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Author Topic: If copyright infringement was a real crime  (Read 1410 times)
da2ce7
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October 01, 2012, 11:15:30 AM
 #1

If copyright infringement was a real crime, it's punishment would be proportional to the damages done...
The loss of a potential sale; One would need to prove (on balance) that you would have paid for that particular piece of information otherwise.

Even if found guilty, the maximum punishment could only be as large as the market price of the item.

The system that we have now of extreme disproportional punishment shows that the current copyright legislation is at-best evil.

One off NP-Hard.
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October 01, 2012, 02:34:30 PM
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i can sign this..
actual punishment when you can be forced to pay about 100times more than is the price of software or movie is crazy...
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October 01, 2012, 09:58:47 PM
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That sure is crazy when you've just downloaded something. If you've been uploading some work I can understand them asking for these crazy amounts.
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October 02, 2012, 01:46:12 PM
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That's a flawed punishment, because why would I not pirate something if my maximum punishment is what I would have paid anyway. Chances are, I will not get caught. I'd say 1 in more than a thousand gets caught.

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October 02, 2012, 02:27:57 PM
 #5

If copyright infringement was a real crime, it's punishment would be proportional to the damages done...
The loss of a potential sale; One would need to prove (on balance) that you would have paid for that particular piece of information otherwise.

Even if found guilty, the maximum punishment could only be as large as the market price of the item.

The system that we have now of extreme disproportional punishment shows that the current copyright legislation is at-best evil.

The existing punishments are not for downloading. In fact, you can pretty much download all you want and you will never get a notification from the RIAA, MPAA, etc. The punishments are for publishing, including seeding or peering on a p2p network. The rationale is that by making it available to download, you could potentially be costing 10,000x more sales. It's weak, but it's not what you are talking about.

I will add in that there is an additional cost to society when people pirate, even if they would not purchase that digital good. I'll give an example as Photoshop. Most people who pirate it are not going to buy it because the price tag is way higher than a normal user would put into editing a few family photos. The problem is, though, that by pirating Photoshop, it means you are not purchasing another photo editor, like Serif Photoplus (which even has a free version, and often has sales as low as $10 on their main product). The companies with a good product with reasonable pricing are the companies most hurt by piracy, while piracy actually helps Adobe maintain their marketshare.
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October 03, 2012, 12:40:46 AM
 #6

I just believe that (waves hands in the air) "cost to society" is a reasonable way to calculate damages.

Damages should be calculated by 'actual damage done' not "what would happen if everyone did this."   Disproportional punishments are fundamentally evil.

If One uploaded a song.  They should need to prove that the person that obtained that copy would have bought it otherwise.  The actual damages is "the loss of a potential sale"  so the punishment should reflect that.  -  To make the two parties 'even'

If you have a thief at a shop, the damages should be "loss of income to the shop" - if the item is returned unharmed, then there shouldn't be any punishment.  (well maybe some compensation for the loss of time of the shop staff).

The way to stop that from happening in the future, is to ban that person from the shop.  Or ban that person from the entire shopping centre.  Charge them with trespassing in the future... (that should be the the cost of removing them from the property with using the minimum amount of force).


Testing a law for disproportional punishments is a good way of testing it's morality.  If something cannot be enforced without extreme disproportional punishments then it most-probably shouldn't be illegal in the first place. (or society is attacking the problem form completely the wrong prospective).

When tested Copyright is fundamentally unenforceable if the punishment fitted the crime.  Thus it sheds bad light on the entire copyright concept.

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October 03, 2012, 02:03:12 AM
 #7

That's a flawed punishment, because why would I not pirate something if my maximum punishment is what I would have paid anyway. Chances are, I will not get caught. I'd say 1 in more than a thousand gets caught.

Hooray for writing shit down not making it reality!

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October 03, 2012, 02:10:33 AM
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If IP owners would recognize some sane version of fair use and stop treating paying customers like criminals with borked DRM I would have a lot more patience with their whining. 

