If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property. Society may give an exclusive right to the profits arising from them, as an encouragement to men to pursue ideas which may produce utility, but this may or may not be done, according to the will and convenience of the society, without claim or complaint from any body. Accordingly, it is a fact, as far as I am informed, that England was, until we copied her, the only country on earth which ever, by a general law, gave a legal right to the exclusive use of an idea. In some other countries it is sometimes done, in a great case, and by a special and personal act, but, generally speaking, other nations have thought that these monopolies produce more embarrassment than advantage to society; and it may be observed that the nations which refuse monopolies of invention, are as fruitful as England in new and useful devices.
- Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Isaac McPherson, August 13, 1813
"The Congress shall have power... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries"
- United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 8
"As we enjoy great Advantages from the Inventions of others we should be glad of an Opportunity to serve others by any Invention of ours, and this we should do freely and generously."
- Benjamin Franklin
[A] copyright law that can work in practice only if unenforced is not a sound copyright law. It is a law that would create uncertainty, would bring about selective enforcement, and, if widely unenforced, would breed disrespect for copyright law itself.
- Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (SCOTUS, 2013)
"The 'press' in 1791 was not The New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. It did not comprise large organizations of private interests, with millions of readers associated with each organization. Rather, the press then was much like the Internet today. The cost of the printing press was low, the readership was slight, and anyone (within reason) could become a publisher--and in fact an extraordinary number did. When the Constitution speaks of the rights of the 'press,' the architecture it has in mind is the architecture of the Internet."
- Lawrence Lessig
"There has grown in the minds of certain groups in this country the idea that just because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with guaranteeing such a profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is supported by neither statute or common law. Neither corporations or individuals have the right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back."
- Robert A. Heinlein, "Life Line"
"Is The Net At Fault For Illegal Filesharing?"
In a word: YES!
The internet is "disruptive technology". Previously publishers added economic value to the stream of commerce that flows from authors and artists to consumers. Suddenly, nearly all creative works can be represented in a digital form (usually with higher quality to boot), reproduced at virtually no cost, and distributed at virtually no cost.
The entire business model of most publishers is now non-value added waste. The market knows it, the people know it, and the publishers even know it.
Unfortunately, our form of government is not geared to be responsive to the public or the market. Free markets and the public demand the elimination of waste, but our form of government is optimized to achieve a different goal: to create a regulatory paradigm where Congress grants regulatory favors to those who are able to contribute the funds needed to assure the reelection of the people in the system.
Our legislators have gone through a vigorous natural selection process that ensures they truly believe it is important to ignore the wishes of the people, indeed even the rights of the people, so as to perpetuate the unnatural power base of a cartel created not by competition, but by regulation even after the very service that it provides can be accomplished on demand by any 10 year old with no out of pocket expense.
The internet was designed precisely to acheive what it does acheive: a radically better way to distribute files. People should see this for what it is and also dispel any feelings of guilt they have for using it to its fullest capabilities to destroy those industries that survive only by misuse of government to protect revenue streams based on turning waste into value based on corrupt regulation.
In fact, EVEN IF a few poor starving millionare artists have to suffer unfairly to achieve it, I recommend that people feel no guilt about sharing files instead of feeding the cartels. It is far better to kill a little skin burning off the leach than to allow it to feed off of you unchecked.
- bwt, from /.
\Theft\, n. [OE. thefte, AS. [thorn]i['e]f[eth]e, [thorn][=y]f[eth]e, [thorn]e['o]f[eth]e. See Thief.]
1. (Law) The act of stealing; specifically, the felonious taking and removing of personal property, with an intent to deprive the rightful owner of the same; larceny.
Note: To constitute theft there must be a taking without the owner's consent, and it must be unlawful or felonious; every part of the property stolen must be removed, however slightly, from its former position ; and it must be, at least momentarily, in the complete possession of the thief. See Larceny, and the Note under Robbery.
"I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone." - Jack Valenti, President and CEO of the MPAA
"In a digital world, we don't need back-ups!" - Jack Valenti, President and CEO of the MPAA
"What is fair use? Fair use is not a law. There's nothing in law." - Jack Valenti, President and CEO of the MPAA
"I'm interested," [Senator Orrin Hatch (R,UT)] interrupted. He said damaging someone's computer "may be the only way you can teach somebody about copyrights."
The senator acknowledged Congress would have to enact an exemption for copyright owners from liability for damaging computers. He endorsed technology that would twice warn a computer user about illegal online behavior, "then destroy their computer."
"If we can find some way to do this without destroying their machines, we'd be interested in hearing about that," Hatch said. "If that's the only way, then I'm all for destroying their machines. If you have a few hundred thousand of those, I think people would realize" the seriousness of their actions, he said.
"There's no excuse for anyone violating copyright laws," Hatch said.
