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Pew Study: File Traders Don't Care About Copyright

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the related-study-finds-sugar-is-sweet dept.

Music 494

An anonymous reader writes "A recent poll by the Pew Internet and American Life Project focused on that portion of the file trading community that is over 18. The major finding is that two-thirds of all file traders in this age bracket are not concerned about violating copyright laws. This remained consistant even when they split up the respondents by sex, income, and race."

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494 comments

old news (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599370)

i saw this 3 days ago.

you guys are really on the ball.

Re:old news (5, Informative)

Mod Me God (686647) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599389)

Yeah, there is a link here too (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/31 15829.stm).

The RIAA have dismissed this, as the time the survey was taken was before their recent legal action. Note that doesn't mean the action will work, just this survey is irrelevant for the here-and-now.

No kidding, really? (5, Insightful)

base3 (539820) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599376)

You mean the death of meaning of the Constitution's language "limited times," effective eternal copyright on software and media, along with excessive laws that provide jail time for what would be a minor property crime in the physical world have eroded respect for copyright law?

Re:No kidding, really? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599392)

i think the riaa sucks

Re:No kidding, really? (4, Insightful)

murdocj (543661) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599399)

You really think that the average music file trader is an expert in copyright law??? Somehow I think it's more likely that people see other people getting music for free and decide to get in on a good deal.

Re:No kidding, really? (3, Redundant)

willis (84779) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599416)

Yeah, it's almost like "Never attribute to intelligence what you can attribute to selfishness" or something ;)

Re:No kidding, really? (2, Interesting)

Old Uncle Bill (574524) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599563)

In other news, two-thirds of the population over 18 admitted to copying their friends' cassettes. Most of the non-technical people I talk to that have no problem with downloading music off of the net go back to that.

Huh? (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599415)

The only thing that's a crime with copyright law is creating anti-copy-protection devices. In the real world it would be like marketing a device that could open any lock.

Which would actually be totally legal (unless they passed a new law)

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599432)

The only thing that's a crime with copyright law is creating anti-copy-protection devices. In the real world it would be like marketing a device that could open any lock.

Have a look at the "No Electronc Theft Act" and get back to us on that.

Re:Huh? (1)

portnux (630256) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599600)

Well I think of it as selling a key to fit a lock that I bought. I don't like buying anything that I can't back up. But sometimes that can't be avoided. Makes me feel kind of stupid when I download a hack of a program to try it out, find that I like it a lot and buy it. Then end up using the friggin' crack version because of the copy protection on the one I paid for.

Re:No kidding, really? (0)

iapetus (24050) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599453)

No, I think it's more to do with tight-fisted bastards who want to get stuff for free even when they know they should be paying for it. I'd be willing to bet that only a very small percentage of those people are trading exclusively in files that would have been in the public domain if it weren't for recent copyright law changes, for example.

Re:No kidding, really? (5, Interesting)

VPN3000 (561717) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599520)

Hey, I am one of those people. I've got about 40 gigs of movies and documentaries shared on K-lite. All of them are public domain and downloadable from the Moving Pictures Database on Archive.org. During the past three months, none of them have been downloaded even once.

In other news, I had an mp3, named after a particular Metallica song, of my voice saying to not buy, purchase or download anything Metallica related. I'd rather just see those meatheads not sell another album or concert ticket. Now, that's been downloaded hundreds of times.

It's no real mystery what people do with P2P applications. :)

Re:No kidding, really? (3, Insightful)

Pituritus Ani (247728) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599528)

What public domain movies do you have? How are they indexed? I pull down old stuff that has entered PD all the time--old cartoons like Felix the Cat, Betty Boop, etc.

And it doesn't matter if the most common use might be infringing--P2P apps have non-infringing use, and thus are legal (q.v. the Betamax case).

Metallica (1)

Anguo (675311) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599610)

"In other news, I had an mp3, named after a particular Metallica song, of my voice saying to not buy, purchase or download anything Metallica related. I'd rather just see those meatheads not sell another album or concert ticket. Now, that's been downloaded hundreds of times."

So that was you!!

And you dare admit it!

and I always wondered how that gloomy voice found its way on my xmms playlist... ;-)

Re:No kidding, really? (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599564)

I admit, I use it to pirate software. (Software that is outdated and overpriced, but software) I don't pirate music or movies (well, OK, I pirated one, but it turned out to be a different movie than it said it was). I don't get legit stuff off of it because I can get it other, faster ways.

Re:No kidding, really? (0)

DdJ (10790) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599472)

Probably not, at least not in all of these cases. In at least some of these cases, "inconsiderate gits who want something for free and don't care about the consequences" may be the cause.

Re:WHAT GOES AROUND COMES.. (4, Insightful)

takochan (470955) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599544)

Well, lets see, RIAA sets up a cartel, overcharges for CDs (and still does), gets convicted for it, and uses bribed politicians to get out of it with 50 cent coupons for purchase of more inflated priced music.

RIAA buys more laws with more bribe money not to charge customers to copy the above music 50 cents per violation (like they got away with above), but rather to hit them with multi thousand dollar lawsuits.

RIAA then buys more laws making copyrights to be infinate in length (effectively).

Then some wonder why people have no respect for copyright laws as they are now. Uh... why should we? The current laws were all bought and paid for, and represent the interests of 'we the people' in no way whatsoever. So screw them..

