RANT against Stealing Site Content

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benissimus
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Post by benissimus » Fri Jan 09, 2004 4:07 pm

Lex wrote:
benissimus wrote:Lex, I think you have an interesting and defensible argument there, and no one is going to stop you from copying from other sites. However, I see it as extremely belligerent and ungrateful to say that you will continue to do this to Textkit when Jeff has just plainly asked you not to, whether you agree with his principles or not.
Actually, I have never shared TextKit files with anybody else, since everybody I know who is interested in classical languages happens to be here anyway. However, if I did know somebody else who was interested in classical languages, and didn't have a good high-bandwidth connection to the Internet, I would give him a copy on CDRW. I would also tell him to check out TextKit when he gets the chance (not because I feel obliged to, but because it is a worthwhile site).

It's not that I am ungrateful or being belligerence for its own sake. It's just that I don't feel a moral or legal obligation to use a website in exactly the way the author intended. I'm sorry if that offends.
The fact that you didn't concede to any point in Jeff's argument led me to assume that you were not going to follow through on his wishes. I really don't care about all these copyright and intellectual property details, but I think when someone asks and tells you not to do something with something he himself made, that you should obey his wishes if you do indeed respect him. If you are going to do this, then fine, but if so then you are not making it clear.

As for the morality of "copying" as opposed to "stealing"...
What would you think of a person who went to an author's home and photocopied every page of a book he was writing and then published his version at the same time as the author? I think that is a pretty good analogy, since the producer still has the property and both copies are available simultaneously, with similar effects against the author.
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Post by Lex » Fri Jan 09, 2004 4:27 pm

Keesa wrote:I probably misread you, Lex (in fact, I hope I did!) but are you saying that you don't believe that intellectual property has no value?
Hmmm... I wish there was a "chagrined" emoticon. You've posed a loaded question, since you use the phrase "intellectual property", which I believe is a nonsense phrase. So, I'll rephrase. I believe that some information has value, of course, otherwise I wouldn't bother to make copies of it.
Keesa wrote:That copying it and redistributing it do no harm to the original author?
That depends on what "harm" means. If Walmart opens up a store right across the street from Mom and Pop Finnigan's General Store, does that harm them? Yes, quite possibly it would put them out of business. Does that violate their rights? No, I don't believe it does. Walmart has no obligation to honor Mom and Pop Finnigan's desires to obtain an income from all the work they put into their general store by not locating a Walmart branch across the street from them.

The same applies to web sites and copying site content.
Keesa wrote:Quite frankly, this attitude (if it is your attitude; again, I hope I misread!) terrifies and disgusts me. My entire life is built around this worthless intellectual property. Granted, I work in words, and Jeff works in-well, in whatever computer people work in to bring us sites like Textkit and Perseus. But the idea is the same. Are you saying that it's okay for you to take the stories, articles and books that I write and copy them, even redistribute them, to anyone you want, without my permission and without compensation?
I'm saying it would not violate your rights to copy and redistribute your words, without compensating you, because you don't have property rights in the patterns of information (words) that you have generated. The fact that this harms you by reducing your income is, quite frankly, irrelevant to the question of whether doing so would be a violation of your rights.
Keesa wrote:If you copy my story, let's say, and give it to someone, then someone has a copy who otherwise would have had to buy a copy, which would ultimately have benefitted me as the author. ... I call that stealing.
I call it a poor business plan on your part.
Keesa wrote:Is plagiarizing my work not stealing?
No, it's lying, which I personally consider dishonorable. Whether it actually violates your rights, I'm not sure. I'd have to give it more thought. My initial thought was "No, it does not violate rights".
Keesa wrote:I still have my original copy, after all. It's not as though you've taken anything physical from me. But regardless of whether or not these things are physical or not, they are mine. I agree that these rights have been blown way out of proportion by large corporations, like the music industry, who are trying to line their pockets, but that doesn't make your stealing (yes, I call it stealing!) right, nor does it justify it in any way.


Well, I certainly understand your point of view, even though I don't agree with it. And vice versa, I am sure. All I can say is, as a person who makes a living by generating patterns of information, you need to be aware that there are other out there, like me, who disagree with you, and whether they are ultimately right or wrong, they have some philosophical basis for their position. So you might want to consider how you can change your business plan so that you can obtain income from these people as well, without using legal retribution against them (which tends to turn away repeat business). :wink:
Keesa wrote:Again, I am so sorry if I've offended anyone. I just feel very strongly on this. Intellectual property is property. Some of us live off of it.
I'm not offended. As you already know, I actually enjoy weird philosophical debates like this. I'm a strange man. :oops:
I, Lex Llama, super genius, will one day rule this planet! And then you'll rue the day you messed with me, you damned dirty apes!

