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It is insane to me that someone can get up to 5 years or more for using one of the fundamental mechanisms of digital technology. If you put out a product on a medium whose design is fundamentally based on copying bits, I don't know how you can expect anything else to happen. Instead of accepting the reality of digital communications, the MPAA, RIAA, and the like lobby to have the law protect their outdated but favorable business model instead.

I will never buy the idea that once they have sold a digital product, the seller somehow maintains a claim on its existence. Doubleday doesn't own the pages of the books they sell me. Lionsgate doesn't own the the bits that make up the DVDs they sell me either, even if that fact is rather detrimental to their bottom line.




These people are accused of fraudulently obtaining the bits that they copied, which suggests that your whole argument would apply just as directly to credit card numbers, which are also just bits, amenable to the fundamental mechanisms of technology.

As for the sentencing, as always: https://www.popehat.com/2013/02/05/crime-whale-sushi-sentenc...


I take the point of the linked article, but I offer this as a rebuttal:

Every time I sign a contract (in which I am effectively the "Party with less power TM") there's some sort of "maximum" clause, where if you ask the issuer they 'll say "oh this is just a formality in reality this doesn't happen".

Upon which, if you say well just remove it then, they'll reply "oh this is just a formality in reality this doesn't happen".

At which point, you'll say well just remove it then, and they'll reply "oh this is just a formality in reality this doesn't happen".

Where you then go, "uh..." and they repeat "oh this is just a formality in reality this doesn't happen".

Etc ad nauseam.

Clearly it is not just a formality, clearly it can happen, and even if it does not, that number is not exactly irrelevant and can be used for leverage. So yes, it's worth diverting attention to and calling it out when unreasonable, rather than rely on the assumption that it likely won't be used.


This is a fantastic read. The sentencing process has always been a black box in my mental model of the world, and this was enlightening.


The important thing to take away from it is that the DOJ deliberately misrepresents sentences in press releases, presumably for the deterrent factor. But you can just download the sentencing guidelines and follow the charts to get a likely range of actual months (it's interesting! I recommend it!) and they're virtually never anything like the DOJ's claim.


What are the sentences here likely to be?


I don't know, I didn't look. I read the indictment on PACER; it's probably on RECAP or whatever now. I could give you the offense statutes, I guess; you'd then have to look them up in the sentencing guidelines yourself. My point is, you should do that; the sentence range itself will be less illuminating than doing the work of seeing how it's reached.

Later

It's:

    18:371.F CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT
    18:1349.F ATTEMPT AND CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT WIRE FRAUD
    18:371.F CONSPIRACY TO TRANSPORT STOLEN PROPERTY INTERSTATE


There's nothing wrong with copying credit card numbers, people used to do that all the time with the manual credit card machines. What is wrong is stealing money.


Really. So if I copy the credit cards out of a database and put them on Pastebin, I've done nothing blameworthy, so long as I myself don't try to buy anything with them? Do you have an argument against enforcing criminal copyright laws that would be persuasive to someone who doesn't believe that?


As long as nobody uses the credit card information to steal money then fine, otherwise you’re obviously doing something illegal (facilitating theft). To be honest though even then I think we should at this point require some sort of 2FA, maybe if doing such things (putting credit card numbers online) wasn’t illegal better protections would have to be implemented…


My credit cards in Sweden have a form of 2FA through 3-D Secure + BankID, if a purchase for some reason scores poorly on fraud detection (large amount, unusual purchase, etc.) it will trigger a 2FA request on my BankID that I have to approve.


Yes, the previous comment was clearly written and said the same thing. Hence my question.


You’re misunderstanding what I’m saying; of course there would be consequences for doing the stupid straw man you’ve suggested, I just don’t believe unless you can prove harm (and piracy doesn’t cause anyone harm) you should be put in jail, let alone extradited.


That wasn't the argument made upthread. That argument was an appeal to the fundamental nature of data, that its nature is to be copied. That's true of all data, not just the data you want to see copied.


Yes, and there is credit card information leaked all the time correct? Making it illegal to copy credit card info has actually allowed banks to get away with an extremely insecure system of transferring money. Maybe it would be best if it were always legal to copy bits but the actual crimes were shown by the harms to other done.


I don’t think they’ve made it illegal to copy credit card info, since the manual machines are still in use by older folks and in some remote locations. This is in Canada and US, I’m not sure about banks in other places.


