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It's not theft unless tangible goods were taken from the owner!

Is it theft if no tangible goods were taken from the owner!

  • Yes

    Votes: 40 64.5%
  • No

    Votes: 22 35.5%

  • Total voters
    62

KittehChrisX

FEAR ME RAWR
If people don't want to pay for something they shouldn't have it, the fact that people don't feel like paying for something doesn't justify it's theft. People don't want to pay for anything, that doesn't make it OK to steal it. Downloading an album instead of buying it is no different then stealing money directly out of a musicians pocket.
Songwriter X makes $100 off of sales of an album which I wouldn't have bought.
I go and download it illegally. $100-$0 = $100. Egads, they still have the exact same profit.
Downloading hurts record sales, the obvious conclusion is that if people didn't have the option of easy theft they'd be more inclined to pay for it.
Whether or not "more inclined" is enough more that they actualy would have bought a product is variable, though.
In fact, the inverse can apply. I never would have known about Al Stewart's music if I hadn't happened to have heard them from someone who download it. Yet now I've bought an album, have been tossing his name to any of my friends that seem like they'd be interested in that kind of music, and I plan to purchase any albums that come out in the future. None of which would have happened if not for... right.
 

mctanuki

Fursuiting Nerd
You are the one who bought it, not other people. In order to own the song you should have to pay for it.

Downloading a torrent is as bad as going to the store and tstealing something off of the shelves. There is no argument. You didn't buy it. You shouldn't have free reign over it.

I'm sorry, did I buy something?

Stealing something off a shelf means it is no longer there on the shelf. It cannot be used by the person who owns it any longer, and it cannot be sold to someone else. This is not equivalent to downloading a digital copy, as the original remains fully intact. A more appropriate analogy would be to say that downloading - let's use the example of a book - with a torrent is as bad as going into a library and reading that same book. Or, perhaps, as bad as taking the library's copy, and spending your own money to make photocopies of it before returning it (that way, we include the cost of the computer and internet connection in the analogy).

When one is speaking of pure information, as opposed to physical objects, there can be no stealing, because nothing is taken. Nothing is moved from one lace to another. Person A has a thing, Person B gets a copy, and then both people have one. There is no actual loss. The debate is not over whether Person A loses something in that transaction. Rather, the debate is over whether Person A has, due to the transaction, lost out on the opportunity for some future thing.
 

TheGreatCrusader

Avast, Ye Scurvy Dogs!
Songwriter X makes $100 off of sales of an album which I wouldn't have bought.
I go and download it illegally. $100-$0 = $100. Egads, they still have the exact same profit.
Not if everyone downloads it illegally. Why would anyone go and buy it if they can just download it?
 

mctanuki

Fursuiting Nerd
In fact, the inverse can apply. I never would have known about Al Stewart's music if I hadn't happened to have heard them from someone who download it. Yet now I've bought an album, have been tossing his name to any of my friends that seem like they'd be interested in that kind of music, and I plan to purchase any albums that come out in the future. None of which would have happened if not for... right.

This has been my experience many times with music, comic books, and movies. Downloading serves to turn you on to things you never would have spent money on otherwise.

Of course, the plural form of "anecdote" is "anecdotes" not "evidence", so...well, I have yet to see anything in the way of evidence at all in this thread. Just a lot of prevarication, and a bit of logic.
 

KittehChrisX

FEAR ME RAWR
Not if everyone downloads it illegally. Why would anyone go and buy it if they can just download it?
Convenience ( yes, oftentimes it can be easier to get a legal copy of something than downloading it ) . The fact that someone has to buy it before it can spread. Fear of legal repercussions. Shareprotections. Moral concerns. Original quality.
Plenty of reasons.
Or else, see: my anecdote. And the question of "why" is in this case irrelevant.
edit: ugh. I never spell "convenience" correctly for some reason, even though I catch the mistake when re-reading anything I make...
 
Songwriter X makes $100 off of sales of an album which I wouldn't have bought.
I go and download it illegally. $100-$0 = $100. Egads, they still have the exact same profit.

Songwriter X makes $100 off of sales of an album which I won't buy because I can get it for free. The album costs $10. If I had bought it Songwriter X would have made $110. I go and download it illegally. $110-$10 = $100. Egads, he lost the potential profit. It's theft because you're enjoying a service without paying for it, the fact that you aren't willing to pay for it is irrelevant.

