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back to article MPAA copyright punch up knocks out TorrentSpy

The operators of TorrentSpy, once the most popular BitTorrent tracker, have been forced to permanently shutter the site after losing a battle with rights holders. A Los Angeles court ruled in favour of the Motion Picture Ass. of America in December after TorrentSpy destroyed evidence, claiming it was protecting users' privacy. …

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Coat

Annoying

Every time I read one of these reports it bugs me - everything that is shared isn't illegal. Geez.

Aren't web servers essentially sharing information as well? Some of it copyrighted? Isn't it being copied from one computer to another - from the copyright owner's computer to someone else's and buffered on thier hard disk?

Mine's the annoyed one...

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Another

Blow at the USA legal system. Completly under the control of the most dangerous criminal organisation in the world: The MPAA.

Help kill the MPAA: NEVER PAY FOR ANY MOVIE EVER.

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Flame

Blergh

Never really used TorrentSpy much myself, but any victory by the M.P.Ass.A is a victory against freedoms and what not.

Boo!

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Flame

@Eitsop, Mectron

I know copright and respect to creators who actually do something are hard concepts for you freetards to get to grips with, but yes, web pages are copyright, and if you rip off my web pages to put on your web server you'll hear about it. However by publishing those web pages on the net I implicitly and explicitly grant rights for other people to read them. If I did the same thing with music the same principle would reply.

As for "never pay for any movie ever": well its you're right not to pay for movies if you don't want to watch them. I never pay for movies, don't want to watch them, and wouldn't care if no more movies were ever made. However if I did want to watch movies and did want them made I'd need to be prepared to pay for it, in the same way that if I don't want to pay for food and petrol I won't get to eat and travel...

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Black Helicopters

AC - obviously...

I used to like Torrentspy a LOT - as it seems to be one of the few torrent search engines who ranked results by relevance + seeds, so you always got a torrent worth using, rather than 400+ results with 1 good torrent at the bottom!

Shame to see them go, but thats 1 head of the Hydra gone, 2 more will surely spring up!

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Explain

I wish someone could give me a believable reason for considering that copying and distributing someone else's work without their permission is a legitimate right that must be defended.

Don't bother with the 'fighting evil corporations' routine - if you don't approve of their business practices then don't buy their product. Yes, even if that means doing without something you wa-a-a-ant.

p2p, torrents and so on have perfectly reasonable uses but from all accounts those uses don't account for the majority of the traffic out there. That (growing) volume of traffic is now having an impact on legitimate users through throttling etc.

Nail the greedy, self-serving little bastards to the wall I say!

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@Mectron & Blergh

Mectron: "Help kill the MPAA: NEVER PAY FOR ANY MOVIE EVER."

Bet you've never considered doing without something you w-a-a-a-ant as a protest, have you?

Wimp.

Blergh: "...a victory against freedoms and what not"

Now there's a good indication of the clarity of thought that went into your decision making process.

Come on over to my place and work for me for a few weeks and maybe I'll pay you both and maybe I won't. I may decide that I won't have my freedom to get something for nothing infringed by your greedy demands... and you will be required to tell me how noble I am. Right.

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Ru

Re: NEVER PAY FOR ANY MOVIE EVER

...because that'll show em! And the people who create those movies!

See also, the 'freetards' discussion elsewhere on the web.

Sure, not everything shared, torrented or otherwise distrubed via P2P networks is illegal, but the sad fact is that most of it will be. Sure, the MPAA and similar organisations are money-grabbing parasites, dinosaurs on the verge of extinction, etc etc and the current content distribution and revenue collection methods won't last.

But stealing and stealing and stealing until you get your own way isn't going to work at all. I rather suspect what you'll end up with will be a bunch of locked down media players (xbox, ipod, whatever the sky recorders are) attached to private distribution networks because it is the only model that is going to provide enough control and revenue for the distributors.

Forget your PC... no-one is going to want to have to work with such an easily exploitable platform in the long term, infested as it is with highly capable hackers and millions of freeloaders.

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@JimC

Copyright covers webpages and creative works that might be shared on P2P. But it doesn't cover the links to things that people are sharing.

