Who Am I?

Toney, Alabama, United States
Software Engineer, Systems Analyst, XML/X3D/VRML97 Designer, Consultant, Musician, Composer, Writer

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Thieves and the Culture of Enablers

At The Trichordist, in an article about the New Internet Association, Steve Merola asks
A thief is a thief. Don’t they know that a pirate is not a good thing? A pirate is a thief. A thief is one who steals. A lowlife, a parasite who exists simply because of the work of others.

Their response is to redefine thievery. By applying the notion that a copy does not deprive the owner of the original, they assert that copying does not constitute thievery. It is a transaction loss. This turns the argument into attempts to collect more money instead of defending a right. It is a transparent attempt to relieve the server farm owners of the obligation to track the theft. It attempts to relieve the web community of the responsibility to combat piracy. It enables a global conspiracy of criminals some of whom have begun to use violent means to establish their territories.

The justification is that copyright infringement and theft are different kinds of crimes, adjudicated differently, in different courts with different applicable laws and punishments. This semantic judo is used by some of the sharpest people I know from years of working with them on various projects. Communities such as XML-Dev became livid for posts making reference to this site. References to the "politics of IP" are to be shunned in these communities while they go about their way making it possible. Eventually it becomes self-evident that these communities however functional they are or laudable their history of accomplishments are also to be shunned.

This wrinkle in the Internet cultures began a long time ago. It has insinuated itself into the fiber of thought and will not be easily untangled. It reaches into some of the most prestigious circles of standards committees, open source communities and small start-ups. The challenge is these are people who after many years of online presence have become very adept at the kinds of arguing made in legal circles and social causes.

Demagoguery requires that the assertion have a little truth to be accepted by the audience to promote behaviors which they would otherwise not commit. See George Wallace, former Governor of Alabama. Eventually the little truths must be acknowledged and the greater good made self-evident. Otherwise, there is a lot to be said for digital forensics and proceedings that focus on the points of law instead of the laudable need to build a better world perverted into the blind support of a growing society of shiny criminals.

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