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Software Piracy Seen as Normal

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the facts-of-life dept.

Software 1032

Spad writes "The BBC is reporting that people don't see downloading copyrighted material as theft, despite concerted efforts by the games, music and movie industries to convince them otherwise. The report, titled Fake Nation, claims that '[People] just don't see it as theft. They just see it as inevitable, particularly as new technologies become available...The purchase of counterfeit goods or illegal downloading are seen as normal leisure practices,' However, they also found that while people are generally not buying counterfeit software from dodgy dealers on street corners, they are still happy to purchase them from people they know at the office/pub/school in addition to downloading them. Nobody can really be that suprised by the 'popularity' of downloading pirated software, but I was a little thrown by the apparent willingness of people to pay for pirated copies of it."

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1032 comments

What's The Problem? (0, Flamebait)

surfer9joe (891582) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898484)

What's the big deal, I do it all he time!

NEWS FLASH! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898537)

Pedofiles don't see looking at pics of kids being raped as wrong either....

Come to think of it, car theifs don't see anything wrong with it either... Just the normal way of life you know.... Car theifs need free drugs too!

Re:NEWS FLASH! (5, Insightful)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898579)

I know I shouldn't feed the trolls, but this is one of those moral/philosophical things that's been pissing me off for some time.

You, AC, a prude. You think the morals and customs by which you live are natural laws, and that there is something defective with anyone who does not follow them. While you and I do agree that certain behaviours are despicable (or, if not despicable -- who are we to judge?), that they are atleast not behaviour we ourselves would engage in, I am willing to accept that fact that what I and the culture I was brought up in consider 'right' are not universals.

For example, I break the law all the time, many times a day. When I'm not breaking the law, it's not because I 'fear the law,' or 'agree with the law.' It's because I wouldn't act in an 'illegal' manner to begin with, because it's against my personal morals.

And similiarly, if I find a law inconvenient or wrong, I have no qualms breaking it.

And anyone who would swear to me, on their own stack of bibles, that something being illegal was the only reason they didn't commit such an act (as opposed to fear of punishment), why, I'm quite positive they're insane, so delusional that they truely believe it.

In closing, you're a prude.

And I have no idea what I originally intended to say.

Oh, wait. Here it is.

Pedophiles may, in fact, be "victims" of Humanity's own preference towards young women. Let's face it: Men who picked Young Women had a better chance of having more offspring, and if that preference for Young Women was genetic, then pretty soon everyone would be a decendant of men who liked young women.

And any woman who could look younger than she was would have a better chance of getting a better mate.

So, in short, you get a runaway Fisher effect -- women keep on retaining their young longer and longer, or stay immature older and older, and men constantly prefer younger and younger women. So it's no wonder there are some males who find children sexually attractive.

Goto any pre-civlization hunter-gatherer group and ask the men there what age they prefer in a mate. They'll say "Between Puberty and First Child." That's rather young, you know.

And considering the fact that those people live pretty much the same way all of humanity did for a damn long time, well. Nevermind.

I should probably point it out, at this point, that I think Pedophilia is a rather disgusting condition.

Also, the only NAMBLA is the National Association of Marlin Brando Look Alikes.

Re:NEWS FLASH! (0, Flamebait)

m0thr4 (832577) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898637)

...You think the morals and customs by which you live are natural laws, and that there is something defective with anyone who does not follow them. While you and I do agree that certain behaviours are despicable ... that they are atleast not behaviour we ourselves would engage in, I am willing to accept that fact that what I and the culture I was brought up in consider 'right' are not universals.

There is however one "natural" universal law - that it is illogical (and hypocritical) to act in a way that you would not wish to see reciprocated.

Therefore, if you steal from others, you effectively waive your right to complain when others steal from you.

You should remember this the next time someone, for example, breaks into your house and steals your posessions. Because then you will know what it feels like to be stolen from. If this does not bother you then, by all means, keep on stealing!

Not surprising (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898486)

Piracy isn't theft. Theft is the action in wich one denies others acces to the stolen goods. Piracy doesn't deny anoyne acces to the pirated goods. So piracy is per definition not theft.

Re:Not surprising (0, Flamebait)

sm3ggy (790661) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898488)

yes it is. piracy is denying the revenue from the good to the producer of the good. therefore theft.

Re:Not surprising (5, Insightful)

Zebidiah (573736) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898514)

Using your logic, my refusal to buy a particular music\movie is theft whether I "pirate" it or not.

Re:Not surprising (0, Flamebait)

Willeh (768540) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898529)

Using YOUR logic, pirating movies/ whatever is sometimes ok because "i wasn't gonna pay for it anyway, so it's not stealing". If you want it, buy it, if not, leave it alone.

Re:Not surprising (3, Informative)

Zebidiah (573736) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898545)

I never said it was okay, but you were right when you said

"i wasn't gonna pay for it anyway, so it's not stealing"

because it isn't stealing.

Re:Not surprising (0, Offtopic)

Willeh (768540) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898553)

It's not a small, spikey mammal either (unless you're pirating Sonic the Hedgehog games), what's your point?

Re:Not surprising (1)

Simon (S2) (600188) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898577)

It's not a small, spikey mammal either (unless you're pirating Sonic the Hedgehog games), what's your point?


His point is that if it's not stealing it's not theft. So it is not theft.

Re:Not surprising (3, Funny)

Willeh (768540) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898618)

Ok, so it's not stealing. Should we invent a new word for this behaviour? Using the word piracy will just get the whole eyepatch and parrot on the shoulder lobby mad at us. My money's on "vzzbxt".

Re:Not surprising (5, Informative)

Zebidiah (573736) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898644)

There are two words for it: "Copyright Infringement"

Re:Not surprising (2, Funny)

Willeh (768540) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898679)

Damn you and your answers to everything! Now where's my Martini, and my signed copy of Billy Ocean's "Greatest hits" (and i'm using that term loosely).

