wrong forum? this is an issue concerning technology, surely? no one here has an opinion?
maybe I’ll start the ball rolling
whatever my contention is, we need to define terms:
- piracy here means the copying and sharing of copyright material. note that public performance, etc, also comes under prohibited acts according to the copyright notice.
- copying and sharing for profit is the same as copying and sharing for pleasure, for backups, and for any reason whatsoever.
The accusation is:
a. piracy is morally wrong, because,
b. piracy deprives artists and companies that support artists of their rightful property (i.e. is theft)
c. the effect of piracy is therefore, to limit the production of art or copyrightable material
my contention is that accusations a-c are in fact erroneous.
a would be true if b were also true but b is not true; therefore a, b and c are wrong:
Copying material is different to theft because nothing is removed, nothing is taken. Piracy is different to copying and pretending to be the author - that is definitely fraud and is morally wrong. Copying and retaining the proper credits, etc, is not fraud and is not theft so is therefore not morally wrong.
A pirated copy is definitively distinct from the original (by virtue of it being a self-proclaimed copy) so it is not fraud and not morally wrong.
The fact that copied material is circulated widely doesn’t mean that the artist is deprived of a sale. It is well known in the software industry, for example, that the people who run the pirated copies are not in a position to pay for an original. No sales are lost (in fact, sales keep going up). Again, therefore, piracy is not theft. Bill Gates infamously said Window’s benefits from piracy because the more people who use Windows the more important it is. Thus Windows is more useful, in fact is the de facto standard international OS because everybody uses it, most of whom have never bought it. Thus if your product doesn’t work with Windows people won’t buy it. MS profits, for one, therefore help us deny the third claim.
I have shown that piracy is not wrong. In fact therefore copyright laws are morally wrong as they inhibit the freedom of people to distribute their wealth, they inhibit (and would do greater damage if they were heeded) sales of art and other products of copyable material.
So am I wrong or is the whole issue not understood by anyone involved?