If CD's sold for $5 per disk (which is what they should sell for without all the cartel and payola action), the problem would pretty much go away, as most people wouldn't have a problem buying CDs for that price rather than hassle with looking for downloading them.

But do file traders care about hot BSD chicks?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599380)

How can BSD [freebsd.org] be dying when it has a mascot [freebsd.org] like this?! Linux needs to get its act together if it's going to compete with the kind of hot chicks [hope-2000.org] and gorgeous babes [hope-2000.org] that BSD has to offer!

You just can't take Linux [redhat.com] seriously when its fronted by losers [nylug.org] like these. You Linux groupies need to find some sexy girls like her [hope-2000.org]! I mean just look at this girl [madchat.org]! Doesn't she [madchat.org] make you hard? I know this little hottie [madchat.org] floats my boat! This guy looks like he is about to cream his pants standing next to such a fox [spilth.org]. As you can see, no man can resist this sexy [spilth.org] little cock teaser [spilth.org]. Even this old bearded Unix guru is apparently unable to take his eyes off her [kurtspace.com]!

With sexy chicks [spilth.org] like the lovely Ceren you will have people queuing up to buy open source products. Look! This guy can't get in there fast enough with her [kurtspace.com] in the doorway! Come on, you must admit she [kurtspace.com] is better than an overweight penguin! Don't you wish you could get one of these [drexel.edu]? Join the campaign for more cute [madchat.org] open source babes [madchat.org] today!

Re:But do file traders care about hot BSD chicks?! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599507)

Shut up. Tux is much sexier than any of those whores.

Pew Stinks !!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599381)

ha ha I made a funny

Not Surprising (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599387)

Did anybody else see this coming from the "No Duh" category?

A modest proposal to curb the troll flood (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599391)

In the face of the ever worsening signal-to-noise ratio on Slashdot, I propose a following solution:

1) The bulk of the noise is by posted by the anonymous cowards. Eliminate anonymity.

2) In order to prevent people from creating multiple trolling accounts and accompanying karma-whore accounts (for moderating up the trolls), tie every account to a one specific IP.

These two solutions will still not prevent a technologically adept troll, a minority as they might be, from spoiling the serious discussions on Slashdot. To further improve the anti-troll tactics, a more drastic measure has to be taken:

3) Each individual has his/her personal style of writing. In fact, there exist algorithms and software for identifying an anonymous author by using his previous, non-anonymous posts. In the arts such algorithms have been used with great success to determine fake works by "Shakespeare" or some other famous author. By collecting the posts of well-known trolls into a database, we can cross correlate both anonymous and fake IP accounts with each specific troll. This enables the site administrators to take legal action against these die-hard career trolls.

I have mailed this proposal to Rob Malda and, to my great pleasure, I already received reply that promised to take these measures under serious consideration. He did say, however, that more positive feedback from the subscriber userbase is required and I should make my proposal public. So, if you feel that it is imperative to reduce the noise on Slashdot, please drop Rob a mail telling how you feel about my proposal.

Re:A modest proposal to curb the troll flood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599411)

The bulk of the noise is by posted by the anonymous cowards. Eliminate anonymity

This coming from an anonymous coward? hmm...

Re:A modest proposal to curb the troll flood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599417)

If I had made this proposal with my standard account my e-mail box would soon be bombed by the trolls. No thanks.

But I am perfectly willing to give up my anonymity for improved signal-to-noise ratio.

Re:A modest proposal to curb the troll flood (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599440)

But I come here for the trolls, you insensitive clod!

Re:A modest proposal to curb the troll flood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599435)

In the arts such algorithms have been used with great success to determine fake works by "Shakespeare" or some other famous author

Mod this guy up as Interesting! Does anyone know more about these algorithms?!

Re:A modest proposal to curb the troll flood (1)

Golthar (162696) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599445)

Yes, very useful.
Problem is that I post from work too and there are probably others using that same IP

Don't feed the troll. (1)

Hakubi_Washu (594267) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599535)

1) The bulk of the noise is by posted by the anonymous cowards. Eliminate anonymity.
Eliminate anonymity, yes? Why not make Social Security number mandatory? Or thumbprint? That way one could eliminate non-american posters as well... Seriously, if /. wants to represent a community that emphasizes on the individuals right, then anonymity is a must. Otherwise it would loose its credibility.
2) In order to prevent people from creating multiple trolling accounts and accompanying karma-whore accounts (for moderating up the trolls), tie every account to a one specific IP.
Ah, your ISP doesn't change your IP at least every 24 hours? Mine does.
3) Each individual has his/her personal style of writing. In fact, there exist algorithms and software for identifying an anonymous author by using his previous, non-anonymous posts. In the arts such algorithms have been used with great success to determine fake works by "Shakespeare" or some other famous author. By collecting the posts of well-known trolls into a database, we can cross correlate both anonymous and fake IP accounts with each specific troll. This enables the site administrators to take legal action against these die-hard career trolls.
And the moment your algorithm accidentaly "hits" someone innocent (in terms of trolling) you're executing volatile censorship. See 1)

Re:Don't feed the troll. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599577)

Eliminate anonymity, yes? Why not make Social Security number mandatory? Or thumbprint?

The country where I am living in has a mandatory Social Security number. It is assigned to you at birth or when you immigrate (permanently or temporarily). Without it you cannot access any society's services beyond emergency health care. You can't get a job , a bank-account, a driver's license, passport or anything that identifies you uniquely with a valid home address and personal identity. Yet, there have not been any problems with that. No jackbooted thugs knocking down the doors in the middle of the night or ending up in trouble with the law.

