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Round 2: Parallex vs whatukno - "File Sharing"

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posted on Dec, 14 2009 @ 05:05 PM
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The topic for this debate is "File sharing is immoral and perpetrators should be punished under the law.”

"Parallex" will be arguing the "Pro" position and begin the debate.
"whatukno" will be arguing the "Con" position.


Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

There is a 10,000 character limit per post.

Any character count in excess of 10,000 will be deleted prior to the judging process.

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posted on Dec, 15 2009 @ 06:24 AM
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Welcome everyone to Round 2 of the debate tournament. I would like to ‘tip the hat’ to my reputable opponent WhatUKno, and give my thanks again to all those facilitating and supporting this tournament.

Let us begin.

OPENING STATEMENT -

The subject can be broken down into two sections –

"File sharing is immoral...”

“...and perpetrators should be punished under the law.”


It is necessary, for the structure of this debate to be useful to the reader (hopefully with my opponents blessing), to implement some assumptions here. The question does not infer that the subject matter is referring to ‘illegal’ file sharing. However, in this debate, I will assume that is what it is referring to.

Secondly, the question does not state which law set we are using as a context, nor in which jurisdiction that law is placed. Therefore, I shall assume (again hopefully with my opponents blessing) that we are using a general context of westernised maritime admiralty / statute law. It could also be argued that ‘Common Law’ applies in this situation as well due to the nature of the crime being committed.

The perpetration of a crime is the main thrust of my argument here – the question posits that illegal file-sharing is immoral, and that punishment under law is necessary. By the very nature of the question, it is evident that illegal file-sharing carries with it a criminal charge in any western jurisdiction.

Illegal file sharing is a crime that usually falls under laws regarding copyright infringement, and the theft of intellectual capital or intangible products. In the UK, where I live, the specific act of parliament can be found here –

www.opsi.gov.uk...

The above is a statutory act of parliament covering this sort of crime, but the crime does also fall into the realm of common law. Because the act of illegally copying a file is in reality a theft, it is a breach of a common law held in codified form (as a particular branch of law) since Babylonian times. The version most commonly cited in modern times originates in recognisable form from the version associated with Magna Carta in England, in the mid 11th century. In a nutshell, causing damage to or loss of someone’s possession is a breach of their rights as a common man / woman.

The statute act above; and others like it, only detail and embellish on this common law in this regard.

The subject of Morality –

An important argument in this debate is that of morality. Rhetorically, is committing a crime against the law of the land immoral? This excellent article discusses morality and its boundaries –

plato.stanford.edu...

Eloquently, the article suggests that there is a ‘common’ morality, and what can only be described as a ‘situational’ morality. Both are fluid, and subject to change in line with particular stimuli.

A code of laws is generally created to safeguard the coherency and viability of any given society. A society’s moral code often forms the basis for this. Therefore, any society that morally frowns upon the stealing of one entities possession by another, will include this moral ‘ethic’ into its’ code of laws.

Most societies globally have this moral imperative, as well as a legal version in their code of laws. By proxy, this implies that illegal file sharing (theft, copyright infringement) is in contravention of the law, of the moral ‘ethic’ and as such is IMMORAL.

The only possibility, in which this may not be the case, is if the ‘situational’ morality overrode the ‘common’ morality – for example, the leaking of UK MP’s expenses to newspapers recently was an act of replication of files that is technically unlawful, but not ‘commonly’ immoral. This shows that morality can override law – and as such adjudication would be required.

In the wider scheme of things however, this is rare. The norm is for ‘piracy’ to take place when discussing illegal file-sharing. People do not wish to pay for, be inconvenienced or burdened by legitimately acquiring files. “If it’s free we’ll take it, it doesn’t matter what it is!”

This document shows this quite starkly – (16% of internet users purportedly pirated material in 2008!)

www.ifpi.org/content/library/DMR2009-key-statistics.pdf

That’s a lot of crime to punish!

In short, file-sharing IS technically immoral, and as such purveyors of file-sharing activities and efforts should be punished by the law – most however, are not. The reality of doing this is simply not practical, morality in the real world means very little.

I wish my opponent the very best in his opening statement, I now concede the floor.

The Para.



posted on Dec, 15 2009 @ 07:48 AM
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Thank you Chissler for this debate and greetings to Parallex. Ladies and Gentlemen, this debate is, “File sharing is immoral and perpetrators should be punished under the law.”

I have been given the “Con” side of this debate, and as such I will attempt to show that file sharing is not immoral and people who do share files should not be punished. With that said, let us begin...

Opening Statement

Throughout the modern information age it has been necessary to share files in order to share information. Digital media facilitates this in many ways and makes it quite easy to share files. Is this immoral? No, it’s not. Our species has shared information from the dawn of time and not only was it not immoral to do so it was key to our very survival. Critical data today can be downloaded onto a flash drive and brought with us anywhere, it can be sent through an Email to anyone, and it can be uploaded onto a site like ATS and shared that way. None of these acts has any immoral implications and no one should be punished for doing so.

During this debate I will show that not only is file sharing a morally correct thing to do but I will show that no one should be punished for sharing of digital information.

