PIRACY: Jesus Did It

Link to larger size, creator and origin date unknown. Via Waxy, who adds:

Shortly after, the BFA (Bread & Fish Association) filed lawsuits against all 5,000 food-sharers.
To which I'd add:

Q: What is God's favorite filesharing service?
A: BitTorah.


  1. Can we get a little context, please? I mean I could dig up some relevance I’m sure… but that’s why I come here…

    1. Oooh, oooh, I got this one!

      daev: This is a scene from a story in the Biblical New Testament Gospels where Jesus takes some loaves of bread and fish from his disciples’ lunch and magically multiples them into enough loaves and fishes to feed 5,000 people.

      It’s posted with no context most likely because of Western Culture bias. The story would be pretty recognizable to anybody who even spent a short period of time in a Christian church, and possibly even familiar to a lot of people raised in European or American culture…just by osmosis.

      It both is and isn’t a great analogy for intellectual property piracy.
      IS because it’s literally about Jesus making copies of the fish and bread, and because the disciples were pretty cranky, at first, about having their lunch taken away.
      ISN’T because it’s talking about food, which is a little more fundamental to survival, and because it kind of skirts the issue of compensating artists.

      But I do like it.

      1. it kind of skirts the issue of compensating artists

        Well, two of the four accounts actually give a dollars-and-cents estimate of lost revenue for the catering industry, reporting that legitimate catering for the five thousand men would have cost 200 denarii (about eight months’ wages, according to the NIV translation).

        Mark 6:37, John 6:7

    2. “Can we get a little context, please? I mean I could dig up some relevance I’m sure… but that’s why I come here…”

      Jesus duplicated loaves and fishes much as ‘pirates’ duplicate files. (There’s a potential theological/legal argument that he was, in fact, the original creator and therefore entitled to do so, but that’s an anachronistic mess on several levels.)

    3. What context do you need?

      Jesus copied and distributed loaves and fishes, thus he violated the copyrights of the bakers and the fishermen. The disciples participated in this food-sharing network as well, so they’re also liable for contributory infringement.

      He also format-shifted water into wine and thus engaged in unfair competition with the vintners.

      The crucifixion was one hell of a DMCA takedown notice.

      1. “The crucifixion was one hell of a DMCA takedown notice.”

        That would make a great last line of a song verse.
        Just wish I could think of something else to go along with it.. :)

  2. Hah.

    In other news, I am pretty sure I recognize the series of kid’s Bible story books that image was taken from.

    I’m not sure what the name of the series is, but I do remember that, when they illustrated the healing of Naaman, they depicted leprosy as a bunch of white spots all over his body. Not unlike those on the ass of a baby deer. Deeply misleading. But, then, how does one accurately illustrate leprosy for a conservative audience’s small children?

    1. @Maggie:

      How to depict Leprosy for kids in mid-seventies children’s books.

      Maybe have the lepers’ Happy Jesus smiles falling off their faces?

    2. The biblical passages about leprosy don’t give a very complete impression of the disease. Have you ever met people with advanced leprosy? White spots don’t cut it.

      1. @Antinous: Re: leprosy

        I think it’s pretty well accepted now that the word that is translated as leprosy in the Bible does not actually refer specifically to Hansen’s Disease (what we mean by “leprosy” today), but to any skin disease — Psoriasis, Impetigo, Ringworm, etc., as well as Hansen’s. Medical science was not advanced enough in biblical times to be able to distinguish between these different skin conditions.

  3. There’s nothing wrong with copying fish … until some mega-corp registers the copyright on fish DNA.

  4. Pirate Jesus! Awesome! Can he have a fight with Ninja Buddha!

    @phoomp He’s just pissed at the mega-corps cause they stole his dad’s work!

  5. I don’t see how this was a “copying” of fish. The miracle described him breaking pieces off, and enough of each piece was able to feed thousands, with some left over. It is echoed in the verse, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger: and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” Of course, taking it literally means that he gave pieces so small that you wouldn’t be able to see much without a microscope. But scale is a big aspect in the biblical philosophy, such as the parable of the mustard seed: “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Marrying piracy to Jesus’ miracle of feeding thousands with a few fish and bread loaves is a fallacy.

