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Thread: Do Not Steal Intellectual Property

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    Super Moderator Jefferson's Avatar
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    Do Not Steal Intellectual Property

    Do Not Steal Intellectual Property

    This is the show from Thursday August 15th, 2013

    BEST QUOTE OF THE SHOW:
    When God said you shall not steal, people were not making movies. They were not making software programs. They were not writing music and recording it on MP3 digital format. They werenít doing that. Today they are. And today, if someone is selling a book that they wrote and they spent 10 years writing and itís a popular book - although you could get it in PDF, audio form, you could read it, hear it online for free because people are copying it and giving it away for free - then youíre stealing from him the same as if you saw his wallet, opened it up and took money out. Itís the same.

    Although that intellectual property theft can easily mount up to millions of dollars. It does. Where itís usually hard for an actual criminal to steal millions of dollars. But via intellectual property itís a lot easier to steal a lot more. And our law makes a distinction between misdemeanors and felonies. And so Christians are easily stealing hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of material.

    One of our listeners in Michigan got angry at this message. And he said, ďItís ridiculous, this belief that you canít copy movies and software because,Ē he said, ďitís not possible to steal if they still have it. If they still have something then you canít be guilty of stealing.Ē

    So I asked him, ďWell, how about their signature which you put on pieces of paper? They still have it. But youíre stealing from them, misrepresenting the truth. How about printing dollar bills or hundred dollar bills? Every time you print one yourself, youíre robbing everyone because youíre diluting everyoneís money. And youíre suddenly a millionaire because you stole millions of dollars from the nation corporately. And so, just because they still have their hundred dollar bills doesnít mean you didnít steal if you made illegal copies of those bills. Or if you illegally copied their signature. Or illegally copied their movies.Ē

    So as Christians, our standard is higher than the law of the land. Our standard is God Himself, Godís righteousness. So that in every decision, every action that we partake of, the question is, ďAm I honoring God?Ē
    WARNING: Graphic video here.

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    What if someone stole some of your legitimately purchased music in hard copy form; is it wrong to borrow a copy from someone else and then make a digital copy?


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    Over 5000 post club The Barbarian's Avatar
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    Is it stealing to take songs off your collection of vinyl and put them into digital form so you can use them on your tablet?
    Let's say that I suffer from a delusion. I will call this delusion "Fact-check Syndrome." I respond by citing facts.

    Most people online don't want to be corrected. They do not care about anything that does not agree with them.

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    IP is a complicated issue. I'm not entirely opposed to it, but I don't really have a good intellectual principle regarding when it should and shouldn't be applied. And applying it for absolutely everything would be ridiculous.

    Real property is relatively easy to figure out. Maybe hard to trace, with our system as evil as it is, but its relatively easy to figure out who owns what, via homesteading and peaceful trade. Intellectual property is much, much trickier.

    How can you own thoughts? IP is honestly an issue I haven't thought about all that much, and don't have a wonderful answer to. Right now, I'm OK with copyrights but I don't support patents.

    Regarding counterfeiting, that's literally what the Federal Reserve IS. Counterfeiters only make the problem worse, but counterfeiting by the banks is already legal.

    Now, if we actually used gold and silver as money, or money backed by the same, counterfeiting would be fraud. Right now, the entire money system is a fraud.

    (I don't support counterfeiting or breaking IP laws, I'm just posting to discuss the theoretical principles involved.)

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    Theft's a funny issue for Enyart considering The Plot is wholly unoriginal.
    If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire.
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    LIFETIME MEMBER Yorzhik's Avatar
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    So when Pastor Enyart asks if it is OK to copy a signature or a dollar bill, is he saying that people would be arrested for "copyright violations" for doing those things? If not, then what are people arrested for when they do these things? Also, there are a number of advocates, like Stephan Kinsella, who work to rid the world of copyrights and patents, but have a perfectly logical reason to keep fraud laws. I wonder if we could get Kinsella with Pastor Enyart in a Battle Royal?
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    LIFETIME MEMBER Yorzhik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandPaulfor2016 View Post
    IP is a complicated issue. I'm not entirely opposed to it, but I don't really have a good intellectual principle regarding when it should and shouldn't be applied. And applying it for absolutely everything would be ridiculous.

    Real property is relatively easy to figure out. Maybe hard to trace, with our system as evil as it is, but its relatively easy to figure out who owns what, via homesteading and peaceful trade. Intellectual property is much, much trickier.

    How can you own thoughts? IP is honestly an issue I haven't thought about all that much, and don't have a wonderful answer to. Right now, I'm OK with copyrights but I don't support patents.

    Regarding counterfeiting, that's literally what the Federal Reserve IS. Counterfeiters only make the problem worse, but counterfeiting by the banks is already legal.

    Now, if we actually used gold and silver as money, or money backed by the same, counterfeiting would be fraud. Right now, the entire money system is a fraud.

