Thursday, August 16, 2012

iPartment is iRip Off

It has been brought to my attention that there is a sitcom in China called iPARTMENT that is just a shameless rip off of American sitcoms. The premise is essentially FRIENDS and they wantonly steal jokes from U.S. shows. At times they’ve allegedly lifted entire scenes from HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER.

The iPARTMENT producers of course deny any wrongdoing and claim their series is an homage to American sitcoms. And they’re just using stock sitcom character types. But they’ve already had to apologize to one screenwriter for stealing jokes he posted online.

Critics have said the show is 40 minutes – 30 minutes of directly stealing a US sitcom story and 10 minutes of jokes stolen from other sources.

The producers can deny all they want but how hard will it be to compare a translated episode of their show to the U.S. version they stole? I guess the question is, can you sue China? I doubt if individual writers have the clout but the studios sure do. So will they?  Or are they willing to look the other way so as not to ruffle feathers? It may be more important to establish good relationships with Chinese networks and producers for future ventures.

But again, if the allegations are true, it’s reprehensible – not just to our writers but to China’s writers. iPARTMENT is essentially saying Chinese writers aren’t good enough so they have to steal from America. That’s an unwarranted slap in the face.

And the practice is also utterly stupid.

In the heyday of Top 40 radio, disc jockeys in one market would blatantly steal the acts of disc jockeys in another. If a jock in Buffalo was imitating a jock in San Francisco, how many Buffalo listeners would ever know? That’s why you had Emperor Bob and Emperor Gene and Emperor Don, and Robert W. Morgan and Roger W. Morgan, and the Real Don Steele and the Real Pete McNeal and the True Don Blu.

But today we live in a global world with instantaneous communication. I can sit in Los Angeles and watch iPARTMENT online. Someone in China can recognize the plagiary and with one click alert the entire world. So who are they foolin’?

To implore the producers of iPARTMENT to stop stealing is I’m sure pointless. They’re not creative people, they’re thieves. I can only hope that public pressure and legal consequences force them to stop or better yet, to shut down production.

U.S. writers deserve compensation and Chinese viewers deserve original television.

80 comments:

Stephan Kinsella said...

Copying information is not stealing. Stealing means you literally take something from someone so that they don't have it any more--lke taking someone's bicycle. If you copy information the person you "take' it from still has it. It may be true that copying constitutes copyright infringement, but that is not stealing (as Judge Posner explains in a recent case). The question of whether copying should be prohibited as copyright infringement is a separate policy question, but people try to bias the answer by falsely labeling copying as stealing or theft or "piracy." It's simply not stealing.

See Nina Paley's minute meme: copying is not theft. http://questioncopyright.org/minute_memes/copying_is_not_theft

HourOfLead said...

I'm more curious about the sociological impact to plot points.
Would Chinese Joey still love sandwiches or would he be more inclined to constantly eat bowls of noodles?
Would Chinese Phoebe be seen as a slut for having her brother's three babies? (Bad story line!)
Do the Chinese understand the concept of "We were on a break" to explain having sex with another person?

FRIDAY QUESTION:
I just watched Rampart with Woody Harrelson. He was great, but the movie had another one of those "Non-Endings." Personally, I am sooooooo sick of the non-ending. Any thoughts on the increasingly trendy use of that tool?

swedishfish said...

Stephan, you can split hairs, but taking someone else's idea is stealing.

I heard that there are books published in China that take fan fiction twelve steps further: there are multiple Harry Potter books written by Chinese citizens with Chinese themes. The Chinese government seems not to care one whit about copyright. So that's a thorny question: if they don't have laws against it, how can we prevent it from happening?

kingvermin said...

I think you have a much different idea of what "copying" and "theft" are, and your article about Judge Posner and his opinion on uploading videos has nothing to do with Mr. Levine's post: if you have taken someone's jokes or story and passed them off as your own, that's "plagarism." It's a very specific kind of theft AND copying, with legal ramifications. It's lazy and dishonest.

jcs said...

There's a very informative website that showcases examples of industrial plagiarism. Each year the so-called Plagiarius Awards are handed out for the most drastic cases of intellectual theft.

http://www.plagiarius.com

Oudeicrat Annachrista said...

"Can you sue China?" The REAL question is: can you sue billions of alien civilizations in other galaxies? They have been copying and plagiarizing Earth's intellectual property for decades, and the damages now caused every second to Earth are equivalent to a diamond the size of Jupiter. You might also want to check out Year Zero from Rob Reid ;)

Raymond said...

Actually, people in China can't detect the plagiary because Internet access is tightly controlled. (For example, China blocks Facebook. Who knows, maybe they also block this blog.) So it's like a government tariff on sitcoms: Block imports of foreign jokes so that they can be replaced by locally-produced versions. Sure, you can smuggle in some DVDs of FRIENDS, but to the vast majority of Chinese people, these jokes and plot lines are brand-new.

Joel said...

To the extent Chinese viewers "deserve" anything, why "original" shows rather than "shows they enjoy watching"?

[Answer: "because the shows they enjoy watching use jokes copied from other TV shows, and I don't approve of taking jokes from other TV shows, and Chinese viewers only 'deserve' things that I approve of."]

Anonymous said...

"Actually, people in China can't detect the plagiary because Internet access is tightly controlled."

That's wrong because chinese citizens themselves have raised the issue with iPartment.

Mike said...

China restricts the movements of its citizens, sends people off to slave labor camps for speaking out against the government, and punishes people for having too many children, including forcing abortions. You are upset that shows there steal plots from American shows and the government looks the other way.

Sebastian Peitsch said...

I doubt that you can copyright things that are shown what is basically just a rectangle.

I bet all the jokes those Chinese writers put into their scripts originally came from a bowl of water.

(tell your son, he will get it)

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

This post made me wonder something.

How come you've never directed an episode of Friends? Jim Burrows did several, and even Sam Simon did one.

This also reminded me of a possible question:

What's the criteria for hiring directors on TV shows? How do they get involved?

I assume that, unlike writers, they're as free as a bird to do multiple shows at any given time.

Stephan Kinsella said...

swedishfish:
"Stephan, you can split hairs, but taking someone else's idea is stealing."

It is not splitting hairs. It is simply literally false to call copying information "stealing." It is not even "taking." It is not theft, and it is not piracy. At most, it is copyright infringement--that is, it is violating a positive law decreed by bureaucrats. The reason people in favor of copyright insist on labeling it as stealing, even though it is not, is there is a negative association with "stealing." They are trying to dishonestly shift the debate by using incorrect descriptions, to make copyright law seem justified and to make copyright infringement seem like "theft."

