[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]
The purpose of copyright, according to the Constitution, is to “promote the progress of science and useful arts.” Exactly how interfering with freedom of education is supposed to do that is a bit of a puzzle.
Particularly egregious is the argument that noncommercial copying is really commercial copying because if it weren’t provided for free, then a lot of people would probably be willing to pay for it. One could use the same argument to prove that all sex is prostitution.
There’s also the argument that non-commercial copying is “really” commercial because of the ad revenues that come from the sites running the copying.
However you’ve also ignored the legal rationalizations that are used to go after non-commercial copying. I don’t have the exact court case, but the government attempted to prosecute non-commercial copying 10 years ago and failed because it was non-commercial. Therefore, legislation was passed which allowed them to say no copying is non-commercial because the software itself is sold for a price and therefore trading it is equivalent to trading actual money.
But the case in question has no ad revenues (it’s an internal university site) and it’s not about copying software (though the same argument could be made).
That’s a good way of looking at it, Roderick, with the prostitution analogy.
To what “software” are you referring, Anon73? I’m really not sure what you’re saying.
To what “software” are you referring
The court case in question concerned copying of software. The conclusion was so laughable it was hard to believe, but they seriously said in court documents that since idea/information X is sold, therefore acquiring X is equivalent to acquiring money (or ‘stealing’ in the case of copyright). It’s not much of a leap to use the precedent if they wish. Of course this was a US case and I don’t know what legal mysticism is used in other countries.