the file sharers who are out of touch if they don't see what they're doing as illegal.

You can't make something legal by wishing it. These aren't fairies we're talking about here. you're not going to clap your hands and have tinkerbell drop legal blu-ray rips into your lap.

If you believe that the current model is outdated, You can lobby. you can vote. you can inform. you can raise awareness. you can debate. but just ignoring the fact that it's illegal doesn't make it legal.

Re:Duh? (5, Insightful)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473736)

When a law makes illegal something that a significant number of people do and don't see as wrong, that is a problem with the law, not the people breaking it. Indeed, such laws should continue to be broken.

Re:Duh? (3, Insightful)

jejones (115979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473916)

How would that notion apply to the Civil Rights Act of 1964? The whole point of the US government is that there are checks and balances even against the people. It shouldn't be possible to deprive people of their rights just because a significant number of people think it proper.

Re:Duh? (-1, Troll)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474128)

What the fuck is wrong with you?

you just stated: "what's wrong with a dictatorship?"

This is a democracy. if the majority of people agree on something, THAT IS THE LAW.

Re:Duh? (4, Informative)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474254)

Actually, no, this is a Republic, not a democracy (assuming "this" refers to the United States).

And no, this is not "majority rule". The US Constitution is specifically designed to protect the interest and rights of the minority, OVER majority rule.

Sorry, were you trolling with intentional errors?

Re:Duh? (2)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474130)

I agree with what you wrote, the problem is of course that the government currently grants an unreasonable amount of power/rights to copyright holders. Until that is fixed, such silly laws that allow for millions in damages for sharing a few songs should be rightfully ignored and broken.

Re:Duh? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474246)

It is possible to deprive people of their rights because a significant number think it is proper. Whether it should be that or way or not is immaterial. That's why it took so much time and effort to get things to where they are now in regards to civil liberties and why we still have so far to go. We wouldn't be where we are if it weren't for the fact that more people wanted change than didn't.
 
In the case of file sharing the situation is flipped. No one but a very small group who derive gross benefit from restricting file sharing want it stopped.

Re:Duh? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34474168)

Umm, no. When the law is "don't step on the grass in the park" I'll give you that. When the law is "don't steal stuff", having a lot of people think it's OK does not make it alright to just break it.

Like it or not, there's no difference between walking into a 7-11 and stealing a 99 cent candy bar than there is pulling the latest 99 cent song of choice off of The Pirate Bay. They are both taking something that has a set value for nothing, and it's real hard to argue that shoplifting is OK.

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34474280)

You've walked into that age-old argument whether or not file-sharing is stealing. The 7-11 has to buy the candy bar before anyone can steal it. But downloading a digital copy of a song takes just that, a copy. Not the original, and the only loss to anyone is the record label who lost a potential sale, but that would imply the person downloading would even buy the song otherwise, which isn't always the case.

Re:Duh? (4, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473744)

I'm pretty sure it's the file sharers who are out of touch if they don't see what they're doing as illegal.

No, it's just more evidence that our so-called "representative government," well... isn't.

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473762)

Clearly you haven't looked at how governments work - they encounter some situation where they can't do what they want because it is illegal or something they don't like is legal and hey presto just by wishing it they make a new law.

Just because they have the power doesn't make them right...

Re:Duh? (2)

zeroshade (1801584) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473768)

True, you are correct that just ignoring the fact that it's illegal doesn't make it legal. However, there are two driving forces that enable laws to work, 1) fear of punishment (vs risk of getting caught) and 2) the moral belief that what is illegal should actually be illegal. If the risk of getting caught for something is very very low, the only thing that makes people obey a law is that they believe it is wrong and that it should be illegal. If the majority of people believe that something that is illegal shouldn't be illegal and there is very little chance of being caught, then they aren't going to respect the law and will not follow it.

It's a case of psychology. not to mention that if a law criminalizes a majority of the population, it can't possibly be a good law.

Re:Duh? (2)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474044)

It's a case of psychology. not to mention that if a law criminalizes a majority of the population, it can't possibly be a good law.

Well, with the possible exception of civil rights laws, as someone else pointed out, I agree.

My line of thinking is that just sitting at home DOING it isn't likely to get anything changed given the opposition.

I have the utmost respect for people like the pirate party. These people are putting money, their reputations, and possibly even their livelihood, where their mouth is.

Re:Duh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34474182)

I'll play devil's advocate. Because a group of people band together with similar ideals or their ideals change because it benefits them in some way does not mean they are not in the wrong. It is one thing to argue the ideals of freedom under a tyrannical government but a totally different scenario when comparing tyranny to "I can't afford this so I'll download a copy of the music digitally because it's "free"." They aren't the same fight.

As I've become older and have more cash I tend to have less issue spending it on single tracks or games through steam. However, I still have major qualms with iTunes (no simple way to move music from one machine to another even though I purchased all the music with the same account) and the other restrictions placed on what I've purchased. You *don't* have restrictions on making a backup copy of a CD and you should not of the digital version either. There are all of these arbitrary mandates on how to use the digital files even though as soon as that CD is in digital format you have the *exact* same type of file. The music should be a vanilla file, just as ISPs should be dumb pipes. The song should not care whether I play it in iTunes, Winamp, a burned CD to play in a CD player in my car, an Ipod, a Zune, etc.

