Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 29th Nov 2011 14:18 UTC
Legal The European Court of Justice, the highest court in the European Union, is kind of on a roll lately. We already discussed how they outlawed generic ISP-side internet filters, and now, in an opinion (so it's not a ruling just yet), Yves Bot, an advocate-general at the Court, has stated that functions provided by computer programs, as well as the programming languages they're written in, do not receive copyright protection. The opinion is very well-written, and relatively easy to read and grasp. Note: Brilliant quote from a comment over at Hacker News: "Copyright makes you write your own code. Patents prevent you from writing your own code."
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What does this mean exactly?
by mweichert on Tue 29th Nov 2011 14:24 UTC
mweichert
Member since:
2006-03-23

If there is a ruling to agree with the opinion, then what? Will developers be able to reverse-engineer software legally? What about in North America?

Reply Score: 1

RE: What does this mean exactly?
by jabbotts on Tue 29th Nov 2011 14:52 UTC in reply to "What does this mean exactly?"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Since the EU does not cover North America, I'd guess that one would have to buy.. er.. get a similar ruling from a North American court. Sadly, if copyright/patent law where made less favorable to big content control lobbying; the terrorists win.

(hard not to be cynical once you start to pay attention to copyright/patent shenanigans)

Reply Score: 13

RE[2]: What does this mean exactly?
by zima on Sun 4th Dec 2011 17:38 UTC in reply to "RE: What does this mean exactly?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Actually (if you can't be pedantic on tech sites where can you be?! :p ), many overseas territories of the EU should have large enough integration level for this ruling to essentially apply - so it might easily apply also in quite a few ~EU islands in the Caribbean, which are considered a part of North America.

Then there are, much more clearly N. American, French islands Saint Pierre and Miquelon (though those seem like the integration might be a bit too tenuous).

Or maybe Greenland, in a way. They did choose to leave the EU, but they're still part of Denmark ...not sure how much the laws need to "synchronised" for that to work in any meaningful way. Still, the Greenlanders are full EU citizens, via their Danish citizenship.

Reply Score: 2

RE: What does this mean exactly?
by BrianH on Tue 29th Nov 2011 15:54 UTC in reply to "What does this mean exactly?"
BrianH Member since:
2005-07-06

You can reverse-engineer legally in the US (don't know about Canada), but you have to use clean-room techniques. That means that the people decompiling the code to create the specs can't be the same people recreating the code. That makes it easier to prove that there is no direct copying.

IANAL, but the makers of the Mac emulator named Executor employed lawyers, and then explained this in the legal section of their docs. Unless there had been a major revision in the law since then, this should still be the case.

Oh course this only applies to copyright. Patents are, by definition, a monopoly on an idea, not on its expression. The case referenced in the article above was an attempt for SAS to treat copyright law like patent law, but the rights each conveys are different, and the opinion above is that you can't get patent-like protections from copyright. I don't know to what extent software patents are allowed in the relevant jurisdiction, but if they exist then SAS should have used them instead. If they don't, then they are SOL.

Disclaimer: None of the above should be taken as an endorsement of software patents. I don't like them.

Reply Score: 7

rmeyers Member since:
2009-12-16

One small point of clarification; patents are in fact a monopoly on the expression of an idea, not on the idea itself. At least that's the way it's supposed to work in the USA.

Reply Score: 3

bluebomber Member since:
2011-11-29

One small point of clarification; patents are in fact a monopoly on the expression of an idea, not on the idea itself. At least that's the way it's supposed to work in the USA.


Technically, that's wrong. In the USA, copyright--not patent--covers expressions of ideas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright#Idea-expression_dichotomy_an...), and patents cover inventions and processes. Neither is supposed to monopolize ideas in theory, but in practice they both do all the time.

Reply Score: 5

viton Member since:
2005-08-09

... the expression of an idea, not on the idea itself
Still, most software patents are abstract or trivial for anyone who spent at least 5 seconds on the same problem.

Reply Score: 3

v Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Tue 29th Nov 2011 15:45 UTC
RE: Comment by Luminair
by Fergy on Tue 29th Nov 2011 15:53 UTC in reply to "Comment by Luminair"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

COPYING IS STEALING

FACT

COPYING IS STEALING

FACT

Reply Score: 29

RE[2]: Comment by Luminair
by n0b0dy on Tue 29th Nov 2011 15:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Luminair"
n0b0dy Member since:
2009-09-03

The reality is that plagiarism is theft


See, same idea, more precise but using other words.
So I said it better and I'm in the clear! ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by Luminair
by Fergy on Tue 29th Nov 2011 16:12 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Luminair"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

The reality is that plagiarism is theft


See, same idea, more precise but using other words.
So I said it better and I'm in the clear! ;)

Making an imitation of someone's work devalues their work.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Luminair
by n0b0dy on Tue 29th Nov 2011 16:33 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Luminair"
n0b0dy Member since:
2009-09-03

If you read your history books well, you'll find out that most so called innovators simply outdone a previous existing idea.