Whether or not "more inclined" is enough more that they actualy would have bought a product is variable, though.
In fact, the inverse can apply. I never would have known about Al Stewart's music if I hadn't happened to have heard them from someone who download it. Yet now I've bought an album, have been tossing his name to any of my friends that seem like they'd be interested in that kind of music, and I plan to purchase any albums that come out in the future. None of which would have happened if not for... right.

Offering free samples online accomplishes the same thing and most artists do. The fact that you bought something because you heard about it from someone who stole it doesn't justify the theft.
 

KittehChrisX

FEAR ME RAWR
Songwriter X makes $100 off of sales of an album which I won't buy because I can get it for free. The album costs $10. If I had bought it Songwriter X would have made $110. I go and download it illegally. $110-$10 = $100. Egads, he lost the potential profit. It's theft because you're enjoying a service without paying for it, the fact that you aren't willing to pay for it is irrelevant.
He never has $110. Doesn't happen. At all.
Therefore, he still has the exact same amount of money.
The outcome is the exact same. I don't believe in following arbitrary morals that are made on the basis of "this can be worded so that it sounds right/wrong".
Offering free samples online attempts to accomplishes the same thing and most artists do. The fact that you bought something because you heard about it from someone who stole it doesn't justify the theft.
Those free samples hadn't reached me, however. Just as the "downloading does hurt the small artists that can't so easily afford to lose sales", these are the people that have less advertising, too.
So now the guy has me, and possibly several more of my friends, as an audience, due to whom I know that I got the music from originally.
Furthermore, the reason "free samples online accomplishes the same thing" is that, in many ways, they are the same thing.
 
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Do you have any evidence for your claim that downloading hurts album sales?

Your analogy to taking money from a musician is faulty, given that the musician has no less money when one downloads their song than if they hadn't downloaded it.

There haven't been any studies that I can find that weren't hopelessly flawed. All they really say is that more popular and well known musicians get their music stolen the most, they don't really prove anything, and their all focused on the mainstream. I'm talking more about the underground labels and musicians as they don't get royalties from radio, TV, commercials and the like, CD sales are really their bread and butter, that's the element of the industry that really suffers.

Also you downloading the songs means that the musician is out the money that they would have made had you bought it.
 

mctanuki

Fursuiting Nerd
There haven't been any studies that I can find that weren't hopelessly flawed. All they really say is that more popular and well known musicians get their music stolen the most, they don't really prove anything, and their all focused on the mainstream. I'm talking more about the underground labels and musicians as they don't get royalties from radio, TV, commercials and the like, CD sales are really their bread and butter, that's the element of the industry that really suffers.

Also you downloading the songs means that the musician is out the money that they would have made had you bought it.

But that assumes that I would have bought it had I not downloaded it. If that is not the case, then they are not out any money at all. If you watch South Park, it may help to recall the boys' fight for "Theoretical Dollars".

Okay, so there are no good studies. So why do you claim that your assumption is fact?
 

capthavoc123

Master of Disaster
Aw, dude, you confused me with the thread title.

I meant to vote yes.

Legally, it is theft.
 
He never has $110. Doesn't happen. At all.
Therefore, he still has the exact same amount of money.
The outcome is the exact same. I don't believe in following arbitrary morals that are made on the basis of "this can be worded so that it sounds right/wrong".

He would if you'd paid for the service you are enjoying, the fact that you're stealing it instead of paying him for it means that he never has $110. That theft costs him. If you don't want to buy something that's fine, but then you shouldn't have it. How can you say for sure that you wouldn't pay for entertainment if you didn't have the option of easily stealing it. I hear that a lot from people who download but it's an awfully hard thing to prove.


Those free samples hadn't reached me, however. Just as the "downloading does hurt the small artists that can't so easily afford to lose sales", these are the people that have less advertising, too.
So now the guy has me, and possibly several more of my friends, as an audience, due to whom I know that I got the music from originally.
Furthermore, the reason "free samples online accomplishes the same thing" is that, in many ways, they are the same thing.

