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It’s Not “Getting” Or “Downloading” A Copy. It’s “Making” Or “Manufacturing” One.

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Infopolicy

Infopolicy

In the political fight for civil liberties and sharing culture, language is everything – which can be observed by the copyright industry’s consistent attempts at name-calling, hoping the bad names will stick legally. Therefore, all our using precise language is paramount for our own future liberties.

When people are saying “I downloaded a copy of Avengers“, that use of language erodes their liberties just a little bit further. It is wrong, as in technically and factually wrong. Looking at the use of “downloading a copy” or “getting a copy” and how this is incorrect, we need to examine why it is important to use other words.

For that’s not what happens. “Getting” or “downloading” doesn’t describe the process. No copy pops onto the wires, travels through the net, and sets itself on the hard drive on the person’s system. This is the copyright industry model of reality, their fake model, which they use to push for harsher laws and erosion of liberty. This is how they equate “stealing a copy of the Avengers” with “stealing a gallon of milk”. That the object is somehow stolen through the internet. That’s not what happens.

What really happens is that you have instructed your system to listen to a complex series of protocol packets, and using them as instructions, you manufacture a copy at your end. You are making a copy using your own resources and property, by listening to instructions online. If nobody listened to these instructions at the time, no copy would get manufactured. The copy isn’t downloaded, it is manufactured. This technical distinction is crucial for three reasons of net liberty.

The first reason is language. Compare the following four sentences:

  • “He downloaded a copy of Avengers for free.”
  • “He got a copy of Avengers without paying for it.”
  • “He manufactured a copy of Avengers for free.”
  • “He made a copy of Avengers without paying for it.”

It quickly becomes obvious that the first two are reinforcing the copyright industry’s “stealing” moniker, with a clear tone of dishonesty, whereas the second two just don’t work in that aspect – if anything, they have a “yeah, so?” tone to it. Using making and manufacturing makes it clear that you are not expected to pay money in the process, whereas “getting” implies the opposite. Therefore, it is important to use the technically correct making or manufacturing.

The second reason is that it reinforces that the copyright monopoly is indeed a monopoly, and not property. When we say,

He manufactured a copy of Avengers without paying

it becomes very clear that manufacturing a copy is something fairly normal, but that somebody is expecting protection money for us doing so. That is miles and leagues from the copyright industry’s idea that all copies are somehow their property, where things are somehow “stolen” through the net.

The third reason is that proper use of language reinforces that the copyright monopoly is a limitation of property rights, rather than being the magical subset of property that the copyright industry would like. When we say

He manufactured a copy of Avengers

it becomes obvious that this was made from the person’s own raw materials using their own time, and if a law says that this cannot be done, then that law is interfering with how we can use our own property – so it illustrates how the copyright monopoly is a limitation of property rights.

It’s not “getting” or “downloading” a copy. It’s making or manufacturing one.

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About The Author: Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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89

  1. 1
    Ann Onymous

    Sorry Rick but I disagree with you on that one.

    While it’s true that using the language you describe would likely put things into a better perspective, I think that the “copyright industry’s terms” are closer to the reality. Are you downloading something? Yes. Are you manufacturing something, ie are you creating all on your own from raw parts? No, you’re not, because you are getting the materials from others. Are you making a copy? Yes, that’s more accurate, though the word “make” here tends to imply some sort of action from the user, which there isn’t much, other than the act of starting the… download.

    I think the solution here is not to change the phrasing. I think the solution is to re-examine our own assumptions about being expected to pay for things. When you say:
    “Using making and manufacturing makes it clear that you are not expected to pay money in the process, whereas ‘getting’ implies the opposite.”
    No, no it doesn’t, unless you give it this implication yourself.

    I understand that other, less forward-thinking politicians may be stuck thinking that “getting” implies paying, but that doesn’t mean you have to (or should have to) adjust your language for their sake. Maybe it would be more effective, but if you use terms like “manufacturing a copy”, then I think you’ll be the one regarded as playing with words, rather than them.

    • 1.1
      anon

      moron, do you even understand how computer storage works?

      its more akin to somebody showing you an abject, and with your own materials replicating it exactly

      • 1.1.1
        anon

        Exactly, replicating it down to the very last detail, using completely descriptive plans.

        It’d be like having plans that describe a pair of dice at the subatomic level, and having a machine that can assemble them out of a soup of raw materials. You may be using the plans without permission, but you are in no way stealing the dice themselves.

        • Anonymous

          There’s still the issue of Intellectual Property – if the Avengers wasn’t made by the studio that produced it, would you be able to create it? Regardless of the process by which the information already online is acquired, the process of writing the story and filming and producing the movie costs millions of dollars. That’s the reason why you’re expected to pay for downloading digital songs, downloading e-books, anything digital.

          It doesn’t cost $50 to make the disc for a video game and $30 for a movie. You’re paying for the cost the studio put into making the movie/video game/whatever it is you’re buying.

  2. 2
    Anonymous

    Language is power!

  3. 3
    Anonymous

    As an interesting side note, in the U.K when someone is prosecuted for downloading child pornography, the actual charge is “making indecent images of children” (regardless of whether or not they had anything to do with taking the images)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_pornography_laws_in_the_United_Kingdom

    Maybe this legal precedent could be used against the copyright monopolies somehow?

    • 3.1
      harveyed

      That legislation is BATSHIT INSANE. So if I saw a child getting abused and took a photo of evidence using my mobile phone and showed it to the police, then I would be the bad guy? Not the guy abusing the child??

      Seriously this only protects the pedophiles. They have succeeded in portraying the witnesses as the criminals and our politicians swallow the bait thoroughly.

