Copyright -- a conceptual battle in a digital age

Nov 03, 2011

Our language is made up of metaphors, even in our legal texts. Stefan Larsson has studied what consequences this has when digital phenomena, such as file sharing and downloading, are limited by descriptions intended for an analogue world.

"When legal arguments equate file sharing with theft of physical objects, it sometimes becomes problematic", says Stefan Larsson, who doesn't think it is possible to equate an illegal download with theft of a physical object, as has been done in the case against The Pirate Bay.

Using the compensation model employed in the case against The Pirate Bay, the total value of such a site could be calculated at over SEK 600 billion. This is almost as much as Sweden's national budget, says Stefan Larsson. The prosecutor in the case chose to pursue a smaller number of downloads and the sum of the fines therefore never reached these proportions.

In Stefan Larsson's view, the word 'copies' is a hidden legal metaphor that causes problematic ideas in the digital society. For example, does not take into account that a download does not result in the owner losing his or her own copy. Neither is it possible to equate number of downloads with lost income for the copyright holder, since it is likely that people download a lot more than they would purchase in a shop.

Other metaphors that are used for downloading are infringement, theft and piracy.

"The problem is that these metaphors make us equate copyright with ownership of physical property", says Stefan Larsson.

Moreover, there are underlying mindsets which guide the whole of copyright, according to Stefan Larsson. One such mindset is the idea that creation is a process undertaken by sole geniuses and not so much in a . In Stefan Larsson's view, this has the unfortunate consequence of making stronger with longer duration and a higher degree of legal enforcement appear reasonable. The problem is that it is based on a misconception of how a lot of things are created, says Stefan Larsson:

"Borrowing and drawing inspiration from other artists is essential to a lot of creative activity. This is the case both online and offline."

Stefan Larsson has also studied the consequences when public perception of the law, or social norms, is not in line with what the law says. One consequence is that the State needs to exercise more control and issue more severe penalties in order to ensure that the law is followed. The European trend in copyright law is heading in this direction. Among other things, it is being made easier to track what individuals do on the Internet. This means that the integrity of the many is being eroded to benefit the interests of a few, according to Stefan Larsson:

"When all's said and done, it is about what we want the Internet to be. The fight for this is taking place, at least partially, through metaphorical expressions for underlying conceptions, but also through practical action on the role of anonymity online."

Explore further: New privacy battle looms after moves by Apple, Google

More information: www.lunduniversity.lu.se/o.o.i… 12683&postid=2157989

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User comments : 35

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Nerdyguy
2 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2011
Interesting body of work. The article isn't terribly well written, and should have mentioned up front that this is Thesis-level work from Stefan Larsson at Lund University, Sweden.

I'd be curious how a doctorate candidate was able to get his work published in this fashion. At first glance, PhysOrg would give you the somewhat misleading impression that this is a non-academic piece. Don't get me wrong, I applaud the guy. He should be getting offers from some top companies with the initiative he shows here.

kaasinees
0.1 / 5 (22) Nov 03, 2011
How come free software is able to make so much money?
fight for Freedom of information!
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2011
How come free software is able to make so much money?
fight for Freedom of information!


Perhaps you could clarify with some examples, facts, figures. Anything at all beyond your opinion.

And, could you be more specific with the "fight for Freedom..." comment? Which information is it you are referring to? I could guess from other posts on this same topic that you are basically hoping to rip off the legitimate work of artists by illegally downloading it, and calling it "free", but that would be just a guess. So, by all means, please clarify.
kaasinees
0.1 / 5 (22) Nov 03, 2011
Perhaps you could clarify with some examples, facts, figures. Anything at all beyond your opinion.

http://www.gnu.or...ing.html
http://www.fool.c...way.aspx
http://abcnews.go...t07zYJhE
http://www.zdnet....re/46445
http://www.linuxi...539.html

Which information is it you are referring to?

All information, no exceptions.
kaasinees
0.1 / 5 (22) Nov 03, 2011
http://www.silico..._novell/

Seriously, use Google if you don't know anything about anything.
Nerdyguy
not rated yet Nov 03, 2011
Perhaps you could clarify with some examples, facts, figures. Anything at all beyond your opinion.

http://www.gnu.or...ing.html

Which information is it you are referring to?

