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Stunted By Reality Just another know-it-all talking about life, business, technology, sports and music.


Copyright infringement is not stealing


Maybe that ought to be a picture of a hammer cracking a nut.

Some time ago Fred Wilson on posted an article about how annoying he finds it when people describe copyright infringement as stealing. He has a point. Infringing a copyright is not stealing. It is just that an infringement. Both are wrong and in most countries illegal, but they are not the same.

I also find it very annoying when people use words that should apply in an effort to get me on their side. It's a bit like that scenario where someone tries to turn you against another person by telling you something bad they are meant to have done. Except in this case the the squealer doubts that they have sufficient ammo to get you worked up and have to dress it up. A lot.

And so it is that the digital protection agencies and creative unions are uncomfortable about factual copyright debate and it seems that 'By-Any-Means-Necessary' is their new strategy. Unfortunately Fred didn't eloquently put his point across and his article soon generated into another 'How do I make money from my digital product?' debate.

Here on Stunted By Reality we don't like minced words and I tip my hat off to the commenter who noted the real difference between copyright infringement and theft.

Theft would be stealing a sculpture, or... picture.

Copyright infringement would be taking a picture of the sculpture and posting it online, or producing a replica of the sculpture.

Either act deprives the author the right to enjoy the benefits of his/her work, but they are totally different concepts.

I'll add that theft will definitely deprive an artist of the ability to sell his sculpture, however infringement does not do so. I am not saying that infringement is OK; I'm just saying lets not use hyperbole in trying to paint the picture.

If a serial groper terrorised women on public transport, by all means we should throw the book at him and even throw away the key, however it still wouldn't mean that he committed rape. That would be sexual assault no matter how depraved his groping technique was.

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