    • 3.2
      harveyed

      That is insane: Effectively putting shame on the witnesses and criminalizing evidence.

      EXACTLY what the pedophiles would like in order to get away with what they are doing…

  4. 4
    hobson

    Great post.

    I think one problem you might face is that when you talk about people manufacturing a a movie using their own raw materials and their own time is that it kind of reminds people that other people also used their own materials and their own time too – cameramen, actors, sound engineers and so on. It feels like the person doing the manufacturing on their PC isn’t the only person who’s given up their time and equipment to make that copy of the Avengers.

    • 4.1
      passstab

      there were a lot of people who made the original Avengers film but the person doing the manufacturing on their PC is the only person who’s given up his time and equipment to make THAT COPY of the Avengers

      • 4.1.1
        Anonymous

        that is selfish BS. One thinks this way when they dont want to give up something they know they have no right to. The cost of a brand new DVD may be to high, there may be people in Hollywood who make more than they need to, but there is a clear problem with “Manufacturing Your own Copy”. To manufacture anything, be it car parts, Dvds or whatever, YOU have to OWN what you put out. If you don’t, you would rightfully pay for the rights to do so. Why, because it doesn’t belong to you. You didn’t take the time or cost of developing BLANK product. ALSO, when you pirate you basically are saying “I dont think they deserve my $ for this”, But want it. You want it because it has value, you don’t want to pay because you are cheap, poor, or full of it. Why do you suddenly think a movie (some might call art) would suddenly belong to you free, like some right. Make Your Own Damn Movie if you want to own it without paying. And sit at home watching that crap. The ignorance of the MPAA and some of its ridiculous actions does not excuse you from acting just as irresponsibly. There is a in between but the the extremes on both side dont want to talk that way because then a fair resolution would come about rather than the one sided options the fight for.

        • Anyone

          but I DO own everything (or at least pay for it) required to make the copy

          I own my computer, I own the harddisks in it (and I even paid a levy on them), I pay for my internet connection
          the bittorrent program is provided for free

          with all this paid for I create my own copy of Avengers

        • Scary Devil Monastery

          By that exact same reasoning, I shouldn’t have the RIGHT to create a working copy of a lawn chair or a batch of cookies identical to the ones sold at Wal-mart either.

          What you are in essence saying is that ownership of any REAL physical item or material has to be abolished so someone can own the form it can take.

          I call bull.

          If any of what you said was true, Open Source would not exist at all, let alone be a thriving industry.

          And bottled water companies would have gone broke when the soda streamer was introduced. None of that has happened and it’s not how a market works. The real world doesn’t look like that.

          There is only one sensible solution and that is to pitch the extreme – copyright protection for noncommercial use – completely overboard, restrict the limit on commercial use severely, and do a similar revisioning on the other aspects of what is misleadingly called “Intellectual Property”.

          And that is not the “extreme” end. It’s the only sensible and rational solution. You see, logically and practically, there is no middle ground here. Copyright is completely incompatible with free speech and communication.

      • 4.1.2
        hobson

        They don’t only use their time and equipment. They also use the source material. The thing that they are copying (the fact that an original exists is implicit in the use of the word “copy”).

        If you copy a film and show me your copy, I’m immediately going to notice that the characters in the film don’t look like you. Somebody else clearly made a contribution. When it says “directed by Joss Whedon” I’m probably going to be aware that your name is not Joss Whedon.

        The idea that the person doing the manufacturing on their PC is the only person who’s given up his time and equipment to make THAT COPY of the Avengers is demonstrably untrue. The people who wrote the music and did the lighting and acted in the film and directed it and wrote the script have contributed to EVERY COPY of the Avengers.

        • Anyone

          so if I make a desk that happens to look exactly the same as one you could buy at IKEA with my own materials I suddenly owe IKEA something?

          or if I make my own pizza with my own materials am I now required to pay Pizzahut because they lost a “potential sale”?

          the only people involved in making a copy is me and the people providing me with the “blueprint” for that copy, which they do for free
          so why should I be required to pay unrelated third parties?

        • raymond

          That is sophistry. They contributed to making the movie. Period. End of story. They did not contribute to making any subsequent copy, unless they are the ones making the copy. Otherwise, their “contribution” is dependent not on any activity they are actually doing, but rather depends entirely on activity that others might do or not do. If I DON’T make a copy then that somehow means they are “contributing” less than if I DO make a copy.

          They aren’t contributing less. At that stage, their contribution is already done and over. It doesn’t increase or decrease based on my activity.

      • 4.1.3
        Anonymous

        Yes, but THAT COPY of the Avengers still contains the WORK that other people spent countless effort and money putting into.

        While its clear that Copyright laws today are unquestionably too restrictive, there should still be some type of copyright law, and pirating a movie is still pirating a movie, whether or not you are creating your own copy or stealing a DVD at the store. Either way, you deprive the creators of the work from some source of income.

        • anonymous

          So what? To make The Avengers, they also took advantage of the work of those that came before them. Without the equipment and techniques to make movies that other people spent countless effort and money to develop , the movie would have been impossible.

          With your reasoning, we should pay everyone who ever contributed anything towards what we made since the beginning of times and no one could ever be creator of something since they made use of somebody else’s hard work.

          By making my own copy, I’m not depriving the authors of any income because they can’t lose money that they don’t have. If I bought another movie or spent the money elsewhere I guess that according to you I’d also be depriving the authors of their source of income.