An exploit for a software security bug contains much more information, structure, and creativity than a 21 digit shared secret. If you're condemning the action of posting a simple number, then you must also condemn posting something more substantive with much wilder effects.

From the open society view that information wants to be copied, at this point the blame rests fully with the payment networks. Rather they just don't care, as they don't even pay for the sheer majority of fraud.


I'm not talking about exploits. I'm talking about credit card numbers.

If you want to put together a coherent world view that says it's fine to copy a thousand live credit card numbers to a public Pastebin page, that's fine. I'm not interested in litigating that with you.

What I'm interested in is whether you can then come up with an argument against enforcing copyright that doesn't produce that outcome, because I don't think very many people share the world view that it's just fine to traffic in unauthorized copies of other people's credit card numbers.


Yes, I brought up exploits. Because I'm pretty sure you are comfortable with full disclosure (as am I), and the ethics of pasting credit card numbers is closely related. After all, every pasted credit card number is a boring exploit for a bug that the card companies have dragged their feet on fixing for over two decades.

So I am left questioning the strength of your condemnation of copying credit card numbers. The activity is lame and thus easy to pick on, but that shouldn't matter if we're talking philosophically.

This does tie back to "the fundamental nature of data", in that full disclosure is based on open society principles of sharing data, even when it will end up harming some parties. The Internet is basically a democratic copying machine. The xxAA have been trying to put the genie back in the bottle the whole time, and force a regime of inescapable information control upon us. Regardless if you're still in favor of some copyright term for pragmatic reasons, you have to admit the overriding information environment in an open society is one of permissive distribution.


The credit card numbers is a really dumb analogy, we’re talking about piracy of software, audio and video. I can’t use a copy of a DVD to empty someone’s bank account (not that I should be able to steal from someone with security through obscurity either).


I agree that it's dumb, which is my point: the appeal to the fundamental nature of data doesn't tell us anything about the legitimacy of copyright enforcement.


> If you put out a product on a medium whose design is fundamentally based on copying bits, I don't know how you can expect anything else to happen.

Exactly! If you exist in the universe where things can poke other things, don't get grumpy when you walk out the door and get stabbed. Should've sat on your ass at home.


Yes! If you go out and get stabbed by a falling branch you've got no recourse. Of course, the argument you seem to be advocating for hinges on showing how a copy represents material harm. The usual argument is it represents a lost sale. Still not sure how you get sent to jail over that though, maybe the argument itself doesn't have much weight but the people invoking it can push their weight around.


The usual argument has been shown false by many studies: piracy, in fact, spreads awareness of cultural products and thus creates sales that would otherwise never have happened. It is essentially free advertising.


While I am inclined to believe piracy spreads awareness of mass produced entertainment my personal anecdotes lead me to believe it's not about spreading awareness of any cultural products. Less well-known or minor but of great interests movies, books and music are more often than not almost impossible to obtain.

Seeders are not interested in few clicks. They pirate the Marvel Cinematic Universe because it brings in cliks. Follow the money of all the ads on these torrent sistes spreading awareness of culture.

In a sense they are not liberating anyone, they are trapping us in a smaller bubble.


You intentionally conflate seeders with torrent sites. These are not the same people. Seeders do not get money from torrent sites. Torrent sites do not host content, they do not engage in piracy any more than a phonebook engages in doxxing. They run ads simply to cover hosting the site itself.

If someone is trapping us in a bubble, it is the streaming sites who limit content access by geographical location.


You deliberately ignore my main point that piracy massively promotes mass media.

I don't see Star Wars or Game of Thrones in need of any free advertising given by piracy, that's a weird argument to make.

Frankly, I am just moving on from this topic on HN. Piracy good, netflix bad, got it.


First of all, it doesn't follow in any way from my comment that I'm ‘advocating for’ that argument. You just extrapolated somehow onto the stock set of anti-copyright arguments and decided that I'm opposed to one of them.

Actually, I'm sorta happy that such kinds of blatant strawmanning and anti-copyright crowd being generally pretty obnoxious led to me thinking these things over for myself, instead of just accepting everything that gets passed around again and again. So I guess thanks for that.


Oh! I'm sorry for offending you. We started with such sarcasm that I didn't think you'd feel the prick.


