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  #31  
Old November 14th, 2005, 08:10 AM
Gnusam Netor Gnusam Netor is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jeff M. Hopper:
Actually, the owner has lost something. The owner has lost the opportunity for a sale and thus the chance to profit from his own work.
Assuming the owner didn't lose anything, you say he still lost something? I don't know how to answer that, sorry.
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  #32  
Old November 14th, 2005, 09:17 AM
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IMO, creators should do themselves a favour and make their work available online for free, either wholly or in sample form. No-one has yet put forward any convincing evidence that file-sharing costs sales. Those figures about billions of dollars being lost to the music industry are just a big stack of wild guesses calculated to the Nth degree (e.g. assuming that every download or file-share equals a lost sale).

On the other hand, there is a growing feeling (I'm not sure I would call it a "body of evidence", yet) that the practice actually encourages sales by providing potential buyers with a preview the product before they buy. This particularly applies to books and other printed material, as it would not make economic sense to get a free download and then spend more money printing it out than the book would have cost in the first place. And who wants to read a book on a monitor? Eric Flint puts the case very enthusiastically at the Baen Books Free Library. You know, that link at the bottom of this web page?

Of course, that assumes that the item is actually good. Which means the music industry is in even deeper trouble than it thinks it is, as file-sharing might actually have been propping up its dismal sales. [img]graemlins/file_23.gif[/img]
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  #33  
Old November 14th, 2005, 10:44 AM
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I think that this discussion, like many of the same ilk, simply show that laws and mores have not yet fully adapted to the rise of the realm of electronic things (as opposed to physical things). Something about easy, anonymous copies and the lack of a physical thing seems to make the ethical angle easier to finagle.

Notice that Baen doesn't actually put *all* of their books online for free.

Borrowing from someone that you know or a licensed entity (like a library) who paid for a book is one thing. "Borrowing" from some anonymous source or one who hasn't paid for the copy is rather another.

Use what justifications that you want ("doesn't hurt anyone", "It's okay to steal if I can't afford it," "It's not a thing, it's an idea", "I'm just borrowing it since I wasn't going to buy it anyway," "I'll buy it if I like it", etc). In the end, you're still enjoying or making use of something that you haven't paid for when you should.

I don't mind having some sample work up online for display (which I have, in a way, at my old deckplans site). However, I'm not about to advocate that we put up the Golden Age Starship supplements (which have my work) online for free in the hopes that someone will donate cash if they like them. And, it does affect me if you find a copy online for free rather than buying through QLink.

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  #34  
Old November 14th, 2005, 11:43 AM
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Using ANY kind of Intellectual Property without permission, either directly from the owner or with the license that is granted from a property's purchase is STEALING.

End of story.

There isn't much gray area there.

I work for a software publisher. I take things like this quite personally. If someone makes an illegal copy of a program and distributes that, it impacts the bottom line and eventually my paycheck.

Just because something is not tangible (i.e., it is a series of bits, or a sequence of sounds through an interval of time) like a car or a boat doesn't mean that using the end result of someone's work without paying is not stealing.
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  #35  
Old November 14th, 2005, 03:05 PM
Keklas Rekobah Keklas Rekobah is offline
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Quote:
"Using ANY kind of Intellectual Property without permission, either directly from the owner or with the license that is granted from a property's purchase is STEALING." -- Jim Fetters.
That is correct, as far as it goes. The terms of copyrighting a publication allows for personal use, and publication of excerpts as long as the original author is credited [1].

Shareware developers have come up with the right idea; issue a 'crippled' version that has limited features [2].

I've seen some deckplans that detail only the bridge, only the engineering section, or only a stateroom, but not all three. I've also read excerpts from stories that resemble movie trailers in that they express a lot of action without giving away too much of the plot [3].

Stealing is inevitable, but that does not make stealing acceptable. It is largely up to the vendor to reduce the chances that their products will be stolen. Posting an entire adventure on line, with images, and providing no safeguards at all against the "Select All --> Copy --> Paste" [4] routine is the same as leaving the warehouse door open. Even the most copy-resistant PDF file can be ripped [5].