As far as the thumbprints goes, thanks to the US, from now on our passports will have to have biometric information on them if we want to travel to the US. That means that if I want to get a passport, my retinal pattern and thumbprint will be stored on its electronic chip and is sent in advance to the US authorities. This is something that I do have a problem with. I trust my government to handle my data, but who's to tell that I won't end up in a camp in Guantanamo because my fingerprint/retina put up a red flag on some immigration services computer.

Ah, your ISP doesn't change your IP at least every 24 hours? Mine does.

Get a permanent IP. I did.

And the moment your algorithm accidentaly "hits" someone innocent (in terms of trolling) you're executing volatile censorship. See 1)

Well, by cross-checking with the IP number it will be easy to prove one's innocence. A little bit of hassle, but nothing serious.

Re:Don't feed the troll. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599589)

that identifies you uniquely with a valid home address and personal identity.

Damn. That should read: "that requires unique identification complete with a valid home address and personal identity".

Re:Don't feed the troll. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599602)

Personally, I like the troll-generated background noise. It makes me feel intellectually superior, as most trolls seem to have, at best, a room-temperature IQ.

Well duh! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599394)

(See subject line.)

In further news... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599395)

A recent /. study shows that anonymous cowards don't care about karma.

The other 33% (4, Insightful)

iapetus (24050) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599396)

It's no big surprise to discover that most people who violate copyright laws aren't concerned about violating copyright laws. I'm more surprised by the other third - do they represent the traders of legal files (new Linux distros, freely tradeable music etc.) or the truly stupid?

Re:The other 33% (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599458)

It's no big surprise to discover that most people who violate copyright laws aren't concerned about violating copyright laws. I'm more surprised by the other third - do they represent the traders of legal files (new Linux distros, freely tradable music etc.) or the truly stupid?

I don't know, Are only the stupid immoral?

Re:The other 33%... feeling guilty? (1)

madape (89730) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599459)

While the study says that 30% of file-swappers say they care about the copyright status of the files they're sharing, it doesn't say that they're not actually sharing those files. They may still be stealing music, but they feel bad about it... :-)

Also according to the study, only 5% of file-traders were truly clueless ("don't know or don't have a position").

Re:The other 33%... feeling guilty? (1)

iapetus (24050) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599469)

Good point. I suppose you also get the 'feeling scared' category there - they're trading music anyway, but they care about the copyright laws because they fear the RIAA will be beating down their door and taking their computer away...

Sweet (4, Insightful)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599398)

Bring on the revolution!

Seriously though, we live in a democracy, congress gets to set the limits it wants. If life + 90 years is 'reasonable' then so is a day. Copyright protection is a matter of practicality, not morality. If it's impractical in it's present state, then we should change it.

Note to RIAA: we will dance on your grave.

Re:Sweet (2, Funny)

syukton (256348) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599439)

Note to RIAA: we will dance on your grave.

And we shall dance to whatever we happen to get off kazaa at the time...

Re:Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599456)

So, what exactly would it take to get something on an election ballot that lets the people directly repeal a federal law? Seems to me that 26 Million is a lot of people who would be glad to vote for the repeal of DCMA. But, is it even possible to do this, or are all federal laws subject to votes by representation (read: heavily lobbied) only?

Re:Sweet (5, Informative)

chrisbw (609350) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599476)

Seriously though, we live in a democracy

Err, actually, we live in a republic [m-w.com]:

1 a (1) : a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who in modern times is usually a president (2) : a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government b (1) : a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law (2) : a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government c : a usually specified republican government of a political unit (the French Fourth Republic)
2 : a body of persons freely engaged in a specified activity (the republic of letters)
3 : a constituent political and territorial unit of the former nations of Czechoslovakia, the U.S.S.R., or Yugoslavia

(I hope I didn't violate Merriam-Webster's copyright there...)

Re:Sweet (3, Interesting)

Tirel (692085) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599503)

(I hope I didn't violate Merriam-Webster's copyright there...)

I know you were joking, but there is an important distiction here: citing a small part of M-W to explain something is fair use, but distributing it as a whole without a licence is a copyright violation.

Re:Sweet (1)

Vexar (664860) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599581)

We live in a federalist republic. Merriam-Webster has their whole contents available on the internet. I suppose you could toss a link on the end of your post Republic: defined [merriamwebster.com] and that would be fair, right?

Broken bracket (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599401)


Over 18 is a bracket? Anyway, it just goes to show those that should know better, don't. There's that pesky average IQ in there, where those who straddle 100 you can't help but see all day, every day, from whom and can't get away no matter where you go.

.

Yeah, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599404)

do pedestrians care that jaywalking is illegal?

And in other news... (-1, Redundant)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599413)

...the sky is blue, the grass is green, and shit stinks.

Video at eleven.

Re:And in other news... (1)

RightInTheNeck (667426) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599561)

If you tune into the Fox News channel to catch that story, the sky will be green, the grass will be blue and the shit will smell like sandlewood insense, and you'll actually believe it for a few seconds. Then after you turn the channel you'll have a really bad headache until the effect diminishes. Remember that movie "They Live"? Grab your special sun glasses sometime and check that channel out. P.S. Theres a meeting tonight

Why should they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599421)

Because of moral and ethics?