"I heard that there are books published in China that take fan fiction twelve steps further: there are multiple Harry Potter books written by Chinese citizens with Chinese themes. The Chinese government seems not to care one whit about copyright. So that's a thorny question: if they don't have laws against it, how can we prevent it from happening?"

why should we prevent it from happening? There is nothing wrong with copying, learning, emulating, competing. This is the free market. Patent and copyright law are horrible systems that are derogations from the free market: they are anti-competitive grants of monopoly privilege by a criminal state, that violate property rights. I am a pro-property rights libertarian and an intellectual property attorney, by the way. I have material at www.c4sif.org/resources explaining why IP law is illegitimate.

kingvermin: "I think you have a much different idea of what "copying" and "theft" are, and your article about Judge Posner and his opinion on uploading videos has nothing to do with Mr. Levine's post"


It was Mike Masnick's article, not mine. And it does have to do with it. Even Juge Posner, in applying statist positive law, recognizes that copyright infringement is not stealing.

"if you have taken someone's jokes or story and passed them off as your own, that's "plagarism.""


First, you cannot literally "take" a joke or story from someone: you can emulate or build on it or duplicate it, but you cannot "take it" from them. They still have their knowledge and information. Second, plagiarism has NOTHING TO DO with copyright infringement, and copyright has nothing to do with plagiarism. For example if you publish Plato's The Republic tomorrow iwth your name on it, that is plagiarism but it is not copyright infringement. And if you upload a copy of the Wolverine movie for others to copy, that is copyright infringement but not plagiarism.

Now it is true that copyrgiht law causes plagiarism sometimes--people are afraid of copyright penalties so they sometimes do not acknowledge their sources--they are a afraid this might be an admission of liability. If not for copyright law, people who did fan fiction or a derivative work based on someone else's story, would have no reason not to freely admit "this is based on JK Rowling's novels" or "this is inspired by and based on the American show Cheers". But they may be reluctant to admit this now, b/c that might get them in trouble. The solution is to get rid of copyright law, not to blame people for trying to avoid its unjustified sanctions.

"It's a very specific kind of theft AND copying, with legal ramifications. It's lazy and dishonest."

Dishonesty is not a rights violation. People have a right to be sleazy and dishonest. People also have a right to be lazy. Though the truth is all craative work is derivative. It borrows from others' ideas. It is impossible to avoid this There is nothing wrong with it. It is not lazy, it is efficient and part of human life and culture and society.

Johnny Walker said...

For all the accusations I've read of "theft", I've not been able to find any actual examples.

Until someone takes the time to link to something, or gives some examples, I remain a little unsure as to the extent of this theft.

Ken, you start your post noting that these are simply accusations; which they are. But end it with: "They’re not creative people, they’re thieves. I can only hope that public pressure and legal consequences force them to stop or better yet, to shut down production."

For anyone who cares strongly enough to prove their guilt, here's a link to iPartment (with English subtitles):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQKqbrqkeKg

Anonymous said...

Notice that the IP defenders find no irony in using a well known language to communicate their argument. They must have paid someone to use English otherwise they would be stealing.

Johnny Walker said...

It's also worth noting that plagiarism is a normal, healthy part of the creative process. It's the lawyers who have made it illegal, because they represent the copyright holders.

Obviously an artist should be able to profit from their work, and it's good that we have laws to protect that, but Shakespeare plagiarised elements of his plays of earlier plays... but he did it better.

I think it's pretty obvious that the producers of iPartment will stop this alleged theft in the future: Simply because their audience doesn't want it.

Plus, as others have pointed out, given the human rights issues that the Chinese have to suffer through, this is pretty small potatoes.

Mike said...

Of course, for not the first time, The Simpsons was ten years ahead of reality with Japanese Friends in "Bart vs. Lisa vs. the Third Grade"

Japanese Chandler: Do you like my new shirt? It says "Reggae Hair Style Rock n' Roll." Could I be more Japanese?
Japanese Phoebe: You are the Emperor of Last Year.
Japanese Chandler: Your comeback shames me.

Scott said...

This is a perfect example of how everything is better when lawyers get involved.

Ane said...

Like someone else here said, I'd like to see some subtitled examples of scenes that were copied.

PGE said...

This whole notion that intellectual property isn't really property, so it's all right to steal it, but it's WRONG to call it "stealing" is just so self serving it's laughable.

Steve from Vermont said...

I especially like the iPartment episode where Chuckles the

小丑

That one cracked me up.

Sunshine Vitamin said...

The generosity that Ken has shown in this blog, not only making his original, clever work available for free but also providing a clinic on how scenes are constructed, makes this discussion particularly relevant. The characters, relationships, action, and dialogue, not to mention the jokes and the story arc, are each the products of innumerable decisions carefully crafted during intense creative sessions.

The problem of plagiarism is enormous, in music, in art, in photography, and in school assignments. Creative work enhances our lives so much. Each individual's unique talents should be celebrated, not stolen.

cadavra said...

The Chinese have been doing this for decades. Back in the heyday of the Shaw Brothers, their movies were scored with cues lifted from everything from "Ironside" to "Once Upon a Time in the West." And I remember seeing a Chow Yun-Fat comedy called THE FUN, THE LUCK AND THE TYCOON, which was an almost scene-for-scene knock-off of COMING TO AMERICA. In an era where an entire American film (RED DAWN) is reworked so the Chinese are no longer the villains, our new fiscal overlords can act with impunity and no one will dare raise a fuss.

Stephan Kinsella said...

Johnny Walker: "Obviously an artist should be able to profit from their work, and it's good that we have laws to protect that, but Shakespeare plagiarised elements of his plays of earlier plays... but he did it better."

this is not obvious at all. Copyright law violates property rights and individual freedom. It should be abolished. and by the way Shakespeare wrote his plays without the benefit of copyright.

"I think it's pretty obvious that the producers of iPartment will stop this alleged theft in the future: Simply because their audience doesn't want it."

It's not theft. I've already explained this.


PGE: " This whole notion that intellectual property isn't really property, so it's all right to steal it, but it's WRONG to call it "stealing" is just so self serving it's laughable."

this is ad hominen, not an argument. I am a practicing patent and IP attorney. I've made millions in this system. I benefit from these corrupt laws. I am against them. It's the opposite of self-serving.

Sunshine Vitamin:
"The problem of plagiarism is enormous, in music, in art, in photography, and in school assignments."

No it's not. It's a non-problem. You are conflating plagiarism with copyright infringement. THey are not the same. Why people who obviously don't even understand copyright law feel compelled to weigh in with an opinion about it is beyond me.

"Creative work enhances our lives so much."

Yes. But this is not a justification for copyright.