I do believe there is a fundamental difference between arbitrarily sharing music and downloading songs for one's personal use; however that then becomes the question of the chicken in the egg as you cannot have one without the other. The thing is music sharing is like terrorism cells. If you cut off what you *think* is the head another grows in it's place. It is a war that has no ending regardless of the price paid during the war. Both sides see themselves as in the right.

My personal belief is that the RIAA and MPAA need to be dismantled. They are no longer needed and basically just middlemen. While it would initially put a lot of people out of work, in the long term they would all find jobs elsewhere in their respective positions or higher. The thing is the recording industry has always been out to screw the artists even before Ray Charles or Johnny Cash. While many artists may not have the initial business acumen they can get someone who does and they eventually learn over time.

Re:Duh? (1)

disi (1465053) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473898)

Sure you can, if you can gather enough people with the same idea.

The rules are made to make our living better in a society and not to increase profit for some companies.
Laws can be changed... unfortunately that doesn't happen too often.

Re:Duh? (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474010)

Laws are not changed by people sitting at home doing nothing proactively towards changing the laws, which is what my point was.

The FA basically says "file sharers don't think it's illegal", when it very obviously is. It's probably worded poorly, it probably should say "file sharers don't WANT it to be illegal", in which case there is a long road ahead with some entrenched foes.

Re:Duh? (0)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473902)

People are brought being told again and again and again that sharing is good and that they should share their things with each other.

And then they grow up and get in trouble for doing what is lauded elswhere in life.
and to make it even more absurd it's when they're sharing things which are infinitely sharable where nobody is deprived of anything by the sharing.

The problem is that copyright law does not flow smoothly from anything natural in human psychology nor in normal human society.
Humans share music, stories and culture like they breath, it's as if the drive is built in at a low level of the human brain.

Copyright is an awkward legal hack put in place to keep book publishers happy hundreds of years ago and it remains an ugly hack.

Re:Duh? (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473986)

Where are you getting the idea that they don't think it's illegal? Illegal and wrong are not one in the same.

Re:Duh? (2)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474100)

Where are you getting the idea that they don't think it's illegal? Illegal and wrong are not one in the same.

let me check

Joe Cox, of the Portsmouth Business School, said those uploading content for others to share don't see what they're doing as illegal

^ right there.

Re:Duh? (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473996)

You can lobby. you can vote. you can inform. you can raise awareness. you can debate.

Yeah, those have worked really well as a counter to the extremely well-funded, well connected campaign being run by the RIAA/MPAA. Just look at how the government is scrambling to amend laws and scale back corporate power.

Dude, weren't you 15 at one point ? (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474084)

Or did you jump from 0 year old to 21 year old full aware of all law and implication ? Many 16 year old actually don't even KNOW that sharing is illegal. Heck long ago when I told somebody of my middle school that mass replicating K7 and giving them to friends is illegal, they panicked and destroyed the K7. No kidding. try to place yourself in otehr people shoe, and you will realize that SOME people can very well not know sharing is illegal, without having their head in sand.

Re:Dude, weren't you 15 at one point ? (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474206)

Yes they do. As others have pointed out the RIAA/MPAA have made it VERY obvious that it's illegal. It's the same as them "not knowing" that cigarettes are bad for you. How did you miss the infomercials? You knew, you just thought it didn't matter.

I was into the warez scene when I was 14 and I damn right knew it was illegal. I just didn't care.

There's a big difference between not knowing and not caring. "Kids" just don't care because they have the "I'm impervious to harm" mentality.

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34474244)

I'm pretty sure it's the file sharers who are out of touch if they don't see what they're doing as illegal.

They don't understand why the sellers can use one copy and sell it millions of times, with just a flick of a button, while they pay for everything from marketing to packaging and they get replicable software.

You can't make something legal by wishing it. These aren't fairies we're talking about here. you're not going to clap your hands and have tinkerbell drop legal blu-ray rips into your lap.

Yes you can.

If you believe that the current model is outdated, You can lobby. you can vote. you can inform. you can raise awareness. you can debate. but just ignoring the fact that it's illegal doesn't make it legal.

It is outdated. You can't lobby because you don't have money, you can vote, but with the government control over the media, they'll do whatever they want. We can and will inform people, we do raise awareness, and we debate.
the fact that it's illegal doesn't make it legal - some years ago, in a town a law was abolished, it stated that anyone found guilty of witchcraft would be burnt to the stake. Guess what, it was a large town, some people probably practised witchcraft there, but weren't punished. Why not? It's illegal, damn it!!!

The government exists to serve the people, not the other way around.

Re:Duh? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474252)

So - when we vote, inform, raise awareness, and debate the issues, and the only thing we can't do is Lobby because we don't have the money to contend with the *IAAs, where does that leave us?

Still Illegal? Probably.

We're not out of touch if we don't see what we're doing is illegal, its a matter of principle. There are a number of people who choose to file only a portion of their taxes - and then get audited the next year, and their explanation is usually along the lines of "I paid the taxes for roads, schools, welfare, health care. I didn't pay the taxes for the military, national defense, body scanners at the airport, and corporate bailouts. I'm not stealing from the government, I just didn't pay the full amount based on principle" (Yes I stole most of that from a movie, but it does an excellent job of summing it up).