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Post by Lex » Fri Jan 09, 2004 4:33 pm

benissimus wrote:The fact that you didn't concede to any point in Jeff's argument led me to assume that you were not going to follow through on his wishes. I really don't care about all these copyright and intellectual property details, but I think when someone asks and tells you not to do something with something he himself made, that you should obey his wishes if you do indeed respect him. If you are going to do this, then fine, but if so then you are not making it clear.
I might give a CDRW of (unmodified) TextKit PDFs to another person (which Jeff has already said he's not terribly bothered by). I would not make the files available on another server, but not because I feel obliged not to; just because I like Jeff, and don't want to be a complete jerk.
benissimus wrote:As for the morality of "copying" as opposed to "stealing"... What would you think of a person who went to an author's home and photocopied every page of a book he was writing and then published his version at the same time as the author? I think that is a pretty good analogy, since the producer still has the property and both copies are available simultaneously, with similar effects against the author.
Well, that ignores the fact that the person violated the author's real property rights by breaking into his home to obtain the copy.
I, Lex Llama, super genius, will one day rule this planet! And then you'll rue the day you messed with me, you damned dirty apes!

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Post by benissimus » Fri Jan 09, 2004 4:36 pm

Well, that ignores the fact that the person violated the author's real property rights by breaking into his home to obtain the copy.
Maybe they were friends
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Post by Kalailan » Fri Jan 09, 2004 5:30 pm

The use of the term 'right' here bothers me.

i think that 'Rights' will not necessary, if the treatment of strangers would be the same as well known people. you see, lex, it doesn't matter whether the right has been violated. the right doesn't suffer. the person suffers from the violation, and i think that anyone should be regarded as one of the people you like.
if someone you hate would make a site similar to textkit, would you then do all the things you stated you don't do out of respect to jeff?

i will try to some it in a sentence:

i don't want to have a right to be respected; i want to be rsepected.

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Post by Episcopus » Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:08 pm

If I have the original D'Ooge book, is it illegal to give some one a printed version rather than the lovely but slightly fragile book, whilst telling them of the site whence I firstly became aware of the book, and where they may learn great things courtesy of jeff...

Not that I have or any one whom I know would want the D'Ooge book :)

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Post by Lex » Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:10 pm

benissimus wrote:
Well, that ignores the fact that the person violated the author's real property rights by breaking into his home to obtain the copy.
Maybe they were friends
Say the author lends a pre-release copy of a book to somebody to get his opinion, without making that person sign a contract stipulating that he does not copy it?

In that case, while it would be dishonorable, it wouldn't be a violation of property rights.
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Post by Lex » Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:25 pm

Kalailan wrote:The use of the term 'right' here bothers me.
I'm use the term "right" to mean something that others are legally obliged, upon threat of force, to honor. This is to distinguish between what I think people should be obliged to do or not do, and what is honorable or nice. I think it's a very important distinction. Otherwise we would have the Nice Police running around arresting people and throwing them in jail for not being nice. Now that's scary.

I've tried to make clear that I will honor Jeff's wishes with regard to TextKit PDF files. But not because I feel obliged to.
Kalailan wrote:i think that 'Rights' will not necessary, if the treatment of strangers would be the same as well known people. you see, lex, it doesn't matter whether the right has been violated. the right doesn't suffer. the person suffers from the violation, and i think that anyone should be regarded as one of the people you like.
Things happen that make people suffer, but which are not rights violations, all the time. We have to learn to deal with them. It's part of growing up. I suffered the last time a girlfriend broke up with me. Does that mean she was obliged not to? No, of course not. That's why I distinguish carefully between cases where I feel a person is legally obliged not to do something (where the act would violate another person's rights), and cases where the suffering caused is not a violation of rights.
Kalailan wrote:if someone you hate would make a site similar to textkit, would you then do all the things you stated you don't do out of respect to jeff?
Maybe.
Kalailan wrote:i will try to some it in a sentence:

i don't want to have a right to be respected; i want to be rsepected.
Well, doesn't everybody? Iesu Christos, do I have to agree completely with Jeff's opinion on intellectual property in order to respect him?
I, Lex Llama, super genius, will one day rule this planet! And then you'll rue the day you messed with me, you damned dirty apes!

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Post by Emma_85 » Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:58 pm

Kalailan wrote:
The use of the term 'right' here bothers me.


I'm use the term "right" to mean something that others are legally obliged, upon threat of force, to honor. This is to distinguish between what I think people should be obliged to do or not do, and what is honorable or nice.
I think Kalailan was right to be bothered by the term. Your definition is not everyone's definition (as mine is not everyone's definition either). It's a difficult word as people can and do use it differently.
If you are legally obliged to do something I would not call that 'right', because in my vocabulary that word is reserved for what is morally right. A government can make a law that says all citizens demonstrating against the government must be shot. That is a harsh example, but a soldier would be legally bound to shoot someone demonstrating, and you would say he would have acted right, where as I would claim him to have acted wrongly.
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Post by mingshey » Sat Jan 10, 2004 12:33 am

Episcopus wrote:If I have the original D'Ooge book, is it illegal to give some one a printed version rather than the lovely but slightly fragile book, whilst telling them of the site whence I firstly became aware of the book, and where they may learn great things courtesy of jeff...

Not that I have or any one whom I know would want the D'Ooge book :)
Another similar case would be like this. I have a copy of Smyth's Greek Grammar I bought from Amazon. It is a copyrighted version. Let me suppose I made a backup PDF(instead of downloading the copyright extinguished version from Textkit) for an unexpected damage to the book. And a friend of mine also has the book. If he wants the backup for the same reason and he can't make the backup for himself. So he ask me to give a copy of the backup file. Is it wrong to give it to him?

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