Some thoughts on the file-swapping ruling

Down with Kazaa and their ilk

Monday, June 27, 2005 by Draginol | Discussion: Industry

Over on the WinCustomize.com news page I gave my two cents on today's ruling.  Based on the poll I saw on News.com, 2 out of 3 people disagree with the ruling.  What a shock.  "But...I don't want to have to pay for other people's work..I want it for free.." 

I know a lot of people who pirate software, games, music, movies, etc.  I don't harp to them about it.  What ticks me off are the companies that actually make a business model out of serving pirates.  eDonkey and Kazaa and the like made millions of dollars by enabling people to steal other people's stuff.

And in turn, they have harmed consumers in ways most people don't realize. Copy protection has gotten nastier, DRM has become a household term, and licenses have gotten more and more restrictve.  Not that such schemes don't get cracked -- they do -- but the record industry (whom I'm no fan of either) and the like have figured out that those who don't pirate can be made to buy more stuff with more DRM to make up for those who would have bought stuff but were able to download it for free from Kazaa or something.

Such services cheapen the value of hard work too.  The other day I read someone complaining how WindowBlinds was "too expensive".  It's twenty bucks for crying out loud.  That's just a bit more than a Pizza dinner.  A decent cooking knife costs $50. An AutoScanner is $140 (and I can tell you with some experience that the production/profit margins on these things is pretty significant). Cheap shoes are $50.  Stuff costs money.  Yet we'll see someone complain that a software product that took years to perfect that people run every day for years that costs $20 is too expensive.  And why? Because places like Kazaa have made software look worthless. 

People will complain about paying $40 for a game that took two years to develop and provides support to the user but you rarely hear the same people think twice about paying $40 for a small box of legos where the buyer will never interact with the company.  Places like Kazaa and their ilk devalue intellectual property.  And the results hurt us all in ways that people don't realize. 

Software piracy isn't as huge of a deal as many make it out to be, but the mainstreaming of it through these peer-to-peer services were steadily making piracy something that even the newbie down the street was able to do which definitely takes revenue away from hard working software developers, musicians, etc.

First Previous Page 1 of 7 Next Last
Jafo
Reply #1 Monday, June 27, 2005 9:28 PM

But gosh....an insignificant minority of P2P users are solely sharing their OWN property.  This legitimizes the concept.

The majority of users who use the system to dl 'their' copy of 'Revenge of The Sith' before cinematic release?....Pure incidental irrelevance....

Kevin the Kitten
Reply #2 Monday, June 27, 2005 9:39 PM
Maybe I'm in a sactimonious minority but I'm an end user that applauds the decision. I could never get my head around how your normal average guy or gal could download copyrighted work for free when they wouldn't imagine stealing something directly. Perhaps its the anonymity of it that makes people feel protected (noone will know and I wont get caught) or the thought that its only the big company that will be hurt by it or the I just can't afford to buy it (and of course you absolutely must have that file or you'll die?).

For once it seems like a common sense decision has come out of the Supreme Court! If the principal use is to steal work then it should be illegal: if its principal use is for personal copies (eg. video a program to watch later) its OK.

Maybe I'm just Mr. Grumpy Old man today!
Ionolast
Reply #3 Monday, June 27, 2005 10:09 PM
I could never get my head around how your normal average guy or gal could download copyrighted work for free when they wouldn't imagine stealing something directly Perhaps its the anonymity of it that makes people feel protected (noone will know and I wont get caught) or the thought that its only the big company that will be hurt by it or the I just can't afford to buy it (and of course you absolutely must have that file or you'll die?).


Or maybe it's because nothing on the Internet really exists. It's virtual.
ParaTed2k
Reply #4 Monday, June 27, 2005 10:47 PM
I'm still confused on how P2P Software sites make money. The quick answer would be "advertizing", but I have yet to see an ad on a P2P program.

The next thing I wonder is, how enforceable can this decision really be for the entertainment industry? Many countries have no copyright laws at all. If Kazaa or others just moved their operation to another country, what's to stop people in the US from downloading it? Once downloaded, what is to stop people from other countries "sharing" files with those in the US??

Does the entertainment industry really think they are accomplishing anything here?
Tarkus
Reply #5 Monday, June 27, 2005 10:48 PM
But gosh....an insignificant minority of P2P users are solely sharing their OWN property. This legitimizes the concept.


