Forum: Ruby Ticked Off

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Austin Z. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 01:07
(Received via mailing list)
Okay, I'll admit it. I'm really pissed off. I don't pay attention to
what goes on on the #ruby-talk IRC channel these days all that much,
but something happened this afternoon that thoroughly pissed me off.

  [0515/16.53] hatezilla: seriously, pick it up. if you're iffy, get
on emule and search
  for "ruby for rails" ... there's tons of pdfs floating around if you
know where to look

I consider David Black a friend of mine. I am *seriously* pissed off
that some pissant little freak would advocate this action at all. I
was similarly annoyed that people reacted as badly to Dave T.'s
announcement that the Rails 2nd Edition would be the same price. These
people have done a *lot* for the Ruby community.

They deserve your financial support. Don't be a pissant thief. Even
temporarily. There are "sample chapters" for a reason.

-austin
Logan C. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 02:30
(Received via mailing list)
On May 15, 2006, at 5:06 PM, Austin Z. wrote:

> that some pissant little freak would advocate this action at all. I
>               * Alternate: removed_email_address@domain.invalid
>

What really boggles my mind about this is, yes a book is easier and
maybe you can't afford it, but its not like there aren't docs. You
even have the source code.
Matt Long (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 02:57
(Received via mailing list)
Philip G.spun has an innovative solution to this problem: http://
philip.greenspun.com/copyright/hall-of-shame.html

He is a (among other things) a photographer and web guru.  His
solution was an online hall of shame where he would post who has
stolen his pictures.

Perhaps something similar might be in order for this if real names or
net handles can be identified?  I don't have David Black's book, but
I do have several other PragProg books & these have a "Prepared
for ..." at the bottom -- any idea whether the shared copies have
this removed?

There really isn't a technical solution to prevent this from
happening, but public shaming might work...

Matt

On 15 May , 2006, at 5:06 PM, Austin Z. wrote:

> that some pissant little freak would advocate this action at all. I
>               * Alternate: removed_email_address@domain.invalid
>

--
Matt Long 
removed_email_address@domain.invalid /
removed_email_address@domain.invalid
University of South Florida, CRASAR
GnuPG public key: http://www.csee.usf.edu/~mtlong/public_key.html

Seduced, shaggy Samson snored.
She scissored short. Sorely shorn,
Soon shackled slave, Samson sighed,
Silently scheming,
Sightlessly seeking
Some savage, spectacular suicide.
-- Stanislaw Lem
Elliot T. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 03:04
(Received via mailing list)
On May 15, 2006, at 3:26 PM, Logan C. wrote:

>> know where to look
>>
>>
>
> What really boggles my mind about this is, yes a book is easier and
> maybe you can't afford it, but its not like there aren't docs. You
> even have the source code.

I am sympathetic to your annoyance. I don't think it is OK to suggest/
advocate downloading ruby books in the IRC channel or on this mailing
list: most readers here can afford to buy programming books; it's bad
to advocate illegal activities in public; free documentation,
tutorials, source code, advice, etc is available; and it's
discourteous to authors who regularly give free help here. But is
every case of piracy deserving of the same great scorn? I realise
this may be a tangential issue, but if someone can't afford a book
and is not going to buy it either way, whom has he harmed by
downloading it?

-- Elliot T.
http://www.curi.us/blog/
Jeremy T. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 03:10
(Received via mailing list)
On 15-May-06, at 7:03 PM, Elliot T. wrote:

> But is every case of piracy deserving of the same great scorn?

Yes.

> I realise this may be a tangential issue, but if someone can't
> afford a book and is not going to buy it either way, whom has he
> harmed by downloading it?

That's like saying that you're stuck with someone, and you're not
going to share your food either way, so what harm is there in killing
the person now instead of letting him starve to death. That's just a
silly way of thinking.
Elliot T. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 04:17
(Received via mailing list)
On May 15, 2006, at 4:07 PM, Jeremy T. wrote:

>
> That's like saying that you're stuck with someone, and you're not
> going to share your food either way, so what harm is there in
> killing the person now instead of letting him starve to death.
> That's just a silly way of thinking.

The harm there is that he would die sooner than he would if he were
left un-murdered. He loses that amount of his life. But the thing is,
who is harmed in the hypothetical case I described?

-- Elliot T.
http://www.curi.us/blog/
Keith L. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 04:51
Elliot T. wrote:
> On May 15, 2006, at 4:07 PM, Jeremy T. wrote:

> The harm there is that he would die sooner than he would if he were
> left un-murdered. He loses that amount of his life. But the thing is,
> who is harmed in the hypothetical case I described?
>
> -- Elliot T.
> http://www.curi.us/blog/

I cannot afford a Mercedes. I therefore have no plans to buy one. Should
I steal one? After all, nobody really gets hurt, do they?

We are not talking about a starving person who has no choice but to
steal food, and therefore might be considered to have some moral
foundation for their actions. We are talking about people who actually
in most cases do have money, but no sense of ethics. They would never
steal from a Walmart, but only because they might get caught. The
ultimate harm may not be to them, but to those of us who DO have a sense
of ethics. I appreciate the fact that publishers are making their
products available in a variety of formats. Taking advantage of this
situation by copying and distributing their work without paying for it
can only have one long-term consequence: they will either discontinue
the practice or be forced to implement copy protection that makes it
inconvenient for all.

Keith
Jeremy T. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 05:47
(Received via mailing list)
On 15-May-06, at 8:14 PM, Elliot T. wrote:

> left un-murdered. He loses that amount of his life. But the thing
> is, who is harmed in the hypothetical case I described?

The publisher, and as a result, the author; by not getting the money
for the book.
John G. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 06:40
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/15/06, Elliot T. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>
>[snip] But is
> every case of piracy deserving of the same great scorn?

Same? No. But some variable amount of scorn depending upon
circumstances? I believe yes.

> I realise
> this may be a tangential issue, but if someone can't afford a book
> and is not going to buy it either way, whom has he harmed by
> downloading it?

A writer works on their book based on the premise that they will be
reimbursed for each copy, thus making it worth their while --
otherwise they wouldn't bother writing it.

In a perfect world, the price of the book might depend some amount
upon circumstances such as, how much can the customer afford? Do they
do their best to help others in society (discount!), or do they
usually opt to screw the other guy (surcharge!) ? Have they had recent
hardships out of their control which might justify a lower price?

It goes the other way too. Suppose some company or person is producing
copyrighted material that's damaging to society. If you illegally
share their material, and if that sharing helps put them out of
business (i.e. potential buyers get a free copy instead of paying for
it), does that make sharing it right, albeit illegal? Hm... <insert
independent thought here>.

To keep this post on-topic, I bought David's book -- the dead tree
version. Manning gives you a complimentary pdf version to boot, but
it's generated on the fly and has your name and email address
emblazoned at the bottom of every page. So, if you leak your copy to
the 'net, everyone knows it was you. :)

Some might suggest that, what would make it even less likely to be
shared would be if they put your name, address, phone number, credit
card number, date of birth, and IP address somewhere on every page.
Then, if you leaked your copy, people could find you and throw rotten
eggs at your house. Though, that could also lead to privacy concerns
(ex. kid buys book on internet with Dad's card, shares e-book/pdf with
friends, and now folks know a little too much about Dad).
pat eyler (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 06:46
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/15/06, Elliot T. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> >> I realise this may be a tangential issue, but if someone can't
> who is harmed in the hypothetical case I described?
everyone of us who wants to see books continue to be made
available in electronic formats.  A number of publishers are
sitting on the fence about whether they should continue to provide
(or start to provide) books like this -- redistributing copies (stealing
them) is helping to keep them away.

Who is harmed?  I am.  You are.  Every one of us is.
Bill K. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 06:55
(Received via mailing list)
From: "Elliot T." <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
>
> [...] But is
> every case of piracy deserving of the same great scorn? I realise
> this may be a tangential issue, but if someone can't afford a book
> and is not going to buy it either way, whom has he harmed by
> downloading it?

I think this has the makings of a False Dilemma, or Loaded
Question, or something of that ilk.

It's really postulating two separate conditions: a) can't afford
it, and b) not going to buy it *EITHER WAY*.

"a" is something one would i suppose have to examine on a case
by case basis to determine the, shall we say, veracity of the
claim.  How many programmers can't afford to put away $10 per
month toward a book they want to buy.  (Hint: unsubscribe to
bustygrannieswearingapronscookingnude.com)

"b" is the nice slippery slope -> convenient excuse used by
people who don't want to pay for something they can digitally
copy: Oh well, I wasn't going to buy it anyway, but I still
want the *value* from it.  But: "EITHER WAY" means even if I
*could afford* it, I have no intention of paying for it, so
I'll just copy it and receive the value from it without paying
for it--I'm not hurting anybody.

I think that's inherently some kind of false choice, because
if you don't pay for it, you're not _entitled_ to the value.
So you don't *get* to decide to reap the value from someone
else's work because you _decided_ you didn't want to pay for
it.

Saying you weren't going to buy it either way but still are
entitled to obtain the value from the work, is just bogus.
If you aren't going to buy it, you don't get to read it.
(Or listen to it, or watch it, or play it.)

The problem is, I think the people who are truly in the "a"
/can't afford even $10-per-month/ category for programming
books is so slim, it usually comes down to people in the "b"
/decided I wouldn't buy it but still want the value from it/
category.

If you're really an "a", maybe you can send a note to the
author asking about student discounts or whatnot; for
everybody else in "b" either unsubscribe to your pr0n sites
and buy the book, or have the honesty to admit that taking
the value from a commercial product without paying for it
is stealing from the author and publisher.

(Personally, I'm not campaigning for Sainthood.  I've made
a few mistakes with digital media over the years; but I
will never try to rationalize the few things I never did
pay for in the last 20 years as not hurting anybody.)


Regards,

Bill
Joel VanderWerf (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 07:59
(Received via mailing list)
Keith L. wrote:
> I cannot afford a Mercedes. I therefore have no plans to buy one. Should
> I steal one? After all, nobody really gets hurt, do they?

Depends. Can you steal a Mercedes with wget?
Austin Z. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 08:02
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/15/06, Elliot T. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> and is not going to buy it either way, whom has he harmed by
> downloading it?

This person wasn't advocating permantly stealing David's book. He was
advocating a "try it before you buy it" approach. The problem is that
Manning took a risk by making a PDF copy of "Ruby for Rails" available
for purchase. I believe that they made the right choice in doing so,
but asinine approaches like this advocacy -- when sample chapters are
made available for a reason, and the book will now soon be available
in bookstores for perusing -- will only discourage Manning and other
publishers from doing what they should do, and it will discourage
other authors from following the same path as David did.

I won't pretend that I'm pissed off at every example of "piracy" (I
hate the term's abuse that way, but it does have currency), but it's
advocacy of immoral and illegal behaviour. It just so happens that I
know David and am that much more annoyed by this nonsense.

