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 Why Internet Piracy is Moral

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Jun 20, 2002
The usual argument from Anti-Piracy Nazis is that the people who download copyrighted MP3s aren't paying. Im here to dispell this ridiculous lie.

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Internet connections aren't free nowadays. If you get more bandwidth you can download more copyrighted material but in turn you will be forking out more money for the privilege.

AOL Time Warner is an example of this. One part of the company (Time Warner) produces the copyrighted material which we download. The other part of the company (AOL) get the money from us doing this.

In this way you are actually paying per copyrighted material download. So next time Mr RIAA (or some dumbass of this site) tells you that we aren't paying for downloading copyrighted material, you know what to tell them.


Good point. (none / 0) (#1)
by tkatchev on Thu Jun 20th, 2002 at 10:39:59 AM PST
Most of the slashdot/g**ky crowd are used to getting free Internet from their college campus, but out here in the real world bandwidth is not free. In fact, bandwidth is usually far more expensive than "traditional" information mediums.

Peace and much love...

Damn that was intuitive (none / 0) (#2)
by Narcissus on Thu Jun 20th, 2002 at 11:50:20 AM PST
I now have a new found respect for PotatoError. I never thought of this situation in this light, thank you for enlightening me.

I look forward to more posts to come with this same brilliance.

Ok, who picked the flower???

I agree (none / 0) (#15)
by innominate on Mon Jun 24th, 2002 at 01:00:32 PM PST
<p>I didn't think you played in lowly morality. I thought you were more responsible than that.</p>
<p>I can be wrong. I am okay with that...</p>

you haven't proven anything (3.00 / 2) (#3)
by foon on Thu Jun 20th, 2002 at 12:16:29 PM PST
First, as a matter of point, AOL/Time Warner is the only large media conglomerate with an interest in internet service. Even assuming that your justification had any merit, it would only be morally defensible to steal copyrighted material produced by the particular corporation you are purchasing your internet access from, and since the average person with the lack of moral sensibility to violate copyright laws probably doesn't even know which proud titan of business produces the software, music or movies they gleefully steal, this standard would not be met by any internet pirate.

Of course this justification does not have even that slim level of merit. Even assuming that one were to purchase their internet access from America On-Line (which, because of the superior ease of use and advanced value-added features, most Americans do), and restrict yourself to pirating copyrighted material produced by AOL/Time Warner, would you be morally justified? Of course not. Its an argument roughly equivalent to stating that, because you pay taxes to the government, you are entitled to vandalize public schools and steal books from public libraries (although one might add that both of these services represent uncalled for government intrusions into public life, and should be eliminated and/or privatized in order to serve consumers better).

Breaking the law is breaking the law, and in this case the law serves to promote what nobel-prize winning economist F. A. Hayek called the "spontaneous order", the natural system of relations formed by a freely functioning market economy. The price set by the market for one month of access to America Online ("So Easy to Use, No Wonder its Number One") is the fair price for that commodity only...likewise, the price set by the market for a piece of software or a music CD is the price for that commodity only. These are the property of their lawful producers, and may be acquired only through the terms set by the content producers, ie paying the price set by the market. A society in which such relations are not allowed to function naturally, and the theft of property from its rightful producers is legalized and legitimized, will, as free-market economists such as Hayek and Ludwig von Mises have always argued, inevitably result in totalitarian communism if taken to its logical conclusion. Unless you are a believer in totalitarian communism, you have a responsibility to acquire any commodity you desire to own through legal means only.

Nice points but fatally flawed (ie wrong) (5.00 / 2) (#8)
by PotatoError on Thu Jun 20th, 2002 at 01:33:32 PM PST
Copying music isnt piracy. Piracy is copying CDs and bootlegging them. It also isn't illegal as it is a civil offence only.

By copying music aren't I simply being part of the "freely functioning market economy"? The fact that you don't like the way this "freely functioning market economy" is going isn't my problem.

In fact the whole idea of this "Market" thing you talk of is ridiculous. The price for a piece of software isn't set by some imaginary entity which you call "The Market". It is set by the company or movement behind that software like Microsoft or Open Source. "The Market" doesn't exist - it's a made up fantasy. It exists no more than Santa Claus or God.

Also something which can be copied without any production cost or resources is not a commodity. Therefore music and data are not commodities.

Apart from that you were quite accurate.


Deletion Notice (none / 0) (#10)
by RobotSlave on Thu Jun 20th, 2002 at 06:55:12 PM PST
A comment by user "foon" has been deleted for violation of copyright held by user "PotatoError." User "foon's" lugubrious original content is reproduced below:

Aren't you being redundant? As you have in the past associated yourself with "hacking" you are doubtless aware that there is no difference between copying the data on a compact disk to a file on your computer, and transferring that file to someone else, or copying that data onto another compact disk, and transferring that to someone else. Copyright law recognizes this equivalency. Of course you may further your semantic obfuscation by insisting on a particular definition of terms like "bootlegging" and "piracy" that conveniently excludes your chosen behavior -- I will choose, for clarity's sake, simply not to use these words, and substitute "copyright violation" or "theft". As for the distinction between civil and criminal law, I believe copyright violation has always been punishable by prison sentence and fines...I encourage you to report your behavior to the local police, and see how they feel about its legality.

