Radical Copyright Reform Only Chance For The Copyright Monopoly To Survive At All

WIPO is concerned at the lack of respect for copyright. At the same time, they dismiss the views of the Pirate Party as “extremist”. I think they do not realize that the copyright monopoly will fall in its entirety if it is not cut back radically, and soon.

There is an obvious dissonance between some parts of society on the topic of the copyright monopoly. This dissonance appears to mainly boil down to the fact that some people regard copyright as a religious axiom that cannot be questioned.

It is obvious that technological progress has come at clashes with the copyright monopoly.

My observation is that lawyers and middlemen react to this by saying that since the law (on the copyright monopoly) is not in sync with technological progress, the technology is broken and must be fixed with the help of the law.

My observation is also that everybody else — in particular creators, authors, and people under 35 — react to this by saying that since the law is not in sync in technological progress, the law is broken and must be fixed with the help of technology.

I will provide two examples of delusions from lawyers and publishers that only exist in their world and nobody else’s:

  • The distinction between “downloading” and “streaming”, which is a distinction that only exists in the books of law and not in reality.
  • Country borders.

Let’s return to WIPO and their concerns (via TechDirt). WIPO is concerned over the alarming rate of non-respect of the copyright monopoly, quotes the Pirate Party’s principles of reducing the monopoly to five years from publication on commercial grounds and no monopoly at all for noncommercial use, and claims it’s an extremist position.

Let me make one thing quite clear: the Pirate Party’s position is a compromise that is the copyright monopoly’s only chance to survive at all. The respect for this monopoly is so low, that unless reduced radically, it will be removed altogether.

Now, some people are usually quick to compare to other laws, like speed limits. I think that’s a useful comparison that forces us to distinguish between respect for a law and support for a law. Everybody’s frequently breaking both, but most people are in support of speed limits. However, support for the copyright monopoly is nonexistent among young citizens (politicians: read “voters”). Respect and support for a law are usually correlated to a strong degree.

This also leads me to a poll of respect for laws in Sweden a few years ago. It was quite noteworthy that respect for the copyright monopoly laws were lower, much lower, than respect for speed limits. Now, this statement is not very useful unless also given a cultural understanding of the respect for speed limits. In the United States, for instance, the respect for speed limits is stratospheric compared to what it’s like in Sweden.

When I had a Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle, I frequently took and enjoyed rides on the highway exceeding 300 km/h. There was nothing abnormal or unusual about that for a motorcycle rider. When fined — once — for speeding, I was disappointed that the fine only stated 183 km/h (but then again, it was an average over a long stretch of road).

This give you an image of the level of the respect for the copyright monopoly, given that it is much, much lower than the respect for speed limits. Unless substatially reduced to “harmless” levels, it will be killed in its entirety.

I do not agree with the Pirate Party’s stance that the commercial monopoly should remain at five years. I couldn’t say this while leading the party, obviously, but as a private opinionwriter I can say with confidence that I believe that no part of the copyright monopoly meets the minimum quality bar for legislation: necessary, effective and proportional.

All four parts of the copyright monopoly are either unnecessary or harmful, in my view.

That doesn’t mean I disagree with all of its intended social mechanisms. I agree that people should have a right to try to make money off of what they create — but that’s just normal contract law. Freelancing writers and photographers will not have a problem if copyright disappears overnight. I agree that creators should justly be associated with their work — but the social sanctions for violating this and plagiarizing are much, much higher than the legal sanctions. If you plagiarize in the academic world, for instance, you are kicked off your job and not welcome back to your whole profession. That makes a €20-to-€600 fine look like a slap on the wrist, and it is therefore superfluous.

The Pirate Party’s stance is a reasonable and pragmatic compromise that solves 99% of the problems by going 95% of the way there, and I see it as a good start that I have chosen to work for and support.

But if the copyright monopoly isn’t reformed to something reduced along those lines, and soon, the next generation of politicians will abolish the copyright monopoly altogether as an irritating remnant from the time of guilds before free entrepreneurship and free market, which it also is.

