myrkul999 on June 16, 2012, 11:27:41 pm
  • Of course any (rich) jerk can sue you for no reason just to make your life difficult.
...not quite. There are consequences for frivolous lawsuits, even today.

Under an AnCap system, it's likely that someone who engages in that sort of behavior will alienate anyone who would do business with them, until even the arbitration firms stop taking his calls.... assuming he doesn't go broke, paying court costs, first.

Brugle on June 17, 2012, 12:56:01 pm

Let's say that Amy sells a book to Bob under such a contract, Bob makes a copy and gives it to Cindy, and Cindy makes and sells a lot of copies.  In a free society (as I understand it) Amy would be able to sue Bob but not Cindy.  Under copyright law, Amy would also be able to sue Cindy.

[Oops, myrkul999 posted while I was proofreading essentially the same thing.]
Only if Bob sells to Cindy under the default arrangement.  If Bob sells to Cindy under, say, a (fraudulent, of course) Creative Commons license, then Cindy is innocent (assuming she bought in good faith, yada, yada) - it was Bob that committed the fraud.

My example illustrated copyright.  Your example adds the obvious crime of fraud.  Why?

My example was about whether Amy could sue Cindy.  IANAL, but my guess is that in your example, even if Cindy is innocent (of fraud?), she could be sued in today's society (at least to the extent that she profited by selling Amy's book).

And, most important, just because someone might (by jumping through hoops) prevent a government "law" from being applied in a certain way in some situations does not change the nature of that "law".  The essence of copyright (that distinguishes it from contract) is that copyright binds thirds parties that have made no contract (explicit or implied).
« Last Edit: June 17, 2012, 12:58:35 pm by Brugle »

Andreas on June 17, 2012, 01:09:29 pm
As I understand it, that all only applies when (as all proprietary products are today) the product is stamped with a copyright mark or blurb.
If A sells product X to B under copyright, then B cannot legally sell or give a copy to C, however, if the product has no mark of copyright, and C can be shown to have acted in good faith (due perhaps to fraudulent claims by B), then C has committed no crime, exactly because C has entered into no contract, explicit or implicit.
 

Brugle on June 17, 2012, 01:36:16 pm
As I understand it, that all only applies when (as all proprietary products are today) the product is stamped with a copyright mark or blurb.
That's not what I understand.  While Wikipedia is not necessarily reliable, it says:
Quote from: Wikipedia
In 1989, the U.S. enacted the Berne Convention Implementation Act, amending the 1976 Copyright Act to conform to most of the provisions of the Berne Convention. As a result, the use of copyright notices has become optional to claim copyright, because the Berne Convention makes copyright automatic.[31] However, the lack of notice of copyright using these marks may have consequences in terms of reduced damages in an infringement lawsuit using notices of this form may reduce the likelihood of a defense of "innocent infringement" being successful.[32]

If A sells product X to B under copyright, then B cannot legally sell or give a copy to C, however, if the product has no mark of copyright, and C can be shown to have acted in good faith (due perhaps to fraudulent claims by B), then C has committed no crime, exactly because C has entered into no contract, explicit or implicit.
You (like customdesigned) introduce fraud into a discussion of copyright.  Again I ask: why?  Perhaps I'm missing something.

Andreas on June 17, 2012, 02:04:10 pm
Because, B is already breaking the original contract in distributing to C.
Either there is good faith (=fraud on B's behalf) or ill faith (which makes for less discussion)

Brugle on June 17, 2012, 02:56:23 pm
Because, B is already breaking the original contract in distributing to C.
Either there is good faith (=fraud on B's behalf) or ill faith (which makes for less discussion)
Is less discussion bad?  I prefer a quick discussion that focuses on an issue to an extensive and laborious mishmash of extraneous matters.  YMMV.

Andreas on June 17, 2012, 03:07:58 pm
The reason is, that what you said (that A can sue C directly) is only true when there is ill faith (and this delimitation was not part of your statement). The counterexample offered an example of why and how your implicit claim can be falsified - by introducing an act of B that enables C to act in good faith.

To reiterate in general terms: Simple is good, but only if simple is also sufficient. Here two versions of a counterargument were offered to show that your previous, simple claim was not sufficient.