Re:Not surprising (4, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898614)

It's not piracy either. Piracy is an illegal act of violence, detention, or plunder committed for private ends by crew or passengers of a private ship or aircraft against another ship or aircraft on the high seas or in a place outside the jurisdiction of any state.

It's called copyright infringement. Calling it theft, piracy, etc is a manipulative attempt to confound discussion by depicting copyright as a piece of owned property which can be stolen when in actuality it is nothing more than a government run incentive program to fund the arts.

Not too many people will stand up and say that they think stealing someones car is appropriate behavior. Not too many people would say it's appropriate to steal a CD from a music shop. But if you ask them "Do you think it's appropriate behavior for people to borrow their friends CD and make themselves a copy", you find a very different response. Case in point, the article.

For all those people out there who constantly parrot "Whatever, it's stealing" whenever the subject comes up, do stop. It makes you look stupid, it's rather offensive to regurgitate such transparently manipulative crap in a forum that's presumably frequented by more intelligent people, and it rather quickly kills any discussion of the real issue: Should copyright be granted at all, why, and what limitations on its scope will result in the greatest benefit TO SOCIETY.

Re:Not surprising (5, Informative)

DrHyde (134602) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898677)

Yes, it is piracy. From the OED:

" 2 fig. The appropriation and reproduction of an invention or work of another for one's own profit, without authority; infringement of the rights
conferred by a patent or copyright. "

It goes on to illustrate this with a few quotation, the earliest of which dates from 1771.

Re:Not surprising (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898522)

At least here in Denmark, downloading copyrighted material is NOT theft. It is (surprise, surprise) violation of copyright.

Pirates are not stealing, they are making an unauthorized copy.

Maybe the people that say pirates are theives should look up the facts, i.e. read the law.

Re:Not surprising (1)

cacoe (870499) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898530)

to your avarage person, if you've not physically stolen somthing then it's ok and if you buy a pireted item (wow, crazy people) they still don't see that as theft because they parted with money.

Re:Not surprising (1)

Kyojin (672334) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898535)

Indeed. You could also argue that you are not denying the producer of the good from any revenue if you would not purchase the product if you had to pay full price, and if it costs the producer nothing for you to obtain the product (download it from somebody else).

Who here has purchased software? Who here has pirated software? Who here if it was not possible to pirate software would purchase that same software? Who here would look for an open-source alternative?

Parent Couldn't Be More Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898567)

I don't know about your dictionary but mine describes stealing as "To take (the property of another) without right or permission."

To any sane individual who doesn't have a bug to bear, this is quite a different thing from copying something without somebody's permission. Theft and unauthorised copying are very different things, both morally and legally.

If you steal my bike, I lose the use of my bike. If you copy the book that I just wrote, I don't lose the book I just wrote. I still own it and can do with it as I wish.

Your argument that this thing is theft because it deprives the author of a sale is complete nonsense. Like so many record & movie industry funded studies, you assume that for every single copyrighted work downloaded, the industry loses a sale.

This flies in the face of hundreds of years of economic theory. I only know the basics myself (to degree level :-) but it's widely accepted that if something costs less than something else, then for all normal goods, you will consume more. So it's really not shocking that people will actually download stuff they wouldn't buy. Why? Because it's free.

Such studies also tend to ignore the *positive* effects of unauthorised downloading. Take this scenario: you download something you've never heard of. You like it. You go on to buy it. Therefore, downloading can increase sales through a free advertising effect.

The only non-record industry-funded research I've seen so far (it was posted to /. a while ago, the link avoids me) backed up roughly this logic. The very most popular bands did lose out a little to unauthorised downloads, it's true. However, for the vast majority of bands who aren't reaching the top 10 with every album, downloading actually *increased* sales.

*Increased* sales.

Re:Not surprising (2, Insightful)

tankbob (633230) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898580)

Actually it is not theft. Theft is defined as "dishonestly appropriating property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving them"

Because you are not actually removing the property simply copying it software piracy doesn't actually come under the heading of theft, it comes under breach of copyright.

I also disagree with all the complaints of lost revenue from software houses. Every pirate copy is not necessarily lost revenue. The person may not have ever considered buying the copy in the first place. The company hasn't lost the revenue because they haven't been deprived of something to sell. Again not Theft!

It doesn't even come under Criminal Law in the UK, (unless you hit Fraud) Its a Civil matter.

INAL, this is a combinition of what I understood from helping my wife revise for her Bar exams and also from something that happened to me:-

I went on EBay to see if I could get a replacement cd for a game I own, I had the box, manuals everything was just missing the CD. When the CD arrived it was obviously a burned copy. I contacted the police and was told that it wasn't a criminal matter, it was civil and down to the copyright owner to persue and that I should inform FAST.

BTW this doesn't mean I condone piracy its just that I disagree with the use of the term Theft.

Re:Not surprising (1)

jthulin (766465) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898592)

In that case, so is choosing a free alternative (e.g. DIY/freeware/FOSS) or choosing a competing commercial product.

The software houses should be bloody happy that not everyone shows them the cold shoulder. Imagine a world where nobody pirates MS Office and Adobe Photoshop, but instead uses OpenOffice and Gimp. How'd MS and Adobe like THAT? Hadn't they rather kids learn those expensive professional programs, so that they will use them at their employers' expense, when they've grown up? I suppose that's why they don't hunt down freeloading home users, at least not in Sweden.

Selling and trading warez and gamez to the public for profit is IMHO a completely different matter, and I find it completely fair that those who try to make a living from illegally distributing other people's work are brought to justice.

Re:Not surprising (4, Interesting)

mkro (644055) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898572)

Since we like quotes from old American geezers ("...deserves no liberty at all"), here is one from Thomas Jefferson:

"He who receives an idea from me receives it without lessening me, as he who lights his candle at mine receives light without darkening me."