That's like prosecuting the person who puts up a sign to a car boot sale because someone at the car boot sale is selling copied DVD's.

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@ JimC

I wasn't meaning that people are breaking copyrights - I was just trying to imply that it's a thin line between giving permission and not giving permission.

How does TorrentSpy know which is which - was it thier repsonsibility to know? Why should an ISP or a torrent search site assume I could be downloading music and films when I could be downloading an Linux .ISO image?

It's a little like making El Reg liable for all the comments people make isn't it?

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The problem with copyrights

I'm all for enforcing copyrights the way they were intended.

However, EULAs go way beyond what a copyright holder is entitled to ask.

I've posted an EULA in the past that states anyone who sells or allows to be sold to me media of any form grants me the right to decrypt it, make backups, and share it with my friends.

So basically my EULA knocks out their EULA and I'm free to do what I want with the materials.

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search rank

"it seems to be one of the few torrent search engines who ranked results by relevance + seeds, so you always got a torrent worth using, rather than 400+ results with 1 good torrent at the bottom!"

You can sort TPB results by clicking the headers.

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Paris Hilton

Shut down all search engines!

Ok, illegal downloading is wrong because people put their work into it. But the opponents of torrent sites have become so excited, I believe they've lost focus.

Torrent search sites just provide links to torrents, they don't host it themselves. Now we're all smart enough to know what most users will use them for, and why these sites were created in the first place, but in the end, they're not doing anything wrong.

I can easily find illegal stuff via Google, but just because that's not the preferred way for downloaders, normal search engines are left unbothered.

Instead of trying to break every torrent search site (which they will never really succeed at), these associations should try to force the sites to filter out illegal content.

Paris, because she doesn't mind people mass downloading her, ahem, content, wherever it's hosted.

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a lot of people missing the point

Well said Steve.

Whatever passionate views you have about paying for movies or protecting artists' rights are not really relevant. The argument from Pirate Bay, etc is that they have a legal right to run torrent servers without enquiring into the content that's being shared - if infrastructure owners aren't accountable for the data passing through their routers & cables, why should they be?

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Flame

@JimC

1. I am not a so called "freetard". I actually own a sizable DVD collection and now that Blueray illegal DRM have been broken, i plan to get a player (and some movies),

But the MPAA need to die, no one in its right mind whould ever support anyone who is a member of a international crime cartel?

Beside the enterteiment industry is the ONLY sector where you cannot get a refund (by law) if you don't like a pruduct. Try buying a movie and then return because is it a really bad movie.... (and no i should not have to pay (Rental) to see if i like it or not)

Bottom line is: The RIAA and MPAA are very dangerous criminal and no one should be doing any kind of businees with it;s members.

Chance are, that when peoples who actually make the movies see that no one is buying them because of the MPAA, they will cancel they membership to it.

PS: About my DVD collection, what is the 1st thing i do when i got a new DVD? rip it and store the original in a safe place. But not everyone can do that as DVD's are cripple by illegal DRM (thanks to the MPAA and its members)

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WTF?

there was so much good "LEGALLY FREE" content on there, its a real shame there isnt a site with just legally free gpl style content, like open sauce apps, etc.

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Coat

My God...

..Is this "freetards" vs. "R.I.Ass.A" crap still going on? Flamewars about copyright are so last month.

Mine's the one with a copy of Das Kapital in the pocket...

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Coat

Ok with all the discussion

That has gone on here in the last several months about P2P it just dawned on me. I remember hearing a while back that WoW used the torrent protocol for users to get the patch. Does this mean that they are going to get kicked from their ISP for sharing the patch with other WoWers, even though there is no way to not allow sharing unless you setup the firewall to block outbound connections. NOT that its a bad thing of course. WoWtards are the bane of existence.

/mines the one with LEEEEEEERROOOOOYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY JEEEENKINS stiched on the back

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Pirate

Hmmm

Maybe someone should knock up a website which simply parses the results of a query against MSN Live or Google.

Lets see what they do then...

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Black Helicopters

More Cops!

