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Piracy More Serious Than Bank Robbery?

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the copyright-trumps-all dept.

Businesses 501

An anonymous reader writes sends us to Ars Technica for a dissertation on how detached and manipulative the discussion about copyright is becoming. "NBC/Universal general counsel Rick Cotton suggests that society wastes entirely too much money policing crimes like burglary, fraud, and bank-robbing, when it should be doing something about piracy instead. 'Our law enforcement resources are seriously misaligned,' Cotton said. 'If you add up all the various kinds of property crimes in this country, everything from theft, to fraud, to burglary, bank-robbing, all of it, it costs the country $16 billion a year. But intellectual property crime runs to hundreds of billions [of dollars] a year.'" Ars points out how completely specious that "hundreds of billions" is.

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Pirates disgust me (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19539973)

You wouldn't steal a car would you?

Re:Pirates disgust me (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540023)

I would if I could download one!

Re:Pirates disgust me (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540029)

I only steal souls.

-Steve
BTW Vista is the greatest OS ever! Buy it now!

Re:Pirates disgust me (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540037)

I wouldn't steal software, music or videos either. I make my own copies.

Re:Pirates disgust me (5, Funny)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540139)

Lots of people steal Cars. Just ask Pixar.

I'm waiting for the sequels... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540203)

Handbags and Banks...

Re:Pirates disgust me (0, Redundant)

complete loony (663508) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540369)

It's incredible that these monsters are going unpunished. They should be squashed like the bugs they are.

Re:Pirates disgust me (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540145)

No, but i might take a digital ( or film, im the ludite around here ) picture of your car for *personal* use. You still have your unaltered car afterwards and are free to do whatever you had originally intended to do with it. Its value has not been effected.

Copying a bunch of bits that i wasnt going to purchase is no different. The owner has not had his product reduced in value and he still has possession of it to sell to a buying customer ( which im not, nor was i ever going to be ).

People that twist the facts around and inflate the numbers in order to invade/reduce my privacy disgust me. ( though for the record, i dont agree with 'for-profit' or 'purchase avoidance' piracy.. )

Re:Pirates disgust me (5, Insightful)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540243)

I believe this to be wrong on two points.
Firstly define 'wasn't going to purchase' for me. If I know absolutely 100% that I can not get a piece of software / movie / game for free, I am pretty sure I am much more likely to admit to myself and others that I want it, and will purchase it, than if I have a big demon sat on my shoulder whispering "don't be a mug, you can warez it!".

Most films have trailers, software has demo's (as do games), if you see the demo and wish to enjoy the product for longer, then its pretty hard to argue that you will be getting entertainment or use from it no?
People can NEVER be honest about saying "I wouldn't have bought it" once they have the full thing for free. Our brains are great at backwards-justification. We can easily find all sorts of ways to make what we have done seem justified, we may well even delude ourselves. But that doesn't mean it's true. It's like telling yourself you would have resigned anyway if you get fired, or that she was a pain in the neck anyway when someone dumps you. Anything to make you feel like the good guy.

I spoke to a guy who does DRM for an online game publisher. Once, they rewrote their algorithm which instantly rendered all existing cracks for the games useless. Sales jumped by 40% that month. Why? surely none of those who cracked the stuff would have bought it anyway?

Secondly, your comparison is not accurate. A car is made for a single user, and priced accordingly. A movie, game or application is made with some estimation of sales, based upon the market size and product quality. Nobody makes Photoshop or Lightwave and expects to sell one copy. If you are in the target market, and get use from the product, yet you take it for free, then of course you are affecting the producer of the product. The fact that nothing physical was moved from a to b makes no difference.

People will make all kinds of rationalisation to justify taking other peoples work for free. The problem is, their philosophy never scales up to the whole of society. Why the fuck should I pay to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean film, it was made anyway, and I probably wouldn't have paid for it right? so what's the harm?
Until everyone thinks that way, in which case the whole business model collapses. That's the problem with people who leech, it works out fine for them (in the short run) but they fuck things up for everyone else.

Re:Pirates disgust me (4, Insightful)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540309)

Why the fuck should I pay to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean film

An excellent question in itself.

Until everyone thinks that way, in which case the whole business model collapses.

Gee, I thought the whole point of a free market was to let businesses succeed/fail based on their ability to deliver a product that people are willing to pay for. There are obviously enough people still paying to see shitty movies that the industry that produces them is being sustained. When there aren't, then I guess it shows that not enough people gave enough of a fuck about that industry's products.

Re:Pirates disgust me (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540317)

Profit = monetary, dont toss in 'entertainoment' just to justify you position. Im talking *real* profit here. either you sell the 'goods' or you make a business off the use of the goods. Either of those is wrong. "entertainment" "Education" etc, dont count.

Non customer = no, i can honestly and accurate say that that i would not buy the product. If it wasnt available via free, then i wouldnt have it. If i was going to buy it, i do, regardless of being available free. "free" doesnt play into my purchase plans.

Re:Pirates disgust me (3, Informative)

Admiral Ag (829695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540475)

"People will make all kinds of rationalisation to justify taking other peoples work for free."

That's true, but they may in some cases be correct. In this case, technology is in the process of rendering barriers to the free flow of information obsolete. DRM and all other forms of copy protection are just feeble attempts to stop it. The power is now in the hands of the users. You can complain all you like about it, but that is a fact. All the lawmaking in the world won't be able to stop people either, and nor will technology.

Rationalisations either way are futile in cases like this. People can come up with rationalisations as to why masturbation should be prevented, but it's idle talk, since people will continue to do it because there is no efficient way of stopping them.

In any case, there is no a priori reason why content should not be provided free to end users, as long as some method of promoting its creation is in place. Lots of things in our society are provided by means of non market mechanisms. Scholarly research is the obvious one. Health care (in most modern societies) is another. There's no reason why entertainers who supply music cannot be paid from general taxation based on the measured popularity of their products. The technology exists to make such a scheme workable. Additionally, there are obvious benefits in having such content available for free to the end user.

Apart from the Libertarians, who seem to object to taxation even when it demonstrably makes life easier, there's not much to complain about in such a proposal. Sometimes new technology makes new markets possible, sometimes it renders old ones impossible. That's just life in the modern world.

"The problem is, their philosophy never scales up to the whole of society. Why the fuck should I pay to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean film, it was made anyway, and I probably wouldn't have paid for it right? so what's the harm?"

