Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 9th Jun 2011 18:51 UTC
Internet & Networking It's official now. The signs had been there for a while now. While the west bangs on about the importance of freedom and democracy, they don't actually want anyone to have too much of it. The US, France, and the UK have jointly pretty much declared war on freedom on the web.
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Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

What is stolen is something of value to me. Because you are depriving me of the ability to make money off of my own creations.

But someone who does IP infringement is not depriving you from the ability to make money off your creations. You can still make them, people can still buy them.

What that someone is doing is acting as if he had, like you, the right to distribute copies of your product, and thus to distribute copies of your product too. Which is the very definition of counterfeiting, at least where I live.

Btw, what would you call illegally downloading copyrighted content then?

Counterfeiting. You make a copy of the protected content, as if you were its owner, except you're not.

Surely you would not call it "piracy", since the definition piracy is theft on the high seas. So if you call it piracy, you've not only engaged in another semantic error by your own logic. But you've also created a circular definition. So if it's not theft, and it's not piracy, what would you call it?

Counterfeiting, or IP infringement. You're right that piracy is a terrible word for this, using it in the context of intellectual property violation is stupid and confusing. Thanks for pointing it out, I really have to use it less.

I'm really not going to continue this semantic argument with you. The law clearly states that copyright infringement is a form of theft. So quite frankly, you are the one that is semantically wrong here.

Where I live, law describes it as a form of counterfeiting, which is different from theft, is treated by different laws, and is subject to different punishments. That could be where the confusion comes from. In that case, it seems we've reached a dead-end, since what each of us calls "the law" is a different object which handles the same matters in different ways.

The legal definition of theft does NOT require that original physical property be taken. It really is that simple.

Again, here the definition of theft is... "Taking, appropriating itself something that is someone else's property through tricks or force"

EDIT : For the legalese version, I'll try to translate it roughly...

"Any publication of written, musical, sketched, painted, or otherwise partly or fully printed or etched document, in violation of laws and regulations concerning the authors' property, is counterfeiting, and counterfeiting is a misdemeanour.

Counterfeiting in France such matters, be they edited in France or abroad, is punished by a three years jail sentence and a fine of 300 000 euros.
[...]
Is also counterfeiting any reproduction or diffusion, by any mean, of a creation of the spirit in violation of the author's rights as defined and regulated by the law."

(Some specifics about software and cinema follow)

Edited 2011-06-10 17:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

But someone who does IP infringement is not depriving you from the ability to make money off your creations. You can still make them, people can still buy them.


But people won't buy them. That is obvious. If they can get the exact same thing for free or for far less from the guy next door, they won't buy it from me. So yes, they are depriving me of my ability to make money off my creation.

What that someone is doing is acting as if he had, like you, the right to distribute copies of your product, and thus to distribute copies of your product too. Which is the very definition of counterfeiting, at least where I live.

Btw, what would you call illegally downloading copyrighted content then?


Counterfeiting. You make a copy of the protected content, as if you were its owner, except you're not.


I wouldn't call it counterfeiting. In your example with the shirts, yes, it is counterfeiting. But counterfeiting is defined as an imitation of the original that you are trying to pass off as genuine. Illegally copying software is not counterfeiting for two reasons. First of all, it's not an imitation. It's the exact same thing. Second of all, there's no attempt to pass it off as an imitation of the original. The person receiving the copied software almost invariably knows that it is not a legitimate legal copy, and intentionally went out looking for an illegal copy to save money.

Where I live, law describes it as a form of counterfeiting. That could be where the confusion comes from. But then who's right, and who's wrong?


Understandable. If you were selling copies of Microsoft Windows in shrink wrapped boxes and trying to pass them off as legitimate copies of Windows that came from Microsoft and were licensed. That would be counterfeiting. I think the key here is that, at least in the United States, counterfeiting requires that you are actively trying to create an imitation and pass it off as the original. That's usually not the case with simple illegal software sharing.

Again, here it is... "Taking, appropriating itself something that is someone else's property through tricks or force"


Again, legal definitions are sometimes different than common definitions. And multiple laws, at least in the United States, use the words "theft" to describe criminal copyright violations.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

But people won't buy them. That is obvious. If they can get the exact same thing for free or for far less from the guy next door, they won't buy it from me. So yes, they are depriving me of my ability to make money off my creation.

That's not quite obvious. Illegal movies copies have existed for ages, yet people still buy DVDs and see movies in theater. Are they all stupid, or is there such a thing as caring about buying from the original author ?

I wouldn't call it counterfeiting. In your example with the shirts, yes, it is counterfeiting. But counterfeiting is defined as an imitation of the original that you are trying to pass off as genuine.