-austin
Jeff R. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 12:48
(Received via mailing list)
Austin Z. wrote:
> that some pissant little freak would advocate this action at all. I
> was similarly annoyed that people reacted as badly to Dave T.'s
> announcement that the Rails 2nd Edition would be the same price. These
> people have done a *lot* for the Ruby community.
>
> They deserve your financial support. Don't be a pissant thief. Even
> temporarily. There are "sample chapters" for a reason.
>
> -austin

Agreed, we should support the PragProg guys so they can continue to do
the great stuff they have been doing.  Stealing is wrong and we
shouldn't encourage it here or on irc.  As an undergraduate, or what you
might call "a pissant" student, I read a copy of The Pragmatic
Programmer that I BORROWED from a professor, and I seriously believe it
changed the way I approach life.  Their lifelong learning approach,
basically focused on making smart, conscious decisions at every step, is
something I took to heart.  That same dirty, bent-up copy was passed
around between many of my friends, and we all regard it as classic.  Now
I own the book myself, as well the ruby, rails & subversion books they
wrote since.  Oh, but maybe I should never have looked at that copy my
OS professor lent me.  It was evil and wrong to not pay the authors for
their hard work, wasn't it?  What if he had just sent me the PDF to read
instead?  Would that have produced a substantially different outcome?
   Life is not that black and white, and downloading a PDF to peruse, or
to read in its entirety, is barely different from checking out a book
from the library or borrowing from a friend.  I think taking a hard line
attitude like this is not only useless, because we will never digress
back to "the way it used to be," but it is also counter productive.  The
way you succeed as an author or publisher is not by punishing your
future clientele, but by trying to win them over as passionate fans.  If
you can get people engrossed they will end up buying much more than one
book, and in the long run that is how you make a living.
   Bands that have taken this to heart are succeeding, and I think the
PragProg guys will continue too, unless they get worked up like you are
and start making rash decisions.  The String Cheese Incident, for
example, releases on their own label and directly to the fans.  You can
download great recordings soon after live shows, or you can show up and
record a less stellar copy for yourself.  That is how you get people
excited, and earn their respect.  My hope is that the PDF model they are
using now continues to get even more "live."  Rather than buy a book I
think it would be cool to subscribe to one.  I'd eat up a new chapter of
the pickaxe, for example:  maybe some meta-programming, some more
advanced discussion on networking, or even better some in depth
discussion of the language implementation itself.  How does YARV work?
I'd pay for all that, but do I really want to pay for the rest of the
pickaxe again, maybe with some typos corrected?  No.  It's a waste of
paper, and I'm never going to read the first couple hundred pages of
intro/tutorial again anyway.
   In the end, building a larger community of rubyists, who will almost
all buy books eventually, is the most important factor for the survival
of the authors, like your friend David, that we would like to support.
If a few people are first introduced to this world through
ultra-illegal, black market copies of PDF versions, big deal.  My guess
is if they dig it they'll buy the next copy so they can read it in bed.
  I did.

-Jeff

P.S.  How about this for piracy?
http://gadgets.qj.net/How-to-Pirate-a-Vinyl-Record...
Kev J. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 13:23
(Received via mailing list)
Jeff R. wrote:

>>
>
>
[snip]

>   Life is not that black and white, and downloading a PDF to peruse,
> or to read in its entirety, is barely different from checking out a
> book from the library or borrowing from a friend.

[snip]

I kind of agree with this - 'check out the pdf and then buy the book
attitude'.  I also have a lot of sympathy for authors who get ripped off
- but if anyone tries to tell me that 'copying a pdf' is the same as
stealing a book from a store, I cannot agree with that - they are
fundamentally different in that one is physical and one isn't, one is
theft while the other is copyright infringement - one can get you a slap
on the wrist, the other locked up (under current DMCA style laws).  They
are the same in that both deprive the author of revenue (in fact I'm not
certain, but shop thefts probably don't deprive the author, although
they do deprive the store).

I live in the developing world, and the fact is that there are no
bookstores that carry Prag Prog titles here - they simply cost too much
for the bookstores to carry.  Sadly this means that most developers here
don't even think about spending 25-50% of their monthly salary on a book
when they can download a pdf from a p2p network.  It will get harder
over time as the government here is cracking down on software piracy and
copyright issues, but that basically means that smart people are
deprived from resources that are available to other people just because
of personal finances.  There are special copies of addison wesley and
apress/wrox, but no prag progs.  I know that some publishers (AW/apress)
have a special 'third world' editions - usually printed on lower quality
paper - which is *much* cheaper than the copy you can get from
Amazon/Borders.  For me personally I'd like to get hold of AWDwR and
Rails Recipes, but they aren't available in shops here and the Amazon
price is a little too much for me (personally) - I will try to get my
company to buy them - we already imported Ship It! from Amazon Japan.
And yes the sample chapters are great - the pragmattic project
automation sample chapter is the perfect documentation for
CruiseControl.

I do get paid enough to buy books (ebooks/dead-trees), so when I see a
good book I try to get it - again though for most things here that means
importing (which takes a while as it has to be inspected by customs).
Ebooks are ok, but credit cards are a real rarity too, so payment
methods are sometimes a problem for potential customers.

I don't want to piss people off and support people who rip off the
developers/writers who have done so much for the ruby community, but I
wanted to enlighten you all to the realities here - it's easy to
demonize people for 'stealing' a pdf, but sometimes their circumstances
warrant it - I'd never criticise students trying to learn new stuff so
that they can support their families (and yes this is extremely common
here).

Thanks
Kev

PS - most developers here do not own a PC, so this isn't a 'they can
afford to pay for toys, why don't they buy our content' thing - it's
simply that they generally have to pay for essentials first and when
they want to improve their situation, they will take advantage of
anything on offer to land a better job that pays more - this includes
using p2p to get access to 'cracked' software or ebooks so that they can
learn after hours
Austin Z. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 16:17
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/16/06, Jeff R. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>> that some pissant little freak would advocate this action at all. I
>> was similarly annoyed that people reacted as badly to Dave T.'s
>> announcement that the Rails 2nd Edition would be the same price.
>> These people have done a *lot* for the Ruby community.
>>
>> They deserve your financial support. Don't be a pissant thief. Even
>> temporarily. There are "sample chapters" for a reason.
> Agreed, we should support the PragProg guys so they can continue to do
> the great stuff they have been doing.

David Black's book ("Ruby for Rails") is not published by the PragProgs.

> [...] As an undergraduate, or what you might call "a pissant" student,

Pissant thief, not student. There is a difference.

> I read a copy of The Pragmatic Programmer that I BORROWED from a
> professor, and I seriously believe it changed the way I approach life.
> [...] That same dirty, bent-up copy was passed around between many of
> my friends, and we all regard it as classic. [...] Oh, but maybe I
> should never have looked at that copy my OS professor lent me. It was
> evil and wrong to not pay the authors for their hard work, wasn't it?
> What if he had just sent me the PDF to read instead? Would that have
> produced a substantially different outcome?

Borrowing a physical book makes it unavailable to others. This is the
basis of libraries (and libraries are going to have to find a new model
as more and more books are published electronically). You knew that the
book belonged to the professor. If there had been a PDF of it (and there
isn't a legal one as far as I know), the professor would have been able
to give you a copy with no inconvenience to himself and you would have
had no incentive to delete the copy of the book when you were done
reading it, and every incentive -- and example! -- of passing along that
PDF to other friends, each of whom would then have their own copy of the
book.

> Life is not that black and white, and downloading a PDF to peruse, or
> to read in its entirety, is barely different from checking out a book
> from the library or borrowing from a friend.

No, you're wrong. With the borrowed book, you must return it. With the
illegally copied PDF, there's no incentive for you to delete it -- or
even do the right thing and *buy* the book. Consider Baen's successful
experiment of Webscriptions. There are books that I have read from the
free site and not turned around and bought anything further from that
author, or have not bought the paperback or hardcover books. There are
others, though, that I have done exactly that (David Weber's books,
certainly).

> I think taking a hard line attitude like this is not only useless,
> because we will never digress back to "the way it used to be," but it
> is also counter productive. The way you succeed as an author or
> publisher is not by punishing your future clientele, but by trying to
> win them over as passionate fans. If you can get people engrossed they
> will end up buying much more than one book, and in the long run that
> is how you make a living.

This statement has *nothing* to do with the complaint. The reality is
that this is the way that *all* publishers have *always* had to succeed
... except maybe textbook publishers. ;)

But this is David Black's first book, and one of Manning's first PDF
releases. Do we *really* want to discourage Manning from embracing a new
model of publishing which encourages unencumbered PDF releases? Not me.

[...]

This *is* black and white. The asshat who was speaking on IRC was
advocating theft. Temporary or no, it's still theft. I don't care if the
copying costs are nil: the price of the PDF is cheaper than the book
itself.

[...]

> In the end, building a larger community of rubyists, who will almost
> all buy books eventually, is the most important factor for the
> survival of the authors, like your friend David, that we would like to
> support. If a few people are first introduced to this world through
> ultra-illegal, black market copies of PDF versions, big deal.  My
> guess is if they dig it they'll buy the next copy so they can read it
> in bed.

Except that ... the conversion rate for that is minimal. Don't get me
wrong, I believe that the unencumbered PDF model is the right direction,
and that the pricing on them is good. But there are sample chapters for
perusing for a reason, and now that the book is in stores, you can
peruse it at the store if you want to see more than the sample chapter.

What I know is that the actions here strongly discourage publishers and
authors from writing and publishing books in other than traditional
formats.

-austin
Austin Z. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 16:27
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/16/06, Kev J. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> I kind of agree with this - 'check out the pdf and then buy the book
> attitude'.  I also have a lot of sympathy for authors who get ripped
> off - but if anyone tries to tell me that 'copying a pdf' is the same
> as stealing a book from a store, I cannot agree with that - they are
> fundamentally different in that one is physical and one isn't, one is
> theft while the other is copyright infringement - one can get you a
> slap on the wrist, the other locked up (under current DMCA style
> laws).  They are the same in that both deprive the author of revenue
> (in fact I'm not certain, but shop thefts probably don't deprive the
> author, although they do deprive the store).

Actually, they're both theft and they both unlawfully deprive the author
and publisher of their rightful income from the sale. In a theft from a
bookstore, though, there's an additional aggrieved party. (Your
characterisation of the difference between the possible judgements is
incorrect. I deplore the DMCA and am quite thankful that I don't live in
a country that has such insane copyright laws.)

It's *easier* to steal from the author in one case rather than the
other, but it still deprives the author of income to which they are
entitled.

> I live in the developing world, and the fact is that there are no
> bookstores that carry Prag Prog titles here - they simply cost too
> much for the bookstores to carry. [...]

Has anyone mentioned this to the PragProg? Every impression that I've
ever gotten of Dave and Andy is that they would care about this, and I
think that their authors would feel the same. Why don't you suggest it
to them as a possible approach for the developing world?