If you already paid for it through general taxation, why would you care? Why not agitate for a workable solution, instead of acting like King Canute? There's very little you can do about piracy by appealing to the pirates or by trying to use the law against them. Might as well take a stand on firm ground instead.

Re:Pirates disgust me (2, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540287)

People that twist the facts around and inflate the numbers in order to invade/reduce my privacy disgust me.
Oh, it's worse than that. They are twisting the facts and inflating the numbers in order to manipulate the government to create laws which will be enforced by criminal courts, by the police and the implicit threat of force which all that carries.

They've re-phrased piracy from a civil, rights infringement problem which would require them to prosecute themselves and bear the costs, to a criminal issue with costs carried by the taxpayer. It's one of the dangers of government, when it has infinite cash to spend, there's little stopping government getting bigger and bigger, acquiring citizen's freedoms as it panders to more and more of the special interest groups.

 

Re:Pirates disgust me (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540331)

"manipulate the government to create laws"

That is what i was getting at with the 'reduce' part of my rights.

Re:Pirates disgust me (5, Funny)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540149)

I'm too hardcore for mere GTA and homicide. If it doesn't involve the latest Top 10 hit song, then I'm not going to bother touching it.

Re:Pirates disgust me (1)

cshark (673578) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540375)

I would love to see the color of the sky on his planet. I know it wasn't specifically mentioned, but if piracy is in the hundreds of billions, then it's not law enforcement that's being mismanaged, it's his accounting department. Does he want to spend less time on fraud so he can keep spewing out numbers like this, I wonder?

Re:Pirates disgust me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540383)

I am with Linus on this one. The guy's arguments just make sense to me.
That's why we in the open source community supports him all the way.

Re:Pirates disgust me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540467)

No as I don't know how to drive one or whom to sell it to, but if the car belonged to record/movie mafia I'd consider pushing it over a cliff or something.

Yes, just imagine... (1)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539977)

...all the no-extra-overhead money we could be making! It's serious!

Re:Yes, just imagine... (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540225)

Today, every single Slashdot reader failed to give me $10. Do you realise that this has cost me and, by extension, the economy, over $10,000,000 for today alone? Over the course of a year, that means that not devoting law enforcement resources to fulfilling my every whim costs me (and the economy. Won't someone please think of the economy?) $3,650,000,000. That's right, well over three billion dollars.

Has any bank robber come close to stealing three billion dollars? Even Nick Leeson only cost Barings $1.4bn. Obviously our priorities are very, very wrong.

Imaginary crime (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19539981)

Intangible products lead to imaginary crime and virtual losses. Why would anyone expect to get real police men for that?

Imaginary excuses. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540091)

Really? Is the time and effort put into creating entertainment, imaginary? If someone pirates entertainment, can all that be gotten back?

Re:Imaginary excuses. (3, Interesting)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540115)

> Really? Is the time and effort put into creating entertainment, imaginary? If someone pirates entertainment, can all that be gotten back?

Err... if someone produces entertainment that no-one buys or pirates, can the time and effort put into that be gotten back? I don't see your point. Just because time and effort are put into the creation of entertainment is real, doesn't mean that the "losses" caused by someone pirating that entertainment are real. It's entirely possible that every person who pirates the entertainment would never have paid for it, even if it were not available for pirating. Then again, it's entirely possibly that every person who pirated the entertainment would have paid for it were it not available for pirating.

Until someone determines a half-way reliable method of calculating how many people did not pay for the product directly as a result of it being available for pirating, then the "losses" remain as some unknown value between (0 x $PRICE) and ($NUMBEROFPIRATECOPIES x $PRICE).

Imaginary crime. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540175)

"Until someone determines a half-way reliable method of calculating how many people did not pay for the product directly as a result of it being available for pirating, then the "losses" remain as some unknown value between (0 x $PRICE) and ($NUMBEROFPIRATECOPIES x $PRICE)."

Oh there's a "loss". It may not always be monetary, but it ends up making everyone suffer all the same.* Anyway there's nothing "imaginary" about copyright infringement being a crime.

*Piracy is an excellent example of short-term gain favored over long-term consequences.

Re:Imaginary crime. (1)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540241)

> Oh there's a "loss"

Care to explain what it is? Because I was under impression that in the long-run, the determinants of national output were the factors of production (capital(K) and labour(L)) and technology, and that as in the long-run the factors of production remain constant, the growth of economies relied on technology reducing the scarcity of goods, as has happened throughout modern history.

Re:Imaginary crime. (5, Insightful)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540267)

*Piracy is an excellent example of short-term gain favored over long-term consequences.

I'd say that doesn't hold for those who view the destruction - or at least marginalization - of a particularly bad industry, with its attendant effects on the culture of music, as a desirable long-term consequence. I doubt the demise of top-down music culture counts as a "loss" that "mak[es] everyone suffer."

Re:Imaginary crime. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540313)

Failure to gain is not loss.

Re:Imaginary excuses. (1)

RodgerDodger (575834) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540503)

Why limit yourself to losses? It's worth noting that big selling movies and music have higher piracy rates. This seems to run counter to the logic that piracy hurts sales. In fact, the various bodies concerned have never been able to demonstrate high piracy rates having a measurable impact on sales except for when an overly-hyped product (which would probably have had high "first-day sales") is pirated before release, and is evaluated as a dud.

Contrawise, there have been several documented instances of piracy being valuable marketing, resulting in increased sales.

Re:Imaginary excuses. (1)

kanweg (771128) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540143)

Oomph, where's the logic?

1) The time has been spent however you turn it.
2) Tell me about this physics knowledge you have of spending money and getting time back. I'm getting older now, and I do have a couple of thousand here. Tell us the secret.
3) Be grateful to the pirate. The pirate saved you effort. You didn't have to burn another disk, and push it through the channel. (Oh, and in case someone didn't pirate your effort, you still get money. I'm making a backup as we speak, burning 2 DVDs, and there is a (small) tax on it, which I'm sure goes straight to the artists).

Bert
Who is a patent attorney, hates piracy and has legal stuff only but severely detests the position of the copyright maffia. Copyright law should be reformed: 20 years max. and you pay for it to get the copyright, just like the other IP rights. DRM, then you're not giving to society and you're not entitled to copyright protection. People should be allowed to put stuff on the player they want (and yes, they should be punished if they pirate stuff).