This will happen sooner rather than later, maybe in as little as ten years given the worldwide irritation over the monopoly, and I’m rather sure the relevant middlemen and lawyers would prefer a five-year commercial monopoly to none at all.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. Piratpartiet Live! (@piratbloggar) (@piratbloggar)

    Falkvinge on Infopolicy: Radical Copyright Reform Only Chance For The Copyright Monopoly To Survive At All… http://tinyurl.com/4lwky2s

  2. NingúnOtro

    “I agree that people should have a right to try to make money off of what they create — but that’s just normal contract law.”

    That is about the only sentence in your article I do NOT agree with 😉 . And only because I find it misleading to bring money (another archaic and irritant remnant of the time of guilds) into the equation.

    People have a right to be able to survive for a day more out of whatever creative or otherwise useful for the community they do during that day. With the exception that it is the whole communities collective duty to provide the possibility of initial education on fair grounds and care for a dignified exit for everyone.

    If you want to talk about money then, in analogy to the copyright mess we are in (and you know about)… consider the worldwide financial mess we are in.

    I guess we aren’t too happy about the actual money monopoly either, and we will abolish it the same way we’ll do with copyright.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      I think the key word is “try”. They have a right to try making money off of that just like off everything else.

      There is no right to make money off of something automatically.

      1. NingúnOtro

        I am not disagreeing because I have misinterpreted and taken a conditional right for an absolute one… either way, it is the fact of money (or any stackable equivalent) being involved that I wish to state only beneficial to the interest of some vested powers. Holding on to money serves the same purpose as holding on to copyrights… establishing a right to hoard assets far beyond the personal needs to assure survival.

  3. Simon Frew (@AKFRU)

    RT @Falkvinge: If the #copyright monopoly isn’t radically reduced soon , the next generation will kill it altogether: http://bit.ly/hbtatm #infopolicy

  4. Oldtimer

    I totally agree that the only sensible solution is to simply kill of copyright completely. It’s about as useful in the modern information society as a geocentric model of the world. Or even less.

    The compromise suggested by the Pirate Party of Sweden is just silly. Much better to work to abolish copyright entirely.

    1. NingúnOtro

      As long as we do not invent the “Godsent” switch to turn hell instantly into paradise for all… we need to work with intermediate steps that can evolve without making any particular intermediate point unbearable.

      I guess settling temporarily with less than total abolition is one of such steps.

      Please consider also other peoples viewpoints… your actual “information society nirvana” is far from universal.

  5. Wayne Borean (@_the_mad_hatter)

    @techlawcalgary This may help you understand the situation re #copyright and #technology http://twurl.nl/7e2fuv

  6. Thomas

    Just to put things straight, there is a distinct technical difference between downloading and streaming. When downloading, you store the content on your local device, and consume it after that you have downloaded the entire content, Think TPB.
    When streaming, you consume the content straight from the source, without storing it locally, YouTube for example or TV/radio.
    Its a huge difference both from a technical and from a business perspective.
    But perhaps I misunderstood the context?

    Just a quick question, since we don’t care about traffic regulations, should we abolish those laws as well? Especially since there are also major issues with the personal integrity with traffic controls? Speed cameras for example.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      Just to put things straight, there is a distinct technical difference between downloading and streaming.

      Really? If I open a YouTube clip, bits start flowing to my computer (or whatever device) immediately, in anticipation of me watching it later. They are therefore stored locally. The movie does not start until I press Play.

      But maybe I’m not pressing the Play button right away. Maybe I’m letting the entire clip come to my computer and I’m still not pressing the Play button. Heck, maybe I’m letting that web page sit for seven days and I still haven’t pressed the Play button. Also, during all that time, the file is on my computer in a folder somewhere and I can copy it to other folders.

      At exactly what point would I need to press “play” for this to qualify as streaming versus downloading? How long would I be allowed to wait to make it one or the other?