I'm sure he didn't refer to an iso of GTA: San Andreas found on a Swedish bittorrent page, but the counter-argument at that time also could have been "Candles cost MONEY, I think I deserve something back for the flame you just infringed upon" or "Do you know how much TIME I used to come up with that idea? Now I might have to work the fields instead of thinking out new stuff in the future"

Re:Not surprising (1)

Xerp (768138) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898642)

So I can have your Social Security number and you won't mind? Thanks. Just post it on Slashdot. Thanks.

BBC should know what "piracy" means (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898654)

Furthermore, the use of the word "piracy" is misleading and dangerous. Here is what I wrote to the BBC's Contact Us [bbc.co.uk] page:

Re. the article, "Software piracy 'seen as normal'", by Alfred Hermida, your Technology Editor:

Would you _please_ stop using the word "piracy" when you mean "copyright infringement"? Piracy is the act of robbing ships at sea, not of duplicating part or all of a copyrighted CD or DVD.

The recording and movie industries would love to see this particular bit of hyperbole become widespread, since it makes copyright infringement sound especially evil. Conflating "piracy" and "copyright infringement" helps these industries to justify their ever more draconian legal and technological attempts to hold back the tide, instead of getting on with replacing their outdated business models.

The BBC is normally seen as an example of clear and precise English usage. I am hoping that you will set a good example in this case, and ask your writers to be more careful with their terminology in the future.

Thank you...

If you feel compelled to do the same, be my guest - though I suggest personalizing the text so that they don't simply assume it's spam and ignore it.

Re:Not surprising (1)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898674)


Theft is taking something (normally of value) without permission (normally obtained by paying for it). You can steal service as well, such as electricity. Pirated software and music certainly have value of some sort, otherwise you wouldn't want it. Just because there is no cost in making it or taking it (a copy) doesn't make it OK. Would you claim that stealing someones pet rock wasn't really stealing?

People don't mind paying (5, Insightful)

Zebidiah (573736) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898490)

People don't mind paying for software\music etc. They just don't like being ripped off with overly inflated prices.

Re:People don't mind paying (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898512)

People like paying for physical items. People don't like paying for legal theory (licences). If it was about the money, the content is going to be 'evil' in some way anyway.

Re:People don't mind paying (5, Insightful)

nurhussein (864532) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898526)

This is *especially* true in developing countries where people just can't afford to buy legit stuff, since the content cartels all want to push it at US prices.

A legit DVD movie is around 80-120 ringgit* in Malaysia. That's enough money to eat for one or two weeks. Would Americans pay the equivalent of a week of meals for a single DVD? I doubt it.

Try selling at prices people are *willing to pay*, like the pirates do (10-12 ringgit per DVD), and they'll be more than happy to do so.

--
* ringgit == unit of Malaysian currency. 1 US dollar is 3.8 ringgit.

Re:People don't mind paying (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898564)

I was in Malaysia a few months ago and stayed in China Town in KL. I saw at least half a dozen different people selling ripped off CD/DVD's in a 2 minute walk in any direction from where I was staying. I was quite impressed.

Re:People don't mind paying (2, Funny)

Bloodlent (797259) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898587)

Americans do pay the equivalent of a week's worth of meals for DVDs... 20 dollars, about, right? So... let's see. Ramen... 15 cents, maybe? Have three of those a day and you've got a week's worth of food and a good amount left over, which you can then buy pirate DVDs with. Everyone wins.

Re:People don't mind paying (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898599)

> Would Americans pay the equivalent of a week of meals for a single DVD? I doubt
> it.

They already do. You can easily eat for a week for the cost of a DVD if you buy fruit, veg etc and cook yourself, instead of eating out at restaurants, having pizzas etc delivered or buying convenience food.

What is that price? (0, Offtopic)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898527)

If the cost of downloading that software/music is zero, then why would I pay more than that?

Your post is a self-justification for your refusal to follow the law. Yes, people don't like being ripped off, but no one is forcing them to buy the music or software.

The same goes for the "I'll try it and buy it if I like it" and "I can't afford it, so the company isn't losing any money anyway" crowds.

I don't know when this attitude of entitlement started becoming so prevalent. It seems to have reached a fever pitch in the past couple years.

Re:What is that price? (2, Insightful)

Zebidiah (573736) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898570)

Your post is a self-justification for your refusal to follow the law. Yes, people don't like being ripped off, but no one is forcing them to buy the music or software.

There is no self justification in my post. My post stands on its own merits. People don't mind paying for music or movies at overly inflated prices. They don't seem to mind paying what they consider to be a fair price.

Re:What is that price? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898612)

You are missing the point.

People will pay what they feel is fair, and if the cost to download is zero, then the perceived value of the material is also zero, so it becomes a very simple justification to pirate software/music/movies because you see no intrinsic value in the thing.

Faced with two choices, one being paying full price and another being paying half the full price for the same item, paying more is silly. So lower that to a quarter of the price. Lower it all the way down to zero. You would be an idiot to pay for something you can get for free. And with something intangible like music, it makes a hell of a lot of sense to get the free one.

People pay for things that they don't have to pay for out of good faith and a desire to follow the law. This makes them good people. Other people try to weasel their way around the laws trying to redefine the situation to fit their own unwillingness to be straightforward and honest. This makes them bad people.

There is an abundance of bad people on Slashdot.

Re:What is that price? (1)

Zebidiah (573736) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898673)

Faced with two choices, one being paying full price and another being paying half the full price for the same item, paying more is silly. So lower that to a quarter of the price. Lower it all the way down to zero. You would be an idiot to pay for something you can get for free. And with something intangible like music, it makes a hell of a lot of sense to get the free one.

What you say makes a lot of sense but I don't think it is the whole truth of the matter. Look at the success of iTunes. The music is available for free elsewhere yet people still buy the downloads from iTunes.

Re:What is that price? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898636)

Maybe we should blame advertising for doing it's job too well and influencing people to obtain the goods, whatever it costs (Morally in this case)!

Re:People don't mind paying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898540)

Exactly.

I've purchased pirated copies of things like diskeeper, solely because I wanted it, but felt that the actual price was wildly out of sync with its value as I perceived it.

