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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RE: Comment by Alex Hitech
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 22nd May 2012 11:56 UTC 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[3]: Comment by Alex Hitech
by M.Onty on Wed 23rd May 2012 10:12 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Alex Hitech"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

Good point. However, under English Law at least, nullification works a bit different from that.

The jury does not have the right to nullify a law, and they cannot find someone guilty whilst refusing to see him penalised. The latter would be the judge's call. They can, instead, find him or her innocent of a crime even when it is overwhelmingly clear that he or she is innocent. Even when the defendant puts in a guilty plea.

It is technically illegal for a jury to do so, but as the judge is forbidden from punishing the jury or interfering with their decision there's nothing to stop them. In a very real way --- the way Thom was describing --- they ignore the law, and thereby change it.

Because this does set precedent under common law, the law in question is considered to have been nullified, i.e. rendered unenforceable, useless. Only an act of parliament can over turn this.

Personally I'm in favour of customary law such as the Xeer, which is much like common law except it takes into account a common consensus of what the law has always meant de facto. Would seem to address many of the flaws in our current systems.

Edited 2012-05-23 10:15 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2