I think you are the one who is out of touch if you don't see the problem. The laws are governed more by who has the most money - not by raising awareness - not by debating. Look at Proposition 19 in California (I'd rather not have THIS topic spur into another debate, I feel just bringing it up will result in a flood of replies about it). If you don't have the money, you don't make the laws. So even if a majority of the population does it, it can still be considered illegal.

That doesn't seem a bit wacky to you? A government run BY THE PEOPLE is essentially banning an activity that A MAJORITY of THE PEOPLE partake in? Seems entirely undemocratic.

Re:Duh? (1, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473854)

Harm...
1. It is now much harder for musicians to land recording contracts. Because music industry will only record big sellers as the other types would spread via file sharing.

2. Not respecting the license is a bad thing pirating software is just as bad as taking GNU software bundling it and not giving access to the source.

3. Distorts supply and demand and free market economy as it creates a high supply lowering the cost of the software. Meaning us professionals don't get paid alot.

Re:Duh? (2)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473980)

3. Distorts supply and demand and free market economy

How is it distortion though? It is definitely, provably, trivially easy today to make a nigh infinite number of perfect digital copies and distribute it to the masses for an order of magnitude less then it used to. Where are the savings that should be passed along to the customer now that the market has so radically changed? If anything, it is copyright lobbying and the media campaigns of the *IAAs that distort the reality of the free market.

On that note, I don't think anyway who supports 75+ years of copyright has any business bandying about the terms "free market" in the first place.

Re:Duh? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474118)

Point 1 is not harm, it's good. Have you looked at what the music industry does to artists with those contracts?
 
2 - it being "bad" doesn't constitute harm.
 
3 is wrong. There's no "supply" of digital files. The amount professionals get payed has nothing to do with file sharing. Your thinking seems to be following the logical error that shared files are equal to lost sales.

Re:Duh? (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474200)

1. It is now much harder for musicians to land recording contracts. Because music industry will only record big sellers as the other types would spread via file sharing.

The music industry was already signing big sellers long before anything like BitTorrent or Napster existed. The recording industry isn't interested in new and interesting and unique and talented individuals. They're interested in making money. They want artists with the widest appeal. They've never wanted niche artists.

Additionally, the notion that musicians should be profiting from pre-recorded offerings is a fairly new one. Traditionally musicians have made their money off of live performances. Which is still very possible.

Plus, digital distribution enables niche musicians to get the word out much easier. Somebody who never would have gotten a record deal can throw some MP3s on a website somewhere and drum up some interest. They may not make a lot of money off album sales, but they could drum up enough interest to sell a show or two.

Jonathan Coulton is a fantastic example of how digital distribution has enabled niche musicians to succeed.

2. Not respecting the license is a bad thing pirating software is just as bad as taking GNU software bundling it and not giving access to the source.

I will agree that you basically either get to respect copyright law or not... And if you aren't going to respect copyright law then the whole GPL thing kind of falls apart. That is true.

But the key difference is one of power dynamics.

The GPL tries to ensure that the person using the software has the freedom to modify and compile the code. It is an attempt to empower the individual.

The kind of copyright law that the RIAA is throwing around tries to ensure that the person listening to the music has no freedom at all.

3. Distorts supply and demand and free market economy as it creates a high supply lowering the cost of the software. Meaning us professionals don't get paid alot.

Digital distribution messes with supply and demand - not piracy.

Digital distribution means I can make billions of copies of something with basically no effort. Need another copy of Doom? Or Office 2007? Or AutoCAD? Just make a copy. Takes up some bandwidth... Maybe some space on a disk... Maybe you spend a dollar or two on a blank disc... But it's basically free. It isn't like trying to make another chair or desk or car - things that take real resources.

The fact that you can make copies for free means that it doesn't cost any more to make 1,000 copies of Office than it does to make 1 copy of office. That's what's messing with your supply and demand. Not piracy.

Even without piracy, you've basically got infinite supply.

Re:Duh? (2)

raddan (519638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473590)

Believe it or not, the study of incentives is a very hot topic at the moment, across a whole range of disciplines, including computer science. The reason? Large groups of people using the internet do not behave the way economists/game theorists expect, and for the first time, it is possible to measure these behaviors on a large scale. Online labor markets in particular would benefit from better models.

I have not yet read the article, but I suspect that the author is confusing 'altruism' with 'mutual benefit'.

For some it is (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473930)

For some it is. Just look at the chunk of the USA right wing that I like to call the Cult Of Psychopathy. The kind for whom everything is measured in money, is only motivated by money, justified by money (at least judging by the "but it makes money for the investors!!!" argument as trumping any other moral consideration and verily being the line that separates good from evil), etc. And for whom any kind of social arrangement that isn't defined by even sending each other a bill for calling the cops when you see the neighbour's home being broken in, is either some kind of oppressive statism, some godless nazi-communist-fascist threat (don't ask them to actually know what "nazi", "communism" or "fascism" actually are,) or both.

I'll bet that for some the thought of people doing _anything_ without sending someone a bill, is surprising as heck, scary as heck, or both.