"Each individual's unique talents should be celebrated, not stolen."

Copying someting is not stealing anything. I have already explained this. And not everyone's talents should be "celebrated." Some are bad.

Brian said...

Stephan, where to begin...

"Patent and copyright law are horrible systems that are derogations from the free market: they are anti-competitive grants of monopoly privilege by a criminal state, that violate property rights."

Why should I bother writing a script to put bread on the table when somebody with an established career can simply make a copy of it, substitute his name for mine, and laugh his way to the bank? Why should a pharmaceutical company bother developing breakthrough cures when another company can use their exact formula to mass-produce the same medicine on day one without having to cover the research cost? You would have to be willfully ignorant to not realize that those cases both represent a theft of monetary value even if nothing physical has been "stolen."

Reasonable patent and copyright laws encourage competition because if you want the protection you have to get there first and beat out your competitors. Plus it offers the opportunity to earn from your investment of time, which makes the field more attractive to more competitors, which drives competition, and so on. Granting these protections in perpetuity does not have the same benefits, but again a reasonable period of legal protection (one that eventually puts creative works into the public domain or eventually allows other drug companies to make generics) can benefit the real creators of our society without stifling future innovations. Not to mention that copyright laws don't even protect ideas. They only protect expression of those ideas, so you can still have ten different riffs on Romeo and Juliet out there competing for attention and dollars.

And lastly:
"I am a practicing patent and IP attorney. I've made millions in this system. I benefit from these corrupt laws. I am against them. It's the opposite of self-serving."

If it's not self-serving then perhaps it's just blatantly hypocritical?

Mark said...

I once heard that the "emperor" was a licensed concept in which a radio jock in every market could pay to use it.

Marty Fufkin said...

Ken, you'll have to let go of this one. Having lived in China, I can tell you they have a different attitude toward copying -- it's considered flattery, and even a Chinese person who has his ideas "stolen" is nonplused by it. In university, for instance, it's acceptable to plagiarize up to 70% of an essay -- you'd be marked on the original content and your ability to "quote" from quality sources.

Whether it's wrong or not is not the issue. This is just the way it's been over there for centuries.

Ken, you yourself admit there was a lot of stealing in radio showbusiness before technology made the world smaller. Radio personalities (and comedians and such) stole when they could. It happened, and there was a level of acceptance. Well, the Chinese are doing the same because they can, and now the world is getting even smaller, and we catch them doing it much easier.

But there are no intellectual property laws in China that protect foreign copyrights. The only way to stop them is to threaten some kind of economic sanction. Say, if you're Adidas, you can tell the government to crack down on knock-offs or you're closing your factory in Guangdong.

But otherwise, having your creative work stolen by the Chinese (or any other nationality not subject to a copyright treaty) is the cost of doing business in a world where information is global. Demanding restitution is as foolish as expecting a stray dog to apologize for crapping on your lawn.

VP81955 said...

Apparently in his next life, Milton Berle has been reincarnated in China and become a TV sitcom writer.

Andrew said...

I think plagiarism like this is pitiful, but it reminds me off a story from one of Fred Allen's biographies. He was an early radio broadcaster who once found one of his programs cancelled (I think the reason was that lettuce was out of season, so Helmans Mayonnaise, the show's sponsor, had no reason to keep producing the show. I guess back then mayo was strictly used for salad dressing). So Fred Allen took a vacation. In the middle of his time off, he gets a call from a competing radio program asking him to come back to New York for a meeting. The show it turns out had been unsuccessfully trying to copy Fred's cancelled show. They had no interest in hiring him, they already had a host, but they did want to know what they were doing wrong.

YEKIMI said...

I think it's theft. I think I've mentioned this before but...case in point: Many years ago, shortly after I was out of high school and planning on going into broadcasting [radio, to be exact] I was writing jokes for a highly rated morning DJ since he was also giving me advice on getting into radio [not taking any compensation because I didn't realize they'd actually PAY me for writing jokes]. He told one I had written and lo & behold about 2-3 weeks later I hear the same joke, although slightly reworded, on a popular late night TV talk show being told by the host. Thinking I had been sold down the river by the DJ, I called him and he said no such thing happened and apparently the powers-that-be at the station made some calls and found out that a writer for the late night TV show had been in the area and had heard the joke, went back and submitted it and it was used. Therefore the writer STOLE something I had written, passed it off as his own and was PAYED for it. I never got a dime, although I did get an apology from them that they passed on through the DJ. From what I heard the writer was reprimanded and left the show [or was fired] a couple of months later.

Cory said...

Could not agree with you more, Brian. Without IP laws no pharma company is going to invest a cent in the next cancer drug. If these companies with the capital to invest in the R&D can't make a profit, then they'll just close shop and lay off their employees.

And to Stephan, surely you'd object to 10 law firms opening across the street from your office, copying all of your legal opinions and marketing them to your clients for pennies on the dollar. Maybe not now that you've made millions, but perhaps when you were just startng out?

Stephan Kinsella said...

Brian: "Why should I bother writing a script to put bread on the table when somebody with an established career can simply make a copy of it, substitute his name for mine, and laugh his way to the bank? Why should a pharmaceutical company bother developing breakthrough cures when another company can use their exact formula to mass-produce the same medicine on day one without having to cover the research cost?"

I understand you are confused. That is why you have questions. But do you realize that not knowing things, and asking questions, is not an argument?

" You would have to be willfully ignorant to not realize that those cases both represent a theft of monetary value"

No one owns value. So it is impossible to steal it. Do you understand this? Suppose you own a car. You buy it for $10k. Then it appreciates in value. It's now worth $25k. That does not mean you own $15k of extra value. YOu own the car. If you want to sell it nad get the $15k, fine, but you don't own the $15k of value.

"Reasonable patent and copyright laws encourage competition"

They are not reasonable. You really don't konw what you are talking about.

" because if you want the protection you have to get there first and beat out your competitors."

Patent law does not require you to "get there first", whatever this means. Yet another person who knows nothing about IP yet who is in favor of it.

Copyright is literally causing people to GO TO EFFING JAIL for copying information. Federal effing prision. are you serious??

"If it's not self-serving then perhaps it's just blatantly hypocritical?"

No, since I help people arm themselves with patents to use against aggressors. But it's all a waste. And how does the fact that the patent system makes people do hypocritical things speak in favor of it?


YEKIMI: "I think it's theft."

That is because you are ignorant. It is just not theft. Theft means taking something owned from some owner. but if I copy information I am not taking anything from you. If you don't get this, you probably went to government schools.

Stephan Kinsella said...

'Cory": "Without IP laws no pharma company is going to invest a cent in the next cancer drug."