@JimC

I would think it's a wee bit different when the person who puts up the ad knows that the majority of participants will be distributing stolen property.

@ the other freeloaders - As long as you exist I will support surveillance cameras, more police rights, less privacy, fingerprinting, DNA databases etc. If you don't want a world like that then learn to behave like a civilised human being ...catch my drift, Angel-Ass?

The black helicopter 'cause they don't take no s**t.

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Stop

All Wrong...

This is a good example of an issue getting so polarized that both sides just end up spouting utter bullshit.

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Bronze badge

A solution?

Make the torrent itself an index?

Source out the "query" and then have all your peers respond with pointers to the information you want.

No central "authority" to shut down, so the Ass's can't go after it.

Of course, there is the "small matter of programming" that needs to be done, but once it is, look out! Then ComCast and Bell Canada will need to do lots to stop the peer-to-peer sharing.

Its a jungle out there....

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Happy

@Craig McLean

So right. This AC takes the pledge to never participate again.

No point really... can't fight crap genetics and crappier parenting... Ok I'll stop! Just wanted one last taste.

The Happy Face 'cause that's my new attitude.

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@Mectron

How are the fairies these days?

"Beside the enterteiment industry is the ONLY sector where you cannot get a refund (by law) if you don't like a pruduct."

Really, so you don't like a jumper you bought, so you legally can take it back?

You don't like the taste of the lemon cake you ate, so you can take it back?

You don't like the Sofa you bought because it clashes with the carpet, so you can can take it back?

All protected by law.

News flash>

You are only legally protected when it comes to faulty or misdiscribed / labelled goods, not because you don't like them.....Many shops do this sort of thing out of goodwill.....

I'm off to return this 2 year old laptop, it no longer looks as good as it did....

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Linux

"Freetards" and BitTorrent...

AC for a reason. I've downloaded ONE movie through BitTorrent. Because I couldn't find it at all, anywhere, even on Craigslist or eBay. The Frisco Kid. You show me where I can buy it legally on DVD, and I'll buy it.

Everything else that passes through my bittorrent connection is legal to download; Linux ISOs, my Windows Vista disc (a Microsoft rep told me they don't care where you get the media, since you're paying for the key anyway), and freeware apps. Oh, and the occasional shareware / trial program because bt is just so much faster (usually) than an HTTP download.

Every bit of software on my machine is legal. But because I use BitTorrent, I'm automatically a "Freetard" and a criminal, eh?

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Freetard? Not quite.

I've nothing against compensating artists - in fact I WANT to compensate them, but I'm not going to do it through a major label which strongarm musicians into giving away rights to their music and artificially restrict what is available. That's why, on the rare occasion they put out something good, I will get it through torrent. I'd rather support a band by going to live shows where I know they'll get the majority of the money. If I can buy a CD from an indie label that supports the artist properly I'll happily pay.

I'd also pay for movies if I could, but I'm not going to shell out almost £10 to sit in a dirty cinema with shitty, uncomfortable seats when I can watch it in the peace and quiet of my own living room.

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re: EXPLAIN

...and you fall at the first hurdle.

"I wish someone could give me a believable reason for considering that copying and distributing someone else's work without their permission is a legitimate right that must be defended."

It's been explained ad nauseum, but people still don't get it. BitTorrent is a protocol, and TorrentSpy et al provide a search service across that protocol. They are not responsible for the copyright status of what passes along that protocol nor what gets indexed. Their servers simply didn't care what was copyrighted (an impossible aim, BTW), they didn't infringe on anything.

They should be held no more accountable than Google. Should Google be sued because an image found through their search function was copyrighted or because a website they index violated a writer's copyright? No, that's stupid. You might as well sue the post office for dodgy DVDs getting delivered. They're not the ones committing the crimes.

So, the first question is not whether we should be defending piracy but whether the MPAA/RIAA should be suing indexers rather than the people actually infringing. BitTorrent has way too many legitimate uses to shut it down because a few people can't be arsed to buy DVDs. Sue the criminals, not the messengers and you might get somewhere.