Re:People don't mind paying (1)

jessONslash (805319) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898657)

Suppose you by a DVD drive for $40. You still need DVD windows software, which costs another $40. On the other hand a full DVD player goes for $40 at WalMart. Thus you will be happy to pay $5 for a pirated copy of DVD software to have a sense of fairness.

Re:People don't mind paying (1)

BRonsk (759601) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898678)

Exactly. While some are computer savvy enough to download the stuff they need, some others are not. And paying $20 for a CD with Photoshop and Premiere on it is still saving you more than a thousand bucks.

So it is simple: If you don't want to invest $1000, and you still want it, you've got to have it pirated. And $20 is a fair price since downloading these is always time and bandwidth-consuming.

Re:People don't mind paying (5, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898683)

I do, at least where music and literature are concerned. I find the idea that a few large corporations "own" all the music I grew up listening to and uses that "ownership" to prevent the vast majority of humanity from being allowed to listen to more than a fraction of it to be downright criminal. That being the case, I won't give them one thin dime of my money, and I'll go out of my way to make a free copy for anyone who wants it so I can further deprive them of operating revenue.

As far as I'm concerned Universal, Sony/BMG, Warner and EMI are the enemy and I'm happy to do my part in destroying them utterly.

Taking from the rich has never been seen as theft (4, Insightful)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898496)

There has been a popular meme throughout history, back to the days of the Old Testament that said that beggars were entitled to the excess of any farmer's crop. If the vagrant were to walk past a farm, they could take as much as they needed from the outer ring of crops, but they were not to venture inside.

This is because it is thought that the person doing the work of farming had more than enough to feed himself and his family, after all, he's got huge tracts of land and will sell the amount he doesn't keep for himself at the market. What little scraps are taken by the passing beggar will hardly be missed.

The same attitude exists with regards to copyrighted materials. "I, one lone person, can't possibly make a dent in the amount of revenue that the copyright owner will make." (It's the same reason many people don't vote.) And they are correct. Individually, they make no impact on the final numbers. They aren't even a rounding error in many cases. But in large numbers, all these individuals refusing to pay for the material (to the copyright owners) make a huge impact.

When every vagrant takes their "fair share" from the outer ring of a crop field, the crop gets smaller and smaller until the farmer and his family starve.

Re:Taking from the rich has never been seen as the (1)

DenDave (700621) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898560)

It's like the drug trade. People want it, the more difficult (expensive) you make it to get, the more creative and inventive folks get at it.

How would you stop the criminal side of the trade? For example, with marihuana, many have said that de-criminalising personal usage and growing of limited amounts would lead to less money made by the criminals, less crime.

If by the same token, copyright owners would (use modern technology) lower the costs then piracy would not be profitable and people would be less inclined to entertain the criminal market.

If cd's would drop from 26 Euro to about 10 euro I think that piracy would end in Europe. Not the I copy my buddies cd piracy but the I make 150 copies and sell them in the street kind. The buddy system has always existed and in most places is considered fair use. Heck even drm-iTunes allows me to share my music with my buddy...

So the analogy with the farmer should be that the vagrant take his fill and not fill the chevy...

Re:Taking from the rich has never been seen as the (1)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898563)

Well looks like the farmer is quite the idiot, then. All he has to do is plant weeds and the like on the outer fringe and the problem is solved.

But here's where your analogy fails. One, by taking crops to his/her heart's desire, the vagrant denied both the farmer and others from it. That is stealing. However, 'pirates' do no deny others from partaking in media they are 'pirating'. That's the difference.

The second point is that there is no evidence that the 'pirate' would consume the product if (s)he couldn't get a 'pirated' version. The logic is that a person may watch something because it is free (via 'piracy'), so (s)he has nothing to lose, except leisure time. If (s)he were to buy or consume the product legally, the cost might exceed the benefits, for him/her, and thus the 'pirate' may not consume the said product.

Thirdly, a lot of 'pirates' are from overseas where they have no access to that product (especially in the case of TV). I'm sure many 'pirates' would pay for it if content providers actually provided it to them at a reasonable cost.

It's not all plain and simple as your farmer and vagrant analogy make it appear to be.

Re:Taking from the rich has never been seen as the (1)

NegativeOneUserID (812728) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898597)

While that may be true for physical goods, I am not all that convinced it is true for 'intellectual property'

For someone taking crops out of a field, it reduces the total amount of crop. However, when I download music off the net doesn't mean that the total amount of music on the net has been reduced.

I would also tend to believe that CD sales have an inelastic demand curve. The people who are willing to fork cash for a Brittany Spears CD are going to pay for it regardless if it is downloadable or not. The people who refuse to listen to Brittany Spears will not listen to it even if it is made available for free. Food isn't like this at all. Offer free food and people will stuff themselves with all they can possible eat even if they would not normally eat chocolate covered hotdogs otherwise.

One way they are alike, however, is in loss leader. I personally have purchased CDs after hearing samples I have downloaded off the net. Likewise, I have made purchases at a grocery store of food I would not have otherwise purchased because I was handed a free sample.

Re:Taking from the rich has never been seen as the (1)

Sweetshark (696449) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898607)

The farmer is just paying his contribution to the social security system. If farmers dont grant beggars a small amount of their crop to keep them alive, the beggars will become violent - everybody looses.

Re:Taking from the rich has never been seen as the (4, Interesting)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898639)

There's another problem with piracy, besides the theory that the producers are out of pocket as a result.

In Ireland at least, the warning that piracy (of films in particular) supports terrorism, is quite true. While those actually pirating the stuff themselves aren't, those who buy pirated movies at the market, etc., are most likely buying from the equivalent of an IRA high street store. One of the IRA's rackets is pirated goods (the others being smuggled cigarettes, diesel, etc.)

Not sure how true the ad at the start of the movie is in the States, but just to let you know, it's not as crazy as it sounds.