My opponent would like to pigeonhole us into a debate about illegal downloads and Internet Piracy. Which is quite the stretch on the debate primer. No, this debate is not just about illegal downloads and Internet piracy, but about file sharing. As I will show, file sharing covers a broad range of intellectual property, and not just copyrighted material. So my esteemed opponent would be wrong to assume this debate is only about illegal downloads.

Obviously this debate will tend to focus primarily on the downloading of .MP3 music files, I therefore will show conclusively that this type of file sharing is not immoral, is not detrimental and has gone on much longer than the advent of personal computers and the Internet. Therefore showing that file sharing is not immoral and perpetrators should not be punished.

Socratic Questions

SQ1. Have you ever downloaded any “freeware” software at any point in your life?

SQ2. Have you ever heard of the band The Grateful Dead?

SQ3. Is it not true that legal P2P File Sharing Programs like Napster or Itunes actually have benefitted artists?

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your time.



posted on Dec, 15 2009 @ 11:56 AM
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Excellent reply WUKKY, an interesting take on the subject for sure. I will return by answering your questions first.


SQ1. Have you ever downloaded any “freeware” software at any point in your life?


Yes I have, and I shall continue to do so. Freeware, Shareware, Open-Source-Warez are all very useful. These are however, entirely legal in replication – and as such a moral enterprise. They do not comprise the vast quantity of downloads of copyrighted materials – the immoral part of the file-sharing community.


SQ2. Have you ever heard of the band The Grateful Dead?


Yes I have they are an excellent example of an unusual marketing machine. The band disseminates its music for ‘free’ a lot of the time – making money from accessory products and events. Again, because no copyrights have been infringed, and no laws broken, morality is not an issue here. I’m sure if their business model was different, they would be very concerned about illegal copying of their music.


SQ3. Is it not true that legal P2P File Sharing Programs like Napster or Itunes actually have benefitted artists?


An excellent question – would you care to back that up with evidence? I think it can be fairly assumed that if an artist entity like The Grateful Dead has tailored their business model to work WITH file-sharing and P2P programs, they will benefit from the function – as could others. However, as most artistic enterprises are not tailored to work with file sharing and P2P functions, the use of file replication and dissemination programs on them will break an ethical and legal code. The decision to break these codes rests solely with the perp.

Critical Retorts -


None of these acts have any immoral implications and no one should be punished for doing so.



During this debate I will show that not only is file sharing a morally correct thing to do but I will show that no one should be punished for sharing of digital information.


Agreed – as long as none of the material being copied / transferred is being acquired in a wrongful manner. By making this statement you are trying to ignore the fact that a growing percentage of material transferred across the net is being moved illegally.


My opponent would like to pigeonhole us into a debate about illegal downloads and Internet Piracy. Which is quite the stretch on the debate primer. No, this debate is not just about illegal downloads and Internet piracy, but about file sharing. As I will show, file sharing covers a broad range of intellectual property, and not just copyrighted material. So my esteemed opponent would be wrong to assume this debate is only about illegal downloads.


It is hardly a ‘stretch’ on the debate topic – more of a correct context. File sharing is a standard function of the digital age – who in their right mind would consider legal / normal file sharing immoral? Nobody. As a debate topic it would be ridiculous if it wasn’t referring to the practice of sharing copyrighted or protected material. We shouldn’t insult the topic selectors by suggesting that is the case. Also, I have never assumed this debate is purely about the illegal practices mentioned. I do however consider that concentrating on the mundane practice of ‘normal’ file sharing will detract from exploration of the totally immoral practice of illegal file sharing. Therefore it would be logically correct to assume the heart of this debate is about the immorality of illegal file-sharing would it not?


Obviously this debate will tend to focus primarily on the downloading of .MP3 music files...


“EEEE-AWWWW!!!” I can hear someone flogging a dead donkey.

Even three years ago, it was noted that the biggest area of concern in relation to illegal file-sharing was that of visual entertainment – Films and other ‘televisual’ entertainment. The below press-release explains this clearly. The preponderance of ‘Porno’ films in this bracket is irrelevant; it’s still illegal, and still immoral.

www.npd.com...

Those porn-stars have earned their cash by working hard in often sticky circumstances!

MP3’s being downloaded illegally is still important, as company divisions such as ‘I-Tunes’ now rely on people deciding correctly that it is moral and fair to pay for music downloads. The fact that more and more people are supporting their favourite hard-working musicians and artists by BUYING their material shows that morality is considered important. If it is such an important issue, then the people who flout this moral imperative do so knowingly and willingly – they are immoral and should be punished – why should they be different to everyone else?

If we give in to these criminal roustabouts we would be denying the hard-working artists and people behind ‘I-Tunes’ and others an honest income. Artistry is under attack from technology and those with the will to abuse it – surely the moral high-ground on this issue to acknowledge the threat, and tackle it head on?

My Socratic Questions –

SQ1. Given your stance on the subject, do you contend that the ‘colloquial’ meaning of ‘file-sharing’ is unequivocally tied to the illegal-practice of downloading copyrighted materials to avoid paying for them?

SQ2. Will you admit that organisations that are pro-file sharing have tailored their business to make money from that business environment, and as such have a vested interest in propagating this sort of activity?

I now concede the floor.