Re:Duh? (4, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473946)

Did anyone think that file sharers were making money?

"Financial gain" != "making money". It can also mean "not spending money".

And yes, I do think that it is precisely what motivates the majority of file sharers in practice. Actually, that's what TFA says as well:

For the leechers, pretty obviously, the major motivation was financial. They wanted to acquire music or films without paying for it because it was cheaper than going out to buy it.

What was interesting was the difference with the seeders, and it was quite apparent that financial motivations were nowhere near as prevelant; it was a kind of altruism.

So most leechers (who make up the majority on any file sharing network) are, in fact, motivated by money. Most seeders are not, however (duh).

Not motivated by financial gain... (1, Informative)

boarder8925 (714555) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473492)

That's not the point of the media companies' campaigns against file-sharing and "piracy," though. Have you seen the FBI anti-copyright-infringement warnings? You can be punished whether or not you distribute copies of a copyrighted work for financial gain.

Re:Not motivated by financial gain... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473604)

Have you seen the FBI anti-copyright-infringement warnings?

What warnings?

Movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473668)

At the beginning of every movie and the fast forward and skip disabled, there is a FBI warning about copyright.

Which I look at and say, "Ooooooooo, I'm SOOOOO scared!" [youtube.com]

I then order my crew to take it and set sail.

Re:Movies (2)

netsavior (627338) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473806)

At the beginning of every movie and the fast forward and skip disabled, there is a FBI warning about copyright.

That's why I rip all of my DVDs to straight video files and/or prefer downloaded movies. They don't have 10 minutes of unskippable commercials/warnings, some stupid menu that takes 60 seconds to load, then a bunch of stupid "extra features" that my kid can accidentally select instead of the movie.
IMO if you watch a legit movie, you get a worse experience. I have downloaded movies which I own DVDs for, just because it was faster than ripping it myself, and I was tired of shitty dvd menus.

Re:Not motivated by financial gain... (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473764)

With the current wording and laws you can be arrested simply for playing a movie in the wrong device. Some devices (cheap DVD players and computer programs) don't necessarily have paid for a license to playback the media. Also, any device that copies the content into buffers is technically infringing. If you have HDMI or DVI outputs and need a converter you infringe by circumventing the encryption on those channels.

Even worse (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473812)

> You can be punished whether or not you distribute copies of a copyrighted work for financial gain.

Even worse, my understanding is that you are liable even if you had no knowledge that you were infringing. This is based on something posted by another Slashdotter, who pointed out that copyright infringement is a special kind of tort (I think it was a statutory tort), and that means that there is no defense based on not having the intention to infringe.

This puts your average citizen in the situation where countless things he does every day might end up costing him up to $150K in court (or paying O($1K) to settle out of court). Considering that copyright law is obtuse ("Patry on Copyright" runs 5,500 pages and sells for over $1K), it's clear that something is wrong. See the paper (PDF) "Infringement Nation [utah.edu] " by John Tehranian.

Re:Not motivated by financial gain... (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474196)

We know that's not the point as the media campaigns address it. The point in this article is: Will the campaigns be successful, given this motivation?
Let's say you are doing real charity - not giving away someone else's content, but giving your own money. Now someone who owns a check into cash business calls you a thief, because by making it softer for some poor person, they don't have to pay a bunch of check into cash fees. Do you believe them? Do you accept their moral premise, that they own their clientele and you are stealing those potential clients from them?
        Same here. Yes, there's a difference in how clear cut the issues are. That's real life for you - complex and sometimes ambiguous moral issues. The file sharers may not own the content, but Robin Hood didn't own what he gave the peasants either. The Sheriff of Nottingham never saw Robin Hood as anything other than just another thief. Do you think Robin Hood minded if a lackey of thieves like the Sheriff, working for a great thief like John the Bastard, called him a thief? The average file sharer thinks the media cartels have committed great crimes, and being called a thief by the media campaigns just enforces the Robin Hood syndrome.
        Now personally, I just boycott. I agree that the media have bent or broken a lot of laws, bought political actions, ignored other people's rights, and done a host of things that undermine their moral position. They've refused to recognise legitimate fair use, bribed politicians, failed utterly to comply with the spirit of the Constitution regarding copyright, vilified their opponents by comparing them to not just pirates and thieves but Jack the Ripper, and claimed that people like me don't exist (and that nobody is boycotting without being a thief), the list goes on and on. I don't think of what the RIAA or MPAA is doing as nearly the sort of massive thing Robin Hood faced in legends, with the legitimate government kidnapped in a back room deal with a foreign power, and armed thugs beating people, so I don't go to direct opposition. If the RIAA somehow starts using physical force, sending goons to kick down my doors and audit my PC files, then maybe I'll consider them worth Robin Hood style tactics.
          But make no mistake, this is one big set of crooks accusing other people of being small scale crooks, and most of those crooks don't think of themselves as just another guy who is passing around something that isn't really theirs, they think of themselves as Robin Hood.
        The article is pointing out that you can't shame Robin Hood into giving up. Prince John can't legitimately claim to have the moral high ground. Short of vicious reprisals against a Robin Hood's family, or very public executions, you can't stop him and his whole band of merry men, and according to legends, a new 'hero' always rises up in such cases.