This is exactly the sort of mistaken assumption that is leading to the erosion of morality in society today. You will argue that prices are dependent purely on human decision...that Bill Gates decides to charge $99.99 for the Windows XP Home Edition Upgrade simply on an arbitrary whim, and he could just as easily give it away for free, or charge a million dollars, and it would make no difference. I will not waste too much time explaining this to you, rather encouraging you to purchase a book on basics of economics. Suffice to say, however, that the price which a business can charge for a product is determined by a number of factors which are outside of the control of any individual, such as the cost of production and marketing, the level of demand for the product and the desire of consumers to purchase it, and the available supply (which is less of an issue with intellectual property, since it is not dependent on finite resources). A business will charge the price for a product which will result in the highest level of profit...not so low as to result in a loss, but not so high as to dissuade consumers from purchasing it. This does not mean that prices charged will always be the same. Consumers will not pay as much for a low-quality product such as Red Hat's Lunix operating system as they will for Microsoft Windows XP, hence Lunix cannot be sold for the same price as Windows XP without resulting in (even higher) losses for Red Hat. At the same time, the existence of alternatives forces Microsoft to keep the price charged for their products at a level proportional to the competition, or less demanding, low-end users will use Lunix instead despite its lower quality, due to the lower price. This process of buying and selling, and the sum of all of the forces which serve to set prices, is on a large scale what is called the market.

The entire function of intellectual property law is to make it a commodity. If it cannot be bought and sold, with a profit accruing to the content creator, there is no incentive to produce it, and the content producer will not be able to sustain their business. We must protect against unlawful copying of copyrighted materials, just as we must protect individual property from being taken by those with the greatest capacity for force, in order to allow markets to function. If you want a society which is based on force and lack of respect for individual ownership, you are expressing a clear preference for communism. I should think that any reasonable person should be able to see, based on the experience of the Soviet Union, Red China, and other communist countries, that this isn't desirable. Rather, the path to prosperity lies in protection of property rights, including intellectual property, and relaxed regulation which allow markets to operate for the benefit of all."

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

Civil offense (none / 0) (#11)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Fri Jun 21st, 2002 at 10:03:51 PM PST
Can you name any other civil offenses that carry a maximum jail term of five years?

A tad bit off... (none / 0) (#4)
by HatBot on Thu Jun 20th, 2002 at 12:36:12 PM PST
"Most of the slashdot/g**ky crowd are used to getting free Internet from their college campus, but out here in the real world bandwidth is not free. In fact, bandwidth is usually far more expensive than "traditional" information mediums."

Yes, generally when you attend a college or university and live on campus you do recieve free internet, but you also have to undergo the process of paying for all your college expenses, which is usually quite costly. Although this isn't paying money directly to a media conglomorate, all colleges are probably owned by AOL/Time Warner or Sony Corp. anyway

What do you mean "you"? (none / 0) (#5)
by tkatchev on Thu Jun 20th, 2002 at 01:06:15 PM PST
People who are paying their own way through college are usually too busy to waste time downloading gigabytes crap off the 'Net, from my experience.

Peace and much love...

Oh, come off it. (none / 0) (#7)
by derek3000 on Thu Jun 20th, 2002 at 01:17:04 PM PST
Not many kids pay for their education. Stop dicking around.

"Feel me when I bring it!" --Gay Jamie

In the case of the computer scientist... (none / 0) (#12)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Fri Jun 21st, 2002 at 10:06:26 PM PST
...society never stops paying for his education.

If Elenchos isn't... (none / 0) (#13)
by The Mad Scientist on Sat Jun 22nd, 2002 at 08:29:27 AM PST
...'Slave, he's at least his mentor.

Damn, you geeks are perceptive (none / 0) (#14)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Sat Jun 22nd, 2002 at 02:25:51 PM PST
But you've only just scratched the surface. Come on, you can puzzle it all out. Why stop at assuming RobotSlave is elenchos' hand puppet? Maybe elenchos is my hand puppet. Who's hand puppet might I be? The possibilities...

etc (none / 0) (#6)
by HatBot on Thu Jun 20th, 2002 at 01:11:17 PM PST
I wasn't saying that they had to pay their way through college, most people use student loans or scholarships. While this may cover a majority of the cost, you still have to pay something every semester, this cost is often payed by the parents, or by the student taking a job and such. The point is, you still have you pay money to the school. And yes, you are probably right, people paying the entirety of their tuition probably have alot more to do than download music and porn


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