Sarcasm I don't mind—gotta eat my own food, obviously. However, shifting the discussion is a different matter, while I was replying to one specific claim. On top of that, the arguments about material harm, that you've mentioned, are utterly worn-out go-to points of the anti-copyright folks. I do have my opinion on whether they make much sense and are worth repeating in each discussion on piracy, but that's another topic.


I see. I'm not usually involved in conversations on this topic so I'm not really aware of whats considered an argument that is no longer valid from over-use.

I don't think it was shifting the discussion either. You made a sort of sarcastic remark about getting stabbed, I brought the focus back on going to jail over the topic at hand.


No, it’s absolutely not the same thing. How can you compare something that harms no-one, to something that should clearly be illegal due to likelihood of death and maiming?


The original argument is essentially "if this action is so easy then how can you make it illegal?" which is not a very good argument as pointed out. Your argument is about the morality of this action which is quite different.


Because they are making a disingenuous and foolish argument.


It's not hard to see how piracy threatens the entire business model. You can have rampant piracy or you can have financially sustainable content production. You cannot have both.

There is some critical mass of piracy that would in fact destroy the economics of the content production model. The industry has to work to deter that by periodically making examples of people.

The timing is likely not coincidental either. Expect to see more of this as content once again fragments across providers, reanimating the traditional package TV structure in fresh form.


So change the business model. In the words of Robert Heinlein:

"There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or a corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back, for their private benefit."

http://homepage.eircom.net/~odyssey/Quotes/Popular/SciFi/Hei...


What business model would you suggest, that is capable of financing the TV and films we like to watch?

I'm not aware of anything that works in practice, except for legally enforced copyright for at least a handful of years. And enforcing copyright means making torrenting etc. of infringing material illegal.

(Of course, whether it should be 5 or 10 or 20 or 50 or 100 years is a separate matter.)

And copying the music streaming business, where convenience is worth a low monthly subscription, doesn't work for TV/film. Producing a TV show is multiple orders of magnitude more expensive than an album.


To play devil's advocate, if there is no business model capable of supporting something, it should die.

I like tv as much as the next person, but its hardly sacrosanct.


At first sight, this seems to be a common-sense response, but things get more nuanced when you consider it in depth.

Electronic media are a viable business as things stand, so you must be considering whether they would continue to be viable without the sort of laws being discussed here.

Whether any business model is viable is relative to the laws in effect. Without laws governing issues like property and contracts, a great deal of today's commerce would be infeasible. Without labor and fraud laws, all sorts of exploitation would be the norm. Without either, exploitative practices would be the only viable ones, but they would not be particularly productive - that is how things have been through most of human history, and continue to be so in parts of the world. There is a lot more at risk here than TV.

On the other hand, the current law in this case strikes me as excessive, reflecting the anti-democratic influence businesses have over legislation. My point is that there are no simple answers; the sort of economy that has brought a previously-unimaginable standard of living to a subset of the human race is a battleground of competing interests and trade-offs.


> Electronic media are a viable business as things stand, so you must be considering whether they would continue to be viable without the sort of laws being discussed here.

I'm responding to the parent post who is arguing we must have current laws because otherwise tv would not be viable.

The current laws might make sense. They have problems, but i'm also not super sympathetic to people who resell the work of others without adding anything to them, for commercial gain. However i dont think, without law X, industry Y wouldn't exist is ever a sufficient reason in and of itself. If that's the only reason we have for a law, then the industry is not worth it.


I take your point, though there may be cases where the greater good is served by intervention (vaccines for an emerging disease?) I agree that TV and movies do not fall into this category.


Perhapes a crowd funded subscription model. Where television and cinema lovers pay a service to create films and showes based on the interests of their subscribers. while we are at it perhapes we could stream then to those subscribers so they don't have to store them locally where storage is limited. Oh look we recreated modern netflix.


And if people love it enough, they will find a way.


I'm not sure Netflix would agree that a low monthly subscription is not enough to fund TV and movie development, but regardless...

Fairly recently I saw a very interesting proposal for this. The basic idea was to base it off of how artist commissions work, and combine that with crowdfunding. A creator can decide how much they need to make a thing - including both costs and how much profit they need to find it worth doing - can use crowdfunding to get the payment upfront. Then once they make the thing, it gets freely released.