This is just false. You are repeating propaganda they spread. Just read ch. 9 of Against Intellectual Monopoly at www.againstmonopoly.org

"And to Stephan, surely you'd object to 10 law firms opening across the street from your office, copying all of your legal opinions and marketing them to your clients for pennies on the dollar"

NO, I would not.

"Maybe not now that you've made millions, but perhaps when you were just startng out?"

No. Not then either.

Pat Reeder said...

To YEKIMI...

You're very lucky that you were able to prove the chain of theft of your joke. For over 20 years, my wife and I have written the Comedy Wire, a daily syndicated topical humor service used by radio stations worldwide. It was written all night long and sent out at 4:30 a.m. to make sure the material was incredibly timely, and always 12-48 hours ahead of the late night comics. I would always hear one or another of them do lines similar to ours and just assume it was two minds working on the same track. But every so often, Leno would do one that was word-for-word what we sent out, and based on a story I knew to be obscure or a fact buried in the 34th paragraph of a story, and I'd would if one of our clients was reselling our stuff to him (I knew how it could work because I was a former freelancer to Leno myself.) But I had to just pass it off as either a coincidence or a compliment and get back to work.

As for the Chinese, at least with this form of piracy, they're employing some Chinese actors. Usually, they just put out bootleg DVDs of the original American shows.

China has supposedly been cracking down on copyright infringement in recent years, but it's so rampant that the crackdown has been like trying to kill out a fire ant bed with a fly swatter. It might actually have one upside: it's reduced outsourcing as foreign firms have learned that their designs are fair game for theft. One example is a guy here in Texas who moved his hair dryer factory to China. He moved it back after discovering that his Chinese executives only stayed with him long enough to learn all his patented design secrets, then immediately quit and opened their own factory making a cheap ripoff of his product.

Markus said...

Stephan's got it right, as far as copyright law goes. But, and that's probably more to the point here, Marty Fufkin above has it nailed. "Westeners" tend to regard the whole issue of "chinese fake products" as a strictly criminal matter, as if the Chinese are all out to rip people or companies off. But this is in fact a clash of cultures, because in China, people regard this as a non-issue and by and large don't see the problem. "Copying" and "faking" are very much normal there, as a means of flattery and appreciation, to capture the spirit of the original and to have it for yourself, and more. From a Chinese perspective, there isn't really any "stealing" involved and it is not being "lazy" by any stretch.

This is of course problematic when different cultures with other perspectives and traditions interact with China, and it's in fact a big problem when it comes to products that are indeed fake but fraudulently sold as original only to cause havoc (such as fake spare parts for airplanes that cause crashes, fake medication that kills people, etc.), and the latter needs to be cracked down upon a lot more by the Chinese government than they do. But on a level of, say, "lifting a scene from a sitcom to use in your rip-off", Chinese people don't really regard that as fraudulent or unethical or otherwise problematic in any way at all. Only us Westeners do.

Agnes said...

I am the creator of "Everybody Loves Raymond." (Not really, but go with me here.) I wrote an episode of television in which Raymond and his family disagree about what kind of family car to buy. (Again, not really, but go with me.) It's a very, very funny episode -- did very well in the ratings, won several awards and when I run into fans, they always mention it as a favorite.

Now I would like to sell my show in China. Except that my show is already on China -- someone has taken every word, every emotional arc, and ever performance of the episode I created, and re-made it in Mandarin, with Chinese speaking actors. Now no one will pay me for my hard work because they are already paying a huge group of people who did nothing but watch my own show and then translate it into another language. Some of the money that was paid to those people should be in my pocket since they deliberately copied every aspect of my for except for the literal visual and audio data stored on the recording media used to film/tape the episode.

If you're not an IP lawyer, a libertarian or Stephan Kinsella, this makes perfect sense to you. If you ARE Stephan Kinsella, then I guess we'll just have to wait for the day when the world suddenly matches your own bizarro understanding of how things should be. Until then, god speed. P.S. You must have one heck of a legal practice if you can spend all day spewing this nonsense on a blog.

chuckcd said...

Just China doing what China does best

Phillip B said...

布莱恩:“我为什么要费心编写一个脚本来放在桌子上的面包,当一个成立的职业生涯的人可以简单地作出它的一个副本,矿代替他的名字,笑他的方式向银行为什么要一家制药公司的麻烦发展突破治愈另一家公司时,可以使用没有确切的公式,他们不必支付研发成本大规模生产同样的药物在一天之内?“

我理解你感到困惑。这就是为什么你有问题。但是,你知道不知道的东西,问问题,不是一个说法?

“你是故意无知没有意识到,这些案件都代表货币价值的盗窃”

没有人拥有的价值。因此,它是不可能窃取它。你明白这一点吗?假设你拥有一辆汽车。你买了10,000美元。然后赞赏价值。它目前的身价为25K。这并不意味着你拥有额外的价值15000元。你自己的车。如果你要卖掉它河畔得到15000元,罚款,但你不拥有价值15000美元。

“合理的专利和版权法,鼓励竞争”

他们是不是合理。你真的却不知道你正在谈论什么。

“因为如果你想保护你到那里先打败你的竞争对手。”

专利法不要求你“抢第一”,不管这意味着什么。然而,另一个人,谁知道对知识产权一无所知,但谁赞成。

版权字面上导致人们去将信息复制到EFFING监狱。联邦effing prision。你是认真的吗?

“如果它不是利己的,那么也许它只是公然虚伪?”

没有,因为我帮助人们用专利来对付侵略者武装自己。但它是一种浪费。以及如何做一个事实,即专利制度的人不虚伪的东西在发言赞成呢?


YEKIMI:“我认为这是盗窃。”

这是因为你是无知的。这是不盗窃。盗窃罪是指一些雇主拥有的东西。但如果我复制的信息,我没有服用任何你。如果你没有得到这个,你可能去政府学校。

Jonah Davenport said...

Hi Ken,

Started watching Wings on Netflix recently and saw that late in season one (I think it was) Tony Schaloub played a waiter in one episode. He then showed up later playing "Antonio the cab driver". He is credited as a "guest star". Can you tell me how it came about that his character grew to become a major player on the show? Was this intentional or did he blow the writers away with his talent, and a character was specifically developed for him? Also, at what point does an actor move from being a "guest star" in the credits to a "star"? Thanks!

Phillip B said...

Chinese has no word for "effing" - so we'll have to use 他妈的 in this episode..

DBenson said...

On larger creative thefts, read somewhere -- here, perhaps? -- that a frequent cause is producers who hear and reject dozens of pitches; then, knowingly or not, give elements of those pitches to writers they're actually working with.