Parallex.



posted on Dec, 16 2009 @ 05:05 AM
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Reply 1. Bootleg tapes and the rise of the super band.

Back in ancient times (the 1970‘s & 80‘s) many popular bands grew fan bases by actually encouraging them to share music. They put this music on analog storage media, at the time this media was called “cassette tapes”. This allowed fans to share concerts and songs not yet released to the general public. Thus the fan base for the band grew and the super band was born.

Bands such as The Grateful Dead are well known to have encouraged fans to record shows and trade or sell the bootlegs.

Kay: “This is gonna replace CD's soon; guess I'll have to buy the White Album again”

Over the course of the last 40 years, audio recordings have undergone a drastic change in media storage. First the Gramophone record, Stereo 8, Compact Cassette, Compact Disk, to today the .MP3 and the physical representation of the album is no longer needed. Generally a consumer is allowed to make a copy of the album for backup purposes. Obviously keeping the copy on ones own hard drive isn’t the proper way to keep the album safe. Like storing a copy of your hard drive off of your property in case of a fire or other disaster. What better way to ensure that your album is safe than to store it online. Or better yet, give that copy to a friend for storage.



SQ3. Is it not true that legal P2P File Sharing Programs like Napster or Itunes actually have benefitted artists?


An excellent question – would you care to back that up with evidence?


In fact I would be happy to. Ladies and gentlemen, I offer Exhibit A into evidence that file sharing sites actually benefit artists.

P2P, Online File-Sharing, and the Music Industry


p.32 provides a very interesting table that lists the estimated effect of 30% less file-sharing on artists depending on their position in the popularity distribution. By percentile (with 1% being lowest selling, 100% the highest selling) we have the break even point at the 75th percentile: that is the bottom 3/4 of artists gain from file-sharing while the top 1/4 lose.

Percentile | Actual Sales | Sales with 30% less file-sharing
1%__________73_________70
5%_________ 170________166
10%_________281________277
25%_________757 _______745
50% ________2852_______2851
75% ________10110______9831
90%_________26531_____26934
95% ________45255 _____47357
99% ________133983 ____165054


As we can plainly see, file sharing helps the underdog. 3/4 of the artists actually benefit from file sharing as opposed to loosing money. However, as this graph shows. The top 1/4 do loose money. This of course is probably more easily offset through venue and merchandising revenue.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me now to turn to Exhibit B.

The Effect of File Sharing on Record Sales An Empirical Analysis


VII. Conclusion
We find that file sharing has no statistically significant effect on purchases of the average
album in our sample. Moreover, the estimates are of rather modest size when compared
to the drastic reduction in sales in the music industry. At most, file sharing can explain a
tiny fraction of this decline. This result is plausible given that movies, software, and
video games are actively downloaded, and yet these industries have continued to grow
since the advent of file sharing. While a full explanation for the recent decline in record
sales are beyond the scope of this analysis, several plausible candidates exist. These
alternative factors include poor macroeconomic conditions, a reduction in the number of
album releases, growing competition from other forms of entertainment such as video
games and DVDs (video game graphics have improved and the price of DVD players or
movies have sharply fallen), a reduction in music variety stemming from the large
consolidation in radio along with the rise of independent promoter fees to gain airplay,
and possibly a consumer backlash against record industry tactics.26 It is also important to
note that a similar drop in record sales occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and
that record sales in the 1990s may have been abnormally high as individuals replaced
older formats with CDs.


Now again, I had asked the question “Is it not true that legal P2P File Sharing Programs like Napster or Itunes actually have benefitted artists?”

I wanted to point out that I had in fact said legal. Which means that if you go to Napster and purchase a song, versus going to a store and buying the album. For this example I will use the store Best Buy versus Napster, and the album that will be selected will be Eagles: Their Greatest Hits, 1971–1975, Eagles (Asylum)

Best Buy Price: $13.99
Napster Price $9.99

So at first it would appear that going to Best Buy and purchasing the album would put more money into the artists pockets wouldn’t it? However, one would also have to take away from that the overhead costs involved in that price. Shipping, actually manufacturing the album, storage, all those costs associated with the physical representation of the album takes away from the artists profits. Meanwhile, a digital copy on the P2P file sharing site Napster doesn’t have the same overhead costs. Thus the artist is more likely to receive a bigger percentage share of the profits from the sale.

I think that dead donkey twitched, let’s beat it some more!


Even three years ago, it was noted that the biggest area of concern in relation to illegal file-sharing was that of visual entertainment – Films and other ‘televisual’ entertainment.


In the realm of illegal file sharing of video, we have to look at X Men Origins: Wolverine as a prime example. This film was “Accidently” leaked online prior to it’s box office debut. Even so, it grossed $85,058,003.00 it’s opening weekend and was #1. So, seeing that, does it seem that in fact box office sales were not hurt by the “accidental” release of the movie prior to it’s debut?

Or, perhaps fans of the franchise went to see the movie on the big screen anyway because viewing it on a laptop or desktop might not be the best way to view a film?


SQ1. Given your stance on the subject, do you contend that the ‘colloquial’ meaning of ‘file-sharing’ is unequivocally tied to the illegal-practice of downloading copyrighted materials to avoid paying for them?