This works out for everybody. The creator has already obtained the amount of profit they desired. The people who paid to have to created have gotten it. The people who didn't pay can enjoy it if they wish. And overall everybody who "engaged" with the content now has a better idea of how trustworthy the creator is. The people who did not pay this time may have gained enough confidence to pay for the creators next project.

Obviously, there are many realities to face here. The degree of departure from the current model is rather large. It's not something you can just flip the switch on tomorrow and expect everything to just magically work out with no pain. But I think it's an interesting idea, and one that meshes better with the realities of the digital medium than the current status quo.


> I'm not sure Netflix would agree that a low monthly subscription is not enough to fund TV and movie development, but regardless..

Okay, and what stops my competing company from running a subscription service, where I take all the shows that Netflix funded, and streaming to my customers for lower monthly price than Netflix’s, which I can do, as I don’t spend a dollar on content creation and acquisition? Oh, that’s right, copyright stops me from doing that.


FWIW, this model (via crowdfunding platforms) has been successful in funding quite a few creative works, including very expensive ones. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest-funded_crowdfu... So the general principle is clearly workable.

Funding live action movies in this way is still not very popular, though. Arguably, the cost structure in this industry might just be too challenging to succeed in the first place. The fact that they do get funded by other means looks like a bit of a puzzle! It might even be more of a loss-leading, perhaps marketing-focused activity than anything aimed at directly making a profit.


Without copyright protections, everything on netflix is also going to be just as convenient to watch on youtube, but for free, meaning it's worth much much less to netflix. Extrapolating from netflix today to netflix without IP protections doesn't work.


This doesn't work out for the studio. How are they going to maintain a grip on the creators and consumers then?


They aren't.

Should society be facilitating that for them by allowing the law to punish people for sharing their work? Copyright serves society, not the other way around.


Netflix is funding TV and movies through massive amounts of debt; not subscription revenues. It’s unclear if Netflix will ever make that money back since they can’t stop making content.


Most companies operate on leverage. There's nothing problematic about debt in itself.


The problem is excessively long copyright terms. 10 or even 20 years would be reasonable, such that incentives to pirate would be less and copyright enforcement would make sense.


I have no actual data, but I strongly suspect that recent content accounts for the majority of piracy. Just look at the seeder count for, say, The Mandalorian compared to the original Star Wars.


> I'm not aware of anything that works in practice, except for legally enforced copyright for at least a handful of years.

We have had legally enforced copyright all this time so why would any company take the risk and try out another business model. That we did not see one does not mean one is impossible.

The money spend on copyrighted content would not just disappear without copyright and could be funneled into content by patrons or via grants. Big-budged productions are also already getting funded by product placment and other sponsort-type deals.

Then there is also a cultural aspect: The existence of copyright creates a society where sharing is often not seen as a good thing. Where people are less willing to pay for the creation of something if that would mean that freeloaders could then get it without paying.

And last, I don't agree with your implication that the current big-budget films and TV are something that needs to be protected. Yes, changing funding models might change what kind of content is produced, but never in human history has there been a lack of demand for entertainment or lack of entertainment to fill that demand.


Record industry does not support content production at all. Less, artists. They are one of the biggest scams on the planet.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100712/23482610186.shtml

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110707/03264014993/riaa-a...

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140425/07192227027/riaa-c...

...

That industry should be killed with fire.


Easy way to kill distributors AND support creators with this small change:

Have copyright return to creators after a period of time, ie 20 years.

Billions of dollars will be spent fighting hints of this suggestion.


How does this work for cooperative works?


Piracy, when casually undertaken by 50-70% of the population does not harm or even mildly helps sales, as found in a suppressed EU-wide report [1, 2] that you can read in detail here [3].

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27798879 [2] TFA: https://www.engadget.com/2017-09-22-eu-suppressed-study-pira... [3] https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/59e... or https://cdn.netzpolitik.org/wp-upload/2017/09/displacement_s...


Are you taking into account the effects on sales of substitute goods?

If I pirate say a $500 graphics editing suite I can easily believe that does not represent a lost sale to the maker of that software. There is simply no way I'd buy a $500 graphics editing suite.

But it might represent a lost sale to Pixelmator, because if I could not pirate the $500 graphics editing suite and could not afford to buy it I would have turned to a less expensive solution, such as Pixelmator Pro which is $40 and I can afford.


If I download the GIMP, should that count as a lost sale to Pixelmator. Should the law somehow protect them from that?