Summary wrong (3, Insightful)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473522)

The interviewee says that uploaders don't think that what they're doing should be illegal, not that they aren't aware of the legal ramifications or that education about the law would suddenly change everything.

Re:Summary wrong (3, Insightful)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473538)

As opposed to saying "don't see what they're doing as immoral."

Re:Summary wrong (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473628)

The interviewee says that uploaders don't think that what they're doing should be illegal, not that they aren't aware of the legal ramifications or that education about the law would suddenly change everything.

As opposed to saying "don't see what they're doing as immoral."

As far as I can see "uploaders don't think that what they're doing should be illegal", and "uploaders don't see what they're doing as immoral" are exactly the same. I cant think of any circumstances where a reasonable person would think that the law should be immoral.

Re:Summary wrong (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474096)

There are plenty of reasons to outlaw things that are not, per se, immoral.

For example, it is not more moral to drive on the right side of the road. That was basically a random choice.

What we shouldn't do is outlaw things that don't cause harm, or risk causing harm, either to an individual or society, not that 'aren't immoral'.

Or, rather, we shouldn't outlaw things where the harm caused by the law is worse than the harm caused the act, which copyright is rapidly reaching. (And, for comparison, drug law reached in the 1980s.)

Re:Summary wrong (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473802)

If you read the whole sentence you're pointing out in the article they say

shouldn't be illegal, that there was no criminal act involved

The problem isn't the Slashdot summary but the article. They constructed a sentence that contains a logical contradiction. The survey respondents can't think that file sharing shouldn't be illegal and think that there isn't any criminal act since if they thought it shouldn't be illegal that would be it was a criminal act, and if they think there isn't any criminal act involved they they would think that it was legal and not that it shouldn't be illegal.

What about file shearing old games that are not fo (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473540)

What about file shearing old games that are not for sale anymore? and no used copy's on ebay does not count or even the old copy in the bargain bin at the store.

That's not about the money it's about letting you find old stuff.

Re:What about file shearing old games that are not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473576)

What about file shearing old games that are not for sale anymore?

...but might be sold again, for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_Anthology

Re:What about file shearing old games that are not (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473708)

And maybe that's the solution. There are some games so well loved that they will always be with us. But ALL video games will likely remain copyrighted for at least the next few dozen years. What we need is a regulation like you have for trademarks. Rather than actively using and actively defending your trademark, you just have to actively make the property available for sale if it's the kind of work that's for commercial sale. If it goes off the market in all forms for x years, then it loses copyright status. Or at the very least, becomes legal to copy.
 
It would be tough wording it right, but there's a whole world out there of copyrighted content locked away behind publishers who see their properties as too unprofitable to sell. Digital distribution should put an end to that unprofitability - but console gaming would have to allow for first-class developers to release games without the restrictions of pressed discs or wii-ware.

Re:What about file shearing old games that are not (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474090)

It'll be far more than dozen years. Under current US laws, Pong will remain covered by copyright until around 2067, and that's for the original arcade version. Any port of it will have some minor changes, and thus the copyright will be longer. We do need better laws for orphan works, though, and 'life of the author' copyright terms should be exposed for the racist (and many other forms of prejudice) bullshit it is.

Re:What about file shearing old games that are not (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474134)

You probably don't need that, just requiring people to spend $100 to renew the copyright every 7 years after the first 7 is probably enough.

Probably 99.99% the crap would fall out of copyright at that point. (Remember, every damn thing is copyrighted, with no action required.)

Re:What about file shearing old games that are not (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473714)

Well, I don't think anyone would care nearly as much if you sheared [wikipedia.org] copyrighted works.

After all, you probably need to go buy another copy after you go about doing that!

Re:What about file shearing old games that are not (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473788)

and no used copy's on ebay does not count or even the old copy in the bargain bin at the store.

Why don't they count? Surely they're still available if you can pick them up in a bargain bin?

No shit, Sherlock! (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473542)

What'll they realize next? That DRM pisses off the customers more than it prevents piracy? That using the courts to extract profit is going to backfire eventually? That water is wet?

Altruism = "Sticking it to the man"? (0)

rjejr (921275) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473600)

Altruism, really? While I don't and never have believed in civilian piracy as being done for financial gain I really don't see it as being "altruistic" either. Unless you want to call climbing Mount Everst "because it's there" altruism.

Re:Altruism = "Sticking it to the man"? (1)

NuKe_MoNgOoSe (1941452) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473722)

A lot of people approve of piracy because its a defence against price gouging, the cost of many things that are pirated are ridiculous. I always use the example that 10 years ago CD's used to cost me 29 bucks.. because of piracy and the effort of curbing internet file sharing the price of CD's has dropped dramatically to 7-12 bucks. I dunno im a odd bird.. I approve of the piracy of music (free no profit) but I dont when it comes to games and movies..