    1. The point of the parable was to convey to followers that it takes very little of God’s offerings to satisfy.

      And I hate religion. (disclaimer)

    2. Yes, He broke up the loaves for ease of transfer and the bits reassembled themselves as whole on the leechers end.

    3. Of course, taking it literally means that he gave pieces so small that you wouldn’t be able to see much without a microscope.

      The Bible also describes there being 12 baskets full of leftovers afterward, so as told in the Bible, there was multiplication, not just people being sated with tiny morsels.

  6. I’ve long been of the opinion that this story is more a subtle plug for communism (the early Christians were extremely communal) than a miracle per se, a sort of “if everyone just takes what they need and shares the rest, we’ll all have more than enough” moral.

    Consider that the premise is just silly. Five thousand people follow Jesus to a remote valley to hear him preach, and no one thinks to pack a lunch? I’m certain not everyone did. I’ll even buy that some large percentage, maybe half, were too concerned about getting their relig on to bother with provisions. Most people these days can’t go on a half hour walk without their trail mix, bottled beverage, energy bar, etc, and soft as we may have become, back then they were keenly aware of where their next meal was coming from.

    After that, the miracle’s plain as day. If god himself is sharing his lunch with you, are you going to play the miser? Especially after he split everyone into groups of less than a hundred, where the guys hoarding their food couldn’t hide in anonymity. The basket came around, people took, people added, it left slightly heavier.

    Same result, no need for witchery. The real miracle was clever social manipulation of peer pressure.

    1. Consider that the premise is just silly.

      As opposed to the premises around most of the other stories in the bible? Logic-a-fying bible stories is a bigger task then you realize! :-)

  7. I believe there is also some mention of the importance of BitTorah seeders. Something about it being better to seed for a hoarder than nobody at all.

  8. Even better: With BitTorah, you know for certain that what you get is an exact copy of the original, due to numerous redundancies. Not one jot or tittle!

    The drawback is that you have to have at least ten peers, the transmission network takes a year to perform the copy, the copying doesn’t work with devices from any other provider, and system downtime is from Friday evening to Saturday evening.

  9. awesome! although i’m not sure he used BitTorah, I thought he was more of a SoulSeek kind of guy.

  10. While you unbelievers face the final blue screen of death,
    I will be safely raptured into offsite backup storage.
    Repent and reboot!

  11. No, no, it’s a teabagger parable: these are the blessed white folk whom it is divinely ordained that they shall have All U Can Eat bread, fish and wine. Now, about that chariot-driving welfare queen…

  12. Maggie Koerth-Baker #8

    The request for context (I’m pretty sure) was the same as mine, as in “filed law suit agains food-sharers”

    when I google fish lawsuit and food sharers, all i get is this post on many many blogs.

  13. The big difference I see with P2P is that this was a one-off event*. The gospel of John describes Jesus’ miracles as “signs”, pointing to something more important, rather than something to be replicated by everyone every day. It’s whan christians get into the latter line of thinking that they go off the rails into health and wealth type teaching.

    *Actually, not quite true. There’s a similar story back in the Old Testament in which Elishah plays the key role, and Jesus does it twice. The fun part is that the fewer loaves and fish there were to start with, the greater the number of people fed and the more left over afterwards.

  14. If you believe the story from the bible, you’ll also believe that Jesus owns the intellectual rights to the material being copied.

  15. For context:

    Mark 6:30-44 (from the English Standard Version)

    The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii* worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

    *A denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer

    So, by multiplying the loaves and fishes instead of sending his disciples into the villages to buy food, Jesus basically deprived local merchants of 200 denarii worth of business. While it’s hard (some would argue impossible) to compare the value of ancient currency to modern currency, some have estimated that a single denarius would be roughly equivalent in purchasing power to $20-$50 (£12-£30) in today’s money; so 200 denarii would be roughly equivalent to $4,000-$10,000 (£2,400-£6,000). I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the local merchants, and the farmers, bakers, and fishermen who supplied them, were a bit peeved at Jesus for depriving them of that much potential sales revenue.