The concept of P2P is legitimate, and is only going to continue to grow as a means of distributing software. Even Microsoft is working on their own version of BitTorrent.

And it only makes sense. Why pay for a ton of bandwidth and servers when you can let your users do most of the distribution?

Obviously, you need safeguards, and that's what MS is working on.

Mind you, I'm not suggesting that legitimizes Kazaa and the like. I'm only saying Kazaa and the like don't make the concept of P2P illegitimate.



Posted via WinCustomize Browser/Stardock Central
ScottK
Reply #6 Monday, June 27, 2005 11:54 PM
Geez you seriously need to learn shop agressively. I can feed my entire family of five at the best pizza joint in town for nearly $12. Picked up that same auto scanner for $110 locally. No wonder you're clueless to why people complain that Windowblinds is expensive at $20, apparently you can't even spend your own money wisely. Car salesmen must love seeing you walk in with "sucker" written all over.
bakerstreet
Reply #7 Tuesday, June 28, 2005 12:18 AM
I differ because this is just an impotent, indirect attack. That is the tactic the Chinese use to oppress. When a place becomes a problem, the Chinese leadership doesn't attack the culprits, they attack the local governors. Out of fear for their wealth and their families, the local governers are doubly ruthless and oppressive.

Corporate interests aren't bound by the same privacy laws that law enforcement is held to, and face none of the oversight. Out of fear of litigation, they will snoop and repress and deny service out-of-hand, since they are blamed for whatever happens on their networks. When this kind of vigilience is required, they'll start pursuing it with vigor.

I think the result of this won't be less piracy, but more scrutiny from the people who run the networks we frequent. I'd prefer to vote for my oppressor.

Life is a Game
Reply #8 Tuesday, June 28, 2005 12:26 AM
it's true that it's not right that people can so easily download software that took years to develop for free.

but you have to admit that it helped computer industry to spread to every house. if it weren't for P2P most people would still run old stone age software on their machines and also they wouldn't need to buy a faster computer because old software is not so demanding therefor that would slow down the development of software and hardware companies. so as i see it companies get it back from costumers not in money directly but in requirement for more powerful software and hardware.

so i think that there should be some middle way in this situation.
kona0197
Reply #9 Tuesday, June 28, 2005 1:00 AM
I think it dosen't matter what laws are passed. It's to late to stop P2P programs. P2P is to widespread. You can't sue or lockup almost everyone.
bakerstreet
Reply #10 Tuesday, June 28, 2005 2:13 AM
" I think it dosen't matter what laws are passed. It's to late to stop P2P programs. P2P is to widespread. You can't sue or lockup almost everyone."

That isn't what this was about, Kona. This was about being able to sue the people who run the networks the stuff is traded on. It is much easier to sue ISPs and such, instead of having to sue individuals. Eventually the networks themselves will be threatened with bankruptcy, the P2P software won't be allowed, those ports will be blocked or transfer will be throttled to nothing, and you won' t even be able to share legal files.

MountainDragon
Reply #11 Tuesday, June 28, 2005 3:34 AM
Or maybe it's because nothing on the Internet really exists. It's virtual.



I really don't get this argument. Try this: take away your thoughts, feelings, and memories (all virtual). All that's left is your body. Do you exist now?

Some of the MOST valuable aspects of our existence are virtual.
paxx
Reply #12 Tuesday, June 28, 2005 6:07 AM
Furthermore, I wonder what a programmer would think if his boss told him he wasn't going to get paid because he didn't do any work. "Your work doesn't really exist, it's all virtual. Therefore you won't get paid."
Ionolast
Reply #13 Tuesday, June 28, 2005 6:34 AM
I really don't get this argument. Try this: take away your thoughts, feelings, and memories (all virtual). All that's left is your body. Do you exist now?


I don't think anyone would want to buy my body, especially if it had a lot of bugs.
jeffreyw
Reply #14 Tuesday, June 28, 2005 7:23 AM
Real or Virtual?

The following is an example. It is not a threat toward anyone and I hope everyone lives a long, meaningful, and satisfying life.

Let us say for example that you receive an e-mail threatening yourself or your family. Let us also imagine that the author of the e-mail deleted the original message from his computers. The only copy of the e-mail prior to your receipt, therefore, was on a server.

