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Old 04-06-2012, 11:38 AM   #16
CyGuy
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Originally Posted by BoldlyDubious View Post
2. to protect their revenues, companies are trying to pass the new concept that you don't pay to OWN THE MEDIA; you pay to PLAY THE CONTENT. They need this new concept, because they are not selling physical media anymore, and (with DRM) you don't even own the files you downloaded because you can't do what you want with them.
This new concept allows media companies to claim that if you play their content and didn't pay for them, you're a thief and should be treated as such.
Hopefully no one will fall for that! Seriously, that is so transparent that I am amazed this topic even comes up. If these companies really want to try to pull off "you don't own the media, you rented it" then they are the very people who are promoting file sharing. If they really want someone to blame they only need to find the closest mirror...
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:01 PM   #17
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I don't agree with the implication, but this reinforces the principle that content providers want it both ways -- all ways, really. They want IP treated as a tangible product when you need to replace or transform your purchase but want it treated as something else when you want to share it.

If I cannot loan my Harry Potter eBook to a friend because I licensed the IP, then I expect that I should be able to transform my books into eBooks at no additional cost. In fact, I think I should be able to 'refresh' my IP when it is no longer consumable in its original form -- whether that be from wear and tear on a book or the fact that my new eReader does not support the format I specified when purchasing the IP.

Only among content providers is an act that leaves the victim with no less than they started with called theft.
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Old 04-06-2012, 01:27 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by BoldlyDubious View Post
The viewpoint on piracy pushed forward by content providers (e.g., movie production firms) implies something that they don't want us to realize. Precisely, the fact that "illegal download = theft" implies that we are all entitled to a free replacement for every work (book, music, movie, ...) that we legally download, don't like, and don't want to keep.
No, there is no such implication. What there is is a non-sequitur.
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Please bear with me, and I will explain why.

According to content providers, every time you play content (e.g., a movie) without having paid the provider for it, you are stealing.
I don't know of any content provider who claims this. They *might* claim that if you pirate a CD you have committed theft, but I've never seen the claim that you commit an additional theft every time you play that CD.
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For instance, if you download a record shared by someone and play it on your stereo, you are stealing from the record company. On the contrary, if you get the same content from the content provider (the record company), paying for it the asked price, the exchange is considered fair.
1. Again, I don't know of any requirement that you "play it on your stereo." You just have to download it. Just like you have committed theft if you sneak the skillet out of the store without paying for it: there is no requirement that you actually use it to make an omelette.

2. I'm also not sure whether the exchange would be considered "fair" or not. It's considered legal.
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Content providers hasten to point out that the price you pay is not (neither should be) connected to the actual packaging and delivery cost that they must sustain to provide you with the content: in fact, for downloads such costs are negligible.
Sure
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The viewpoint of content providers can be summarized by this statement:


the obligation for the user to pay the provider for media content is attached to the act of playing the content, not to the actual cost for the provider of providing the user with it. Therefore, if you play and haven't paid, you are stealing from the content provider.
This is looking like a strawman argument. While I suppose content providers could tie payment to the act of playing, I don't think that any do. Any more than storekeepers tie payment to usage rather than taking possession.
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Now, to the interesting consequence of that.
What if I don't play content that I paid for? For instance, if I download a record and discover that I don't like the music, I will not play such record ever again.
According to the content providers, value is associated to playing: only in this way, in fact, they can justify the statement that if you play and don't pay, you are stealing. By the very same reasoning, if you pay and don't play, you have paid for nothing... and the content provider owes you!
But this is a strawman argument. Content producers don't tie payment to the act of playing. If you buy a song from iTunes and never play it, content producers don't owe you anything; the transaction is complete when they sold you the right to download the song.