Re:Altruism = "Sticking it to the man"? (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473778)

I think it probably depends on the person and the circumstances. I doubt various scene groups are as interested in altruism as in competition and credit. But on the other hand I'm reminded of an article [nytimes.com] I read about sheet music this summer:

I play the piano. Over the years, I have collected 15,000 piano scores in PDF form, covering about 400 years of classical keyboard works. It’s like lint in the drier of the Internet. Much of it is not available anywhere for purchase, or even findable in libraries for circulation. Max Reger’s arrangement for two pianos of Wagner’s overture, for instance? Well, the Max Reger Institute in Karlsruhe, Germany has a copy

At the Van Cliburn piano competition, a couple years ago, I gave tiny thumb drives to some of the winners and said, “Enjoy.” Each thumb drive was smaller than my pinky but contained was the whole 15 GB trove. It blew their minds. Basically, every significant piano piece is in the pile.

Re:Altruism = "Sticking it to the man"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473792)

I put a well known, at the time hard to get TV show up on The Pirate Bay. People commented and thanked me, and the torrents are still alive five years later. That makes me feel good. I'd do it again.

Re:Altruism = "Sticking it to the man"? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473892)

Back in the day, getting an album on tape and letting all your friends borrow it so they could copy it was an act of altruism. P2P is that, just more efficient.

Re:Altruism = "Sticking it to the man"? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473950)

Yeah, the only altruistic part seems to be "because I can" or "because it'll encourage people to share even more stuff so that I have more choice of stuff to illegally copy in future", neither of which is exactly altruistic. They might like to portray it as altruistic, but it is rather self-centred.

Also, most of them won't be motivated by financial gain, but they are motivated by a lack of financial loss. The majority of file sharers probably illegally copy games and music because they "can't afford" to buy the game and so just take it because they can (there is no physical barrier/loss/presence that can be detected or otherwise make it *feel* like a crime compared to shop lifting). That way they get to enjoy the product and not pay for it either. Kerching!

Filesharing is a boon for some of us (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473672)

::begin self-plug::

Filesharing is a boon for people like myself. I do some writing (nothing released to the public yet, although once it is it will all be distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike license) and also make some spacey-ambient and drone-type music. The music I make is freely available to all (both on Last.FM [www.last.fm] and in a torrent [thepiratebay.org] .) Since I care more about people hearing my music (and, in the future, reading my writing) rather than getting money for it, filesharing is perfect for me.

I've got a donate button on my site, but even after I officially put my stuff up for "sale", I will continue to ensure it's available for free. I've gotten my fair share of music and writings for free...I feel like I should contribute something back, know what I mean? ::end self-plug::

Re:Filesharing is a boon for some of us (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473830)

That'd be the "other" definition of file sharing - the one that focuses on the technical aspects (sharing any file and leaving legality out of it) rather than the one that the big labels and media like that focuses on politics and the illegal aspects ;)

More Like This (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473966)

Create and distribute your own work on your own terms. I'd really like to see more people do that. The RIAA would be quite happy if an "unfortunate side-effect" of copyright control laws made it impossible for individuals to publish their own work on the Internet. I'd sooner drop my $10 on some songs from a garage band in Japan than on the RIAA's latest pre-packaged autotuned turd.

On the flip side of that coin (Because I love exploring those) what would you do if someone swiped your music off your web site and started selling it as their own? I've actually seen that happen to a couple of artist friends in the past. Actually some magazine was doing that just recently, too...

Re:More Like This (2)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474240)

On the flip side of that coin (Because I love exploring those) what would you do if someone swiped your music off your web site and started selling it as their own? I've actually seen that happen to a couple of artist friends in the past. Actually some magazine was doing that just recently, too...

Honestly? I'd be flattered that someone liked it enough to think there was money to be made in selling it under their own name, but on the other hand I'd feel a little betrayed that they were making money off something I intended to be given away freely.

I would likely ask them to at the very least attach my name to it (attribution and all that), but I don't think I would necessarily threaten them with legal action if they didn't stop selling it. I'd ask them to stop, sure...but that'd be as far as I went.

Like I said, my interest is mostly limited to people hearing it...there isn't much in the way of drone and spacey-ambient out there, so I'm just doing what I can to help the culture expand.

Oh, I am sure most... (4, Insightful)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473682)

Oh, I am sure most file-sharers understand that it is illegal. The billions of $$$ that our government wastes on anti-piracy, and sending Homeland Security after them.

But is it immoral? That is the real question. And most file-sharers do not feel it is immoral.

--

A large part of this is because we have been ripped off for decades by the music cartel (RIAA). Who has also been ripping off artists for even longer. When we're paying $15 for a $2 product and the artist is lucky to see a dollar. Somehow that cartel's claims that "we're stealing", fall on very deaf ears. And when we see lawsuits which fine someone $2.5 million for a few 99 cent songs - quite clearly in violation of the United States of America's Constitution. We lose any pity we might have for a corrupt industry whose business model is extinct. And if not for the fact that they have paid billions to buy off our government, would have been put out of business a decade ago.

There is a feeling of justification...

Ghasp!!! ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473704)

The survey data suggested there was a deep-seated belief that this type of activity shouldn't be illegal, that there was no criminal act involved.

Really?? Browsing one of the copyright/piracy related threads this forum would have revealed that startling fact years ago.

Bingo. (4, Interesting)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473728)

At the most it could be immoral, although sharing things for people who may not be able to afford it otherwise would hardly seem so.

I paid to see about 3 movies in the cinema last year, and only two this year. The rest simply don't seem worthy of risking a $10 movie ticket, considering I don't have a disposable income.

