prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Copying is Not Theft…Or is it?

Posted by prof e on April 21, 2010

This video is a rather “cute” argument in favor of digital copying, but the logic has some serious flaws. As YouTube commentator “spare2288” noted (with a little ad hominem thrown in for effect), “Copying is not theft. okaaaay. Also, theft is wrong. uhh yeahhh. Therefore copying is not wrong. hmm…sorry are you a moron?”

On another blog, “Anonymous” said, “I’m sure the manufacturer of the bicycle in the cartoon will be glad that making a copy of the bicycle is so easy. This will free him from the burden of actually manufacturing and selling bicycles which used to be a high-paid technical position. User-generated copying saved him just like it saved the music industry.”

If you’re a bicycle maker, or musicians, having people copy your work for free may not put you in the mood to sing along with this catchy little tune.


28 Responses to “Copying is Not Theft…Or is it?”

  1. Gina Ortega said

    I think that although I enjoyed the cartoon and really liked the bicycle part, it is wrong to steel the work of other people. That is a great point made about music and bicycle producers, why should they do all the work of making them to not recieve any profit from it?

  2. Greg Morrell said

    In “Copying is Not Theft…Or is it?” the main point of this video seems to me that copying what people are doing is not wrong because you’re not stealing because you’re doing the same thing they are. This logic is very wrong, when you copy what someone is doing or their ideas, it is stealing. If I take my professors PowerPoint slides and make a presentation from it and call it my own, it is copying but it’s also stealing because they aren’t my own thoughts. Copying is stealing and stealing is not right, for people it’s just where their line of morals and ethics lay down, because they may not think copying something is wrong, but someone else might.
    Greg Morrell

  3. Greg Morrell said

    In “Copying is Not Theft…Or is it?” the main point of this video seems to me that copying what people are doing is not wrong because you’re not stealing because you’re doing the same thing they are. This logic is very wrong, when you copy what someone is doing or their ideas, it is stealing. If I take my professors PowerPoint slides and make a presentation from it and call it my own, it is copying but it’s also stealing because they aren’t my own thoughts. Copying is stealing and stealing is not right, for people it’s just where their line of morals and ethics lay down, because they may not think copying something is wrong, but someone else might.

  4. Patrick Carey said

    I do think that copying of music and movies is the same as theft. I takes away millions of dollars from musicians and movie makers. I think people don’t consider it theft because it is much more accessible to download a movie or song on a computer and not get caught. I think when illegally downloading some form of media it would be the same as going into a store and trying to shoplift a movie or cd, the only difference is there are no cameras or security watching you do it. I think that video just tries to show a lighter side of illegal downloading but i don’t think that it works.

  5. Malcolm Johnson said

    After viewing the cartoon, I’m not going to lie, I did feel like it wasn’t wrong to copy haha but obviously that’s wrong. Copying some ones work for free is very wrong, it’s equivalent to stealing in my mind because your taking someone’s idea or hard work without paying.

  6. Daniella Cauffiel said

    Is copying alright? In the YouTube video “Copying Is Not Theft-Best!” they make the argument that copying is just fine and better for everyone in the world. I disagree with the idea of copying. Although the examples they use in this video are very different situations than copying music or movies. While talking about copying body parts and plants they slip in small ideas that do not compare. They stick in things like music and movies, and to me that does not compare to copying flowers and legs. Copying can be okay in certain situations but only a few select. Copying musicians work makes them lose a ton of money, but copying flowers into another garden can only better the garden. That is more like copying an idea. Copying an idea can work in all different ways too. Copying another person’s idea straight into your paper is wrong yet copying an idea to form your own idea seems to be okay. Overall the video seemed to be a success. It was well made and very amusing I almost wanted to believe copying was okay and it will bring peace to our world! But then I came to my senses and realized this is how they convince people today. People must grow stronger to keep up with this world.

  7. Shawna said

    I think that to copywrite is just wrong. People put a lot of hardwork and time in what they do and for anyone to think that they are entitled to the work of someone else without paying or asking for it is wrong. It is very easy to copywrite and I think that may be why so many people do it.

  8. Anna DeRose said

    Copyrighting and theft are the same in my opinion. They are both taking away the true artisitc ability of those that made whatever is being copied. It is just an easy and cheap way for lazy people to get around the notion of actually doing the work or buying the product itself. The video was very entertaining though and made light of something that is not humorous.

  9. Georgia Hartsfield said

    Copying is still taking something that doesn’t belong to you. In school if you are caught copying someones test its called cheating and you get a zero or worse. In the media industry its just theft and lawsuits go out. There is a reason for copyrights. People deserve to be paid for their ideas or creations if you want permission to use it or in this case copy it, your suppose to ask the creator. People know right from wrong, it’s just of matter of them wanting to use their common sense.