No, I cannot contend that. Because file sharing involves much more than simply Internet Piracy. For instance, let us look at video game modding as an example. Now specifically Bethesda Softworks released a game called The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind. In the Game of the Year edition. they included a piece of software called the Elder Scrolls Construction Set, which allowed users to change the game and include their own elements. Online fans of the game shared these files with one another. This is file sharing, this is also perfectly legal and completely moral.


SQ2. Will you admit that organisations that are pro-file sharing have tailored their business to make money from that business environment, and as such have a vested interest in propagating this sort of activity?


Yes, companies like Napster, Apple’s Itunes Store, etc. Do make their money off of File Sharing. It is in their best interest to promote file sharing in the way they have. They have arranged with artists and labels to sell single tracks to the public for a low price.

Let’s sum up shall we?

Ladies and gentlemen to conclude my first reply, I would like to sum up. This debate is about file sharing, and not just illegal Internet piracy, even though my opponent would like you to believe this is what is meant by the topic primer, it is about file sharing in general. However, I have offered up evidence in the form of Exhibit A and Exhibit B, both clearly showing that even illegal file sharing does not harm artists, and even helps smaller bands become more popular. I have even went as far as to show that movie piracy doesn’t hurt the bottom line of studios and thus why file sharing is not immoral and perpetrators should not be punished under the law. Ladies and gentlemen, file sharing is a part of our everyday lives. We as a computer literate society rely on file sharing in order to efficiently and easily conduct business. Instead of going to a store to buy a CD that you may only wish to hear one track off of, we can download that one track directly into our hard drives and enjoy it on our MP3 player.

That hot new game of yours has save game files that other fans have uploaded to share online. Now your character can get a weapon never before thought of in the game thanks to gamers who not only understand the game, but wish to improve it, and that movie you watched online might be good enough to go to the theater with your friends and spend $20 bucks to see on the big screen, thankfully you were able to watch it previously online so you know whether it was good enough or not to see.



posted on Dec, 16 2009 @ 09:17 AM
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Dear Wukky, ‘Drop the dead donkey’ already!

I would also like to point out that I too remember the ancient days (just) of tape recorders. I even remember the lovely phenomenon of making your own ‘mix’ tapes. It was a different world back then.

Let the evidentiary shredding commence.

I take your ‘Exhibit A’ and I raise you – some excerpts from ‘Exhibit A’.

From the ‘Summary of Evidence’ section –

On Zentner – “...but there are reasons to have reservations about Zentner's analysis and his conclusions...”

Zentner is the person that produced the 30% figure you quoted above. I would also like to point out that you are massaging your sources – that 30% figure was produced (not by Zentner) as an explanation of the size of the drop in product purchase probability due to file-sharing. Zentners’ work inconclusively used this source figure to produce further wild claims.

On Oberholzer & Strumpf – “...the annual industry sales loss due to file sharing is 3 million copies...”

As the supposedly strongest paper on this subject, it’s not brilliant. It is still relatively inconclusive, and requires further work. It also shows with the above statement – that illegal file-sharing is DEFINITELY being committed, and as such, the moral boundary is being broken. Far be it from me to call ‘normal’ file-sharers immoral – but there’s definitely an immoral bunch in there somewhere, and they should be punished.

On Peitz & Waelbroeck – “...The results in this case are very unreliable and should probably be ignored.”

This quote says it all about this paper. Your source even wrote it in bold.

On Rob & Waldfogel – “...our sample is not representative, so our results should not be generalized...”

No generalization allowed I’m afraid, therefore I guess this source is out of the window in this debate!

On Blackburn – “There are two concerns about bias in Blackburn's results .... One also has some reservations about estimates of financial harm.”

Peer review hurts doesn’t it? If the data was certain, I’d be happy to oblige you – we’re open-minded on ATS after all! In this case, it isn’t, so I can’t.

On Hong – “I find that the quarterly music expenditure of the average U.S. household has declined by approximately three dollars as a result of using the Internet and plausibly Napster.”

Whammy! I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I think it is safe to say Exhibit A does not contribute anything to your argument, but has really helped mine – thank you!

As for Exhibit B...

Oberholzer & Strumpf? Peer review anyone? Oh yes – I forgot I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth on this one, as quite clearly this paper and its’ follow-up state that “...the annual industry sales loss due to file sharing is 3 million copies...”

Critical Retorts –


Best Buy Price: $13.99
Napster Price $9.99


Putting aside margin restraints here, you and I both know this is an economic term known as ‘economies’. The digital route to market is more efficient than that of the traditional method. Therefore it is going to be able to out-compete tangible media easily. The chances are that the margins available are greater for both creator (not restricted to music) and the vendor. Given the market dominance and power of the few main vendors however – can you really put weight behind your notion that creators, just like farmers, sweat-shop labour and others will get a fair deal? Perhaps MP3’s need to come with a ‘Fair Trade’ logo like Chocolate does...


Or, perhaps fans of the franchise went to see the movie on the big screen anyway because viewing it on a laptop or desktop might not be the best way to view a film?


I agree – as a fan of the franchise, I did indeed go and see that film at the cinema, for the experience, and for a night out. However, what did I do when I wanted to watch the film again? I’m faced with a choice – do I go down to the shopping centre (transport and time costs) and purchase the dvd? (Cost again, storage space required as well.)