That sounds more like a failure of marketing on Pixelmator's part.


This "study" is a survey. No experiment was undertaken to actually determine a casual relationship.


As Gabe Newell said, piracy is a service problem. It was said in the context of video games, but I believe it very much well applies to other parts of the entertainment industry.

If people are pirating content, then consuming that content is not worth the hassle to obtain.

> If a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24 x 7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate’s service is more valuable.

In that way, stamping out piracy is trying to address the symptoms, not the cause, and even if you are ultimately successful in eradicating piracy, then you'll likely still end up with a bunch of non-customers.

Anecdotally, the popularization of Netflix definitely greatly reduced piracy among my demographic, up until the point where every publisher decided to roll their own, often subpar, streaming service, each with different region-locking rules.


Remember that narrow window of time when Netflix had All The TV and was the only streaming platform, which you could access for a low monthly fee?

I've always thought and argued that while money might be part of the motivation for digital piracy, ease of access and user experience is also a large component. 10 bucks a month to stream anything, without commercials, was great! For those few years I didn't download anything, because I didn't have to. It wasn't the path of least resistance.

Now I have to deal with a half dozen streaming platforms, some of them don't work on my laptop (Peacock), others which are spotty (Disney+) and others which insist on wanting me to see commercials, despite taking my money (Hulu). With increasing fragmentation and a decreasing user experience, the path of least resistance has gone back to downloading and I expect it to increase. :/

I wonder how long until the industry re-invents cable packages. It might work if Netflix handled the tech, though I admit that would never happen in the real world.


> Remember that narrow window of time when Netflix had All The TV and was the only streaming platform, which you could access for a low monthly fee?

Pepperidge Farm remembers.

I have all the streaming services, and yet now I find that most of what I want to watch is not licensed to any service! I'm constantly using justwatch.com and yet still many famous movies aren't being licensed by any of the services I have (at least in the US).

Piracy it is then, and I guess it's time to start canceling these subscriptions to services that no longer license the kind of content they used to.


I have a heck of a time finding the content I want to watch on (paid) streaming services. I, like Pepperidge Farm, remember when Netflix had tons of stuff I wanted to watch, but now I can only find it on janky free channels that can't even figure out how to slot ads into spots where ads should go. To be fair, some of the low tier broadcast subchannels haven't figured that out either. But if I'm going to watch ad supported tv, would it kill people to not cut to ads 15 seconds before the break, then show that 15 seconds and then the stunning conclusion which sometimes has a bit of a recap? Also, I don't know why switching from programming to ads needs to retrigger HDCP negotiation, and it seems like the ads have stricter settings, because I'm more likely to get a fail screen when it goes to ads than when it goes to content.

I just want to watch 80s action garbage like the A-Team, Knight Rider, and MacGyver. I'd pay $5/month for an 80s service, I already got suckered into Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon; something that has the low class stuff I want would be an easy sell.

Edit: fixed spelling of MacGyver


> ...cut to ads 15 seconds before the break... HDCP is a PITA...

You know what really grinds my gears? This! It's not that hard to find a suitable splice point, most TV shows even have a natural break as part of the episode! Youtube sometimes does it during Colbert at a point which ruins the comedic rhythm.

> ...A-Team, Knight Rider, and MacGuyver...

I have similar taste; I swore there was a period of time I watched all 3 of these on the same streaming network, but I checked again and see only MacGuyver on Paramount/CBS. Which is an example of another poor user experience -- shows hop between platforms, so you're never actually sure that you have access, until you go to watch, and it's gone.


Disney is already pushing a package of Hulu+Disney+espn. My family wants both Hulu and Disney+ but no one cares about espn. They are already starting and it’s only a matter of time until hbo is $15 or $14 when bundled with peacock (or whatever).


That may be the case for Hollywood blockbuster movies but it’s not true for TV shows, YouTube videos, or Twitch streams. People would much rather pay Netflix a small monthly fee for unlimited access to all the TV shows they watch than hunt them down online. Nobody at all bothers to download YouTube videos or Twitch streams since the content is free anyway.

Honestly I think even movies could work similarly if the content creators actually made them available. People go crazy for Disney+ because everything is on there for one monthly fee.


>Nobody at all bothers to download YouTube videos or Twitch streams since the content is free anyway.

I download every single video on youtube that I think there's any chance I'll want to watch again.

