Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Copying vs Theft: A PSA

Without further ado, here is a public service announcement on this very topic:

Pro-copyright activists often compare filesharing to physical theft of property. I always thought this was a strange argument. Because unlike traditional theft, when something is copied the original copy is intact.

That not only complicates the idea of theft, it also makes is obnoxiously hard to detect. If someone steals my TV, I'm going to know about it pretty fast. Why? Because my TV is fucking gone! :(

Real theft is very visible. Although you may not always catch the culprit, but it's easy to know when it happens. And you don't need anything special to know about theft, the missing TV is evidence enough.

But if someone in Herpderpistan shares a copy of my "content" with someone else, I'm probably never going to know about it (let alone do anything about it). My original copy is intact, bit for bit.

But that's not good enough. I don't care about my original copy, I want to ensure nobody else, nobody in the world has a copy, unless I allow them to. But how can I enforce this? How will I know if someone shared a copy of the content I claim to have exclusive copyright on? The copyright crusader inside all of us wants to know about it, in fact, it's our right to know about it!

But the only way I can truly know about it is by invading everyone's personal lives and dealings. Unlike real theft, I need to violate the property rights of others in order to protect my "intellectual property" from this form of "theft". I need to know what you are doing after-all, so I ensure what you are doing isn't "stealing my stuff". I can't know simply by looking at my original copy. It's always there, bit for bit!

So I need to have commandeer some form of control over everyone's physical property (violating their property rights?) to police my so called "intellectual property". In some irony, I need wide-spread fascist-like levels of power to violate people's privacy at a grand scale. It's truly the only way I can be sure they aren't "stealing" my stuff. Strange how that works, doesn't it?

No comments:

Post a Comment