      Also, the streaming vs. downloading debate is portrayed as something that the sender can control, which is perhaps my strongest point. But since the receiver is a general purpose computer of all imaginable devices, there is no distinction of streaming vs. downloading at the transmitting end in any situation.

      1. Björn Persson

        There are certainly technical differences between protocols suitable for downloading and protocols suitable for streaming. Some protocols are designed to transfer a file with a start, an end and a defined size. Other protocols are designed for a continuous data stream that may potentially continue for days or years. Some protocols prioritize verbatim copying and will retransmit any lost data even if it causes delays. Other protocols prioritize low latency and will accept a temporary degradation caused by lost data. Some protocols transfer a file sequentially from the start to the end, and can thus be usable for streaming even though they weren’t designed for it. Other protocols transfer small pieces of a file in a random order so that the file may not be useful at all until the last piece has arrived.

        None of these differences are legally relevant though. Politicians and lawyers shouldn’t be distinguishing between downloading and streaming, because the technical differences are completely irrelevant to their field of activities. As Rick is discussing politics and not communication protocols, he is sort of right when he says that there is no difference, but i think it might be better to say that the difference is irrelevant.

    2. Peter Andersson

      Yes, you misunderstood the context. Anything that can be streamed can be copied, hence anything that can be streamed can be downloaded. It might not be done from within the streaming program, it might need a second program or second technology to copy a stream (think video camera filming your computer screen for a technial inferior solution) but anything, absolutely anything, that can be streamed can be copied, and quiet easy at that…

    3. Björn Persson

      “Just a quick question, since we don’t care about traffic regulations, should we abolish those laws as well?”

      Breaking traffic regulations kills people. Not every time but the risk is very real. Copying information has never killed anyone as far as I know.

  7. Tor

    “I do not agree with the Pirate Party’s stance that the commercial monopoly should remain at five years. I couldn’t say this while leading the party, obviously, but as a private opinionwriter I can say with confidence that I believe that no part of the copyright monopoly meets the minimum quality bar for legislation: necessary, effective and proportional.”

    I don’t think it was ever a secret that this is your personal opinion since the Pirate Party was founded around these ideas.

    Anyway, could you elaborate on what particular problems you see with a short commercial monopoloy? To me it seems like a good idea since there seems to be so few disadvantages with it. Specifically it doesn’t seem hurt the right to privacy in the same way that the other parts of copyright risk doing and it has much less impact on people’s ability to express themselves and build on the works of others.

  8. Putte

    Totally agree, but the rampant level of corruption in most western democracies makes it possible that the lobby can continue to bribe or blackmail the politicians for a very long time. Just look at subsides for the farmers. Everyone agrees that they are a luncay, but it seems impossible to stop the practice. /Pessimist today

  9. Bernhard Danzer (@jan_bernadyn)

    RT @glynmoody Radical Copyright Reform Only Chance For The #Copyright #Monopoly To Survive At All – http://bit.ly/dMB2SO let’s not be ti …

  10. Diogo Moreira (@DiogoCMoreira)

    RT @remixtures: Radical Copyright Reform Only Chance For The Copyright Monopoly To Survive At All – Rick Falkvinge on Infopolicy http://ff.im/-zpAaQ

  11. submarine (@SinkDeep)

    RT @glynmoody: Radical Copyright Reform Only Chance For The #Copyright #Monopoly To Survive At All – http://bit.ly/dMB2SO let’s not be timid: abolition

  12. richardpitt (@richardpitt)

    http://goo.gl/Zr0nw Copyright (and patent) is broken. Should it be made to fit technology? Or should technology be made to fit copyright?

  13. Thomas

    To me, language is important.
    Streaming and downloading are two very different words with very different meanings. To make things even more complicated there are other similar, but still very different concepts,
    World of Warcraft for example, I argue its neither downloading nor streaming, but simply on-line gaming – which is different.
    Or using an application in a “cloud” environment, once again different. Although you can download the result to your local device.