Examples: Apple Newton -> Palm Pilot
LG Prada -> Iphone
Nearly anonymous woman wearing her hair short -> Coco Chanel embracing the idea and turning it into a trend.

I could go on with Atari and Sony Playstation but the world is simply full of nice ideas which were later improved on to become GREAT ideas.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Comment by Luminair
by abstraction on Tue 29th Nov 2011 17:37 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Luminair"
abstraction Member since:
2008-11-27

Replication is another nice word.

Those stealing cells of mine should pay royalties for copying me.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Luminair
by Neolander on Tue 29th Nov 2011 17:50 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Luminair"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Sure, but can you prove that they took a copy of your cells without your consent ? ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by Luminair
by zima on Sun 4th Dec 2011 16:50 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Luminair"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, the replication of everybody started without their consent (and self-terminating it intentionally is frowned upon, to say the least; attempts can generally greatly inconvene you, as far as treatment by society goes)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Luminair
by Gone fishing on Tue 29th Nov 2011 16:44 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Luminair"
Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

COPYING IS STEALING

FACT


COPYING IS STEALING

FACT


COPYING IS STEALING

FACT

It's gone memetic - ideas want to be copied.

The development of ideas depends on cumulative development i.e copying and change. If copying is theft then human culture is grand larceny

Edited 2011-11-29 16:46 UTC

Reply Score: 7

Maybe I'm crazy...
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 29th Nov 2011 16:26 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

but this is a pretty obvious ruling, is it not?

I understand how software patents could prevent some one from reproducing the same algorithm. But Copyright covering functionality?

That's as logical as some old school pirates who worked under the logic that they "bought" the movie therefore they could make copies and sell them for profit.

Edit: Speling before cofee makes Oatmeal cry.

Edited 2011-11-29 16:27 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Comment by ssokolow
by ssokolow on Tue 29th Nov 2011 16:38 UTC
ssokolow
Member since:
2010-01-21

Unless I'm misunderstanding what's being said, I think it'd be better to summarize it as either

"you can't copyright an API... only a specific implementation of it"

or

"function/method signatures, protocol definitions, and file formats used for data exchange are not eligible for copyright"

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by ssokolow
by Yamin on Tue 29th Nov 2011 19:24 UTC in reply to "Comment by ssokolow"
Yamin Member since:
2006-01-10

I don't think that's quite as easy to distinguish a specific implementation of an API. In many cases, the API will tend to lead to a certain kind of implementation.

It can still result in massive battles. The case I've always been interested in is actually how Intel managed to keep its x86 industry protected.

I got interested in it as I discussed patents with someone who kept insisting software patents were somehow uniquely wrong, while 'hardware' patents were okay. I then wondered about things like VHDL where looked like 'software' but 'compiled' into hardware. I also wondered how Intel kept it's x86 instruction set protected. At the end of the day, the instruction set is not different from an software api (function names, parameters...).

There's a good read here on it.
http://jolt.law.harvard.edu/digest/patent/intel-and-the-x86-archite...

It gets into all kinds of details on copyrighting instruction sets, clean room reverse engineering...

Reply Score: 3

Flack
by NeilH on Tue 29th Nov 2011 16:58 UTC
NeilH
Member since:
2011-11-29

For all the flack the EU gets, and it does deserve a lot, it does do some things right.

Edited 2011-11-29 16:59 UTC

Reply Score: 6

Small typo
by JLF65 on Tue 29th Nov 2011 17:09 UTC
JLF65
Member since:
2005-07-06

"In addition, SAS also contents"

That "contents" should be "contends" to make the sentence make sense. ;)

And I felt just like Thom reading this. I love that crying face graphic.

Reply Score: 3

Haiku
by moochris on Tue 29th Nov 2011 17:34 UTC
moochris
Member since:
2009-03-20

As a Haiku fan, this is very reassuring as you never know where the BeOS copyrights could end up - see SCO

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Tue 29th Nov 2011 18:00 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

Copying is not automatically stealing.

The EU does not impose law on the US.

Reverse engineering is legal in the US, within the bounds of certain restrictions.