Keep in mind that "There is no honor among thieves" when you rely on the "honor" of those who read your public posts. Don't rely on the morality or ethics of your readers either, for they may not have any [6].

-KR-

[1] Usually through the use of footnotes like this one.
[2] Or limited-duration functionality.
[3] Used to be found between the copyright page and the table of contents in paperbacks.
[4] ... for example. Other common procedures are readily and legally available.
[5] I discovered this, much to my dismay, when I posted one of my own "secure" PDF files on one site, and found that it had been hacked and re-posted within a week under someone else's name on another site.
[6] And "Common Sense" ain't so common, either.
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  #36  
Old November 14th, 2005, 08:02 PM
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Wow, that didn't take long from the first post to degenerate... (Fortunately, degenerating threads on this site aren't too ugly.)

Intellectual property is just that - property. And, many folks credit intellectual property protections (immediately after real property rights) as the prime factor in the growth of the "information age" that is the West's economic engine right now. If you justify theft of it, you're not really any different from any other moral relativist - no matter how drastic a comparison you may think it.

I grew up (back in the Atari/Apple user group rivalry days) around some who thought it was OK to buy one copy of a program and make multiple copies (for everybody that pitched in to buy the original). At least it was if the original was "unreasonably expensive". Of course, these folks got paid very well (engineers) to produce their own intellectual property.... I have since grown out of that conceit.

I will admit to having a photocopy or two back in the bad old days (the only one I have left is my Advanced Melee from The Fantasy Trip - I haven't been able to win a proper copy for a decent price on eBay yet). But, no more.

I also freely admit to having a few copies of free stuff from DriveThruRPG.com that I wouldn't have even looked at if they weren't free. And, I have some of the Traveller stuff that isn't CT/MT because it was free for a bit on DriveThruRPG.com. But, I certainly wouldn't have gotten it in any other way for free. And, yes, I may buy more stuff because I got those free. But, don't count on it from many folks (or me).

On the "let information be free" side, though, Sony's newest Digital Rights Management snafu on their CDs is just one more example of why some people won't buy from "Big Music". [img]tongue.gif[/img]
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  #37  
Old November 14th, 2005, 09:43 PM
Keklas Rekobah Keklas Rekobah is offline
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Quote:
"Intellectual propert is just that - property." -- Fritz88.
.... and copying that property is stealing, unless the owner states that it can be freely copied. Otherwise, it is up to the owner to decide and clearly state that an article is protected under copyright laws. That way, potential thieves are warned that action will be taken to protect the interests of the author. This is the Ideal situation -- the way things should be.

In the real world, when people publically post articles in their entirety without engaging any safeguards (not even a copyright notice), and then complain that thieves are copying those articles... it's as if they're leaving their homes unsecured and then complaining that they've been burglarized.

If the owner of the material says that it's free for the taking, then it's not stealing to take it. The same goes for items that have expired copyrights or have otherwise passed into the public domain.

If instead the owner wants to have his articles and publish them too, then it's up to the owner to protect his or her property. It is not enough to tell the thief that he's stealing; he already knows it. He's also likely to have rationalized the theft, covered his tracks, and made up an excuse to tell any authorities that may (or most likely not) show up at his door.

There are thieves out there. Thieves steal -- it's what makes them thieves. It's up to the author to protect his or her property from thieves. They should not expect anyone else to do it for them, and they should not expect anyone else to jump to their aid when it happens.

I've been ripped off, too. I submitted my very first article to a popular fantasy role-playing magazine, only to see the same article appear in that magazine under someone else's byline (albeit with added details) about a year later. It was my word against the 'famous staff writer' and I had not the resources to pursue the matter. The magazine has since changed hands and the writer no longer works there.

Tough coprolites. Now I know better.

When I post something, then it is either a watered-down version of an original idea of mine, or an obvious extrapolation of someone else's. I try not to post something that belongs to someone else without giving due credit, but I've sometimes posted in good faith that an excerpt is public domain, only to remove the post or acknowledge the original author when challenged. It's just the right thing to do.