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@Stu Reeves

Wasn’t really all that bad, your comment. Just the more embarrassing that you included the last line. It shows that you don’t understand the issue either.

<rant>

Apart from that: The RIAA and the MPAA are making sure that their company policies are treated as laws; they say this and that is so and you must stick to it, otherwise we’ll sue your skin off.

Is there actually a law that forbids pointing to the potential position of (copyrighted) content? I can’t see that google gets sued for providing me with a link to a(n illegal) video I didn’t want to see just because I asked for the correct measurement of horses heights…

Oh, just realised, what about the BBCs iPlayer? In the good old analogue days you could record the show of the telly and keep it until kingdom come. The iPlayer makes sure that you can watch it for a week (otherwise it would spoil the sales of the BBC DVDs).

Analogue copies deteriorate awfully with each copy generation. Specially the home video systems with their 2-line colour-shift did, so they were never really a problem to the ASSs. Digital video copies are clones. And had they not been so foolish to promote this without thinking of the consequences, they would not have to wimper about lost money now. I was just as happy with my old Laserdiscs as I’m now with the DVDs (and no one copied them).

</rant>

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Anonymous Coward

counter productive

Every time I read the letters RIAA or MPAA I open uTorrent and start seeding, assuming it wasn't already open to d/load something in the first place....

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Anonymous Coward

@jimC

"I know copyright and respect to creators who actually do something are hard concepts for you freetards to get to grips with, but yes, web pages are copyright, and if you rip off my web pages to put on your web server you'll hear about it|"

glad to hear that jim.

you will be the first person to charge your Phorm signed ISP with "commercial piracy" fot nicking your copyright clickstrean data, key entry and copying + profiling for profit then!

can we get the uk and EU branchs of the RIAA and MPAA to go after these freetard phorm ISPs and get our content revenue collection back 8}

now that would be something of a turn around .

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Err...

No one has yet mentioned that the reason they lost the case is because they willingly destroyed evidence. I mean, duh?! They are lucky that they aren't being banged up on contempt or perverting the course of justice charges.

They got off lightly considering what they did. (and I am talking about the evidence destruction not the maybe posting links.)

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RE: FFS, people who claim its stealing...

If I hear one more idiot bleat on about it being stealing I will scream.

If it is 'stealing' then show me one person who has been convicted of THEFT! Or even prosecuted for theft. It is IP infringement, a civil and not a criminal matter. There is certainly no STEALING involved.

Stop spouting shite. If any crime being committed it is unauthorised duplication, nothing more. Certainly not theft.

I don't agree with people undertaking unauthorised duplication but don't call it stealing. It really pisses me off.

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Anonymous Coward

I wish they would stop targeting the technology.

What I can't stand is when they go after bittorrent or p2p technology in general. I get a log of my free/open source software using ed2k and bittorrent.

I am a fan of people being able to make a living creating IP. I am not a big fan of people making tons of money from illegally selling other peoples IP. And at the same time I think that a little bit of lawlessness in cyberspace is a healthy thing.

BTW I just recently downloaded about 30 hours worth of computer video tutorials. I couldn't find the ones I wanted via the piratebay so I used GOOGLE.

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Correction needed

"Illegal filesharers" do not exist. The term "illegal" implies criminal. "Unlawful" is the proper term.

And a for calling people "freetards," well, flies and vinegar. I know that Andrew Orlowski's heavy use of that term has infuriated me so much that, contrary to my own personal policy in the past, I have started sharing my more than 16,000 MP3 tracks, all of which are ripped by me in 320kbps quality MP3 from the original CDs I purchased before the RIAssA and MPAssA started suing their (now former) customers.

I have not bought a CD since then, and never will again. I rent DVDs but will not buy.

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@William

"Stop spouting shite. If any crime being committed it is unauthorised duplication, nothing more. Certainly not theft."

Well actually, that's wrong. What is being committed is "Theft of copyright". That is theft, but it's not theft of property. These Ass. morons spend millions buying politicians and trying to convince people that copyright is a property right, when it is nothing of the sort. Copyright is a contract between the producer of works and the state. Nothing more. These fucks should get it through their heads that when you produce works you don't OWN THE WORKS - you own the COPYRIGHT THAT SUBSISTS IN THEM.

