I was a bit annoyed today reading through a few of the comments on this article in the Globe and Mail today.
Every time there is a debate about copyright law, there are always a slew of comments like the following:
“I walk into HMV and try and pocket a CD, DVD or game chances are I will be arrested and charged. Tell me how is it any different than doing the EXACT same thing while sitting at home in front of my computer.”Ok. I’m going to tell you exactly how it is different.
This is such a moronic argument, and it’s just not amusing anymore, because people are starting to believe it.
So here it is quite simply.
If you steal something, in the physical world, the original owner suffers a true and physical loss. They no longer have the thing you took.
On the other hand, if you make a copy of something, in the digital world, nothing is lost. In fact, there has been a net gain! In the digital world, you can literally create something of value (content) from nothing (random bits) at the touch of a button, for zero cost.
That’s why it is so bloody profitable!
The publishing and entertainment industries have successfully convinced us that corporations can “own” thoughts and ideas, but this is clearly not the case.
As soon as those thoughts or ideas are made public, they are “transferred” (ie. copied) to people’s minds! I can remember the plot and entire scenes vividly and accurately from the watching the movie “Avatar” in the theater. Is my brain a copyright circumvention device? Does it need to be confiscated? Should I be fined or jailed?
I have no problem at all with people making money from artistic pursuits. Books, live performances, music, television, movies – they’re all great fun. I’m very happy to contribute to the people and organizations that make them possible.
Clearly there should be laws to encourage and promote arts and entertainment. There should be solid public discussion as to what type of laws most benefit everyone – not just huge entertainment mega-conglomerates.
Nonetheless, this idea that copying things is equivalent to stealing needs to be stopped right here and now.
Never mind whether it is right, wrong, good or evil – it is something entirely different than stealing.