Except that people don't have the option of stealing the whole album, just like free samples of something at the grocery store doesn't give people of option of stealing the whole box. They are to let people know what they're buying, not let them have it all for free. Also are you saying that you never would have heard of this artist otherwise, and are you saying you couldn't have heard of him if the person who stole his songs had bought them instead?
 

mctanuki

Fursuiting Nerd
He would if you'd paid for the service you are enjoying, the fact that you're stealing it instead of paying him for it means that he never has $110. That theft costs him. If you don't want to buy something that's fine, but then you shouldn't have it. How can you say for sure that you wouldn't pay for entertainment if you didn't have the option of easily stealing it. I hear that a lot from people who download but it's an awfully hard thing to prove.

Actually, it isn't, as it's the null-hypothesis of your own position, which is very easy to prove or disprove. You say that copying digital information causes a loss of real money to people. The simple way to test that hypothesis is to do a good study on downloading trends and income of artists from downloadable works.


Except that people don't have the option of stealing the whole album, just like free samples of something at the grocery store doesn't give people of option of stealing the whole box. They are to let people know what they're buying, not let them have it all for free. Also are you saying that you never would have heard of this artist otherwise, and are you saying you couldn't have heard of him if the person who stole his songs had bought them instead?

You're creating a false dichotomy here, by saying that either one pays for a thing, or one steals it. It is possible, whether factually correct or not (and we have established already that we do not know for sure whether it is factually correct or not), that one could get a thing without paying for it, without there being any loss on the part of the original copy's owner, and thus without having "stolen" anything.
 

KittehChrisX

FEAR ME RAWR
He would if you'd paid for the service you are enjoying, the fact that you're stealing it instead of paying him for it means that he never has $110.
I wouldn't have paid that though. So again, that extra $10 doesn't exist.
That theft costs him. If you don't want to buy something that's fine, but then you shouldn't have it. How can you say for sure that you wouldn't pay for entertainment if you didn't have the option of easily stealing it. I hear that a lot from people who download but it's an awfully hard thing to prove.
How do I know that I actually would have been willing to pay $15 for A Beach Full of Shells if I hadn't been telling myself that I need to? That's money I very rarely even have, and normally I spend it spontaneously when I see a food I happen to like at a good price. I went out of my way, in this case, which is a rare act for me.
Except that people don't have the option of stealing the whole album, just like free samples of something at the grocery store doesn't give people of option of stealing the whole box.
If someone gave me a stolen sample of something which through some magical means I knew the store wouldn't have profitted off of anyways, then that's still another chance at a customer with no net affect on their income.
Also are you saying that you never would have heard of this artist otherwise
Firstly, that's not even my point. I was saying that I ended up paying for the goods which I found to be such that I would have paid for them regardless of whether I was forced to or not.
Secondly... so far as I can tell, yes.
Thirdly, even if I had heard of him... out of curiosity, I had listened to a free sample of Warren Harding online. It sounded terrible, and had I not already known it was not accurate, it would have convinced me not to buy the album.
and are you saying you couldn't have heard of him if the person who stole his songs had bought them instead?
Does it matter?
I'm saying that what I have done has not, in any way that we may guess, harmed the artist.
And furthermore, if that person does not think that the stuff would've been worth buying? In which case, the question is that I wouldn't have heard of him had it not been downloaded.
 
But that assumes that I would have bought it had I not downloaded it. If that is not the case, then they are not out any money at all. If you watch South Park, it may help to recall the boys' fight for "Theoretical Dollars".

Okay, so there are no good studies. So why do you claim that your assumption is fact?

I don't know how you can say that you wouldn't pay for entertainment if you didn't have the option of stealing it though. Most people would have as many songs then certainly, but the choice would either be to pay for some or have nothing.

Also I say this because of the 15 percent drop in music industry revenues over the last few years and what I hear from underground labels and musicians, as well as what I see with regards to their record sales. Despite the fact that the internet has made it much easier for a band to get their name out overall sales are declining. If anything they should be doing better because of the internet. I'm not thrilled with the fact that this nebulous collection of data is all I have to offer as proof, but a quick look indicates that no real studies have been made, and I'm still inclined to believe it.
 

mctanuki

Fursuiting Nerd
Aw, dude, you confused me with the thread title.

I meant to vote yes.

Legally, it is theft.

Actually, it is not theft, legally, because theft, as I have pointed out, requires an actual, not theoretical, loss on the part of the original copy's owner. It is illegal, but under copyright law. That is to say, it is (currently in the United States) copyright infringement to copy without permission a copyrighted work (outside of Fair Use, that is). It is not, however, legally considered "theft".

