Debate:Is the use of copyrighted photographs without permission stealing?

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Yes! Half the pictures on Conservapedia should be deleted!

Not sure about "half" but I worry about letting users upload images without giving a source. --Ed Poor 21:40, 16 April 2007 (EDT)

No! Copyright law doesn't apply to us!

Unlike those godless liberals at Wikipedia, who delete any picture without copyright info. Czolgolz 15:18, 14 April 2007 (EDT)

liberals hate propery rights. Jimbo Wales is not a liberal though. Jaques 17:11, 14 April 2007 (EDT)

No, we just hate sweeping generalizations. Czolgolz 17:14, 14 April 2007 (EDT)

In US copyright law, fair use is actually a defence - if someone does sue conservapedia for copyright infringement, claiming 'fair use' doesn't let them get off. It just gives the chance for a very, very expensive legal battle. Basicly, it means that if some liberal organisation found Conservapedia using their copyrighted images, they could use it as an excuse to shut conservapedia down through legal fees or harassment. It has happened before - the Church of Scientology has been known to use the technique, for example. - BornAgainBrit


No, it is not "stealing," but it is copyright infringement which is against the law, and Conservapedia should not be engaged in it.

But it is not "stealing," because intellectual property is not like material property. It cannot be "stolen," because making a copy of it does not deprive the owner of the use of it. Nor is it stealing money from the owner, although in a loose sense the original owner may feel that way, because reducing someone else's earnings is not theft.

For example, suppose two gas stations catty-corner from each other both charge $2.69 a gallon and do equal amounts of business, and the station on the northeast cuts their price to $2.49 and takes away business from the station on the southwest, the owner of the station on the southwest may feel robbed, but he has not been robbed, or burglarized, or stolen from, because even if he uses the phrase "my customers," he does not own them.

This is still true even if the station on the northeast is violating the law (e.g. by using predatory pricing).

I make a point of this because in recent years, the music and movie industry has been using emotive words like "piracy" and "theft" in an effort to expand the scope of copyright protection far beyond that of what the Founding Fathers intended.

So, please, things by their right names. Copyright infringement, absolutely. Stealing, no. Dpbsmith 17:06, 14 April 2007 (EDT)

Your gas station metaphor does not hold up. Gas is not being stolen, just customers.

No, customers are not being stolen. That's the point. A gas station does not "own" customers. Dpbsmith 21:31, 16 April 2007 (EDT)

Say I got ahold of an advance copy of the new Harry Potter book and posted it online. Thousands of people download it and the publisher loses millions in royalties. Wouldn't I have stolen from them?

No. You would have done something illegal, unethical, and harmful, but "stealing" is not the correct word. Dpbsmith 21:31, 16 April 2007 (EDT)

As a librarian, I'm very familiar with copyright laws. And Conservapedia is breaking them. Czolgolz 17:15, 14 April 2007 (EDT)

Ah. A librarian. That means you buy one copy of a book and let dozens of people check it out and read it. If you hadn't done that, they would have been forced to buy a dozen copies (or go without). Surely the existence of libraries reduces the number of copies of books sold. Are libraries, then, "stealing" from publishers? No. Do publishers feel they are? Probably. Dpbsmith 21:31, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
No, you can buy one copy and have thousands of people read it, provided they are reading one copy. If I made copies and distributed them, that would be stealing. Czolgolz 15:44, 17 April 2007 (EDT)
P. S. Are libraries breaking the law? No, "right of first sale." Is Conservapedia breaking the law when it uses copyrighted photographs without permission, which it sometimes does? Yes. Dpbsmith 21:33, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
Related to this discussion is the fact that photographs of pre-existing works of art are not, in themselves, copyrightable. Though it could be argued that a compilation of such photographs as in a pictorial anthology or "coffee table" book could be copyrightable...but then unless you publish a significant portion of such a work it would likely fall under "fair use". Cite
Crackertalk 17:21, 14 April 2007 (EDT)

Making a copy of something does not "steal" the thing which is copied. Unlike literal piracy, giving my friend a copy of Microsoftw Office doesn't violate the law against theft. To steal is to take away something from someone, so that he no longer has it. (Actually, stealing a car and returning it is still theft, but you get my drift.)

I need to write about free software and the GPL. --Ed Poor 21:43, 16 April 2007 (EDT)

I believe that libraries pay a small fee to authors when their books are borrowed, at least in the UK.--CPalmer 10:20, 12 December 2011 (EST)


Yes, the distribution of copyrighted, except as fair use, and that is what Conservapedia is doing. Don't get me started about piracy, though. --Hacker(Write some code) 10:04, 15 April 2007 (EDT)