There's two sides, the producer and the consumer. The consumer tries to get as much from the producer for as little as possible. Now the consumers can get almost anything for 0 $. Why should they pay in that case?

Because the producer ALWAYS acts in a sensible, philanthropic way, thinking only what is best for the consumer? HA, HA, HA.

sign of the times? (0, Redundant)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599424)

Has there ever been such a (seemingly) general disrespect of copyright? Given that this is only recently become such an enormous societal issue, I don't think there are any statistics or numbers; but if there were, would they show anything different from what this survey concluded? I actually tend to think that this attitude has been somewhat widespread, but that technology brings it to the forefront.

Re:sign of the times? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599464)

Memo to self: Before you open your mouth, think "Has this been said before?" Having answered this question, proceed.

IS IT REALLY THAT DIFFICULT?! ...idiot...

Poll Rating: -1, Tautology. (2, Insightful)

Krapangor (533950) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599430)

Only a minor number of artists give their music away for free, i.e. without restrictions of further distribution.
Furthermore most really free stuff can be easily downloaded from special websites.

So, I wonder about these guys who need a poll to get the result that people who are circumventing copyright laws don't care about copyright.
Usually you would suspect that every person on this planet has something called "common sense".
Next we'll see from these guys:

  • Thiefs don't care about property.
  • Phyromaniacs like fire.
  • Drug dealers don't care about the health of other people.
  • Bush invaded Iraq for Oil.
  • Communism is a oppressive dictatorship.
  • Linux and FreeBSD are for free.
But on the other hand, not everybody can be as clever as me.

Re:Poll Rating: -1, Tautology. (2)

marsonist (629054) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599487)

ummm... Communism is a form of economy and has nothing to do with oppression or dictatorship. What is interesting, or disheartening, about this study is the blatant disregard for the law. The law is the law. It is a cold black and white document that applies to us whether we want it to or not. We know that downloading copyrighted mp3s is illegal, and no matter how we attempt to justify it it is wrong. If you don't like the prices go to mp3.com and download free music. If you feel that the labels don't deserve 90% of the sale, then buy from www.cdbaby.com (sells a wide range of independent music) Sneaking into a movie theater is wrong. If you get caught you deserve to be punished. The fact that more people are sneaking into the theater than actually buying tickets doesn't make it right, in fact in means that it's a problem probably hasn't been dealt with harshly enough.

Re:Poll Rating: -1, Tautology. (1, Insightful)

crimson30 (172250) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599574)

"Anyone in a free society where the laws are unjust has an obligation to break the law."
-Henry David Thoreau

(OT) Are your examples tautologies? (3, Insightful)

yerricde (125198) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599504)

Drug dealers don't care about the health of other people.

I have pharmacists in my family. Please don't knock the profession.

Bush invaded Iraq for Oil.

Are you sure? I seem to recall that the government had evidence that Iraq was getting ready to attack the United States. The forces in Iraq may not have found a smoking gun, but there was still enough evidence to warrant an invasion under the previous United Nations resolutions.

Communism is a oppressive dictatorship.

Perhaps as misimplemented by Joseph Stalin and his followers, but I've read that even Vladimir Lenin didn't like the direction the government was going under Stalin.

Linux and FreeBSD are for free.

In other words, you confirm that your time is worth little to nothing [google.com].

Re:(OT) Are your examples tautologies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599554)

Drug dealers don't care about the health of other people.

-- I have pharmacists in my family. Please don't knock the profession.

Perhaps this person meant "illegal drugs". But some pharmacists still hand out drugs without asking enough questions of their customer to ensure there aren't problems. And if more than 50% of the population think it is ok to try things like marijuana, is the government representing their people if they make it illegal? Or are they really representing the illegal drug dealers who prefer it expensive?

Bush invaded Iraq for Oil.

-- Are you sure? I seem to recall that the government had evidence that Iraq was getting ready to attack the United States. The forces in Iraq may not have found a smoking gun, but there was still enough evidence to warrant an invasion under the previous United Nations resolutions.

I have a bridge in Sydney to sell you. Not even the CIA [cnn.com] really believed Iraq was a serious threat to the USA.

Communism is a oppressive dictatorship.

-- Perhaps as misimplemented by Joseph Stalin and his followers, but I've read that even Vladimir Lenin didn't like the direction the government was going under Stalin.

Totalitarianism, dictatorship, communisum, bushism, all the same.

Linux and FreeBSD are for free.

--In other words, you confirm that your time is worth little to nothing.

And what is your time worth for every reboot with windows? Not to mention installing that stuff so it works efficiently(?) is not quick either. The default options are generally the most user unfriendly and resource hungry (slow) time wasting options.

Re:(OT) Are your examples tautologies? (1)

error502 (694533) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599566)

Are you sure? I seem to recall that the government had evidence that Iraq was getting ready to attack the United States. The forces in Iraq may not have found a smoking gun, but there was still enough evidence to warrant an invasion under the previous United Nations resolutions.
Just because CNN tells you what to believe, it doesn't mean you actually have to.

Re:Mensa? but you made a mistake... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599542)

The plural of thief is 'thieves'.

Does that make me more clever than you? ;)

Re:Poll Rating: -1, Tautology. (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599591)

Drug dealers don't care about the health of other people.

Oh, I don't know about that. Just because someone is providing a good or service for which there is a demand doesn't say anything about whether or not they care about the well-being of their clients. I would imagine the opposite: a drug dealer thrives on repeat business, and therefore wants his customers to live as long as possible.