-austin
Tim B. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 16:36
(Received via mailing list)
Pirating a pdf is not theft. Stealing something implies that the owner
is no
in possession of that object. I.e. I steal your car, you no longer have
a car.
Pirating is copyright infringement. There is a difference, even if
some people in this thread are implying copyright infringement is
tantamount to murder.

  -tim
unknown (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 16:49
(Received via mailing list)
Wow, I can't believe there are actually people arguing that they
should be able to get the PDF for free.

By copying the PDF *without paying for it* you are depriving the
author of their compensation. When you take money out of someone's
wallet, that is *stealing*. You may try to equate it with other
things (pirating, copyright infringement, whatever) if it makes you
feel better but it doesn't change the fact that the author does NOT
get paid when you copy their PDF unlawfully.

This *is* a black and white issue. No gray here.
Austin Z. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 16:55
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/16/06, Tim B. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> Pirating a pdf is not theft. Stealing something implies that the owner is no
> in possession of that object. I.e. I steal your car, you no longer have a car.
> Pirating is copyright infringement. There is a difference, even if
> some people in this thread are implying copyright infringement is
> tantamount to murder.

When you unlawfully deprive someone of something that is rightfully
theirs, that is theft. The *act* which leads to that theft may be
copyright infringement, but the end result is that something *has*
been stolen from the publisher and, in turn, the author.

There are legal means to get things which you do not own. Purchasing
is one. Being given a copy is another. Going through some sort of
*proper* borrowing mechanism (which has yet to be created for
electronic media that doesn't also involve nonsensical DRM) is
another. Downloading a PDF from a p2p site when that PDF is not being
given away (and likely has someone else's name on it) is not.

-austin
Giles B. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 16:58
(Received via mailing list)
> > I realise this may be a tangential issue, but if someone can't
> > afford a book and is not going to buy it either way, whom has he
> > harmed by downloading it?
>
> That's like saying that you're stuck with someone, and you're not
> going to share your food either way, so what harm is there in killing
> the person now instead of letting him starve to death.

OK, maybe this analogy is obvious to other people, but can you explain
to me what on earth you're talking about?

> That's just a
> silly way of thinking.

I can agree with that! A silly way of thinking isn't even the tip of
the iceberg. That's madness.

In fact that's got to be the least clearly articulated analogy I've
seen in years. It's like, let's make a comparison to something
completely unrelated, then add a bunch of really violent, emotionally
charged imagery, that way we can continue believing whatever we want
to believe without ever having to think about it.

For all the emotion involved, the reality is that in every field,
illegal downloads have an effect on sales. The effect is to increase
sales for niche players and decrease sales for mainstream players.
This has been found with movies and with music, so it's probably the
case for code as well. Java is the mainstream player, and Rails is the
niche. Irrespective of any passionate but utterly futile moral
debates, the ultimate economic result of this phenomenon is good for
anybody selling Rails books, including David Black.
Paul B. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 17:08
(Received via mailing list)
On 16/05/06, Tim B. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> Pirating a pdf is not theft. Stealing something implies that the owner is no
> in possession of that object. I.e. I steal your car, you no longer have a car.
> Pirating is copyright infringement. There is a difference, even if
> some people in this thread are implying copyright infringement is
> tantamount to murder.

Personally, I've always thought that there is a significant
qualitative difference between making an unlicensed copy and trolling
around the Malacca Straits with guns and knives, looting passing ships
and murdering their crews and passengers, so I try to avoid the word
'piracy' to describe copying a book or CD.

I try not to call it theft either. Whilst some people equate copyright
infringement with theft, they are substantively and legally different.
Whether they are morally equivalent is a different matter, though.
Confusing the vocabulary doesn't help to advance the debate.

Paul.
Jeff R. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 17:51
(Received via mailing list)
Austin Z. wrote:
 > On 5/16/06, Tim B. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
 >> Pirating a pdf is not theft. Stealing something implies that the
owner is no
 >> in possession of that object. I.e. I steal your car, you no longer
have a car.
 >> Pirating is copyright infringement. There is a difference, even if
 >> some people in this thread are implying copyright infringement is
 >> tantamount to murder.
 >
 > When you unlawfully deprive someone of something that is rightfully
 > theirs, that is theft. The *act* which leads to that theft may be
 > copyright infringement, but the end result is that something *has*
 > been stolen from the publisher and, in turn, the author.

Actually, nope.  In Dowling v. United States, 473 U.S. 207 (1985) it was
ruled in a case dealing with bootleg records that "18 U.S.C. 2314
[transport of stolen property in interstate commerce] does not apply to
this case because the rights of a copyright holder are 'different' from
the rights of owners of other kinds of property."  It is still a
criminal offense under the Copyright Act, but it is not theft in the
same way that taking a physical object would be: primarily because you
are depriving someone of purely hypothetical gain, what they would have
made had you purchased the copyrighted work, rather than something they
already owned.

[--- cut from other message ---]

 >> Life is not that black and white, and downloading a PDF to peruse,
or
 >> to read in its entirety, is barely different from checking out a
book
 >> from the library or borrowing from a friend.
 >
 > No, you're wrong. With the borrowed book, you must return it. With
the
 > illegally copied PDF, there's no incentive for you to delete it -- or
 > even do the right thing and *buy* the book. Consider Baen's
successful
 > experiment of Webscriptions. There are books that I have read from
the
 > free site and not turned around and bought anything further from that
 > author, or have not bought the paperback or hardcover books. There
are
 > others, though, that I have done exactly that (David Weber's books,
 > certainly).

First, I want to say that I understand and agree with you.  The moral
thing is to purchase the book.  What I want to get across is that the
value in a book is largely in the knowledge that it contains.  That
knowledge can be ascertained just as well from a borrowed version as
from a digitally copied one, and the fact that the lender doesn't have
access to it temporarily has no effect on the copyright holder.  This is
not only a gray area morally, in my opinion at least, but it is still a
sticky point in common practice.  Apple's iTunes, for example, will only
stream songs over the network to other computers 5 times per day.  That
was arbitrarily put in the software to appease the record labels, and it
is trying to come somewhere between music "piracy" and "sharing".
(Well, I think in the EU you can copy an album up to 5 times total, or
something like that, but this is 5 times per day, which is just a
decision Apple made.)

This is definitely not black and white.

That being said, I don't envy the position of an author today.  DRM is
virtually guaranteed to fail no matter what hair-brain scheme is
created, and for the vast majority of consumers it is just a major pain
in the ass.  This is why I think creators of copyrighted works that can
be digitally copied are going to need to find new ways to add value,
which compel people to purchase the work.  Computers, the internet and
P2P are disruptive technologies to be sure, but the benefits far
outweigh the harm.  (When farming became mechanized lots of people lost
their jobs... Should we have stopped it?)  The thriving musicians are
touring and sell directly to their fans, for example.  Oh wait, that's
basically what Dave T. does too...

I'm currently teaching a course based on ruby and rails, and David's
book looks like it could be a perfect fit for the next time it's taught.
  Know where I can download it to check it out before buying 30? :-)

-Jeff
Dick D. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 17:55
(Received via mailing list)
On 16/05/06, Jeremy T. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:

> On 15-May-06, at 8:14 PM, Elliot T. wrote:

> > The harm there is that he would die sooner than he would if he were
> > left un-murdered. He loses that amount of his life. But the thing
> > is, who is harmed in the hypothetical case I described?

> The publisher, and as a result, the author; by not getting the money
> for the book.


The argument was that wasn't going to get that money *anyway*.
If you're going to compare actions to murder, at least try to pay
attention :)
Jeff P. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 18:32
In the hands of a master, situational ethics are neither.

Yes, you can quote me on that.  I do however, reserve the right to
charge for use of this quote at some point in the future.

At that time, the good people among you will either choose to not use
the quote, or pay the requested fee.  The remainder will pay the rather
hefty fee of being an asshole.

I accept both forms of payment.  The way I look at it, those people
willing to be assholes make me feel better about not being one.  This is
valuable to me.  It would be very expensive to actually pay the several
billion willing assholes on the planet to make me feel better about
myself.  By stealing from me, they effectively do so for a rather small
fee.

jp
pat eyler (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 18:38
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/16/06, Jeff R. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> I'm currently teaching a course based on ruby and rails, and David's
> book looks like it could be a perfect fit for the next time it's taught.
>   Know where I can download it to check it out before buying 30? :-)

Sure, buy the pdf.  If the reviews and sample chapters aren't enough
for you, you can certainly afford the 20 or so bucks for an electronic
copy.
Ross B. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 19:01
(Received via mailing list)
On Tue, 2006-05-16 at 21:35 +0900, Tim B. wrote:
> Pirating a pdf is not theft. Stealing something implies that the owner is no
> in possession of that object. I.e. I steal your car, you no longer have a car.
> Pirating is copyright infringement. There is a difference, even if
> some people in this thread are implying copyright infringement is
> tantamount to murder.

I believe that "a person is guilty of theft if: he dishonestly
appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of
permanently depriving the other of it"*. Under those terms, I guess one
might argue piracy isn't theft. However, to do that, you'd miss the
point - I think the 'property' here isn't the intellectual property
itself, but the expected income from it's sale. You do not buy the
intellectual property - merely the right to a copy of it.**

As a general observation, I would have to say that if you want to steal,
then steal (just remember that what goes around comes around), but don't
try to pretend you're any better than a common thief simply because you
steal different stuff.

* (Actually, thats the definition under my local law)
** IANAL
unknown (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 19:07
(Received via mailing list)
On May 16, 2006, at 5:21 AM, Kev J. wrote:
> I live in the developing world, and the fact is that there are no
> bookstores that carry Prag Prog titles here - they simply cost too
> much for the bookstores to carry.  Sadly this means that most
> developers here don't even think about spending 25-50% of their
> monthly salary on a book when they can download a pdf from a p2p
> network.

I don't get this attitude at all.  Either pay the asking price or
forgo the use of the book.  It is really that simple.  Otherwise you
are taking the work of another without any compensation.  I don't see
how your location or income changes the ethics of the situation.

Gary W.
Austin Z. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 19:26
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/16/06, removed_email_address@domain.invalid 
<removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> how your location or income changes the ethics of the situation.
I get the attitude from people in developing nations where you have
the choice of 25 - 50% of your salary or not learning something new to
be able to do better by your family. I do not get the attitude from
first-world people who would have to forego a pizza or three to afford
the book.

I *still* think that it would be worthwhile to petition the PragProgs
to look into working with publishers in developing nations to produce
less-expensive bound copies of their books for purchase.

-austin
Phil H. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 19:30
(Received via mailing list)
Keith L. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> writes:

> I cannot afford a Mercedes. I therefore have no plans to buy one. Should
> I steal one? After all, nobody really gets hurt, do they?

I know you mean well, but it really bothers me when I see copyright
infringement equivocated with theft. It's not the same thing. It's bad
in this case, and it's *totally illegal*. Shouldn't that be enough of
a reason?

