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User Journal

Journal Journal: Realistic fines for copyright infringment 1

These fines have two purposes: 1) recompensate the copyright holder for economic losses, 2) deter future infringment by both the violator and others.

(1) clearly is greatly exaggerated under current policies. A single instance of downloading in violation of copyright all tracks from a particular CD at most constititues an economic loss to the copyright holder in the amount of the payment the copyright holder would have received from a retail sale of this CD.

In a single instance of acquiring an entire CD in violation of copyright, this is the maximum economic loss. However, in the most common cases, such as where only one or two tracks are acquired, or where the violator would not have been willing (in the absence of the availability of the infringing copy) or able to acquire a retail copy of the material, the actual economic loss to the copyright holder is only a small percentage of payment for a retail copy, or even non-existant.

But what about when the violator himself or herself redistributes infringing copies of the copyrighted material? Who here should bear the burden of economic loss to the copyright holder? If the original violator bears the economic burden, then future violators in the same "copy tree" can not also be made to bear the economic burden, because the copyright holder has already been compensated.

To charge that the original violator ought to bear the economic burden incurred by the intentional and willful acts of all future violators in the same copy tree, is to assign responsibility to one person for the uncoerced, intentional, and willfull infringing acts of another, to which the original violator contributed no force or persuassion. To do this is seriously morally troubling; I am not responsible for the uncoerced, willfull acts of other self-determining, copetent agents.

Therefore, the only economic burden that a violator may be made to bear for a single instance of infringment, is the actual economic loss incurred by this single instance of infringment.

This sets the upper bound for the recompensatory component of the fine at the actual economic loss incurred by the copyright holder for this single act of infringment; about $15 for all tracks from a single CD.

The fine may increase in consideration of the deterrent component, but the deterrent must correspond reasonably to the recompensatory component, even if this means that in cases of minor economic loss the deterrent will not be great.

This is as it should be; deterring minor econimic loss is surely much less the concern of law than deterring major or devestating economic loss.

I suspect that reasonable and morally conscious people will conclude that the deterrent component not exceed twice the compensatory component, and should approach this only in cases of the most flagarent infringment indicating a severe opposition to the rule of law.

Therefore, in the case of even the most flagarent infringement, the total fine for the infringing copying of all tracks of a CD will not exceed $15 x 3; $45.

If I distribute all tracks of this CD 100 times, for example, then the maximum fine I may be assigned is $4500.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Repost: how the regime will crumble

Until we have nothing left but locked down hardware which self-destructs in response to attempts to study it, distributors can not stop prevent the willing from liberating the information.

Until neighbors are paid off to report neighbors, brothers to report brothers, distributors can not prevent the willing from liberating the information.

Sharing this information over p2p networks I believe is too dangerous. It is far too easy for you to be found, and sentenced to have your future destroyed, without you having accomplished anything. It is too impersonal. To many people, you are just an IP address.

What is far more dangerous to the existing "intellectual property" regime is the in person swapping of the physical media. When you go over to your neighbor's house or apartment for an evening to watch a movie, what if you were to bring copies of the latest DVDs you have bought? Maybe you'll watch one or two of them. What if when you are heading home you say, "Oh, just go ahead and keep them." Who is going to turn your offer down? It's just like being offered money or a gift. They will take it if for no other reason than that they don't want to offend you or seem unfriendly.

It is the widespread practicing of this very personal form of infringement which will spell the end of the corporate "intellectual property" regime.

Because unlike electronic copying, when you look your friend or your neighbor in the face, who has just given you a gift as a fellow person and as a friend and a neighbor, they can not then look at you and say, "Communist!", or "Theif!".

It is against their every intuition to do so, because you aren't just an IP address in a newspaper or court brief. You are their friend and their neighbor in the flesh.

I think that this would have significantly more intuitive appeal to people than the current issues which often seem to focus on electronic sharing.

Or maybe it's just a matter of waiting 20 years until we have middle aged people who have known p2p swapping all of their lives.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Take a stand on the MPAA 2

The following was offtopic for the story, "Renegade Reverse Engineering - John Woo Style". I am reposting it below:

No, not, "Where to we stand on the matter of the MPAA?" Where do I stand and where do you stand on the matter of the MPAA?

I would urge everyone to, when then find themselves facing the dilema of whether or not to financially support the MPAA, to not just say, "Oh, isn't that funny; yesterday we hated them, and today we will support them," and shrug off the matter.

If you generally accept the business practices of the MPAA and member studios, peace be upon you, but I can offer you nothing further. If not:

Continuing financial support of these studios by purchasing admission tickets leaves room to send no message other than the message that you accept their content, that you accept their social practices, and that you accept their business practices. The ticket stub does not feature a check box reading, "While I am financially supporting the MPAA and member studios, I am profoundly disturbed by social and business practices," by which you can send any message other than than your consent, your acceptance, and your appreciation.

Films are not food, water, or shelter; they are not medicine needed for your dying significant other. If you find the social and business practices of the MPAA and member studios to be profoundly disturbing, then you have no excuse to continue to financially support these entities.

This is little different, in principle, than the situation with clothing and other apparel made by workers who are seriously physically, socially, and economically exploited. In both cases, seriouslly exploitive and morally reprehensible institutions and laws exist in the society in which these attitudes and practices exist and occur, and it is these very institutions and laws which explicitly enable and endorse these attitudes and practices.

Yet, there is more. Not only when you purchase admission tickets and personal media do you provide financial support to the MPAA and member studioes, but when you do so you also publically advocate the cultural acceptance of their social and business practices by openly expressing your consent, acceptance, and appreciation as you publically provide your financial support. Because you have no excuse, other members of society have reason to draw no other conclusion than this.

Please ask yourself, "Do I financially support and thereby publically endorse the MPAA by purchasing admission tickets because their content is superb and without doing so I would feel unfulfilled and suffer a serious degredation in the quality of my life, or do I financially support and thereby publically endorse these entities foremost because, although I find their social and business practices to be profoundly disturbing, going along with existing cultural norms prevalent in my social and peer groups is easier than changing them, or fighting them?"

To another point, I also do realize the potential hypocrisy of posting this from a computer, no doubt containing parts made in those very circumstances I have spoken out against.

To this I say:

This world is a filthy place; all who touch it receive its mark and blemish upon themselves. But I exhort you friends, let these be the scars of battle, and not the brand of complacency.

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