    The principle is essentially the same as in file sharing: The apostles purchased enough bread and fish for their personal use; but then Jesus multiplied it and gave it away for free to a large crowd of people, thus depriving the merchants of potential sales, in much the same way that someone might purchase a music CD for their own use and then copy it and share the file with their friends so they don’t have to go out and buy it. (And it’s clear that Jesus did multiply the bread and fish; he didn’t just divide it up into tiny morsels which somehow managed to satisfy the hungry crowd. After the bread and fish were passed around, and everyone had their fill, they collected 12 baskets full of leftovers.)

    Does this biblical story prove anything about the legitimacy of file sharing? No; of course not. I doubt it was intended to. Instead, I suspect that it was presented merely as an illustration of the principles involved, with the objective of giving people something to think about and getting a conversation started. How is file sharing any different from what Jesus did? If file sharing is wrong, then isn’t what Jesus did also wrong? If not, why not? Some people might dismiss these questions as nonsense; but I think they’re worth considering, if for no other reason than as an exercise in reasoning about the issues involved in the file sharing controversy.

    1. It fits precisely as such an analogy: as Jefferson said, a man who lights his candle from the flame of my candle, deprives me of nothing.

      Costless multiplication of value why not?
      Just wait till the rights expire – oh right, in the USA copyrights effectively NEVER expire, do they?
      Oh well – maybe in the NEXT lifetime, things will be better.

      By which I mean, the next generation.
      We only live once! Or so I’ve been told, anyway.

    2. And it’s clear that Jesus did multiply the bread and fish; he didn’t just divide it up into tiny morsels which somehow managed to satisfy the hungry crowd. After the bread and fish were passed around, and everyone had their fill, they collected 12 baskets full of leftovers.

      Actually, it’s not clear at all: most translations have “divide,” which is the best translation of the Greek καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας ἐμέρισεν πᾶσιν, literally, “and he divided all of the two fishes among them.” ἐμέρισεν is the third-person aorist indicative of μερίζω, “to divide, distribute,” not “to multiply.” A rationalist look at the passage necessitates some kind of divine multiplication, but the Greek hauntingly, wonderfully doesn’t say that: it says simply that Christ divided the fishes, and leaves the how to the reader’s imagination. Better textual suggestion of the numinous divine there never was.

      1. I wasn’t making an argument based on the specific Greek verb used the text. I was making an argument based on the 12 baskets full of leftovers. Five loaves of bread and two fish, minus whatever portion 5,000 people ate, cannot produce enough leftovers to fill up 12 baskets, no matter how carefully they are divided, unless their quantity has also been multiplied.

        1. Indeed, but textual explication and commentary generally confines itself to the exact words of the text, not other words not in the text. The Greek directly says “divided, shared,” not “multiplied.” Again, the verse’s power comes from this mysterious sharing, which would seemingly necessitate a divine, supernatural multiplication, but which multiplication is never mentioned. So the impossibility you’re speaking about is presented subtly, as a fact, by the text: the mechanics of how this happens may be supplied by our imaginations, but the text never says “multiply.” The Bible, Hebrew and Greek, is full of such subtle textual moments.

          Close reading is far less miraculous than loaves and fishes, but I would nevertheless share this humble miracle with you of finding more in something than seems there on a casual reading: a sharing, even multiplying, of meanings….

          1. That would be well and good if this were a discussion about biblical exegesis. But this is a discussion about file sharing, using a particular story from the Bible merely for the sake of analogy. The validity of the analogy doesn’t depend on the precision of the hermeneutical method we use to interpret the text. It simply depends on whether or not the two situations being compared are similar enough so that what is true of one can be presumed to be true of the other. So, the precise Greek verb used here is irrelevant to the question of whether what Jesus did here is analogous to what file sharers do.

