The way media piracy works is that one person or group purchases a work, and then shares it with millions of other people. This supposedly deprives the author or artist of those millions of people’s money. One group has acquired over 50 million media items, and makes each of them available to approximately 20 million people — which must be a tremendous hit to creative professionals’ wallets. This notorious institution is called the New York Public Library.

It begs the question why every author, filmmaker, and musician isn’t up in arms about the New York Public Library’s rampant sharing, while there’s a ton of opposition to the sharing habits of BitTorrent peers who use The Pirate Bay. After all, The Pirate Bay’s community shares significantly less than the New York Public Library: just 1 million items in 2008 (and the collection certainly hasn’t grown 5000% since then). The reason that The Pirate Bay is offensive, and the New York Public Library is not, is because of its efficiency.

Before the New York Public Library can share an item with you, you first need to schlep all the way to 5th Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan. Then you have to walk around the massive building to find what you’re looking for. That is, if the item isn’t checked out. See, the New York Public Library has a peculiar system of storing their items: in finite, physical form. If you want to read a book or watch a film, there are only a few copies available. You can take an item home for a limited time (which forces other people to wait until you return it), but only if you live in New York State.

The Pirate Bay, on the other hand, requires you to type in a search term, click on a download button, and wait a little while. There’s no scarcity, no residency requirement, and you can do it from anywhere with Internet access. Significantly more efficient.

Either way, whether you read a library book or a torrented e-book, you no longer have to give the publisher any money. This has historically been okay, because in spite of everything, libraries haven’t killed publishing.

Physical public libraries — like the New York Public Library — are universally thought of as good for society. They provide free, open access to knowledge, culture, education, and even just entertainment to millions of people around the world. Anyone who demonizes the mission of these libraries is usually regarded as a wingnut, and not taken seriously. But it’s fairly mainstream to rail against filesharing sites like The Pirate Bay, Tuebl, and Take.fmAll these sites are doing is the same thing as brick-and-mortar libraries, but more effectively.

This is a comparison that really ought to have been pushed back when Napster was on the evening news. Filesharing sites and services are the most radically efficient public libraries that humanity has ever created. Never before has anything been better at giving the public open access to culture and knowledge. Mission accomplished. Why is this suddenly a bad thing?

If free and open access to all of human knowledge at the push of a button truly prevents our society’s beloved artists, authors, thinkers, and other creative people from putting food on their tables, then maybe it’s time to rethink how to put food on their tables.

Internet monitoring, copyright monopolism, and other methods of stopping filesharing aren’t an industry defending itself from economic damage. They’re a concerted effort to deny access to culture, tools, and information to working-class people in industrialized nations, and everyone else in the rest of the world. And the worst part is, it reinforces itself by turning struggling artists against struggling fans. [Read More @ Falkvinge.net]

Rick Falkvinge wrote a series on what identifies as Bitcoin’s four hurdles.  Another series will follow on Bitcoin’s four drivers.  This link for the title to this post is for Part Four - Exchanges.

In this huge opportunity to change the world forever, the largest exchange takes up to five days to move USD 1,000 worth because of legacy-banking regulatory bullshit.

 I expect nothing less than total by-the-second liquidity between Bitcoin and other currencies.

Previous Posts

This morning, it was discovered that Swedish police have been maintaining an extensive database of Romani people in Sweden, regardless of criminal history or suspicion. The highly illegal database includes kinship and one-quarter of the registered Romani people are children; over 50 are two-year-olds. This is a very loud warning bell of where things are […]

Rick Falkvinge || 2/13/2013 || Falkvinge.net

Five erroneous assertions have kept appearing in the public debate since 1990 about file-sharing vs. the copyright monopoly. These assertions have persisted for 25 years, despite being obviously false. This is a reference article to link to and point at whenever one of them pops up the next time.

It can seem disheartening that factually false – as in 180-degrees wrong, just-read-the-text wrong – arguments persist for a quarter of a century, but there is a lot of money in perpetuating these untruths. If you have fallen for one of these, you are not alone; the first step to understanding the criticism against the copyright monopoly is understanding what it is.