Is this really news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898497)

I thought we had all figured this out by now, what with 100 million+ downloaders in North America...

no shit.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898498)

people don't see downloading copyrighted material as theft

that's because:
CopyrightINFRINGEMENT != Theft

-Sj53

propaganda (4, Informative)

Sweetshark (696449) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898502)

... despite concerted efforts by the games, music and movie industries to convince them otherwise ...
Here (germany) these TV-commercials are as bad as the mainstream (streamlined) popmusic. They are without heart. In cinemas they often get booed at. They are even less convincing than the products these guys want to sell.

stealing from the rich? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898508)

People think it is okay to pirate software because they think it is okay to steal if they are stealing from the rich. Problem is if everyone starts believing that no one will have any high paying jobs in the tech industry anymore.

Re:stealing from the rich? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898536)

I didn't realise there were any high paying tech jobs left. It's cheaper to go out an get an indian!

That's because it isn't Theft (5, Insightful)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898509)

It's copyright infringement and the punishments for that are much much higher. You're better off shoplifting a CD or Software than actually copying it. At least if you consider the possible punishments.

Color me surprised...not (4, Interesting)

Willeh (768540) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898513)

From my own experiences, it's absolutely true what they're saying. I was copying c64 games for my friends (not for profit ofcourse) back when i was about 7-8. It moved on over the years (tape swapping in school, more games copying). It sort of snuck in. Why? Because it was so damn EASY. That's right, morals got conveniently put on the backburner, just to listen to the latest tunes or play the latest shit-hot game with my friends.

Fast forward that to the present: IT'S STILL EASY! Games, movies music are so readily available(for free) i'd be embarassed if i produced any of it. For the less techno-savvy people under us, it's still relatively easy, maybe a magnitude or 2 less, plus they now have a little disposable income to throw around for the sake of convenience, so they might buy the latest movie released from some dodgy bloke out of his trunk. Is this right? NO. Is this illegal? YES! Is it easy? You bet! They're basically doing it because it's convenient, easy, cheap and they've been doing it for years.

Having said that, personally i'm now working and have a lot more money to spend, so i'm buying stuff all the damn time. The solution to all of this: I have no clue, but DRM-short-of-a-gloved-hand-up-the-ass isn't the way to do it.

Because it isn't theft. (3, Interesting)

Yath (6378) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898515)

Who knows, people may be smarter than the entertainment industry gives them credit for. Illegal copying isn't theft, and insisting that it is does nothing but alienate people and foster mistrust.

What's sadder is that the BBC is going along with this campaign of misinformation. They imply that there are only two viewpoints: It's theft, or it isn't a crime at all. Way to inform your readers... not.

Not theft - it could be a new model. (1)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898645)

In a sense the software industry went through this phase back in the 80s. Remember strangely formatted "uncopyable" disks and parallel port dongles? At one point in about 1991, my colleagues at work built a special parallel port expander which could take 5 dongles at the same time.

To a certain extent, shareware and free (as in freedom) software is now the new model. Don't prevent copying - instead encourage copying - and have a business plan which makes copying an asset, not a liability.

Will this happen in film and music? Not soon, but there are models which could spring up. For example, imagine software which allowed many people to collaborate on a piece of music over the Internet - they wouldn't need to be in the same place, or even at the same time. Or how about software which generates film-quality movies from a script and simple director commands? Not possible now, but surely in the future. If this software became widely available it would turn everyone with a script into a director, and dramatically reduce the cost of making films. Of course, most films produced this way would be crap, but that just means that a reputation system could be used to filter out the diamonds.

Rich.

Something's gotta change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898518)

The media industries have to change their policies and their view of consumers first in order for people to change their beliefs and views on piracy. Period.
-willkill

Re:Something's gotta change... (0)

Pooh22 (145970) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898603)

Bingo, spot on!

big media companies just don't want to lose their market, which is perfectly understandable, but they are no longer necessary, they should just liquidate and go do something useful with their assets...

people balance their expenses and if you can easily copy music or software and use it without depriving others of the same, that's a very social thing to do and probably very good for the local economy, since then people spend more money in local shops or bars. Maybe people will eat healthier food because they can afford it while using the copied stuff for free.

information is free to copy, so trying to block that is unnatural and wrong.

Not surprising (1)

fafne (840092) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898519)

Obviously people don't think it's worth the money buying from the established wendors. It's percieved as unjust then it cannot be wrong.

Isnt theft... (2)

KingOfGod (884633) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898523)

Piracy isnt theft at all.
If I download a piece of software made by NoWares Corp. on eMule, does the NoWares Corp. immediatly feel that they are missing one copy of their software product?
No matter how you put it - Software piracy is not theft. Even if there are pirated 100.000.000 copies of any give software, the "offended" company can still sell a billion copies to anyone.
Software Piracy is just what it is. When will people get that apples != oranges, and that piracy != theft?
Piracy == piracy != theft

Also, who'd think that the only people who pirate stuff, are people who wouldnt/couldnt/etc pay for the software at all?
Look at the open-source world. Piracy isnt a problem there, and they make heaps of money even though they give away freely their products.

Re:Isnt theft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898555)

Piracy isnt theft at all.
If I download a piece of software made by NoWares Corp. on eMule, does the NoWares Corp. immediatly feel that they are missing one copy of their software product?


As President and CEO of NoWares Corp. let me be the first to inform you that yes, we do feel we are missing a copy of our software every time someone downloads a copy of it. It is because of people like you that I have to drive Mercedes Benz's instead of Rolls Royce's and why my children have to go to public school instead of private schools. What will they think when I have to tell them that they can only wear Chuck Taylor's instead of genuine Swedish leather loafers now?

I hope you feel good about yourself. Rot in hell you vile thief.

Re:Isnt theft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898596)

If I had modpoints...

Mod parent INSIGHTFULL!

Re:Isnt theft... (1)

andy landy (306369) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898582)

I'd also go as far as to say that illegal copying of date != piracy. The whole "Piracy" thing is yet more scaremongering tactics to make the practice sound really bad.

Just as you're not actually stealing anything,neither are you plundering vessels at sea and brutally murdering their occupants!