    Since the world of computers and internet is pretty new from a language perspective, I find it even more important not to make the language fuzzy.
    We happily use different words for our basic activities, although they are similar. For example, walking, jogging, running and jumping – four words describing a similar activity. In Swedish we even have a fifth word”löpning”.

    Also, please mr Falkvinge, I am curious about your view on traffic regulations.
    We don’t respect them, they are crimes without victims and there are creating problems for the personal integrity.
    Can you please elaborate on your thoughts?

    1. Per "Wertigon" Ekström

      Technical definition of Downloading:

      To instruct a comupter how to build a file so that it may reconstruct the file on its own harddrive.

      Technical definition of Streaming:

      To instruct a computer how to build a file so that it may reconstruct the file for playing.

      The only difference is the target destination. While in the latter example the file doesn’t have to touch the harddrive at all (it’s entirerly possible all of the file is stored in RAM for instance), most players place it there today for performance reasons.

      However, from the transmitting end there is no difference. You say “Here, this is how the file looks” in both cases. You can say “And please only use it for streaming”, but you don’t *know* it will be used for that. The same way a person selling kitchen knives can’t be sure they’ll be used for cooking and not murder. And any attempt to control it will end up badly, atleast as long as there are competition around…

      1. Thomas

        My point is that streaming and downloading are two different activities. The purpose of downloading is to store any file on your device. The purpose of streaming is to consume in in real time. Also, streaming is focused on video and music – but you can download any file. There is no point to stream sw application.

        So, lets use the correct words. Just like we use running and jogging in different contexts and meanings.

      2. Scary Devil Monastery

        Language is indeed important, which is why the words “streaming” and “downloading” are unfortunately used very wrongly. First off, they are only really distinctive from Björn Persson’s view above – in a technical sense.

        For anyone else, Think of streaming as watching a movie on a TV with a built-in tape recorder which receives the sent transmission, plays it back for your amusement as soon as you press “play” and (usually) deletes the tape.
        Except a computer isn’t a TV. The only one who can allow the computer to delete the tape after showing it once is you.

        So any streamed broadcast is de facto downloaded and it’s a matter of a short command to the computer to instruct it to save the streamed material in it’s entirety. Something you can’t change unless you remove the control the user has over his own computer.

        World of warcraft or other online games (to use a fairly accurate example) do use streaming protocols – from both directions. The game server tells your computer about the environmental changes in the game and your computer responds by streaming the changes requested by your avatar or “toon”. Whereas the game updates are most definitely “downloaded” and installed.

        What you must realize is the context – the words “streaming” and “downloading” both mean the unidirectional transfer of information. The only real control over said information from the serverside is the ability to deny or allow the initial download. Nothing else. The difference between the two words are purely semantic in any context except for the purely technical. To distinguish between the two legally is like differentiating between someone carrying a green umbrella or a red one, in a land where most of the people are colour blind. It completely lacks all relevance.

    2. Björn Persson

      All the people who get killed, maimed or paralysed in the traffic every year aren’t victims? How did you arrive at that conclusion?

      1. Thomas

        When mr Falkvinge was caught speeding on his Hayabusa, was there a victim?
        Was anyone killed or injured?
        Did his violation of the traffic regulations at that time cause any accident?

        So – where is the victim?

    3. anonish

      Lack of traffic regulations kills people, not definitely every time, but on average every year. Have you ever heard of “citizen killed in copyright infringement accident”. I bet not 😉

      1. Thomas

        Millions of people are killed every year by using fake medicine.
        I would claim that they are killed by “coyright infringements”.

      2. Björn Persson

        Fake medicines have nothing whatsoever to do with copyright.

        Selling pills that you claim are medicine when they actually contain ineffective or even harmful substances is fraud and quackery. Neither fraud nor quackery is copyright infringement.