Re:Imaginary excuses. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540249)

I mostly agree with you, but then you say:

you pay for it to get the copyright, just like the other IP rights
This means, if I copyright something and release it for no cost under a Free Software license, then it's still costing me money. Perhaps the way around this would be a copyright tax; if you sell something that is covered by copyright then you pay n% of the sales price, which is a levy for having your copyright enforced by the state.

Re:Imaginary excuses. (1)

kanweg (771128) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540495)


Nice idea, but the advantage of fixed fees (like for patent annuities) is that it does away with a lot of bureaucracy.

The good thing about OSS copyright is that it allows the copyright holder to force another person to abide the conditions. So, having rights is a good thing. Perhaps it should work like this that if your product is free, you get a deduction of 100% on the annuity.

Bert

Re:Imaginary crime (5, Interesting)

FraterNLST (922749) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540229)

Insightful? That mod wasn't posted by a software engineer i'm sure.

As a proud member of the development corp, I do really feel insulted to hear the sum of my creative energies, and the sweat and blood of my work referred to as an imaginary product. That said, I understand what you're trying to say. The real problem the MPAA and RIAA have is trying to apply traditional economic theory (based on scarce-resource distribution and pricing) to an unlimited resource (something that once created, can be replicated ad-infinitum.

Why they want to do this is obvious, it's a licence to print money. Unfortunately for them, under these traditional economic theories it is the scarcity of a resource that makes it valuable (gold, platinum, wood) and an unlimited resource has very little, or no, monetary value.

Thus DRM, which is fundamentally an attempt to impose scarcity on an unlimited resource, thus creating artificial value. It doesn't work, because the methods are inefficient and if content has intrinsic worth itself, DRM reduces it by making it difficult to use.

I'm not sure how we're going to get around this particular problem and it is concerning for all of us involved in creating the content. There needs to be money in creation in order for us to get paid to do it, but the traditional methods of commercial software/music/films may not be the most efficient.

Perhaps we need to explore commoditization of software, or perhaps a return to the patron model enjoyed by artists of the last several centuries. Hard to say.

Re:Imaginary crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540341)

If they pressed their DVDs in the US or (not China or some other corrupt despotic regime) and paid their dues, I'd be more sympathetic to thier plight. It's not like opportunity costs are entirely without real consequence. But they went with the devil that made legit copies by day, and indistinguishable copies by night. Someone clever should come along and write a song called "Sony... I can put that blame on you" to the tune of Akon's "Sorry You can put that blame on me." They chose piracy for their investors and employees, why shouldn't their customers choose piracy for themselves and cut out all the middle men?

Your rights are imaginary, not your work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540487)

Copyright and "Intellectual Property" especially is imaginary: you lose nothing concrete when your "rights" under copyright are lost.

When your plumber fixes your pan, you don't pay for each flush because you benefit from that transaction in the future: you pay once and then it's over.

your WORK is real but IP is imaginary. Try and find the king of "Intellectual" ...

duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540393)

Why would anyone expect to get real police men for that?

Because the people who suffer most from "piracy" (sic) are the very wealthy (RIAA ringleaders and such). The police are there to serve the wealthy. Don't you have any sense of propriety?

Physical burglary tends to hit the lower and middle class the most, since they are easier to rob, and even when it does hit the rich it hits them for pennies compared to the huge virtual dollar signs that are never made manifest by those evil, evil file sharers. Most importantly, when burglars steal stuff from the lower classes they usually go out and spend what they steal, so the money keeps flowing upwards (as it should). No REAL harm done...unlike filesharing in which the upward flow is inhibited...THAT'S just not acceptable.

Re:Imaginary crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540481)

Mod this guy up.
But were I an elected official, I would send this guy packing- no time for idiots insulting even the mildest IQ congresscritters.

Probably better to send in the IRS for an audit, because the taxes being paid are artificially low, and hit em up for collusion. If you want a contribution, you get more when they are in the dock.

Even the numbers are bullshit, out of a hat stuff, that needs an idiot to believe that verbal diarrhea .Lets see, the war on drugs, the war in Iraq, the war on terrorism figure much more prominently than say , American education and literacy, Health and Medicare, poverty housing, welfare, with policing and law enforcement a distant last in the scheme of things.

His misconception... (5, Insightful)

gorehog (534288) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539995)

If you add up all the various kinds of property crimes in this country, everything from theft, to fraud, to burglary, bank-robbing, all of it, it costs the country $16 billion a year. But intellectual property crime runs to hundreds of billions [of dollars] a year.
The basic misconception by the executive in question is that we judge the severity of crime by it's monetary value. Is he seriously suggesting that we should not try to solve rape cases just because there's no profit in it? Oh...and FP?

Re:His misconception... (0, Offtopic)

gorehog (534288) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540011)

Ok, ok, not FP.

Re:His misconception... (2, Funny)

Eudial (590661) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540153)

The basic misconception by the executive in question is that we judge the severity of crime by it's monetary value. Is he seriously suggesting that we should not try to solve rape cases just because there's no profit in it? Oh...and FP?


But think about the loss in revenue for the hookers, if men just go rape random women when they want to get laid! That's lots and lots of money!

Re:His misconception... (1)

FraterNLST (922749) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540239)

Especially if you factor in the fact that prostitution is illegal in many places, imagine the lost government revenue that the fines bring in if they went out of business!

Re:His misconception... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540325)

Although property crimes usually go hand in hand with violent crimes, it's fairly obvious that he is referring only to property crimes whereas the only loss is money or property.

Do I agree with his statements? No. However, it's always wise to leave things in context. I wouldn't have mentioned it had you not been granted a score of 5 for it.

WTF? (5, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539997)

What the hell is this guy on?

I pirate an album and Britney Spears loses 2 dollars. A girl gets violently raped and her entire life is damaged and she may never recover. Which of these two things are more important?

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540021)

But she doesn't loose 2 dollars? Are your seriously suggesting that you would have bought that album if you couldn't download it?

Re:WTF? (5, Funny)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540033)

> I pirate an album and Britney Spears loses 2 dollars. A girl gets violently raped and her entire life is damaged and she may never
> recover. Which of these two things are more important?

If I pirate a Britney Spears album, my entire life is damaged and I may never recover.