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How can they give you back your payment? Using money would be difficult, but there's a perfectly feasible alternative. You can get your money back in the form of something that for you has the same value of your useless purchase, and entails negligible additional costs for the provider: i.e., download of alternative content of your choice. The second download will, at the same time, erase the files of the unsatisfactory first download.
Pointless because they are not charging you to pay.
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So I make the following proposal:
Let's go on making "piracy" a crime akin to theft of physical goods (which is what content providers want). But, at the same time, let's pass laws that entitle the purchaser of unsatisfactory content to exchange the unsatisfactory download for other content of her/his choice, for free. The only condition will be that the substitution should take place within 24 hours from the purchase.

This should settle the issue. Every piece of content that is actually played by users will have been paid for. Which is what media companies claim they want, right? They would never try to charge people for content that never gets played ;-)
Not what media companies claim that they want at all. Nor what they practice.
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As a side effect, my proposal should also force the content providers to strive for higher artistic quality, which is -in my view- not a bad thing at all.
What do you all think of this?
Well, the argument itself is specious.

As a suggestion for a business model for content providers...well, it sort of sounds like when you have preinstalled "trialware" on a computer you buy. I don't think that's a great model, but some content providers do use it.

But I don't see the advantage for something like Amazon or iTunes - and it would require a fairly intrusive scheme to know whether I actually played the content at all. (Sort of like what Amazon and iTunes do for movie rentals, although those expire after a time even if you never watch the movie.)
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Old 04-06-2012, 01:34 PM   #19
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Businesses are in business to sell products. There is nothing implicit in the business model that a business has to accept back a properly-functioning product, just because the purchaser decided not to use it. The fact that a business won't allow you to return, for refund or exchange, one of their products is not a defacto reason of condemnation.
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Old 04-06-2012, 01:46 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Steven Lyle Jordan View Post


Businesses are in business to sell products. There is nothing implicit in the business model that a business has to accept back a properly-functioning product, just because the purchaser decided not to use it. The fact that a business won't allow you to return, for refund or exchange, one of their products is not a defacto reason of condemnation.
This thread is a Bizarro-world; I can't seem to wrap my brain around the OP's argument and find myself agreeing with SLJ.
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Old 04-06-2012, 02:08 PM   #21
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To Andrew H: "if you sneak the skillet out of the store without paying for it: there is no requirement that you actually use it to make an omelette."
This comparison is wrong and misleading, for two reasons:
1. if I steal a skillet, the shopkeeper does not own it anymore and cannot sell it to someone else; if I illegally download a movie, the publisher does not lose property.
2. if I have a skillet, be it bought or stolen, it is mine. I can sell it, lend it, give it as a gift to a friend, or take it to my new house. If I download (DRM'd) content, I am not allowed to do these things (for "house" read "device").

"Content producers don't tie payment to the act of playing."
My point is that in reality they DO, without saying it. Otherwise, how could they complain if you get and play the content (illegally) without any involvement on their part?

"As a suggestion for a business model for content providers..."

Mine is not a suggestion for a business model: it is a statement (in the form of proposal for legal action) about the unacceptable fact that media companies want all the advantages of selling physical media, AND all the advantages of selling software-like licenses. Wizwor explained this perfectly.
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Old 04-06-2012, 02:12 PM   #22
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This thread is a Bizarro-world; I can't seem to wrap my brain around the OP's argument and find myself agreeing with SLJ.
Seconded (not that I think agreeing with SLJ is bizarro in of itself).
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Old 04-06-2012, 02:16 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Steven Lyle Jordan View Post


Businesses are in business to sell products. There is nothing implicit in the business model that a business has to accept back a properly-functioning product, just because the purchaser decided not to use it. The fact that a business won't allow you to return, for refund or exchange, one of their products is not a defacto reason of condemnation.
This is an interesting angle. I agree: I have no right to demand legal action to modify a business model, if it doesn't suit me. So, do businessmen in the media market have the right to demand that the law is changed in order to make their business model feasible in the face of changed market and technology conditions?
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Old 04-06-2012, 02:18 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by BoldlyDubious View Post
The viewpoint on piracy pushed forward by content providers (e.g., movie production firms) implies something that they don't want us to realize. Precisely, the fact that "illegal download = theft" implies that we are all entitled to a free replacement for every work (book, music, movie, ...) that we legally download, don't like, and don't want to keep.
Too much of a stretch; too many jumps to conclusions in your explanation.