Or do I simply download the DvDRiP.avi file that is conveniently in the form of a torrent file and watch it without ever needing to get up off my sofa, and take off my snuggi? Decisions, decisions.

This up-to-date Times article sums up the situation nicely – and supports your point as well.

business.timesonline.co.uk...


In the Game of the Year edition, they included a piece of software called the Elder Scrolls Construction Set, which allowed users to change the game and include their own elements. Online fans of the game shared these files with one another. This is file sharing, this is also perfectly legal and completely moral.


I played Arena: The Elder Scrolls, and Arena 2: Daggerfall – loved those games back in the day. I am familiar with the user-content contribution aspect of many games these days. That’s an example of ‘shareware’ designed to increase the value quotient of a purchased game – therefore it has no relationship whatsoever to illegal file-sharing – that is unless we start getting into author disputes and copyrighting of said created articles, which has been known to happen.

If you really want to get into this subject, it’s worth mentioning and exploring the organisations set up to regulate and control this issue. Not to mention the organisations set up to protect the interests of those being penalised by illegal file-sharing.

As this article shows – illegal file-sharing is considered to be connected to organised crime on the street. It’s not such a rosy picture now is it?

www.riaa.com...

Secondly – this news piece from the RIAA shows exactly what happens when immoral file-sharing is let loose on a full-scale rampage.

www.riaa.com... piracy&terminclude=&termexact=

It shows that most of the time the illegal file-sharing act is about one thing – getting something for nothing. On a side note, this case also depicts how file-sharing can be used for malicious acts such as sabotaging product releases and artistic unveilings, substituting peoples work before release, and more. Highly immoral in anyone’s view.

Counter Summation

My opponent would like you all to think that file-sharing is a benign weapon of progress. Just like the West invading Iraq was supposed to be the unveiling of a new age of prosperity in the middle-east, digital file-sharing has also brought with it some unwelcome guests. These guests seek to abuse the new world of the internet for their own personal gain. Stealing things that don’t belong to them – without a single shred of guilt.

My opponent seeks to hide behind the debate subjects’ non-colloquial possibility, attempting to separate the idea of internet piracy from file-sharing. The two are symbiotic. File sharing is enhanced and popularised because of its’ ability to provide (for free) anonymous people with the means to acquire things that would normally cost them lots of money. Similarly, internet piracy is made possible because of the motivated interest the public has in file sharing. The two cannot be separated, and as such they brand each other with their characteristics. File sharing carries connotations of piracy because the two follow each other about, they are interminably linked.

I don’t believe the technical reality of file sharing is immoral, requiring punishment. But I do believe the worldly reality of file sharing requires policing, and when the rules are broken (presenting immorality), punishment is necessary.

Socratic Question -

SQ3. My esteemed opponent appears to consider illegal file sharing with something of a ‘Robin Hood’ attitude. Can my opponent comment on my suspicion that the position he holds on this subject is an eminently Socialist one?

I welcome my opponents response, and also their patience with my ‘humour’.

Parallex.



posted on Dec, 17 2009 @ 08:21 AM
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It’s a pirate’s life for me.

Ladies and Gentlemen, my opponent would like us to corral all file sharing into the narrow view of Internet Piracy. Frankly, you can make an argument that everything is immoral given the right context. But this is not what this debate is about, this debate is not about Internet Piracy, it’s about file sharing. To further prove that file sharing is a good thing and is beneficial to people everywhere, I give you the Creative Commons Deed. Below every single post on this website is a tab that is labeled “copyright and usage” If you click that button it will bring you to a page that explains Creative Commons and you will see the following image...



In this instance I used Chissler’s Opening to this debate as an example, had I used the OP on a different site, I would have had to include some additional information.

This of course is creative commons, it is because of this practice that ATS members are allowed to give us the news. It’s because of this practice that we are allowed to embed YouTube videos into posts. This is the heart of file sharing, the free exchange of information. Something that P2P networks have been built for.

This kind of creative freedom is what is right about file sharing. File sharing is not just stealing music or movies. It’s about content. But my opponent would argue that in fact file sharing is a gateway crime that leads one to all sorts of unimaginable crimes down the road. It simply is not the case, and its an over exaggeration by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

(Apparently the RIAA counts as an unbiased opinion on the matter if you believe my opponent)

But why does my opponent want to ignore the fact that file sharing consists of a lot more than just Internet Piracy? Why is my opponent ignorant of the premise of this topic? The legality of file sharing is not in question here. We understand that stealing is wrong. If I have a program that I wrote, and I chose to share that program with everyone for free, there is absolutely no moral implications to that act at all. I could upload it via limewire and people could start sharing that file at any time day or night without actually having to do anything. Thus more people could enjoy my program, and hopefully my company who may choose to sell the next program would already have a fan base. Thus thanks to my generosity and ability to create a free product that many people enjoy, the people that want to buy my next product would.


My opponent would like you all to think that file-sharing is a benign weapon of progress. Just like the West invading Iraq was supposed to be the unveiling of a new age of prosperity in the middle-east


Well, um... It kinda is like that.