Re:WTF? (1)

wilsong (322379) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540049)

...or more likely - you "pirate" an album and Britney Spears loses nothing - because your were *never* going to pay a penny for the bilge, but you might grab it for free to have a giggle over it.

Re:WTF? (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540055)

I'm doing worst case scenarios, not worst and best case :)

NO FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540123)

The article mentions burglary, fraud, and bank robbing. NOT RAPE. That said, the loss of personal assets should STILL be given more priority than the loss of a percentage of the massive profits that the software companies make. Especially since all software is sold with NO FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE in the EULA.

That means all software is inherently worthless and companies make a profit because you were stupid enough to buy it.

Re:NO FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540295)

Bullshit.
My current PC has (legal) copies of photoshop, poser, windows vista, about 5 different games, paint shop pro, and they all seem to work fine for me. Somehow, the fact that you don't like a single sentence in the EULA does not affect photoshops floodfill, marquee selection, layer compositing or brush configuration. Nor does it affect posers rendering and animation features, or vistas file searching, device configuration or text rendering capabilities.
the vast majority of us are using commercial software every day to carry out all kinds of amazing stuff all the time. stuff our parents never thought possible. And yet you think the whole software industry is somehow conning us all, and we must be stupid because you don't like a single piece of legalese in a text file.
Get a grip.

just another rich guy living in his own world (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540013)

Don't try to convince a big American corporate guy that his quarterly bonus is less important than the life of the average American. They are completely out for themselves. This is a perfect example of why we can't trust corporations to do the right thing in this country. They are led by greedy, self-serving a-holes like this guy.

Re:just another rich guy living in his own world (5, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540083)

I have to agree with this AC. I have found myself appalled when people actively voice notions like business interests should be afforded more protection than individual or civil interests. These people TRULY think this way. It's not just another attempt at manipulation of the system or any such thing. These people have the mental malfunction in their brains and they truly believe it's correct.

This should lend a little light over what lobbyists and various government officials and legislators might be thinking and where the root of the problem may actually lie.

Re:just another rich guy living in his own world (1)

sanctimonius hypocrt (235536) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540265)

The man would have some point if he argued that laws widely ignored are a bigger problem than laws mostly followed - remember those theories about turn-stile jumping, broken-windows, etc. But the problem here is not that the government isn't doing enough to prop up a busted business model, but that the law does not enjoy much support. And the monetary argument is backwards, like you say. If the government were to consider at all the economic impact in choosing which laws to enforce, you could argue they should prioritize laws without a big economic component, and let the others be resolved by civil litigation.

Re:just another rich guy living in his own world (4, Insightful)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540089)

> This is a perfect example of why we can't trust corporations to do the right thing in this country.

The reason that corporations cannot be trusted to "do the right thing" is because they have been legally constructed in such a way as to prevent any shareholder or employee of that corporation let moral judgements interfere with the profit motive.

If the CEO of a large company decides not to campaign for more police time to be spent on protecting intellectual property because he believes to do so would be "immoral", not only can he be fired, shareholders in the corporation can in fact bring legal action against him for not acting in the best interests of the corporation.

Basically, it's not just that amoral soulless assholes are attracted to executive positions in large corporations, it's also that you cannot serve in an executive position at a large corporation without being an amoral soulless asshole.

I've been on IRC. I've seen rampant trading. (5, Informative)

eightball01 (646950) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540035)

I don't doubt his claim of hundreds of billions. In fact, there's probably a hundred billion per month. That being said, I don't remember taking any mp3s or the odd copy of photoshop at gunpoint. Just because the owner of respective rights may be out of money doesn't mean they would get that money if the medium wasn't free. These people don't seem to remember that odd quirk about piracy. You get what you want to take at your leisure. You're not pressured by your bottom line. You're not pressured to think if it is a good purchase. You get it because you want it, and only because you want it. I've got many mp3s that I wouldn't be caught dead buying the album (or even the iTunes track) for purely because I don't think it is even worth the .99 per track. I didn't get that copy of photoshop because I thought it was an industry standard image manipulation software. I got it because it cost me an hour in download time. The exact same could be said if the company receives $100 or $500 in profit on that piece of software. There are different rules to piracy than those which piracy is measured.

Copyright is the Real Ripoff. (0, Troll)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540463)

You know, the biggest ripoff of all has got to be ever extending copyright. Everytime recorded media is about to loose it's "protection" the industry buys an extention from congress. Movies and music that were made with copyright protection of 25 years is still protected 100 years later. Each time the industry does this, they rob the public of what the public was due when the material was produced. When copyright is extended beyond average life spans, the public domain is never enriched with relevant material.

A more insidious issue is one of cultural control. It's not even done because studios think the old material is a revenue maker, they are afraid of competition that can take away their control. The older material could compete for mindshare and it carries it's message with it. That message can be jarring to someone locked inside the broadcast monopoly box, and that disturbance is the start of independent thought. It does not happen when all of the messages you get are consistent. Broadened taste is something industry and government abhor. Concentrated production can't keep up with real popular taste and government can't control distributed production.

This has already happened, to a small extent with net flicks and to a larger extent for those willing to risk punishment for file swapping. Netflicks circulation numbers show that people will take choices when offered. Something goofey, like 90%, of their titles are in circulation at any given time - people want it all, not just the blockbusters.

A free market for movies and music will emerge, but the broadcast monopolies are doing everything they can to thwart it. Physical distribution can't really keep up and electronic distribution will end their monopoly. Anyone can put a movie on the internet [starwreck.com] . This is why Disney would rather you not download Steamboat Willy and why all the studios are desperate to end network neutrality. YouTube is killing them. Not because people are watching their old crap, because people are watching what they want.

It's a problem of analysis (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540041)

There are many, many problems here. First of all, this guy seems to think that monetary damage is the only form of damage possible, but there are plenty of worthless trinkets that have meaning to people. Second of all, I have always thought that the idea that file sharing is costing record companies money is a bit dubious, since during the height of Kazaa, they were posting record breaking profits. The problem is that economists like to think that anything that WOULD have been a sale but wasn't is actually a loss -- but that is stupid in a world where you are selling data that can be copied instantly. It is especially stupid when the overwhelming majority of downloaders wouldn't have purchased the album anyway -- usually because they couldn't have possibly afforded to (consider the cost of buying 20GB of music).