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According to content providers, every time you play content (e.g., a movie) without having paid the provider for it, you are stealing.
Nope; they claim that acquiring access to the content is stealing, regardless of whether or not you use that access.

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So I make the following proposal:
[B]Let's go on making "piracy" a crime akin to theft of physical goods (which is what content providers want).
No, they don't. They really, really don't. They want piracy to be declared a criminal, not civil, form of copyright violation; they want the copyright-violation penalties, not the petty theft penalties that would be relevant if "downloading an ebook" were legally equivalent to "steal a pbook."

Also, they want to retain the right to file civil lawsuits instead of or in addition to criminal ones, so they can get damages. They don't want every downloader of a few dozen MP3s to be hit with a $500 fine and six month's of community service; they want BIIIG penalties. And they can't get that if the "piracy" is treated like replacements for physical objects.

Last edited by Elfwreck; 04-06-2012 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 04-06-2012, 02:37 PM   #25
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Ummm, how do you know if you like it or not if you've never played it? If you can tell that you don't like it without playing it, why would you buy it in the first place?

I think the adage "Let the buyer beware." would apply here.
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Old 04-06-2012, 02:37 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
This thread is a Bizarro-world; I can't seem to wrap my brain around the OP's argument and find myself agreeing with SLJ.
I think that a world where all of these are valid at the same time qualifies itself even better as a Bizarro-world:

1) Media companies sell you content (say, music) in exchange for money.

2) You don't own what you paid for: in fact, you are not allowed to do with it any of the things that you can do with your possessions (e.g., give it to someone else). Actually, the one thing you CAN do with it (so, by definition, the thing that you purchased) is play the content.
What the media company has sold you is a license to play the content.

3) However, you don't own the license you paid for. In fact you cannot transfer it to someone else (losing the benefit yourself), even for free. And it can become invalid if you change your playing device.

Last edited by BoldlyDubious; 04-06-2012 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 04-06-2012, 02:47 PM   #27
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Ummm, how do you know if you like it or not if you've never played it? If you can tell that you don't like it without playing it, why would you buy it in the first place?
True: my idea is that you should have a short time (say, 24 hours) to "check" the content you downloaded. If you like it, you keep it; otherwise, you can have it switched with something else.
For "long-lasting art" that's not a problem: I have hundreds of DVDs and hundreds of CDs, and most of them have been played many times, over tens of years. All "classics" could be thought as belonging to this category.
For "short lifespan art" (e.g., blockbuster movies), 24 hours could exhaust all the useful life of the content, though. That's why (in a previous post) I proposed that media companies can tag such items as "non-exchangeable".
Of course they should not be allowed to tag all of their output this way ;-)
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Old 04-06-2012, 03:15 PM   #28
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No, they don't. They really, really don't. They want piracy to be declared a criminal, not civil, form of copyright violation; they want the copyright-violation penalties, not the petty theft penalties that would be relevant if "downloading an ebook" were legally equivalent to "steal a pbook."
Thank you for the interesting comment. I'm not an expert, but I think that media companies do not want to tolerate any practice involving illegally obtained content, even if it poses no threat to their intellectual property at the copyright level.
Suppose that someone illegally gets a movie without even using the Internet (say, because someone gave them the file). Then this person sees the movie and deletes the file, without giving it to someone else. According to the "copyright violation level" scenario, media companies should not care much if such things happen. Instead, it seems to me that they want them fought against.
So really, media companies are trying to cover all bases here: the copyright-violation one, but also the "personal use" one. I was focusing on the last one.

