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Chris Hollander

student researcher ,

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SOPA wants to modernize penal and enforcement policies, should we also modernize definition of Intellectual Property?

Anyone who has used any form of creative software has at some time utilized templates, loops, backgrounds, fonts or any number of preconceived designs in the process of generating their own work. Under our current standards these designs are considered intellectual property the same as the more traditional forms; books, music, movies ect. Typically, a company like Microsoft will allow use of the Helvetica font under its licensing of its product, Word, but does the nature of the explosion of reuse and reformation of designs to create entirely new and imaginative expressions demand rethinking of how we determine the value and definition of digital intellectual property?

Are there other areas of Copyright law that need similar scrutiny ?
(GMOs, Life Patents, Trademarks ect.)

Can the argument be made that we have outgrown Copyright law as a society?


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  • Feb 17 2012: Pirate Bay is not competition, Pirate Bay is simply crime. Should legitimate retailers compete against back-alley vendors selling stolen goods? Just accept stolen goods as part of the new reality, or call upon the police to try and reduce shoplifting?

    I am not against indies, innovation, etc. I am against theft. It is bad at so many levels it would take me all day to get into them all. among them, rarely mentioned, is that it's not a good idea to teach our kids its' OK to cheat and steal, or for those kids to get in that habit by frequent torrent use. That is moral decay, plain and simple.

    Without piracy/crime, there would be simple metrics for determining per-unit cost of digital goods (and the price would be way lower - for example, if everyone who used Photoshop did so legally, they'd probably price it at less than 5% what it costs now, to get a bigger total off of the equation: no. of users X price.) besides, anyone with even basic understanding of economics knows that per-unit means nothing. It's the cost of making the first copy that matters, and it costs millions to make any watchable film that is not relying on some home-video gimmick, like Paranormal or Blair Witch (and by the way, Blair Witch paid no one - in a sense they cheated all the people who worked on it. It costs millions to develop and refine complex software, etc.

    Fact remains, indy film had a much easier time of things when Internet piracy was lower, and there was much more money invested in software innovation. You all want some imaginary world where talented film makers and software makers are you unpaid servants and that's fine to want that, but no such world will be forthcoming.
    • Feb 17 2012: Piracy is NOT theft: "the dishonest taking of property belonging to another person with the intention of depriving the owner permanently of its possession" - note "possession". When I copy your copy I do not STEAL anything, I duplicate and leave the original source intact. Do I steal if I take a photo of a photo? The whole idea of comparing piracy to shoplifting is absurd, as shoplifting removes physical property from it's owner.

      It is not stealing, it is sharing, a social behavior that emotionally affects us in a positive way.

      Right now as good as no teenager that doesn't get a discount for Photoshop simply can not afford it which they should be wholly and fully aware of. Adobe gets licenses for thousands of dollars from companies and so fourth that are using their products. In fact, it may just be a legit business model as those who pirate Photoshop now are more likely to demand the product at work. Not true. The video quality of recording devices that are available to indie projects are already better then what we had in the 80's, and people love working together with other people and helping out instead of just passively consume. Things will work differently no doubt, but claiming that it will kill creative productions is a blatant lie.

      Not true even the slightest. The trend that I see is that the more people share, the more they are willing to share/donate money to something that they want to see made. I want a world where I can support the projects that I personally care about instead of being the ripped off servant to giant entertainment companies. My heart goes to the truly creative people and not the business built around exploiting them.
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      Feb 17 2012: i'm not buying your utilitarianism. laws must be built on ethics. and the ethics of this situation is clear: i'm not in any contract with company X, so i can copy any piece of information i can rightfully lay a hand on, even if they are the original creator of that information. i have no obligation to them. if they ask me to pay them for their efforts, i'm going to consider it, but that's it. they also can make a contract with their customers, and forbid giving away copies of that information under the pain of some huge fine. it is also okay for me. but it is not legally binding to any 3rd party. that is the ethical analysis of the situation. the current law does not reflect it. the proposed new laws do so even less.
    • Feb 17 2012: "Fact remains, indy film had a much easier time of things when Internet piracy was lower, and there was much more money invested in software innovation. You all want some imaginary world where talented film makers and software makers are you unpaid servants and that's fine to want that, but no such world will be forthcoming."

      No facts here.

      You are definitely not speaking for the software developers. It was never so easy to deliver good software, especially because of the open source community (if we depended on the corporations, we would still be using something like IE5, and would have to deal with Oracle for all our database needs).

      It is indeed harder to sell software, but software innovation is definitely the strongest now than it ever was. It is just that software developers (unlike you) have found innovative ways of making money. We do not depend on selling intellectual property anymore, we sell solutions and services instead (which cannot be so easily "stolen", just to begin with).

      And good software developers were never so valued as of now, because they are able to find good solutions to any problem, and it is so easy to know their true abilities (you just have to look for their profile in a decent open source project, and see how well they work). Even the youngest indie can get a pretty good reputation and visibility this way.

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