When I look at my playlists, so many of the videos have been deleted. Even if I paid for youtube I wouldn't be able to watch them again.


> People would much rather pay Netflix a small monthly fee for unlimited access to all the TV shows they watch than hunt them down online.

Except Netflix, Now TV and Amazon Prime etc DON'T HAVE any of the shows I actually want to watch. It's farcical.

I want to pay them, I want to watch shows legally but I can't, so I end up watching them on the 'illegal' sites that do have them.


Could you name a couple of good such sites? I ask for, uh, research purposes.


What shows or movies do you want to watch that none of them are on Netflix or Amazon Prime?


If the content were free to use however you wanted, what would stop Netflix from serving Disney's content or vice versa?


It's not hard to imagine a scenario where individual downloading is decriminalized but large-scale commercial piracy remains illegal. This would stop Netflix from serving Disney's content without a license but it wouldn't stop Joe Public from downloading Game of Thrones or what have you.

Such a regime would encourage content creators to make it more readily available so that users are willing to pay for the convenience, a la Netflix.


I imagine this taking the form of individual copying being okay while distribution is illegal. That would probably have to be regardless of scale and price/commercialization.


> It's not hard to see how piracy threatens the entire business model. You can have rampant piracy or you can have financially sustainable content production. You cannot have both.

The idea behind a copyright is to have The People temporarily forfeit their innate right to communicate art, ideas, and stories in order to stimulate an industry of artists and scientists.

If the business model depends on people not copying your data then you can always sue for relief in the courts. Get damages, hooray. But criminal copyright infringement seems like a big stretch. Maybe worthy of fines or public service but imprisonment? Extradition to another country for potential imprisonment? Seems totally backwards.


If you actually read the link, Strauss is not being "extradited to another country for potential imprisonment" just for criminal copyright infringement.


The imprisonment bit comes if he's convicted in the US.

From 17 U.S.C. 506(A) & 18 U.S.C 2319:

> . A defendant, convicted for the first time of violating 17 U.S.C. § 506(a) by the unauthorized reproduction or distribution, during any 180-day period, of at least 10 copies or phonorecords, or 1 or more copyrighted works, with a retail value of more than $2,500 can be imprisoned for up to 5 years and fined up to $250,000, or both. 18 U.S.C. §§ 2319(b), 3571(b)(3).


Eh, people sit in jail for not paying bus fares lol


> You cannot have both

Yet, we do have both. We are at both peak piracy and peak revenue for digital content.

I think it’s false that people state that these things are exclusive.


Please feel free to read the next sentence.


Your next sentence is as baseless and incorrect as the one I quoted.

I’ve been hearing this chicken little shit for 30 years and every year piracy is so bad that the end is near.

I think it’s more likely that piracy drives and improved digital sales. That’s just my hunch, but it’s based on my experience of everything going digital, companies making more money on it than ever, and piracy greater than ever.

Philosophically, I think piracy is a more future oriented and likely successful than the alternative. I fear for a future when we are digital beings having to subscribe to Apple Music in order to remember a song and play it in my “mind.” Piracy today is peace of mind tomorrow.


If you think there's no level of piracy as a fraction of total consumption that would destroy the economics of content production, then I'm afraid you're too unreasonable a person for me to engage with successfully.


Well the key word here would be threatens and rampant. Which is sort of the absolute of extreme end of the augment.

For example Adobe and Microsoft has turned a blind eye on piracy for years. I believe it was Steve Jobs who had the gut to point out the obvious, Student on campus just pirate their Photoshop.

For content, you could derive additional revenue from non-content product like merchandise or other form of cross-industry IP sharing. You cant have these sort of deals without getting significant mindshare of the public. And for some piracy is part of it. Think Game of Thrones. The most pirated TV shows on the planet. And is the same with Music. Most artist dont earn much with licensing, streaming or disc sales any more. It is about live performance tours and merchandise. Streaming Music isn't doing as well as most media would like you to believe, such as back to to the peaks of 90s without accounting for inflation and population difference.

That is why I sort of think in the future some content could end up going the freemium model. Just like how mobile games are doing.


Piracy is typically a service problem. You don't fix digital copying by sending people to jail, you do it by offering a compelling service.


after thirty years of being in this debate, I tend to agree with the down-voted parent. In the West, there must be a source of payment to artists, production houses, management and legal.. its a tragedy when that fails, because it is the artists that lose the most, the quickest.