When you receive this threat will you take the appropriate defensive measures or will you be satisfied that the threat is virtual? Taken a step further, if you request assistance from law enforcement representatives, will their actions be based on your operating system being free source?

Most of the states in the U.S. have laws against the receipt of stolen goods. I’m not trained in legal matters but I don’t think the manner of delivery (e.g. car, wheelbarrow, or computer) matters.


Posted via WinCustomize Browser/Stardock Central
Zoomba
Reply #15 Tuesday, June 28, 2005 7:28 AM
A lot of techno-weenies I know are getting all hot and bothered over this issue. They're trying to make it out to be an attack on P2P technology as a whole, and it's not. It's a slap against the companies who attempt to knowingly profit from piracy. BitTorrent is an excellent example of P2P that can't be touched because it's a completely neutral technology with no centralization, no company managing it. Anyone can put any file up as a torrent and spread it. Kazaa and products like it were obviously designed to distribute apps and games, just look at the search criteria and you have all the proof you need.

Lately people have taken up this attitude that if it's possible to obtain something for free, then they have every reasonable right to take it. If something similar to a given product is free, then that product should be free too. People don't understand the value of software or movies or music that they're taking. They also try and quibble over dictionary terms and say it's not really theft because nothing physical is taken. Well, what else do you call taking something that is not yours, without fair payment in return? To 99% of the world, that's the same as stealing, you're just taking 1s and 0s instead of a box from a store.
Vinco
Reply #16 Tuesday, June 28, 2005 7:59 AM
Reading the first part of the ruling, it is certainly not an attack on p2p as a whole. The Supreme Court mainly came down on Grokster and Morpheus for DIRECTLY advertising the ease of finding illegal files on their networks. As such, the noninfringing uses do not grant carte blanche protection to these software developers.

The message is clear:

Discourage illegal use of your site/software
Advertise against illegal distribution of files
Respond to takedown notices
DO NOT monitor network content
and leave a few loopholes for sharing the illegal stuff

If your intent is "good", and you've tried to comply with regulations, THAT is the protection against lawsuits.

I apologize if I've misread the ruling.
craeonics
Reply #17 Tuesday, June 28, 2005 8:28 AM
No need to apologise, that ^^^ is exactly what I make of it as well.
Yarlen
Reply #18 Tuesday, June 28, 2005 8:56 AM
It's what the legal expert on CNN said last night too (he also pointed out that it's a hollow victory for the RIAA, MPAA and others since it won't do anything to stem piracy).
MyViewsAndMuse
Reply #19 Tuesday, June 28, 2005 8:59 AM
For me it is a matter of degree. Is downloading 1, 2, 5 or 10 MP3 songs so bad? When does it become a problem? I tend to think just about every heavy internet user has done something similiar. I would assume Draginol has at least 1 mp3 that was not purchased. How many of us have WinZip installed and click through the "Use Evaluation" box? In conclusion, the ruling is a unenforceable ruling, much like the ten commandments ruling. Simply change your "purpose" and it is okay.
Helix the II
Reply #20 Tuesday, June 28, 2005 11:49 AM
Smitty, only people who steal frequently assumes everybody else does. Kinda like cheating in a marriage.. "I've screwed around on my spouse..they probably are cheating on me!".. Which isn't always true.. but it's easy to make assumptions based off of our bad behavior. ^^ That's neither here nor there though..

Let DRM get more harsh, let security create a chokehold on the virtual society.. in the end it just strangles itself. Besides, for every good security measure implemented there's a fifteen year old smart enough and good enough to blow through security..

I agree with the philosophy that even virtual work has a worth. Time was put into creating the program and time is money. You get paid for time at work. Time. Sure, you might make a product or fill out a document, but you get paid for that hours worth of work. Why shouldn't a software developer? At the same time, somethings may tend to be over-priced because the marketing company convinces people into paying it.. That doesn't make stealing an option, it means boycotting the company until they see eye to eye.

ScottK, not everybody lives in the same town. The cost of living is higher in some areas, didja think about that before you started harassing Draginol, you anonymous troll?

Please login to comment and/or vote for this skin.

Welcome Guest! Please take the time to register with us.
There are many great features available to you once you register, including:

  • Richer content, access to many features that are disabled for guests like commenting on the forums and downloading skins.
  • Access to a great community, with a massive database of many, many areas of interest.
  • Access to contests & subscription offers like exclusive emails.
  • It's simple, and FREE!



web-wc01