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I Don't Actually See En-Masse Illegal Activity As Ideal

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Thundery wintry showers

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Some people, after seeing my contribution to threads relating to copyright, might be under the impression that I think people should be allowed to perpetuate illegal activities.

In reality, I don't ever take that stance on legal issues, on the contrary I think "lawlessness" tends to be unregulated and potentially dangerous. What I do take issue with, though, is over-restrictive rules, and hence I tend to take the stance that they should ideally be relaxed, and that in the meantime I don't object to a bit of civil disobedience.

It's this perspective that propels me into preaching "copying isn't the same as theft". Some acts of copying [i]are[/i] strongly analogous to theft, but when we come to defining what is "Fair Use" and what isn't, we're inevitably going to end up with very limited "Fair Use" if we define the pros and cons of copying in terms of those of theft. I will admit to having committed acts of "casual copying" over the years but I feel confident that I haven't bought less products as a result. It may be stating the obvious here, but it's remarkable how often this is overlooked: copying is only a bad thing if it results in people buying less than they otherwise would. (I don't "do" peer-2-peer file sharing though, as I believe this practice mostly does result in people buying less, with honourable exceptions existing, but being few and far between).

I could say a similar kind of thing about various other common legal issues- road traffic offences are the other major one (some people regrettably received a rambling message from me recently about my concerns over ever-tightening "road safety" restrictions as a sneaky way of discouraging car use). I don't want to see a lawless society but I also believe that "what's legal isn't always right".
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