Plagiarism is not theft, nor is it a crime for that matter.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by ilovebeer
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 29th Nov 2011 18:10 UTC in reply to "Comment by ilovebeer"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Copying is not automatically stealing.


Copying is never stealing.

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Tue 29th Nov 2011 18:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

"Copying is not automatically stealing.


Copying is never stealing.
"

No kidding.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 29th Nov 2011 19:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Hmm... Maybe we should give it a test?

Allow me to "copy" your bank account. Please provide information for me to verify the completeness of the copy. Then we can determine if any theft has taken place. If it hasn't then one free puppy will be yours.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 29th Nov 2011 20:13 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Hmm... Maybe we should give it a test?

Allow me to "copy" your bank account. Please provide information for me to verify the completeness of the copy. Then we can determine if any theft has taken place. If it hasn't then one free puppy will be yours.


If you break into my house and copy my bank account number off on of my bank cards or whatever, then you're committing breaking and entering (which is a serious offence). If you then use this information to plunder my bank account (which is impossible, since you're going to need my PIN number which is only in my head), it's stealing - you're taking my money without my permission. However, the original act of copying my bank information is still just that - copying.

If, for instance, you were a friend of mine, and you copied my bank account information through no illegal act, then you've done nothing wrong until you commit the actual crime of using said information to take my money without my permission.

In none of these scenarios is the act of copying the stealing.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer
by MOS6510 on Tue 29th Nov 2011 20:42 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

It's not stealing in a sense that you take something away from someone leaving the victim with nothing.

However a digital copy is bit perfect.

Now imagine you could do this with a bottle of milk. You go to a shop, duplicate a bottle of milk and leave without paying. You claim it's not stealing as the bottle is still in the shop, yet you have a bottle of milk and the shopkeeper has an unsold bottle and no money. If everybody does this the shopkeeper will go out of business. Is this fair?

A digital copy is an exact duplicate of a product you should pay money for, but haven't, yet you have the full benefit of a product other people invested time and money in.

Now I'm all for making copies for yourself. If I buy a CD I see no problem in ripping it and listening to the music on my iPod. Nor should downloading be illegal, as it's hard to tell for a customer what is and what isn't legal and also stuff can find its way on to your hard disk without you actually meaning it to.

But digital copies... it may not be stealing in the classical meaning, but it has the same effect in a way.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer
by The1stImmortal on Tue 29th Nov 2011 21:02 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer"
The1stImmortal Member since:
2005-10-20

It's not stealing in a sense that you take something away from someone leaving the victim with nothing.

However a digital copy is bit perfect.

Now imagine you could do this with a bottle of milk. You go to a shop, duplicate a bottle of milk and leave without paying. You claim it's not stealing as the bottle is still in the shop, yet you have a bottle of milk and the shopkeeper has an unsold bottle and no money. If everybody does this the shopkeeper will go out of business. Is this fair?
[...]
But digital copies... it may not be stealing in the classical meaning, but it has the same effect in a way.

In the event that someone learns how to duplicate physical objects without any inputs other than say energy or raw materials, then the economics of scarcity of physical objects collapse - it becomes simply a dumb idea to expect to get paid for physical objects (other than the raw materials and energy involved).

That means that the value creation shifts to other places, such as services like designing different tasting or nutritionally different milks.

To bring that back to various forms of information - the value becomes centered around the provision of hardware to handle the information, and the service of creating/modifying the information. It's no longer economically viable to expect to get paid for providing copies when the copies are created at essentially zero cost (naturally, legal and contractual life support notwithstanding).

Reply Score: 9

RE[6]: Comment by ilovebeer
by terrakotta on Wed 30th Nov 2011 18:51 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer"
terrakotta Member since:
2010-04-21

"It's not stealing in a sense that you take something away from someone leaving the victim with nothing.

However a digital copy is bit perfect.

Now imagine you could do this with a bottle of milk. You go to a shop, duplicate a bottle of milk and leave without paying. You claim it's not stealing as the bottle is still in the shop, yet you have a bottle of milk and the shopkeeper has an unsold bottle and no money. If everybody does this the shopkeeper will go out of business. Is this fair?
[...]
But digital copies... it may not be stealing in the classical meaning, but it has the same effect in a way.

In the event that someone learns how to duplicate physical objects without any inputs other than say energy or raw materials, then the economics of scarcity of physical objects collapse - it becomes simply a dumb idea to expect to get paid for physical objects (other than the raw materials and energy involved).

That means that the value creation shifts to other places, such as services like designing different tasting or nutritionally different milks.