All information, no exceptions.


So, you are referring to software supported by an advertising revenue model? Of course they can make plenty of money. It's a classic model. Hardly free, though. And not always winning model. Far from it.

Now, how in the world do you tie this in to an article on copyright law? It would just be nice to see you stay on track for once.
Nerdyguy
not rated yet Nov 03, 2011
"All information, no exceptions." - kaasinees

Ah, the typical refrain from the young, idealistic and the naive.

Just to clarify, are you suggesting that all information should be "free" in the economic sense (e.g., you shouldn't have to pay for your Katy Perry downloads)?

Or, are you suggesting that information should be "free" in terms of access to the content. For example, intelligence agencies keeping secret records from the public?
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (2) Nov 03, 2011
Perhaps you could clarify with some examples, facts, figures. Anything at all beyond your opinion.

http://www.gnu.or...ing.html

Which information is it you are referring to?

All information, no exceptions.


The irony here is your use of profitable corporations to support your anarchist/marxist viewpoints. It's truly amusing! Yes, I'm sure those multimillionaires would fully support your radical views.
kaasinees
0.1 / 5 (22) Nov 03, 2011
So, you are referring to software supported by an advertising revenue model?


Where the hell did you get that bullshit from? Did you even read the links?

Ah, the typical refrain from the young, idealistic and the naive.


Typical bullshit from someone who doesn't know anything about anything, see previous quote for your bullshit.

Just to clarify

No reading comprehension?

Or, are you suggesting that

I am not suggesting anything, its basic human right to have freedom of information _no exceptions_. I don't care if it's written or not.

young, idealistic and the naive

It's retarded people like you who stand in the way of human unity and cooperation. Your mindset is stuck in the world of monetary/debt based economy.

In case you want to respond to this, do not bother, i pretty much know your response and already have a response ready.

to support your anarchist/marxist viewpoints


LOL, not even close retard. i oppose anarchy.
Nerdyguy
not rated yet Nov 03, 2011
@kaasinees: Thank you for your comments. It's always enjoyable to take part in a discussion with a rational person who clearly supports the use of factual evidence, clear information, and arguments based on logic.

Oh, and btw, just a reminder: you seem to have missed marking a few of my posts with a "1". A couple on here, for example. Otherwise, you're doing a good job.
kaasinees
0 / 5 (21) Nov 03, 2011
@kaasinees: Thank you for your comments. It's always enjoyable to take part in a discussion with a rational person who clearly supports the use of factual evidence, clear information, and arguments based on logic.

1. Gee, your ad hominem is logic now?
Ah, the typical refrain from the young, idealistic and the naive.

2. You failed to read the evidence provided.
So, you are referring to software supported by an advertising revenue model?


As i said your head is clouded by brainwashing bias.

Oh, and btw, just a reminder: you seem to have missed marking a few of my posts with a "1". A couple on here, for example. Otherwise, you're doing a good job.

Retarded posts deserve retarded ratings.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2011
"It's not a big truck. It's not something you can dump something on.

It's a series of Tubes.

Mammoth Tubes." - Ted Stevens

http://www.youtub...oQFa5ug8

The smartiest Republican ever to be placed in charge of regulating the internet.

Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2011
"...rip off the legitimate work of artists by illegally downloading it, and calling it "free" - NerdTard

If an artist places a work of art in a public place, I am in no way obligated pay for the act of looking at it, photographing it, sketching it, or making my own copy of it when I get home.

If you can't control access to what you claim to own then your claim to ownership has no validity.

Period.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2011
"Just to clarify, are you suggesting that all information should be "free" in the economic sense (e.g., you shouldn't have to pay for your Katy Perry downloads)? " - NerdTard

Correct.

I owe Katy Perry for enjoying her work - except thanks.

If she can't handle that fact then she should find an alternative career.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2011
"Or, are you suggesting that information should be "free" in terms of access to the content. For example, intelligence agencies keeping secret records from the public?" - NerdTard

I oppose all government secrecy. Absoltuely ALL.