          The fact still remains: when I make a copy of The Avengers, I make it with my own time and resources. The computer, the movie DVD and the blank DVD all belong to me. Why should the burned copy not be mine? If matter duplicators existed and I duplicated an IKEA chair that I own, the new chair would be mine and IKEA would have no legal right to it. And it would also be the same if I made it by manually with my own tools, materials and skills.

    • 4.2
      raymond

      The cameraman, actors, sound engineers have not given up any time or equipment to make the copy in question. Their contribution in time and energy is the same whether that copy is made or not. The only person doing anything to produce that copy is the person making it. If that person never made the copy, did the cameraman, actors, sound engineers, give up less of their time and equipment? No. Therefore, they could not have given up any time or equipment to make that copy.

  5. 5
    LP

    I see another potential issue in adopting that kind of language. Under laws as they currently stand, there are far harsher penalties for people who actually produce “pirated copies” for distribution than there are for those simply downloading. Adopting the language of production for downloading could be counter-productive, simply giving more ammunition to copyright holders for their indiscriminate suing of downloaders.

    • 5.1
      Steve B

      Oh, yes. You are perfactly right. Let’s hope nobody notices.

      Sadly, there is more to language than semantics. I will reply directly to Rick Falkvinge to make myself clear.

  6. 6
    Steve B.

    Mr. Falkvinge, while I sympathise with your argument, I have some serious doubts about its applicability under current discourse. Yes, the key word is “discourse”.

    Sadly, the way people decode messages depends not merely on the isolated meaning assigned to the words used in it, but on the prevailing way of decoding it. If the prevailing way of understanding “downloading” is “piracy”, a simple change of laguage from a MINORITY participant in the discourse will not change the understanding of the message. On the contrary, it is more likely that it will only provide the opposing party with more words to abuse.

    The only way is finding a new discourse, a new logic, some new grounds to present the argument on. For example, your line of argument following legalisation of child pornography was spot on – old words, new meanings. I am afraid that This line, which is about mere semantics at this point, is not the way.

    To make it simple: a minority does not decide the meaning of words in any given context. Using “manufacture” rather than “get” will, in the current discourse, not shift the meaning nor the discourse. It will only serve to give one more word a “negative”, “pirating” connotation.

    Obviously, I make this argument based on the concept of discourse conceived by J. Derrida. It is really nothing new.

    • 6.1

      You’re absolutely right, of course.

      I don’t expect an article here to change one billion file-sharers’ use of language. However, I do know that the people who are active in the net liberty debate tend to visit here from time to time.

      This post was intended to give them a silver bullet the next time somebody says “downloading a copy is stealing”, by reminding them of the response “people are not downloading the copy, they are manufacturing it from their own materials”.

      All put in words depending on person and context, of course.

      Cheers,
      Rick

    • 6.2
      Convoluted Clearity

      Derrida was a hack :P seriously I cant’ see how it will hurt. Those who insist on the old paradigm will most likely react as you suggest, but for many the stealing analogy is starting to sound hollow already. This is a good attempt to take some of the language framing back and making it more accurate in the process. It might give some groups more ammunition as you say, but it also frames it in a different way challenging the ideas and thoughts around the subject. Some of those “in the middle” might be swayed. And from studies of emergent behavior you do not need the majority to make a large change, only 5-10% of the group is needed for radical value readjustments to take place. I for one applaud the effort.

  7. 7

    A problem with the current file sharing protocols is that they actually make the copy at the source. The copy is a recognizable copy of a tiny slice of the original work. Under current copyright law the tiny slice is still under copyright.
    This is a situation that can be worked around. If you extract and transmit parts of the original file in packets where a single packet can not be regognized as part of a particular work your reasoning that you are building a copy would be valid.
    You could accomplish this in several ways. One would be to slice a bittorrent stream both horizontally and vertically. The lowest bit of every byte in the original file can’t be construed as being from a particular work, if seen by themselves. The same applies to each of the bits in the byte. You need all the other bits to reconstruct the file and at least the top 6 or 7 bits to construct something that would be recognizable as the original work.
    With some cryptographic tricks you could make each packet in the transfer into gibberish unless you have every single package at the receiving end. Then you can really speak of contstructing a copy.

    • 7.1

      While this is true from a technical standpoint, it’s not how the law is written.

      In the copyright monopoly law, a copy starts to exist when it is fixated. To use an analogy, I don’t produce a copy when reading a poem aloud to you, but you can produce one when listening to me and writing down the words I speak.

      The spoken, transient words don’t constitute an independent copy in the sense of the (admittedly industrial-age) law.

      Cheers,
      Rick

  8. 8
    steelneck

    You are making it a bit too simple. When i visit this blog, i am not the one making a copy. It takes two to tango, you know, like Akice and Bob. What i do is that i click on link, which is the same as i instruct my computer to ask _your_ computer for a copy of the files that make up your blog. Your computer is making the copy and sends the copies to me, you are _giving_ me a copy of your files, files that my computer interpret and, hopefully, put together as _you_ intended to.

    That process, on your computer, is something you are boss over, not me. You control your computer. Though you have allowed me to initiate that process on your computer, but it is still your computer that makes the copies.

    So, if i visit Youtube or some industry sponsored film site and whatch, i have requested a copy and if i can see it, their computer has given me a copy on my request. This is where it gets downright silly if they do not want me to save the copy they gave to me. What they are asking for is to make it illegal to not throw away. The only time i have ever come across info that was given to me and was illegal to save, was about military orders. And i think that anyone do agree that it is silly to even suggest that globally published entartainment has to be treated like military secrets.

