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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
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.
First sentence: not necessarily.
I'm not defending the entirety of availability of downloading; rather, the possibility of ethical "thieving" and that I have stayed within the confines of such, myself, and that it's not as damaging to profits as some seem to suggest. I've no way of knowing how, ultimately, the numbers come out, however.
"Hostile"? Not the impression I got. =P But then, I'm used to debating, and anyways, I usually assume no malice unless I can see no other explanation for someone's behaviour. Sometimes it causes me problems because I don't realize others are more sensitive...
But I digress. Whatever. >.>
 

mctanuki

Fursuiting Nerd
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.

That's not the only way to test it. You're simply forced to take a less direct route. To put the situation in perspective, think of physics. We cannot do what would be the easiest thing, which is to simply map the entire universe on the smallest existing scale from moment to moment, and figure out all the properties of the universe from those observations. So instead, we perform many studies of many different things, and use logic to extrapolate the properties of the universe a bit at a time. In the same way, a group of studies could each gauge different things, so that the net result is a logical conclusion as to whether or not downloading affects revenue, and if so in what way.
 
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.

Do you delete the songs from albums you don't buy, because that would in fact eliminate the theft involved in downloading. If someone downloads music, enjoys it, and then buys the CD that's fine, the only instance in which I will download is if the CD is long out of print, but if a re-print occures I buy the album. If someone downloads the album, doesn't like it and deletes it that's OK to, it's no different then listening to it in the CD store. It's when people like the music, keep it, and still don't pay for it that it becomes theft, because then they are enjoying a service they should be paying for for free. That's really what I'm on about here.

That and art theft.
 
That's not the only way to test it. You're simply forced to take a less direct route. To put the situation in perspective, think of physics. We cannot do what would be the easiest thing, which is to simply map the entire universe on the smallest existing scale from moment to moment, and figure out all the properties of the universe from those observations. So instead, we perform many studies of many different things, and use logic to extrapolate the properties of the universe a bit at a time. In the same way, a group of studies could each gauge different things, so that the net result is a logical conclusion as to whether or not downloading affects revenue, and if so in what way.

Any ideas on how to do it :p ?
 
QFT

That's a correct, legal statement.

Downloading copyrighted media for free is illegal because it violates copyright laws. However, it is NOT theft.

I should have made it clear that this is not a legal debate so much as an ethical one, theft is the illegal taking of another person's property without that person's freely-given consent. Ideas and services can be exchanged for material goods and as such someone's ideas and the services the perform would seem to me to be their property. Taking these ideas or services from them without their freely-given consent would then fall under the definition of theft, even if the law specific name for it, it's still theft.
 

dietrc70

Active Member
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.

There is a study you can probably find easily that showed that the biggest downloaders also bought the most digital media.

In my case, when I quit downloading music because of the RIAA lawsuits I also quit buying CDs. The reason was that I had no way of telling if a CD was worth buying.

I am willing to pay for my music and movies, and I have a huge collection of DVDs and CDs, but I can't afford to buy things I don't know anything about.
 
There is a study you can probably find easily that showed that the biggest downloaders also bought the most digital media.

In my case, when I quit downloading music because of the RIAA lawsuits I also quit buying CDs. The reason was that I had no way of telling if a CD was worth buying.

I am willing to pay for my music and movies, and I have a huge collection of DVDs and CDs, but I can't afford to buy things I don't know anything about.

A lot of bands offer free samples of their music, you can generally find low quality streams of the album on internet distributer's pages and if you're buying it in a store you can listen to it first, I always do. As for DVDs I always just rent them as I rarely watch them more then once but I imagine there are other ways to find out what you're buying on that front as well.
 

mctanuki

Fursuiting Nerd
Do you delete the songs from albums you don't buy, because that would in fact eliminate the theft involved in downloading. If someone downloads music, enjoys it, and then buys the CD that's fine, the only instance in which I will download is if the CD is long out of print, but if a re-print occures I buy the album. If someone downloads the album, doesn't like it and deletes it that's OK to, it's no different then listening to it in the CD store. It's when people like the music, keep it, and still don't pay for it that it becomes theft, because then they are enjoying a service they should be paying for for free. That's really what I'm on about here.

That and art theft.

You seem to be making moral proscriptions, while I'm just trying to point out the inaccuracy of a word definition. I'm not trying to suggest that it is right or wrong to download, but rather show that categorizing copying as "stealing" is inaccurate, because nothing is lost in the process. Going back to my own personal case, there are things I like, but not enough to deem them worth the asking price. If downloading didn't exist, I still would not buy them. I do download them and keep the copies, because I deem them worth the bandwidth and storage space, but not the money to purchase a physical copy. Other things, I download and then find I enjoy them so much, I find them worth the asking price, and then pay it for a physical copy. And in still other cases, I download something I think may be worth my time, find it utterly contemptible crap (like anything by Frank Miller, for instance), and delete it from my hard drive. In none of these instances does the creator or owner of the original work lose money, but in one case they gain money.