        Using someone else’s name to promote fake medicines is trademark infringement, but:

        1: Trademark infringement is trademark infringement regardless of whether the pills are effective, ineffective or poisonous. Even if your pills are just as effective and safe as anyone else’s pills, putting someone else’s logotype on them is still trademark infringement. Trademark infringement does not kill, it’s the quackery that kills.

        2: Trademark infringement is not copyright infringement. Trademark law and copyright law are two of the legal fields that are frequently labeled “intellectual property” by lobbyists who want to confuse you. None the less they are separate. Different laws, different crimes.

        Therefore, selling fake medicines is not copyright infringement, and can not be used as an example of copyright infringement killing people.

      3. Scary Devil Monastery

        Millions of people are killed every year by using fake medicine.
        I would claim that they are killed by “coyright infringements”.

        Before Pfizer and Merck decided to turn the screws on Cuba supplying generic vaccines to the third world several hundred thousand children lived every year which would otherwise have died.

        Since cheap vaccines are no longer available for the huddled masses in India, South America and Africa, copyright has thus slaughtered more people than the last century of war (excepting post-war pogroms and the actual holocaust).

        This the sort of comparison you want? Oh, and by the by, “millions of people” are NOT killed by using false medicines. Try a few hundred or possibly a few thousand, and that’s counting shoddy online-bought designer drugs and rat poison sold as cocaine.

        That aside, i personally would be one of those who do NOT agree with the idea that travelling at 180+ km/hour is responsible at all outside of a racetrack and will have to remember to sternly censure Rick about it if i see him.

        The main reason i can think of that i respect speeding laws is because a driver travelling at too high speeds (140+, say) actually jeopardizes my personal safety, life and limb. As well as that of whatever passengers i’m carrying. Not in an abstract sense but in the sense of a personal and acute threat caused by two tons of metal and passengers travelling at erratic speeds.

        The fact that roughly 90-95% of all drivers travel at 5-15 km/h above ordinary speed limits on the highway or on ordinary roads is something i generally accept as fact however, although i dislike that behaviour as well.

        Filesharing can’t compare to that, just like trespassing cannot compare to vandalism. Imho the comparison lacks key aspects of relevance.

  14. jeffer

    March 13, 2011 – 09:19

    People die of fake medicins because they are not perfect copies. Perfect copies never kills if the orginal does not..

  15. Oscar

    Let’s not forget that intent is relevant to moral.

    However, laws that are impossible to enforce make intent irrelevant.

  16. Thomas

    Please let me rephrase the reply to Anonish:
    Millions of people are killed every year – victims of drug piracy and counterfeit medicine.

    By the way, I am still looking for the victim of mr Falkvinges speeding incident? Any ideas? Perhaps his speeding caused an accident at another place, another time? Or is that just in Harry Potter that happens?
    Perhaps we can agree on that its a crime without a victim?

    1. Björn Persson

      Counterfeit medicines do not hurt people every time with absolute certainty. Therefore, by your logic, selling counterfeit medicines is a crime without a victim.

      Either that, or speeding is a crime WITH victims.

    2. Tomas Kronvall

      You have to look at this through the lens of probability theory.

      In general, speeding vehicules are involved in more accidents, all other things being equal. That is, speeding increases the risk of accident, both for yourself and the rest of the road users. No matter if there were an actual accident or no, you have no right to expose other road users to the increased risk your speeding constitutes.

      It’s kind of related to the concept of criminal negligence.

      Also, in general, people agree with this, even if they do break the speed limits regularly themselves. They agree that the purpose of speed limits is to shape traffic, and if they do get caught speeding, they put the blame on themselves rather than on the law. This is what is meant by having /support/ for the law, if not /respect/.

  17. Thomas

    Selling counterfeit medicine is always a crime with a victim. Since the buyer pays for a specific product that he or she does not get.

    1. Oscar

      How about our right to safety?

      We have agreed on speed limits to keep casualties down.

      We have to draw a line somewhere. Otherwise you could shoot someone in the head and say they MIGHT survive. While I’d say shooting someone in the head is attempted murder.

