Copyright is theft. Agree or disagree?

Isn’t it true that Copyright violates the rights of consumers to use property as they wish? For example, if I want to make a copy of a CD I bought onto a recordable CD I bought and give it to a friend, that is a violation of copyright law. If I decide to upload the contents of that CD I bought to the Internet onto a web server I paid for and make it freely available to anybody who wishes to download it, that is also in violation of copyright law.

Defenders of copyright laws refer to copyright as a form of intellectual "property." Dictionary.com lists 10 definitions of property:

1. that which a person owns; the possession or possessions of a particular owner: They lost all their property in the fire.
2. goods, land, etc., considered as possessions: The corporation is a means for the common ownership of property.
3. a piece of land or real estate: property on Main Street.
4. ownership; right of possession, enjoyment, or disposal of anything, esp. of something tangible: to have property in land.
5. something at the disposal of a person, a group of persons, or the community or public: The secret of the invention became common property.
6. an essential or distinctive attribute or quality of a thing: the chemical and physical properties of an element.
7. Logic.
a. any attribute or characteristic.
b. (in Aristotelian logic) an attribute not essential to a species but always connected with it and with it alone.
8. Also called prop. a usually movable item, other than costumes or scenery, used on the set of a theater production, motion picture, etc.; any object handled or used by an actor in a performance.
9. a written work, play, movie, etc., bought or optioned for commercial production or distribution.
10. a person, esp. one under contract in entertainment or sports, regarded as having commercial value: an actor who was a hot property at the time.

Definitions 6-10 refer to different uses of the word property. Definitions 1, 2, 4, and 5 cannot apply as copying a copyrighted work does not cause anybody else to lose their copy of the work. Definition 3 cannot apply as copyright is not a form of land.

Compare with the 7 definitions of monopoly:

1. exclusive control of a commodity or service in a particular market, or a control that makes possible the manipulation of prices. Compare duopoly, oligopoly.
2. an exclusive privilege to carry on a business, traffic, or service, granted by a government.
3. the exclusive possession or control of something.
4. something that is the subject of such control, as a commodity or service.
5. a company or group that has such control.
6. the market condition that exists when there is only one seller.
7. (initial capital letter) a board game in which a player attempts to gain a monopoly of real estate by advancing around the board and purchasing property, acquiring capital by collecting rent from other players whose pieces land on that property.

With the exception of the final definition, all of these definitions seem to fit copyright and other forms of intellectual "property" perfectly. Wouldn’t the phrase intellectual monopoly be a more accurate description.

There are 3 definitions of the word theft:

1. the act of stealing; the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another; larceny.
2. an instance of this.
3. Archaic. something stolen.

Couldn’t it be argued that copyright fits perfectly definition #2 of theft? Copyright laws violate the right of consumers who have purchased a product to use it in the manner that they wish.

7 Responses to “Copyright is theft. Agree or disagree?”

  1. Steven J Says:

    It is what ever their lawyers can prove in court.

  2. Caplan Says:

    You are taking something without paying for it which is theft. A lot simpler that way.

  3. Jasmine La Maravilla Says:

    Agreed

  4. JUST THE FACTS Says:

    Do you honestly think anyone is going to read all this dribble. If you ever come up with an original idea you will change your mind on copyright laws.

  5. musicman812 Says:

    Copyright protects intellectual property — property that an individual created by themselves and wishes to sell those rights to anyone willing to by them.

    It’s a product or service like any other. You sound like the open-source group for software that believes everyone should have access to the most recent technology w/o paying for it. Often, the people who ascribe to that methodology are the ones not willing to pay for it.

    The great thing about capitalism is that if you create something of value — you own that idea (if you protect it properly) and can sell it how you wish…and that includes spending millions up front for packaging and distribution then giving it away for free (if that’s what you choose to do) — at your expense.

    But to demand that copyright is somehow a monopoly simply paints a clear picture that you condone stealing something b/c you don’t want to pay for it.
    ________________________________________________
    Steven:
    "I’M a union electricain. So by their logic everytime you turn on the lights (or any of the work I’ve done) I should get a royalty Check."

    Or they paid for your service up front — just like purchasing a CD up front. You buy the rights and don’t get charged per usage. Those rights are exclusive to the purchaser.

  6. tonalc2 Says:

    Copyright is not about possession, it’s about use. If you are copying a CD, you are using that material unlawfully. If you look up "fair use," you will notice that it’s the concept that is being used in defense of music sharing.

    Just because monopoly and copyright may share some definitions in common, that does not mean that copyright and monopoly are synonymous.

  7. Nathan W Says:

    If the recording industry weren’t such dinosaurs, they would be able to turn huge profits off of modern technology. How about $25 a month unlimited music downloads to an imp3 player? Instead they want to charge on a per-song basis when everyone really wants to download hundreds, even thousands of songs. Then they share the profits with Apple, AT&T, Amazon, etc. when they could be selling directly to consumers. They have nobody to blame but themselves for lost profits.