-Phil
Jeff R. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 19:33
(Received via mailing list)
removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:
> taking the work of another without any compensation.  I don't see how
> your location or income changes the ethics of the situation.
>
> Gary W.
>

Well, if you were living in a home made of dirt walls where the average
wage was $50 a month, then maybe you would "get it."  These books are
priced for your and my paychecks, not those of the vast majority of
people in the world who can not afford to let their families starve
while they try to raise themselves out of poverty by learning new
skills.  Luckily many publishers do get it, which is why they offer
cheaper versions of their books.

Put it in perspective by adjusting for your own purchasing power.  If
each book you purchased cost $10,000, how much do you think you would
learn about programming?  Would you think the price was fair
compensation?  If your families dinner table reflected your ability to
gain new skills would you think twice about downloading from the net?
Probably not.

-Jeff
Phil H. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 19:37
(Received via mailing list)
removed_email_address@domain.invalid writes:

> Wow, I can't believe there are actually people arguing that they
> should be able to get the PDF for free.

Read the post again. He never said that; he was just arguing that
people should use the correct terms for things.

> This *is* a black and white issue. No gray here.

Indeed. Copyright infringement is illegal. Theft is also illegal.
They just aren't the same thing.

-Phil H.
unknown (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 19:43
(Received via mailing list)
Austin Z.
>> are taking the work of another without any compensation.  I don't see
>> how your location or income changes the ethics of the situation.
>
> I get the attitude from people in developing nations where you have
> the choice of 25 - 50% of your salary or not learning something new to
> be able to do better by your family. I do not get the attitude from
> first-world people who would have to forego a pizza or three to afford
> the book.

Bravo! *claps loudly*

- I've got two copies of Prog. Ruby, because it's excelent, and I can
afford to have one at work and one at home. If some people are going to
copy a book (one that's not free, as aposed to my example) so that they
can feed their family, and better themselves, and perhaps one day join
me in being very well off because my ancestors had a good head start in
pillaging the world's recourses, then good on them. When they're rich
and I'm poor, I hope they won't mind me listening in on the interesting
stuff they produce.

Pretty much my message is, I think: learn your 80:20 principle. You're
coders aren't you? Don't try to chase every last penny, and maybe you'll
find you end up with more.

...On the other hand, I used to work for a softeware company that would
have had a much better stab at life if people had bought its products
rather than using pirated versions...
Peter H. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 19:46
(Received via mailing list)
To complicate things even further at a national level many countries
practice what is called "infant industry protection" whereby the country
as a whole simply disregards all international laws (including patents
and copyrights) in an area that they wish to become proficient in. The
first world got to it's position of dominance as an industrial power by
precisely this practise and some countries are still doing this for
selected industries.

Moral? Ethical? Don't even go there!
Bill G. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 19:56
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/16/06, Giles B. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>
> For all the emotion involved, the reality is that in every field,
> illegal downloads have an effect on sales. The effect is to increase
> sales for niche players and decrease sales for mainstream players.
> This has been found with movies and with music, so it's probably the
> case for code as well. Java is the mainstream player, and Rails is the
> niche. Irrespective of any passionate but utterly futile moral
> debates, the ultimate economic result of this phenomenon is good for
> anybody selling Rails books, including David Black.

I agree that it works that way, I just don't agree with the
perspective that you're viewing it from.  What if you change the scope
from 'books about all programming languages' to 'books about ruby
and/or rails'?  In the world of Ruby, and Rails, David Black is hardly
a 'niche player'.

It might help to own a copy of 'Ruby for Rails' to understand why I
think that way.  I'm about half way through it, and I highly recommend
that all Ruby users _buy_ a copy.  It's an excellent book, and helps
build a stronger understanding of Ruby in general (ie: it's _not_ just
for Rails users).

I think Chris P.'s 'Learn to Program' is probably the best example
of free distribution leading to increased sales.  He started out by
publishing a free tutorial, people found out that it was well written,
and was a great intro for beginners, and it eventually became a book.

Before his book was published, Chris might be considered a 'niche
player', he wasn't known for any major library or framework, he wasn't
part of the Ruby or Rails core teams, he wasn't part of the PragProg
team, he wasn't one of the founders of Ruby Central, etc.  Now that
his book has been published, along with the fact that it was published
by PragProg, he's no longer a 'niche player', at least in my mind.

I guess it comes down to who is a niche player, and personally, I
don't think it's right to use that subjective decision to determine
that it's ok to download any author's pdf, because I think they're a
niche player, and by downloading it, I'm going to help them down the
road.
unknown (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 20:02
(Received via mailing list)
On May 16, 2006, at 11:25 AM, Phil H. wrote:

> Keith L. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> writes:
>
>> I cannot afford a Mercedes. I therefore have no plans to buy one.
>> Should
>> I steal one? After all, nobody really gets hurt, do they?
>
> I know you mean well, but it really bothers me when I see copyright
> infringement equivocated with theft. It's not the same thing. It's bad
> in this case, and it's *totally illegal*. Shouldn't that be enough of
> a reason?

Are you arguing that the word 'theft' is reserved to describe the
misappropriation of tangible goods and therefore doesn't apply to
copyright infringement or are you trying to say that there is some
ethical difference between the two situations?  I'm confused.


Gary W.
Peter H. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 20:08
(Received via mailing list)
removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:
> Are you arguing that the word 'theft' is reserved to describe the
> misappropriation of tangible goods and therefore doesn't apply to
> copyright infringement or are you trying to say that there is some
> ethical difference between the two situations?  I'm confused.
>
> Gary W.
>
Theft: If I steal the shirt off your back you no longer have a shirt.
Copyright infringement: If I steal the design of the shirt on you back
you still have a shirt.

There is a difference and the case law to support it.
Julio Fernández Corral (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 20:12
(Received via mailing list)
mswin32 1.8.4 windows xp sp2 español (no se si ocurre lo mismo en otros
idiomas!!)
irb inutilizable.
No se pueden escribir @, [, ], {, } entre otras...

Se resuelve:
    1.8.2:
        modificar c:/ruby/bin/irb.bat eliminando --readline
    1.8.4*
         *usar irb --noreadline, o modificar c:/ruby/bin/irb.bat y
forzar --noreadline
unknown (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 20:30
(Received via mailing list)
On May 16, 2006, at 12:06 PM, Peter H. wrote:

> back you still have a shirt.
>
> There is a difference and the case law to support it.

Yes, *I* know there is a difference but many of the posts here were
ambiguous, at best, on this point.

So we've clarified the terminology.  It still isn't clear to me if
you (or others) are suggesting that the two are differently ethically.
Austin Z. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 20:34
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/16/06, Peter H. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:
> > Are you arguing that the word 'theft' is reserved to describe the
> > misappropriation of tangible goods and therefore doesn't apply to
> > copyright infringement or are you trying to say that there is some
> > ethical difference between the two situations?  I'm confused.
> Theft: If I steal the shirt off your back you no longer have a shirt.
> Copyright infringement: If I steal the design of the shirt on you back
> you still have a shirt.
>
> There is a difference and the case law to support it.

There is a legal difference, yes. I'm not sure that there's a
meaningful *semantic* difference in discussions that do not involve
lawyers or people who deny that intellectual property exists in the
first place. "Steal" is a synonym for "theft." It's still the
misappropriation of something which does not belong to you and you
have not been given permission to use.

This is, however, a matter of semantics that does not answer the real
problem: someone was advocating taking something that does not belong
to them and they were not given permission to use, and preventing a
friend of mine and a person who contributes to the community from
receiving the appropriate compensation for his work.

-austin
Keith L. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 21:20
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/16/06, Peter H. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> Copyright infringement: If I steal the design of the shirt on you back
> you still have a shirt.
>
> There is a difference and the case law to support it.


Ah, but in this case, they were not stealing the *design*, they were
stealing a *product*, i.e., the pdf.  While the pdf may be electronic,
it is
nevertheless a physical product - it is not just the idea or design, as
would be the case in pure copyright violation. If on the other hand they
retyped the book word for word, they would be violating copyright, as
you
say. I happen to be from the music industry. If someone copies a segment
of
one of my compositions and reproduces it in their work, they are
violating
my copyright. If on the other hand they take a copy of my recording,
either
by removing a CD from a store without purchasing it, or by downloading
it
from a network without paying for it, they are stealing.
Phil H. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 21:23
(Received via mailing list)
"Austin Z." <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> writes:

> There is a legal difference, yes. I'm not sure that there's a
> meaningful *semantic* difference in discussions that do not involve
> lawyers or people who deny that intellectual property exists in the
> first place. "Steal" is a synonym for "theft." It's still the
> misappropriation of something which does not belong to you and you
> have not been given permission to use.

Chalk it up to the hackerly tendency to be irritated by endless
repetition of minor inaccuracies. In this case there is not a great
semantic difference, but equivocating the two leads people to think
that they are the same in every case.

For instance, if someone thinks that there is no difference whatsoever
between copyright infringement and theft, it's very difficult to
explain how fair use works--it comes across sounding like a
rationalization of wrongdoing. ("What, you mean it's not stealing,
it's borrowing without asking?")

> someone was advocating taking something that does not belong to them
> and they were not given permission to use, and preventing a friend
> of mine and a person who contributes to the community from receiving
> the appropriate compensation for his work.

Agreed. This is bad, and I am disappointed that people in the
community have sunk to such depths.

-Phil H.
Stephen W. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 21:29
(Received via mailing list)
Austin Z. wrote:
> Okay, I'll admit it. I'm really pissed off. I don't pay attention to

Piracy happens..

Get all worked up about it and call lots of attention to it - especially
noting where and how to find the thing you're mad is getting pirated.

Now, piracy happens more.

Brilliant.

--Steve
Phil H. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 21:29
(Received via mailing list)
"Keith L." <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> writes:

> While the pdf may be electronic, it is nevertheless a physical
> product.

Really? Can you touch a PDF? What does an MP3 smell like?

> I happen to be from the music industry.

There are some who would say this disqualifies you from speaking with
any level of authority on copyright law, since most professionals from
your field have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they know
nothing of the content of these laws. However, I will refrain from
making any such judgements myself.

> If someone copies a segment of one of my compositions and reproduces
> it in their work, they are violating my copyright. If on the other
> hand they take a copy of my recording, either by removing a CD from
> a store without purchasing it, or by downloading it From a network
> without paying for it, they are stealing.

I would suggest that you read up on the applicable laws.

-Phil H.
Matthew M. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 21:32
(Received via mailing list)
> I don't get this attitude at all.  Either pay the asking price or
> forgo the use of the book.  It is really that simple.  Otherwise you
> are taking the work of another without any compensation.  I don't see
> how your location or income changes the ethics of the situation.
>
> Gary W.



Well put.
Michael G. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 22:14
>
> Are you arguing that the word 'theft' is reserved to describe the
> misappropriation of tangible goods and therefore doesn't apply to
> copyright infringement or are you trying to say that there is some
> ethical difference between the two situations?  I'm confused.
>
>
> Gary W.

There is an ethical difference.

It's unethical to artificially limit a resource simply so that you can
profit.