In fairness, crowd funding and or altruistic consumers could theoretically sustain content production.


in reality this isn't the choice; it's typically private enterprise vs. public (government) broadcasters. Even PBS with lots of supporting patrons can't make it without significant government funding.


> in reality this isn't the choice

In the reality with excessive copyright terms, yes.

> Even PBS with lots of supporting patrons can't make it without significant government funding.

Are government grants for the arts a bad thing now?


Does PBS make content people want to watch?


The current state of oss would be a counterpoint to this. That maintainers are often poorly supported implies what I suspect we're all trying not to acknowledge.


I think an interesting counter-counter point is the seeming success of video and board games crowdfunds, where hundreds of thousands of dollars seem to be fairly regularly collected, not that that rivals the scale of movie production.


> The current state of oss would be a counterpoint to this.

The current state of OSS exists in a world with copyright. If you want to extrapolate that to a world without copyright you better have a good argument why the incentives for OSS funding would not change.


Any business can be viable if it is backed by state violence. If it can't survive without violence then in my opinion should be allowed to perish.


This is certainly possible. Watch all of your content in theaters with all copies of the content as heavily secured as possible (physically and digitally)


Is there any business that isn't backed by state violence, to some degree? The computer you're typing this on is powered over copy wires, and those copper wires have value. What's to stop someone from just coming up and stealing them and everything else of value you own?


Never in my life have I heard of it deterring people. What deters them is platforms being taken down.


Open information; music, books, code, science, videos; threatens their entire business model.

Not content to physically own the planet, they seek to own our emotions through expropriation of our agency in all contexts.

It’s a managed economy of legal allowances, policed by an unelected minority beholden to no one. Hmm… where have I seen this before? No one saw it coming!

Tax the billionaires until they’re merely mega millionaires; their figurative identity obsession is not any more important than rest of ours, except due to political protectionism. Our doing human shit empowers these specific people; they can lose an order of magnitude in wealth to honor that.

As a result we’d be able to bolster health, education, and infrastructure everyone relies on. Deference to their wealth literally causes us to screw ourselves out of the time for such things.


fyi, your post was [dead]


This isn’t someone who torrented game of thrones, he was part of a scene/warez group called SPARK.


I agree. US intellectual property law is anachronistic and at odds with the evolution of modern technology. More permissive ip countries will leave us in the dust.


> More permissive ip countries will leave us in the dust.

If only the US hadn't used unconsititutional backdoors to ram similar laws into most other countries.


Copyright was invented as a reaction to the invention of the printing press. Whenever technology threatens to commoditize something, there's hand wringing and pushback from those who benefit from that thing not being a commodity. What technology makes abundant, the law makes scarce again. Things should be easy they say, yes, but not so easy as to not involve them and paying for their services. TBH I'm just glad I live in a world where the runaway success of the IP lobby wasn't replicated by e.g. the whale oil industry or the ice block sellers.


I don't think you own the bits on the disc, this is information and ideas and stories you don't have rights to make profit off,this is reserved to the authors who temporarily ceded them to publishers. You do own the plastic and dvd though which is what you are actually /selling. Which has the convenience of preventing you from enjoying the story (that you don't own) performed by actors and first encoded in images and sound and then in bits for practical purposes which are written on the plastic disc.


They literally said that about the printing press!


Similarily $COUNTRY does not own my identity, and yet my passport is the property of $COUNTRY.

This fight reaches deeper than we think because any solution, that is an economic model where free software is valued correctly.. will be able to incentivice infrastructure, solve the tragedy of the commons, but if we do it with a central authority then we suffer from the computational complexity of prioritization and we are back to trying to break up the computation within the central authority.

Basically no matter what, we will have to solve the infrastructure problem in a distributed manner and fwict this comes down to replacing our various systems of evaluation with something more holistic that models reality well: probabilistic estimates of trust in information sources (identities) in a P2P network.

I believe the path is:

Authenticated datastructures can be used to build a societal "operating system" (version control, reproducible builds, digital currencies, name systems)

Slowly we start getting serious about cryptographic identities.

We start probabilistically evaluating trustworthiness of such identities (information sources) in a P2P network.

This social network starts becoming a sufficient way to manage society, some communities or developing countries report success stories.