      Perhaps this discussion is only concerned with language? If so I think we can all agree that there are crimes that lack direct, apparent, victims. Again, CRIMES. Crimes that should be punished.

    2. NingúnOtro

      Sure, there is always a victim. Big Pharma bosses sacked for not reaching excellence in profit margin buildup are pityworthy victims 😉 .

      “counterfeit” medicine as in aspirin not being acetylsalicylic acid should be a criminal ofence, right.

      “counterfeit” medicine as in acetylsalicylic acid not being sold with a BAYER tm on it and a 5$ price tag to people that earn less than 1$ a day…

      … of course there is also some things not being acetylsalicylic acid and not having a BAYER tm being sold as aspirin with a 5$ price tag.

      Lacking perspective and compassion should always be a crime. Not getting what you pay for is stupidity, not somebody elses crime.

  18. Tomas Kronvall

    On the cognitive clash between Law and Technology, I have to point everyone to these essays by Canadian computer science PhD Matthew Skala:

    What Colour are your bits?

    Colour, social beings, and undecidability

    1. Thomas

      The right to safety?
      I dont know the details of mr Falkvinge’s speeding – but for the sake of the argument, lets assume that he was all alone, a nice, sunny morning on a wide and straight highway. Not meeting anyone….
      Who’s safety did he violate?

      We can have a nice chat about it, but I am actually curious in mr Falkvinge’s reply.

      1. Rick Falkvinge

        I’m not quite sure this reply was to the right post — but I’ll still reply to it in turn.

        It’s noteworthy on the safety aspect that the Police did NOT charge me with reckless driving, as I had observed every single traffic rule except the speed limits. Whenever I approached other vehicles, I had slowed down, overtaken per all rules and custom, and then sped back up.

        So I think the judgment of the Police in this case bears the stronger witness.

      2. Tomas Kronvall

        It’s not JUST about that, either – speeding affects the behaviour of your fellow drivers. Being overtaken can impart a slight frustration, enticing you to increase your own speed above the level you intended from the start.

        And moving faster means your reaction opportunities decrease, in the event of unforeseen circumstances., The speed limits are set with the specific stretch of road in mind, in general, after all – taking into consideration the likelihood of such unforeseen events, the makeup and condition of the road surface, auxillary safety measures (middle-of-the-road wire dividers and the like), et cetera.

        Speeding is hubris – deciding that you are a better driver than average (which not uncommonly isn’t true, especially in the case of young male drivers who’ve just gotten their driver’s license), so the safety margins decided by salaried experts at the traffic authorities (Trafikverket in Sweden) obviously don’t apply to you.

        Further, the attitude that speeding is a victimless crime will be applied in situations where it shouldn’t, where there actually are possible victims. It’s easier to reason from principles than utility, so if you form the principle “speeding isn’t a big deal” (based on the utility that yes, in many situations, no-one is there to get hurt by it), it’s all to easy to apply the ready-formed principle in your mind in situations where you don’t have time to reason from utility, and where speeding turns out to actually be a big deal.

        But ultimately, this debate is beside the point. 😛 What was the point is, there are studies (a Swedish project called Cybernormer) that show that speeding and file sharing have comparable occurrence, but that the speeders acknowledge that the rules they’re breaking are there for a reason, while the file sharers don’t. In short.

        Also, yes – you replied to the wrong post, by right poster. Doesn’t matter.

      3. NingúnOtro


        could you please grant me a copyright license to your comment? CC-BY-NC-SA is fine, but not No Derivatives.

        I think I could probably not write down better what I think than when directly substituting in your text “speeding” by “thinking” and “driver” by “thinker”.