Re:It's a problem of analysis (0, Flamebait)

thc69 (98798) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540199)

First of all, this guy seems to think that monetary damage is the only form of damage possible, but there are plenty of worthless trinkets that have meaning to people.
Nobody steals those worthless trinkets, they take cash from the bank or the stereo from your car.

during the height of Kazaa, they were posting record breaking profits.
That's been my observation too -- profits seem to follow piracy. When piracy is up, profits are up. My theory is that most people, like me, got excited about music when pirating and bought lots. Now that we're afraid to pirate, we're not spending as much time on music and are just not as excited about it. I know that's the case with me; since I quit pirating I just haven't had the urge to buy many CDs.

These days, on the occasion that I do want a CD, I refuse to buy CDs that are RIAA-affiliated. They hate and attack their customers; therefore I don't want to be their customer. Thank you, RIAA Radar [magnetbox.com] .

Re:It's a problem of analysis (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540319)

Even economists don't think like that. Most economists recognise that the average person has a (roughly) fixed amount of money that they will spend on entertainment. All piracy does is alter how this is spent. It's not even been shown which way piracy alters this. If you pirate music there are two possible outcomes:
  1. You will feel that you can get music for free, and spend more money on other things, or
  2. You will be exposed to more music, and spend more money on music.
For some people it's the former, for others it's the latter. I've seen studies that show that both are the majority. To me, this says all statements of the form 'piracy cost us $x' should be taken with a pinch of salt.

The recording industry has lost several sales to me in the last month, even though I don't pirate music. I listen to Radio Paradise (which won't exist much longer, if the recording industry lobbyists have their way). A few times recently I've heard songs I like, and gone to iTunes with the intention of buying the album. Since it wasn't available without DRM, I've decided not to. If it had been, then that's a £7.99 impulse purchase they could have had. Did I pirate the music afterwards? No. I just chose not to spend any money on music this month. Instead, I went to see a play performed outside locally, bought a load of books, and rented a load of DVDs.

*sighs* Mod article "troll" (5, Insightful)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540043)

Is there any use of posting this article, kdawson? You already know the exact discussion that's going to happen. It's the same discussion that happens twice a day every other time we discuss piracy.

Re:*sighs* Mod article "troll" (1)

an.echte.trilingue (1063180) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540435)

Mod article "troll"


Hey, I've got mod points! So, uh, just how do I mod the article? I don't see the little box anywhere...

"Intellectual property crime" (5, Insightful)

pieterh (196118) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540045)

Actually the figure is probably much too low, if one considers the abuse of patents as "intellectual property crime".

Some examples:

* The way patent offices globally have turned the patent system into a pyramid scheme for their friends, printing coupons that are not backed by any state bank and yet are used as collateral to secure huge credits.
* The shakedown of numerous small businesses and large customers for "patent violations" based on legal instruments created by a mafia-style clique of lawyers.
* The wide use of patent "licensing deals" to create cartels that would be illegal and criminal under normal competition law.
* The use of patent "licenses" to tax the use of technology by the public, even though very often the public subsidised the original research.
* The use of "intellectual property laws" (designed and paid for by content industries) to prevent content falling into the public domain.
* The use of said laws to create artificial barriers to free trade, so prices can be raised in specific geographic areas.
* The use of the global patent system to keep the costs of medicines artificially high (even at the cost of millions of deaths)
* The use of the global patent system to prevent free competition in many markets.
* The use of the global patent system to stop alternative energy technologies being developed.
* The use of patents to create conflict and litigation than enriches lawyers and specialists.

And on and on and on... the cost of "intellectual property crime" surely runs into the trillions...

Of course we're supposed to think that when corporations abuse the law, it's a different thing than when individuals do it. Corporations can buy laws, individuals usually can't.

Re:"Intellectual property crime" (2, Interesting)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540247)

* The way patent offices globally have turned the patent system into a pyramid scheme for their friends, printing coupons that are not backed by any state bank and yet are used as collateral to secure huge credits.

I am willing to wager that even if there were no safeguards against it, 99% of patents would be reviewed by people who had no knowledge of or connection to the persons or organizations applying for the patent. In reality, though, patent reviewers would excuse themselves from any such conflict of interest.

* The shakedown of numerous small businesses and large customers for "patent violations" based on legal instruments created by a mafia-style clique of lawyers.

Yeah, the founding fathers were surely the mafia lawyers from hell.

* The wide use of patent "licensing deals" to create cartels that would be illegal and criminal under normal competition law.

Cartels are illegal. Please bring forth your evidence and I am sure you can find a glory-hog prosecutor who would like to take your case.

* The use of patent "licenses" to tax the use of technology by the public, even though very often the public subsidised the original research.

Patents are not a "tax" in any way, as paying for them is purely optional. The "public subsidized the research" line is a red-herring and displays a fundamental mis-understanding of how corporate and academic research intermingle. While the public was subsidizing the corporations research, the corporation was subsidizing the public's research. Yes, we work together to solve common or related problems! In no way would this imply that one of us now owns the rights to the fruits of the other's labor.

* The use of "intellectual property laws" (designed and paid for by content industries) to prevent content falling into the public domain.

Uhhh, yes, this is what patents and IP are....but you are wrong about your parenthetical...this system was designed long before almost any modern company existed. This is a basic fact, and I have no idea why you are lying about it.

* The use of said laws to create artificial barriers to free trade, so prices can be raised in specific geographic areas.

Again, you are noting how patents actually work.

* The use of the global patent system to keep the costs of medicines artificially high (even at the cost of millions of deaths)

And the cost of not having a patent system would be hundreds of millions of deaths, as medicines would be invented far more slowly without any financial incentive to do so.

* The use of the global patent system to prevent free competition in many markets.

Yep. That's exactly what it is supposed to do. It is a small, time-limited market failure created by the government that works to offset a larger, permanent market failure (the free-rider problem with respect to innovating).

* The use of the global patent system to stop alternative energy technologies being developed.

IP has no special relevance to alternative energy.

* The use of patents to create conflict and litigation than enriches lawyers and specialists.

First, people being enriched is a good thing, even people whom you dislike via steriotype (including me, because I am a specialist!). Of course, the patent system has an administrative cost, but it is well worth the price.

Re:"Intellectual property crime" (4, Insightful)

pieterh (196118) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540315)

"People being enriched is a good thing... Of course, the patent system has an administrative cost, but it is well worth the price."