Brugle on June 17, 2012, 05:10:17 pm
The reason is, that what you said (that A can sue C directly) is only true when there is ill faith (and this delimitation was not part of your statement).
I find that hard to believe.  What is your basis for that statement?

Andreas on June 18, 2012, 12:02:00 am
Augh!
Because we gave you a counterexample, where a middle hand expressly and fraudulently waives the copyright, this enabling C to act in good faith. Why are you taking us around in circles???
If the material to be propagated is simply found by C, then default copyright applies. But if B fraudulently poses as copyright holder, and acting as such waives copyright for C, then the activities of C remain B's responsibility (serving to add fraud charges to the already established breach of non-distribute clauses (copyright)).

Killydd on June 18, 2012, 11:15:57 am
Quote
But here, prepare to be surprised. As I said above, Information is not Property. If I sold you a book, I'd be completely unsurprised if you sold it to someone else. If I gave you a copy of the manuscript and did not contractually oblige you to keep it to yourself, that's my damn fault. So long as you get the book without causing me harm, what you do with it after that is none of my business. (Note that hacking a computer password is functionally identical, IMO, to to B&E.)

Ah, there's what I overlooked:  how you got the copy.  If I gave you a copy to read and you ran off & sold it because I didn't say not to, that is quite different than B&E (virtual or otherwise; I agree with you about hacking) to get it.

I agree that information is not property; but then, I have funny ideas about property.

If there were no copyright laws, I could still sell you a book under a contract that says "you may use this copy for your own use for any purpose, but may not give copies or modified copies to any other person".  Copyright laws simply make that kind of contract the default in any sale of physical copies of information.   Today, you can include an open source or creative commons license with your book to reinstate freedoms removed by the default copyright law.   Conversely, copyright law also declares default "rights" for those buying copies of information, including the right to make backups, and to copy to other media for personal use.  Hence, proprietary products often include a license that attempts to take away some of the rights granted by default.

One of the legal innovations that came out of the open source movement was a "menu" of licenses.  It is frustrating to buy an information product, and find it comes with a 50 page contract in fine print written in language that makes your eyes  glaze over.  Your eyes close involuntarily at page 19, and you say "screw it" and click the "I Agree" button.  Too bad you missed that provision on page 49 concerning your first born.   (Or in real life, a Vista Home license, for instance, forbids you to run it in a "virtual" machine - never mind that every commercial processor sold today presents a virtual ISA and is therefore a "virtual" machine.)  Every proprietary software product comes with a different 50 page license.  Open source products select from a handful of licenses, that it is possible for non-lawyers to actually become familiar with.  So once you've studied those licenses, you can know at a glance whether you are willing to accept the terms of the license. 

It is possible for proprietary products to also use a "menu" of licenses.  Borland used to have their "no nonsense license", which was popular partly because they used the same one on every product.   By repealing copyright law, this would force all proprietary vendors to revise their product licenses to include copyright provisions.  It would also make buyers and sellers take licenses more seriously - licenses that you can't even read until you purchase and open the product are today generally not considered enforceable.  In order for consumers to be able to decide at a glance whether they accept the terms of a license before purchasing, proprietary vendors would be forced to adopt a handful of well-known proprietary licenses.
So, in effect, make copyright contracts common, with a clause in them that states "you may not open this book without signing this contract, see proprietor for details."  Works well for voluntary transactions, but consider a book left in a laundromat, especially one with an informal book exchange in place.  I suppose at that point, a decision would have to be made about how little action it can take to be considered signing a contract.

Brugle on June 18, 2012, 03:06:20 pm
Why are you taking us around in circles???
I simply asked whether you had any evidence for your assertion.  Your refusal to answer is not evidence that your assertion is true.

if B fraudulently poses as copyright holder, and acting as such waives copyright for C, then the activities of C remain B's responsibility (serving to add fraud charges to the already established breach of non-distribute clauses (copyright)).
Repeating your assertion is also not evidence that it is true.

I ask again: do you have any evidence for your assertion that acting in good faith makes someone immune to being sued for copyright violation?