        I am one fellow that thinks that laws are simple guidelines for those that are not able to think by themselves not to engage in potentially dangerous things. They accept suboptimal settings for Mr. Dummy safeties sake. Take traffic lights as an example…

        … on a road with some busy peak moments, stupid traffic lights are programmed to best meet demand at those moments, behaving suboptimal at other moments, because safety at those moments is a prime concern. So, not to affect too much wheeled traffic, green “Walk” lights for pedestrians are short-lived and spaced far apart. They may be spaced apart by five minutes…

        Are you one of these that will wait 5 minutes to cross the road, even if simple common sense and observation shows you that it is mathematically impossible that it takes any visible vehicle in both directions less time to get to where you are than it takes you to safely arrive at the other side of the road (including a personal safety margin AND the possible irrational behavior of a mad driver that might speed up just to try to get you under his car anyway, OR the panic reaction of any unexperienced driver that is unable to withhold reacting to the perceived possibility that you might have been too reckless and he needs to maneuver to increase the safety margin to match his own analysis of the given situation?

        You may apply this example to the substituted concept of thinking and thinker as well.

      4. Scary Devil Monastery

        Still, at 180+ km/h i would say with some confidence that even with a wide road, clear sight, and so on et ad nauseam your braking distance would still be four times as large as if you were travelling at 90 km/h, thus leaving you no chance at all to react if something were to happen anywhere within your field of vision.

        Honestly, I’ve been a dedicated pirate for a long time, but you’ll have to pardon that the idea of sharing a road with you now sends shivers down my spine. Be told. 🙂

  19. Thomas

    It seems that we have two opinions on traffic regulations?
    On one hand, yes, lets follow the law for the common good.
    And on the other hand, lets use our own ability to make good decisions.

    I will not do any further analysis on this, although tempting 🙂

    1. Scary Devil Monastery

      It makes perfect sense as long as you nuance your views. Driving ten km/hour above the speed limit on a 90 km/h stretch of road is probably seen by just about everyone as perfectly OK.

      Driving at 110 km/h through a well-populated neighbourhood on a road where 50 km/hour is the max is probably seen by just about everyone as most definitely NOT ok.

      Same as people jostling one another on a train is annoying but OK whereas making room on the train by swinging a fist is not. Despite the fact that both scenarios involve unsolicited physical contact.

      It’s really a case of black and white – one small difference in force will turn one phenomenon into a completely different one based on the likely outcome of the action. That’s why there is no real discernible difference between streaming and downloading, for example, whereas a man going at 200 km/hour on most roads has de facto relinquished all control over his vehicle should an unforeseen circumstance occur. Any case of “whoops” in such a case will result in the almost guaranteed death of all parties involved.

    2. Magnus

      Yes, it is about taking responsibility. Remeber that “But i was just following rules/orders” is the classic method of trying to weasel out of responsibility.

      Obeying rules is just about obeying, mindless like a robot, apparatnik. The way some one _disobey_ have on the other hand everything to do with responsibility, or how some one handle a situation where there are no rules.

      A scenario. I am driving my big rig truck to a constructiuon site in the city, but i discover that i cannot get there the supposed route, my rig is to big. But i can get there taking a one way street in the wrong direction.

      *If i just go wrong way, without any warning what so ever, then i am taking a chance. An action that i might have to take a heavy responsibility over if something goes badly wrong.

      *If i do nothing at all, become apathic, just stop my rig in the middle of traffic because the street i was supposed to take was to small then i am hardly acting with responsibility.

      *If i call the the police and ask for permission, then i am asking _them_ to take responibility for my action.

      *But if i tell my follow car to warn and stop traffic on the one one way street, then go that way, then I have taken responsibility in a responsible way. Though some one could accuse me of braking the law, true, but it was I who took responibility, i did not try to weasel out of it and i did not put any people in danger.

      Traffic rules is about safety, and every rule can be broken in the name of safety since the safety is always more important than the rules. If i can avoid an accident by breaking a rule, it is OK to break the rule, that is the responsible thing to do. For a person who know what he is doing, traffic safety is always put in the first room, laws and rules in the second. But among people not taking responsibility and not know what they are doing, laws and rules may be put in the first room, they sacrifice safety in the name of the rules, usually to weasel out of responsibility.

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