August 25, 2004

Download Music and ... the Government Will Steal Your Computer?

Also on slashdot today, a pointer to a Reuters story about a justice department raid on the homes of peope accused of the vicious crime of ... file sharing? Four raids took place, computers were confiscated but not arrests were made. John Ashcroft reportedly made idiotic and generally fascist statements to the affect that it would be "inappropriate" for the justice department to "stand by while such theft is taking place." Give me a break! Allow me to let you in on a little secret: If I can take it from you, without depriving you of it ... It's NOT STEALING! Don't believe me? Let's ask Mr. Webster:

Theft \Theft\, n. [OE. thefte, AS. [thorn]i['e]f[eth]e,
[thorn][=y]f[eth]e, [thorn]e['o]f[eth]e. See Thief.]
1. (Law) The act of stealing; specifically, the felonious
taking and removing of personal property, with an intent
to deprive the rightful owner of the same; larceny.

Note: To constitute theft there must be a taking without the
owner's consent, and it must be unlawful or felonious;
every part of the property stolen must be removed,
however slightly, from its former position; and it must
be, at least momentarily, in the complete possession of
the thief. See Larceny, and the Note under Robbery.

Note that in order to qualify as "theft", according to Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) I have to physically remove something with intent to deprive it's owner of it!

Calling file sharing "theft" or "piracy" is utterly ridiculous - as is treating it as a criminal offense! To whatever degree copyright infringement (which is what we are dealing with here - not theft, or piracy, but copyright infringement) is a real crime which is actually to the detriment of society as a whole, and not just big record execs and movie distributors (which is not to a very large degree), it is definitely the place of a civil suit to resolve the disagreement. There is no reason why tax payers should be paying to prosecute what really amounts to breech of contract (read the Constitution - Article I Section 8 Clause 8 clearly indicates that intellectual property law is a contract Congress creates between content creators and the people at large).

John Ashcroft is a fascist. Under his eye, we have had the Dimitry Sklyarov affair, the Patriot Act, all kinds of ridiculous "war on filesharing" crap, and now this. Any president who would appoint John Ashcroft as attorney general is not fit to govern - whether it be through idiocy or actual evil (and who knows which it is with our friend George W.). Vote Ashcroft out! Vote Michael Badnarik and tell the establishment politicians you won't take any more of their crap.

PS if you think John Kerry will be any better on this stuff you are either among the most optimistic people living in this country, or else you are on crack.

Posted by Kenny at August 25, 2004 10:34 PM
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