The state should automatically strip all rights from organisations that bring malicious prosecutions against common-carriers and information services. No exceptions. That'll stop their farting in church.

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Responses to various comments

@Silentmaster101

Try http://www.jamendo.com for legaly available audio content(they even have it in ogg along with the crud mp3)

Try http://www.getmiro.com for legaly available video content(this is an app that ties in torrents and podcasts and suchlike)

@Stu Reeves

> Really, so you don't like a jumper you bought, so you legally can take it back?

YES! For 8 days after I bought it.

> You don't like the taste of the lemon cake you ate, so you can take it back?

No because I consumed it... Does NOT apply to consumables UNLESS they have a defect(i.e. past the date of expiry when bought and such like)

> You don't like the Sofa you bought because it clashes with the carpet, so you can can take it back?

YES! For 8 days after I bought it. And at times more if the seller policy says so.

> All protected by law.

Correct... one has 8 days after buying to return a product WITHOUT ANY REASON GIVEN!

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Silver badge

I'm not that bothered in this case

While I normally hate to see sites getting knocked around by the MPAA, in this case I'm not all that bothered. TorrentSpy has been crap of late. It would list torrents, and half the ones you clicked on were fake/missing/something else, so it would redirect you to Spankwire, which gets really annoying really quickly. I used to use it for finding old software files that aren't readily available any more, but when they started doing that crap I went back to my old methods.

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There is Justice after all!

Bloody good news. Pirate Bay next.

Same old crap and lamebrain excuses for doing something that is wrong from the people who don't want to pay in this thread.

I for one am glad to see Justice done.

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Anonymous Coward

The wonders of a global community

> All protected by law.

Correct... one has 8 days after buying to return a product WITHOUT ANY REASON GIVEN!

Which country? Not all countries have the same legislation.

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Pirate

Not just the US

"Theft of copyright" is where someone wrongly aquires the copyright - i.e. the right to make copies - of a work. This could be by getting the author of the work to sign documents they don't understand or are misrepresented to them, it could be someone falsely claiming to be the representative of an author or 'have the rights' to a work, or a variety of other things.

What we're talking about here is not that, but "infringement of copyright" or "breach of copyright" (actual term may vary around in different countries) - making or providing unauthorised copies of works with no claim of right being made at all.

I use torrents for authorised downloads such as software or books, and unauthorised ones such as music. I've often ordered something that wasn't distributed where I live after getting a copy off the net. Not always though. I sometimes delete stuff I've downloaded because I thought it was rubbish. Not always though - packrat mentality. I do legal downloads through sites like Amplifier.co.nz which provide all-local material. I still buy a lot of CDs - more than I did five years ago. But a lot of them are bought second-hand. Does it all balance out? No, I am a copyright infringer after all. But I figure I'm a fairly honest one.

As for the music industry, there's a few things I'd rather they were doing. Admitting that not every download is a lost sale is one of the first. So is cleaning up their act when it comes to paying the creators/performers. Part of that would be (in the USA) supporting a Public Lending Right. And maybe trying to get the 'illegal' links off the torrent sites rather than trying to close them down altogether would be more successful.

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Re: Explain

Have you ever lent a CD to a friend or a video to a friend? That's distribution, have you ever taped a program on TV then given that tape to a friend? Or asked a friend to do the same? You ever taped an album (I know cassettes are a long time back) or taped a radio station? Or made a mixtape of your favourite songs? Ever given someone a tape that you recorded with someone else's songs on it? That's copying and distribution without asking permission. If you've taped music and lent it to someone, EVER, you're doing exactly the same thing that music sharers are doing. Did it destroy the music industry? If you've taped a tv show, or, even worse, a film and lent it to someone you've done what a filesharer does. Even better, if you do it on someone else's video recorder or tape recorder or CD burner it's all their liability. Now do you have some idea of why people have a problem accepting it's illegal and worth all the trouble it has been afforded?

