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Author Topic: Infringement versus theft  (Read 1288 times)
isthisthingon
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« on: March 22, 2010, 04:48:22 PM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_infringement#Comparison_to_theft

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Courts have distinguished between copyright infringement and theft, holding, for instance, in the United States Supreme Court case Dowling v. United States (1985) that bootleg phonorecords did not (for the purpose of the case) constitute stolen property, and writing:

Interference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud. The Copyright Act even employs a separate term of art to define one who misappropriates a copyright: ... 'an infringer of the copyright.' ...
The infringer invades a statutorily defined province guaranteed to the copyright holder alone. But he does not assume physical control over the copyright; nor does he wholly deprive its owner of its use. While one may colloquially link infringement with some general notion of wrongful appropriation, infringement plainly implicates a more complex set of property interests than does run-of-the-mill theft, conversion, or fraud.

—Dowling v. United States, 473 U.S. 207, pp. 217–218

The key distinction generally drawn, as indicated above, is that while copyright infringement may (or may not) cause economic loss to the copyright holder, as theft does, it does not appropriate a physical object, nor deprive the copyright holder of the use of the copyright. That information can be replicated without destroying an original is an old observation, and a cornerstone of intellectual property law. In economic terms, information is not a rival good; this has led some to argue that it is very different in character, and that laws for physical property and intellectual property should be very different.
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perkiset
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2010, 05:26:17 PM »

A rose by any other name ...

You may go all you want to rationalize the position. It's making use of something that is not yours, or you have agreed to a commitment that you do not choose to honor.
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2010, 05:57:05 PM »

Try giving an iRose to someone on Valentine's Day and explaining why the smell has been locked down until the validation servers come back online.  That's called a rose by nothing else BUT name (excluding the lowercase i of course).
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