To bring that back to various forms of information - the value becomes centered around the provision of hardware to handle the information, and the service of creating/modifying the information. It's no longer economically viable to expect to get paid for providing copies when the copies are created at essentially zero cost (naturally, legal and contractual life support notwithstanding).
"

In the event of being able to copy a physical object, the physical object looses its value. Economics is about scarcity, someone can do something for me, or can provide me with something that I can't or, creating it myself would cost me more than it costs to have him do/create/deliver it. Which is the reason one can pay someone for a service (time has become a product itself), or a skill. The shop keeper would have to find himself something else to sell instead. The creation of money as a way to pay for something stems from finding something that is DIFFICULT TO COPY OR RECREATE (hence gold, silver...).

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by ilovebeer
by The1stImmortal on Wed 30th Nov 2011 20:23 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by ilovebeer"
The1stImmortal Member since:
2005-10-20

Exactly. It's no longer about fair at that point, its about whether the shop keeper is in the right line of business ;)

Which goes to the question, do people have a right to make money off of whatever they want, or should they be allowed to fail if they're trying to make money off of a fundamentally unviable business model?

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer
by WereCatf on Tue 29th Nov 2011 21:02 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Now imagine you could do this with a bottle of milk. You go to a shop, duplicate a bottle of milk and leave without paying. You claim it's not stealing as the bottle is still in the shop, yet you have a bottle of milk and the shopkeeper has an unsold bottle and no money. If everybody does this the shopkeeper will go out of business. Is this fair?


I atleast do get what you're trying to imply, but the analogy is barely limping forward on one foot; you're still trying to apply physical properties to something that isn't physical. And this whole article isn't even about a finished product at all, it's about the idea of a product.

An obvious shortcoming would be that in reality the shopkeeper wouldn't give access to the 'milk' before getting paid. Sure, there would be some people who copy the 'milk' from someone else who've bought it, but the fact remains that there'd also be people who paid for it, too.

And then the ideological shortcomings: what if the shopkeeper was selling a vague description of a product, not a finished product nor instructions how to make one? Say, the description would be e.g. "a hollow carton box inside which you pour a dairy product", would it be alright then to deny anyone else selling a product with similar properties even when the manufacturers of those products had never even heard of this shopkeeper?

Or how about this: is it right to erode rights of majority just for the misdeeds of the few?

Alas, these things are hardly ever straightforward.

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: Comment by ilovebeer
by MOS6510 on Tue 29th Nov 2011 21:16 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I know the article isn't about downloading music/warez/stuff, but people started about whether copying is stealing or not.

Bytes aren't physical, unlike the milk bottle, but I'm trying to illustrate that that's the whole point: it's digital, so it can be copied perfectly. Hence there is no need to steal something by removing it from the owner in to your own possession. If you copy it you have it. Wether it's music or software.

It's also not about the owner having it and then losing it, it's about having it, but unable to sell it because people copy it.

Now regarding vague ideas, I have nothing against people doing their own thing. I should be allowed to code my own version of OS X. I don't think I should copy the artwork or sell it pre-installed on a computer with a piece of fruit on it, but if people have ideas I should be able to create my own version.

I have seen some generally described stuff that has been labeled IP, making it look very silly. Like the hyperlink or the one click buy. That's stuff we can do without.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Comment by ilovebeer
by JLF65 on Tue 29th Nov 2011 23:56 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by ilovebeer"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

You're clearly unfamiliar with the term 'artificial scarcity' - look it up sometime. Some people are currently making money selling things that have no (or little) intrinsic value. Time always eliminates these 'jobs', and it's a good thing. Society shouldn't spend more on things than what they are worth. That's inefficiency, and pulls everybody down (except for a scant few getting rich off said inefficiency).

Reply Score: 6

RE[7]: Comment by ilovebeer
by CapEnt on Wed 30th Nov 2011 11:34 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by ilovebeer"
CapEnt Member since:
2005-12-18

I do get your point: you are worried about the people that will lose their jobs.

But thats the point! Technology advances, and made several business models and professions obsolete throughout the history.

And what happened? Nothing special. New professions arrived, with even more jobs than before.

Holding the progress in the name of protectionism of a dying business model is even worse than the jobs that will end due it.

If we protected every dying business from the future itself, we would still be using near unchanged XIX century technology, and living the horrendous lifestyle from that era.

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: Comment by ilovebeer
by microbe on Wed 30th Nov 2011 12:58 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer"
microbe Member since:
2011-11-30

It doesn't really matter if the end product is physical or digital. If the original producer doesn't get a reward for product, eventually that will drive the gifted programmer/producer away to do something completely different (no milk!). Modern society isn't a static set of developers and occupations. It's an organic result of behavioral models, which has been in place for decades.