Now, whether or not others agree with me as to the morality of my downloading does not particularly matter to me. I am a pirate, and I am rather proud of this fact. I've even written and produced songs about digital piracy. My concern does not lie in the morality of the situation. Rather, I am concerned that we should proceed from a common definition of terms before even discussing moral implications. Whether copying digital information is right or wrong has no bearing on whether or not it is stealing. However, whether or not it is stealing can have bearing on whether it is right or wrong. Thus, the one thing should be agreed upon before discussion of the other begins, in my opinion.
 
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KittehChrisX

FEAR ME RAWR
There is a study you can probably find easily that showed that the biggest downloaders also bought the most digital media.
Not necessarily a significant statement.
It's possible that the reason these people have bought the most is simply a result of the fact that they have the most interesting in such things; it's a reasonable prospect that they'd have purchased even more had they not a way to avoid needing to.
 
To Mctanuki, fair enough, if you want to talk specifically about it's status as theft then there is this. Theft is the illegal taking of another person's property without that person's freely-given consent. Ideas and services can be exchanged for material goods and as such someone's ideas and the services the perform would seem to me to be their property. Taking these ideas or services from them without their freely-given consent would then fall under the definition of theft, even if the law specific name for it, it's still theft.

I look at music as a service, not a good. People don't by CDs to have them, they buy CDs because they entertain them, and entertainment is a service. A service has worth because the person providing the service has spent time and energy both learning how to provide said service and actually providing it. If the service is offered by someone in exchange for a certain amount of money and someone else uses said service and then refuses to pay, they're basically stealing someone else's time and energy, which has worth as it can be traded for material goods.

Also what prevents someone saying I enjoy this service but not enough to pay for it from being theft.
 
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Not necessarily a significant statement.
It's possible that the reason these people have bought the most is simply a result of the fact that they have the most interesting in such things; it's a reasonable prospect that they'd have purchased even more had they not a way to avoid needing to.

Also all these studies seem to require people to report in anonymously which doesn't make them very credible in my eyes.
 

capthavoc123

Master of Disaster
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".

Loss of potential profit is legally recognized as an actual loss. You can sue for it in the United States. And trying to correct someone in the field of criminal law is a losing battle, friend.

Taking something that is not in a tangible form, such as an illegally downloaded song, is definitely theft. You can be charged with both copyright infringement and theft when committing such an act.

Whitenoise said:
Also all these studies seem to require people to report in anonymously which doesn't make them very credible in my eyes.

Actually, anonymous reporting has generally been shown to be more accurate, and is the preferred method for sociological and psychological research.
 
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Actually, anonymous reporting has generally been shown to be more accurate, and is the preferred method for sociological and psychological research.

It would seem to me that it would be in the best interest of people who download music to make it seem like downloading has a negligible effect on the sales of CDs, so if they know what the study is about, would it be all that surprising if they entered false results?
 

Mikael Grizzly

Creepy Stalker
Of course it is. Theft is usually defined as "taking an item with the intent of possessing it". Of course, item doesn't necessarily mean "physical, tangible" item.

Any person stealing music, movies or games should at least have the balls to admit that he's stealing rather than make up pathetic excuses.
 

Khizzy

Still a little drunk
It's actually only theft if you take something from someone without the intention of giving it back. At least, in the UK it is.

Get 'borrowing' <3
 

Blue Snowangel

Something Old, Something Blue
Legally, tangible and intangible are a bit different than the standard definitions. Like take money for example, it is considered intangible because it's a piece of paper that represents a given dollar value. It's not really worth $50, it only represents the $50 value inscribed upon it by the Treasury Department. The pair of jeans you purchase with it, however, are tangible. They are what they are and do not represent anything else but a way to cover your butt and legs. So, we know stealing money is crime called theft. So, therefore, the theft intangible goods is a crime.

While looking at what the question was probably posing, the "stealing" of music and art images is actually copyright infringement. Infringement is different from theft, but still quite illegal and therefore a crime. If someone was to break into my home and steal a painting off my wall, that would be theft of art (amoung several other crimes committed at once). When someone uses an image created by me in away that violates my rights as the creator, that's infringement.
 

mctanuki

Fursuiting Nerd
But again, you (this is the plural "you) seem to be ignoring the fact that the owner does not lose anything, and thus nothing was taken from them. What happened was something they own was copied.
 

Mikael Grizzly

Creepy Stalker
But again, you (this is the plural "you) seem to be ignoring the fact that the owner does not lose anything, and thus nothing was taken from them. What happened was something they own was copied.

No.

Fact is, you own something you are not entitled to - the only situation in which you procure such a right is when you pay for such an item, thus agreeing upon a predetermined contract with the owner of intellectual property.
 

Draco_2k

Rawr.
But again, you (this is the plural "you) seem to be ignoring the fact that the owner does not lose anything, and thus nothing was taken from them. What happened was something they own was copied.
I bet mainly because this is irrelevant and, in most cases, untrue.
 

net-cat

Infernal Kitty
How about this:

"The service and/or you are attempting to sell is no longer worth what you are attempting to charge for it."

It's simple economics, really. In the case of copying things, supply is effectively infinite.
 
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