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Author Topic: Is copying a wallet file theft (Challenge for IP opposed libertarians)  (Read 3178 times)
Sjalq
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June 10, 2011, 07:02:08 AM
 #1

Hi there non-Intellectual Property Libertarians,

Here's an interesting one. Is copying someone's wallet file theft?

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Ian Maxwell
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June 10, 2011, 07:08:06 AM
 #2

My attempt to answer like an Anti-IP Libertarian:

Copying someone's wallet file isn't theft, but emptying it is. Theft takes the use of property away from its owner, "IP theft" does not.

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June 10, 2011, 07:12:44 AM
 #3

Not to mention that if you accessed the computer of someone without this person's authorization, it's a violation of his property rights.

In other words, if I don't authorize you to copy my wallet, there's no legitimate way you can do it.

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Sjalq
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June 10, 2011, 07:15:59 AM
 #4

Ok, so but what if you connected to a game server which I owned and I stole them during the connection, you allowed me some limited interaction with your PC, why doesn't that extent to my copying your files?

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caveden
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June 10, 2011, 07:50:52 AM
 #5

The permission has to be explicit.

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Sjalq
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June 10, 2011, 07:54:08 AM
 #6

So why don't Eulas qualify?

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caveden
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June 10, 2011, 08:06:04 AM
 #7

Eulas do qualify. To those who sign them, obviously. If you get a copy of a program for free with no eula, nobody has any recourse against you.

That's the main problem with IP. You may try to simulate them with contracts. But contracts can not be extended to someone who has never signed it. It's like a marriage contract which predicts punishment to the lover of the unfaithful spouse!

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June 10, 2011, 08:12:13 AM
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Ok, so but what if you connected to a game server which I owned and I stole them during the connection, you allowed me some limited interaction with your PC, why doesn't that extent to my copying your files?

Sounds like a screwed up game server. I'd have to play somewhere else that affords me more security and at the same time putting my bitcoins in a bank or jailing my bitcoin application or encrypting my wallet or whatever I can do to also give myself more security.

I would apply propertarian arguments too, that you would be trespassing on my files. I also agree with the copying no, emptying yes thing. Agree with the EULA comments too. I would add that it's fraud to setup a server that is made to look like it's something that isn't related to you getting your wallet jacked.

So yeah, it's fraud, it's breaking and entering, which you can still do when the "door" doesn't have a state of the art lock on it. It's not an IP issue to me. It's only an IP issue if some asshole said, "pay me a dollar to read my wallet contents." and then sues a bunch of people when his wallet gets copied anonymously.


Waiting for when the government starts prosecuting bitcoin users.
Sjalq
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June 10, 2011, 08:50:55 AM
 #9

So if software launches and tells you you are binding yourself to the agreed terms if you use it does that qualify?

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hugolp
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June 10, 2011, 09:05:47 AM
 #10

Not to mention that if you accessed the computer of someone without this person's authorization, it's a violation of his property rights.

In other words, if I don't authorize you to copy my wallet, there's no legitimate way you can do it.

This. I really dont understand where the debate is.
Grant
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June 10, 2011, 09:10:45 AM
 #11

Hi there non-Intellectual Property Libertarians,

Here's an interesting one. Is copying someone's wallet file theft?

It's their property, you have to respect their property rights, you cannot just take it.

crema
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June 10, 2011, 09:13:21 AM
 #12

My attempt to answer like an Anti-IP Libertarian:

Copying someone's wallet file isn't theft, but emptying it is. Theft takes the use of property away from its owner, "IP theft" does not.

Correct.
Grant
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June 10, 2011, 09:19:32 AM
 #13

My attempt to answer like an Anti-IP Libertarian:

Copying someone's wallet file isn't theft, but emptying it is. Theft takes the use of property away from its owner, "IP theft" does not.

It's amazing how "mechanical" our world has become. Let me give you a different scenario.

You and your wife have shot a private porn movie (for your own eyes only). I take a copy of it, but you don't lose the original. Would you not have felt you lost something ? (like your exclusive right to view it)

BubbleBoy
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June 10, 2011, 09:24:54 AM
 #14

The property is claimed on the physical assets those bitcoins stand for, not for the string of bytes themselves. Once I move the amount to some other secure key, you can distribute the old wallet far and wide, I don't care. Suppose a city has a database that stores the exact location and size of every citizen's piece of land. If you would hack into that database and modify those records, you would be attempting to deprive me of physical property; it just so happens that the bitcoin database is distributed, yet stealing bitcoins is still stealing physical property.

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So why don't Eulas qualify?

If the program spawns a dialog blackmailing me to click or else, it's not a valid contract. I'm using my private property in every way I see fit, including clicking on any dialogs I might desire. The mere act of generating a sequence of bits does not give the author partial ownership of my physical property, nor does it transforms my computer into his agent in my house. It's my choice to let my property operate on said sequence or not, or to modify, extend and publish that sequence, because information is not property.