- June 17, 2003 Washington Post
"Whoever turned 'copy right' into one word had to be a lawyer. We don't say 'freespeechright' or 'gunright' or 'assemblyright' or 'religionright.'" - John Bloom, Guest Comment on the National Review Online
"Why should self-interested companies be permitted to shift the balance of fundamental liberties, risking free expression, free markets, scientific progress, consumer rights, societal stability, and the end of physical and informational want? Because somebody might be able to steal a song?" - John Gilmore, What's Wrong With Copy Protection
"Let me say what I think your problem is. You can use these harsh terms, but you are dealing with something new, and the question is, does the statutory monopoly that Congress has given you reach out to that something new. And that's a very debatable question. You don't solve it by calling it 'theft.' You have to show why this court should extend a statutory monopoly to cover the new thing. That's your problem. Address that if you would. And curtail the use of abusive language."
- Judge John T. Noonan, to lawyer Russell Frackman, MGM vs. Grokster, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
"It was never the object of patent laws to grant a monopoly for every trifling device, every shadow of a shade of an idea, which would naturally and spontaneously occur to any skilled mechanic or operator in the ordinary progress of manufactures. Such an indiscriminate creation of exclusive privileges tends rather to obstruct than to stimulate invention. It creates a class of speculative schemers who make it their business to watch the advancing wave of improvement, and gather its foam in the form of patented monopolies, which enable them to lay a heavy tax on the industry of the country, without contributing anything to the real advancement of the arts. It embarrasses the honest pursuit of business with fears and apprehensions of unknown liability lawsuits and vexatious accounting for profits made in good faith."
- Atlantic Works vs. Brady, 1882
"Why are you such a bunch of big girls? Why don't you tell the content owners to just get stuffed? You're too seduced by the content industry, Hollywood is not even a $10 billion industry. Hollywood is small compared to the telecom industry. Why don't you take a stronger line? Consumers don't want DRM at all. You can't sell DRM."
- David Birch, Consult Hyperion, in a 3GSM World Congress discussion
"First, while Mr. Wallace contends that the GPL is "foreclosing competition in the market for computer operating systems" (id.), his problem appears to be that GPL generates too much competition, free of charge. The court's understanding from the GPL itself is that it is a software licensing agreement through which the GNU/Linux operating system may be licensed and distributed to individual users so long as those users "cause any work that [they] distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License." (GPL 3.) The GPL purportedly functions to "guarantee [users'] freedom to share and change free software." (GPL Preamble.) As alleged, the GPL in no way forecloses other operating systems from entering the market. Instead, it merely acts as a means by which certain software may be copied, modified and redistributed without violating the software's copyright protection. As such, the GPL encourages, rather than discourages, free competition and the distribution of computer operating systems, the benefits of which directly pass to consumers. These benefits include lower prices, better access and more innovation. See Jason B. Wacha, Taking the Case: Is the GPL Enforceable, 21 Santa Clara Computer & High Tech L.J. 451, 487 (2005). And the Sherman Act "was enacted to assure customers the benefits of price competition, and . . . prior cases have emphasized the controlling interest in protecting the economic freedom of participants in the relevant market." Assoc.'d Gen. Contractors v. Cal. State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 528 (1983). Therefore, the court finds that the Fourth Amended Complaint does not adequately set forth an injury to competition as a whole."
- John Daniel Tinder, Judge, United States District Court, Daniel Wallace v. Free Software Foundation, Inc.
Do not use the term "intellectual property" - it is not a legal term. Instead, use "government regulated ideas" or "statutory monopoly."
"I have this massive pile of digital rights that I really need to manage. Yet every fucking piece of management software I download has been hacked. There's not even any patches for this shit. How the fuck am I, as a concerned citizen, supposed to manage my rights?" - AC
We made mixed tapes, [our kids] remix music. We watched TV, they make TV. It is technology that has made them different. And as we see what this technology can do, we need to recognize that you can't kill the instinct the technology produces, we can only criminalize it. We can't stop our kids from using it, we can only drive it underground. We can't make our kids passive again, we can only make them "pirates." And is that good?
We live in this weird time. This kind of age of prohibitions where in many areas of our life, we live life constantly against the law. Ordinary people live life against the law, and that's what we are doing to our kids. They live life knowing that they live it against the law.
That realization is extraordinarily corrosive. Extraordinarily corrupting, and in a democracy, we ought to be able to do better.
- Lawrence Lessig, How Creativity is Being Strangled by the Law
"The very point of intellectual property laws is that they protect only against certain specific kinds of appropriation....All creators draw in part on the work of those who came before, referring to it, building on it, poking fun at it; we call this creativity, not piracy.... Intellectual property rights aren't free; They're imposed at the expense of future creators and of the public at large.... This is why intellectual property law is full of careful balances between what's set aside for the owners and what's left in the public domain for the rest of us....It may seem unfair that much of the fruit of a creator's labor may be used by others without compensation. But this is not some unforeseen byproduct of our intellectual property system; it is the system's very essence. Intellectual property law assures authors the right to their original expression, but encourages others to build freely on the ideas that underlie it. This result is neither unfair nor unfortunate: It is the means by which intellectual property law advances the progress of science and art...."
- [Vanna] White v. Samsung Electronics America, Inc., 989 F.2d 1512 (9th Cir. 1993) (Kozinski, J., dissenting from denial of rehearing).
"Buster, you have been colonized." - Kurt Vonnegut, Bluebeard