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D&D 4E Piracy and 4e

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baberg

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HeavenShallBurn said:
The legal definition of theft explicitly categorizes it as the removal of personal property from the possession of the rightful owner.
No it doesn't. Read it again:

the generic term for all crimes in which a person intentionally and fraudulently takes personal property of another without permission or consent and with the intent to convert it to the taker's use

Nowhere in that definition does it say that the original owner loses possession of the item. The thief takes the personal property of WotC without permission or consent and with intent to read it and use it in their games. Theft.

But while you've got your legal dictionary open, take a look at the definitions for "Property", specifically "Intellectual Property" if you're hanging on to the idea that if it's not physical it's not property.
 

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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Torchlyte said:
The problem here is a confusion of economics and ethics.
I think the problem is also a confusion of law vs. ethics. A lot of people in this thread are debating whether or not this sort of theft is right or wrong, and it is totally beside the point.

It doesn't matter if you believe copyright infringement is right or wrong. Lawmakers have answered that question for everyone, a long time ago, and that is all that will matter if you are brought up on charges. The law doesn't care how you feel; it cares whether or not you obey.

Sure, I used to download a lot of stuff that I knew I shouldn't. Then people started getting sued for it and I got angry about it, which got me interested in the legal aspects of online file sharing. I read up on it, had lunch with a friend in law school, and so forth. The more I learned about it, the more I realized it wasn't worth the risk.

Do what you like, but be prepared to accept the consequences of your actions.

That doesn't let the RIAA off the hook for me, though. When they started taking children and grandmothers to court for copyright violation, they were acting well within their legal rights. Though legal, it still wasn't right IMO. So I use my own legal rights, and I boycott them.

It is probably only a matter of time until book publishers start cracking down on file sharing, too. And I hope that when they do, they go about it in a more intelligent manner.
 
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xechnao

First Post
Dannyalcatraz said:
Innovation flourishes most when those who invest their time, resources, money and efforts into creating IP have the right and ability to defend controlling that IP. Not only that, laws that protect IP create jobs by making it possible to make R&D pay off, and that makes more products available to the consumer...not less.* If Coke couldn't protect their recipe, they never would have been able to manufacture & market it on a mass scale- ditto any company with proprietary IP.

If the recipe was known the only difference is that people could perhaps be able to produce it themselves and that coca cola company would have a commercial distribution competition. Is this a bad thing? People know how to make beer and wine. Yet you still can buy them in the market. What's your point again?

Dannyalcatraz said:
It is not an accident that the USA, Japan and other 1st world capitalist societies have succeeded in tech and various IP dominated fields. It is also not an accident that places where enforcement is lax- like China- are having difficulty in actually producing innovation of their own. Just last year, it was reported that Chinese tech firms are having their own discoveries stolen by homegrown pirates who learned how do do so by stealing from the West, leading to a declining investment in R&D. You don't invest in R&D if you can't reap the rewards, and as a result, your company stagnates...unless you do a little theft yourself.

* It is actually the failure or non-enforcement of other aspects of the law, like Anti-trust, that removes products from consumer's grasp, not enforcement of IP laws.

So did USSR have a R&D problem? Do you know about the cold war and weapons competition?
 
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Makaze

First Post
I think the problem is also a confusion of law vs. ethics. A lot of people in this thread are debating whether or not this sort of theft is right or wrong, and it is totally beside the point.

It doesn't matter if you believe copyright infringement is right or wrong. Lawmakers have answered that question for everyone, a long time ago, and that is all that will matter if you are brought up on charges. The law doesn't care how you feel; it cares whether or not you obey.
Agreed, and I absolutely support their enforcement against corporations or individuals attempting to profit from their violations. However there is little way to realistically enforce said laws on individuals. Therefore to a large degree it comes down to a personal question of right and wrong and not one of legal and illegal.
 

Makaze

First Post
So did USSR have a R&D problem? Do you know about the cold war and weapons competition?

Yes and yes. The USSR had somewhat less sophisticated overall but essentially equivalent military technology with the US throughout the Cold War because it was government sponsored. However their other non-military technology was woefully lagging as a result of a lack of funding and emphasis on civilian consumer technologies.