Government secrecy produces nothing but Corruption.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2011
Here is what one Republican Judge thinks about Individual liberty.

http://www.youtub...5E7Oy3lw

The beating was for downloading a music video off the internet.
astro_optics
not rated yet Nov 04, 2011
IP rights were supposed to be enforced in order to improve and benefit the society as a whole. I'm afraid that the aim of these laws have been completely missed and abused for the benefit of a few.
Temple
not rated yet Nov 04, 2011
In a way 'pirating' content is like parking your car on a hill near a drive-in. The picture is a little worse, the radio reception is a bit off. Altogether, looking past the fence the providers put up, is a diminished experience, and also inherently legal.

If the providers of content publish it in such a way that it is redly duplicable (especially at diminished quality), then why should't that sharing be fair game? If however, they show their content in a private manner (imagine a theater instead of an open-air drive-in) then I think they have the right to protected copyright.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (2) Nov 04, 2011
Individual Liberty when it comes to the acquisition and consumption of information is and always has been absolute.

The corporate right to acquisition an consumption of information is not and never has been.

Those who promote the failed and illegitimate concept of IP are the enemies of Individual Liberty.
zweistein_2
not rated yet Nov 04, 2011
Instead of watching a computer monitor all day long it is preferable to walk out in the park or do some outdoor activities.
Instead of watching porn you should better do some porn with your partner(s).
Your time is more important than content.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (2) Nov 04, 2011
Fascinating to see the anarchists coming out of the woodwork.

Fortunately, the grownups are in charge and, thus, it IS legal and will REMAIN illegal for you to steal. Whether it's in your workplace, your school, or off the internet.

And all of that is, in spite of, your ludicrous ideas otherwise.
kaasinees
0 / 5 (21) Nov 04, 2011
Fascinating to see the anarchists coming out of the woodwork.

Fortunately, the grownups are in charge and, thus, it IS legal and will REMAIN illegal for you to steal. Whether it's in your workplace, your school, or off the internet.

And all of that is, in spite of, your ludicrous ideas otherwise.

Funny, our country has a law that makes it LEGAL, sadly boycotting from those interest lobbies payed by the music industry is undoing this ...
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (2) Nov 04, 2011
"Fortunately, the grownups are in charge and, thus, it IS legal and will REMAIN illegal for you to steal." - NerdGuy

Duplication is never theft. By definition it is impossible for it to be so.

kaasinees
0 / 5 (21) Nov 05, 2011
"Fortunately, the grownups are in charge and, thus, it IS legal and will REMAIN illegal for you to steal." - NerdGuy

Duplication is never theft. By definition it is impossible for it to be so.



Especially when the data is not even a 1:1 copy like most mp3's.

So it's stealing when i go to a museum, make pictures and hang them on my wall?
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (1) Nov 05, 2011
@Vendicar
@kassinees

Amusing to watch you guys ramble on like you're actually going to convince anyone other than thieves with your anarchist rabble. There always have been and always will be people like yourselves who will engage in theft and then do your best to justify it.

One of the reasons we need laws is because there are always a very small handful of people who just can't keep their hands to themselves. Digital theft is.........theft.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Nov 05, 2011
"Fortunately, the grownups are in charge and, thus, it IS legal and will REMAIN illegal for you to steal." - NerdGuy

Duplication is never theft. By definition it is impossible for it to be so.



Especially when the data is not even a 1:1 copy like most mp3's.

So it's stealing when i go to a museum, make pictures and hang them on my wall?
Hello troll

Hey you can photograph all the software and CDs you want - its a free country
Vendicar_Decarian
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 05, 2011
"Hey you can photograph all the software and CDs you want..." - Otto

Of course I can. CD's DVD's and Blueray disks are optical and burning one is a form of photography.
Vendicar_Decarian
2.3 / 5 (4) Nov 05, 2011
"Digital theft is.........theft." - NerdGuy

Only if you alter the definition of theft in a manner that makes it incompatible with every definition that has come before, and then employ circular reasoning.

You might as well claim that breathing is theft.

Here. Let me apply your logic.

Breathing is theft because breathing is theft.