You may be right in justifying it as less bad than stealing, in the same way that mugging someone is less bad than murdering them, but the fact is it's still illegal.

The content owners really ought to make a better effort of educating people as to why it's wrong, rather than spreading over-dramatised FUD at us.

Re:Isnt theft... (1)

m0thr4 (832577) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898590)

No matter how you put it - Software piracy is not theft.
Look up the word "theft" in the dictionary and see how that description matches with what you are doing. You should find that "theft" is defined as "taking the property or services of another without consent" or similar. Do NoWares Corp et al consent to you downloading their software for free? No. Ergo, the crime you are committing is theft.

Re:Isnt theft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898594)

Wrong.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theft [wikipedia.org]
Theft (also known as stealing) is, in general, the wrongful taking of someone else's property without that person's willful consent.

Did NoWares Corp. consent to you taking their software? Nope. It's theft.

*waits until the Slashdot morons change the Wiki page*

Maybe because it isn't theft? (0, Redundant)

RoLi (141856) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898525)

It's copyright infringement and that's neither theft (the act of taking some property away from someone) nor piracy (the act of robbing ships at sea).

Re:Maybe because it isn't theft? (1)

isotpist (857411) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898620)

Mod parent up.
Copyright infringement has nothing whatsoever to do with attacking ships at sea, killing, raping, and or enslaving the original occupants and stealing their money and supplies.

Re:Maybe because it isn't theft? (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898672)

No, and the device I'm typing this on is not a person employed to perform calculations. I still call it a computer.

Re:Maybe because it isn't theft? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898629)

Sorry, but it is piracy and has been for a couple of hundred years. Words can have dual meanings, you know? English is a pretty versatile language and can sustain different meanings in different contexts. It might not be theft, but it is piracy.

Re:Maybe because it isn't theft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898675)

I think robbing ships flying through the air also counts as piracy.

piracy is just a natural phenomenon (3, Informative)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898532)

I am too young to remember the age of freedom before the commercial world took over software. But I can make out how it would have felt from whatever Free Software is doing to the youngsters today. It must've felt like the current astrophysics or higher mathematics of today. I wonder what happens when those things have real applications and multinationals pushing reasearch ( already grant money seems to be corrupting them ).

> [People] just don't see it as theft. They just see it as inevitable, particularly as new technologies become available...

Userfriendly has hit the nail on the head with this explanation [userfriendly.org] of the economics of software piracy. The costs of piracy had hit companies way back in late nineties, these days the piracy factor is calculated into the initial pricing. Where I was working before, they had estimated ~19% piracy rate for a mobile phone app. It is slowly starting to become a market force for the software industry - and the companies hate that. (price it too high, we'll pirate !)

The american corporate's blood sucking is slowly starting to show on the economy. what price for - America Inc (specializing in mergers with oil rich countries with dictators) ?.

Losing $2 billion ?! (1)

MasJ (594702) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898542)

When these corporations purport that they're losing $2 billion every year because of Piracy is it because that is the value of the total software that is being pirated and distributed (counting each copy as unique..) ? Because if they are, then they're pretty wrong in their estimates and are just blowing figures out of their arse. (Uk related pun ;))

It isn't necessary that every piece of pirated software would have been sold legit if there existed no piracy. There is no proof that people who download/buy pirated software would buy the originals if there were no pirated versions available...

I for one, certainly wouldn't. If I were making commercial profit from a certain software, I would definitely buy it. For example, I own a legitimate copy of vBulletin (even though I could have used the free phpBB). And my website isn't exactly 'all that legit'.

However, if I need to pay for MS Windows, and there are no pirated versions available, then I would rather use linux. And I'm sure most 'teenagers' (RTFA) would do the same, to cut costs.

In a way, come to think of it.. anti piracy is good for linux ^_^.

Re:Losing $2 billion ?! (1)

The_Mr_Flibble (738358) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898610)

Ahha so (in your last statement) your admit that you wouldn't pay for software for your pc.
Therefore you would be a contributing factor to their losses.

To work out how much money the corporations are loosing

1. get how many pcs have been sold
2. subtract the number of windows os sold
3. multiply by the average cost of software on a pc
4. declare that you are loosing that much money to the world and have new laws passed to protect your business model from evil open sources os's

No I'm not trying to be funny

Re:Losing $2 billion ?! (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898667)

It isn't necessary that every piece of pirated software would have been sold legit if there existed no piracy. There is no proof that people who download/buy pirated software would buy the originals if there were no pirated versions available...


But getting a non legit copy of a high end program might not hurt the originator of the high end program (because you won't be able to afford his price). It might hit the vendor of a cheaper alternative, because you might be able to afford his product, but you don't need to, because the copy of the high end program was cheaper als the price he demands.

That's one of the reasons why Microsoft for a long time tolerated non legit copying of its own software. It was not so much hurting Microsoft's business, it was hurting the business of everyone else.

Can we agree? (2, Insightful)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898546)

Downloading software or music is one thing - making money off of "pirated" copies is another. I don't even think about using Gnutella or downloading MST3K DAP releases from eDonkey (using eMule) because no one is making a profit from those actions(ok, my ISP). I would never use Kazaa, because piracy is their business model (and if you think Kazaa is just a tool, I think you are).

In fact, one torrent supplier of rare Star Wars stuff always points out to *NOT* buy stuff from the "Dark Side Dealers" and make copies available so those trying to cash in on piracy can't.

I'd copy Windows, Office or even UnixWare for you no problem - but if I saw you selling copies of any of these I might just kick you in the nuts.

Re:Can we agree? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898669)

No way. There's no difference jsut because of scale or that money changes hands. If something is OK to do, then it should be OK to do it for money. Anyone who says otherwise is a SOCIALIST.

Pay for it? (2, Insightful)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898549)

I, too, can't understand why people would pay for copied software. I suppose people just don't have the time to technical knowledge to get it for free. Perhaps they also kid themselves that they are helping a poor self employed buisness man. Who knows?