But perhaps I'm veering too far toward definition of terms, and too far away from ethical and practical implications.
 

mctanuki

Fursuiting Nerd
I don't know how you can say that you wouldn't pay for entertainment if you didn't have the option of stealing it though. Most people would have as many songs then certainly, but the choice would either be to pay for some or have nothing.

I am not sure what you mean here. Would you care to rephrase?

Also I say this because of the 15 percent drop in music industry revenues over the last few years and what I hear from underground labels and musicians, as well as what I see with regards to their record sales. Despite the fact that the internet has made it much easier for a band to get their name out overall sales are declining. If anything they should be doing better because of the internet. I'm not thrilled with the fact that this nebulous collection of data is all I have to offer as proof, but a quick look indicates that no real studies have been made, and I'm still inclined to believe it.

Assuming your figures are correct, correlation is not causation. As I said, a few good studies would need to be done before we could possibly hope to know whether downloading affects record sales at all, for better or for worse.
 
Actually, it isn't, as it's the null-hypothesis of your own position, which is very easy to prove or disprove. You say that copying digital information causes a loss of real money to people. The simple way to test that hypothesis is to do a good study on downloading trends and income of artists from downloadable works.

It would seem that this kind of study is impossible because there's nothing to test it against. Of course popular artists will sell more CDs, and of course their music will be downloaded more. That doesn't mean that downloading is beneficial to them, the only way to test this would be to study a situation when downloading is impossible against one where it is possible using the exact same CD by the exact same artist.

You're creating a false dichotomy here, by saying that either one pays for a thing, or one steals it. It is possible, whether factually correct or not (and we have established already that we do not know for sure whether it is factually correct or not), that one could get a thing without paying for it, without there being any loss on the part of the original copy's owner, and thus without having "stolen" anything.

I think that saying that one either pays for something or one steals it is quite accurate, just because we're talking about a service instead of a material good doesn't make any difference, that's like saying that refusing to pay someone after they do a job for you isn't ripping them off.
 
I am not sure what you mean here. Would you care to rephrase?

You say you wouldn't pay for it regardless of whether or not you had the option of downloading, I'm wondering how you can say that for sure. Also I'm wondering if people wouldn't buy more albums if they couldn't download them, even if the number of albums they bought is fewer then the number they would have downloaded.

Assuming your figures are correct, correlation is not causation. As I said, a few good studies would need to be done before we could possibly hope to know whether downloading affects record sales at all, for better or for worse.

I have to concede that this is only my interpretation of the data available, which is about all that can be done, because as I said a proper study seems to be impossible.
 

Takun

Wof Wof Wof Wof Wof
I said yes, and I'm a huge pirate. Movies, software, and music. Download them all. Reason being I can't afford them. It's expensive entertainment. Now I do buy music for artists I love. But if I just want to try it out to see if I would like it, I'll download. Hell I could find them streamed on sites anyhow, this just lets me play it in my car.
 
To KittehChrisX, I think the confusion here is the belief that it has no effect on the artist when people download, they never would have gotten that money anyway. Setting aside the specifics, on a larger scale do you think that people who download a lot of music simply wouldn't listen to music any more if downloading became impossible? Or would they buy some music and just not have as much? Also I realized I cam across as really hostile towards you in the past couple of posts I made, I really didn't mean to and I'm sorry.
 

mctanuki

Fursuiting Nerd
You say you wouldn't pay for it regardless of whether or not you had the option of downloading, I'm wondering how you can say that for sure. Also I'm wondering if people wouldn't buy more albums if they couldn't download them, even if the number of albums they bought is fewer then the number they would have downloaded.

As to the first part, I can be sure because I know myself rather well. I only buy things I know I'll want. If I am not sure, I don't buy them. Downloading allows me to be sure about whether or not I wish to buy something. Before downloading came along, I simply didn't buy very much, because often I was unsure of whether I would later regret the purchase. Now, I don't have that problem. So, in my specific case, downloading has actually caused certain artists to get more money than they otherwise would have.

As to the second part, it is a valid question to ask, and while neither of us knows for sure the answer, I can say my own experience, as detailed above, makes me inclined to think that people would, in fact, simply not buy those albums which they don't buy now.
 
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