It's illegal to violate copyright laws.
Bill G. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 22:29
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/16/06, Michael G. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>
> It's unethical to artificially limit a resource simply so that you can
> profit.

Ok, so anybody who has ever sold anything that's digital is unethical.
 I think you drank a little too much of Stallman's koolaid.
Ryan L. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 22:43
(Received via mailing list)
I agree with the general sentiment in Austin's first message: David
has given a lot to the Ruby community and he deserves proper
compensation for his book, which I'm sure required a lot of effort to
write.

But I do not agree with all the sentiments about copyright
infringement being theft. Denying someone potential income by
downloading a copy of their work is NOT like taking money from their
pocket. That is like me saying another Ruby programmer is stealing
from me for getting a consulting contract for a Rails project that I
felt I should have gotten. Potential income is not like money in the
bank. Now I'm not saying that downloading stuff is right or moral. If
someone is trying to sell a product, something they have put a lot of
time and effort to create, one should not acquire it without the
author being paid.

Still, I think some new thought needs to be put into copyright law
given the modern digital age. Right now the system is broken because
copyright has been changed from being something that is designed for
public good to something that is designed to maximize profits for
copyright holders (which are usually large, powerful, multinational
corporations.) Copyright is supposed to expire fairly soon so that
artistic works go into the public domain and can then be built open
and expanded, adding knowledge and beauty to the culture. But that is
not how things are now. Disney has been spear-heading the constant
increase of copyright expiration length in the US so that Steamboat
Willy (the first Mickey M. cartoon) will not go into the public
domain. I'm not sure why they want to do this, because I don't think
they are making any money off it anymore, plus it becoming public
domain does not release their trademark on Mickey. Maybe they are just
evil ;)

<us_centric>
But the point is copyright is not what the founders of the US intended
it to be anymore, and that needs to be fixed. I'm not sure if our
current lobbyist-controlled Congress is capable of making this change,
so I'm not sure what the solution is.
</us_centric>

A final point I want to make is this: a lot of people think that
without copyright nothing creative or artistic would ever be created.
This is just nonsense. For one thing, many beautiful works of art and
great literature was created before the concept of copyright existed.
A more contemporary example is open source software and the world wide
web. While some people can make money tangentially to their open
source work or their web-site, many people create things with no
monetary incentive. Just something to think about.

Ryan
Paul D. Kraus (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 22:49
(Received via mailing list)
>
>
> There is an ethical difference.
>
> It's unethical to artificially limit a resource simply so that you can
> profit.
>
> It's illegal to violate copyright laws.
>
> It's equally unethical to expect someone to provide you with services,
work, or software cheaply or for free simply because you can not afford
to
pay them what they have deemed their time is worth.

Your argument is invalid and illogical in every sense. You are trying to
take a very BIG view of a very specific situation. Before <insert verb
that
your comfortable with that has to do with leaching off of others work
and
time here> why not contact the author or publisher and explain the
situation.

Regardless, the author has NO i repeat NO obligation to provide his work
to
ANYONE for free EVER. Wrap your criminal behavior/intentions in all the
nice
fluff you want to justify it with but do NOT fool yourself it is still
immoral, unethical, and criminal.

Not to mention most people on this list are making their livelihoods by
selling and creating intellectual property. Its like stabbing a bee
hive.

Paul
Patrick H. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 22:52
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/16/06, removed_email_address@domain.invalid 
<removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> >>
> you (or others) are suggesting that the two are differently ethically.
>
>

As a preface, I own virtually every book published by the Prags, both
in dead tree and pdf. I do believe that there is a difference
ethically. All theft is not ethically the same:

- Auto theft for joy riding
- Stealing food to feed your family

Both of these are theft, but I have no problem saying that there is an
ethical difference.

Similarly, stealing a paper copy of a book (or a physical CD) is
ethically different (although to a smaller degree) from violating a
copyright as in the first case the producer has lost physical value
(there was a production cost in the first case).

Again different:

- A student copying the PDF
- A professional developer copying the PDF

--------------------------------------------
I am not saying any of these are "good," but there are certainly an
ethical differences.

pth
unknown (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 23:12
(Received via mailing list)
On Wed, 17 May 2006, Paul D. Kraus wrote:

> Regardless, the author has NO i repeat NO obligation to provide his work to
> ANYONE for free EVER. Wrap your criminal behavior/intentions in all the nice
> fluff you want to justify it with but do NOT fool yourself it is still
> immoral, unethical, and criminal.

i'm afraid this doesn't fly in the open-source world.  if you are given
to
then you are ethically bound to give to others what you can.  paying it
forward is how the open-source world works.  david wrote a book.  he's
ethically bound to give back.  fortunately for all of us he does so in
many
ways, not least of which by providing sample chapters and countless
answers on
this list.  nevertheless, it's a short sighted view to say that people
using
freely given things should not, themselves, be ethically bound to give
back in
whatever way they can.  creative works might be considered a little bit
different, but even iggy pop owes a very real debt to the works of bach
- like
has been said many times : there is nothing new.

morals, ethics, and crime are all relativistic ideas so let's not be too
harsh
in our judgements - we all live in glass houses.  let's just say it
would be
really great for as many people to buy david's book as possible.  he has
given
back to the community in many ways and deserves our support for what,
people
are saying, is a fine book.

-a
Douglas L. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 23:15
(Received via mailing list)
2006/5/16, Phil H. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>:
>
> Chalk it up to the hackerly tendency to be irritated by endless
> repetition of minor inaccuracies. In this case there is not a great
> semantic difference, but equivocating the two leads people to think
> that they are the same in every case.
>

It's the fact that people care about these important details which
makes me like the Ruby community so much :-)

Now everyone go out and buy David's book!

Douglas
John G. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 23:22
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/16/06, Ryan L. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> [snip] Disney has been spear-heading the constant
> increase of copyright expiration length in the US so that Steamboat
> Willy (the first Mickey M. cartoon) will not go into the public
> domain. I'm not sure why they want to do this, because I don't think
> they are making any money off it anymore, plus it becoming public
> domain does not release their trademark on Mickey. Maybe they are just
> evil ;)

My guess is that they're trying to avoid a precedent being set.
Michael G. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 23:24
Paul D. Kraus wrote:
>>
>>
>> There is an ethical difference.
>>
>> It's unethical to artificially limit a resource simply so that you can
>> profit.
>>
>> It's illegal to violate copyright laws.
>>
>> It's equally unethical to expect someone to provide you with services,
> work, or software cheaply or for free simply because you can not afford
> to
> pay them what they have deemed their time is worth.
>
> Your argument is invalid and illogical in every sense. You are trying to
> take a very BIG view of a very specific situation. Before <insert verb
> that
> your comfortable with that has to do with leaching off of others work
> and
> time here> why not contact the author or publisher and explain the
> situation.
>
> Regardless, the author has NO i repeat NO obligation to provide his work
> to
> ANYONE for free EVER. Wrap your criminal behavior/intentions in all the
> nice
> fluff you want to justify it with but do NOT fool yourself it is still
> immoral, unethical, and criminal.
>
> Not to mention most people on this list are making their livelihoods by
> selling and creating intellectual property. Its like stabbing a bee
> hive.
>
> Paul

Wow, you make lots of bad assumptions.

My criminal behavior?  You make lots of bad assumptions.  I've purchased
every single Ruby/Rails book published so far and have never in my life
knowingly pirated anything.

Right or wrong it's the law and I'm stuck with it, but at least I don't
stick my head in the sand and pretend it's the way the world should
work.
Keith L. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 23:28
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/16/06, Phil H. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid > wrote:
>
> "Keith L." <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> writes:
>
> > While the pdf may be electronic, it is nevertheless a physical
> > product.
>
> Really? Can you touch a PDF? What does an MP3 smell like?


If I print a PDF out and put it on a news stand for sale, and you come
by
and take it without paying for it, is this copyright violation or theft?
If
it is theft, are you saying that all you are stealing is paper, and the
content does not play a role? How is the printed version logically
different
from the electronic in this case?

> I happen to be from the music industry.
>
> There are some who would say this disqualifies you from speaking with
> any level of authority on copyright law, since most professionals from
> your field have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they know
> nothing of the content of these laws. However, I will refrain from
> making any such judgements myself.


You appear to be well versed in the law - perhaps you are a lawyer? That
would in general disqualify you from speaking with any authority about
ethics, would it not? :-) Yes, most musicians are not lawyers. They are
just
people who understand common sense.

In the end, I do not care one whit whether the activity discussed (ie,
taking a pdf without paying the author), is *technically* stealing or
copyright violation - I find it wrong, as at least I *think* do you. As
others have written, most of the applicable laws were written before
electronic copying was possible. Perhaps it is time that the laws catch
up
with the technology.
Paul D. Kraus (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 23:32
(Received via mailing list)
> using
> freely given things should not, themselves, be ethically bound to give
> back in
> whatever way they can.
>
I didn't say that. Reading my initial comment it came out harser then it
should have but its still true. When someone uses open source they are
bound
to contribute back. How they contribute is up to them NOT the community.
What your saying would be akin to "because he uses <open source software
pkg
here> we get to take his stuff after all its only fair". He does
contribute
and my statement is still valid. Just because someone uses opensource
software does NOT mean they obligated to never make profit from any IP
work
or that they should be ok with others leaching off of the work they have
done for profit.
Paul D. Kraus (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 23:45
(Received via mailing list)
>
>
> Wow, you make lots of bad assumptions.


No assumptions just a bad habbit of liberal use of "you/your" in the
general  sense. Non of that was directed at "YOU". My bad.

Right or wrong it's the law and I'm stuck with it, but at least I don't
> stick my head in the sand and pretend it's the way the world should
> work.


I don't think I am sticking my head in sand. I think if someone works on
something, spends their time on something, and they do it for the reason
of
making money then they should get paid. If you(<-liberal use of you
again)
CHOOSE to use their product, that they have attached a price to then you
are
morally obligated to pay for it. Taking it for what ever reason is just
wrong.

New to list, shouldn't be getting involved in this anyways but its a
touch
subject.

At any rate this thread should die.
Bill K. (Guest)
on 2006-05-16 23:51
(Received via mailing list)
From: "Michael G." <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
>
> It's unethical to artificially limit a resource simply so that you can
> profit.

How do you make money?  If you're a programmer, you're a resource.
I need some code written.  I expect you to write it for me for $3 per
hour,
thanks.  It's unethical to artifically limit the coding resources you
could
provide me simply so you can make a profit.

Since it's unethical for you to artifically limit the coding resources
you
could provide me simply so you could make a profit, I've decided that
you'll work for peanuts.  I hope you don't mind not having a say in what
the value you produce is worth.

