Anon wrote:Yes, but Google and TPB operate in completely different jurisdictions.
I think I follow this, but does copyright or property law operate in different jurisdictions in the same way?
What do you mean? There are international copyright treaties, but they only apply to the extent as to how member states formulate their own copyright laws. While you will have at least the bare minimum of protection as set out in the treaties in each state, those protections are very minimal. It is up to the member states to implement them individually. So while it is true that microsoft has as much protection in Sweden as it does in the United States WRT copyrighted code, it is up to the Swedes as to what protections they extend beyond those in the copyright treaties.
Vendors and channels are at the heart of the issue, as far as I can tell, and what is and is not appropriate behavior for vendors and channels. A seemingly more appropriate comparison would be to talk about a gun dealer that doesn't vet customers. But even then it's not apples to apples. Maybe better would be the hypothetical software store that channels both legal and pirated copies of non-malicious software, or the music store that channels both legal and pirated copies of music. At least then we could get back (again) to the discussion of whether or not "pirated" is even the appropriate term.
To be honest the gun dealer is a better match. In running a software shop, you have to actively vet everything that you sell. There simply is no other way to sell software. Therefore if you sell pirated software, you had to actively put it up for sale.
This is different to the gun dealer and TPB. In both of these scenarios, the provider only provides a raw tool, that in and of itself is not illegal. While some individual users may use these tools to commit illegal acts, given that the providers have not actively vetted their users (in the way the software shop has vetted the software they sell), they cannot be held accountable for what users do with the tools they provide.
Since we've not so far settled that one to everyone's satisfaction, it's not clear to me how we'll manage better in this case. Some people plainly think pirating of so-called intellectual property is OK. Some clearly don't. Where's the common ground for intelligent discussion of even the legal issues involved?
The thing is that the argument is more about accountability than copyright infringement itself. Is there at least one copyright infringing file being shared on TPB? Yes. Did the admins of TPB actively allow it through? No, as their tracker is open and thus anyone can use it for whatever purpose. So their service is being used for bad things, but they don't know about it. If they are to be held responsible, then so should ISPs for not actively vetting their customers usage, Google for not actively vetting their database, and gun dealers for not actively vetting how their customers use guns.
Is google a separate case? Yes, but that is no a fair defence as they operate under separate jurisdictions. Google complies with DMCA because it is in the united states. TPB does not comply with DMCA because they are not in the US, and hence DMCA is not applicable to them. They cannot be held to the same standard as there is nothing compelling TPB to do so. However what they do is the same in that they both point users towards content that they are looking for.
The key is that they knowingly aided people in committing a crime. Google doesn't knowingly help people break the law.
How does Google not knowingly point users towards copyrighted material, yet TPB does so?