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Bob

"Which country?"

"Which country? Not all countries have the same legislation"

The EU by way of the Distance Selling Directive. You can return goods for whatever reason up to seven working days after receiving them but things like software are exempt for obvious reasons.

The people posting merely to gloat seem to be revelling in their obvious moral superiority, well done you. Never mind that the various trade bodies have successfully lobbied to completely erode any chance of fair use of legitimately acquired material, torrents are evil and that is that.

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Happy

Shutdown google I say!

How long before they try to shutdown google?

You can find pleny of music/warez by just googleing for it, of if you cant be bothered rembering the arcane incantations you need to make it work well just go here and type what your after and it will google for it for you:

http://www.g2p.org/

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Unbelievable

"@ the other freeloaders - As long as you exist I will support surveillance cameras, more police rights, less privacy, fingerprinting, DNA databases etc. If you don't want a world like that then learn to behave like a civilised human being ...catch my drift, Angel-Ass?"

You'd honestly rather live in the GDR than see someone get something for nothing? You are a retard.....

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@Not just the US

"Theft of copyright" is where someone wrongly aquires the copyright .

No. It's when someone takes upon themselves the right to make copy, when the state has granted that right to someone else. what you are talking about is fraud, which is completely different.

With so much misunderstanding of copyright, even in IT circles, it's little wonder these corportate gangsters get to ride roughshod over more inportant rights, like privacy for example.

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Theft of Copyright

I think Steen Hive is mistaken.

"Theft of copyright" has both colloquial and legal meanings. The legal definition, in various countries, IS a type of fraud, as per the examples.

Colloquially the phrase is being used to equate any type of infringement of copyright with the act of theivery.

Making a copy of something without the permission of the owner is not the same as depriving the owner of the thing itself. However, what is subsequently done with the copy may effect what civil or criminal charges could be bought against the copier.

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Stop

@Dai Kiwi

"Theft of copyright" has both colloquial and legal meanings. The legal definition, in various countries, IS a type of fraud, as per the examples.

Well the "colloquial meaning" (whatever that is) has no standing in copyright law ( including the colloquial - and erronous - term "piracy").

"Making a copy of something without the permission of the owner is not the same as depriving the owner of the thing itself."

Of course not! You're depriving the owner of his copyright, not his works! that's why it's called "copyright theft".

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Coat

Don't believe the hype!

For the general Copytard audience here at El Reg, let's say that we don't condone efforts to equate copyright with creator's defense and retribution -- unless your public monicker is Madonna or Spiderman.

Every piece of evidence clearly shows the RIAA and MPAA don't exist to finace artists, they serve only the industry money grubbing zealots. And one look at the history of copyright shows that it was like that from the begining. The artists only gets paid when there's no other option.

Mine is the one in kevlar, along with the mob squad shield...

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Paris Hilton

@Steen Hive

Steeeeeen, hello, think please! Please explain "copyright" again, if you are so convinced. I'll try to make it simple and very logic by deducing it by the words the noun consists of: It's the 'right' to 'copy' (but only for the copyright holder). If you say it's a theft of the copyright, then you are stealing the 'right' to 'copy' - which is not what you mean.

Correct - and by the way widely used by the MPAss.A and RIAss.A when they talk law instead of desinformation - is the term copyright infringment, because there is no actual theft. They only *feel* being robbed of their money - that's why their marketing likes to call it theft.

Paris, because even she could get a basic grip of the issue - if she would care.

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Boffin

@Jonas Nagel

Look it up. Copyright is the *exclusive* right to copy granted to the creator of works, alone. It subsists automatically (in most juristictions anyway) in any creative work.

When you make a copy of a work you *deprive* the creator of his exclusive copyright THAT is what is stolen. Again look it up, and don't get confused with patent law or trade secrets, please. The term "copyright infringement" describes the infringement of the law not of the right.

Let me state clearly. "copyright" is a minor protective contract between the creator of works and the state. It is not an excuse for trampling over real rights, like privacy, it is not "Intellectual Property" or any other such makey-uppy twaddle. it is just that.

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