"Sorry. I think we'll pass on 'Three's Company' . . ."

"Okay, the pilot script looks good. But here's a thought: What if the wacky neighbor actually lives with the two babes? Suspicious landlord, thinks something dirty is going on, but it's not. Gee, this writes itself. I don't know why we pay you guys . . . "

Dave Creek said...

So lemme get this straight. Copying something and making a profit off it isn't a problem legally or morally.

Can we try that with $20 bills?

Dave Creek said...

Also, I get really tired of intellectual property thieves and pirates who won't admit their real motivation.

They want something for free.

I know of a science fiction writer who wonders whether her autistic son, who needs constant care, will be in a shitty care home or a good one after she passes. It all depends, in part, on how well her work sells now and in the future. Which means she has to hope people will buy her work instead of downloading it for free.

Some things in life are more important than whether a fanboy gets to read a free book.

Mike said...

Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! I just realised:

Frazier is a rip-off of the UK's Steptoe & Son.
The bachelor son is forced to live with his widowed father. Change the horse to a dog and you're there! Thief!

@DBenson:
Three's Company was a remake of the UK's Man About The House. And All In The Family was a remake of the UK's Till Death Us Do Part.
But your argument of subconcious copying is certainly true of pop songs, and is a two-edged sword. Joe Meek was ruined, yet proven innocent.

Stephan Kinsella said...

Agnes: "If you're not an IP lawyer, a libertarian or Stephan Kinsella, this makes perfect sense to you. If you ARE Stephan Kinsella, then I guess we'll just have to wait for the day when the world suddenly matches your own bizarro understanding of how things should be. Until then, god speed. P.S. You must have one heck of a legal practice if you can spend all day spewing this nonsense on a blog."

This is not an argument for IP. It's just a screed. The state has no right to restrict people's property rights or liberty in the way that patent and copyrihgt do. Even though you are not sure what a free society would look like does not mean we shoudl not free it.

Dave Creek: "So lemme get this straight. Copying something and making a profit off it isn't a problem legally or morally.

Can we try that with $20 bills?"

Iti s a problem legally, b/c there is copyright law; just like there is a problem with smoking weed or evading tax. But these laws are all statist and evil.

As for money: the state has coopted the money system and it ist he one doing the counterfeiting since gold does not back up teh paper they print. I think counterfeiting by private indivdiuals is not morally wrong, but it will get you in trouble. In a private society, there would be private banks issuing their own gold receipts and if you forge one of these and pass it on to someone as if it's genuine, this is fraud. You are defrauding the guy you are buying things from with the fake bill. You don't need IP to have fraud law.

Dave Creek: "Also, I get really tired of intellectual property thieves and pirates who won't admit their real motivation.

They want something for free."

First, they are not "thieves." I have explained this already. Second, so what if they want things for free? How doe sthe fact that people like to get things for free mean copyright law is legitimate? You people have no idea how to have a coherent discussion.

SB said...

Sure, these Chinese guys are awful and everything, but wouldn't you love to see what they'd do with M*A*S*H?

Cory said...

Stephan, I don't follow your point about the pharma companies. Say public company X spends $100M developing a drug but only recovers $10M in sales because its competitors "copy" the process and distribute the drug to the public at a low price point. Hell, without the $100M investment to recover the competitors can always beat company X's price.

But company X must answer to its shareholders and, as much as you may object, it's not going to continue to subsidize those leeching off its hard work for long. So it won't develop drugs anymore. Why would it? Why would anyone?

Joey H said...

Wow....I can't even believe the rationale some people have for bad behavior.

selection7 said...

Agnes: "If you're not an IP lawyer, a libertarian or Stephan Kinsella, this makes perfect sense to you. If you ARE Stephan Kinsella, then I guess we'll just have to wait for the day when the world suddenly matches your own bizarro understanding of how things should be. Until then, god speed. P.S. You must have one heck of a legal practice if you can spend all day spewing this nonsense on a blog."
SKinsella: "This is not an argument for IP. It's just a screed."
The meaning behind the things Agnes wrote up to that point were the definition of an argument for IP, whether or not you or I agree with it. So it's at least that, and maybe screed too. Why would you ignore the meat and potatoes of Agnes's argument to attack the inconsequential post-script? I have my suspicions, having seen it many times before. I'm also dissapointed, because I thought your response to exactly what Agnes's point was might have been interesting.
"The state has no right to restrict people's property rights or liberty in the way that patent and copyrihgt do."
OK. And Agnes never disagreed with that statement as you worded it. I know you know what a straw-man is. Yet you did it anyway.
" Even though you are not sure what a free society would look like does not mean we shoudl not free it."
True, but that's not saying much, because of course not knowing "what a free society would look like" isn't the only reason to not free (in the sense that you mean) society. And when did Agnes say anything about not knowing what a free society would look like? 3 times is not a charm.
All the good ideas in the world by you will never convince people who demand that a debate lack evasiveness. I can imagine endless debate without agreement has become an everday event for you, and it's not all just because everyone else is so ignorant.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ken, Chuck Lorre indicated that a sitcom in a former Soviet republic, (I believe he mentioned it was Belarus but I may have the country wrong) essentially produces an unauthorized episode-by-episode version of The Big Bang Theory. CBS is apparently unable to seek legal action to halt the show's production since the company producing the show is owned by the government.

Stephan Kinsella said...

Cory:

"Stephan, I don't follow your point about the pharma companies. Say public company X spends $100M developing a drug but only recovers $10M in sales because its competitors "copy" the process and distribute the drug to the public at a low price point. Hell, without the $100M investment to recover the competitors can always beat company X's price. "

this is not an argument for patent law. Iti s a question. There are drugs that are not developed now b/c you can't recoup the cost. So what? That's the market. If you want to have more innovation and drugs, get rid of taxes, regulations, and the FDA. Don't trust the criminal state to add another regulation.

"But company X must answer to its shareholders and, as much as you may object, it's not going to continue to subsidize those leeching off its hard work for long. So it won't develop drugs anymore. Why would it? Why would anyone?"

To make a profit. Why does Bayer aspirin still sell, for a huge premium over generic? See Boldrin & Levine, Against Intellectual Monopoly, ch. 9 if you are serious. www.againstmonopoly.org.

DBenson said...

The ideal is, copyrights allow creators to profit for their lifetimes before the creations ultimately go into public domain.

The reality is, copyrights are extended indefinitely, even after actual creators are dead -- or worse, were cut out of the profits early on. The Three Stooges didn't get a penny of the huge television sales of their shorts. The revived interest allowed the surviving members to keep working for a few years, which is not the same. The creators of Superman were living in near-poverty until Warner was shamed into a deal on the eve of the huge Superman movie; other comic creators weren't so lucky.

