Rick Falkvinge: Copying something outside the monopoly channels is not “taking without paying”. It is manufacturing.

The third misconception is that violating the copyright monopoly is just like “walking into a store and taking things without paying”. This argument, which is wrong on every possible level, is inexplicably still heard 25 years after the public debate started.

Making copies isn’t taking anything in the first place. You are not taking anything without paying, you are manufacturing something without paying the monopoly holder. This is completely different conceptually and morally.

When you are making a copy of media that is under the copyright monopoly, you are not taking property from anybody else. You are using your own property – your computer and gadgets, presumably – to manufacture a copy of a file. That’s not “taking” anything. That’s manufacturing something using your own time and resources. Those are two completely different concepts.

You are not taking something without paying. You are manufacturing something without paying protection money to a monopoly holder, which sounds much less wrong than “taking” things. When using proper language, it becomes all the clearer how this monopoly is in all the trouble it should be in.

It is all in the language. Compare the following four sentences:

  • “He downloaded a copy of Avengers for free.”
  • “He got a copy of Avengers without paying for it.”
  • “He manufactured a copy of Avengers for free.”
  • “He made a copy of Avengers without paying for it.”

Rick Falkvinge