That is excellent. Can I quote you? Even though you argue well (it's your job, maybe), the patent system is absolutely not about enrichment, nor about solving the (strawman) "free-rider" problem. It is only about exchanging a limited monopoly in return for documentation on new techniques that would otherwise be kept secret. Show me a single example of a "free-rider" problem in the software sector, please. Just one case where government intervention in the form of software patents is justified. Pretty please.

Today's patent system - whatever the merits of the patent per-se as a social bargain - fails completely to deliver value for money for society, it serves only people who can play the system, and punishes the rest. Nowhere is this more clear than in the software sector. However elsewhere it's also failed.

Explain to me why agriculture - based on free exchange of knowledge - has managed to prevent famine since the 1950's (famine still being caused by natural disaster, politics, and war), while pharmaceutics, entirely based on your vaunted monopoly, has left hundreds of millions cursed by malaria, dengue fever, and other diseases.

The excesses of the modern patent system will go down in history as a monstrosity. You can defend those excesses - and many people do - on the basis of "well, it makes money for me", just as people have defended a hundred other evils.

Let's make them the same in all respects, then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540071)

Okay, here's an idea. From here on out, anytime you pirate something made by NBC Universal, you also get to sucker punch Rick Cotton in the face. Then he'd have a reason to whine about misappropriation of police resources.

Money Quote! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540085)

LOL

So he won't mind (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540087)

while I rape his wife and daughter then right? As long as I don't steal any of his ideas.

They sure love money... (1, Insightful)

WgT2 (591074) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540093)

...general counsel Rick Cotton...

Ah, no wonder: a lawyer said it.

It's time for tort reform in this country; too many money-grubbing pigs are using a broken system to do things like channeling for the unborn [marginalrevolution.com] to make cases in front of apparently easily manipulated people. All to the end of fattening their bank accounts.

GC Rick Cotton - lawyer should be disbarred (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540297)

It's precisely this kind of moronic idiocy that gives lawyers the reputation they've gained for complete braindeath and uninhibited parasitism on society.

Cotton should be disbarred for incompetence in council and incitement of litigious fraud.

He's absolutely right (1)

thestreetmeat (1055390) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540103)

We should do something about piracy [bbc.co.uk] .

Oh no! What would Jesus do! (4, Interesting)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540107)

Seriously though, this debate is getting tiresome and at the end of the day, I feel no more enlightment on the subject.

These people fail to see how stupid it is to scare the public with billion dollar figures. I frankly don't give a crap if company x lose a y dollars per year. My point is that if a company is struck by heavy use of piracy, then their business module is entirely misplaced. It could be too expensive, too difficult to purchase, only a tiny useful function out of many less useful ones, and many other factors that contribute to such outcome.

Take a music CD for example. It's expensive, impractical to purchase, often DRM:ed and includes maybe two, three or four songs that you like. This is why iTunes and other comparable services are slowly taking over that "lost" segment that chose piracy over unthoughtful music labels.

I don't believe that we are criminals by nature and I doubt that most of us prefer to "steal" rather than purchasing, but the companies have to find solutions very soon and adapt before piracy becomes a habit and not just an escape.

Last but not least, I am yet to see an anti-piracy statement that admits to the positive effects of pirating. After all, that's how many artists, movies and software developers gain a lot of attention. Do you think Photoshop would be widespread in Europe if there was no alternative to that idiotic $1,500 price tag? At least people pirate Photoshop instead of turning to the cheaper alternatives. And when have you heard Adobe admit to this?

Easy answer to this one... (5, Funny)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540147)

Start robbing banks, then you wouldn't need to copy CDs and movies, you could just buy them.

First thing you'd do when entering the bank would be to shout "are any of you copyright lawyers?", then proceed to shoot any of them in the legs. They'd soon start to realise that having the police deal with bank robberies is a far better idea than having them go and arrest college kids for downloading Metallica...

What a bunch of unethical twats...

Cost (5, Insightful)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540179)

Cost "the country" hundreds of billions. hmm. dont you mean the entertainment industry? way to conflate you interests with the public good. and way to vastly exagerate your own interests too.

NO MERCHANTABILITY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540183)

All software is sold with NO MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Therefore software is inherently worthless, and they make a profit because their customers were stupid enough to buy it.

I have this air molecule here (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540201)

In fact, I have a lot of them on my property. I assign an arbitary $10^99 value to each of those molecules. But look! Every day passers by breathe in some of those molecules. Therefor, I conclude that the police focus on investigating these unimaginable crimes!

Flawed statements (1)

bms20 (827647) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540207)

By referring to "costs us" implies that realized value (e.g. money) is lost by piracy.

Until a CD is actually sold, its value is only potential - none of it is realized; it is a promise of a return on investment.

On the other-hand property in my house, money in the bank holds real value - stealing it costs the economy that value - unlike "loosing the promise of a sale."

Hopefully someone can take this thinking further than I with a hang-over can.

-bms20

Money not gained != money lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540209)

If someone copies a song, a movie, a piece of software or any other digital information which can be copied indefinetly without losing any quality then NOTHING IS LOST. Yes, perhaps someone would have been willing to buy a license to listen to a CD for personal consumption only and not for performance in a public place including, but not limited to, schools, prisons, oil rigs, etc. etc. etc. containing that information, but that is speculative, and is in no way a real physical thing. If someone robs a house, a bank, a store, or whatever then that is real stuff which has been lost by one party, and thus has a real, physical impact.
Basically what I'm saying is, projected earnings should in no way be counted as concrete assets. An accountant would get into serious trouble if she processed next years accounts using made up figures and said "Well, I made an educated guess that you will have this money next year.". If digital information truly has a cost, then people copying it should be applauded for increasing the country's economy (although at the same time having a dramatic effect on inflation), since the overall amount of wealth would be going up, rather than shifting from the victim of a crime to the criminal.

Just to show how messed up the whole system of building-on-previous-decisions-without-making-a-re ality-check is, the person who is gaining the information through illegal means is not the criminal, the person they got it FROM is the criminal. Now, this may be comparable to goods counterfeiting or something (but if the "fakes" are exactly identical to the "real" article, then is this a bad thing since the end-user gets the same thing? It isn't like money forgery since it doesn't involve creating fake agreements. License counterfeiting would be comparable, but the information held by the end-users in question is knowingly unlicensed.). Whatever it is compared to, it is NOT theft. That is such a terrible analogy it should be addressed as such whenever possible. If a good analogy is made then fine, I am not disputing the legality of copyright infringement, I am just saying that it cannot be compared to theft because copyright infringement multiplies assets, whilst theft shifts a fixed amount around, and thus the figures cannot be compared.