:)

Regards,

Bill,
Your Friendly Evil Communist Overlord
Michael G. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 00:20
Bill K. wrote:
> From: "Michael G." <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
>>
>> It's unethical to artificially limit a resource simply so that you can
>> profit.
>
> How do you make money?  If you're a programmer, you're a resource.
> I need some code written.  I expect you to write it for me for $3 per
> hour,
> thanks.  It's unethical to artifically limit the coding resources you
> could
> provide me simply so you can make a profit.
>
> Since it's unethical for you to artifically limit the coding resources
> you
> could provide me simply so you could make a profit, I've decided that
> you'll work for peanuts.  I hope you don't mind not having a say in what
> the value you produce is worth.
>
> :)
>
> Regards,
>
> Bill,
> Your Friendly Evil Communist Overlord

This is poorly written and just stupid.

Charging what the market will bear is simply fair, assuming you're free
to buy from who you want and I'm free to sell to who I can.

If programmers were licensed by the goverment and the goverment only
licensed 10 regardless of demand then we'd be artificially limited.
Jacob F. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 00:32
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/16/06, Michael G. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> > provide me simply so you can make a profit.
>
> Charging what the market will bear is simply fair, assuming you're free
> to buy from who you want and I'm free to sell to who I can.

Then why is is "unethical" for the author of the book to charge what
the market will bear? Why is it not "simply fair" then? Maybe your
argument is that the only price the market will bear for PDF e-books
is free, but that doesn't preclude the author's right and prerogative
to charge more than that. If the market doesn't bear the author's
asking price, then it's the author's loss in that he doesn't make
sales. This doesn't give the "market" the right to take his material
and force it to be "sold" at a lower price.

Jacob F.
Jeremy T. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 00:32
(Received via mailing list)
On 16-May-06, at 9:51 AM, Dick D. wrote:

>
>
> The argument was that wasn't going to get that money *anyway*.
> If you're going to compare actions to murder, at least try to pay
> attention :)

You'll note if you had been paying attention that I wasn't comparing
those actions to murder, I was comparing the *THOUGHT PROCESS* to
reach his conclusion that it wasn't harming anyone. Try to keep up.
Michael G. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 00:34
Jacob F. wrote:
> On 5/16/06, Michael G. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>> > provide me simply so you can make a profit.
>>
>> Charging what the market will bear is simply fair, assuming you're free
>> to buy from who you want and I'm free to sell to who I can.
>
> Then why is is "unethical" for the author of the book to charge what
> the market will bear? Why is it not "simply fair" then? Maybe your
> argument is that the only price the market will bear for PDF e-books
> is free, but that doesn't preclude the author's right and prerogative
> to charge more than that. If the market doesn't bear the author's
> asking price, then it's the author's loss in that he doesn't make
> sales. This doesn't give the "market" the right to take his material
> and force it to be "sold" at a lower price.
>
> Jacob F.

My argument wasn't that it was unethical for an author to use the
systems that society has created it was that society errored in creating
this system.
Phil H. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 00:42
(Received via mailing list)
"Keith L." <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> writes:

> If I print a PDF out and put it on a news stand for sale, and you come by
> and take it without paying for it, is this copyright violation or
> theft?

This is theft.

> If it is theft, are you saying that all you are stealing is paper,
> and the content does not play a role?

Yes. You have committed a crime against the news stand owner, not the
author of the work.

> How is the printed version logically different From the electronic
> in this case?

"The peculiar character of an idea is that no one possesses the less
because everyone possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea
from me receives without lessening me, as he who lights his candle at
mine receives light without darkening me."

-- Thomas Jefferson

(Note that what he's saying doesn't make it legal or justified, just
different from theft.)

> In the end, I do not care one whit whether the activity discussed (ie,
> taking a pdf without paying the author), is *technically* stealing or
> copyright violation - I find it wrong, as at least I *think* do you. As
> others have written, most of the applicable laws were written before
> electronic copying was possible.

In the end, you're allowed to be imprecise on mailing list
postings. I'd just like to state that there is an error being made,
and the great frequency at which people make this error bothers me.

I agree with you on the morality of the issue, but I think it is
better to discuss the issue using accurate terms so that when the
morality *is* disputed, (as per the fair use example I mentioned in a
previous post) we will have some common understanding from which to
work.

Call me a pedant, but I've seen too many discussions hopelessly
degenerate into people talking past each other for no reason other
than the terms were not clearly defined at the outset.

> Perhaps it is time that the laws catch up with the technology.

I vehemently agree, though I hold little hope for this.

-Phil H.
Elliot T. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 00:54
(Received via mailing list)
On May 16, 2006, at 8:54 AM, Bill G. wrote:

> I think Chris P.'s 'Learn to Program' is probably the best example
> of free distribution leading to increased sales.  He started out by
> publishing a free tutorial, people found out that it was well written,
> and was a great intro for beginners, and it eventually became a book.

Web comics make for a number of good examples.

http://www.megatokyo.com/ became a paper book after getting popular
enough. the paper copy says in it that you can view them all, for
free, at the website. it sells anyway.

another is http://www.exploitationnow.com/

-- Elliot T.
http://www.curi.us/blog/
Pau Garcia i Quiles (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 01:10
(Received via mailing list)
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

On Monday 15 May 2006 23:06, Austin Z. wrote:

A lot has been said about this but just a couple of points:

1. I fully agree with Austin

2. The Pragmatic Programmers have a really good approach on this:
include
*your* name in the PDF. Everybody nows Paulo J. Dias is a moron: his PDF
copy
of "Behind closed doors" is everywhere. I was really surprised Manning
did
not adopt the same policy about PDFs including the name of the buyer.

> that some pissant little freak would advocate this action at all. I
> was similarly annoyed that people reacted as badly to Dave T.'s
> announcement that the Rails 2nd Edition would be the same price. These
> people have done a *lot* for the Ruby community.
>
> They deserve your financial support. Don't be a pissant thief. Even
> temporarily. There are "sample chapters" for a reason.
>
> -austin

- --
Pau Garcia i Quiles
http://www.elpauer.org
(Due to the amount of work, I usually need 10 days to answer)
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Giles B. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 01:14
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/16/06, Bill G. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>
> I agree that it works that way, I just don't agree with the
> perspective that you're viewing it from.  What if you change the scope
> from 'books about all programming languages' to 'books about ruby
> and/or rails'?  In the world of Ruby, and Rails, David Black is hardly
> a 'niche player'.

Yes, actually, he is. The mainstream book is Agile Web Dev with Rails.
"Ruby for Rails" appeals to people who actually take the time to
figure out what they're doing in intricate detail so they can do it
much better than average. Unfortunately, such people will always be a
niche, by definition.

> It might help to own a copy of 'Ruby for Rails' to understand why I
> think that way.  I'm about half way through it, and I highly recommend
> that all Ruby users _buy_ a copy.  It's an excellent book, and helps
> build a stronger understanding of Ruby in general (ie: it's _not_ just
> for Rails users).

I do own a copy, as it happens. I bought both the PDF and the physical
edition, which I am looking forward to receiving. It is indeed a very
good book.

But I do not think the quality of the book makes any difference.

Downloads are reshaping copyright, and this is very emotional for some
people. I am not one of those people. I don't care. I just look at the
numbers and make rational decisions. The numbers are very clearly in
Dr. Black's favor. Illegal downloads increase sales for niche players.

All these moral arguments are empty words -- full of sound and fury,
signifying nothing. The reason is simple: illegal downloads of your
book will give you a better reputation and better sales. When people
are improving a man's reputation and increasing his sales, telling
those people that they are doing that man harm is not entirely
logical.

> I guess it comes down to who is a niche player, and personally, I
> don't think it's right to use that subjective decision to determine
> that it's ok to download any author's pdf, because I think they're a
> niche player, and by downloading it, I'm going to help them down the
> road.

I really don't think it has anything to do with who is or isn't a
niche player. The reason illegal downloads in music hurt mainstream
artists and help everybody else is because mainstream artists suck.
The music is designed to get in your head and stay there irresistibly
for six weeks, after which time it disappears from your consciousness
forever. The sales for these fools fall off because their whole
business model is based on planned obsolescence and marketing
oversaturation -- in short, because their product is crap. You can see
similar things happening with Tom Cruise movies. Dr. Black's product
is not crap, so this danger is a nonissue for him.
Bill K. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 01:20
(Received via mailing list)
From: "Michael G." <removed_email_address@domain.invalid>
>>
>> :)
>>
>> Regards,
>>
>> Bill,
>> Your Friendly Evil Communist Overlord
>
> This is poorly written and just stupid.

Awww.  And I was having so much fun.

> Charging what the market will bear is simply fair, assuming you're free
> to buy from who you want and I'm free to sell to who I can.

So there's no ethics problem and you can name your price, provided what
you produce is a commodity?  But if you are the only person who can
solve
my problem, or you produce a resource that is unique, then it becomes
unethical for you to want to profit?

I'm just trying to understand what you mean by, "It's unethical to
artificially
limit a resource simply so that you can profit," as it seems like a
fairly
general statement.


Regards,

Dr. Stupid
Giles B. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 01:20
(Received via mailing list)
yah. the idea that some dude in India should have to choose between
feeding his family and reading this book is ridiculous. if you have to
make that kind of choice, just steal the motherfucker. if it means
you're a bad person, fuck it, be a bad person with fat kids. it works
for most Americans.
Michael G. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 01:30
> I'm just trying to understand what you mean by, "It's unethical to
> artificially
> limit a resource simply so that you can profit," as it seems like a
> fairly
> general statement.
>

Conspiring to misrepresent the avilability of a resource so that you can
profit is  not ethical.  Copyright laws create a limitation where there
would not otherwise be one.
Jacob F. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 01:36
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/16/06, Michael G. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> > I'm just trying to understand what you mean by, "It's unethical to
> > artificially
> > limit a resource simply so that you can profit," as it seems like a
> > fairly
> > general statement.
>
> Conspiring to misrepresent the avilability of a resource so that you can
> profit is  not ethical.  Copyright laws create a limitation where there
> would not otherwise be one.

So in your opinion, authors who create content and then desire to sell
it instead of giving it away are "conspiring", "misrepresenting", "not
ethical", and "creating a limitation". Even though it is regarding
their *own* work, which would *not exist* if it weren't for them?

Please correct me if I'm wrong; I hope I am.

Jacob F.
Ryan L. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 02:00
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/16/06, Jacob F. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>
> So in your opinion, authors who create content and then desire to sell
> it instead of giving it away are "conspiring", "misrepresenting", "not
> ethical", and "creating a limitation". Even though it is regarding
> their *own* work, which would *not exist* if it weren't for them?
>
> Please correct me if I'm wrong; I hope I am.

Earlier in this thread, Michael G. clearly stated his problem was
not with the authors who use the copyright system to their advantage,
but with the copyright system itself, which is an artificial creation
of society.

Stop twisting his words.

Ryan
David P. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 02:10
(Received via mailing list)
Not to add fuel to the fire... but...

On 5/16/06, Paul B. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>
> I try not to call it theft either. Whilst some people equate copyright
> infringement with theft, they are substantively and legally different.
> Whether they are morally equivalent is a different matter, though.
> Confusing the vocabulary doesn't help to advance the debate.