    (I don't support counterfeiting or breaking IP laws, I'm just posting to discuss the theoretical principles involved.)
    Copyrights, which are identical to patents, are simply a government granted monopoly of an idea. And inevitably, they overlap with physical property because ideas are infinitely expandable. And, since one is governed by natural law, and the other is governed by the whims of government, the government controlled whim must prevail by necessity.

    Thus, even if you own the property of a book, it does not belong to you, but to the government. I realize a person might say "No, the book merely has some limitations imposed by the copyright holder. The book owner still owns the book." But the facts remain that the book is controlled by the government, and you can only do with it as the government grants control to you. The copyright holder is merely a government agent by contract.
    Good things come to those who shoot straight.

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    LIFETIME MEMBER Yorzhik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jefferson View Post
    One of our listeners in Michigan got angry at this message. And he said, “It’s ridiculous, this belief that you can’t copy movies and software because,” he said, “it’s not possible to steal if they still have it. If they still have something then you can’t be guilty of stealing.”

    So I asked him, “Well, how about their signature which you put on pieces of paper? They still have it. But you’re stealing from them, misrepresenting the truth. How about printing dollar bills or hundred dollar bills? Every time you print one yourself, you’re robbing everyone because you’re diluting everyone’s money. And you’re suddenly a millionaire because you stole millions of dollars from the nation corporately. And so, just because they still have their hundred dollar bills doesn’t mean you didn’t steal if you made illegal copies of those bills. Or if you illegally copied their signature. Or illegally copied their movies.”
    Translating the crime of fraud to the "crime" of violating a government granted monopoly of an idea is a translation that doesn't properly follow. IP being infinitely spreadable even over physical property is an argument against IP, but it isn't the only argument.

    Bills and signatures are special cases. If commodity money (i.e. gold and silver) were used, then the government wouldn't have to implement the special case of bills. However, because commodity money has certain properties that are different from paper or electronic money, and the government prefers the properties of paper/electronic money, they have implemented paper/electric money by their own force and it works along side commodity money that people can own. Technically, the bills are owned by the government and they let the people use them as a money system. It works (well, it could work) because of trust. We trust the government will protect its money system from internal and external copying. It is entirely another subject to discuss the internal threat the government is imposing on its own money system by creating new money and breaking the trust built into the system.

    Signatures are similar in that they are built on trust. The cool thing about signatures is that they can exist even if a government doesn't exist, unlike copyrights and patents. As already pointed out this is also true of commodity money. This can also be true of physical property *by contract*. But back to signatures. Signatures represent a person, and it is fraud if someone else claims to be them because they had certain trust in the individual that they were getting a signature from and the trust is broken if it isn't the person they thought they were. So the obvious question is, why is a government granted monopoly required for copyrights and patents when signatures and commodity money does not need such? Because nothing is being misrepresented by what people do with their own property.

    So, let's illustrate what would happen in a place where there are not copyrights or patents. Let's say a person was collecting a signature for a contract. He asks the signer to identify himself and the signer identifies himself as someone other than the signatory. The person collecting the signature would stop. "Hey, if you aren't X, why are you signing X's signature?" Whatever the reason, the signing of the contract wouldn't happen. How about a bill? A person goes to pay for something and says "this is my perfect copy of a bill", but no matter how good the copy is, a person won't take the bill. But let's do this with a book. A person goes to buy a book and asks if it is an original print. The person selling the book says it isn't, that it is a copy of his own original copy. The person can evaluate if the copy is worth what they are paying for it and decide to buy it or not. Unless the owner of the original book was under contract not to copy the book, they can do with their book and their copier as they please.

    And now, we can get on to the inevitable discussion about contracts.
    Last edited by Yorzhik; August 17th, 2013 at 02:27 PM.
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    Granite - stupid as ever.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Barbarian View Post
    Is it stealing to take songs off your collection of vinyl and put them into digital form so you can use them on your tablet?
    No. IP law allows for copying one's own legitimately purchased property for personal use. You just aren't allowed to make copies for other people, whether you give them away or receive payment.


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    No. IP law allows for copying one's own legitimately purchased property for personal use. You just aren't allowed to make copies for other people, whether you give them away or receive payment.
    That has been challenged. The recording industry is trying to make piracy laws as comprehensive as possible. While I don't copy media I don't pay for, I figure the recording industry brought this on themselves with outlandish prices, very little of which gets back to most artists.
    Let's say that I suffer from a delusion. I will call this delusion "Fact-check Syndrome." I respond by citing facts.

    Most people online don't want to be corrected. They do not care about anything that does not agree with them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yorzhik View Post
    So when Pastor Enyart asks if it is OK to copy a signature or a dollar bill, is he saying that people would be arrested for "copyright violations" for doing those things? If not, then what are people arrested for when they do these things? Also, there are a number of advocates, like Stephan Kinsella, who work to rid the world of copyrights and patents, but have a perfectly logical reason to keep fraud laws. I wonder if we could get Kinsella with Pastor Enyart in a Battle Royal?
    Man, I'd love to see Kinsella on here...