  10. Alyse DeVan said

    Though this clip is rather humerous, it is far from the truth that copying is not theft. The music industry suffered from millions of lost revenue simply because of these copyright infringements. What this clever little cartoon failed to mention is, though they will have one more thing than before, that they are essentially stealing because the manufacturer did not give permission for reproduction. Thus, copying something without the original owner’s conscent is indeed stealing, because the owner’s original ideas for a product or idea is theirs. By copying things that don’t belong to you, you are in fact stealing.

  11. Jackie Perea said

    I think the video makes a good point that copying technically is not stealing. However, copying others people work is still stealing their idea, which they may benefit less from if the credit of the work is not being given back to the origional creator. So i think the video is correct if you are looking at the concepts of copying and stealing from their exact definition, but when it comes to work of others being taken and used, copying and theft still coincide.

  12. Anais Escobar said

    I really enjoy the cartoon, it was really funny. But the message that give it is not the favorirte for many people. Copying is not something good as the way many people tell us while we growing up, but this is something that is not going to change,even when we want to. I think USA has a good control of it, but not a complete control of copying, because there is still people that do it. In my country, this rules of copying are not big deal. You can see people in the street selling the latest movies in DVD before they come to the movie theater. There is the rules but no one take cares of them. There is PSA promoting “No to copying” but anyone pay attention to them. And there is many countries that is the same. They just don’t pay attention to it. So the artist or whoever gets benefits is loosing a lot in those countries. It is something bad for sure, but it is not something I belive it will change. There is always people that is going to do copying and there is always people that is going to respect this rules.

  13. Amanda Starr said

    In my rhetoric class this semester, the subject of cheating was brought up in class. We were able to voice our opinions of cheating, and it was a very interesting discussion. During this discussion, I mentioned that cheating was like stealing. When someone cheats off of another unsuspecting student’s test, the cheater is stealing the thoughts and work of the other student. If a student makes an unauthorized cheat sheet or texts someone for the answers, that student and other students invovled are stealing a grade in that class. They are stealing because it is not honest work that they deserve. They did not earn the grade. They just took it. Cheaters do a disservice to themselves and others in the class. They are robbing themselves of the knowledge because they don’t learn anything. They may be passed through to the next class not because of their knowledge, but because of their cheating skills. They are not being fair to other students who work hard and recieve the same grade as someone who cheated their way to that grade. The same can be applied to people who violate copyright laws. They are stealing something that does not belong to them. Although they are not taking it away from the person who created it, they are stealing from them. They are doing a disservice to themselves. Their actions will have consequences such as taking away support from the creators and the industry. If enough people do this, a really big problem with the sales of the art will occur. They are doing a disservice to others by not giving credit and profit to those that created the art. They also make it hard for others to enjoy the art. Copying is stealing because it is taking away something from someone.

  14. Angel Smith said

    Copying someone’s work is wrong. So that others wouldn’t try and steal individuals work, people created copyrighting to protect individuals work. With that said it is wrong , if doing it was okay there would be no need for copyrighting. The only way someone should be able to use another person’s work is if they get permission from the owner or pays to use that persons to work; this is alright because everything from new ideas to old came from another idea or from someone else’s work.

  15. jose lozano said

    Copy the actions of someone is not bad at all. If you see someone with a bike that you like or listening to a CD that you like, you can go out and copy them by buying that same bike or CD. I’m sure whoever made the product is happy with copying. stealing is something completely different. And unless their is someones life at stake, stealing is bad!

  16. Brian Miller said

    In my opinion pirating music and movies is the same as underaged drinking, with little restrictions they both are running rampid. People know it happens and many people do it, including people who commented, even if they never downloaded a song or movie, if they watched or listened to that cd you are part of it but that is not the point i am going at. It is an epidemic that is going, pirate movies and songs because it is easy and free and rarely will anyone get caught so what is the risk. And with little ways to observe and catch people copying music and movies it will only get worse. People soon will buy one movie copy it 50 times and sell it for one dollar and make money, if the actors can be payed 10 million dollars for one movie why would they miss 50 movies? That is the thinking people use with coping, they don’t need more money. but in the end it is still stealing and it is still wrong.

  17. Josiah Rodriguez said

    In a literal sense, yes, copying is not theft. You are not actually terminating someone else work so only yours will be out there. It is however stealing someone else work, but if that work is out there without a patent or copyright law stated on it, then I think people should be free to copy. Why not? If it’s free and not protected, why not copy? That’s just my opinion

  18. Andrea said

    Lol, i thought this video was kind of funny. It does have a good point that copying isn’t stealing but however it doesn’t make it right. All they hype about stealing and copying is a big issue in the music industry, but is there really a realistic solution to how we can stop the pirating? I think our effort so far have failed to stop of minimize the problem obviously haven’t helped.