I'm perfectly willing to pay for recent books and films. Studios are entitled on a return proportionate with the huge risks of moviemaking. I'm more than willing to pay a premium for quality restorations of public domain relics (Old movie fans: Support Kino, Flicker Alley and others that do the work instead of the cheapos that either pirate their restorations or serve up cruddy old prints). And I will put down good money for the legit DVD of "The Avengers," and even the rumored "Betty Boop" release.

But it does stick in my craw a bit when media entities literally generations away from any original creator -- or even original investor -- whine that whatever properties they happen to own must be eternally profitable. Look up the story of "Sita Sings the Blues," an independent animated feature very nearly scuttled because some corporate entity owned the recordings of a long-dead (and largely forgotten) singer.

YEKIMI said...

@ Philip B; Sorry, I can't read effing blocks

Mac Harwood said...

Stephan Kinsella - you mentioned that copying isn't stealing. But that doesn't mean what you think it means.

What is true is that copying by itself isn't automatically stealing. But the act of copying (or, to be more pedantic, the act of providing a copy) can also be the act of stealing.

Look at an example - Let's imagine that a radio show known for bizarre competitions offers $20,000 for the answer of how many jellybeans are in a particular jar.

You take the competition seriously and spend a long time carefully calculating the answer - tracking down the supplier of the exact jellybean purchased and even employ a mathematician to calculate the mean density due to their ovoid shape. And that laser beam tracker to model the internal volume of the jar wasn't cheap either.

But you do all the work and find that the answer is 12,654 jelly beans. You write the answer on a piece of paper and proudly take it in to earn the reward. On the way, I wander past and glance at your answer ... then dash ahead and give the answer first.

Yes ! I've won $20,000! And you win nothing.

But here's the real question - Did I steal your answer?

Using your logic - I didn't steal the answer at all. I simply copied. There was no theft involved. In fact - it isn't even plagiarism (because I boast about how I got the answer .. I'm not passing it off as my own) nor is it technically copyright infringement as I duplicated the information but nothing else.

So - is that still theft? The answer is yes - because by presenting my answer first I stole value from your piece of paper. Before I presented my copy, your answer was worth $20,000. Now it is worth nothing.

---

In many cases copying a 'joke' or a 'scene' from someone else and presenting it to a market leads to the value of the original being reduced. In this particular example, beforehand the Chinese language remake rights to 'Friends' might have had a value of (say) $1.2 million .. now it might only be $200k. So the value that the content creators hold has been reduced by the act of copying.

Obviously the numbers are examples only. But it would be naive to believe that the value of the original in that particular market has not been reduced.

Those of us who enjoy being pedantic would notice that it is actually TRANSMITTING the copy to the market that can cause loss of value to the original, not the technical act of copying.

That is why 'stealing' is a much handier term than 'copying'.. because it technically isn't the act of making the copy that matters. And there are plenty of examples where copying is *not* theft. (eg: I generated a million copies of Friends episodes without telling anyone and burn them all. It might still be copyright infringement but not really theft - because in that example my actions didn't reduce the value of the IP to the content creators)

I'm not fond of the term 'stealing', though .. I wish there was a better one. The problem with calling it 'stealing' is that it triggers people into using inane cartoons of rabbits to argue that 'copying isn't stealing' .. which is true in the limited sense of the cartoon world .. but not true in a practical sense.

Part of growing up is realising that cartoon examples don't apply in the real world of commerce that the content creators have to live in.

Mac

Anonymous said...

Lawyers: people who make ridiculously obscene amounts of money for arguing semantics. If there's anything worse than a troll, it's an educated troll.

On a brighter note, I must re-post (since I was so excited it, I posted it in the baseball comments, where people actually wanted to talk about baseball, of all things): "Barney Miller" is about to be aired again! Starting on Sept. 9, AntennaTV will be showing it as part of the regular Sunday night set! (puts hand to ear, Owens-style) Check your local listings!

SO excited to see this show again; reading other commenter's love for Barn has made me REALLY want to see it again!

Cheers, thanks a lot,

Storm

Johnny Walker said...

@DBenson, Perfectly put!

A US Judge and critical thinker wrote a very interesting book on the history of Plagiarism: The Little Book of Plagiarism.

Stephan Kinsella is very much pushing from a Libertarian point of view, so it's hard to distinguish his politics from his points about plagiarism. You can read about him on his Wikipedia page.

Stephan Kinsella said...

Mr Harwood: "What is true is that copying by itself isn't automatically stealing. But the act of copying (or, to be more pedantic, the act of providing a copy) can also be the act of stealing."

This is a trivial point. Walking is not trespassing, but in some cases it can be, if you walk across my lawn. Shooting a gun is not murder--unless you are pointing it at me when you shoot. Etc. The point is: if you outlaw stealing you are not outlawying copying per se. Laws against stealing do not justify laws against copying. And people who say that coyping is theft are either confused or dishonest--in the case of pro-copyright people, they are usually dishonest.

As for your poorly-though-out jelly bean examle:

"But you do all the work and find that the answer is 12,654 jelly beans. You write the answer on a piece of paper and proudly take it in to earn the reward. On the way, I wander past and glance at your answer ... then dash ahead and give the answer first.
"
Yes ! I've won $20,000! And you win nothing.

"But here's the real question - Did I steal your answer?"

No, you didn't steal my answer, since I cannow own information, and thus you simply cannot steal it. It is litearlly impossible to steal information, or to own it. What you did was copy information from me, and then use that information to guide your actions. Now in some cases, there is in fact an act of trespass engaged in to aquire information--e.g. if you break into my house and copy the private information on my computer--you have not stolen the information, you have committed an act of trespass that allows you to gain information you otherwise would not have had.

In this case, you didn't commit any trespass when you looked at my piece of paper--rather, I was careless and revealed the information to you.

The only thing that could be stolen here is the $20k prize money. But you can only steal it from me if I own it. I do not own it, nor do I even have any contractual claim to it. The radio show owns it. If they give it to you b/c you gave them the answer they asked for, that is there right.

"Using your logic - I didn't steal the answer at all. I simply copied. There was no theft involved."

Exactly right. In fact, I would say you did nothing immoral at all. Certainly nothing that should be prohibited by law. The purpose of law is not to help me keep some fact secret that I could easily keep secret if I were just not careless.

"In fact - it isn't even plagiarism (because I boast about how I got the answer .. I'm not passing it off as my own) nor is it technically copyright infringement as I duplicated the information but nothing else."

That is perfectly correct. It is neither plagiarism, nor copyright infringement, nor theft, nor piracy, nor stealing, nor cheating, nor contract breach--it is nothing.