    That said, Kinsella is an atheist and Enyart's a theonomist. I don't think they could agree regarding what constitutes a valid source for the debate (Namely, Kinsella would be opposed to Biblical arguments, while Enyart entirely depends on them.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yorzhik View Post
    Copyrights, which are identical to patents, are simply a government granted monopoly of an idea. And inevitably, they overlap with physical property because ideas are infinitely expandable. And, since one is governed by natural law, and the other is governed by the whims of government, the government controlled whim must prevail by necessity.

    Thus, even if you own the property of a book, it does not belong to you, but to the government. I realize a person might say "No, the book merely has some limitations imposed by the copyright holder. The book owner still owns the book." But the facts remain that the book is controlled by the government, and you can only do with it as the government grants control to you. The copyright holder is merely a government agent by contract.
    So, to steal Murray Rothbard's argument, why couldn't I just put "Copyright" on the front of my book, after which you making copies and selling them would be a violation of contract?

    Note that I'm not 100% certain I disagree, I'm just curious what your take on that argument is. I'm sure Kinsella has addressed it as well but I'm not sure what his answer is/was.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lighthouse View Post
    No. IP law allows for copying one's own legitimately purchased property for personal use. You just aren't allowed to make copies for other people, whether you give them away or receive payment.
    IP is an issue I find extraordinarily difficult. It seems like basically any answer involves appealing to man's law. There are no easy answers from either the Bible or libertarian theory.

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    LIFETIME MEMBER Yorzhik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandPaulfor2016 View Post
    Man, I'd love to see Kinsella on here...

    That said, Kinsella is an atheist and Enyart's a theonomist. I don't think they could agree regarding what constitutes a valid source for the debate (Namely, Kinsella would be opposed to Biblical arguments, while Enyart entirely depends on them.)
    Well, Pastor Enyart would rely on a rational justification of right and wrong. So, yeah, that might be a problem.

    So, to steal Murray Rothbard's argument, why couldn't I just put "Copyright" on the front of my book, after which you making copies and selling them would be a violation of contract?
    And thus we enter what makes a contract.

    Here's the quick answer: Printing copyright on a book does not mean the person that buys the book agrees to the copyright. If a person does not agree to the terms, it is up to the SELLER to stop the sale. So basically, if a person buys the book and copies it in violation of copyright it is the selling agent that is responsible, not the copier.

    Note that I'm not 100% certain I disagree, I'm just curious what your take on that argument is. I'm sure Kinsella has addressed it as well but I'm not sure what his answer is/was.
    He does the long answer. It's better than mine.

    IP is an issue I find extraordinarily difficult. It seems like basically any answer involves appealing to man's law. There are no easy answers from either the Bible or libertarian theory.
    It's not difficult. Simply get the gov't out of granting monopolies and insure private property rights.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yorzhik View Post
    Here's the quick answer: Printing copyright on a book does not mean the person that buys the book agrees to the copyright. If a person does not agree to the terms, it is up to the SELLER to stop the sale. So basically, if a person buys the book and copies it in violation of copyright it is the selling agent that is responsible, not the copier.
    That clearly can't be right. Otherwise the buyer of the book is exempt from copyright restrictions which is just not true.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yorzhik View Post
    Well, Pastor Enyart would rely on a rational justification of right and wrong. So, yeah, that might be a problem.
    To be clear, I'm not an atheist, I'm a Baptist Christian. I was simply acknowledging that Kinsella is an atheist.


    And thus we enter what makes a contract.

    Here's the quick answer: Printing copyright on a book does not mean the person that buys the book agrees to the copyright. If a person does not agree to the terms, it is up to the SELLER to stop the sale. So basically, if a person buys the book and copies it in violation of copyright it is the selling agent that is responsible, not the copier.
    That might be correct, but doesn't change the reality of the situation.

    If necessary you could physically sign contracts, but that seems like an unnecessary step, you could simply state on the book that by buying you are consenting not to copy (Which is what "Copyright" generally means.)

    It's not difficult. Simply get the gov't out of granting monopolies and insure private property rights.
    I'm an aspiring author, who hasn't been published. I've spent several months working on my book, and will spend several more months editing.

    When I publish it, considering I did all the work, is it justifiable for someone else to be able to just print copies (very little work) and sell them?

    I guess the whole point of IP is for careers and jobs where the majority of the work is intellectual. It doesn't exactly seem fair to me that I could do all that work and then someone else could just copy my idea, put very little work into it, and sell to make a profit.

    That said, I respect Kinsella a lot and I do understand his arguments. I just don't 100% agree with him.

    At the same point, Enyart's argument is an appeal to legal positivism, which I don't generally agree with either.

    I'm still not quite sure where I stand.

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