How about the banks reply to this saying "Of course bank robberies are a bigger problem than copyright infringement! We invest the money stored in our vaults to make more money, so whenever we are robbed we lose infinity billion dollars!". This is just another case of things being taken at face value completely out of context, in this case the law.

Sorry for the rant

*pops head up for a moment* (3, Interesting)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540221)

Sorry what was that? I was just busy making a backup of my DVD of The Big Lebowski I bought last week so I could remove the "piracy is a crime" intro to the film. It's so annoying having to wait through 2 minutes of "don't copy this or else!!!!" crap, I want to drop the DVD in and watch the film straight away.

Re:*pops head up for a moment* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540421)

Dude, you should have just downloaded it, I've never seen an anti-piracy message on any Xvid.

Depends on the crime really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540223)

Piracy creates more losses than robbery, burglery that is true. And since more and more of the economies in the western world is dependant on copyright it's very important that it has high priority.

There are crimes where people gets hurt, like rape and murder that at all times must have highest priority of all.

War on Piracy! (1)

zenlessyank (748553) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540227)

Don't let the bushmaster hear 'bout this or we will have another "War" on our hands!!! Just add another division of grunts and parachute them in!! I give it 3 years before that "War" is lost too!!! war on terror war on drugs war on dood who copies Zero's and One's repeatedly in a somewhat random order

Slashdot. (1)

Edie O'Teditor (805662) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540251)

News from digg. Stuff from Ars Technica.

Piracy, how many police do they need? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540257)

Hopefully, the jackass who argues that piracy is a greater crime than Robbery, gets robbed tomorrow (even pistol-whipped so he can get his head straightened out). Big business wants all the cops, all the time, to police their profits. After all, corporations and gov't are merely quid-pro-quo whorehouses sold to the highest bidder. When the gov't needs illegal wire-taps, Verizon and Sprint allow them secret rooms to listen in on calls. When Haliburton (and KBR) need more revenue, the gov't hands out no-bid contracts. When the gov't dislikes literature, Amazon and Wikipedia ban the book "America Deceived". We The People had our gov't (and our police) sold out from beneath us.
Final link (before Stark County District Library caves to pressure and drops the title):
America Deceived (book) [iuniverse.com]

So it is alright to murder a homeless person? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540283)

After all, they add nothing to the GDP - and actually detract a little from it.

I feel a bit sorry for this guy actually, he has been so brainwashed by "the market knows best" that he doesn't even have a moral fibre left in him - this is what happens if people commit absolutely to the "market religion" - all that matters is that the numbers know best and people are reduced to the role of consuming automatons. If the people don't consume enough then we will throw them in jail as a deterrent to others - buy our "stuff" or you will be in the same place.

It's about total IP crimes, not just music or DVDs (1)

ygasuasu (803351) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540291)

The hundred of billions of dollars he cites is not only for MPAA/RIAA, but for all IP crimes; that includes all fake goods: watches, clothes, etc...

Re:It's about total IP crimes, not just music or D (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540389)

So show me how buying a copy ( they arent fake products, they are real products.. yet another marketing device ) watch for 1/10 the price, when i could not afford the full price one, costs the IP owner a single dime?

Re:It's about total IP crimes, not just music or D (1)

ygasuasu (803351) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540485)

> So show me how buying a copy ( they arent fake products, they are real products.. yet another marketing device ) watch for 1/10 the price, when i could not afford the full price one, costs the IP owner a single dime? I am not going to "show" you anything, sorry. And I agree with you. I am just pointing out that the guy talked about "IP crimes" while the Ars article was only talking about MPAA and RIAA.

Personally..... (1)

FraterNLST (922749) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540293)

I hope my own government sits up and takes notice of this lawyer fellow. I hope they divert our limited policing resources away from these cheap, unimportant crimes (such as assault, bank robbery and fraud) and instead police piracy better.

In fact, if they do, I pledge to never, ever pirate anything from that point forward. Never.
Instead, I will get a gun. That'll be easier then, because there will be less focus on preventing unlicenced people from obtaining them. I probably wont pay for it, they're paying less attention to assault too, and the guy's a criminal - hell, he's selling me an unlicenced gun. So i'll rough him up a bit and just take it. Then, I happen to know a nice armoured truck I can rob when its full of bank money. Then, i'll buy some cd's from RIAA with my new fortune.

It's rare to get a worthy though from a hollywood action flick, but see if you remember this one. A person is smart, people are dumb.

This article just shows that a person can be dumb too.

Who are the pirates after all? (5, Interesting)

therufus (677843) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540311)

Let's go back in time 100 years. It's 1897. Music of that time was different, granted. So was the technology to record and distribute it, but artists were paid for performing music. An artist became famous because they were good. If they were really good, people would help them out and let them record for a modest fee, but the sales would get the artist a majority of proceeds.

Eventually, music became something influential on a corporate level. Zoom forward to 1957, 50 years ago from today. Artists began trying to market themselves to "record companies" in stead of their audience. The record companies would fund up and coming artists, who were usually established acts already. The elusive "record contract" would be still geared to pay the artist a good sum of money, but the cut for the record companies was getting bigger. This is where it began to snowball.

Lets move to more recent times. Now we have record companies finding talentless bimbos and tryhard boybands to front this multi-billion dollar industry. Not only that, the record companies are taking most of the proceeds and the artist is forced to tour/mime in order to make the kind of cash that would have been available to them 50 years ago. Good artists who may not be the 'in' thing at the moment (as in, not pop/emo/rap) struggle to get a recording contract. Even when they eventually do, it's on the record companies terms. Desperate to get noticed, most new artists will sign anything just to become famous.

So now record companies are making ridiculous amounts of money off the consumer and kicking the artist to the kerb when they are no longer the 'in' thing. This is bad for music, and bad for the consumer.