Indeed, where I live, trying to pass off as genuine is not a requirement (see the legalese above), it's the act of distributing copies of someone else's work without permission that counts.

Illegally copying software is not counterfeiting for two reasons. First of all, it's not an imitation. It's the exact same thing.

I'm not comfortable with this distinction. If, through industrial spying or reverse engineering, someone has gotten access to your shirt's plans, imitation can be equivalent, according to industrial criteria, to the original. Conversely, in case of software, it is frequent that the distributor cannot make a reliable copy of physical DRMs on the optical medium and has to release an imperfect copy along with some piece of code that bypasses the physical DRM check. Does it make distributing that imperfect copy less illegal ?

Second of all, there's no attempt to pass it off as an imitation of the original. The person receiving the copied software almost invariably knows that it is not a legitimate legal copy, and intentionally went out looking for an illegal copy to save money.

If you see a Lacoste shirt costing 10 times less, you should be suspicious ;) At least that's an argument frequently used by people who try to make buying counterfeited goods something that can be punished by the law, though I agree that things aren't as simple in practice.

But again, the difference seems to be that your definition of counterfeiting implies actively trying to make the copy look like a genuine original. We have nothing like that.

Understandable. If you were selling copies of Microsoft Windows in shrink wrapped boxes and trying to pass them off as legitimate copies of Windows that came from Microsoft and were licensed. That would be counterfeiting. I think the key here is that, at least in the United States, counterfeiting requires that you are actively trying to create an imitation and pass it off as the original. That's usually not the case with simple illegal software sharing.

It could be argues that you create an imitation, in the sense of something that works like genuine software even though it isn't, but the requirement from US law that the distributor tries to sell the copy as a genuine original certainly makes your acceptance of the "counterfeiting" term more narrow than what we have there.

Again, legal definitions are sometimes different than common definitions. And multiple laws, at least in the United States, use the words "theft" to describe criminal copyright violations.

I know, that's why I've also put a bit of legal text, translated as well as I could (I was not sure about how to translate "délit" as an example. It's something worse than an infraction and better than a crime so I've taken "misdemeanor").

Edited 2011-06-10 18:14 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

Counterfeiting, or IP infringement.


I would also point out that at least in the United States, counterfeiting is usually a much more serious crime than simple electronic theft or IP infringement. Because counterfeiting involves elements of fraud and attempts to deceive the person receiving the counterfeit item into believing that it is an original and/or legitimate "real thing". Again, that's usually not the case with simple illegal software sharing. No attempt is made to cover up the fact that it is an illegal copy. And the person receiving the illegal copy is well aware that it is an illegal copy.

Again, exceptions apply if you selling illegal copies of Windows in shrink wrapped boxes that you have tried to make look like authentic products. That is counterfeiting, and is a much more serious crime than simple illegal sharing.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I would also point out that at least in the United States, counterfeiting is usually a much more serious crime than simple electronic theft or IP infringement. Because counterfeiting involves elements of fraud and attempts to deceive the person receiving the counterfeit item into believing that it is an original and/or legitimate "real thing". Again, that's usually not the case with simple illegal software sharing. No attempt is made to cover up the fact that it is an illegal copy. And the person receiving the illegal copy is well aware that it is an illegal copy.

Again, exceptions apply if you selling illegal copies of Windows in shrink wrapped boxes that you have tried to make look like authentic products. That is counterfeiting, and is a much more serious crime than simple illegal sharing.

Yup, see what you mean, and luring people into thinking that the copy is genuine definitely puts you in a worse situation when facing justice here too. I couldn't find an article about this situation in the law article about counterfeiting, so I believe that in that case you would face a separate accusation about luring people into believe that a fake copy is genuine. Maybe this qualifies as a "faux" (forgery ?), but I'm not 100% sure of it.

"Is a [faux] any illegal alteration of the truth that may cause a prejudice and is done in any way, on a written support or through any other thought expression mean, that aims at and can have the effect of establishing the proof of a right or a fact having juridical consequences."

Edited 2011-06-10 18:36 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

[q]Counterfeiting, or IP infringement.


There's also an issue with simply calling it IP infringement, at least in the United States. IP infringement usually doesn't fall under criminal law. And often it can be considered unintentional. IP infringement is typically what happens with software patent lawsuits for example. In most cases, IP infringement is not a criminal offense, and is resolved in civil court or through an out of court settlement.

Blatantly and intentionally distributing or receiving illegal copies of software though is a criminal act. So there is, at least in the United States, a significant difference between IP infringement, and IP theft.

Reply Parent Score: 2