Society versus copyright

Of late I have wondered about this:

And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

Thefts: stealing stuff. I always thought of this as everyone sneaking into everyone else’s house to pilfer their worldly goods. However, this is not the kind of theft that is actually popular in society at the moment. The two very popular forms of theft that the world simply loves are:

  • Socialism: theft of anything from the minority by the majority
  • Copyright violation: theft of labour.

Now, as to copyright violation, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, people should be paid for their labour, and failing to pay them is not wonderful:

The wages of the labourers who have reaped your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, cry out: and the cry of them which have reaped has entered into the ears of the Lord of the harvest.

The producers of copyright content are currently hoarding their “produce”, and refusing to sell it unless you buy a whole bunch of unnecessary add-ons:

  • A physical disk – I have it already thank you.
  • Media and packaging – I don’t have space for this
  • Shipping – No, I already have it: don’t ship it to me
  • Taxes on physical goods – I don’t want to import anything
  • Extraneous advertising – I don’t want your previews of unrelated content
  • Extraneous services – I don’t want your bundled toolbar, media player
  • An “account” – itunes, some Apple or Android device, or whatever
  • Painful navigation through a tortured interface – No thanks, really, I got it by a less painful method
  • Obscene system requirements – I have the file: I don’t want to install windows
  • Display limits – I want to show this to my family, please
  • Country limitations – I already live in a perfectly good country, and just because the thing has not been on TV here is not a good reason to withhold it!

I believe this applies to the big publishers:

He that withholds corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that sells it.

However, at the moment, society is not answering failure to sell with curses, but with theft.

It’s not cool. Of course, many of the songs, movies and books copied are full of the ills condemned together with thefts: sorcery, murder and fornication. In these cases they have received full payment in this world, along with the praise of men, and all payment that is outstanding is their hard-earned eternal condemnation.

It would not be hard for content producers to provide a method for payment. It would not be hard for them to provide a reasonable price for their goods either. They are just not willing: in part because they don’t understand, and in part because they hope to yet make filthy profits from their past labours.

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