While I don't condone wide spread piracy there are some types of pircay that I don't have that much of a problem with. For example, go back a few years, you were interested in ray tracing and 3d modelling. You had a choice of pov-ray and coding all the scene files by hand or paying megabucks for 3d studio (I know this is a little simplified). If it is something that you are only semi-interested (you would never consider doing it commercially) that I don't see a big problem with you grabbing a cracked copy of 3ds. After all you would never buy it, and in reality what has discreet lost? They didn't even have to pay for the bandwidth used in the download. I pick 3ds because it was widely cracked (and still is I believe). It used to be protected with a dongle (not sure if it still is) and there was no "entry level" version. They seem to have finally figured it out though as you can now get a feature restricted free version which is supprisingly good.

As for music piracy well I say eat as much as you can. Reproduction costs of music now must be tiny yet the price of music in real terms is still sky high. I can't help feeling that we, as a consumers, are being ripped off left right and center. If we aren't beign riped off then the music industry needs to be prompted to look at ways of cutting back on costs. Perhaps the problem is that there are to few music producers.

No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898552)

It's what you get from trying to push DRM

Buying pirated copies? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898557)

I've never paid money for pirated software. Most pirates swap or give stuff away.

People who have no problem with this often still consider it wrong to make money from piracy.

Taken for granted (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898559)

It is taken for granted by the younger generation. I remember being in a record store once, overhearing young girls saying aloud that they could 'just download it' instead, like, who cares anyway.

Funilly enough, I can tolerate people who copy in private amongst their closer friends and family members, but I have a bigger issue with people who sell pirated software and corporations pirating, because these people are actually profiting from it in some way. People will pay for something if they see fit, but if it results in some virtual loss for some company that never would have seen the money anyway, then "boohoo". Programs are not physical objects, they are state, which can easily be duplicated without effort. When software stops being developed commercially due to piracy (riiight), then the next generation would start a new wave, and the process repeats, until at some point it would even out when people respect each other a little more. Right now both sides are egotist assholes, the laws just slow 'evolution' in this matter by acting prematurely.

Definite 'profit' (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898611)

I wonder if you could define 'profit' for me.

The reason I ask is this... you take issue with people who pirate media/software for profit of some sort. But those who don't, you tolerate.

However, is John Doe downloading Photoshop and learning it not profiting from it as well ? Sure, it may not be monetary profit. But he did profit from being able to learn how to use it. His immediate profit is skills. Long-term profit may be a job.

Compare that to Poor Schmuck who 'did the right thing' and bought Photoshop (Elements, Edu, whatever) and profited in the same way.

In a purely hypothetical fashion, if they both gleaned an equal amount of information from it, developed an equal amount of skill, etc.

Then Poor Schmuck is still minus whatever amount of money it cost him to legally acquire Photoshop. John Doe is not. This is all regardless of whether Adobe will still sell a copy of Photoshop to whatever place John Doe goes to work at. Not to mention that with Joe Schmuck they got 2 sales. *shrug*

Software Espionage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898561)

Why is software piracy considered "theft" when there is a perfectly better kind of illegal classification for it: espionage? It is, after all, gleaning information from the interaction of two parties that wish that information to reside between themselves (or, if one does not, is still bound by contract to keep that information private).

That's because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898569)

piracy != theft.

All the content companies would love to convince the general public that copyright infringement is theft, then they can paint everyone as thieves, rather than simply people refusing to pay exorbitant fees.

And when they produce all their figures of X amount of revenue lost to "theft", our congresscritters are much more inclined to enact tougher legislation. However, the public, much wiser than they assumed, is not buying into it.

Somehow, I don't feel very sorry for organizations like the RIAA, MPAA, and BSA and I would bet that a whole generation is just like me...

Piracy keep Microsoft in business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898575)

Microsoft have built their empire on software piracy. Without piracy, Microsoft would lose their position as the dominant OS - and they know it.
Sure, they pretend to be high and mighty, and try high-profile stunts and publicity such as "Aw. Gee guys, y'know, right, we busted these guys who were, like, pirating our software and stuff, coz, y'know, like, we're all anti-piracy and that". Its sooooo transparent!

This doesn't surprise me at all (2, Insightful)

NoNeeeed (157503) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898591)

Every time I go to the cinema there is some advert or other by FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft, a UK org) telling us how naughty copying is and how much trouble we'll be in if we try to record the film.

And every time there is a ripple of giggles. The more serious and ominous the warnings, the harder people laugh.

For better or worse, most people just don't think that copyright infringement is a serious crime. Most people acknowledge that it is "wrong", but probably regard it as no more serious than eating a penny sweet from the pick-and-mix. I am of the generation that grew up home taping (LPs, CD, Spectrum/C64 games), most of my friends don't see a little low level piracy as being a bad thing, in fact most would say they discovered new bands from friends tapes and ended up buying more (some would be lying, but not all).

The media world has got an uphill struggle before it convinces people that casual copyright infringement is anything like the serious crime they think it is.

Paul

changes (3, Interesting)

n0rr1s (768407) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898602)

From TFA:

"The government has spent millions of pounds to change public awareness of drink-driving and smoking.

"As a society, we need to go through a similar process for creativity and intellectual property."


This isn't the change that needs to happen, and it won't happen. People don't see downloading material as wrong because it isn't wrong: nobody gets hurt by it.

I think big change is required, and the new system should consider these points as axioms:

1. The transfer of digital information deprives nobody of anything, and should be lawful.

2. People who create digital works that society considers desirable should be compensated.

This suggests to me a system whereby the creators are paid once, up front, for their creation, and then it must be freely distributable.

Of course, that's the thinnest shell of a new system, and it would raise many questions and problems. But people aren't going to drop their belief in points 1 and 2, and I see this sort of system as the only way of resolving them.

