First a quick note to the anonymous poster who writes:
"first of all, it's a little hypocritical to stand up for torrent and free downloads when you've never even used torrent isn't it? (kind of like having a strong opinion on something you don't really have a meaningful relationship with yes?)."It's strange to think one cannot have a strong opinion on a subject unless you've had a "meaningful relationship" with that subject matter. Unless you think one cannot have a view on abortion unless you've personally "tried it out", so to speak. How can one allow men to have an opinion on abortion in that case? Another example: many people (me included) have admiration for the technology that has put men on the moon, despite never having been in a space shuttle.
That's the thing about being human and why we have opinions on things even though we have never personally experienced them: we have imagination which allows us not just to imagine but also sometimes, to empathise.
The second thing just off the top of my head. What seems to be the writer's central argument is people taking Bloom bags to use (sampling) and then never paying for it or giving it back:
"i hope the analogy to strangers taking your bags for free makes it clear that when people download free music, that's essentially what they're doing... stealing it just as you would call it if someone came into your store and never paid for a bag."But this analogy doesn't work. This is where the distinction between product and content is relevant.
A bag is a discrete object. Once someone takes it away, it is gone. Contrast this with a song, a photograph or a movie. You're not going to lose your original song, movie or image when someone downloads it. Multiple entities originate from that one song, movie, image. A bag, on the other hand, can't reproduce itself.
As mentioned I am interested in this topic and have been doing some research. Yesterday I read this Businessweek Commentary: Are The Copyright Wars Chilling Innovation? and also this one by Harvard Business School, which argues that weak (weak, not zero) copyright benefits society.
The point I am trying to make in welcoming feedback is the same as Stephen Fry's - let's get a discussion going. Most of us have only heard the established line "copyright promotes innovation" but hardly hear arguments to the contrary, and there are plenty of these, even research and statistical evidence.
I will go into the topic further some time later but right now want to say that discussions like these are great in general, as they force, all of us, to think better. It's called the Socratic Method. From wikipedia:
The Socratic Method (or Method of Elenchus or Socratic Debate), named after the Classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate rational thinking and to illuminate ideas. It is a dialectical method, often involving an oppositional discussion in which the defense of one point of view is pitted against the defense of another; one participant may lead another to contradict himself in some way, strengthening the inquirer's own point.
So I welcome any reasoned arguments in the interest of promoting better thinking. Thanks again anon, you've brought up some good points and I'll think what my response to those are so I am clearer about my position on the matter of piracy. I hope you'll be clearer on your position too.