Reply Score: 0

RE[7]: Comment by ilovebeer
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 30th Nov 2011 13:54 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by ilovebeer"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

If the original producer doesn't get a reward for product, eventually that will drive the gifted programmer/producer away to do something completely different (no milk!).


So? Who gives a flying fcuk? This happens all the time. Blacksmiths are virtually gone. The horse business has collapsed completely (compared to the pre-car era). The oil industry will eventually collapse. Coal mines have been shut down in The Netherlands in the '60s due to progress in other fields. And so on.

This is called progress. Deal with it. If a new technology makes your business model unsustainable - find new business models. Or are you in favour of taxing cars that do not run on fossil fuels just to protect the oil industry?

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer
by Delgarde on Tue 29th Nov 2011 23:05 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

But digital copies... it may not be stealing in the classical meaning, but it has the same effect in a way.


"Stealing" conventionally has the meaning that the victim has lost possession of whatever was stolen. Trying to extend that meaning to cover crimes without a tangible loss just confuses the issue - breaching copyright or patents is a crime, but it's not "stealing".

Reply Score: 7

RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer
by Soulbender on Wed 30th Nov 2011 03:22 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Is this fair?


No but it still not stealing.

it may not be stealing in the classical meaning, but it has the same effect in a way.


Having the same effect is not the same as being the same thing. A lot of actions can result in someone dying, that doesn't mean it's murder.

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: Comment by ilovebeer
by MOS6510 on Wed 30th Nov 2011 07:47 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

But why can't we label this stealing?

Some basketball players never go to jail despite averaging over 1 steal per game.

It's not uncommon to see articles about stolen passwords, credit card numbers and even ideas (which aren't near as bit perfect like digital copies). Spies steal stuff, malware steal personal information. People read this and say, "Hey, stuff was stolen" and nobody disagrees with that. So why stick to the old fashioned definition of theft?

It may make a difference in court where they tend to be more strict about definitions, like when causing a death is murder or not. But in the normal world I think it's already accepted that copying stuff without paying for it is considered stealing.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer
by bert64 on Wed 30th Nov 2011 09:58 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer"
bert64 Member since:
2007-04-23


Now imagine you could do this with a bottle of milk. You go to a shop, duplicate a bottle of milk and leave without paying. You claim it's not stealing as the bottle is still in the shop, yet you have a bottle of milk and the shopkeeper has an unsold bottle and no money. If everybody does this the shopkeeper will go out of business. Is this fair?


It is perfectly fair, the shopkeeper needs to find a new line of business because a technology has been created which makes his old business obsolete. It's called progress.

Being a blacksmith used to be a profitable business, now that people drive cars it's very hard to make any money as a blacksmith and most of them went out of business years ago... Is this fair?

People used to buy lanterns, candles, and various other devices to light their homes... Now we have electricity supplied to every home and many of the people who made and sold such lighting devices went out of business... Is this fair?

The mantra is adapt or die.

If someone creates a technology allowing you to duplicate milk, do you think this technology should be outlawed to artificially prop up those who make a living from selling milk?

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: Comment by ilovebeer
by MOS6510 on Wed 30th Nov 2011 10:12 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

You're taking a theoretical unrealistic example for real, but I'll say this:

I think there is a big difference between a number of people and companies working together to put a bottle of milk in the shop and someone walking in reaping the result of their work, but giving no compensation AND a duplication machine that would transform an industry or even the world.

Sure cars replaced horses, but that's not reaping the benefits of blacksmiths without compensation them. If a blacksmith made a new horse shoe and you can in, copied it and walked out that wouldn't be fair. Not liking horses and coming up with a car is progress and fair.

If an artist with a whole organization around him produces a piece of music people copy with permission for free is hardly called progress. Sure people have been doing this for years, even before the Internet, but now everything is zeros and ones you can easily create an exact copy, do it very fast and many times.

But hey, I also download music. However I also buy it, from my favorite artists or bands who deserve it. If it's just one song I may like today, but not next week I just download it for free. If I couldn't have downloaded it I would't have bought it anyway. So I might not consider this legal or honest, but I can live with it as it didn't really caused a missed sale.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer
by ricegf on Wed 30th Nov 2011 11:44 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

You mean like this?

http://www.snopes.com/photos/technology/3dprinter.asp

Not milk precisely, but you just can't make up obscure and impossible examples fast enough to avoid reality.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by ilovebeer
by MOS6510 on Wed 30th Nov 2011 12:29 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I guess 3D printers should be able to make milk bottles.