Dannyalcatraz is absolutely correct in that enforcement of copyright laws against rival commercial interests is vital to continued R&D of new civilian technologies.
 

xechnao

First Post
Makaze said:
Yes and yes. The USSR had somewhat less sophisticated overall but essentially equivalent military technology with the US throughout the Cold War because it was government sponsored. However their other non-military technology was woefully lagging as a result of a lack of funding and emphasis on civilian consumer technologies.

Dannyalcatraz is absolutely correct in that enforcement of copyright laws against rival commercial interests is vital to continued R&D of new civilian technologies.

What is that civilian technology that is a product of Dannyalcatraz's correctness? Is is about medicine? Is it about food? Is it about communications?
 

HeavenShallBurn

First Post
baberg said:
the generic term for all crimes in which a person intentionally and fraudulently takes personal property of another without permission or consent and with the intent to convert it to the taker's use
I'm hitting some issues with the basic logic used here. Even assuming that it does not require the "loss" or property this still says the property must be "taken." But what was taken? they still possess it, what you possess is not what they possessed it's a duplicate of their property. How can it be taken without leaving their possession?

But while you've got your legal dictionary open, take a look at the definitions for "Property", specifically "Intellectual Property" if you're hanging on to the idea that if it's not physical it's not property.
Which is I think a major issue, where is the property? I'm not sure intellectual property has any validity in and of itself. It's gotten into the law but there are major issues here in defining 'Intellectual Property.' I'm with Richard Stallman in many ways, the very concept is largely nonsensical to me despite the tangible benefits it has. Only a tangible thing can be owned, an intangible doesn't properly exist in the sense required for ownership.
 

Makaze

First Post
What is that civilian technology that is a product of Dannyalcatraz's correctness? Is is about medicine? Is it about food? Is it about communications?
It's about all of those things and more. There was little to no commercial interest driving investment of time and resources into those types of technologies therefore the USSR tended to lag behind overall (with certain specific exceptions naturally) in those areas. Now that was because of communism not copyright infringement. But if you did away with copyright protection in general or failed to enforce it on the corporate level then you would have the same lack of investment and stagnation of technological progress.

His argument was that 1st world countries that enforce copyrights will privately invest more heavilly in technology and therefore advance faster. And he's correct.
 
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baberg

First Post
HeavenShallBurn said:
Which is I think a major issue, where is the property? I'm not sure intellectual property has any validity in and of itself. It's gotten into the law but there are major issues here in defining 'Intellectual Property.' I'm with Richard Stallman in many ways, the very concept is largely nonsensical to me despite the tangible benefits it has. Only a tangible thing can be owned, an intangible doesn't properly exist in the sense required for ownership.
Well, you're wrong. Sorry. And I shudder to think of a world where IP isn't protected under law. For one we wouldn't be getting a D&D 4th edition, because all of the work done by WotC would be immediately published on the Internet for free for everybody to use. The same goes for books, music, software... and all of the work that is done to produce these items is never compensated, so there is therefore no incentive to create.

But hey, as long as you get your splat books for free from a Torrent, right?
 

Makaze

First Post
because all of the work done by WotC would be immediately published on the Internet for free for everybody to use.
What makes you think that won't happen? 4e torrents will be up by June 6ths or sooner. I predict Keep on the Shadowfell anytime now if it's not up already since advanced copies have now hit the wild.
 

xechnao

First Post
Makaze said:
It's about all of those things and more. There was little to no commercial interest driving investment of time and resources into those types of technologies therefore the USSR tended to lag behind overall (with certain specific exceptions naturally) in those areas. Now that was because of communism not copyright infringement. But if you did away with copyright protection in general or failed to enforce it on the corporate level then you would have the same lack of investment and stagnation of technological progress.

His argument was that 1st world countries that enforce copyrights will privately invest more heavilly in technology and therefore advance faster. And he's correct.

I disagree. You can't prove any of this. "...about all of those things and more..." is your generalization and actually proves nothing of your argument. Btw this whole R&D argument is totally irrelevant with copyright. R&D is not protected by copyright but by patent law. But patent law has nothing to do with my argument about knowledge Dannyalcatraz was quoting me about.
 