What are they really paying for? (1)

ymgve (457563) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898604)

I'm doing a bit of copying for my friends, and every time I burn a DVD I ask for a few bucks to cover the media and my time burning. Now, I would charge the exact same amount even if I were burning out something completely legitimate, like Linux ISOs. In my eyes they aren't charged for what's on those DVDs, they are paying for the media and labour involved.

So, are my friends (and probably the people in the article) really paying for the pirated software?

Too late. (1)

Kaorimoch (858523) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898605)

The anti piracy messages and lawsuits came in too late. Many people have grown up with piracy (I prefer the phrase copyright infringers more) as a way of life. I copied my first game in 1984. A whole generation grew up knowing and doing these sorts of things and due to the popularity of 'free' and the growing momentum of these numbers, its too late. Even now children at the school my children go to talk about how they watch all the latest movies at home before they hit the cinema (or while they are at the cinema). Is is societal corruption or evolution? And what does this mean for the future?

This is the way the world wants to go... (1)

BigAlexK (398239) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898616)

Why can't "the powers that be", the record companies, the law, etc, see that this is the way people want to get hold of their content (films, music, tv). What they want, when they want, easily.

Trying to stop this is like standing on the beach with your arms wide trying to stop the tide coming in. Its that stupid. Repeat after me: THIS CAN NOT BE STOPPED.

The challenge, should they choose to accept it, is
1.) for content owners to make technology that can charge for any copy made anywhere anyhow and
2.) secondly, and equally importantly, to drastically lower the cost of each copy so consumers feel it's fair - how about a trying a "pay what you like" scheme, and giving buyers the option of just the digital copy, or digital copy plus plastic case+colour inlay.
3.) To allow true try before you buy for all digital media - afterall that's what a lot of piracy is for these days.

I think many people if they felt they were actually being treated fairly (rather than ripped off or prosecuted), would pay a fair amount, especially if they felt the bulk of the payment was going to the artist and not the fat greedy media companies.

Media companies have one, and only one choice - to go with the flow of copying, or to to be drowned in the incoming tide.

Breach of contract isn't theft (4, Informative)

evilandi (2800) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898623)

The reason people don't see breaching copyright as theft, is because it isn't theft.

In order for something to be theft, there has to be an "intention to permanently deprive". You have to take something away from someone. That's the legal definition.

If you copy something, the original is still perfectly usable. Nobody is deprived of the original for a moment.

The copyright "industry's" attempts to equate breach of copyright with theft has fallen upon deaf ears because people aren't that stupid; they know the analogy is stupid from the start.

Bodies which name themselves using the phrase "copyright theft" are open to public ridicule, because everyone knows that breach of copyright absolutely not the same nor even similar to theft.

It took them that long to figure this out?? (1)

borfast (752138) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898625)

I mean, everybody knows that... it's not even a matter of people "seeing it as inevitable", people don't even "see" it as anything. It's considered something perfectly normal, something that people don't even think about. An interesting article would be why we came to this point. IMO, because of the reasons some other people already stated here. First of all, because it's so easy. Second, because people don't like to be ripped off. Third... well, we could carry on from here but you get the point.

Piracy? HA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898635)

Piracy? Forget piracy.

You want to know what the biggest problem for small developers is? All those idiots making free games and applications, like all the flash games or even Mozilla.

How is a guy supposed to compete with FREE? I'm a shareware author, and most shareware games don't sell at all anymore because there are THOUSANDS of free games out there. And I'd like to write an FTP app that is better than any other out there, but how can I compete with a free product which is very good? Even if my product is better, it's not going to be better by a large enough margin to matter.

Piracy? HA. Piracy is the LEAST of MY worries. The reason I'm not making money has nothing to do with people copying my software, and everyhting to do with people who are willing to throw away their free time writing apps and games that they then give away.

It's a matter of public perception. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898640)

People see 'theft' as being when you walk off with an object that belongs to somebody else. Simply copying data is never going to show up on most people's moral compass as being even remotely close to the conventional view of theft.

Property is theft (1)

hozozco (856621) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898641)

"look, property is theft, right? Therefore theft is property. Therefore this download is mine, OK?" (modified Zaphod Beeblebrox from HHGTTG) :-)

Copyright, and overweeningness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898658)

I sing my own songs, make sure the material is either out of copyright or provided by generous folks as Creative Commons.

I write my own software, and use that given freely by those who have GPL'ed before me.

I have no problem with the people who say I shouldn't download their stuff without paying. I have no money for that purpose, and I don't like their stuff anyway.

I share my stuff, for the reputation.

All copyright; but I'm no 'pirate'. I play by the rules. Works better that way.

Just keep the laws the way they are now (in the UK, at any rate). I plan to win.

6 hours on Broadband, and we're there.

How did the Statue of Liberty get there in the first place, anyway ? A gift, by any chance ?

It's true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12898659)

I'm a big fan of buying software from the guy at the pub

one must ask (2, Interesting)

Atreide (16473) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898660)

a/ Do law must follow general ethics (street guy's ethics) or
b/ does it must promote ethics even though it goes against general ethics ?

Either answer is problematic.
if a/ then why some law are not still removed ? For instance most people dont care about homosexuality or abortion and they are still forbidden in many places.
if b/ then why some ethics are still against the law ? Looking at the % of "illegal" downloading it should be put as "legal". And what to say about prohibition (whether alcohool, drugs or guns) ?

Who does law must serve ?
The biggest number ? They migth get spinned or just loose their ethics.
Some guardians of ethics ? Now people refuse to follow religion or philosophy ethics and prefer their very own personnal ethics.
Some commercial or political influence ? They tend to only server their own interests, but this has imppacts on wide scale.

Actually... (4, Interesting)

DuranDuran (252246) | more than 8 years ago | (#12898680)

Actually from my own research, it's much more likely that the participants knew that it was wrong but have developed fairly compex ways of justifying their activity. It's called "neutralization", whereby deviants 'neutralize' the social controls that normally inhibit illegal behaviour. This theory was originally put forward in 1957 by Sykes and Matza, and you can read about it here [norfolk.sch.uk] and here [umn.edu].
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