  19. Alayna Abeyta said

    This video takes copying lightly. It might not be stealing, yet it is still wrong. The purpose of a copyright is to protect that article, piece of music or book chapter from being illegally reproduced. If you want a copy of something, you have to pay for it, it’s not free. For example, when someone brings a document to the copy center on campus, they have to pay for their copies. Also on our student accounts we have a type of “copy account” for when we wish to print something off the computer. Copying might not be stealing, yet it still is cheating the copyright.

  20. Damon Chiles said

    Copying music is just more convenient. Copying music is free and even though it harms the musician it helps the people copying. This is wrong but what is the difference from copying it over the internet or ripping the CD from a friends copy. In class we talked about plagiarism in the media and how leaking the music is wrong but it is better from the copier.

  21. daniel Bashian said

    copying is NOT stealing. when it comes to music, sharing files is not a crime, most of my music is from friends or programs like limewire. How can it be called stealing if you pay for a program like limewire. it cant be stealing because your simply paying for all the song you could want from a certian artist, while buying there cd you get all of there songs when you might not want them.this leads me to feel sorry for the artists because they aren’t getting paid for the music that is being illegally downloaded,but they really are getting paid enough. i like what radio head did where they asked the fans to pay whatever they wanted to pay for the music.

  22. Alejandro Trujillo said

    I agree with Daniel, music is so fluent it’s really hard to watch what is really being downloaded and how it gets distributed after the demander buys the song. I really can’t put it any better than Daniel did.

  23. Whitney Johnson said

    I think that copying is stealing! That is why there is regulations that do not allow it. So to all those that think that there is nothing wrong this…just think of how you would feel if you were a music artist and someone was downloading your music instead of buying it. I know it would bother me because I would begin to think about all the hard work that I put into the music and all the money that i personally put out on the project, in which I expected to make revenue back off it. It is just as we discussed in class, it is taking away from the profit that the original owner could potentially make, which in all actuality is due to them. This is why there are copy right actions that have been implimented that prohibit this. Granted we have all downloaded something from the internet, including me, but that does not make it right at all!

  24. M. Williamson said

    I think the video is good. i do think copying is stealing to some degree, but more so if you do it for profits. i think if you just copy music to listen to yourself there’s no problem with that. Back to the part about copying for profits, that’s unethical. Even so artists don’t make the big bucks from record sales they get it from tours and other extras.

  25. Lashanaye James said

    So I guess when you make it amusing to others and do it in an interesting way it’s not copying, well that’s what I got from this video, but in reality I know that copying is theft. Just like when writing a paper I can’t just copy someone’s work its plagiarism which by definition is” the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work, as by not crediting the author”. So when you are copying you have taken someone’s thoughts and that’s considered theft. By any thoughts of copying should never occur especially when you are speaking about music? I’m not an artist but I could never want for anyone to think that copying my music is okay. When speaking upon the term “copy” it’s taking the actual thoughts or words someone has written or spoken. As for theft it’s taking something that was never you’re to begin with and when you copy someone you have taken credit for something that was never yours.

  26. Jake Kurtz said

    This is an argument that could be continued for hours, and has been in many cases. People say: “it’s stealing from the artist!” as if to claim that it is somehow removing money from their pockets. It’s not. The artists don’t pay for the production or distribution of CD’s, they have nothing to do with it besides recording the music that goes onto it. As such, the percent of money that goes to the artist for the purchase of a CD is somewhere in the range of 15-35%. Artists don’t make their money off of CDs, and they don’t make fans by making their music unavailable. The more an artist allows their music to be disseminated freely, the more notoriety they gain which equals more fans and more tickets sold. That is where the artists make their real money, at concerts.

  27. Bekah Hathaway said

    The idea that you can just copy anything and give to someone else is a little over the top. However, they have a valid point that if you can’t do it with a bicycle, why should you be able to do it with music. The answer will be debated and there will always be a supporter from either one, but I would have to say that with the media and the market for downloading songs, there is no way to get around it, and that sharing music will continue to happen. The media has allowed for easy access to a large amount of things, and with that is the factor that there will never be a way to protect music completely from being shared. So as this video has a good point, I would say that as of now there is no feasible way to put an end to it so their argument holds no weight.

  28. Tyler Stone said

    I beleive a little bit of both sides to this. On one hand I think that copying for a friend is not a huge deal I’ve burned some of my own personal cd’s for a friend or two before and I think thats fine. However people have seemed to take that out of control with online piracy, peer to peer sharing, and file downloading. I’m not perfect and I have downloaded mp3 files before but if I had to choose one side to this I would say it was stealing because it technically is. If we could copy everything in the world there would be no businesses and no way to regulate anything. If you copy money it’s illegal and for good reason because cash would become irrelevant in the world and no one would use it. It’s the same with copying music. By copying someones cd or mp3 track you’re taking away the incentives for artists to make music because they can’t accept the royalties off of it that they deserve and eventually if it worsens and keeps happening it will shut down the entire music industry like we know it. I’m not a fan of paying .99 cents per track either but it’s the right and legal thing to do.

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