HeavenShallBurn

First Post
Makaze said:
What makes you think that won't happen?
Precisely take a look at the net, you can find pretty much anything if you look and business hasn't crashed to a screeching halt.
baberg said:
And I shudder to think of a world where IP isn't protected under law.
You mean like the vast majority of the history of the human species up to the last century or so?
baberg said:
But hey, as long as you get your splat books for free from a Torrent, right?
Ah yes and the inevitable insults and accusations arrive. First the appeal to emotion then the accusation, highly predictable of you. I've bought more than 70 books for 3e or OGL systems at least 1/2s of those from WoTC. Every pdf I have was either purchased or a duplicate of one I already bought in hardcopy. But don't let that get in the way of your accusations.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Heh- My browser locked up so I lost my response...so, here goes try #2.

If the recipe was known the only difference is that people could perhaps be able to produce it themselves and that coca cola company would have a commercial distribution competition.

Without being able to protect their recipe, Coke wouldn't have the profits to make their version of flavored water available all over the world, invest in R&D into additives that lengthen shelf-life, or artificial sweeteners that allow diabetics and those allergic to corn syrup enjoy their product.

They wouldn't have the cash to employ thousands of people all around the world.

They wouldn't have the cash to invest in creating all of the other products in their lines, including things like sports drinks and the like.

So did USSR have a R&D problem? Do you know about the cold war and weapons competition?

As Makaze said, yes and yes!

While an innovator in the 1940's and 50's, Russian tech has lagged horribly since then.

Their major innovations since beating the US to space:

1) A type of ultraquiet submarine propeller. The US has an equivalent.

2) A fantastic and as yet unique thrust system on the current incarnation of the MIG jet fighter that allows it to "hover" or "stand" vertically on its own thrust. In contrast, the US developed 2 generations of stealth for aircraft, and one generation of stealth for naval craft.

3) The AK-47, which has been copied by China and so many other countries that the Russian military can't sell them at more than a token profit. In contrast, US, Israeli, and even Czech rifles and personal arms remain extremely profitable for both governments and arms dealer resellers.

4) An attempt at building an autoloading main gun for their Main Battle Tanks resulted in a system that, when operated at full speed, loaded the gunner (well, a part of him) into the firing chamber. The US, in contrast, has a MBT that is faster, more heavily armed, can fire on the run and *surprise* has an autoloader that works as designed.

In addition to that, a large portion of the early budget for the International Space Station involved getting Russian scientists up to speed with NASA. The Russian space agency lagged in almost every aspect of modern space exploration, including special alloys and ceramics, superconduction, safety and insulation.

What is that civilian technology that is a product of Dannyalcatraz's correctness? Is is about medicine? Is it about food? Is it about communications?

Medicine, definitely. It takes many millions of dollars of R&D- not to mention physical plant- to bring a new drug to market, even in countries with more relaxed safety standards than the USA. Why invest that $$$ if someone can simply and without legal repercussion negate any attempt to recoup that investment by stealing the recipe that is the end result of the research?

Why spend hundreds of thousands of dollars learning the skills to get a degree learning the skills to create those drugs when some miscreant can steal your end product?

What countries have led the world in innovations in communications & commercial devices? Name a major cell phone company based in Russia. Name a video game platform created by a Chinese company. On which side of the Sea of Japan would you find the most companies devoted to making things like flat-screen televisions?

On what side of that sea would you find the highest percentages of a country's population with ownership of cell phones, video game platforms, and flat-screen televisions?

Or cars?
 

Makaze

First Post
I disagree. You can't prove any of this. "...about all of those things and more..." is your generalization and actually proves nothing of your argument.
How so? Total investment in R&D by the USSR in non-militarily related technology was far lower than the US. It was the US private sector and not the US government that accounted for the majority of that. Lower investment in R&D leads to less advanced technology. That's pretty much indisputable fact.

Non-enforcement of intellectual property rights on a commercial level leads to less private R&D investment and therefore less advanced technology. Now you can debate that one.

You brought up the USSR, it's a terrible example :)

R&D is not protected by copyright but by patent law
Agreed with the exception of computer R&D in some cases. I should have said intellectual property rights not copyrights.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
But patent law has nothing to do with my argument about knowledge Dannyalcatraz was quoting me about.

Yes it does.

The accretion of knowledge involved in being able to actually patent something costs money. If I were to discover a way to do "Cold" fusion and had no legal recourse against someone who stole my designs, all that time and money sunk into my education, materials, etc. would be lost for potentially no gain.

Why, then, even start down that path?