The rest of your points are valid, though.

I knew it! (5, Funny)

Jack Va1enti (592636) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599436)

The cretins are stealing our property in broad daylight. The Boston Strangler of home taping has returned. An erroneous court made the Betamax decision, and respect for copyright has hit an all new low.

This is why I have proposed to our representative in Congress, Mr. Berman and Mr. Hollings, that copyright violations be made punishable by death.

A new force will be recruited from among our friends at BayTSP, MediaDefender, and our more clandestine operatives to man squads carrying automatic weapons. These will be authorized by Congress to carry out summary executions against those sharing our property via P2P networks.

Perhaps this will engender the respect our copyrights deserve.

This shows the RIAA is done economically (5, Interesting)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599444)

But will it mean they're done politically? They've bought an awful lot of politicians in Washington, no matter what our honored lobbiest guest said here a couple days ago. (If Bill Clinton and other top pols show up to a going-away party for Hilary "Wicked Witch of the East" Rosen, I would say they have bought influence.)

My question is, the media like to talk about how the average person doesn't know what file sharing is and what the issues at stake are, but if there are 60 million people doing it then how can that possibly be true? If one fifth of the population of your country does anything on a regular basis, then how can you seriously claim that they don't understand what that activity is? It seems like so many other ridiculous claims ginned up by journalists like that disgraced NYTimes reporter, and repeated unthinkingly by the rest of the news crowd.

OK, so if that's bunk, and those 60 million people do understand what is at stake with file-sharing, then why aren't they making themselves heard in the government? Why isn't that anger translating politically? My theory is there is no membership organization they can focus their voice through. If we had something like the AARP or NRA for online freedoms, my bet is you'd start seeing politicians learning to dance to our tune in an awful hurry. (and no, the EFF is not that organization. they do great work, but a membership organization they are not).

What? (0, Troll)

dirgotronix (576521) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599446)

This has got to be the most amazing discovery ever! I hope that more funding is put into research like this.

Also, 'duh.'

The really interesting thing... (1)

slagish666 (607934) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599448)

...is that a substantial proportion of file traders do care about copyright laws.

Re:The really interesting thing... (1)

WegianWarrior (649800) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599543)

I share files (mostly porn thought, but the principle is the same as for music) and I care about the copytight laws.

With that, I mean that I believe - and will say in a loud and clear voice - that todays copyrightlaws are downright down and should be reworked. Five to ten years sounds like a reasonable time for a work to be copyrighted to me - or maybe a system simular to the patent-laws could be introduced, where it would cost the copyrightowner cold, hard cash to prolong the copyright of a particular work.

So you see, I care about the laws. Still don't stop me sharing files.

57% of all statistics are made up on the spot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599449)

Remember - before evaluating survey results, familiarise yourself with whether or not the math is sound.

From the report itself:

Methodology
This report is based on the findings of a daily tracking survey on Americans' use of the Internet. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates between March 12-19 and April 29-May 20, 2003, among a sample of 2,515 adults, 18 and older. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. For results based Internet users (n=1,555), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting telephone surveys may introduce some error or bias into the findings of opinion polls. The final response rate for this survey is 32.7 percent

The sample for this survey is a random digit sample of telephone numbers selected from telephone exchanges in the continental United States. The random digit aspect of the sample is used to avoid listing bias and provides representation of both listed and unlisted numbers (including not-yet-listed numbers). The design of the sample achieves this representation by random generation of the last two digits of telephone numbers selected on the basis of their area code, telephone exchange, and bank number.

Non-response in telephone interviews produces some known biases in survey-derived estimates because participation tends to vary for different subgroups of the population, and these subgroups are likely to vary also on questions of substantive interest. In order to compensate for these known biases, the sample data are weighted in analysis. The weights are derived using an iterative technique that simultaneously balances the distribution of all weighting parameters.

the law is only the result ... (5, Insightful)

millenium (689108) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599451)

... of the political process, which may be subverted temporarily by injecting enough money, but in the end the political process will always revert to majority rule.

Therefore, the public *owns* the political process.

When the RIAA says they want to educate the public about the law, the public may eventually lash back by educating the RIAA about what it means to be at the receiving end of the public's wrath.

The republic is a broadcaster-ocracy (2, Insightful)

yerricde (125198) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599514)

but in the end the political process will always revert to majority rule.

The people may control the republic through voting, but the broadcasters control the people to a large extent. TV and radio advertising paid for with campaign contributions from broadcasters seems exempt from FCC "equal time" regulation. MPAA movie studios own all major U.S. commercial broadcast networks except NBC. Get the picture?

Listen to what Michal Jackson sing AND say (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599454)


If Michael say Billy Jean is copyright, Billy Jean is copyright. There is no debate.

Mod parent down! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599573)

This guy is an obvious troll. Look at his past [slashdot.org] work [slashdot.org] if you don't believe me.

so, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599467)

when do we see the study about how corporate weenies feel about consumers rights? Or how about the 'business' model they would like: they (and not neccassarily the actual artist) get a payment from me every time I listen to "Taking Tiger Mountain...".

I'm sorry but it will never be a crime... (5, Insightful)

Black Sabbath (118110) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599468)

...for most people.

In most people's minds, this is a crime in exactly the same sense as going 5 clicks over the speed limit. People just don't even think about it.

