UK considering long prison terms for file sharers

Up to ten years in fact.  While there is debate in the libertarian community over intellectual property laws I think that I would be hard pressed to find many libertarians that think downloading a movie should put an “offender” in prison for a similar amount of time as stealing a car. 

5 thoughts on “UK considering long prison terms for file sharers

  1. I tend to agree. However, let me pass on the views of one of my students. She is a Juno award winning Jazz singer who was in my International Business class. When we got to the topic of intellectual property and its protection [or lack thereof] she had a very different view than most of the students. Let me say what I believe she would say….

    I come along and take a screw from your car. I don’t steal the whole car just a screw. Then Brandon takes a lug nut. Then Dr. P takes another lug nut…..individually each of us takes something trivial. In aggregate the entire car is soon gone.

    Individually people steal pennies from her; in aggregate her livelihood is endangered. Just saying….

    • No one is taking pennies from her though. She is equating real objects, screws etc…, with “possible future earnings” which are not only a fictional good but also impossible to quantify. Imagine this, i download her album and never have or had any intention if purchasing it. How can i be denying her future incomes? I am not buying her music either way and am not taking a physical item from her that she could later sell i.e. a CD. I’ve taken nothing from her.

    • To clarify, you don’t believe in intellectual property, just ‘real objects’?
      BTW economists seem to believe that they can, in fact, quantify lost earnings but if you can only own physical objects it’s a moot point.

  2. I don’t acknowledge the legitimacy of intellectual property for a variety of reasons most of which are outlined here:

    Click to access Against%20Intellectual%20Property.pdf

    “Why are tangible goods property?
    A little reflection will show that it is these goods’
    scarcity—the fact that there can be conflict over these goods by
    multiple human actors. The very possibility of conflict over
    a resource renders it scarce, giving rise to the need for ethical
    rules to govern its use. Thus, the fundamental social
    and ethical function of property rights is to prevent interpersonal
    conflict over scarce resources.55 As Hoppe notes:
    [O]nly because scarcity exists is there even a problem of
    formulating moral laws; insofar as goods are superabundant
    (“free” goods), no conflict over the use of goods is
    possible and no action-coordination is needed. Hence, it
    follows that any ethic, correctly conceived, must be formulated
    as a theory of property, i.e., a theory of the assignment
    of rights of exclusive control over scarce
    means. Because only then does it become possible to
    avoid otherwise inescapable and unresolvable conflict.56
    Others who recognize the importance of scarcity in defining
    what property is include Plant, Hume, Palmer, Rothbard,
    and Tucker.57

    “Nature, then, contains things that are economically
    scarce. My use of such a thing conflicts with (excludes) your
    use of it, and vice versa. The function of property rights is
    to prevent interpersonal conflict over scarce resources, by
    allocating exclusive ownership of resources to specified
    individuals (owners). To perform this function, property
    rights must be both visible and just. Clearly, in order for individuals
    to avoid using property owned by others, property
    borders and property rights must be objective (intersubjectively
    ascertainable); they must be visible.58 For this reason,
    property rights must be objective and unambiguous. In
    other words, “good fences make good neighbors.”59”

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