Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 31st Aug 2010 22:09 UTC
Legal Despite doing what I think are some great things for the American people, the Obama administration has a dark side. Joe Biden and many others on staff come straight from the RIAA camp, and it shows. Today, the Obama administration disregarded every US law relating to theft and copyright by stating that piracy is "flat, unadulterated theft".
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sorpigal
Member since:
2005-11-02

Sneaking in to a concert doesn't involve any taking, so by your own definition it's not stealing.

You say that "When you take the work of others without payment you are stealing" bur this definition is obviously overly-broad: Many things are given away without payment and if I take them I am not stealing. I don't mean to be pedantic here but if you cannot even define theft in a way which doesn't trip over lawful actions that you probably agree with then how can it possibly be a correct definition? If you wish to dispute the legality of taking things without payment for which no payment was requested or desired then we can have a different discussion, but I will presume that you have the sense not to come out against libraries or free samples.

Stealing is when you have something and I take it FROM you. "Stealing" of information is a misnomer. In the USA theft is normally defined at the state level, so let's look at what California says about it (since we may presume that many recording artists and movie studios are based out of California).

California Penal Code § 484:

(a)Every person who shall feloniously steal, take, carry, lead, or drive away the personal property of another, or who shall fraudulently appropriate property which has been entrusted to him or her, or who shall knowingly and designedly, by any false or fraudulent representation or pretense, defraud any other person of money, labor or real or personal property, or who causes or procures others to report falsely of his or her wealth or mercantile character and by thus imposing upon any person, obtains credit and thereby fraudulently gets or obtains possession of money, or property or obtains the labor or service of another, is guilty of theft.


I have taken the liberty of placing in bold the relevant portions, as I understand it. The portions about fraudulent representation and pretense don't seem to apply to copyright infringement and look like they're intended to make cheating and conning fall under theft.

So far it looks like your definition is not very good, and my off-the-cuff definition is holding up. Dare we press on? The rest of section 484 concerns renting, leasing and card fraud so without objection I'll skip on a bit.

§ 485 is similarly unrelated to copyright infringement, dealing with lost property. § 486 and 487 divide theft into grand and petty and specifies what counts as grand theft. In all cases the language does not allow for non-physical items to be included.

§ 488:
Theft in other cases is petty theft.

So even if you're right then "piracy" is "petty theft."

§ 489 and 490 talk about punishment, prison terms and so forth. It also goes in to a few specifics which do not apply, including recording films in a movie theater. In this case it's clear that the crime is "interfering with and obstructing those attempting to carry on a lawful business" and not theft.

I could go on but by now I think my point stands:

Copyright infringement != theft.

Or, in other words, you're wrong.

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