I downloaded about 100 over the last two years however, and got some enjoyment from them. I would not be able to pay for the DVD's, and rentals are not a realistic option for me.

Likewise games. In the last 2 years I played Batman:Arkham Asylum which was horribly disappointing, MW2 which was fun but I finished it in about 5 hours, and don't care about multiplayer, Bioschock, which I thought was horribly overrated, Medal of Honor which was shorter than MW2, but without any redeeming features, and Fallout 3 and Fallout 3 NV. Out of those games the Fallout 3 games are the only ones I would pay for, but I still can't afford it. Even if I did pay for them, I would probably throw the game out, as the pirated versions are so much more convenient and bug free.

Given how well the content industries are doing financially, all the hubbub against copyright infringers just smacks of greed, and nothing else.

Re:Bingo. (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474248)

Dude, 'I'm poor, and I'm cheap, and I disagree with the claimed value of movie tickets, DVDs and games, so I download' starts out as a bad argument, but becomes downright farcical when you turn around and accuse entertainment producers of being greedy.

Altruism? (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473752)

All human action is, by definition, motivated by self-interest. Now then, what a person deems desirable can be anything--this can be a sense of satisfaction from perceived selflessness or even masochistic suffering. Indeed, the only criterion for voluntary exchange is the ex ante prospect of mutual subjective gain. After all, one voluntarily gives up only what one values less that the thing received in exchange.

Who are the readers? (1)

billyswong (1858858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473758)

I think most of us who come here know this already. It's an almost-established fact among this field. My concern on this interview is, who else will also read this? Are there anybody that previously don't know that will gain this knowledge? Are there any effect on them? I have not much confidence that those people in power may read Information Economics and Policy and rethink what they are doing right now seriously.

Still trivialising the issue (4, Interesting)

Grumbleduke (789126) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473786)

While there was some interesting thoughts here (although nothing particularly new), I think he still makes one of the funamental mistakes the copyright industry pushes for;

For the leechers, pretty obviously, the major motivation was financial. They wanted to acquire music or films without paying for it because it was cheaper than going out to buy it.

He is willing to accept that seeders might not be only interested in financial gain, but fails to consider that this might also be the case for some leechers (as other studies and real-world situations have suggested). The greater convenience of pirated media over a licensed version can be enormous. For example, there have been cases where material has been offered on a "pay-what-you-want-but-pay-something" basis and yes people still pirated the content; showing that there is a disproportionate difference between paying $0.01 (or £0.01) and not paying. For some this might be some principle of not paying and being cheap, but for others this may well be an issue of convenience.

As for the "pretty obviously" part, whenever someone states that something is obvious I recall something my analysis tutor said; "if someone is obvious, prove it; either it is obvious, in which case it won't take long, or it may turn out to be obvious, but untrue." Obviously this was in maths, which has much higher levels of proof, but it does seem that calling something "obvious" is a way of dismissing the converse without proper consideration.

The survey data suggested there was a deep-seated belief that this type of activity shouldn’t be illegal, that there was no criminal act involved.

Also, it is worth noting that in the UK there isn't necessarily any criminal act involved with unlawful file-sharing. Our copyright law is based on civil lawsuits and "actual damages", provided one avoids infringing in the course of business. Of course, this hasn't stopped the copyright industry from twisting our fraud laws to prosecute (unsuccessfully, in general) and persecute those allegedly involved in copyright infringement.

Re:Still trivialising the issue (2)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474194)

theres also the issue of people not having a way to pay even a token amount..
for example, I have no way to purchase anything from outside India online, as I dont have a credit card, so for many things the choice is pirate or dont get it.
Similarly, movies(eg: the Saw series) are often not released here, and TV shows (BBT,etc..) are often many seasons behind here, so torrents it is.

Don't Copy that Floppy (1)

khr (708262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473794)

A shrink-wrapped software company I used to work for (and is long out of business) had a big poster on the wall of the office from the SPA with "Don't Copy that Floppy" on it.

This just in... (2)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473818)

...from the findings-obvious-to-the-lay-person-but-will-be-routinely-ignored-by-big-content-even-if-proven dept: dehydrated water still a long way from market feasibility.

Not illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473858)

I grew up with cassette players with high speed dubbing and that was how I got all my tapes, napster came around and replaced that. Nobody acted like it was illegal when it was new, stories came out everywhere on how to download music, nobody had warnings that I shouldn't do it. I have been brainwashed into thinking that sharing music and other stuff is normal, I can't be held accountable.

Does that sound like a valid defense? :)

Fine Line (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473956)

Libraries aren't illegal, but e-Libraries are.

Not just altruism (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473968)

Their main motivation was that they were seeking notoriety, peer recognition, peer esteem, some sort of feeling of getting one over on the system. It was a much richer tapestry of different things contributing to the decision to go ahead and make the content available

While I think "sticking it to The Man" is a fine motivation, particularly when The Man is Jack Valenti's zombie, I don't think it's what most people describe as altruism.

This isn't altruism (4, Insightful)

edremy (36408) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473988)

Altruism is giving something of yourself. If I write a kickass piece of software or a great song, or a novel and give it away under a GPL or CC license for the rest of the world, that's altruism.