And when they do they just don't think its important. This is the reason that the more the RIAA ramp up the legislation and bully-boy tactics, the more they will get up the nose of Joe Average.

Everyone agrees that, in the abstract, speeding can kill people, just as in the abstract, people agree that musicians need to get rewarded. However, no-one thinks THEIR teensy, weensy breach will really hurt anyone.

see what the future brings (2, Insightful)

bronche (456228) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599473)

well i totally agree with the poll that most people do not care about copyrights et al, but one should not forget that these polls do not reflect the recent riaa attempt to sue everyone and everything that has something to do with down or uploading contraband.
these scare tactics will work in my eyes, as people will get educated by the laws that are being introduced slowly but surley by the riaa and its henchmen...
surely a handfull of people wont care and continue and it will take a lot more than a few laws to eradicate the filesharing scene, since its roots are deep..but at the end of the day the normal non-geek user will stop and start using itunes and its clones and start paying...
at least thats what i think...

Methodology questions (4, Interesting)

Freewill (538580) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599489)

I'm not implying that the report is incorrect in its conclusion; I do not find the results that surprising. But I am interested in what those of you with more knowledge in statistics have to say about this:

Quoted from the report:

This report is based on the findings of a daily tracking survey on Americans' use of the Internet. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates between March 12-19 and April 29-May 20, 2003, among a sample of 2,515 adults, 18 and older. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. For results based Internet users (n=1,555), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting telephone surveys may introduce some error or bias into the findings of opinion polls. The final response rate for this survey is 32.7 percent


The sample for this survey is a random digit sample of telephone numbers selected from telephone exchanges in the continental United States. The random digit aspect of the sample is used to avoid listing bias and provides representation of both listed and unlisted numbers (including not-yet-listed numbers). The design of the sample achieves this representation by random generation of the last two digits of telephone numbers selected on the basis of their area code, telephone exchange, and bank number.

Non-response in telephone interviews produces some known biases in survey-derived estimates because participation tends to vary for different subgroups of the population, and these subgroups are likely to vary also on questions of substantive interest. In order to compensate for these known biases, the sample data are weighted in analysis. The weights are derived using an iterative technique that simultaneously balances the distribution of all weighting parameters.


Kinda half-serious, half-joking, but I wonder if those that participated in this survey should also be categorized as folks that are willing to submit to phone surveys. Is that something that's worth considering?

And am I reading the above correctly that of the 2,515 folks they called, only 32.7 percent actually responded? That's a little over 820 individuals. Is a survey successful if only 32% responded? Inquiring minds and all that.

Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised if they did a similar survey among folks that use computer software in the workforce and found that most people don't comprehend that software itself is copyrighted. I still meet plenty of folks that pirate alot of software, with rather innocent looks on their faces when told that they're not supposed to do that. I'm not talking about lone computer users... I'm talking about the head of a business that oversees a few dozen machines and they're all running Word with pirated numbers, etc.

One word: (1)

SirNAOF (142265) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599499)

Duh.

I'm glad someone spent the time to study this. Next they'll tell us that those same people were concerned with copyrights when it was their own works being copied and distributed.

Playing the Game (5, Insightful)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599509)

I think the majority of Americans understand this as all some stupid game and one side has already bribed the referees.

Ex1: Disney's obvious bribing of Congress to get the Copyright length extended.

Ex2: AOL, Microsoft etc bribing state politicians to pass DCMA even though it is as anti-consumer a law as you can get.

and so on....

Too simplistic, I want to know WHY don't they care (5, Interesting)

OneInEveryCrowd (62120) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599516)

It would have been a better study if they had delved more into the reasons why most people don't care.

For example, do people not care because they don't even think about it, because they think they won't get caught, or because they think a monopoly is abusing both copyright law and the campaign finance system? Some of the above ? None of the above ?

My only reaction to the study in its current form is like "well duh-uh !!!".

might i just suggest why? (1)

master0ne (655374) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599517)

why is this? because of the stupidity, and restrictive ness of modern copyrights. any patent/copyright scheme which lets you copyright a generic idea is stupid. if you can patent the idea of a bicycle, im aganst it, now different models and makes, innovations on concepts are ok, but creative freedom and a good economy depend on being able to expand on a general idea without having to pay royalties.

And yet (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599519)

They adamantly state that the GPL must be followed to the letter. Hypocrits.

A modest proposal to stop the flood of trolls (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599525)

In the face of the ever worsening signal-to-noise ratio on Slashdot, I propose the following solution:

1) The bulk of the noise is by posted by the anonymous cowards. Eliminate anonymity.

2) In order to prevent people from creating multiple trolling accounts and accompanying karma-whore accounts (for moderating up the trolls), tie every account to a one specific IP.

These two solutions will still not prevent a technologically adept troll, a huge minority as they might be, from spoiling the serious discussions on Slashdot. To further improve the anti-troll tactics, a more drastic measure has to be taken:

3) Each individual has his/her personal style of writing. In fact, there exist algorithms and software for identifying an anonymous author by using his previous, non-anonymous posts. In the arts such algorithms have been used with great success to determine fake works by "Shakespeare" or some other famous author. By collecting the posts of well-known trolls into a database, we can cross correlate both anonymous and fake IP accounts with each specific troll. This enables the site administrators to take legal action against these die-hard career trolls.