"So - is that still theft? The answer is yes - because by presenting my answer first I stole value from your piece of paper."

Wrong. I don't own value. Nobody owns value. Value is a subjective phenonemon. I explain this here.

"Before I presented my copy, your answer was worth $20,000. Now it is worth nothing."

That is true. But that would be the case even if you had independently come up with the answer on your own and beaten me to the door. Competition also reduces the value of property. I might "steal' your girlfriend or you best friend. I might "steal" your customers. I might paint my house an ugly color, reducing the value of your own house since it is across the street. You do not own value. nobody does. Only scarce, rivalrous resources are ownable as property.

Stephan Kinsella said...

(cont)
Harwood:


"Part of growing up is realising that cartoon examples don't apply in the real world of commerce that the content creators have to live in."

I have practiced patent and IP law for 20 years. Gotten dozens, hundreds, of patents for companies like Intel, GE, etc. Advised hundreds of clients. Written treatises on IP law for Oxford University Press, lectured to other lawyers on this topic; and also I've written and spoken and lectured -- books, articles, courses, speeches, interviews -- on political and legal and economic theory, on the policy issues around IP. I can assure you I know this topic better than probably anyone else in the world. And my view is rooted in a deep respect for property rights, human freedom and flourishing, and prosperity and innovation, and is informed by a deep understanding not only of how actual IP law works in the world, but, more importantly, by sound economics and a coherent political and property rights theory. I came by my views honestly: after almost a decade of trying to find a way to justify IP law.

What "growing up" should entail is realizing when you dont have a coherent set of arguments, and should perhaps refrain from pontificating in public until one has seriously reflected on these matters.

Johnny Walker: "Stephan Kinsella is very much pushing from a Libertarian point of view, so it's hard to distinguish his politics from his points about plagiarism. You can read about him on his Wikipedia page."

And here we have the ultimate in dishonet anti-intellectualism: we can dismiss this guy's arguments, because he has an argument! Ayn Rand spins in her grave.

ManhattanHillbilly said...

Intellectual theft has made China what it is today.

Jonathan said...

Whenever Ayn Rand spins in her grave, I know society has done something right.

Johnny Walker said...

Stephan, that was an ad hominem attack. I never said that your points should be dismissed, just that a lot of what you're saying is tied up with your vocal belief in Libertarianism. I think it's a point worth noting, as I always consider it dishonest when people push wider political beliefs through smaller issues.

It doesn't negate what you said, and I agree with many of your points.

Stephan Kinsella said...

Johnny Walker: "Stephan, that was an ad hominem attack."

I don't care how you classify your illegitimate arguments. Anyway waht does it matter, for an apparent nym?

" I never said that your points should be dismissed, just that a lot of what you're saying is tied up with your vocal belief in Libertarianism."

First, it's libertarianism, not Libertarainsim. Cranks and ignoramuses capitalize terms unnecessarily. I am not a member of the Libertarian Party. And it is irrelevant. I have always been very clear that I actually have a coherent base for my political views--unlike my opponents, who are nothing but utilitarian ad hoc unprincipled sellouts brainwashed by bromides from governments schools. I never, ever, ever, hear a decent argument for IP. Why people keep arguing for it even though they have no idea what they are talking about is a mystery.

" I think it's a point worth noting, as I always consider it dishonest when people push wider political beliefs through smaller issues."

I have no idea what this incoherent babble is supposed to mean.

Cory said...

Stephan Kinsella said...

"this is not an argument for patent law. Iti s a question. There are drugs that are not developed now b/c you can't recoup the cost. So what? That's the market. If you want to have more innovation and drugs, get rid of taxes, regulations, and the FDA. Don't trust the criminal state to add another regulation."

Oh, I see now. Thank you for clarifying...

:backs away slowly:


Stephan Kinsella said...

@cory: at last, a mainstreamer/fascist who at least has a sense of humor.

Cory said...

Stephan Kinsella said...
"@cory: at last, a mainstreamer/fascist who at least has a sense of humor."


Hmmm, fascist? Not sure if this literally satisfies Godwins law. We'll have to go to the judges on this one.

Stephan Kinsella said...

No, b/c fascist literally means state control of private enterprise which nominally keeps title. That is what IP law does, and the various other regulations etc. that you intimate you endorse.

Dave Creek said...

Stephan, I just have to wonder -- what do you think is a legitimate way to make a living as a writer?

Anonymous said...

I guess I'd feel more enraged if I didn't feel that most sitcoms are rip offs of other sitcoms. Isn't How I Met your Mother basically a rip off of Friends?

Cory said...

I was going to leave this thread alone, but I just read Stephan's passage below and have a legitimate quesiton.

Stephan Kinsella said...
"Why does Bayer aspirin still sell, for a huge premium over generic? See Boldrin & Levine, Against Intellectual Monopoly, ch. 9 if you are serious. www.againstmonopoly.org."

Doesn't Bayer make money because of the goodwill associated with it's brand name? It invests in marketing (employing tons of folks in the process) and, although there are generics of arguably equal quality, it can charge a higher price due to it's name. Maybe I'm...no, I'm sure I'm missing your point, but are you saying:

1) Bayer shouldn't be able to charge more, they're taking advantage of people who buy it.

2) Everyone should be able to call their aspirin Bayer, it isn't fair that only Bayer gets to.

3) Bayer has a monopoly, no one can buy any aspirin except Bayer.

I already regret asking this, but I am a curious fellow.

Johnny Walker said...

Stephan, I was referring to YOUR attack against ME. It was ad hominem... but then again, so was your most recent response.

Considering I agree with your sentiments regarding IP, I'm not sure why you felt the need to stoop to insults.

One question, since you have everyone's attention: How do you justify making a living off of something you openly abhor and attack people for standing up for?

Stephan Kinsella said...

Dave Creek: "Stephan, I just have to wonder -- what do you think is a legitimate way to make a living as a writer?"

Any way you like, without using force. ONe way would be to sell books. Another way would be to get famous by selling or giving books away then selling subscriptions to a sequel. Another would be to then get hired as a consultant on an "authorized" or "official" version of a film of your book. Antoher would be to parlay it into editing or writing jobs, or into being hired at a company where writing skils matter. There are lots of ways.

If you are really interested: see Techdirt, which has lots of examples; also Conversation with an author about copyright and publishing in a free society; Examples of Ways Content Creators Can Profit Without Intellectual Property; The Creator-Endorsed Mark as an Alternative to Copyright; Innovations that Thrive without IP.

Cory: "Doesn't Bayer make money because of the goodwill associated with it's brand name?"