Mind you, my proposal is not intended as an operative one, but as a basis for debate. I think that media companies should try to empower their customers, keeping them affectionate by providing high-quality content and service, instead of trying to use the law to club them into submission. I am happy to pay for quality content, and do so even when there's no obligation. My "try and -if you don't like it- exchange it" scheme is an example of the customer empowerment I am talking of.
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Old 04-06-2012, 03:49 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by BoldlyDubious View Post
Thank you for the interesting comment. I'm not an expert, but I think that media companies do not want to tolerate any practice involving illegally obtained content, even if it poses no threat to their intellectual property at the copyright level.
Oh, they don't, but they don't want it treated as the same type of legal violation as stealing a similar physical object; the penalties are too minor. They want to believe that downloading a file is $250,000 worth of damage to them, while stuffing a DVD under your shirt at Target and walking out with it deserves only a $200 penalty.

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Mind you, my proposal is not intended as an operative one, but as a basis for debate.
It's based on too many unproven assumptions/implications to work as a debate topic. Too big a stretch. You'd have to provide a more detailed foundation for your claims in order for people to follow the logic and stick to the aspects of media copyright infringement you want to focus on.

Quote:
I think that media companies should try to empower their customers, keeping them affectionate by providing high-quality content and service, instead of trying to use the law to club them into submission. I am happy to pay for quality content, and do so even when there's no obligation. My "try and -if you don't like it- exchange it" scheme is an example of the customer empowerment I am talking of.
Plenty of stores have try-and-exchange systems for physical objects, although often with a small penalty for the exchange so the store isn't losing overhead cost on every transaction. However, part of how that's affordable is that stores assume that most people won't exchange an item even if they're not entirely happy with it--in part, because of the hassle of exchanging: must return to store, stand in line, possibly fill out forms.

Removing the barriers to quick & easy exchanges would increase them, which isn't good for businesses, and there's always the chance of fraud: Users who buy a book or movie, watch or read it, and return it, claiming to have not liked it. The hassles of exchange of physical media keeps this practice at a minimum--also, there's no ability to *keep* the physical object.

With digital files, a person can keep the file at the same time they "return" it; with no ability to prevent massive returns under false pretenses, most digital business are unwilling to offer exchanges.
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Old 04-06-2012, 04:10 PM   #30
BoldlyDubious
what if...?
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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Thank you Elfwreck for your critique. Yes, I know that the logic behind my proposal (it's actually the media companies' logic!) is a bit tortuous. However, my opening post was already too long :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
Plenty of stores have try-and-exchange systems for physical objects, although often with a small penalty for the exchange so the store isn't losing overhead cost on every transaction. However, part of how that's affordable is that stores assume that most people won't exchange an item even if they're not entirely happy with it--in part, because of the hassle of exchanging: must return to store, stand in line, possibly fill out forms.
In the case of downloaded content, the "shop" has a key advantage: the exchange process itself entails negligible costs, it doesn't get back reduced-value items, and no personnel is required to manage it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
Removing the barriers to quick & easy exchanges would increase them, which isn't good for businesses, and there's always the chance of fraud: Users who buy a book or movie, watch or read it, and return it, claiming to have not liked it.
This is why I think that there should be a (short) time limit to request the exchange.

I keep thinking that, over the years of my passion for (obscure) music, I never had the possibility to try before buying. Maybe something I read about. I had to actually buy the LP or CD, bring it home, and find out if I liked the music or not. In this way I bought tens of records that I found out to be uninteresting (along with many other interesting ones). I would certainly have spent more money on music if I was certain that every purchase was worthwhile. And I cringe at the thought of all the exciting music that must have missed because I didn't want to risk the money.
And now, that media companies could implement such a scheme at negligible cost... they don't. And they struggle fiercely to keep the old, outdated selling scheme of "first buy, then discover what you've actually bought". What a waste.
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