In light of Ted's post on copyright, it is clear that we are bogged down by a hostile terminology.
Copyright infringement is not piracy - gunmen on seas killing people, looting ships and holding hostages is piracy.
Copyright infringement is not theft. When my bike was stolen, I no longer had it. Stealing a bicycle is theft.
Copyright infringement is more like sneaking into a concert. You enjoy the show, but did not pay for it. If the concert is held in a small venue then it is easy to spot someone who gets in without paying, but if you hold a concert in an open field, then expecting everyone in the surrounding area to be forced to pay you is rather absurd. If you have a concert in a field with a fence around it and someone makes a hole in that fence (posts a a recording to a P2P site), then the one making the hole might be punishable (property damage), but can any person that enters that hole really be prosecuted for theft, property damage and enabling further theft by not closing the hole (uploading that is inherent in the P2P protocols) ? I do not think so.
A similar analogy is using public transport without a ticket. If there is a bus that goes from A to B and I get on it without buying a ticket from the driver, then in the current copyright enforcement world I would get arrested by the police, prosecuted and get a fine that is tens of thousand times more than the price of the ticket. This has multiple problems - 1. the police has no way of knowing if I have some kind of legal right to use the bus without a ticket (monthly ticket, free ride for seniors, ...) before arresting me and bringing me to court, the police has no business wasting their time and taxpayer money until it is 100% certain that a crime has actually occured; 2. if a hacker disables the ticket composters in the bus and removes all signs about prices how am I to know that the bus is not free (like the park and ride buses in many locations); 3. the fines are excessive - I've not seen a public transport fine that is much more then 10 times the price of the ticket, and it only applies to one ride - you can not be retroactivelly fined for all free rides you took in the last year; 4. it actually is not possible to be 100% certain who is the person doing the act - you can only trace the IP which can be used by any number of computers and additionally the computers might be infected with a botnet acting as an unwilling proxy zombie. There is no way (except a confession) to prove that a particular person does a particular download.
Now we just need a short and simple word or phrase that describes that. Any ideas?Share on Twitter Share on Facebook