Yes. I..e, reputation. Which has nothing whatsoever to do with copyright or ptent.


"Maybe I'm...no, I'm sure I'm missing your point, but are you saying:

1) Bayer shouldn't be able to charge more, they're taking advantage of people who buy it."

No. They can charge what the market will bear. Just not with the help of a state monopoly (they dont' have one now and do fine).

"2) Everyone should be able to call their aspirin Bayer, it isn't fair that only Bayer gets to. "

You are now switching to trademark law. BUt sure, I think you should be able to use any name or word, as long as you do not defraud people. That's why trademark law is unnecessary; fraud law is sufficient.

"3) Bayer has a monopoly, no one can buy any aspirin except Bayer."

That would be the situation for a decade or so after Bayer got a patent on aspirin. It is wrong.

Johnny Walker:

"Stephan, I was referring to YOUR attack against ME. It was ad hominem... but then again, so was your most recent response."

How can I attack a nym?

"Considering I agree with your sentiments regarding IP, I'm not sure why you felt the need to stoop to insults."

I am glad you agree with me that patent copyrgiht and trademark law should be abolished.

"One question, since you have everyone's attention: How do you justify making a living off of something you openly abhor and attack people for standing up for?"

Why do I need to "justify" "making a living"? And what if I can't--does that prove IP is legitimate? No, it doesn't. But I justify it by saying I live in the real world. We all drive on roads that are paid for by stolen loot. WE live on lands stolen from the Indians (but I would give it back, if I could). Tax attorneys defend people from the tax system, and their jobs would cease to exist if there were no taxes. Is that hypocritical? No. Oncologists get paid big money for fighting cancer, even though their goal is to eradicate it. And so on. Any grown up realizes these things.

Johnny Walker said...

Stephan, this is my real name. My real photograph. My real profile.

You can't accuse people of stooping to irrelevant arguments/personal attacks, and then start tossing them around whenever it suits you.

I could respond to what you've said, but I think everyone has already seen who you are and made up their minds, so it would be pointless.

Good day.

darmund said...

Have to disagree about the dj thing. Alan Freed broadcast out of Cleveland but teenagers all across the country knew his name and what he sounded like because the signal from the station was so strong it reached halfway across the country.

Same thing for Wolfman Jack who broadcast from a station in Mexico but the signal reached all the way to Canada.

Debra Garfinkle said...

I'm a lawyer too, with a JD from UC Berkeley, where I studied copyright law, among other sujects. Stephan Kinsella is just plain wrong. Plagiarizing someone's written work is stealing and it is wrong. We discussed that in my copyright law class. But one doesn't need a law degree to understand this simple concept.

Stephan Kinsella said...

Debra Garfinkle:

I'm a lawyer too, with a JD from UC Berkeley, where I studied copyright law, among other sujects. Stephan Kinsella is just plain wrong. Plagiarizing someone's written work is stealing and it is wrong. We discussed that in my copyright law class. But one doesn't need a law degree to understand this simple concept."

You are making several very common mistakes. First, you are conflating morality and positive law. Just because something is illegal does not mean it is wrong. You are in no better position than anyone else to know what is wrong--law school has literally nothing to do with right and wrong. It has to do with interpretation and manipulation of positive law. Positive law may or may not be moral. Copyright law is not. You do not learn in law school that copyright infringement is "wrong," much less that plagiarism is.

You also do not "learn" in law school that "Plagiarizing someone's written work is stealing and it is wrong. " Plagiarism and copyright infringement are independent concepts. Copyright infringement usually has nothing whatsoever to do with plagiarism. And plagiarism need not involve copyright infringement. Further, you do not "learn" in law school that copyright infringement (much less plagiarism) is "stealing". If you do, you have incompetent professors.

Ms. Garfinkle's comments are typical of lawyers who think far too much of their much vaunted ability to pronounce on policy matters just because of their ability to analyze positive law. They are taught to conflate is with ought, might wiht right, fake positive law (decrees) with real (natural) law, description with prescription. They are taught to be arrogant, soulless, utilitarian technocrats who are superior to mere mortals. Law school is a soul crushing process in our modern legal positivism-ridden and unprincipled ad hoc utilitarian society.

Debra said...

"Ms. Garfinkle's comments are typical of lawyers who think far too much of their much vaunted ability to pronounce on policy matters just because of their ability to analyze positive law."

And yet you posted that your experience as a lawyer (with a degree from the Paul Hebert Law Center, a school I've never heard of) made you the world's foremost expert on copyright.

Stephan Kinsella said...

Ms. Garfinkle, Esq.: "And yet you posted that your experience as a lawyer (with a degree from the Paul Hebert Law Center, a school I've never heard of) made you the world's foremost expert on copyright."

Actually, I did not say this. And I do not pretend to be. I am a very good patent lawyer and a good IP lawyer in general, but not the world's best. I said, regarding "policy issues around IP," that "I know this topic better than probably anyone else in the world." Taht is: IP policy: that is, whether and how patent and copyright law can be justified. And I stand by that. My knowledge of IP law itself is helpful, but this is just a necessary, not sufficient condition. And for anyone of mediocre intelligence, it is easy to learn IP law from a hornbook or casebook. Or an IP course from a mediocre law school, even a leftist-unpractical one like "Berkeley." I'll admot most of my fellow LSU law grads are not geniuses, but from your comments it appears "Berkeley" is not any better. In any case, I learned IP law on my own, in practice, and at blue chip law firms. I've done hundreds of patents for clients like Intel. What the hell have you done? I have also immersed myself in economic and political and legal theory to sort this out. But you "heard something discussed in a copyrihgt course at Berkeley". Wow, how impressive. And you obviously know less than the average welder about political theory and right and wrong.

Thirteen said...

I would like a baby. I don't really want to go to the trouble of having my own, so I'm going to take Stephan Kinsella's kid and raise him as my own.

If the state has no right to restrict property rights, then the state certain has no right to stop me from doing this. Wait, it's YOUR kid? What, because you made it? Pffft. It's a walking clump of biological material -- you could make more in another 9 months. In the meantime, I'm going to use this one. I would thank you, but for what? It's not like it was yours to begin with.

Stephan Kinsella said...

Congrats, Thirteen: for your brilliant argument that if IP is not legitimate, it means that it's okay to steal other people's babies, you have made the list of Absurd Arguments for IP.

Anonymous said...

Why does everyone think China is North Korea?? Honestly, Chinese people are more free than you might think. I taught English in Sheng Zhen, I would actually know rather than assume. Maybe the US gouvernement wants to make you think that everyother country is hell. Just Saying. And no, no one smuggles DVDs if friends because you can buy them legally.