China's own experiences with home-grown pirates is a perfect illustration. Think- a totalitarian government that favors lax protection of IP rights and delights with every theft of Western IP can't keep those same pirates from hobbling Chinese companies because of the very environment they've fostered.

And Russia? I've been to Russia. You go to Moscow, you'll find a mall just off of Red Square that is the equal or better of anything I've ever seen in the USA...and the prices in it mean that only the wealthy and the foreign tourists can buy anything in them.

And furthermore, journeying a few blocks away from that mall in any direction gets you into slums as dangerous as you'd care to enter.

Once upon a time, the Russian Czars protected IP and their country prospered for it- go to St. Petersburg and see the Hermitage- their version of the Smithsonian or the Louvre. Its a testiment to the wealth that the Czars attracted to the country.

After the Revolution, however, you don't see much native innovation added to the things gracing its halls.
 

xechnao

First Post
Dannyalcatraz said:
Heh- My browser locked up so I lost my response...so, here goes try #2.



Without being able to protect their recipe, Coke wouldn't have the profits to make their version of flavored water available all over the world, invest in R&D into additives that lengthen shelf-life, or artificial sweeteners that allow diabetics and those allergic to corn syrup enjoy their product.

They wouldn't have the cash to employ thousands of people all around the world.

They wouldn't have the cash to invest in creating all of the other products in their lines, including things like sports drinks and the like.

The thing with Coke is that it uses an exotic material. What you are arguing here is that more people would be making profits and drinking beer and we would have more variety if the recipe was a secret and patent protected.

Dannyalcatraz said:
As Makaze said, yes and yes!

While an innovator in the 1940's and 50's, Russian tech has lagged horribly since then.

Their major innovations since beating the US to space:

1) A type of ultraquiet submarine propeller. The US has an equivalent.

2) A fantastic and as yet unique thrust system on the current incarnation of the MIG jet fighter that allows it to "hover" or "stand" vertically on its own thrust. In contrast, the US developed 2 generations of stealth for aircraft, and one generation of stealth for naval craft.

3) The AK-47, which has been copied by China and so many other countries that the Russian military can't sell them at more than a token profit. In contrast, US, Israeli, and even Czech rifles and personal arms remain extremely profitable for both governments and arms dealer resellers.

4) An attempt at building an autoloading main gun for their Main Battle Tanks resulted in a system that, when operated at full speed, loaded the gunner (well, a part of him) into the firing chamber. The US, in contrast, has a MBT that is faster, more heavily armed, can fire on the run and *surprise* has an autoloader that works as designed.

In addition to that, a large portion of the early budget for the International Space Station involved getting Russian scientists up to speed with NASA. The Russian space agency lagged in almost every aspect of modern space exploration, including special alloys and ceramics, superconduction, safety and insulation.

Yeah so are you saying that what you are saying here proves that USSR had a problem of R&D due to lack of copyright law? Because I fail to see the connection.


Dannyalcatraz said:
Medicine, definitely. It takes many millions of dollars of R&D- not to mention physical plant- to bring a new drug to market, even in countries with more relaxed safety standards than the USA. Why invest that $$$ if someone can simply and without legal repercussion negate any attempt to recoup that investment by stealing the recipe that is the end result of the research?

Why spend hundreds of thousands of dollars learning the skills to get a degree learning the skills to create those drugs when some miscreant can steal your end product?

It does not take many millions of dollars. It does take a lot of experiments. I am positive that people should still care to make experiments that matter to protect their health. Flemming and Pasteur had nothing to do with what you are talking about. Btw do you know that Bayer fares as the worst corporation regarding ethics?

Dannyalcatraz said:
What countries have led the world in innovations in communications & commercial devices? Name a major cell phone company based in Russia. Name a video game platform created by a Chinese company. On which side of the Sea of Japan would you find the most companies devoted to making things like flat-screen televisions?

On what side of that sea would you find the highest percentages of a country's population with ownership of cell phones, video game platforms, and flat-screen televisions?

Or cars?

Are you kidding me? Appart from cell phones that have nothing to do with copyrights video games as an example of civil technology progress is laughable.
 
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xechnao

First Post
Dannyalcatraz said:
Yes it does.