I have mailed this proposal to Rob Malda and, to my great pleasure, I already received reply that promised to take these measures under serious consideration. He did say, however, that more positive feedback from the subscriber userbase is required and I should make my proposal public. So, if you feel that it is imperative to reduce the noise on Slashdot, please drop Rob a mail telling how you feel about my proposal!

the actual survey (1)

blueworm (425290) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599526)

Most people probably don't even know that what they are doing is forbidden by copyright law. It is human nature to share to an extent after all, I bet it doesn't seem wrong to them but the article just indicates that they "don't care".

Question for the RIAA (1, Insightful)

macgyvr64 (678752) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599534)

I can go snag a book from the library for free, copy it onto paper, and give it back. There. I have it, without paying for it. Without being sued for copyright infringement. Same deal with music, only I'm using a machine to copy it.

You can't stop it. What are you going to do about it? Stop selling music? Hah. If you can hear it, you can record it. Give it up.

Don't think I don't buy music, though. [apple.com]

Re:Question for the RIAA (4, Insightful)

neglige (641101) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599593)

The comparison is not quite correct. Yes, you can borrow a book from the library. For free? Depends. You may not have to pay for lending the book, but your tax money was probably used to buy the book in the first place (of course libraries can receive grants - in the form of money or book donations).

Then you go and copy the book. Normally, you have to pay for the copies. This is cheaper than a book from the store. But the quality is inferior since you only have a stack of paper as opposed to a handy book. You can not reproduce a printed book digitally - this is a totally different matter with e-books.

Furthermore, in some countries it is legal to reproduce excerpts (for personal or scientific usage) from a printed book since the author receives additional compensation based on the number of books sold. In Germany, this would be money from the VG Wort [vgwort.de].

YEAH!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6599537)

Information wants to be free, unless, of course, it's your DNA or viewing habits or buying info, then WHERE IS OUR PRIVACY! CURSES!

Copyright has never been accepted by the public (4, Insightful)

GammaTau (636807) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599538)

The copyright system has traditionally been a system that concerns professional authors and professional publishers and distributors. The general public has never really had a need to pay any more attention to copyright than to many other business-to-business issues or issues that concern a narrow field of profession.

Now basically every individual who can access the Internet can distribute works in massive quantities. Any person who makes their own web page and has a few hundred visitors has done what was very hard for an average person a decade ago. Publishing is no longer an expensive task that only traditional medias such as newspapers and record companies can afford.

The copyright system will eventually go through a major reform. The current form is simply designed for a situation where there are few authors and few publishers and then the general public that isn't either an author or a publisher. That situation no longer matches the reality which is why a new copyright system (if there will be a copyright system at all) will need to handle copyright as an issue that concerns each and everyone.

In other news... (0, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599551)

A survey of 1000 internet users found that most breathe while typing, regardless of age,sex or race.

What a useless poll.. of course they dont care.. or they wouldnt be doing it...

file sharing a felony, eh? (4, Funny)

fayd (143105) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599570)

Well, let's see here. File sharing of copyrighted material is becoming a felony. Let's follow the trend, shall we?

Some file sharer get's caught with 200GB of music ... and 4 CDs. Get's charged with a felony. What are the best defenses for felony charges?

Addiction/Insanity!

Lawyer: Your honor, my client is addicted to music. His income is insufficient to purchase the music legally so he trades online.

Judge: Six months in rehab, two years probation. *bang*

RIAA Lawyer: *stunned bunny look*

IP is dead (1, Flamebait)

billsf (34378) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599575)

DUH! Interesting to note this is a US survey. Getting out into the real world, the support of copyright laws falls to amasing lows, particularly among those that are highly educated. These are indeed among the most unpopular of laws. They will be reformed or repealed. Thank you USA for making the most stupid laws (DMCA, et al) that ultimately does away with all IP repression. This is the only area that i can think of where the USA has helped make the world a better place.

Are the law outdated ? (5, Insightful)

Vapula (14703) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599582)

In the beginning, books could only be reproduced by carefully copying it line after line, like monk did. It took very much time to make a single copy. Every copy had a great value... But anyone with enough time and knowledge (not everyone was able to write) could do it... without being prosecuted.

Then came Gutemberg. He found a way to make numbers of copies of a single work much faster. The initial work was still a long process.

Now, anyone can have a copier at home and copying of paperwork became available to anyone. But "production" costsof a copy and the finish of that copy are still quite expensive in comparison to "commercial" process. And duplicating a book damage the original and is still slow.

There are some "pirate" distribution of books, but having a book scanned in PDF or in TXT is not similar to hving the real thing.

For the music, the way was a little bit different...

At the beginning, there was NO way of recording music. Bands were paid to play. Then came the firsts recording, which were process unavailable to people (a little like Gutemberg press) and there was a protection which was mostly between companies (not companies vs individuals). This is like what we have for books.

Then, new media appeared, beginning by big tapes on a wheel, then the tapes we still use today, then the CD and now, computer formats like MP3.

The biggest difference is that, where it's still more expensive, destructive and less appealing to copy a book by an individual, copying a song is (very) cheap, don't damage the original recording and with color printers and scanners, you can have a CD-box with a copy of the original artwork or some custom artwork. Only the on-cd picture can't be done.

So, even if the law protecting both a book and a music record is the same, we have 2 distinct situations.

Add to that the fact that many musician complain about recording companies, that even if the manufacturing costs have dropped, the cost of music has increased (the cost of books has DROPPED).