SQ3. My esteemed opponent appears to consider illegal file sharing with something of a ‘Robin Hood’ attitude. Can my opponent comment on my suspicion that the position he holds on this subject is an eminently Socialist one?


The position I hold during this debate is on the “Con” side of the argument singularly. The debate is: File sharing is immoral and perpetrators should be punished under the law. So my position is that I do not feel that file sharing is immoral, and I don’t feel that perpetrators should be punished under the law. The idea of a Robin Hood mentality and the theory that file sharing is a socialist ideology is amusing. It’s fairly correct, in that it’s a means to disseminate information efficiently and cheaply across a large group of people. So in that context, yes, file sharing is a quasi socialist means to an end.

This debate is about morality of the situation foremost, and legality of it secondary. While I will attempt to focus on the fact that many different forms of file sharing exists, and that file sharing is not immoral, I can understand that an element of it exists that does present issues.

But Internet Piracy it is not. File sharing and Internet Piracy are two wholly different beasts. While they may be related, they are separate by one important factor. That factor is morality.

It is not immoral to download freeware, it is not immoral to download MODs for your video game. It is not immoral to imbed YouTube videos, and it is not immoral to use posts on other websites (while observing the CC guidelines of course.) All of these are examples of file sharing. The free exchange of information brought to you by the Internet and people who don’t live their lives for the fast buck.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is not a debate about Internet Piracy, it’s not about stealing copyrighted material. It’s about the free exchange of ideas and content.



Above is a perfect example of file sharing not being immoral. ATSMix (May it rest in peace) is available for free in the Itunes store. Free file sharing that has absolutely no moral problems associated with it, the companies that supply programs to allow this sort of legal activity should not be punished for the people who choose to abuse the system.

To blame P2P networks for the ills that have befallen the music industry is akin to blaming guns for shooting. After all, it’s a tool, tools can be used for good as well as nefarious means. But my opponent’s position is incorrect, file sharing is not inherently immoral, and certainly does not present a justifiable means for criminal prosecution. At most, I could understand a civil case where a person is found guilty of theft of a large amount of stolen intellectual property for the expressed purpose of personal financial gain. However the vast majority even of Internet Pirates, are in it for singular personal gratification and not financial gains.

(SQ1)Have you bought any song online?

(SQ2)Primarily, who’s obligation is it to secure your property?

(SQ3)Do you consider downloading add ons or MODs to games created by 3rd party users to be a form of file sharing?



posted on Dec, 17 2009 @ 05:29 PM
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I beseech the gods of ATS for a boon of 24hrs respite from the tourny. Real life has called and I must respond.

Parallex.



posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 08:30 AM
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Thank you for another unusual response Wukky. Very interesting.

However, I am perplexed as to why you are opting for a policy of ‘divide and collide’.


File sharing is not just stealing music or movies. It’s about content. But my opponent would argue that in fact file sharing is a gateway crime that leads one to all sorts of unimaginable crimes down the road.


It’s what exactly about content? The illegal transfer of copyrighted content? The motivation and reality behind piracy? I don’t believe file sharing is a crime, I have never said that. I have however pointed out that a problematically large proportion of file sharing does represent illegal activity, and as such is punishable under the law. I have provided the decks for the ‘gateway crime’ scenario, you have built the house of cards – You inferred the idea.


But why does my opponent want to ignore the fact that file sharing consists of a lot more than just Internet Piracy?


I have not ignored this fact – I agree with it. As I have previously stated. The guilt for ignorance is not mine, as your guilty conscience is projecting it onto me – you are ignoring the piracy which forms an integral part of the file sharing world.


Why is my opponent ignorant of the premise of this topic? The legality of file sharing is not in question here.


I understand fully the premise of the topic, it appears you are mistaken. I have made clear the case that morality forms the crux of any legal framework or code of laws. As such, legality of file sharing is very much the question here – you are denying this. The file sharing moral question exists in both worlds – lawful, and unlawful. You are denying this reality.

Secondly, you have completely ignored the concrete possibility that file sharing may have more than one inference, or meaning, or reality. Colloquially, the term file-sharing refers in part, to piracy.


Thus thanks to my generosity and ability to create a free product that many people enjoy, the people that want to buy my next product would.


Try taking that business / product to the Dragons’ Den. They are known for taking risks, but wishful thinking is not one of their faults. Your logic is unsound – philanthropy does not guarantee entrepreneurial success. Besides, this example is moot – it is perfectly legal to do this, I am not questioning that.


File sharing and Internet Piracy are two wholly different beasts. While they may be related, they are separate by one important factor. That factor is morality.


‘Divide and collide’, in its rawest form. They are related, and symbiotic in nature. At the current moment in time, with current technology, internet piracy and file sharing cannot be separated. Where there is one, there will always be the other. With humans having the ability to share digital media, the pirates will use this ability to disseminate illegal materials. The act of piracy encourages further development and evolution of the file sharing systems. The latest evolution in mainstream use is that of the Torrent system. In turn, granting new ways to pirate materials. Morality is the human factor, the choice of whether to pirate or not. Immorality is a black stain on any reputation. File Sharing is not overly immoral – but then it is not morally pure either. Can it then be said that file sharing is not immoral? No, this cannot be said.

