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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I think the distinction is highly important. The people speaking of copyright infringement in terms of "theft" tend to do so because they are being intentionally inflammatory and wish to dramatize the extent to which they have been victimized. It is more accurate to say "cheating" as you note and this is also less inflammatory. In the public consciousness a thief is a very bad sort of person who is doing a great deal of harm and the owners of the copyrights would like to borrow the negativity the public feels toward such persons. Infringing on copyright is, however, not a very harmful activity--certainly not on the same order as "regular" theft!--so I contend that to equate the two is misleading at best, fraudulent at worst.

If we're to have a proper debate over the role of copyright and the rights of the public vs. the rights of the author it is best to remain clear and honest on all sides. One way in which the "traditional media" side likes to bolster their position is by using poisonous, loaded language like "theft." By choosing the language for the debate they instantly start with a strong emotional advantage that they do not necessarily deserve. When I see someone using such language I must assume that he is doing so either out of ignorance, having been suckered by this kind of debate-framing language, or malice, intending to sucker more people and limit the scope of the debate to the questions and attitudes where he knows he can score points easily. It is for this reason that I take great exception to the use of such terms and will always speak against them, deny their appropriateness and attempt to replace them with "copyright infringement" or other accurate and appropriate terms wherever I can.

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