And I guess they don't need to be able to make milk if they are able to print a cow.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by ilovebeer
by ricegf on Wed 30th Nov 2011 12:59 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by ilovebeer"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

And if it can print chocolate (did you notice the last line of that article?), who needs milk? :-D

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer
by Luminair on Wed 30th Nov 2011 19:29 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer"
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

the milk comparison is retarded because if the world could duplicate food without cost everyone would do it and the world would be a better place. try again.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by ilovebeer
by MOS6510 on Wed 30th Nov 2011 19:31 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

No, it would make everyone even fatter.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer
by werterr on Sat 3rd Dec 2011 05:50 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer"
werterr Member since:
2006-10-03

Now imagine you could do this with a bottle of milk. You go to a shop, duplicate a bottle of milk and leave without paying. You claim it's not stealing as the bottle is still in the shop, yet you have a bottle of milk and the shopkeeper has an unsold bottle and no money. If everybody does this the shopkeeper will go out of business. Is this fair?


Yes it is !

In a world where you could copy a bottle of milk (aka copy the information that makes a bottle of milk a bottle of milk aka a replicator ?) it should be perfectly fine to do so.

Information (any and all of it) should be free.

You could question if a store owner has the right to allow copying in his store but the general act of copying the milk itself should be no problem.

Say you buy the bottle of milk and copy it endlessly in your home. There would be nothing wrong with that ! but still the effects for the store owner is the same.

Now in that world store owners will become redundant because if we can copy physical goods there is no need for a store owner, a store (in the traditional sense) or having an original 'non-copied' version of the good.

This works in exactly the same way that the car and train replaced horses and wagons. The printing press replaced scribes etc. They simply are not here anymore because we evolved further.

Also in all these cases there where people screaming that it was so bad, the work of the devil or other rhetoric.

In the end most if not everything will be replaced by something different (and hopefully better ;) .

With the digital age, and this is a topic that is getting old now, we created an instant and infinite way to copy things. Music, Books, Code, Ideas, etc.

And there are a lot of forces that are trying, semi successfully, to keep the world from evolving the digital age to it's 'perfect-form'.

We see this in content delivery, political lobby groups, etc. But eventually this all must head somewhere. It might be delayed for a while, but in the end we either must accept copying as a basic free right where it doesn't matter what's being copied or give up the concept and end the Internet and digital transfer mediums as we know it. (if such a thing would be even possible)

So... to make a long story even longer...

I would conclude that the problem you sketch only exists in a pre-digital-age way of thinking about information.

And that we should think differently about this information. So that in the example the shop owner would not be selling the milk anymore because that becomes pointless but it might sell replication-blueprints of a endless slight variations of the milk.

Because your 50 generation replicated milk would still tasted like the first sip, and you miss all the dynamics that comes into play with non copied milk.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 29th Nov 2011 21:18 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I don't think you understood the question. I didn't mean copy credentials. I meant copy the bank account -- Exactly. I figure out which bank you have, access the bank's systems and make a perfect copy of the account. Not a hard link or soft link, but a *full* copy.

The account is really just a couple of electronic entries in a computer somewhere, right? I just make a second entry with the same ids and credentials. I didn't steal money from you. If money was withdrawn by you with your credentials from your accounts, it would come out of one, maybe at random. You might temporarily double up the balance, but it might be a bad thing too if you can only withdraw from one and only deposit in the other. At the end of the day, with an objective measure of money, someone would be out money.

Perhaps a better analogy might be counter-fitting. Is copying a $100 stealing money?

In any case, its a stupid statement that's always been designed to defend and justify other illegal activity by choosing a name that rests easier with the ones committing the activity. I'm not stealing ( an act prohibited by all moral codes since the beginning of time) music/moivies/video games,ect; I'm just committing copyright infringement which was not explicitly prohibited thousands of years ago in stone tablets.

Its the intellectual and moral equivalent of a young earth creationist asserting that evolution is just a theory.

Reply Score: 0

RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer
by Soulbender on Wed 30th Nov 2011 03:25 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

In any case, its a stupid statement that's always been designed to defend and justify other illegal activity by choosing a name that rests easier with the ones committing the activity


Or conversely, trying to associate a certain act with a more serious crime than it actually is in the interest of profit.

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: Comment by ilovebeer
by Neolander on Wed 30th Nov 2011 07:07 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I'd add that it's not necessarily always about monetary profit, though.