The accretion of knowledge involved in being able to actually patent something costs money. If I were to discover a way to do "Cold" fusion and had no legal recourse against someone who stole my designs, all that time and money sunk into my education, materials, etc. would be lost for potentially no gain.

He was saying that you must pay for knowledge. Patent law means that you must pay for the rights to commercialy produce something. Can you understand the difference?
You can't compare knowledge to money. Money is a closed balance system while knowledge is an open system.

Dannyalcatraz said:
And Russia? I've been to Russia. You go to Moscow, you'll find a mall just off of Red Square that is the equal or better of anything I've ever seen in the USA...and the prices in it mean that only the wealthy and the foreign tourists can buy anything in them.

And furthermore, journeying a few blocks away from that mall in any direction gets you into slums as dangerous as you'd care to enter.

Once upon a time, the Russian Czars protected IP and their country prospered for it- go to St. Petersburg and see the Hermitage- their version of the Smithsonian or the Louvre. Its a testiment to the wealth that the Czars attracted to the country.

After the Revolution, however, you don't see much native innovation added to the things gracing its halls.

What innovation are you talking about? Architectural monuments and monumental art have nothing to do with copyrights and patents. You have managed to link in your sentence the prosperity of Czars' Russia and IP. Both of these statements are not historically correct but out of your mind.
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
What you are arguing here is that more people would be making profits and drinking beer and we would have more variety if the recipe was a secret and patent protected.

I'm arguing that IP laws protect the ability of IP creators to profit from their creations, and that yes, society is better off for it, as evidenced in the availability of a wide variety of affordable products and the jobs created in the industries that provide those products.

The laws that cover physical property lets a farmer or rancher profit from their efforts, why should IP creators be any less protected?

Do you honestly think that if Coke's recipe was revealed that there wouldn't be massive layoffs (in Coke itself as well as those companies that provide ancillary services to it) as its profits eroded? And that those jobs created by the smaller companies would add up to the number of jobs lost (again, within Coke and associated companies)? And that those smaller companies could satisfy the worldwide demand for "Coke" in a more or equally efficient and environmentally friendly way- completely at odds with the principle of "economies of scale?"

I'm pretty sure any economist would strenuously disagree.

Are you kidding me? Appart from cell phones that have nothing to do with copyrights video games as an example of civil technology progress is laughable.

Video games? Its a billlion dollar+ industry that depends upon millions of lines of copyright-protected lines of code and patent-protected console and chip designs.

Cell phones are much the same.
 

xechnao

First Post
Dannyalcatraz said:
I'm arguing that IP laws protect the ability of IP creators to profit from their creations, and that yes, society is better off for it, as evidenced in the availability of a wide variety of affordable products and the jobs created in the industries that provide those products.
The way our current society and economic system are now IP is a necessity. This does not by any way mean that generally human societies and economies are better off for it. You can not connect IP to the value of knowledge that is and must be a right to every civil human being. Democracy is based on knowledge. Aristocracy is based on arbitrary definitions and generalizations. Can you see my point?

Dannyalcatraz said:
The laws that cover physical property lets a farmer or rancher profit from their efforts, why should IP creators be any less protected?
Their profits should be protected. What I am arguing here is that the availability of knowledge has to be open too in civilization. Do not try to connect the one to the other, otherwise you are jumping to dangerous territory.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
He was saying that you must pay for knowledge. Patent law means that you must pay for the rights to commercialy produce something. Can you understand the difference?
You can't compare knowledge to money.

Sure- in the information age, knowledge is money, insofar as it gives you the power to make money.

Patent law, for instance, means you must pay for the knowledge of how to build a product or perform a process.
Architectural monuments and art have nothing to do with copyrights and patents.

Actually, designs for architectural monuments and art ARE copyrightable forms of IP.

(Check http://www.uspto.gov/main/howdoi.htm if you doubt me, under the "Get a copyright" link.)
You have managed to link in your sentence the prosperity of Czars' Russia and IP.

Yes, I did.

Russia lagged behind Europe in most forms of IP for a long time- including military technology like cannon, until Czar Peter 1, a.k.a. Peter the Great, began a program of westernizing his country, including economic reforms that featured a more western approach to supporting artists and inventors.

Admittedly, it wasn't as advanced as modern IP laws, but Russia went from being an intellectual backwater to having as nearly as robust an intellectual community as any country in Europe- the standard of the day.
 

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