There's significant jail time in a federal prison as well as up to $250K
per
incident for copyright infringment.  This compares with little or no
jail
time for petty theft... stealing a book off a shelf.  So, you are
correct
that the law takes a different view of violating Intellectual Property
rights and petty theft.  The law views violations of IP rights (e.g.,
illegally sharing the PDF of a book) as much worse offenses.

I see no debate about flagrantly violating the law by illegally
distributing
the PDF of David's book.  While there might be a fair use justification
for
emailing a friend a copy so he/she can evaluate it before buying it,
there's
no legal justification for putting the PDF on a P2P system.  Such
actions
are violations of the law and deprive an author of earning a legitimate
fee
for a valuable offering.

If you don't like the price for the PDF don't buy it.  It works the same
way
for a virtual good as it does for a physical good.
Jacob F. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 02:10
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/16/06, Ryan L. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> but with the copyright system itself, which is an artificial creation
> of society.
>
> Stop twisting his words.

I was not attempting to twist his words. I apologize if I did. Since I
obviously can't make myself understood, I'll just stay out of this
conversation.

Jacob F.
Ryan L. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 02:19
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/16/06, Jacob F. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>
> I was not attempting to twist his words. I apologize if I did. Since I
> obviously can't make myself understood, I'll just stay out of this
> conversation.

Sorry I came off so snappy, but it seemed people were unfairly jumping
on Michael's case.

This thread is very off topic for this mailing list and can be a very
heated topic, so I suggest we politely let it die.

Regards,
Ryan
David P. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 02:22
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/16/06, Michael G. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>
>   Copyright laws create a limitation where there
> would not otherwise be one.
>
> All property laws do this.  Real property, chattle (physical, but not
land), and Intellectual Property laws create limits and boundaries.

I own a house and the yard around the house.  This "ownership" is just a
state sponsored limitation of the use of the particular piece of land.
It
creates a limitation where there would not otherwise be one.  However,
that
limitation is valuable to society as a whole.  All forms of property
ownership and the associated balances between the rights of the
title-holder
and the rights of non-title-holders allows us to have safety in our
homes,
invest in others' ventures, and do a whole lot of other things that
allow us
to grow as a society and a civilization.

If you look at Darfur where the only law is "I have a gun and I'm going
to
take what I want," there is no society, no investment, and no quality of
life.  There is only horror and devistation.  That horror and
devistation
comes because there is not set of rules that people agree on.

IP laws protect the investment of authors and inventors.  IP laws are
part
of the US Constitution.  The Framers and dozens of generations of
lawmakers
have worked to strike a balance between the rights of authors and
inventors
and the marketplace.

If you don't like the way the laws work, lobby to have them changed or
do
what Richard Stallman did... create a revolution.  But remember, RMS
created
a revolution by creating excellent software and convincing the world
that
Open Source is a better way.  He didn't steal from others.
Jeremy T. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 02:31
(Received via mailing list)
On 16-May-06, at 6:08 PM, David P. wrote:

> While there might be a fair use justification for emailing a friend
> a copy so he/she can evaluate it before buying it,

Just to clarify, "Fair Use" does not cover redistribution in its
entirety (be it performance, literary, or otherwise); it merely
allows for limited use of sections of the work in various
circumstances. (i.e., I can take a few lines of <insert book here>
and use it in satire, which would be protected under the "Fair Use"
provisions of US and Canadian law (and presumably others
internationally).
unknown (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 02:35
(Received via mailing list)
On May 16, 2006, at 5:58 PM, Ryan L. wrote:
> Earlier in this thread, Michael G. clearly stated his problem was
> not with the authors who use the copyright system to their advantage,
> but with the copyright system itself, which is an artificial creation
> of society

So let's assume that copyright didn't exist. Could an author produce
a book and then offer access to it via standard contract law?  If
that contract prohibited the duplication and/or distribution of the
work would we consider violation of that contract (i.e. illegal
sharing of the work) to be 'wrong' or 'unethical'?

It seems to me, and I'm just thinking out loud here, that the ethical
question exists independent of our current copyright framework as
long as you still have the concept of contract law.  IMNAL but
copyright seems to me to be like a pre-packaged contract between the
creator of a work and its users.  You could get rid of the pre-
packaged nature but the restrictions could be recreated by an
explicit contract and I think all the same ethical issues would re-
assert themselves.

In reading and participating on this thread I found it very
interesting that there was not much consensus on the usefulness of
copyright, on the concept of market based prices, on the ethics of
free trade, in fact the entire range of economic theories and
contract/real/intellectual property law seemed to come out of the
woodwork for this discussion.

Very interesting.


Gary W.
Mohammad (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 02:37
> I
> was similarly annoyed that people reacted as badly to Dave T.'s
> announcement that the Rails 2nd Edition would be the same price. These
> people have done a *lot* for the Ruby community.
>
> They deserve your financial support. Don't be a pissant thief. Even
> temporarily. There are "sample chapters" for a reason.
>
> -austin

I think it should be more due to succsess sure it is expanisve now but,
if you were him wouldn't you WANT to RAISE it? those ppl are idiots. LOL
Elliot T. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 02:59
(Received via mailing list)
I've written a model world in Ruby to illustrate some of the issues
being discussed (see below or http://curi.us/code/piracy.html). The
main thing it demonstrates is the difference between stealing and
piracy/copying. (This is the longest Ruby program I've written. Any
code style tips would be appreciated.)

Regarding releasing books in PDF format: Paper things are commonly
scanned if there is demand for them. Manga and anime are translated
to English every week by pirates. I don't think relying on the
laziness of pirates will work well.

On May 15, 2006, at 5:51 PM, Keith L. wrote:
> I cannot afford a Mercedes. I therefore have no plans to buy one.
> Should
> I steal one? After all, nobody really gets hurt, do they?

The dealership is hurt by having one less car. See output below.

On May 15, 2006, at 6:45 PM, Jeremy T. wrote:
>> who is harmed in the hypothetical case I described?
>
> The publisher, and as a result, the author; by not getting the
> money for the book.

By this criterion (not getting money), the publisher and author are
equally harmed by a person who does nothing and a pirate (see program).

If I'm not disrupting an author's future sales, I'm not harming him.
And it has to be quite clear he would have gotten those sales, or he
has no legal case. And even if he would have gotten sales, many ways
to disrupt those sales are and should be legal, including telling
people the book is terrible, writing a better book, and buying all
bookstores worldwide and remodeling them to sell only coffee.

On May 15, 2006, at 7:39 PM, John G. wrote:
> A writer works on their book based on the premise that they will be
> reimbursed for each copy, thus making it worth their while --
> otherwise they wouldn't bother writing it.

That isn't *really* the premise. The author needs to get paid, but
there are many different payment models possible. The most obvious
approach would be that anyone who reads the book owes the author
money. This is very hard to enforce, so selling physical copies is
commonly used instead. The physical copy approach has obvious
loopholes to screw the author. For example, people trade books around
so they can all read one copy. This way of screwing authors has been
formalised as libraries and used book stores. In theory, the entire
world could read a book that only sold one copy. And that'd be
perfectly legal! But it doesn't happen. So the important thing is not
what *could* happen, but whether in a given culture authors are, in
fact, paid. Because, as you say, if they were not then many potential
authors would not write their books.

# piracy.rb
# Elliot T.
# 5/16/06

class Person
   attr_accessor :inventory
   def initialize
     @inventory = []
   end
   def steal store, item_name
     add_inventory store.delete_item!(item_name)
   end
   def copy store, item_name
     add_inventory store.copy_item(item_name)
   end
   def do_nothing
   end
   def add_inventory item
     @inventory << item if item
   end
end

class Item
   attr_accessor :name, :price
   def initialize name, price
     @name = name
     @price = price
   end
end

class Car < Item
end

class Book < Item
end

class Store
   def initialize items, noun, store_name
     @inventory = items
     @noun = noun
     @store_name = store_name
     @initial_inventory_value = inventory_value
     @initial_item_count = @inventory.length
   end
   def delete_item! item_name
     item = @inventory.find {|i| i.name == item_name}
     @inventory.delete item
   end
   def copy_item item_name
     @inventory.find {|i| i.name == item_name}
   end
   def inventory_value
     @inventory.inject(0) {|total, item| total + item.price}
   end
   def status_report
     puts "I am #{@store_name}. This is my status report:"
     puts "I began with #{@initial_item_count} #{@noun}s and now I
have #{@inventory.length} #{@noun}s."
     puts "My #{@noun}s were worth $#{@initial_inventory_value}. Now
they are worth $#{inventory_value}."
     if @initial_inventory_value < inventory_value
       puts "I made: $#{inventory_value - @initial_inventory_value}.
I am happy"
     elsif @initial_inventory_value == inventory_value
       puts "I broke even. I am content."
     else
       puts "I lost: $#{@initial_inventory_value - inventory_value}.
I am sad."
     end
   end
end

class CarDealership < Store
   def initialize store_name, cars
     super cars, "car", store_name
   end
end

class Bookstore < Store
   def initialize store_name, books
     super books, "book", store_name
   end
end

thief = Person.new
pirate = Person.new
philosopher = Person.new

dealership = CarDealership.new "Casandra's Crazy Cars", [Car.new
(:Mercedes, 55000), Car.new(:Mercedes, 55000), Car.new(:Jeep, 19000)]

bookstore = Bookstore.new "Bob's Big Books", [Book.new
(:The_Fabric_Of_Reality, 11), Book.new(:The_Selfish_Gene, 10),
Book.new(:The_Machinery_Of_Freedom, 27)]

thief.steal(dealership, :Mercedes)
pirate.copy(bookstore, :The_Fabric_Of_Reality)
philosopher.do_nothing

dealership.status_report
puts
bookstore.status_report

# output
#
# I am Casandra's Crazy Cars. This is my status report:
# I began with 3 cars and now I have 2 cars.
# My cars were worth $129000. Now they are worth $74000.
# I lost: $55000. I am sad.
#
# I am Bob's Big Books. This is my status report:
# I began with 3 books and now I have 3 books.
# My books were worth $48. Now they are worth $48.
# I broke even. I am content.

-- Elliot T.
http://www.curi.us/blog/
Hal F. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 03:30
(Received via mailing list)
Phil H. wrote:
> "Keith L." <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> writes:
>
> Really? Can you touch a PDF? What does an MP3 smell like?
>

Teen spirit?


Hal
Giles B. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 03:49
(Received via mailing list)
> > Really? Can you touch a PDF? What does an MP3 smell like?
>
> Teen spirit?

bwaahahahaha
Kev J. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 07:31
(Received via mailing list)
>
> Actually, they're both theft and they both unlawfully deprive the author
> and publisher of their rightful income from the sale. In a theft from a
> bookstore, though, there's an additional aggrieved party. (Your
> characterisation of the difference between the possible judgements is
> incorrect. I deplore the DMCA and am quite thankful that I don't live in
> a country that has such insane copyright laws.)
>
They are not both theft - both actions deprive the author and publisher
of funds, but they are not both theft as legally defined.  Until the
definition of theft is changed, copying software/data is copyright
infringement.  I think both are bad, but we should use the correct terms
so that people don't get confused.

