Pity, no false dilemmas
Posted Aug 25, 2005 21:14 UTC (Thu) by man_ls
In reply to: Dangerous anti-IP terminology and philosophy
Parent article: On the defense of piracy enablers
Thanks for further explaining your points. Unfortunately, they are still completely bogus, so let me quickly rebate some logical fallacies (using skepdic.com's mini-lesson, Nizkor's and Atheism Web catalogues) contained in your message. This is an important task since it shows not only that your thoughts are not well articulated, but also where they fail.
I've seen a terminology for, and an approach to, IPRs that is problematic to say the least.
Lack of clarity. I don't really know what IPR stands for (although Google says it's Intellectual Property Rights); the use of the misleading term "intellectual property" is compounded by the overused acronym IP and with further qualifications is really mystifying to me.
I've been criticized by an Ericsson patent attorney after a debate for referring to what he thinks is legitimate ownership as a "monopoly". I disagreed with him because many software patents are bound to be inadvertently "infringed" upon during their 20-year term.
Red herring. A monopoly is not defined by how easy it is to fall into its clutches inadvertently.
the notion of a monopoly is biased communist rhetoric that puts the collective above the individual creator.
Argumentum ad hominem. The notion is simply descriptive; if you find that the negative connotations it carries nowadays are a burden, then you should not use the word "monopoly" yourself as you did with the attorney.
You don't infringe upon copyrights inadvertently in our field.
Selective thinking. You perfectly can, as was shown after the SCO accusations by the 200 lines or so inadvertently introduced by SGI, in the Linksys router affair and many other unwanted GPL violations, or in Moglen's discussion about proprietary kernel modules; and that is only in the reduced field of Linux kernel development.
Taken in context, you might view places like sourceforge an invitation to infringe inadvertently -- an unexperienced developer can take some code and put it inside a proprietary program, thinking it is OK since it is "freeware".
[...] you know when you breach a copyright. The chance of someone coincidentally writing a game server that happens to have the battle.net protocol [...] Therefore, it's not a monpoly.
Non sequitur. Protocols are not protected by copyright; as Ross explained above, in the bnetd case copyright law was not invoked, but the DMCA.
In fact, a profit motive is a major reason for some forms of progress, while it's none (or a hinderance) to others. In case of computer games, it's very clear to any unbiased person that cinematic games are developed by huge teams of full-time people with a substantial budget.
Begging the question. It is clear that expensive proprietary games are expensive and proprietary.
For the rich Blizzard-style computer games that are like cinematic productions, it's clear that the open-source approach doesn't work.
Hasty conclusion. In 1990 you could have said "For a rich kernel that supports thousands of devices, it's clear that the open-source approach doesn't work"; in 1995 equivalently "For a rich operating system that provides services for big corporations...".
At this point in history, IPRs are considered a major success story, the foundation of the modern economy, and also the only major area in which the U.S. has a trade surplus vs. Europe and Asia.
Burden of proof. Considered by whom? You do not show your sources and only give a vague reminiscence of unnamed authorities.
About 100 years ago, our great-great-grandmothers had to fight for their suffrage. Today, women's suffrage is unquestionable in the western societies.
Appeal to emotion (and to the gallery for good measure). The argument is just included to induce emotions and sympathy for your cause, since it has nothing to do with copyright or computers. In fact, the opposite might be argued: in women's suffrage a restriction was lifted, while here restrictions are being expanded.
Politicians and judges alike, with a very few exceptions, share the absolutely firm belief that an author is entitled to a variety of things that some of you here may not like.
Appeal to authority, if I ever saw one. Qualified sources support your position.
In other application categories, you can combine a profit motive with an open-source model (Red Hat, MySQL AB...). In games, it doesn't work for now.
And another hasty conclusion, combined with biased sample. There are actually very good games licensed under the GPL, but you obviously do not consider them "cinematic"; there are actually inferior proprietary games, but you are obviously not talking about them. Also, consider that today's free software games are plainly superior to commercial games of just 15 years ago.
The dangerous effect of a ruling in favor of bnetd would have gone way beyond computer games.
Appeal to fear. You want to make the audience believe your point of view by deriving horrible consequences from the opposite.
Interfering with modules that are technically separate, but must be viewed as legally/commercially parts of the same, would have the same effect as letting people interfere with modules of a single piece of executable code.
Slippery slope. It has nothing to do, and I don't see the evil effect of interfering with modules.
[...] considering that bnetd breaks a business model and enables piracy [...]
Anecdotal evidence. The case that worries you is so relevant that it defines the situation of "intellectual property".
I hope that the EFF has learned its lesson from this defeat in court, and that they will take on more honorable and meritorious cases in the future.
Appeal to ridicule. They were defeated in a pitiful cause, so they should learn the right and true way: yours.
You need lawmakers (in such fields as patent legislation), you need governmental authorities (such as in anti-trust proceedings), and government use of software is strategically important.
This one is difficult to catalogue; I'd say burden of proof. It is not clear that we need them since free software has grown nicely without them; it is clear that they need us, they will be the users.
However, I do hope that some (possibly even a silent majority) understand this strategic worry.
A very clear appeal to popularity, similar to the hilarious "lurkers support me in email".
I would say that if you want people to listen to you, you should not resort to these fallacious arguments, but state your case plainly instead. Also, since you have been and still are closely related to Blizzard, your motives are highly suspicious in the bnetd case; you might just be trying to score a point with current management. Therefore you should use a different example.
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