This is not some pseudoeconomic post-modern Libertarian cult, it's an un-led, crowd-sourced mega startup organized around mutual self-interest where problems, whether of the theoretical or purely practical variety, are treated as temporary and, ultimately, solvable.
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October 03, 2012, 10:20:05 PM
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Damages should be calculated by 'actual damage done' not "what would happen if everyone did this."   Disproportional punishments are fundamentally evil.

Agreed.

If One uploaded a song.  They should need to prove that the person that obtained that copy would have bought it otherwise.  The actual damages is "the loss of a potential sale"  so the punishment should reflect that.  -  To make the two parties 'even'
If "loss of a potential sale" was "actual damages" then all competition would be considered a tort. The "potential sale" isn't yours; you don't have any inherent right to it on which to base a claim.

If you have a thief at a shop, the damages should be "loss of income to the shop" - if the item is returned unharmed, then there shouldn't be any punishment.
When something is stolen, the damages are the loss of that item, which is something the shop actually had a right to. It is the value of the use of that item for the time it was missing which the punishment should be proportional to. Obviously none of this applies to information-based, non-scarce goods, at least not unless they were actually taken, depriving the original holder of the use of the information, and not just copied.
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October 04, 2012, 12:09:33 PM
 #10

I just believe that (waves hands in the air) "cost to society" is a reasonable way to calculate damages.

Damages should be calculated by 'actual damage done' not "what would happen if everyone did this."   Disproportional punishments are fundamentally evil.

If One uploaded a song.  They should need to prove that the person that obtained that copy would have bought it otherwise.  The actual damages is "the loss of a potential sale"  so the punishment should reflect that.  -  To make the two parties 'even'

A quick look at your demographic, age, race, and income, proves that you should have bought this album which I produced.  The fact that you did not indicates that you have actually damaged me and a punishment should be designed to reflect that. 

If you prefer to settle I will accept a payment of two coins, and/or one retractable baton. 


 
da2ce7
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October 05, 2012, 03:10:55 AM
 #11

If "loss of a potential sale" was "actual damages" then all competition would be considered a tort. The "potential sale" isn't yours; you don't have any inherent right to it on which to base a claim.

I'm not trying to argue IF copyright should be legal construct or not.  What I'm arguing is 'given that copyright exists' what is the maximum moral punishment for breaking the said laws.

It is a different issue entirely if copyright should exist or not.

One off NP-Hard.
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October 05, 2012, 04:09:14 AM
 #12

First, you are saying the if someone steals $1000, then the punishment should be to pay $1000. In other words, there is no punishment -- the thief only has to return the money.

Second, suppose someone steals $100 every day, knowing that he will probably get caught once a week and have to give back $100. That's a great deal for the thief -- he nets $600 a week! In this case, the only way to prevent the theft is to make it not worthwhile for the thief to steal at all. That is, make the punishment more than $700 for stealing $100.

Finally, your argument that punishment should be based on loss of potential has a problem. Suppose you steal a bicycle that costs $1000. Your argument is that since you would only pay $20 for the bicycle, your punishment should be based on $20, not $1000. Or, you could even argue that since you don't have any money at all, you would have never paid for it, so the potential loss is $0.


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da2ce7
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October 05, 2012, 08:58:24 AM
 #13

First, you are saying the if someone steals $1000, then the punishment should be to pay $1000. In other words, there is no punishment -- the thief only has to return the money.

Second, suppose someone steals $100 every day, knowing that he will probably get caught once a week and have to give back $100. That's a great deal for the thief -- he nets $600 a week! In this case, the only way to prevent the theft is to make it not worthwhile for the thief to steal at all. That is, make the punishment more than $700 for stealing $100.

Finally, your argument that punishment should be based on loss of potential has a problem. Suppose you steal a bicycle that costs $1000. Your argument is that since you would only pay $20 for the bicycle, your punishment should be based on $20, not $1000. Or, you could even argue that since you don't have any money at all, you would have never paid for it, so the potential loss is $0.


Yes that what I mean by being against disproportional punishments.  However there are other recourses available; such as I outlined.  A thief will be charged with trespass the second they enter that shop.  Stealing would mean that you would also loose your reputation.

maybe if we had proportional punishments reputation would be valued much more?