    Though i do agree that language is important. A much better word for downloading would be “record”. Even my 90 year old grandparents understands what is going on if i say that i have recorded something from youtube that is a place on the internet with film and video. They recognise this as something they have done the last 30 years, to record on VHS or something from radio on casette tapes. Young people do also understand what i mean if i say that i have recorded something from the net, but they regard my choise of word as a bit odd, but they do understand, perfectly. The nice part is that both these vastly different generations recognise that this act is something fully legal, just like recording TV on VHS or taping something from radio, since i have not commited any data intrusion, what i recorded was _given_ to me.

    If your computer refuse to give me a copy, then there is nothing for me to either see or record, unless i manage to trick your computer to it, like rading your private inbox. Then we would talk about data intrusion, to fool someones computer to send copies of data that it is not supposed to.

    If it was me who made the copies of the files on your server, then you would not be able to block me, then i would be in control of your computer. Which i am not.

    • 8.1
      Anonymous

      Actually the way TCP/IP, the internet protocol, works is exactly as Rick presents it. At the server a file is read piecemeal, each piece together with a header indicating source computer, destination computer, length, index within file etc form a packet which is launched onto the internet. The packets wend their way to the destination indicated in their header. Packets do not necessarily travel the same path and do not necessarily arrive in order. At the destination the browser re-assembles the packets, requesting the retransmission of any that do not arrive, until a complete copy of the file is constructed. At no time in this process is the original file present as a unit until it is fully assembled in the destination computer.

      • 8.1.1
        steelneck

        I know, but as i wrote, it takes two to tango, Alice and Bob. The issue is about communication. It is not about a single peer. If Alices computer (server) do not respond in favor of Bobs request, Bob will not get a copy of the file(s) on Alice computer. It is Alice who _give_ Bob copies on Bobs request. Both parties has to be involved, it is an interaction between at least two peers, not a single one making a copy. The fact that the files get chopped into small packets at the sending end, and the put together in the right order at the receiving, do not change anything.

        This is very important when we talk about what some people call “streaming”, that the sender _give_ a copy to the receiver, if we forget this we will end up in a situation where it will be illegal to remember (keeping the copy that we got). By that being forced to the insane situation having to treat published entertainment as secret military orders. Basically reversing the old Betamax case in worst possible way.

        A good example is the case about Jon Johanssen who figured out the Content Scrambling System on DVDs and published his program. The prosecuting side acused him of data intrusion, but his lawyer then asked: Which data has Jon committed intrusion on? – His own.. – Was the only logical answer there was, and Jon was set free. If you look at communication the way that Rick suggest, the case would be turned upside down and open the door to outlaw private recordings of things we have perfectly legal access to. It takes two to communicate and any one knows that it is impossible to take back information you already have given away. It would be like trying to force someone to forget.

      • 8.1.2
        steelneck

        And BTW, it is not hard to imagine a network of peers built on another protocol than TCP/IP (in the early days there was several competing protocols). Do not lock your self into a single protocol when talking about communication. If law-makers do this, it will be sure path to having just those different situations between different ways of communication, where something is legal to send in a letter but illegal to e-mail.

  9. 9
    Borrow

    “Manufacture” sounds even worse to me, by far. LP makes an excellent point above in comment 4; you are allowing your opponents to use your words against you. Consider the sentence, “He produced a copy of The Avengers for free, then distributed it.” Someone against filesharing can easily twist your concept of “manufacturing”.

    Not only that, but it can easily be debated that downloading still takes place. What if a person acquired a copy through a file hosting service like Megaupload? They downloaded it. With the BitTorrent protocol you can still argue the person is downloading pieces of their final copy from many peers. They are still, in some way, technically “downloading” it. It’s just semantics at this point. Using the word “manufacture” is just begging for an argument regarding semantics, which kind of defeats your purpose. The moment they realize you’re trying to use a euphemism, you’ve lost. At that point it doesn’t matter who is right and whether “manufacturing” really did take place.

    A much, much better euphemism is “borrow”. Use borrow. “He borrowed a copy of The Avengers”. Borrowing implies that the acquisition is not permanent. It can also imply that the person who is borrowing the copy may end up buying it if they like it. This is actually the case for many people. How many people do you know keep something they’ve downloaded forever? How many people will download a few songs, like them, and end up buying the album? The word also goes nicely with the idea I just read about here of sites like The Pirate Bay being analogous to a public library. Finally, when someone uses the word “borrow” in reference to a file they’ve downloaded online, it is not immediately clear that they even used the internet. Consider someone saying, “Oh, yeah, I borrowed that song some time ago, I’ve been meaning to listen to it!”
    In any case, a rebuttal of, “But you still downloaded it” would be met with, “Yeah, but I also borrowed it”. Instead of a response like, “No, I didn’t! I MADE it!” (which just sounds ridiculous and confrontational). Remember, you’re trying to appeal to as many people as possible. You’re trying to persuade them. You’re trying to make them see it how you see it. That’s the type of language that is necessary here.

    • 9.1
      raymond

      I think “borrowed” is more wrong. That implies that you’ve removed something from someone else’s possession, but only temporarily and you intend to give it back. That isn’t what’s happening. “Made” is actually the correct term. You’re making a new copy that did not previously exist.

      I don’t really mind “downloading” either though, because that just means your computer is receiving data from another computer, which is indeed what’s happening. Your computer is receiving information from another, in this case a set of instructions telling your computer how to make a copy that’s identical to the one on the sending computer.