> It's *easier* to steal from the author in one case rather than the
> other, but it still deprives the author of income to which they are
> entitled.
>
Agreed it's easier to *copy* a pdf

>> I live in the developing world, and the fact is that there are no
>> bookstores that carry Prag Prog titles here - they simply cost too
>> much for the bookstores to carry. [...]
>
>
> Has anyone mentioned this to the PragProg? Every impression that I've
> ever gotten of Dave and Andy is that they would care about this, and I
> think that their authors would feel the same. Why don't you suggest it
> to them as a possible approach for the developing world?

One of the reasons for my reply was that I know that Dave T. hangs
around here from time to time and this email in context would make a
stronger argument than a direct unsolicited email to them.  I'd be happy
to ask in the bookstores here about how they get the cheaper books from
AW etc.  Interestingly, all university text books are actually
photocopies - again as there isn't a snowballs chance in hell that the
student would be able to afford them - the government or a government
agency (not exactly sure) simply photocopies them in bulk and the stores
sell them for ~$2 (I recall some textbooks being ~50GBP when I was
studying, so this is a great deal for the students).  Other books are
published locally (which again helps to reduce the price).

Kev
Daniel H. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 10:06
From an ethical standpoint, I don't see why it matters if someone is
harmed by your ripping off his work. Receiving a benefit from someone
without compensating him in return makes you a low life. (I bought the
pdf, by the way)

> If I'm not disrupting an author's future sales, I'm not harming him.
> And it has to be quite clear he would have gotten those sales, or he
> has no legal case. And even if he would have gotten sales, many ways
> to disrupt those sales are and should be legal, including telling
> people the book is terrible, writing a better book, and buying all
> bookstores worldwide and remodeling them to sell only coffee.
Dick D. (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 14:20
(Received via mailing list)
On 16/05/06, Jeremy T. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> >
> reach his conclusion that it wasn't harming anyone. Try to keep up.
Fair point.
Sorry if I sounded snappy, but I don't think it's helpful to be using
emotive examples when .people are already wound up.
C Erler (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 14:35
(Received via mailing list)
On 15/05/06, Elliot T. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> >
> left un-murdered. He loses that amount of his life. But the thing is,
> who is harmed in the hypothetical case I described?
>
> -- Elliot T.
> http://www.curi.us/blog/


When a person makes a physical item, they can gain a salary and everyone
is
happy, but when a person makes an information-based item, they can't
gain a
salary except by somehow producing something else (like support or
something).  The moral problem of the situation isn't about not harming
the
person by depriving them of property; everyone will agree they still
have
the items they started out with.  The moral problem of the situation is
that
someone has done something for you in return for an income, and you've
spent
your energy thinking up and defending a loophole.

If a man helps you in return for you helping him, don't come up with
excuses
to take advantage of the guy.
C Erler (Guest)
on 2006-05-17 15:42
(Received via mailing list)
"If I can't afford it or wouldn't pay for it anyway, who would it harm
?"
There are two parts to this: you're not getting any money from me anyway
and
I'm not harming by taking it.

If you need the book like a man who is destitute needs a loaf of bread
(you're going to die or suffer serious injury) no one is going to have
much
moral scorn for you if you take it.  If that's the case, ask the author
for
a copy, your friends for some money, your library for a copy; if no one
can
help you, by all means, take it.

The argument isn't usually used as a defense of that sort of thing.
Instead, those who give it simply want something pleasurable.  Since
this is
almost certainly the case, if a man works hard for your enjoyment and
asks
for something in return that you can't provide, why not forgo the
pleasure
instead of treating him like a slave who must provide for your wants for
nothing in return ?

If he's not getting anything pleasurable (money) from you anyway, why
are
you getting anything pleasurable (knowledge presented well) from him
anyway
?  Is he your slave ?

You may not be causing him any harm, sure.  However, this is a parlor
trick,
a magician's misdirection: look at this one moral harm over here I've
avoided, ignore the one behind the curtain.  The moral problem isn't
harm,
it's taking without giving when you didn't need to take at all.
Alexandre Dulaunoy (Guest)
on 2006-05-18 00:12
(Received via mailing list)
On 5/15/06, Austin Z. <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> that some pissant little freak would advocate this action at all. I
> was similarly annoyed that people reacted as badly to Dave T.'s
> announcement that the Rails 2nd Edition would be the same price. These
> people have done a *lot* for the Ruby community.
>
> They deserve your financial support. Don't be a pissant thief. Even
> temporarily. There are "sample chapters" for a reason.

On the other side, we should also promote the creation of free
software and _free documentation_. I'm already a big book buyer but
I'm always in favor to buy a book when the book (or the older
revision) is falling into the public domain (or under a free license)
after a short period like 2 or 4 years after its publication.

Just my 0.02 EUR,

adulau
Jeffrey M. (Guest)
on 2006-05-18 00:19
(Received via mailing list)
If whatever you're stealing is actually causing people to lose
some of what is rightfully theirs (money) then you're a thief.

Ethically, I'd say if you're some kidd-o or a dysfunctional
adult (burn!) who wants to learn rails and you don't have a job and
otherwise wouldn't buy the book, it's the equivalent of checking it
out from the library.

-Jeff
Dave H. (Guest)
on 2006-05-19 21:00
(Received via mailing list)
On May 15, 2006, at 16:03, Elliot T. wrote:

> But is every case of piracy deserving of the same great scorn? I
> realise this may be a tangential issue, but if someone can't afford a
> book and is not going to buy it either way, whom has he harmed by
> downloading it?

Whether he has "harmed" anybody or not is quite irrelevant, and a false
argument (except for purposes of how much extra money you owe the
creator if you violate his/her copyright). US Copyright law, in both
principle and practice, with a few specific and notable exceptions,
says that what a person creates belongs to them. If I create some
fabulous work of art or brilliant programming book, it is my right as
the person who did the making to
    give it away for free
    give away the right to copy it for free
    sell or lease the right to publish it to a third party
    publish it myself and charge people some nominal fee
    publish it myself and charge an outrageous fee
    not share it with anybody but people named "Fred."

If you don't happen to like what I'm doing with my creation, that's
just too bad. Make your own. The fact that you can steal it without
"harming" anybody because you wouldn't have paid for it anyway (or I
wasn't going to sell it to you in the first place) is a bogus argument,
because it's not your right to decide who will or won't be harmed by
stealing my work. It's my work, it's my time/energy/money in the
making, it's my right.

Music, BTW, is one of the specific and notable exceptions; specifically
the performance of somebody else's composition. There's also a time
limit on ownership, which is currently very long (I believe it's
creator's lifetime + 70 years, but I'd have to check; they keep
changing it). Finally, there's "fair use," which I'd guess about 94% of
the people who claim this don't understand, and which is widely abused.
Gus S Calabrese (Guest)
on 2006-05-19 21:47
(Received via mailing list)
Quoting US Copyright Law does not impress everyone.
As I have discovered many times, "the law is an ass".
One example is the copyright period of life plus 70 years.
This is designed to protect the "Mickey M." copyright.
I think 10 years is sufficient for any copyright or patent.

Gus Calabrese
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

On 2006-May 19, at 11:00 AM, Dave H. wrote:


On May 15, 2006, at 16:03, Elliot T. wrote:

> But is every case of piracy deserving of the same great scorn? I
> realise this may be a tangential issue, but if someone can't afford
> a book and is not going to buy it either way, whom has he harmed by
> downloading it?

Whether he has "harmed" anybody or not is quite irrelevant, and a
false argument (except for purposes of how much extra money you owe
the creator if you violate his/her copyright). US Copyright law, in
both principle and practice, with a few specific and notable
exceptions, says that what a person creates belongs to them. If I
create some fabulous work of art or brilliant programming book, it is
my right as the person who did the making to
    give it away for free
    give away the right to copy it for free
    sell or lease the right to publish it to a third party
    publish it myself and charge people some nominal fee
    publish it myself and charge an outrageous fee
    not share it with anybody but people named "Fred."

If you don't happen to like what I'm doing with my creation, that's
just too bad. Make your own. The fact that you can steal it without
"harming" anybody because you wouldn't have paid for it anyway (or I
wasn't going to sell it to you in the first place) is a bogus
argument, because it's not your right to decide who will or won't be
harmed by stealing my work. It's my work, it's my time/energy/money
in the making, it's my right.

Music, BTW, is one of the specific and notable exceptions;
specifically the performance of somebody else's composition. There's
also a time limit on ownership, which is currently very long (I
believe it's creator's lifetime + 70 years, but I'd have to check;
they keep changing it). Finally, there's "fair use," which I'd guess
about 94% of the people who claim this don't understand, and which is
widely abused.
Elliot T. (Guest)
on 2006-05-20 03:49
(Received via mailing list)
I am going to reply in this thread off-list. If you want to be
included, please email me off-list: removed_email_address@domain.invalid and I 
will CC you.

Elliot

On May 19, 2006, at 10:00 AM, Dave H. wrote:

> the creator if you violate his/her copyright). US Copyright law, in
>
> There's also a time limit on ownership, which is currently very
> long (I believe it's creator's lifetime + 70 years, but I'd have to
> check; they keep changing it). Finally, there's "fair use," which
> I'd guess about 94% of the people who claim this don't understand,
> and which is widely abused.
>
>
>

-- Elliot T.
http://www.curi.us/blog/
Dave H. (Guest)
on 2006-05-21 22:42
(Received via mailing list)
On May 16, 2006, at 15:08, David P. wrote:

>  While there might be a fair use justification for
> emailing a friend a copy so he/she can evaluate it before buying it,

No, there is no "fair use" clause that allows for copyright violation
in the name of evaluation.
Gus S Calabrese (Guest)
on 2006-05-21 23:13
(Received via mailing list)
I am barely following this discussion.
I am not up to speed on the intricacies of copyright law
I also do not know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
Since I believe copyright law is immoral, I would chuck the
pin and the angels.
POD


On 2006-May 21, at 12:39 PM, Dave H. wrote:


On May 16, 2006, at 15:08, David P. wrote:

>  While there might be a fair use justification for
> emailing a friend a copy so he/she can evaluate it before buying it,

No, there is no "fair use" clause that allows for copyright violation
in the name of evaluation.
Ryan L. (Guest)
on 2006-05-22 01:39
(Received via mailing list)
At the risk of continuing this thread, I would recommend that anyone
who is interested in the topic of copyright in the modern age read
Lawrence Lessig's book "Free Culture."

I checked out a copy from the library, but you can download a free PDF
from the web site for the book:

http://free-culture.cc/

Click on "Free Content".

The public domain is under assault by big media's continued corruption
of copyright laws, and if we want to maintain the same sort of open
and free thinking society that got us this far, we must not allow all
content to be locked in a perpetual copyright jail.

Regards,
Ryan
This topic is locked and can not be replied to.