One more is the fact that record companies are introducing more and more "one-shot" artists (making new stars from nothing, using mass advertisement and such). When you like some artist which make new musics of equal (or similar) quality over the time, you are more willing to buy its CD than when it's some "jack out of the box" artist you don't know and which won't last past the summer. You can be willing to support some artist you like, but when it's a one-shot artist, you are NOT given that opportunity.

And you can add to that the fact that many songs are unavailable at stores because the recording companies found that these were too old or that there is no interrest in these. While you can rent a book at the local library and won't probably read it again and again, this is not true when we are speaking of music because when you like a song/tune, you'll listen to it again and again nad will need to keep it. and if you can't find it at your local music-store, you're left with only ONE solution : copying it.

We have a similar problem with films. many films are NOT worth the price you've to pay for them. and, when you've paid to see it in a theater, you could find it incorrect to have to pay for it again to see it at home... not speaking about the many films which NEVER find their way out of their original country because of lack of interrest.

For films, we see more and more films with nearly no story but loads of known actors and of special effects. This lead to lots of "junk" with little interrest, which cost more and more to produce and is less and less worth it's price... and while the actual manufacturing of the film support (VHS or DVD) is less and less expensive, prices have actually gone UP.

Both for music and films, the people feel that it has a "real" value which is constantly decreasing and a price which is increasing... Add to that the wories like protected-CD (well... these are not really CD as they don't conform to the standard), mandatory messages on DVD, Zone system on DVD, ... which dissappear when you've a copy... These are incentive to copy... and signs that there is some abuse of the market system... Even if the record and film companies don't have a "real" monopoly (anyone can produce films or records) they have a "de-facto" monopoly in the sense that they are the only one carrying given music and films.

So, the free-market rules don't apply and this is hurting the consumers... The balance of the laws which was made to protect both the consumer and the "content" producer is off-balance and should we be in middle age, we'd have seen people taking arms to defeat these... Well... we somehow see that as we see more and more people not caring anymore about copyrights...

And the content producers should react fast by BACKPEDALING as the more they pressure the consumers (court, copy-preventions, junk music/films, ...) the more people will detach from copyright for music and film... People who are still buying music will eventually be disgusted and turn to the copy side.

I personnally own more han 300 ORIGINAL CD (+ some vinyl discs) but I've NO copy protected CD and should some work only be available in that format, I'd either not buy it or copy it, just because I only listen to music in my car and on my computer and that I've trouble with copy-protected CD in both these cases. (oh... and as I'm running under linux, their windows-only solution to play on the PC is of no use to me).

BTW, something must really be done to fight that "not available anymore" problem (either making works unpublished for more than X year falling in public domain or having copyright length much smaller for given categories... I find it funny to see Spectrum/Commodore/Amstrad/... software still to be protected for more than 50 years when these computer are NOT available anymore for years, to see songs with expected life of 1 or 2 years being protected 90 years,...)

Society's laws grow from its mores (5, Interesting)

Featureless (599963) | more than 10 years ago | (#6599596)

And while there has been a remarkable "revolution" in the arts which has created some "in the gut" recognition for something called "intellectual property," the human animal simply has a terrible time recognizing that music, or performance, or writing, or any idea made slightly tangible, is not just something you share.

They're like the air on a hot summer day. We swim in an ocean of ideas - our own indistinguishable from those around us. We inhale and osmose and exclaim and excrete all as natural instinctive intellectual processes. We are not built to recognize such artificial distinctions as "the owner of a song" (or a sentence, or an idea) because they are simply unnatural. This ownership must be violated at every instant - as you sing in the shower, as you share a rumor, as a teacher teaches or a librarian lends you our richest treasures. Calling it "intellectual property" is itself propaganda - it is the most shocking of bad metaphors in recent times.

Copyright is the barest of fictions, intended to allow artists to live, not Michael Eisner to summer in Tenerife. It does make for some interesting, even good, results, in the way they were originally practiced (as intended by the folks who founded our nation, for instance) - where for a few (like seven!) years there were some artifical means for an artist to thrive from her work, that didn't involve the help of wealthy patrons (which was how the old world used to do it).

But I think if you asked Washington he would be very surprised at the idea of copyright taken precedence over sharing - though of course he and his colleagues would have shaken their heads at the complexity of "mass-scale distributed sharing."

They would certainly rage at and mock the outrageous "extend every time mickey mouse is in danger" new time limits (one of the more transpareant examples of the subversion of democracy by a wealthy cartel). And if informed of the new punishments for violators, or pre-punishment of potential violators, or direct trust "taxes" on things which might be used to violate... they would pick up their arms and fight.

You think it's melodramatic to say so, but America is a nation of ideas, of rational supremacy, and the economic achievement that can only come from intellectual liberty. The new rules that Disney and Microsoft have mutated intellectual property with over the last decade choke off that liberty in the most violent way, by destroying the commons of ideas, erasing the essential quality of trust in our democracy, and violating the supremacy of free speech and free expression that made our country wealthy, successful in affairs of state, and also a fun place to live.

And all this, not for some grave end - to fight terrorism or feed the hungry - but only so a publisher can increase their profit margins.

Not even the politicians would countenance it, ordinarily. It's bad for almost everyone but a select few, and it is even bad for them - content creators need the commons more than anyone. But politicians have a unique respect for those who control the media...

Remember what copyright was originally intended to do. Consider the new tools we have - there are better ways now than what we did in the past, and anything is better than what the cartel wants.
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