      But I do think it’s a good idea to use words like “made a copy” instead of “got a copy” or “took or copy”. What you’re doing is an act of making, not an act of taking. It just happens that in this instance what you’re making is something the government says you’re not allowed to make. But it does undermine the bogus “theft” metaphor that the copyright industry tries to push constantly. It is not akin to theft law, where you are taking some piece of property out of someone else’s possession. It’s more akin to laws against growing marijuana or making a nuclear weapon. You’re simply making something the government says is illegal to make.

      But that’s also why i don’t like “borrowed”. It pushes the issue back into the “theft” camp, but tries to argue that it’s only temporary. That’s hardly helpful.

  10. 10
    Anonymous

    it’s also why the entertainment/copyright industries have used the term ‘piracy’ so successfully to justify their cause and to convince gullible politicians and law enforcement agencies that people are ‘stealing’ stuff that belongs to others. mind you, those politicians and law enforcement agencies have been only too keen to go along with the industries, as the bosses of one are best buddies with the bosses of the others!

  11. 11
    Tom Green

    More absurd sophistry.

    The delivery system (or whatever you choose to call it) isn’t the point. It’s the CONTENT that matters, and the time, talent, and costs taken to produce it.

    That is what content creators would like to be paid for. And even on an indie producer level, those costs can be substantial. However willing they are to make difficult choices (like giving up the chance to have a house, and a family) to make their art, if they don’t get something back from those who enjoy it, they cannot continue to make it.

    I see this every day. Artists, musicians, and writers giving up their art because it no longer pays enough to carry on.

    And then I read shit like this. Absurd sophistry about what we choose to call the medium that carries the content, and how that ‘justifies’ you getting something for nothing.

    And they get NOTHING.

    Shame on you and all who think it’s their right not to pay artists for their work. If you’re so desperate you have to use rubbish like this to attempt to justify, then I know you’re wrong.

    And you know it too.

    • 11.1
      Anonymous

      Oh, it’s you, playing the “poor starving artists” card again. Thanks for leaving a name this time, too; artists who treat me like a criminal don’t get my money.

      If those poor starving artists can’t find a business model that works with reality, then they *should* be otherwise employed. Jack Zeal already wrote an article here about how it’s not our job to prop up your business; maybe you should read it.

    • 11.2
      Anyone

      content cannot be sold (or bought)
      what can be sold and bought are products or services

      offer a good product or service at a competitive price, and it will be bought
      offer a product encumbered with DRM and all other sorts of restrictions at an inflated price and noone will buy it

      if the artists want to be paid they should take it up with their label that skim 90% of their earnings
      or with the movie studio that claims that the Lord of the Rings movies were a huge loss because of Hollywood Accounting

      also don’t expect to be paid for a lifetime because you did one month of work recording a song

    • 11.3

      “. . .Shame on you and all who think it’s their right not to pay artists for their work . . .”

      Considering that study after study after study show pirates (or sometimes-pirates) paying artists (much) more than non-pirates, the “Shame” should be directed, instead, at the monopolies crippling artists’ distribution channels – i.e. sharing sites. (list of examples: http://cheapassfiction.com/reference-copyrightpiracy-research/ )

      “. . . It’s the CONTENT . . .”
      Yet you want artists to be paid instead for copies – little 1s and 0s that any child can make on their own. Please, plase don’t pretend to speak for “artists”, lumping us all in to this type that prefers to get paid for simplistic copying tasks rather than our creativity and talent. It is very insulting.

      There are many, many ways that artists in the 21st century get paid for their WORK rather than the COPIES. I agree that it is very sad to see artists give up because they reject technological changes. But it is very insulting to push for an old-fashioned view of creators whose value is in pushing out copies like an old xerox machine.

      Re: original topic
      We do need a change towards a more accurate description of sharing media. Doing so would separate out the value of the artist from the value of the copies – something that is SORELY needed in the copyright discussions.

      “Manufacture” does have a negative ring to it. “Make” is less so, I think. I don’t know if there’s a better description. . . But it is worth some real consideration. Great post!

      • 11.3.1
        Techanon

        >“Manufacture” does have a negative ring to it. “Make” is less so, I think. I don’t know if there’s a better description. . . But it is worth some real consideration. Great post!

        try “lend” and “borrow” (see reply 8).

    • 11.4
      KarlPopper

      An emotional appeal to the plight of the content creators is itself a form of sophistry. Copying is not stealing; it’s copying. If something is stolen from person/group X, person/group X must no longer be in possession of the thing. There is a clear logical distinction between the meaning of these terms. There is nothing sophistical about this line of argument.

    • 11.5
      harveyed

      Hi. Please check the VoDo initiative. Investing in films or series collectively.

      And you talk of getting something for nothing. That is just what copyrights are. Making a copy and sending it to someone is free today ( or cheap enough for anyone to do it ). What’s the justification of doing something once (recording) and then be able to press unlimited amount of money on that performance, one per copy? No the value that still is left is in investing for the current and the future work, not to charge unlimited number of time for old work.

      Almost no other business has that kind of luxury you know – the “right” to get money all your life for something you did in your youth.

    • 11.6
      Scary Devil Monastery

      “I see this every day. Artists, musicians, and writers giving up their art because it no longer pays enough to carry on.”

      What you mean to tell us then, is that a number of self-confessed artists discovered the hard way that many are called but few chosen?

      Cry me a damn river. It is QUITE normal that people end up having to work for a living, with something other than what they’d prefer to do for a living.

      Here’s a clue. What an artists has to do – the one thing an artist has in his/her job description – is to be able to make fans.

      If the artist can do so then the artist will make a living. If the artist can not then it’s time for a haircut and go looking for that 9-5 job. It’s that simple.

      I see only one thing wrong around here. And that is the words of some blistering moron who comes around and tries to defend the ostensible “right” for people to be paid in perpetuity for having worked ONCE.

