Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 22nd May 2012 09:51 UTC
In the News "Over half of PC users worldwide have admitted to using pirate software last year, according to a study by the trade group Business Software Alliance. BSA's ninth annual Global Software Piracy Study has shown a sharp increase in software piracy, especially among emerging economies. In the UK, more than one in four programs users installed in 2011 were unlicensed." If people decide en masse not to adhere to a law, said law is worth about as much as the paper it's written on. Laws become functional not because of the Queen's signature, but because the people decide to adhere to it. It's becoming ever clearer that as far as digital goods go, the law is not functional - for better or worse.
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Comment by Alex Hitech
by Alex Hitech on Tue 22nd May 2012 11:51 UTC
Alex Hitech
Member since:
2005-12-29

Laws become functional not because of the Queen's signature, but because the people decide to adhere to it.

This is both true and not. Laws obligate people to act in certain ways, since otherwise the order will be gone, and anarchy would rule the world. Therefore, laws are usually prohibitive, forbidding citizens from some activity. And yes, this is good, since it equals citizens - well, at least it should, - and leaves them more time to spend on other, legal activities.

However, since laws are prohibitive, people always will be unhappy with them. No matter how good or bad the law will, there always will be someone not happy. Even if the next law will cease all other laws, allowing citizens to do what they like to, there will be many people (including myself) who will rightfully claim this situation leaves them unprotected.

Overall, laws are good. If they don't suit, they can be changed - in legal ways. But while a law is in action, citizens absolutely must adhere to it.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Alex Hitech
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 22nd May 2012 11:56 in reply to "Comment by Alex Hitech"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Overall, laws are good. If they don't suit, they can be changed - in legal ways. But while a law is in action, citizens absolutely must adhere to it.


This is a flawed assumption, because it is based on the premise that the people can change laws. The reality of the matter is that they cannot. Not everybody is created equal in a democracy, and we see this every day - companies with large amounts of money and experience in Washington/The Hague/Brussels/etc. wield far more influence than the people do, to the point of the people's power being negligible.

The most powerful tool of the people when it comes to influence is to simply ignore bad laws. It happened with soft drugs in The Netherlands, it happened with segregation in the US, it happened with gay rights in The Netherlands, and god knows how many other things.

This ability to ignore laws is the most powerful tool the people has at its disposal. Claiming the people must always adhere to a law just because it is a law is a very dangerous and scary thought indeed.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: Comment by Alex Hitech
by looncraz on Tue 22nd May 2012 15:29 in reply to "RE: Comment by Alex Hitech"
looncraz Member since:
2005-07-24

Spot on!

It is also why juries have the power of nullification.

That way they can find someone to have done the crime, but deem that the punishment is likely too excessive to warrant a conviction - or outright to deem the law as unsound. It doesn't set a legal precedent, but it can cause a chain reaction nevertheless.

Most Americans don't know of this because it is against the rules of the court to inform the jury of their rights if you are the defendant. Problem is that means NO ONE informs the jury of their rights and so jury nullification only occurs very sporadically.

Then, you have two competing ideas as to what jury nullification means. In one train of thought, the judge can over-rule it... which, to me, seems to completely defeat the purpose of a jury!

Judges are fighting for the prior train of thought, of course, because they don't like the idea of having to 100% accept that the people (represented by the jury) have the power to over-power their laws, rulings, and legal precedents...

If I were in charge, I'd create a video to be shown to each and every jury of each and every size to inform them of all of their rights, powers, and privileges. I'd also permit & encourage the defendants to argue directly in favor of the use of jury nullification.

We would see FAR fewer cases where uploading a single CD lands one with even just thousands of dollars of penalties!

--The loon

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by Alex Hitech
by kokara4a on Tue 22nd May 2012 12:14 in reply to "Comment by Alex Hitech"
kokara4a Member since:
2005-09-16

But while a law is in action, citizens absolutely must adhere to it.


I remember these lines from the movie Gandhi (1982):

Walker: "But you will obey the law?"
Gandhi: "There are unjust laws, as there are unjust men."

There's nothing sacred about laws. But if you don't like them you must try and change them, not simply disobey them. Although sometimes it works best when you make a point out of disobedience. Because in modern democracy what is good for the people rarely prevails. Whereas Gandhi achieved so much under a hostile occupation. Go figure.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Alex Hitech
by zima on Tue 29th May 2012 23:41 in reply to "RE: Comment by Alex Hitech"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Because in modern democracy what is good for the people rarely prevails.

As opposed to non-modern democracy or other widespread non-modern systems?
(sure, our systems have some issues ...but don't talk about them in a way which implies mythologising the past - back then it was generally much worse)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by Alex Hitech
by Soulbender on Tue 22nd May 2012 15:27 in reply to "Comment by Alex Hitech"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Never heard of civil disobedience, have you?

Reply Parent Score: 4