The duplication of information, the acquisition of information, the use of information is a basic human right. And those who claim otherwise are the ultimate enemy of Individual Liberty.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Nov 05, 2011
The duplication of information, the acquisition of information, the use of information is a basic human right.
I dont understand. If the creation of info costs money, why shouldnt people be paid for their work? And if theyre not paid for their work, why would they be doing it? And if this work takes years of preparation and study to be able to do, then why shouldnt the people who do it be paid accordingly? And if this info takes as much time and effort to produce as tangible goods like, say, diamond tiaras, why is it ok to steal info and not diamond tiaras?

We need to keep paying the people who produce this info or they will no longer produce it. Or maintain it, or make it available to us in usable form.

Creating fresh air inside buildings or reducing air pollution outside costs a lot of money and we gladly pay for that. Your analogy is flawed.
And those who claim otherwise are the ultimate enemy of Individual Liberty.
Your ebullience is entertaining.
Vendicar_Decarian
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 05, 2011
"I dont understand. If the creation of info costs money, why shouldnt people be paid for their work?" - Otto

Digging holes costs money too. So if someone digs a hole they should be paid for it. I'll go dig a hole in my back yard. I figure it will take me 20 minutes, and you will owe me 5 bucks.

"And if theyre not paid for their work, why would they be doing it?" - Otto

Why do people raise children if they are not paid for doing it?

Money is the only true God.

"We need to keep paying the people who produce this info or they will no longer produce it." - Otto

Newton, Einstein, Fermat, etc. They would be known as counter examples wouldn't they?

How much have you paid for their information?

The duplication of information, the acquisition of information, the use of information is a basic human right. And those who claim otherwise are the ultimate enemy of Individual Liberty.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Nov 05, 2011
Newton, Einstein, Fermat, etc. They would be known as counter examples wouldn't they?
They were paid for their work plus lots of perks. Groupies I hear.
How much have you paid for their information?
Many people of my gen suffer from the effects of above ground testing of nukes made possible by scientists like these, and made with uranium supplied by the country of Ontario.
The duplication of information, the acquisition of information, the use of information is a basic human right.
Actually my questions were really statements of fact in rhetorical form. There was no need to try to answer them. As I have said many times if you yourself had ever been engaged in producing information for a living you would perhaps be squawking a different tune. But you don't.
Vendicar_Decarian
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 05, 2011
"They were paid for their work plus lots of perks. Groupies I hear." - Otto

Were those groopies forced to pervey their perks because they used the information produced by these great scientists?

Did they purchase the information that Einstein or Newton produced?

No, they willingly donated their perks didn't they.

Just as you are free to willingly donate to current information producers.

Vendicar_Decarian
2 / 5 (4) Nov 05, 2011
"Many people of my gen suffer from the effects of above ground testing of nukes made possible by scientists like these, and made with uranium supplied by the country of Ontario." - Otto

Your suffering is necessary for the task of producing nuclear weapons who's purpose was to end WWII rapidly and prevent Russia from obtaining warm water ports in the Pacific.
Vendicar_Decarian
3.2 / 5 (6) Nov 05, 2011
".. if you yourself had ever been engaged in producing information for a living you would perhaps be squawking a different tune." - Otto

Actually I have produced several software packages for commercial use. Designed and built a few pieces of hardware for commercial sale, and I have friends in and around the music recording industry for whom I have provided innumerable services.

Since I am trained in science. It has always been self evident that the exchange of information and the consumption of information has always been and will always remain a fundamental human right.

Of course, Corporatists, Fascists, Libertarians, and the other Enemies of Freedom and Personal Liberty deny the reality, just as they deny almost every other truth.

TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Nov 06, 2011
Actually I have produced several software packages for commercial use. Designed and built a few pieces of hardware for commercial sale, and I have friends in and around the music recording industry for whom I have provided innumerable services.
Was that freeware? And were you paid for those innumerable services by info producers who were in turn paid for their work?
Of course, Corporatists, Fascists, Libertarians, and the other Enemies of Freedom and Personal Liberty deny the reality, just as they deny almost every other truth.
Blah?