Therefore, as we uncover these misconceptions, we also learn what kind of legal mechanism the copyright monopoly is. (United States law will serve as an example for this article. Legislation is similar elsewhere.)

1. The copyright monopoly is just that: a monopoly.

The first fact is that the copyright monopoly is not property, but a monopoly. Normally, we hate monopolies and other forms of cartels. We raid their asses at dawn and haul them off to court for price-fixing. Property rights, on the other hand, are the basis for the entire economy. No wonder you try to put everything you do in the “property” camp rather than the “monopoly” camp.

We can observe how the copyright monopoly is enabled in the U.S. Constitution, article 1, section 8, which speaks of giving Congress the right to give authors and inventors an “exclusive right” – a legal term we would call “a monopoly” in everyday language. You can also hear this language between copyright monopoly lawyers – they don’t say “we own”, only PR people and lobbyists use that deceptive and erroneous language. Copyright monopoly lawyers are precise in their language. They say “we hold the exclusive rights”.

US Constitution: The Congress shall have the power […] to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

(Some people protest this observation by claiming that property rights, too, are exclusive rights, and so this passage could just as well refer to property rights. That’s deceptive and not true, confirmed by the trivial observation that the US Constitution writes property when it means property, such as in the fifth amendment.)

The United States Constitution will have to serve as an example here. Other constitutions are similar.

Another obvious point to make here is that if the copyright monopoly were property, then the copyright monopoly laws would not have been needed in the first place, as property laws would suffice. But the copyright monopoly laws are on the books, and therefore obviously not dealing with property.

The copyright monopoly is actually four different conceptual monopolies. It is commercial monopolies on duplication and public performance, and it is so-called moral rights to be associated with one’s work and to have the right of veto against conceptual violations of it. These are four quite different mechanisms.

You can help spread understanding of the fact that the copyright monopoly is a monopoly by consistently saying “the copyright monopoly”, just like we do here and others do too.

But copyright monopolists keep asserting the copyright monopoly is a form of property, so are they wrong? More than that. The copyright industry tries to whitewash their monopolies by calling them “property” whenever they can, in order to make their monopolies sound more palatable and justified – but using propagandistic words doesn’t change reality. In particular, this applies for the oft-peddled whitewashing term “intellectual property”, which you should never use except for like I do here, to tell people why it is completely wrong – for what it refers to is neither intellectual nor property. At best, it is industrial-era protectionism. (Just because you call a dogshit “lovely-smelling flower” through intense lobbying, that doesn’t make it smell good or actually be a flower. Don’t parrot lobbyist language.)

The copyright monopoly is a governmentally-sanctioned private monopoly that interferes with and limits property rights.

2. Infringements of this duplication monopoly is not theft.

This leads us to the second misconception: Infringements of the copyright monopoly is not theft. Neither factually, nor legally, nor from any conceivable philosophical angle. This is easily observed by seeing that if an infringement were theft, we wouldn’t need the copyright monopoly laws in the first place – ordinary property law would suffice.

Under Swedish law, there are even more nuances that reinforce this trivial observation. The Swedish word for infringement of the monopoly is intrång, and it is the same legal term as for trespassing on somebody’s lawn without their permission – and the same legal severity. (If you take an apple while on the lawn and eat it, it becomes theft. If you also take an unlocked bike, use it to get downtown, and leave it there, there’s a middle term – tillgrepp.) So the legal term for infringement is at least two steps away in seriousness from theft – if the comparison can even be made, as it’s conceptually different.

Something given or shared of free will cannot be described as theft in any philosophy, and somebody else is sharing their copy with you of their free will in a typical file-sharing process as you are manufacturing your own copy. It is, however, infringing a governmentally-sanctioned duplication monopoly, which is a completely different beast than property rights.