Giving away something that somebody else made and who presumably doesn't want it given away (otherwise they would have done so) is *not* altruism. You can argue theft, copyright infringement, whatever, but it is in no way comparable.

TFS is subtly misleading (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473998)

The very first sentence:

File-sharers aren't motivated by financial gain, but by altruism

is overly generic. In practice, here's what TFA says:

For the leechers, pretty obviously, the major motivation was financial. They wanted to acquire music or films without paying for it because it was cheaper than going out to buy it.

What was interesting was the difference with the seeders, and it was quite apparent that financial motivations were nowhere near as prevelant; it was a kind of altruism.

So it only applies to those who deliberately upload.

For me, it's not money OR altruism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34474006)

File sharing is caused by DRM. Pirates' files work; discs and services don't. I'm not out to help anyone else (though I'll seed at least to 1.0, but that's a matter of ethics, not altruism), and I don't mind paying, but I sure as fuck mind paying and then getting something that I can't play. Let someone else worry about the headaches of DRM, whether it's reading a Blu-Ray or getting a PVR to work with a cable TV service. One person deals with the bullshit and a million people benefit from that work. It's about efficiency.

By coinkydink... (1)

meburke (736645) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474018)

I just read a book by Daniel Pink called, "Drive" where he says that much of our behavior is a result of "intrinsic" rewards. Light reading, good info.

I think that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34474032)

... people who believe it should not be illegal are not looking at the big picture. They fail to see how their actions are harming the copyright holder.

Truthfully, they are not. No single act of infringement ever really seriously harms the copyright holder, often even if the act is done for financial gain. It is ongoing and continual infringement that poses a problem because it can threaten to undermine the copyright holder's own distribution facilities, not only preventing them from being possibly paid duly for the work, but it also undermines the authorized distributor's reputation, much the same way as elevated crime levels in a neighborhood can undermine the reputation of law enforcement in the eyes of a community who has growing concerns about the lack of safety in their area.

Ultimately, what happens is that the copyright holder starts losing trust in the ability for copyright alone to duly protect their work as it ought, and finds themselves compelled to rely on additional means to protect their interests - which we are already seeing today, with forms of copy protection and DRM, which often alienate the consumer.

And that is who, in the end, gets hurt the most by piracy - the public. People who share copyrighted works that they have only been legally afforded to make in the first place under the assumption that they were not going to actually end up infringing on copyright hurt everybody around them... they simply lack either the awareness of it or the willingness to believe it.

Uploaders are not motivated by money, nor altruism (1)

Damon Tog (245418) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474060)

Uploaders are not motivated by money, nor altruism.

They are motivated by the social status boost conferred to those who are prolific leakers.

Maybe they are motivated by common sense (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474098)

I can understand taking some one's copyrighted works and selling it as a counterfeit being illegal and just morally wrong. That, is stealing. I do not buy into the argument perpetrated by the BSA and **IA that sharing something without any compensation is wrong at all. This "if you saw or heard something I did, you owe me money" is as ridicules as it is constantly pounded into the public by these greedy people/organizations. I'm sorry, if I like it, then I will buy it, but if I just hear, or see, or tryout something and think it is shit! I do not owe you any money.

I find it amazing that the anti sharing campaign that of course has assimilated the bought and paid for legislators has been adopted by any rationally thinking person.

Dumb! Sheep!

 

Yet more proof! (4, Funny)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474110)

Money Doesn't Motivate File-sharers.

Now think of a pirate. What are his motivations? Booty (money), rape, and pillage.

So as long as file sharers are not motivated by raping (Julian Assange doesn't count!) and pillaging then they should finally be off the hook and put to bed that stupid terminology!

Illegal vs Criminal (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34474228)

While there may be laws controlling the use of 'intellectual property', these vary widely between international states, and are often only covered by civil or 'tort' law.

Many people have the perception that a dispute between two parties under civil law is just that: a dispute. The state usually has no right to intervene in these cases.

Contrast this with criminal behaviour, where if a policeman spots you doing it, he's going to chase you and try to arrest you.

Take the example of squatting in England. 'Squatting' is legal: in certain cases you have the right to occupy property with out a licence from the freeholder. 'Trespass' however is covered by civil law and a freeholder may seek remedy from a court to seek eviction of squatters who are, by definition, trespassing. A policeman cannot arrest you for trespass or squatting.

So, although trespassing is covered by law, it is not a crime and most people would see it in this case as not illegal.

Indeed, many people see squatting as 'ethical', at least in some circumstances. This is evidenced by the fact mentioned above that as a squatter you are protected by the law and even have a right to adverse possession (the squatter gets the freehold after about 12 years, having shown material improvement to the property.)

Of course, this is in the context of England, where technically all land is owned by the Queen (who constitutionally is the state), and property 'owners' merely own a freehold, or license. If the freeholder is abusing their license and not utilizing the land, another citizen has a right to occupy it and put it to good use.

I think many file sharers reject the idea that they are acting unethically, criminally, or even illegally. They may accept that in future some party may seek remedy under civil law, but this would be a dispute arbitrated by a court, not a crime. I'm sure most would want to argue that 'data should be free, blar blar blar', and what is 'wrong' is the IP owners' restrictions.

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