I argue this point, because unless any given entity has a clear moral history / direction, the term ‘moral’ cannot apply – as the immoral stain has blackened its’ good name. As is the case with File Sharing. So technically, it is currently an immoral activity.


It is not immoral to download freeware, it is not immoral to download MODs for your video game. It is not immoral to imbed YouTube videos, and it is not immoral to use posts on other websites (while observing the CC guidelines of course.) All of these are examples of file sharing. The free exchange of information brought to you by the Internet and people who don’t live their lives for the fast buck.


Consent is keyword here. Consent for all of the above actions has been granted. This is not always guaranteed in the file sharing world is it? IF you try and suggest that it is, it will be a fallacy too far.


Ladies and Gentlemen, this is not a debate about Internet Piracy; it’s not about stealing copyrighted material.


So you keep trying to tell us, and fail every time. Just because you suggest it doesn’t mean it’s true, please tell me you’re not letting your convictions get the better of your reasoning? (A common ATS flaw.)


However the vast majority even of Internet Pirates, are in it for singular personal gratification and not financial gains.


I couldn’t agree more – but the latter does exist. As for your point about ATSMix, indeed these programs and utilities do exist. But as I said before, their content is consented – not stolen. Most popular P2P networks do not care whether material is presented with consent or not – most notably The Pirate Bay. It is this constant presence of ‘nefarious’ activity that gives file sharing the bad name, and provides the premise for this debate in the first place. It is undeniable.

Socratic Question Answers -


SQ1. Have you bought any song online?


No.


SQ2. Primarily, who’s obligation is it to secure your property?


This depends on which jurisdiction you are in, and under which code of law you are operating. Common sense dictates that the owner has a duty of care not to be careless, and the potential perp has a responsibility not to commit a crime. Under no circumstances does hacking into a DVD’s write-protect system present an argument that the producer has not protected its’ material well enough.


SQ3. Do you consider downloading add ons or MODs to games created by 3rd party users to be a form of file sharing?


No. I consider them to be a form of broadcast. The popular meaning behind sharing is a person to person (P2P) concept.

My Socratic Questions -

SQ4. Do you consider moral and immoral to be mutually exclusive situations?

SQ5. Do you contend that piracy will always be present whilst file sharing capabilities are available?

I look forward to my opponents 3rd response, upon which I will then submit my closing post.

With Kind Regards,

Parallex.



posted on Dec, 19 2009 @ 06:31 AM
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For my final reply before my closing statement I am going to show some misconceptions about file sharing and the morality issues that surround it.

Throughout this debate I have tried to show File Sharing for what it really is. I have also tried to show legal forms of file sharing that have no moral implications to it whatsoever.


File hosting services
File hosting services are a simple alternative to peer-to-peer software. These are sometimes used together with Internet collaboration tools such as email, forums or any other medium in which links to direct downloads from file hosting services can be embedded.


Source: en.wikipedia.org...

When companies started coming online that offered music, movies, games, and all manner of content for download for a fee, File Sharing lost much of it’s illegal and immoral problems. These companies offer these services to the public for a reasonable price and the public has responded in kind.

To answer my opponent’s Socratic questions


SQ4. Do you consider moral and immoral to be mutually exclusive situations?


By definition they are. In the reality of life it’s more like shades of gray.


SQ5. Do you contend that piracy will always be present whilst file sharing capabilities are available?


Yes, it’s an unfortunate problem that comes with technology. But that’s the price of doing business online.

But wait, there was my Socratic questions to respond to.



SQ1. Have you bought any song online?


No.


Well, that’s a shame, a lot of good new music is available online for a reasonable fee. Or even for free, it’s this kind of file sharing that allows people to try new music and allows bands to create a fan base thus gaining momentum to hopefully become successful.



SQ2. Primarily, who’s obligation is it to secure your property?


This depends on which jurisdiction you are in, and under which code of law you are operating. Common sense dictates that the owner has a duty of care not to be careless, and the potential perp has a responsibility not to commit a crime. Under no circumstances does hacking into a DVD’s write-protect system present an argument that the producer has not protected its’ material well enough.

Well in fact it does, this is the reason that software upgrades are important. As software ages, it becomes more vulnerable to theft. It’s akin to locking your doors with a twist tie. While it is true that any lock only keeps out the honest, it’s a step that copyrighted material manufacturers need to constantly think of.



SQ3. Do you consider downloading add ons or MODs to games created by 3rd party users to be a form of file sharing?


No. I consider them to be a form of broadcast. The popular meaning behind sharing is a person to person (P2P) concept.


But isn’t it? Someone has uploaded a file to a server, and others download that same file. Doesn’t this by definition equate to file sharing? It’s perfectly legal to do and it has no moral problems.

Now my opponent’s myopic idea on file sharing has put him in a corner. It has clouded his idea of what exactly file sharing is. While everything can be pushed to the point of immorality, the fundamentals of file sharing are quite benign, the idea behind file sharing is exactly what the Internet was founded upon, the free dissemination of information across a wide group of people.

Ladies and gentlemen, in this debate my opponent has failed to show conclusively that file sharing is inherently immoral. Instead, my opponent’s side of the debate has exclusively been to show the problems with Internet Piracy, which is not the focus of this debate and not the problems that we are to address.



