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The thing that makes me laugh about all of this, and one of the key
things I learned from reading Gibbon's Decline & Fall is this:
The number and frequency of laws passed regarding things directly
relates to how widespread these things are, and how they much the laws
are ignored and ineffective. Laws can't prevent a damn thing, they can
only specify remedies. As it is said, "it's only illegal if you get caught".
The cat is out of the bag and will never be put back in. There's no way
to stop people from 'illegally' copying copyrighted material.
If they somehow managed to require and implement tech so that perfect
digital copies can't be made (unlikely) then people will simply use a
camera to record the video as it plays on the screen. Hey, wait a
minute, that sounds just like that screener I downloaded someone taped
in Russia! ;)
If they manage to require and implement tech so that you can't trade it
over the internet (unlikely) then people will simply trade it on private
networks or, like we used to do in the old days, via sneakernet.
The problem is that in an attempt to control the dissemination of
copyrighted material (and people are right, artists do have a right to
reap the benefits of their effort) the powers-that-be are stepping over
the line and into territory that impacts our ability to communicate in
the fashion we choose.
It might be fine to try and prevent piracy but in the process of doing
so you are trashing the other desires of people that have nothing to do
I'm sure if the copyright lobby had their way, they'd require us to wear
special glasses in order to see our laptop screens, on the assumption
that anything not explicitly licensed was assumed to be unlicensed, and
thus pirated, which we would be blocked from our field of view... and as
a result, some girl/guy who wants to write a simple freeware text editor
now has to jump through regulatory hoops and spend money to obtain a
special registration that allows their text editor to display to the
screen. This is a cheesy example, but I think it makes the point.
In the guise of 'protecting artists and businesses' what is happening is
that the powers-that-be are requesting (and too often getting) powers
that allow them to trample on the general idea of freedom of
communications and other things people cherish.
As a result, people are inclined to engage in the very behaviours that
elicited the laws and crackdowns, quite simply, as a way to raise their
middle finger and say "Fuck You".
This is when piracy and theft becomes freedom of expression - when it's
done in protest.
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