Also, when I submit an article to a publication, I make certain to take steps to secure a copyright to that article first, and I only submit articles in hardcopy format.

BTW: Here's my interpretation of a copyright notice given with regards to a website and it's owners:

"Permission is given by the author of this posting to copy and distribute this posting freely, provided such actions do not violate the copyright of this website and the copyrights of those who own or administrate this website. Permission to copy or distribute this article may be revoked at any time by the owners of this website or their designated agents."

What do you think?
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  #38  
Old November 15th, 2005, 02:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gnusam Netor:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Jeff M. Hopper:
Actually, the owner has lost something. The owner has lost the opportunity for a sale and thus the chance to profit from his own work.
Assuming the owner didn't lose anything, you say he still lost something? I don't know how to answer that, sorry. </font>[/QUOTE]He's lost the control over who is allowed to copy it, if nothing else.

A few game designers have persued Copyright Infringement in order to keep a dead game OFF the shelf.
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  #39  
Old November 15th, 2005, 05:39 AM
Gnusam Netor Gnusam Netor is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Aramis:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Gnusam Netor:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Jeff M. Hopper:
Actually, the owner has lost something. The owner has lost the opportunity for a sale and thus the chance to profit from his own work.
Assuming the owner didn't lose anything, you say he still lost something? I don't know how to answer that, sorry. </font>[/QUOTE]He's lost the control over who is allowed to copy it, if nothing else.
</font>[/QUOTE]I guess I could banteringly (word exist?) respond with:
"Assuming the owner didn't lose anything, you say he still lost something?"
[img]tongue.gif[/img]

But in reality I see your point, and to some degree that is a loss for the owner - the loss of control over his property. I believe that that loss is acceptable, since the current value and the future value of the property to the owner is not harmed by the outsider's actions.

I'll try to construct a comparison.

Lets say you are the king (and thus the law) in Aramon, among your many possessions is a forest, it's big and you cannot guard it all the time. The only thing you are interested in from the forest is the timber, you don't care about the deer that live in the forest nor the beautiful scenery. One day, one of your subjects - the angry bard Jim - wants to walk trough the forest, he doesn't damage it in any way since he actually wears anti-grav shoes. Remember, since you are the king you can decide about everything's legality. We are only talking about the "higher values" here.

Is that ok? I think so.
(But I believe you lost some control because of the bards actions.)

Let's say angry-bard-Jim writes a poem of your forest while inside it (he's wearing his anti-grav shoes) and you are still only interested in the timber.

I think it is ok.

He earns money from selling the poem about your forest. You wouldn't write poems yourself - because your time is better spent with organizing the timber-cutting.

Is it ok? I'm not sure, but I think so.

Angry-bard-Jim builds a little poetry camp and starts taking rent from other bards but luckily no trees are damaged, although some grass is. They complain to you that their scenery is damaged because you cut down the trees, this takes some of your time.

Not ok, you should evict them and possibly demand compensation.

Now if you can't - because your army is elsewhere fighting the evil demon Gnusamanetor and his minions - you have to chose, fight the demon or police your forest. Ultimately you might very well decide that the demon is a bigger threat.

Let's say you do.
So, what do you do, the mighty king? Do you bitch about it: "Stop it, it's my forest!"? Or accept that there are more important things to fight in your land, namely the demon, and that bitching about the things that you choose to not control just makes you look silly. When you look silly your subject are more likely to rebell because they respect you less.


edited several times, mostly for language
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  #40  
Old November 15th, 2005, 09:41 AM
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I cross-posted this thread on a few other gaming forums Originally to get some
different opinions on the same subject. The discussion on all has been
damned interesting. Below are links to three of the other forums and their own
discussions.

http://www.enworld.org/showthread.ph...2&page=1&pp=40

http://www.travellerrpg.com/cgi-bin/...c;f=1;t=001587

http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=229271
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