      And not only that – along with that long slide of nonsense, you come up and dare sound outraged over the fact that we think OUR OWN PROPERTY RIGHTS should outweigh your ability to tell us what we can and cannot do with it?

      No. We know no such thing. I’d be very embarrassed to know any such thing. If you release information where anyone can see or hear it- or even to the point where it isn’t a secret anymore – then you have no further say at all whether someone copies it or not.

      Nor should you have, in any world remotely sane.

  12. 12
    steelneck

    Here comes another dissent, in fewer words than my recent posts.

    You Rick are now taking on a view on the internet as a great bit bucket in the sky where you are the single one taking part of you communication, instead of the network of peers that it is.

  13. 13
    Sten

    “The third reason is that proper use of language reinforces that the copyright monopoly is a limitation of property rights, ”

    Rick, does this mean you want property rights to be applied to immaterial creations?

    • 13.1
      Per "wertigon" Ekström

      No, he wants to get back his right to do whatever the hell he wants with HIS copy, including the right to make a bit-perfect replica.

      My copy, my property. Capiche?

      • 13.1.1
        Sten

        So Rik wants property rights to be applied to immaterial objects.

        That would be the effect of your “My copy, my property.” as well.

        • KarlPopper

          A copy is not an immaterial object. It exists here, there on this or that hard drive, etc. I was created at a certain time; it may be destroyed at a certain time. It is a concrete particular thing.

        • Sten

          @KarlPopper

          No, you are talking about the carrier of the immaterial creation. The song, the film etc is not material it completely immaterial.

          So the question remains. Would Rick like property rights to be applied to immaterial creations.

        • techanon

          To my understanding, the answer to that is No.
          What Rick pursues is the abolition or reformation of the “limitation on property rights of containers” (otherwise called copyright).

        • Sten

          If he want´s to abolish the copyright and not apply property right to the immaterial creation – how can he in any manner at all claim to be the owner of a copy of an immaterial creation?

        • harveyed

          Well imposing restrictions on the medium he owns on which the information is stored is imposing restrictions on his property rights of that medium.

          It’s like saying “here buy this chair.. it’s only $5″. Then you sell the “right” to sit on said chair for $1 per person or something of the sort. Most older people would just laugh at you just as todays youth are laughing at you when you claim to sell a “right” to use some immateria.

        • Sten

          @harveyed

          The question still remains. Does Rick want property rights to be applied to immaterial creations?

          And in regards of:
          “”Well imposing restrictions on the medium he owns on which the information is stored is imposing restrictions on his property rights of that medium.
          It’s like saying “here buy this chair.. it’s only $5″. Then you sell the “right” to sit on said chair for $1 per person or something of the sort. ”

          You sell, rent, hire, lease objects all the time with different kid of regulations. You do not get the right to retail the drink when you buy a can of Pepsi.

        • @Sten:

          The question still remains. Does Rick want property rights to be applied to immaterial creations?

          Many have responded to you already. The answer, theirs and mine, is a clear resounding “no”. Property rights apply to scarce items.

          You can store creative work using property – and some creative work can result in property (such as making a chair) – but the work itself is never, ever, property.

          Cheers,
          Rick

        • Sten

          Thanks for the answer Rick.

          However since you state the below:
          “The third reason is that proper use of language reinforces that the copyright monopoly is a limitation of property rights, ”

          Ii´s obviously wrong in context since you do not own the immaterial creation and hence there is no limitation.
          There can´t be a limitation of property rights of something you do not own as property. Basically an oxymoron.

        • KarlPopper

          “The third reason is that proper use of language reinforces that the copyright monopoly is a limitation of property rights, ” which misconstrues the song/program/etc. as property in itself, independently of its actual manifestation as this or that property.

          It is true that “There can´t be a limitation of property rights of something you do not own as property. ” A copyright monopoly however attempts to limit rights in exactly this way.

        • Sten

          @KarlPopper

          “It is true that “There can´t be a limitation of property rights of something you do not own as property. ” A copyright monopoly however attempts to limit rights in exactly this way.”

          Whatever object you buy, a can of Pepsi etc, comes with limitations, both to the carrier, content and the immaterial rights.

          When it comes to immaterial creations such as music they do not impose any limitations to the carrier. You can do what you want with the carrier and since you can´t own the immaterial creation it self, there´s no limitation since there is no property to own in the first place.

    • 13.2
      Scary Devil Monastery

      Obviously not. Since you can not apply “property rights” to information.

      Indeed, “Intellectual Property” is itself a vast misnomer since it is in reality a restriction on everyone’s actual property rights.

      Songs and films, being information, can not be property.

      “So Rik wants property rights to be applied to immaterial objects.
      That would be the effect of your “My copy, my property.” as well.”

      Nope. Rick owns the hard drive, rick owns the ones and zeroes, and whatever shape they happen to be in does not magically transfer ownership of either hard drive or configuration to any third party.

      Intellectual Property assumes, by it’s very nature, that a third party DOES INDEED magically gain the ability to claim that certain configurations of your storage media belongs to them.

      So no. If Rick has made a copy of A on his hard drive, then Rick owns that particular copy of A because no one else possesses parts of that hard drive.
      If you make a copy of the same work on your hard drive then you own that copy. Not hard to understand at all.

      • 13.2.1
        Sten

        “So no. If Rick has made a copy of A on his hard drive, then Rick owns that particular copy of A because no one else possesses parts of that hard drive.”

        So how can anyone own the particular copy of something immaterial (no matter who makes it with what or how) – unless you apply property right to the immaterial creation?