One off NP-Hard.
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October 05, 2012, 02:44:28 PM
 #14

If "loss of a potential sale" was "actual damages" then all competition would be considered a tort. The "potential sale" isn't yours; you don't have any inherent right to it on which to base a claim.

I'm not trying to argue IF copyright should be legal construct or not.  What I'm arguing is 'given that copyright exists' what is the maximum moral punishment for breaking the said laws.

It is a different issue entirely if copyright should exist or not.

Nonsense. Legislation only codifies morality; it does not determine what is moral. The "maximum moral punishment" depends only on whether the copyright infringement violates the natural rights of the copyright holder, not on the presence or absence of copyright laws. You cannot answer the question of "maximum moral punishment" for violating a law without addressing the question of whether the law is morally justified in the first place.
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October 05, 2012, 03:10:25 PM
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First, you are saying the if someone steals $1000, then the punishment should be to pay $1000. In other words, there is no punishment -- the thief only has to return the money.

Second, suppose someone steals $100 every day, knowing that he will probably get caught once a week and have to give back $100. That's a great deal for the thief -- he nets $600 a week! In this case, the only way to prevent the theft is to make it not worthwhile for the thief to steal at all. That is, make the punishment more than $700 for stealing $100.

Finally, your argument that punishment should be based on loss of potential has a problem. Suppose you steal a bicycle that costs $1000. Your argument is that since you would only pay $20 for the bicycle, your punishment should be based on $20, not $1000. Or, you could even argue that since you don't have any money at all, you would have never paid for it, so the potential loss is $0.

First, "proportional" is not the same as "equal". Trebled liability for deliberate harm has a long tradition in common law, and is generally considered to be within the bounds of proportional punishment.

Second, punishment is only one part of the equation. It comes on top of the requirement to "make the victim whole", meaning that (in your first example) the thief must return the $100 in addition to paying the $100-$300 of proportional punishment.

Finally, from the last example, the thief didn't steal $20 or $1000. The store was deprived of a bicycle, their property, and consequently was unable to sell it. If the reasonably expected sale price was $1000, then that is how much damage was done to the store; it makes no difference whether the thief would have been willing to pay that amount. The claim, however, rests on the loss of the use of the bicycle, not the loss of a potential future sale. If the thief had simply copied the bicycle, or acquired a similar product from a competitor, the "potential sale" is still lost, but the store would have no claim.
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October 05, 2012, 10:23:21 PM
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All I know is that during the Napster heyday I purchased more music then after.  I would explore with Napster then physically buy the items that I liked.  I was spending $2k-$3k per year during that period on music and video.  Then the crackdown started and I became angry at the music industry I was supporting.  Now I spend about $300 a year and almost all of that is through Apple.

da2ce7
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October 05, 2012, 10:33:41 PM
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Nonsense. Legislation only codifies morality; it does not determine what is moral. The "maximum moral punishment" depends only on whether the copyright infringement violates the natural rights of the copyright holder, not on the presence or absence of copyright laws. You cannot answer the question of "maximum moral punishment" for violating a law without addressing the question of whether the law is morally justified in the first place.

one can still pretend something is moral for sake of argument, then work out limits apply to it.

One off NP-Hard.
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October 05, 2012, 11:50:08 PM
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Nonsense. Legislation only codifies morality; it does not determine what is moral. The "maximum moral punishment" depends only on whether the copyright infringement violates the natural rights of the copyright holder, not on the presence or absence of copyright laws. You cannot answer the question of "maximum moral punishment" for violating a law without addressing the question of whether the law is morally justified in the first place.

one can still pretend something is moral for sake of argument, then work out limits apply to it.

Only if the proposition that the law is moral is consistent with the moral framework you plan to use to work out those limits. If the maximum moral punishment is to be determined by reference to a system of natural rights, for example, then someone's natural rights to use their property must first be infringed before any punishment is justified. Simply assuming that punishment is justified and then asking "how much" leaves you trying to reason from a contradiction.
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