Copyright Monopolist Claims Legal, Non-Infringing "Fair Use" Is Like AGGRAVATED RAPE

In a fuming blog article, David Newhoff claims that non-infringing, legal uses of copyrighted works – that is, of people’s own property – are like “aggravated rape” when made without unneeded consent of the monopoly holder. Newhoff tries to scold the crucial concept of “fair use” in copyright monopoly doctrine, the concept which explicitly says that some usages are not covered by the monopoly and therefore not up to the monopoly holder, and ends saying that if you don’t grant permission and can’t set limits, it’s “aggravated rape”. Just when you think copyright monopoly zealots can’t sink any lower, they surprise you with one of the few creativities they’ve ever shown.

The copyright monopoly, which is not property but a form of Industrial Protectionism (IP) and therefore a limitation on property rights, is subject to a constant barrage of attempted re-branding to “property” by monopolists who want to strengthen their monopoly. In many regards, copyright monopoly punditry are like religious fanatics in this regard – the idea that their monopoly is just harmful is so hard to digest, that facts and empirical observations just be damned.

But in this article, which is about “fair use”, meaning exceptions to the copyright monopoly where it just doesn’t apply – and therefore about when the copyright monopoly holder can’t set limits and doesn’t get to grant or deny permission over non-infringing uses of a creative work, Newhoff really sets a new limbo bar:

David Newhoff: If the copyright monopoly holder doesn't get to give permission, like with a fair use case, it's like aggravated rape
David Newhoff: If the copyright monopoly holder doesn’t get to grant or deny permission, and doesn’t get to set limits, like with a fully-legal fair-use case, it’s like aggravated rape against the copyright monopoly holder

Do note here that Newhoff is not saying that copyright monopoly infringement is like aggravated rape. That would be bad enough. Newhoff is saying that taking actions that fall outside of the scope of the monopoly, without treating them as though they were monopolized and restricted anyway, i.e. doing something fully legal with your own property, is like aggravated rape.

This goes far, far beyond the usual silliness of claiming that copyright monopoly infringement “is stealing” (which, as a reminder, the U.S. Supreme Court has handed down a firm judgment saying it isn’t in any way, shape, or form).

Civil liberties activists have sometimes been poking fun at the excessive rhetoric from copyright monopolists, saying it’s not stealing but rather arson, or maybe kidnapping. In a brilliant application of Poe’s Law, which says good satire can’t be reliably distinguished from zealot fundamentalism, it seems liberties activists just can’t possibly keep up with the increasingly ridiculous – and audacious, not to mention outright revolting – things asserted by copyright monopolists.

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. Aelius Blythe

    Wow that whole post is cringe-worthy. I get that he’s reaching for a thematically-relevant hyperbole, but it is SO gross and offensive to throw rape comparisons into things that are not even remotely close or relevant. I can’t believe people are still doing that. It just preys on the (justifiably) emotional, knee-jerk reactions to the word rape. I actually think the derivative/not-derivatic questions themselves are highly interesting and relevant. But that’s a really, really low blow.

  2. Jim Hansson

    And he does not what S&M is, some people that does S&M whould be offended by that definition.

  3. A

    Fair use is like aggravated rape? What is this, i don’t even…

  4. Pedro Miguel

    While reading that blog, i just went from a raised eyebrow to a full complete epic face palm! I mean, really? He really thinks like that? Oh my…

  5. noa

    Also, with regards to the original post, it is “safe word”, not “safety word”.

  6. Anonymous

    and i’ll bet that just about every politician and law maker are on this like a rash, doing whatever they can think of to put Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment industries at the top of the protection tree, while taking down as many ordinary people as possible!
    have you noticed how there hasn’t been a single case of an illegal group who get hold of pre-release movies, music, games etc and sells them being under the microscope. not a single law suit, prosecution and definitely no conviction, at all, anywhere, ever!! the only people who are targeted are those who download simply to be able to share and enjoy the media with family, not to go out a make a fortune of of illicit sales on a street corner, just like Richard Branson did, i believe, when he first started on his way to where he is now!! funny how it was ok for him and others like him, but wrong for everyone else. funny how the movie business had to relocate in California to stop it from being sued for illegal copying and copyright violations!! the oldstory, dont do what i did, do what i tell you! self-centered, self-serving bunch of ass holes!!

  7. Rick Falkvinge

    (Testing ignore)

  8. Christopher

    Is this nitwit actually serious about his ‘copyright infringement = rape’ bullshit? Holy hell, he wonders why people like myself are not taking the copyright maximalists seriously anymore…. this is the reason!

  9. computer games

    I enjoy, lead to I found exactly what I was taking a look for.
    You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day.

  10. Max Pont

    Ask rape victims. Will they think that it is fair to compare “fair use” of copyrighted material with their suffering? Any feminists around?

  11. Joe

    So if you infringe copyright you’re a pirate. If you engage in fair use you’re a rapist. Piracy is bad, but I’d rather steal ships than rape someone. At least there’s a little more dignity in it 😛

    On the other hand, some pirates also murder. In that case, perhaps I should just abstain from commercial media all together.

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