Example : Freedom of speech on the Internet is used daily by terrorists, pirates and child rapists in order to organize themselves and perpetrate crimes. Therefore, to protect our nation and children, I suggest switching to a more secure alternative in which every content that is to be distributed on the internet first has to be vetted by a trusted authority, preferably a consortium of big players of the Internet which have deep insight into the question (such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and the MPAA). Said service will, of course, be provided free of charge, in sense that it will be funded by fair taxes on information storage media.

(The worst is, we are not so far from this. If you look at the iOS App Store, it's pretty much that, but with one single player and private funds. Even the arguments are the same.)

Edited 2011-11-30 07:19 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer
by bert64 on Wed 30th Nov 2011 10:16 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer"
bert64 Member since:
2007-04-23

If you copied his bank account, then you would need to do that on the bank's computer systems which would constitute hacking.

If you were to copy all of the data related to his account and duplicate it onto your own systems that would be different, although it may still require you to break into the bank's systems in order to obtain that information to start with.

If you withdrew money from that account, you would be stealing from the bank since the bank would no longer be in possession of that money. The account itself does not hold money, it simply declares how much of the money held by the bank the accountholder is allowed to take...

Typical copyright infringement occurs against something that has already been released into the public eye... If someone was to hack into a film studio and take a copy of a movie that had not yet been released then that would be different crimes - unauthorised access to a computer system (hacking), and unauthorised access to information (taking of the movie itself)...

Copying a $100 bill is not stealing money.
Using that counterfeit $100 bill to obtain something else is fraud, ie acquiring goods by deception.


In any case, its a stupid statement that's always been designed to defend and justify other illegal activity by choosing a name that rests easier with the ones committing the activity. I'm not stealing ( an act prohibited by all moral codes since the beginning of time) music/moivies/video games,ect; I'm just committing copyright infringement which was not explicitly prohibited thousands of years ago in stone tablets.

Its the intellectual and moral equivalent of a young earth creationist asserting that evolution is just a theory.


Actually it is the other way found, the terms "theft" and "piracy" are explicitly chosen because they have more shock value and provoke more of a reaction than "copyright infringement". This is actually more closely the equivalent of comparing someone to Hitler. Comparing someone to Hitler is meant to make that person seem worse than they really are and trigger a response from the shock value, because Hitler is extremely well known, almost universally reviled and regarded as one of the most evil men in history.

Call a spade a spade... Copyright infringement is the correct term, it is not stealing, it is not piracy, and you are not as evil as hitler.

Reply Score: 6

RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer
by fran on Tue 29th Nov 2011 21:57 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer"
fran Member since:
2010-08-06

Say you are contracted to translate a still under copyright book with terms that part of of your renumeration is that you'll get a percentage of each copy of that translated book sold.
What if someone copy that book and offer it for free to download.
How would you feel about that?

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 29th Nov 2011 22:03 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Say you are contracted to translate a still under copyright book with terms that part of of your renumeration is that you'll get a percentage of each copy of that translated book sold.
What if someone copy that book and offer it for free to download.
How would you feel about that?


You mean, the digital version of a... Library?

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Comment by ilovebeer
by fran on Tue 29th Nov 2011 22:46 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer"
fran Member since:
2010-08-06

More hypothetically. Say fiction stuff (not academic material which i think should be free to all).
Something regarding copyright you can kind of relate to.

Edited 2011-11-29 22:55 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer
by Soulbender on Wed 30th Nov 2011 03:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

If you make a copy of my bank account (and implicitly the money) you havent stolen anything from me. I still have the same amount of money as before.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer
by microbe on Wed 30th Nov 2011 13:25 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer"
microbe Member since:
2011-11-30

Actually you don't, since copying has added more money to the overall amount of money. Thus diminishing the value of money.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by ilovebeer
by werterr on Sat 3rd Dec 2011 06:00 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer"
werterr Member since:
2006-10-03

Actually you don't, since copying has added more money to the overall amount of money. Thus diminishing the value of money.


Well that happens anyways... even without you copying the bank account.

In that case the people would get a bit of the power of the financial system that is currently reserved to banks and governments. Possibly highlighting a flaw that exists within the current system anyways.

Though I guess you could also argue that when the copy is made you not only have a copy of my incoming transactions also my outgoing transactions. So suddenly everything I paid for in my live with my bank account has suddenly doubled.

My mortgage payments on my house would be doubled so I would instantly pay off double whatever I did before. Same with transfers to my savings account, etc.

So I might actually be very very happy with you making the copy ;) I did not lose anything but I did suddenly double my net worth.