        • Anyone

          the bits and bytes on a harddrive are quite material

          if you cut out the part of the harddisk where they are stored they are gone, that seems very material to me

          the immaterial part is the content of those bits and bytes, noone can own the movie “Avengers”, you can only own copies of it, and as such property rights should not apply to the movie itself, but to the copies of it

        • Anonymous

          @Anyone

          The carrier is purely a carrier, you can own it with or without immaterial content.
          Hence the copy of the immaterial content is one thing – whereas the carrier of the copy is a completely different entity.

        • Anonymous

          “So how can anyone own the particular copy of something immaterial (no matter who makes it with what or how) – unless you apply property rights to the immaterial creation?”

          A particular copy (instance) of something immaterial is not itself immaterial. It is a particular, concrete, (probably) scarce thing. As such it may be property.

          Property rights only apply to material creations, such as the medium used to store the data.

        • Sten

          Hence – since you can not apply property rights to the immaterial creation – it (the immaterial creation) can not impose any limitations either.
          Just the same way that you do not own any of the immaterial rights to a can of Pepsi when you purchase it.

        • How much makeup did you need to masquerade that statement as any kind of logic?

          A implies B does not lead to B cannot impose C.

        • Sten

          @Rick

          So what rights do you claim to the immaterial creation when it is on transporter in you possession?

        • Scary Devil Monastery

          “So how can anyone own the particular copy of something immaterial”

          The one and only way of owning the “immaterial” is to not share it with anyone. You ATM code in itself is “immaterial”. Say it loud and you have now forced everyone in listening range to possess a copy.

          If you want to own the information described in a work of art the only way you can do so is by ensuring that information is not seen, felt or heard by any other sentient mind or apparatus capable of recording.

          You can, as a person, own physical property. You can own the DVD-disc, but the information on that specific disc is your only until you show it to someone else.

          Every analysis regarding “property” comes out the same – from Adam Smith to Milton Friedman. The immaterial can not be owned at all.

          And this is acknowledged by any law in existence as well. “Intellectual Property” is a gigantic misnomer. What it applies to is restrictions on other people’s property rights.

          Essentially, it’s about “information control” no less intrusive than that we’ve seen applied by governments in less enlightened regimes. A prohibition on putting certain words, memes, or strings of information on a portable media.

  14. 14
    Johan

    Very good read! Reminded me of an idea I had way back when mp3s where just becoming popular. What if instead of downloading, you make your computer iterate through all possible byte combinations for a file sized like your average mp3, that would leave you with every possible tune ever made and all possible future ones that could fit in that representation. The tricky part would of course be to know when you have struck on something good, and the computational power might not be there just yet, even though quantum computing might shift that a bit. More important though, you have certainly not copied anything, not even listened to remote instructions of how to create something – are you then a thief?

    • 14.1
      steelneck

      That “What if” question belongs in 1935, because the Turing machine was invented in 1936. It is a computer, it computes. Already the Turing machine anno 1936 could compute _everything_ computable, everything, without exception, in infinity.

    • 14.2
      Anonymous

      Avg. size of a MP3 ~ 5MB
      Thats a 2.5 million digit hexadecimal number ~ 3 million digit decimal number.
      Lets assume every person on the planet had 100GHz 100 Core CPU and could make these MP3s with no overhead. When would they be done:
      10^3000000 permutations / 10^10 (lets be generous and assume planet could sustain that many people) / 10^11 (permutations/core/s) / 10^2 (cores) / (3.6*10^3) (seconds/hour) / (2.4*10^1) (hours/day) / (3.6525*10^2) (days/year) =
      10^3000000 (permutations) / (3.6*2.4*3.6525 * 10^29) (permutations/year) ~ 3,1 * 10^299969 years.

      I’d say the tricky part was getting done before universe ended (which incidently would not substract significantly with exponent).

      Morale: Don’t mess with such big numbers or your head will likely explode.

  15. 15
    marcus1124

    The original poster commits the very offense he claims others are making, using language to obscure the truth rather than sere it. In no sense are you “manufacturing” a copy of the actual substnative product involved, which is not the DVD/Blu-Ray, or the bytes therein, but all of the intellectual content and work product that went into it.

    Now (ignoring for the sake of discussion the copyright of a screenplay or song itself), if a person were to go out, hire all the original actors, hire a crew, a director, etc. etc. and refilm a movie and recreate it, THAT would be the equivalent of “manufacturing” a “copy” of the original.

    • 15.1
      Anyone

      that copy would not be perfect
      why settle for lesser quality when you can make a perfect copy much cheaper?

    • 15.2
      Anonymous

      “Now (ignoring for the sake of discussion the copyright of a screenplay or song itself), if a person were to go out, hire all the original actors, hire a crew, a director, etc. etc. and refilm a movie and recreate it, THAT would be the equivalent of “manufacturing” a “copy” of the original.”

      Don’t forget to redevelop all the technology used in production, pay for the education of the crew, factor in the bonuses the execs are raking in, etc. You can see we’re on a slippery slope here. There is a distinction between the production of a movie and the manufacturing of copies. Manufacturing as used in the original post refers to the instantiation of a given pattern within a medium. The origin of that pattern is immaterial (forgive the pun).

    • 15.3
      Scary Devil Monastery

      “In no sense are you “manufacturing” a copy of the actual substnative product involved, which is not the DVD/Blu-Ray, or the bytes therein, but all of the intellectual content and work product that went into it.”