Civil war in the west as the traditional governance is seen increasingly as a inferior means to organizing society but their hold on power is too strong for the transition to go smoothly.

Idk.. that's a rough sketch of where I see it going right now. It's really a race whether we can have the software ready before our civil liberties are eroded too much.

I have a telegram channel where we are thinking about how to go about this: @datalisp


Many serious electronic crimes can be described as copying bits.

Like illegally exfiltrating and distributing PII, credit card info, etc.


I still think those shouldn’t be crimes, stealing money (or causing money to be stolen) should be a crime.


Or stealing things valued in money, like films and TV shows.

By accessing the content you are agreeing that the content is valuable to you.


Companies after selling your data to 3rd parties: "We just allowed bits to be copied lol".


Yes, this is pretty much what they do.


Sure. I'm just noting that owning data is not an absurd idea, as OP implies.

Another case that comes to mind: spreading child porn should be punishable. Imagine if pedophiles could claim they were "just copying bytes".

I guess what I want to say is: there are valid reasons to be against IP. I don't like IP and I would like IP laws to be seriously revamped. But "bytes are meant to be free" is just a naive argument, as copying bytes can clearly be harmful to others in ways most societies consider criminal.


>someone can get up to 5 years or more

I have a feeling it will be much more in this case. For example...

"The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit."

I imagine they will find a way to file RICO charges too. Those are good for 20 years each.


> "Doubleday doesn't own the pages of the books they sell me."

This may be a surprise to people born in the digital era and thus unused to such obsolete technology, but photocopying books is also illegal.


You may find “What Colour Are Your Bits”[1] an interesting read.

[1]: https://ansuz.sooke.bc.ca/entry/23


“ Doubleday doesn't own the pages of the books they sell me.”

But if you copy them you can still be taken to court and/or imprisoned, just like copying a disc.


Yes, but the analogy here is making it illegal to give or donate the book once you'd already bought it. There is no other way to transmit electronic data other than copy it. You can't even access it without copying it, under normal circumstances. This is my issue.


This seems to be an argument that humans are incapable of using tools without breaking the law. We make this assumption for tools like cars and guns by requiring licensing. Should internet access also require a license?


Should it be impossible to make a living writing books or recording music or movies? Because that's what it amounts to. Imagine writing a book, selling a copy for $10 to the first reader, and then the rest of the readers get it for free. Or printing a book and having a competing publisher type it up and sell it, taking all the profit.


Even in that strawman version of the argument, competing publishers would not be able to "steal" all the profit because they also could only sell the books more or less at cost. The price floor for physical books in such a world would, I imagine, be set by some chinese on-demand printing factories. Business models for authors would shift towards patreon supporters, subscription fees for periodical releases, signed collectors editions of books, live book tours, etc. etc.

Some people also manage to extract millions of profit from Youtube and Instagram channels, despite all of the content being free. Books are not that different from any other medium.


Definitely not looking forward to the day of ad-supported ebooks. "Sponsored" paragraphs injected into the middle of a chapter? Or maybe flashy banner ads alongside? Sounds like a nightmare.


Back in the 90s in Germany, Heyne Verlag was infamously inserting ads for Maggi Instant Soup [1] into the text of many of its Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels.

[1]: https://gmkeros.wordpress.com/2011/09/02/terry-pratchett-and...


“Don’t forget to click [Subscribe] and tick the annoy me whenever I release content icon”…


Which is, realistically, a pretty small price to pay for free high-quality content. Most of the higher-end channels also have the option to get an ad-free and nudge-free version if you're willing to pay.

Honestly, I'd much prefer that model for books over the forced Adobe DRM or vendor-specific stores that the industry seems to be trending towards.


Exclusivity of data presentation should depend on personal ability to keep it exclusive not state force in every digital nook of society where they can't be stopped from copying/writing to everything also. Plato, Aristotle, and Epicurus wrote some of the best books and they were always meant to be mass redistributed for free like all common knowledge and recipes - recited from memory. You paid the scriber if you wanted it written out again.

Expecting direct payment for any knowledge product experience is a poor idea to carry on to extremes like plays & skits. If today someone finds a lost manuscript by a great ancestor author then they own the copyrights to it the moment they publish it. But we wouldn't have the Iliad without mass copying. In a way our imprisoned OP is a perfect reciter of plays who is doing his bit to ensure the plays that do get made remain true to human spirit not deepening state tentacles.




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