The smart way to download copyrighted torrents is to do a “hit and run,” that is as soon as you get what you need, you stop seeding the torrent. Besides using up your bandwidth, seeding a torrent means that your IP address is constantly being broadcast to the world and increases the likelihood that law enforcement would choose to make an example of you. (Of course they can only make an example of a tiny minority of torrent downloaders, because there must be millions of people in the United States alone who have participated in this activity.)
Of course, if everyone followed my “smart” advice, that would kill torrent sites because nothing would be seeded and you wouldn’t be able to download anything. So why to people seed torrents? Either (1) they don’t realize what they are doing because the default behavior of the torrent software is to seed the torrent after it’s downloaded; or (2) they are being good Samaritans. And I think there’s some irony to the fact that people who feel they are doing a good deed for their fellow man are actually viewed as criminals by the government and the big media corporations.
Everything I wrote above goes double for the people who actually create torrents and post them. Posting torrents seems like something that would attract extra attention from the authorities. There are some torrents out there in which the posters really look like they put in a lot of work for no compensation other than feeling good about helping their fellow man obtain free stuff. Although I suppose it’s not so dissimilar to my unpaid blogging.
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You don't understand the difference between creating your own content and giving it away and giving someone else's content away without their permission? I would never use a torrent site for the same reason I would never steal from a book store: stealing is wrong. Do you not agree? Or do you not think there is any objective morality, and all that matters is the chance of you getting caught?
I don’t really see that I addressed this question one way or the other in this post, before you asked the question. But thanks for asking.
Of course I understand that basis for the distinction. I could ask back, you mean you don't understand the difference between property that physically exists and can’t easily be reproduced (like a barrel of crude oil or a plot of land), and something that exists only virtually and can be copied infinitely for free (such as a digital music file)?
concept implementation of intellectual property is just a near-arbitrary collection of laws which have been heavily influenced by lobbyists for big corporations and other value transference interests. Refusing to share information could just as easily be seen as petty and greedy rather than a valid protection of “property” rights.
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The cross-out is because yes, I am not stupid, I know that the theory behind intellectual copy is that it encourages creative works and R&D. Would a drug company invest $1 billion in a developing a drug they couldn't make a profit from it? Not likely. Although the profit motive means that we have zillions of drugs for treating erectile dysfunction, and not so many for treating life-threatening conditions that only affect a small number of people.
With respect to entertainment media, one has to imagine if the world would be a better or worse place if there were no copyright protection for digital files, or if the copyright protection were a lot shorter (say only for a few months after the release of a movie). Perhaps movies might have a few less special effects, and the big actors and actresses would make $25/million year instead of $50 million/year. I could live with that.