      There is no “product” on a CD or on a DVD. There is “information”. Information by it’s very nature is neutral.
      If I play a song I force that song into the possession of anyone within listening range or with a recorder up whether they want to receive it or not. If I tell a story it is completely irrelevant whether I am the original author or the last in a thousand people to tell it.

      If I write down the equation of E=MC(squared) it is completely irrelevant who discovered that equation: I’m still writing it. What would be untrue is if I claimed to be the one to discover it.

      You can not “own” immateria, because immateria can not be property.

      Whether the CD contains one set of bits flipped to “0″ or a composition which required three orchestras ten years to record doesn’t make any difference at all, because it does not change the nature of the storage media you own, the electricity you have paid for, or the effort in pushing “record”.

      Rick’s statement stands. What happens when you burn a disc is that you manufacture a copy, using your own property.

      That someone else has produced, discovered or collated the information then copied onto another medium, copied again, copied again, and finally copied again onto a storage medium of your choice…has no bearing at all and hasn’t had that since the printing press was invented.

      Indeed, your entire argument falls apart as soon as we unravel the circular logic where you already assume the fallacy you are trying to conclude the argument with is a necessary part of the equation.

    • 15.4
      raymond

      The OP is using language just fine. The problem is he’s not employing all of your abstractions of (equivocation with) language. For example, you complain that he’s ignoring the “actual” and “substantive” “product”. But then later we find that you are using these words to refer to “the intellectual content”, an amorphous abstraction with no “actual” “substance”, and which is not a “product”.

      Putting that aside, you may be unaware, but your suggestion to go re-make the whole movie again, is still something that’s restricted by copyright law.

  16. 16
    Anonymous31415

    This resonates well with my own thoughts – copyright industry is strongly engaged in word-bending.
    Think about it. Even the very word “copyright” is used to describe what should be more properly named as “non-copying obligation”.
    Indeed… war is peace, ignorance is strength, non-copy obligation is copy right
    :/

    • 16.1
      steelneck

      Yes, the english word “copyright” is a bit misleading. In Sweden it is called “upphovsrätt” that roughly translates to “creators right”.

      What copyright is, beside recognizing the creator as that, is not about copying per se, but about making works accessible to the public. This is why it is perfectly legal for you as a private person to record something from radio or TV, but not to publish the same recording.

      • 16.1.1
        Scary Devil Monastery

        Actually, “Upphovsrätt” more appropriately should be translated as “Right of origin”.

        Sweden is one of the countries where both “copyright” and “paternity right = paternitetsrätten” was successfully merged into one term by the copyright industry.

        Paternity right is instinctively recognized by human nature – what one person invented he should stand as the inventor of.

        “Copyright” is completely unrelated and has to do with the “creator” possessing the right to tell every other human being what they can and can not do with their own property. In other words, information control.

        Not surprising given the origin of copyright as a means of political and religious censorship.

  17. [...] It’s Not “Getting” Or “Downloading” A Copy. It’s “Making” Or “Manufacturing” One… In the political fight for civil liberties and sharing culture, language is everything – which can be observed by the copyright industry’s consistent attempts at name-calling, hoping the bad names will stick legally. Therefore, all our using precise language is paramount for our own future liberties. Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

  18. [...] In the political fight for civil liberties and sharing culture, language is everything – which can be observed by the copyright industry’s consistent attempts at name-calling, hoping the bad names will stick legally. Therefore, all our using precise language is paramount for our own future liberties.When people are saying “I downloaded a copy of Avengers“, that use of language erodes their liberties just a little bit further. It is wrong, as in technically and factually wrong. Looking at the use of “downloading a copy” or “getting a copy” and how this is incorrect, we need to examine why it is important to use other words.  [...]

  19. 17
    harveyed

    Manufacturing and distribution of immateria has become so cheap that the “means of production” are in each persons living room. The very most important distinction between piracy and communism ( a kind of favourite comparison made by americans.. ). When the means of production are so cheap that everyone can afford them, no incentives at all are needed to support businesses from doing ANYTHING once the original has been created.

    The original is out there – and (assuming plagiarism is still illegal) the old work can work as commercials / PR for the new work of that “artist”. Clearly people are still willing to pay for artists works. But it is no longer the old work that you pay for – it’s the new one.

  20. [...] I manufacture another copy of The Avengers using my own property and my own labor, copyright monopolists somehow [...]

  21. [...] I manufacture another copy of The Avengers using my own property and my own labor, copyright monopolists somehow [...]

  22. [...] I manufacture another copy of The Avengers using my own property and my own labor, copyright monopolists somehow [...]

  23. [...] isn’t taking anything in the first place. You are not taking anything without paying, you are manufacturing something without paying the monopoly holder. This is completely different conceptually and [...]

  24. [...] isn’t taking anything in the first place. You are not taking anything without paying, you are manufacturing something without paying the monopoly holder. This is completely different conceptually and [...]

  25. [...] [quote]the first two are reinforces the copyright industry’s “stealing” moniker, with a clear tone of dishonesty. whereas the second two just don’t work in that respect – if anything, they have a “yeah, so?” tone to it. http://falkvinge.net/2012/12/08/its-not-getting-or-downloading-a-copy-its-making-or-manufacturing-on… [...]

  26. [...] So far, so good. But let’s assume he does anyway. He shares the bitpattern with Carol, who manufactures a copy of the DVD using her own parts and [...]

  27. [...] legitimacy of the copyright monopoly and its restrictions to our property rights to the copies we manufacture with our own parts and labor and therefore own. Still, on the surface, the claim that the copyright [...]

  28. [...] isn’t taking anything in the first place. You are not taking anything without paying, you are manufacturing something without paying the monopoly holder. This is completely different conceptually and [...]

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