This could ripple through the system and making the effect of copy null. (or recursively and the value of money all together ? ;)

So I think the actual effect will be far more complicated then to think that only devaluation of my money supply will happen.

Edited 2011-12-03 06:02 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Does this mean
by tidux on Tue 29th Nov 2011 22:09 UTC
tidux
Member since:
2011-08-13

...that as an American citizen I can host a software project on European servers and have these new EU rulings apply to the code? I'm in no position to move right now, but this would really make me a lot safer from lawsuits.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Does this mean
by zima on Sun 4th Dec 2011 16:53 UTC in reply to "Does this mean"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I'd guess that generally, in the end, your code would be safe - but not necessarily you, yourself. Maybe one just needs to not reveal who they are...

Reply Score: 2

Why unauthorized copying is stealing.
by axilmar on Wed 30th Nov 2011 12:50 UTC
axilmar
Member since:
2006-03-20

Unauthorized copying of a product with a price is stealing because it devalues the copied product.

Reply Score: 0

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Unauthorized copying of a product with a price is stealing because it devalues the copied product.


Right. So, if competition from Android forces Apple to lower its prices (devalues the product), Android is stealing from Apple?

Wtf?

Reply Score: 4

Yamin Member since:
2006-01-10

No, Android is stealing from Microsoft ;)
License fee please ;)

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

axilmar,

"Unauthorized copying of a product with a price is stealing because it devalues the copied product."

Stealing and copying are not interchangeable and have completely different semantics. If you were just being careless and swapped the two, then whatever - we know what you mean. But to deliberately assert their equivalence as you just have is inaccurate.

Say I am a real-life thief, and go take gasoline from gas stations without payment. Now if stealing and copying were equivalents, then one could say I "copied" gasoline from the gas station, which is semantically inaccurate.

Another example: one could "steal" the Eiffel tower, or one could "copy" it as casinos in Las Vegas have. It's copying may or may not be morally wrong, but there is a logical difference.

At a street carnival, I could steal an artist's work, depriving him of the original. or I could copy his work. Yes, if I start distributing copies it could deprive him of a sale, but let's not write the two off as the same thing.


If you want to educate your community to the harms of unauthorised copying, then please do. However when you start out with semantic errors, it opens you up to completely unnecessary attacks that detract from your argument, IMO.

So, what you should have said is:

"Unauthorized copying of a product with a price is BAD because it devalues the copied product."

Edited 2011-11-30 15:21 UTC

Reply Score: 3

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Unauthorized copying of a product with a price is stealing because it devalues the copied product.

Buying it results in more copies on the market; also, for example, 2nd hand market (NVM less people wanting to get it after... they/many got it). Hence it also devalues the product.

Oh, wait, right, 2nd hand sale is what many licensing & DRM schemes really target, want to make impossible. Never mind then, carry on.

Reply Score: 2

Oracle vs Google
by bfr99 on Wed 30th Nov 2011 19:19 UTC
bfr99
Member since:
2007-03-15

My reading of this opinion is that .h files are as subject to copyright like any another other source code. No doubt others will disagree vehemently.

Reply Score: 1

Function isn't the right word to be using
by Kalessin on Wed 30th Nov 2011 21:37 UTC
Kalessin
Member since:
2007-01-18

I wish that the term "function" weren't use in this article as it is. It's just plain confusing to a programmer. "Functionality" would be far better - and it is used some of the time in the article, but not all the time. Functions - as the term is use by programmers - are copyrightable, because they're concrete source code. Functionality, on the other hand, is not copyrightable, and it's good to see that the courts are showing some good sense in that regard.

Reply Score: 2

obsidian Member since:
2007-05-12

Functions are copyrightable?

Maybe *some* are - the functions that someone writes themselves. However, I'd be a bit concerned if someone tried to copyright the sqr() function or the trig functions. I don't think there's much chance of that though.

Reply Score: 3

Kalessin Member since:
2007-01-18

Those functions are not original. They're also pretty much pure math. So, of course they aren't copyrightable. But functions in general are copyrightable or source code in general isn't copyrightable, because source code is made up primarily of functions.

Reply Score: 2

This ruling and WINE
by fredbooth on Fri 2nd Dec 2011 21:01 UTC
fredbooth
Member since:
2008-01-07

Doesn't WINE allow open source OS users to do the same type of thing - ie run programs designed for another operating system (software program) on a different operating system (software program)?

Plus I've just seen an ad for a $5 program to allow Mac OSX users run Windows progs within OSX.

Are these illegal, then?

Reply Score: 1