So when I torrent the latest album from the artist I like, does that make me a criminal? Even if I go to their concerts, buy merchandise and do all I can to get them money knowing that the record companies don't get as much of a cut from touring? I think, if anything, I'm doing the right thing. It's a very Robin Hood mentality, but stealing from the record companies and giving to the musicians is the way I believe in.

I think if everyone else did what I do, music would be in a better place.

We need a trial. (1)

awdau (1108639) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540327)

I propose we trial this, with burglary, fraud and robberies on network, music and movie execs to be ignored/filed for stats/legal purposes and bank robberies on their accounts to go happen with no resistance.

And we allow them to go after as many pirates in say, New Zealand as they like :)

About that $16B (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540333)

If the money/manpower now going after preventing, and prosecuting occurences of violent crime, were diverted to piracy, how much would violent crime increase?

And how loud, for how long, do you think the populace will scream to get their law enforcement back on crimes that actually harm them and their property?

slanted opinions (1)

tacocat (527354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540335)

It's a bogus argument.

First, the money lost in the type of piracy mentioned has subjective dollar figures attached to it. If I steal a song it doesn't mean that no one in the world will purchase the album that it came on. Very difficult to be accurate.

But the real issue when prioritizing crimes is what is the affect upon the human beings who is victimized?

Theft is apparent and easy to measure. Piracy against a Mega_Corp is vague at best. I don't think there is any real damage done to the people who work there below a certain level of piracy activity.

Specious (1)

daybot (911557) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540361)

I had to look up 'specious'. New word for me!

The man has a good point (1)

Hydian (904114) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540367)

I think that you have the right idea Rick! Piracy should get much more attention. The problem is that people are wasting too much of law enforcement's time by calling in these minor crimes and distracting them from the important stuff. Maybe you guys could start a campaign to educate the masses so they don't call in every bank robbery or theft. Then there'd be more resources available for catching the real criminals.

You are still going on that golf trip to europe next month and leaving the house empty, yes?

I want to be on the content creator's side (5, Insightful)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540371)

As I said on the Ars Technica discussion board the day this came out, I want to be on the content creators side and support the people who entertain me, but crap like this makes it nearly impossible. I'm not a pirate, and I don't like the mentality "it costs nothing to reproduce, so I shouldn't have to pay anything for it," but I can't side with the content producers who suggest it would better to let banks be robbed than let people pirate movies.


I particularly have a hard time defending the content producers when the pirates provide a better product - ignoring price. If I want a particular song, the music industry will sell me a CD with that song along with several others I don't want, or I can buy a fairly low quality digital copy, probably with DRM in a format I don't like. Pirates offer a variety of formats and quality levels, and you can play their versions on anything you want.

Movies aren't much different. You can buy a DVD, which can only be played legally in authorized devices, or you can download a heavily DRMed copy that - unless you have a media center PC - you're stuck playing on your computer monitor. Pirates offer a variety of quality levels, you can burn them to DVD's if you have the proper software, and play them on anything capable of playing them.

Like I said, I'm not a pirate. I have an older taste in music, so I get most of my CD's used for a couple of bucks. I rent movies and go to the theater on occasion. If the content industry starts offering the same quality of product the pirates offer, but they can't compete in price, then they will have my sympathy. But so long as the content industry refuses to match the pirates' level of quality, and keeping making specious claims like the ones in this article, they get no sympathy from me.

my subjective feeling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540397)

somehow a burgler breaking into my house worries me a lot more then say corprate fraud (let alone mention "piracy"), even if it costs me a lot less.

the gdp of a good-sized state (1)

mrpeebles (853978) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540401)

Hundreds of billions of dollars is the GDP of a good-sized US state. It is also roughly the size of the loss due to hurricane Katrina ( http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2005 /09/04/59145.htm [insurancejournal.com] ). Cotton seems to be suggesting that domestic piracy has the equivalent effect on the US economy as losing an entire state, or having to rebuild a major city.

Completely Dependent on the Subjective Value (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540405)

Their intellectual property is vastly overvalued. Hell, let me slap some arbitrary value on the environment. Then I can make claims that crimes against the environment are in the TRILLIONS! Wow, that makes intellectual property violations look like peanuts! I guess we know where we'd better be putting our law enforcement.

Dear Mass Media Giants,

You effectively control our political apparatus through effective lobbying. Please leave our LAW ENFORCEMENT alone.

Sincerely,

The rest of us

Hundreds of billions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540433)

This estimate kindly brought to you by the Carl Sagan Institute of Statistics.

f*cking stupid (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540437)

A normal and sane anti-crime force would fight against those crimes which cause more damage to people's lives, everyday routines, people's safety and general trust in the outside world, like not being afraid to go out in the streets and let your children go out, not being afraid to leave home for a few hours just to find it broken in and everything taken, and so on. However "minuscule" the monetary value of the offenses mentioned in the article might be compared to "piracy" stealing issues, they are enormously more important. If these people can't or don't want to see this, they should be kicked out from their offices, and kicked out hard.
 

Utterly deceptive twaddle-speak says I (3, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540451)

I'd love to see real facts and figures on this that don't involve:

Counting legitimate backups as lost revenue.
Counting personal format, time and place shifting as lost revenue.
Counting damaged copies legitimately returned to the store as lost revenue.
Counting viewing by a family of X number of people as lost revenue of X-1 times the price of the media of lost revenue.
Counting ANY AND ALL activities that do NOT involve paying a fee for every single solitary time the content is viewed as lost revenue.
Counting THINKING about any activity other than paying a fee for every single solitary time the content is viewed as lost revenue.
Counting stuff they don't even own as lost revenue.

But then again. These are the media conglomerates. They've been lying to us all our lives. Why should they change now?

Total nonsence (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540457)

If my $500 bicycle gets stolen, the police will reluctantly take a police report, but they will tell me that they ar actually not going to investigate. They simply don't have the resources to do it and they would spend more to recover it than the price of the item. So sorry, but foget it...

I can't imagine how the FBI could spend resources for a $25 DVD.

The most ridiculous part is the proposed punishment. Let's assume Blow Joe gets cought copying for himself the world's best, most valuble movie ever made to mankind. He is ssent to trial and sent to jail for 2 years. The cost of getting him cought, the cost of the trial and then keeping him in jail would be quite astronomical, compared to the actual demage. Multiply this with the alleged number of theft and thiefs: you would bankrupt the country, or tax payers would have to pay at least as much as the budget for education.

It's nonsense.
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