Ladies and Gentlemen, this is not a debate about Internet Piracy; it’s not about stealing copyrighted material.


So you keep trying to tell us, and fail every time. Just because you suggest it doesn’t mean it’s true, please tell me you’re not letting your convictions get the better of your reasoning?


Of course not, as I have said before, while Internet piracy and file sharing are related, they differ in the important aspect of morality, which is the subject of this debate. Theft of copyrighted material is piracy. It’s a not so subtle difference. The point of my side of the debate has shown this to be quite clear.

While Napster.com was forced to shut down for a while because of copyright infringement issues, it has sense reopened as a legitimate file sharing site, with many many downloads available for a reasonable price, all perfectly legal and with no moral problems.

Now the question is, perpetrators should be punished under the law. Well file sharing companies offer a service, and it’s not that services problem whether or not users abuse international copyright law.


The federal district court in Los Angeles, in a decision affirmed last year by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, took a different approach, ruling that the file-sharing networks were not liable because their services were "capable of substantial non-infringing uses." The lower courts took that test from the Supreme Court's 1984 decision that absolved the Sony Corporation, manufacturer of the Betamax video recorder, of copyright liability for infringing uses that consumers might make of the product.

Source: www.nytimes.com...

We all know that driving is not a moral issue, but drinking and driving is immoral and dangerous. We all know that eating is not a moral issue, but excess eating is. While there is nothing inherently wrong with file sharing, the abuse of which, and the cross over into Internet Piracy becomes immoral.

Ladies and gentlemen, I rest, pending my closing arguments where I will tie all of this together for you. extra DIV



posted on Dec, 20 2009 @ 07:00 AM
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It appears that my opponent has failed to meet the 24 hour deadline for posting, so I will continue.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for following with us for this debate. During this debate it was important for me to show that not all file sharing is Internet Piracy, this is because this is the moral boundary between right and wrong. Many things as I have shown are considered File Sharing and most of these things aren’t immoral at all.

The debate topic was for all practical purposes a true or false question, and as we know from our days in school, a true or false question must be entirely true, if not, it’s false. This is what I have shown.

While my opponent as apparently has failed to prove that the debate topic is entirely true and thus has failed to make his case.

Ladies and Gentlemen, file sharing is to vast a idea to label all people who share information or content as immoral. After all, freeware is not immoral to download, neither is downloading songs that are free. In fact, artists use file sharing as a way to promote their own band. It’s in this way that file sharing is exposing people to new music and creating a fan base that will in turn make the fledgling band more successful. Finally, without file sharing, we on ATS would not be able to imbed YouTube videos or bring the news that many of us come to this site daily for.

In summation, file sharing is not immoral, and those that choose this benign form of information dissemination should not be punished under the law.

I would like to once again thank Chissler for setting up this debate, and my esteemed opponent Parallex for joining me in this debate, I hope that you all had a good time and learned as much as I have about file sharing and it’s impact on society.

Thank you, I rest my case.



posted on Dec, 21 2009 @ 05:52 AM
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(Closing Post Removed)

The 24 hour window elapsed and this post was forfeited once whatukno submitted his closing.



[edit on 1-12-2010 by chissler]



posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 04:56 PM
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Results...



This was an enjoyable debate, both members represented their positions well but the fighter who ultimately took the contest was Parallex.

Parallex's use of whatukno's own exhibit A link to counter whatukno's argument was the key to securing this win.

Thanks to both fighters for another fine debate.




Whatukno takes the win . I want to commend Parallex for the effort because of the side of the debate the member got . The fact that Parallex never clearly nails down what the reader should take file sharing to definition wise for the purpose of the debate , is crucial to the outcome. Parallex did a good job of rebuking Whatukno arguments but that isnt enough to win a debate .




I felt this was both a very good debate and also one that could have been much better. Both were spot on at times and then both allowed themselves to wander from the topic. However, the victor in this case was the one who stayed on point more than their opponent.

Both had strong openings. I liked the way Parallex opened and offered a strong description of the debate. whatukno followed suit with another strong explanation of how he saw it and it remains to be seen exactly how this will play out. Both are fairly even in the opening, however whatukno's usage of Socratic questions to control the debate early gives him the upper hand. Throughout the course of the debate though, I felt that whatukno spent more time resisting the topic at hand and trying to force it to remain within the brackets that he saw fit for the topic. Parallex did so as well to a certain extent, however did engage both his side and his opponents. And in my opinion, the definition that Parallex provided was a better fit.

Through this I thought whatukno was right on his heels the entire time and with the missing of the last post it seemed to leave me at a deadlock. But after reading the debate several times, I find myself convinced that from start to finish, Parallex was the better competitor on this debate. Missing a post in a debate is one of the biggest no no's you can be guilty of, however in the grand scheme of things I feel that his overall position and rebuttals to his opponent give him the upper hand. I give Parallex the win by a very thin margin.



 



Parallex wins and moves to the next round.


 
 


This debate is now open to comment from all fighters.

[edit on 1-12-2010 by chissler]



posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 11:15 PM
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Good job and congratulations on the win. Good luck in the next round








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