People are free to enter into mutual, limited agreements regarding sharing of information. They can impose on each other financial penalties if the information leaks to the outside, and so create a limited private form of intellectual property, if they feel this beneficial for them. They however have no right over what other people do with their information after it inevitably leaks.

A porn movie with your wife is a contractual agreement between you two. The one who betrayed the contract wilfully or due to negligence should pay. I have no obligation to help you meet your contractual obligations, or to help you succeed in business or love.
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June 10, 2011, 09:31:18 AM
 #15

You and your wife have shot a private porn movie (for your own eyes only). I take a copy of it, but you don't lose the original. Would you not have felt you lost something ? (like your exclusive right to view it)

If you didn't get the owners authorization to make that copy, the act of copying is a violation of their property rights. But then, if you pass the video to somebody else, the couple cannot make the same accusation against this third party.

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caveden
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June 10, 2011, 09:35:40 AM
 #16

If the program spawns a dialog blackmailing me to click or else, it's not a valid contract. I'm using my private property in every way I see fit, including clicking on any dialogs I might desire. The mere act of generating a sequence of bits does not give the author partial ownership of my physical property, nor does it transforms my computer into his agent in my house. It's my choice to let my property operate on said sequence or not, or to modify, extend and publish that sequence, because information is not property.

I have to disagree there. It doesn't matter the format of a contract, as long as it is voluntary and explicit.
The same thing you said about a sequence of bytes could be said about a sequence of words printed on a piece of paper. Both are valid forms of contract.

People are free to enter into mutual, limited agreements regarding sharing of information. They can impose on each other financial penalties if the information leaks to the outside, and so create a limited private form of intellectual property, if they feel this beneficial for them.

Well, that's what eulas are for...

A porn movie with your wife is a contractual agreement between you two. The one who betrayed the contract wilfully or due to negligence should pay. I have no obligation to help you meet your contractual obligations, or to help you succeed in business or love.

But you have no right to use their properties without their consent, and that includes making a copy.

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June 10, 2011, 09:37:43 AM
 #17

You and your wife have shot a private porn movie (for your own eyes only). I take a copy of it, but you don't lose the original. Would you not have felt you lost something ? (like your exclusive right to view it)

If you didn't get the owners authorization to make that copy, the act of copying is a violation of their property rights. But then, if you pass the video to somebody else, the couple cannot make the same accusation against this third party.

You are mixing up trespass (getting the original copy of the video), and copyright (the controlling of copies of your 'work' outside your property).

One off NP-Hard.
Longmarch
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June 10, 2011, 09:41:18 AM
 #18

Wait, how is a wallet file intellectual property?   Does that mean that the money in my bank account is IP too?

BubbleBoy
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June 10, 2011, 10:04:06 AM
 #19

If the program spawns a dialog blackmailing me to click or else, it's not a valid contract. I'm using my private property in every way I see fit, including clicking on any dialogs I might desire. The mere act of generating a sequence of bits does not give the author partial ownership of my physical property, nor does it transforms my computer into his agent in my house. It's my choice to let my property operate on said sequence or not, or to modify, extend and publish that sequence, because information is not property.

I have to disagree there. It doesn't matter the format of a contract, as long as it is voluntary and explicit.
The same thing you said about a sequence of bytes could be said about a sequence of words printed on a piece of paper. Both are valid forms of contract.

A valid contract should feature non-repudiation, for example you keep the other paper copy, or a witness/arbiter exists. Can you prove I have clicked the dialog and not skipped over it using a debugger ? You can't, as such I've never entered a contract with you. That's precisely why my property can't act as your legal proxy, if it's really my property I should be able to control it for my non-violent purposes, and have no obligation to use it to correctly represent you in the contractual matter at hand.
It's all rather pedantic because, as you agree, a hacked copy without the EULA is clearly not a binding contract.
caveden
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June 10, 2011, 10:05:23 AM
 #20

You and your wife have shot a private porn movie (for your own eyes only). I take a copy of it, but you don't lose the original. Would you not have felt you lost something ? (like your exclusive right to view it)

If you didn't get the owners authorization to make that copy, the act of copying is a violation of their property rights. But then, if you pass the video to somebody else, the couple cannot make the same accusation against this third party.

You are mixing up trespass (getting the original copy of the video), and copyright (the controlling of copies of your 'work' outside your property).

No, not really... I was exactly trying to say that making an unauthorized copy is a form of trespassing. Even if you were given the right to enter the couple's house. Actually, even if they authorize you to watch the video, but said: "Don't copy". If you copy, you'd be doing an unauthorized use of their property.

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