IANAL, but I have read quite a bit about IP in the past few years, and your assertion is contrary to everything I remember reading.  My reading had large gaps, so my understanding could easily be erroneous, which is why I ask for evidence instead of saying your assertion is wrong.

My understanding of copyright is that it binds third parties who have made no relevant contract of any kind.  If my understanding is wrong I'd like to know.

macsnafu on June 18, 2012, 03:24:29 pm
IANAL, but I have read quite a bit about IP in the past few years, and your assertion is contrary to everything I remember reading.  My reading had large gaps, so my understanding could easily be erroneous, which is why I ask for evidence instead of saying your assertion is wrong.

My understanding of copyright is that it binds third parties who have made no relevant contract of any kind.  If my understanding is wrong I'd like to know.

My understanding, too, is that copyright law binds third parties.  Some people have suggested contractual solutions as an alternative to copyright, but contracts generally only apply to those who agree to the contract, and not to any third parties who did not agree to it.   Actual fraud would still be considered a crime in a free society, and thus does not need a contractual solution. 
I love mankind.  It's PEOPLE I can't stand!  - Linus Van Pelt.

Andreas on June 18, 2012, 04:26:32 pm
I simply asked whether you had any evidence for your assertion. 
...

I ask again: do you have any evidence for your assertion that acting in good faith makes someone immune to being sued for copyright violation?


I did not understand that you asked that, actually.
The quick answer is that nobody is ever immune to being sued for anything.
Whether they can be convicted is another matter.
Ultimately, that's not a matter of law, either:
The question "Can a person be convicted of copyright infringement for distributing something, if they have purchased a license to distribute it, but that license turns out to be issued by a fraudster?" is one that only actual case histories can answer.
Is there a precedent of conviction or acquittal under these circumstances? Or something in between? I don't know.

Of course, it shouldn't surprise us if the perversions that are Copyright and Patent law hold that the one with the deed is always right... after all, these laws were made to order, and to always serve the whim of copyright holders, regardless of normal principles of justice.

customdesigned on June 18, 2012, 07:16:12 pm

I ask again: do you have any evidence for your assertion that acting in good faith makes someone immune to being sued for copyright violation?

IANAL, but I have read quite a bit about IP in the past few years, and your assertion is contrary to everything I remember reading.  My reading had large gaps, so my understanding could easily be erroneous, which is why I ask for evidence instead of saying your assertion is wrong.

My understanding of copyright is that it binds third parties who have made no relevant contract of any kind.  If my understanding is wrong I'd like to know.


What you remember reading about "IP" may be entirely accurate, however your current reading comprehension needs a boost.  If you look back, you'll see that the current discussion from my comment is about a hypothetical world where today's copyright laws have been repealed - but other aspects of the legal system remain roughly the same (this is, after all, a sci-fi forum).  We were trying to discuss how content creators who wished to use the proprietary model could still do so (or at least that is what *I* thought I was discussing with my comment).  If you thought we were talking about *current* "IP" laws (itself a huge propaganda distortion - there are no current "IP" laws, only trademark, copyright, and patent law - all three distinct), that would explain the huge disconnect.

ex-Gooserider on June 19, 2012, 06:33:30 am
My suspicion under the current legal environment is that any significant (i.e. book length) work would be considered almost certain to be under copyright...  Thus if Suzy finds a non-copyright-marked book laying about, and publishes it with no further investigation my expectation is that the courts would find her guilty of bad faith in assuming it was OK to publish.

If she could show that she went to reasonable (definition of reasonable is debatable) efforts to identify the author and / or any other rights-holders, and published after being unable to do so, then a "bad faith" charge would be harder to sustain, UNLESS she published it as her own work (in which case she was claiming something she knew wasn't hers...)  OTOH, if she published it as "by unknown author" and possibly set some share of any profits aside to compensate the author if / when he showed up, then it would be hard to show bad faith....

About the only way I could see her getting off with no bad consequences is if she got the book from someone purporting to be the rights holder, and could show reasonable "due diligence" that she had made sure that the claimed rights holder really WAS as claimed...  Then you have reasonable action in good faith, which a rational court shouldn't be able to penalize...

ex-Gooserider