3. Copying something outside the monopoly channels is not “taking without paying”. It is manufacturing.

The third misconception is that violating the copyright monopoly is just like “walking into a store and taking things without paying”. This argument, which is wrong on every possible level, is inexplicably still heard 25 years after the public debate started.

Making copies isn’t taking anything in the first place. You are not taking anything without paying, you are manufacturing something without paying the monopoly holder. This is completely different conceptually and morally.

When you are making a copy of media that is under the copyright monopoly, you are not taking property from anybody else. You are using your own property – your computer and gadgets, presumably – to manufacture a copy of a file. That’s not “taking” anything. That’s manufacturing something using your own time and resources. Those are two completely different concepts.

You are not taking something without paying. You are manufacturing something without paying protection money to a monopoly holder, which sounds much less wrong than “taking” things. When using proper language, it becomes all the clearer how this monopoly is in all the trouble it should be in.

4. When buying a book or a DVD, it becomes your property in full.

I have seen some people argue that when you buy a book or DVD, you don’t actually own it; that you would somehow pay money to license a set of rights that include the right to sit down and enjoy its entertainment, but would not include the right to copy it. This is factually and legally wrong. When you buy media, you buy the whole media. It becomes your property in full, including everything encoded onto it.

So if it’s your property, why can’t you copy it freely? That’s because another law – the copyright monopoly – steps in and explicitly takes away those rights from you in regards to your own property. Specifically, the U.S. law (which will have to serve as example again) lists six specific actions that people may not take on their own property, but that are reserved for the holder of the copyright monopoly:

USC Section 17, chapter 1, para 106:

[The copyright monopoly holder…] under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;

(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

(4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;

(5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and

(6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

Very, very clear. Six specific actions in the law that are reserved for the holder of the copyright monopoly, regardless of whose property it is.

But we observe here, going back to the original erroneous assertion, that if you were only sold a limited set of rights that did not include copying when buying a book or a DVD, the above piece of law would be wholly unnecessary. It wouldn’t make sense at all. Therefore, the conclusion is trivial that the assertion is wrong to begin with.

When you buy a book, a DVD, or something similar, you obtain full property rights to it, including the right to produce as many copies as you wish in any way you like. But then, another law steps in – the law text quoted above – and takes away those six rights from you, the property owner.

This is an important distinction, as these are rights that are perfectly normal for property, and the copyright monopoly creates an exception to your normal property rights.

5. The copyright monopoly is a limitation of property rights.

Misconception number five goes back to the original point of the copyright monopoly being described as “property”. After point four, we observe that the copyright monopoly is a limitation of property rights. This is a point important enough in itself to list as a fifth misconception: property rights and the copyright monopoly don’t and can’t coexist peacefully. The copyright monopoly actively limits property rights.

Thus, if you take your stance in the safeguarding and upholding of property rights, you cannot defend the copyright monopoly and its limitation of said property rights. That’s like defending death penalty for murder with the justification that all life is sacred. There may be other justifications – but that particular piece of logic just doesn’t connect.

'Rechter TPB zaak: tekstboek corrupt'

Om de rechter in de zaak Piraten Partij vs. Brein corrupt te noemen is misschien een brug te ver. Maar uit een artikel van falkvinge.net komt duidelijk naar voren dat er een schijn van belangenverstrengeling is. De website gaat zelfs zo ver om de rechter ‘tekstboek corrupt’ te noemen.

Onlangs velde rechter Chris Hensen het oordeel dat de Piratenpartij geen lijst met proxies naar the Pirate Bay op hun site mag zetten: alle links naar TPB zijn verboden. Internetters vertellen hoe ze het makkelijkste de ‘blokkade’ van ISPs kunnen omzeilen is ook verboden. Het veroorzaakt flink wat commotie: blogs noemen het vonnis een beperking van de vrijheid van meningsuiting.

Tekstboek corrupt

Maar waarom is de rechter ‘corrupt’? De rechter presideerde in 2010 over een andere zaak, waarin hij een discussieforum sloot. Het forum wisselde informatie over illegale bestanden uit - zonder naar de bestanden te linken.

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