            Besides, the text specifically says that there were 12 baskets full of leftovers. If you tell me that you started with 2 apples and ended up with 5 apples, you don’t have to explicitly tell me that the number of apples you have “increased” — I can figure that out for myself. And it would be absurd to claim that I can’t know for sure that the number of apples you have increased simply because you didn’t say the word. Likewise, if we know that Jesus started with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, and he ended up with 12 baskets full of leftovers, you don’t have to use the word “multiply” for me to figure out that he somehow increased the amount of food he had. This is not reading into the text something that’s not there. It’s simply reading what the text clearly says using ordinary commonsense reasoning. That may not be sufficient for purposes of theology; but for an analogy about file sharing, I think it will suffice.

          2. If you’re using a biblical story to talk about something, that’s perforce biblical exegesis: an applied sort, but nevertheless. And since the copyfight, -share, -whatever movement spends so much time parsing the language of copying, sharing, etc., it’s absurd to think that the Christ story used here by way of analogy is resistant to the same wordplay.

            Christ’s sharing of the loaves and fishes is presented by the text as a sharing, not a multiplication. You simply can’t say that your commonsense reads it differently: that’s lovely and great and all, but it’s not accurate, not particularly useful or interesting, whether discussing the Bible qua the Bible, or using it for some broader purpose. And kindly reflect on how your commonsense is being yoked to a supernatural tale about a man who made something where there was nothing: commonsensically, commonsense fails when it approaches the numinous. We’re talking Jesus Math, not real math.

            Thank you for resisting my efforts to share something interesting: it’s been lovely exercising self-control with you.

            @redesigned: simple illiteracy did far more than Latin to ensure that folks couldn’t read the Bible. Catholic priests and their explciation of the Bible to their flocks was the best many could do. Luther’s Bible helped spread literacy by providing a mass-produced, printed text that folks could read and practice their German on, i.e., Luther’s Bible helped people to read by providing a simple text to practice with. It’s not like there were tons of literate Germans who couldn’t be bothered to learn Latin….

          3. you are oversimplifying the issues and missing the main points.

            the catholic church DID try and enforce strict control over the bible and considered it their intellectual property. they did this in a number of ways, by keeping it in latin, by trying to prevent unauthorized copies in latin, by claiming that only they were qualified to read and interpret the bible, and only they could absolve sin, etc. This WAS NOT simply a literacy issue.

            Martin Luther stated that the bible was not the Intellectual Property of the church, but belonged to every one. The church considered that idea heresy and ordered him to redact his proclamation.

            I’d read the history of the catholic church and Martin Luther before you get caught in some minutia of an idea you have about literacy at the time and hence missing the entire historical context. the catholic church was not secretive about their stance on the bible during this time period. They openly declared on a number of occasions the idea that the bible was their intellectual property alone and anyone trying to circumvent their claim or authority on it was risking execution and damnation.

          4. And you, humbly, seem to be inventing things wholesale. To wit:

            The medieval Bible was in Latin because the Church used the Vulgate Bible of Jerome, which was a Latin translation. It wasn’t about mystification or IP so much as tradition, intertia, etc.: they’d been educated using the Vulgate, so why change?

            Luther’s heresies were regarding indulgences, the remittance of sin et al.: he wasn’t making an IP argument, unless you’re speaking metaphorically. IP as a concept didn’t exist then the way it does now. Read the Ninety-Five Thesis (written in Latin, lol): you won’t find anything about Latin translations and how hard they are for poor Germanfolk to understand.

            Despite the inroads made by the printing press, many people were still illiterate at the time. Luther’s Bible was used as a literacy tool in many German towns and villages as much as a spiritual one: also, its German could be understood by the commoners, unlike the Vulgate’s Latin, which most couldn’t understand. Also, it helped to standardize German, paving the way for a national language, consciousness, etc. If anything, Luther was trying to magnify the authority of God’s word by translating it into a language that many could read, learn to read, or at least understand: it wasn’t a remix or a bite or anything like that. (Kind of like how copying a Beck album just results in more Beck, regardless of $$$ factor.)

          5. Wow, the lengths you’ll go to to convolute things to make some ridiculous sub point that completely misses the historical context. I have read Luther’s thesis, btw.

            Did the catholic church consider the bible their and only their domain? yes. did they allow unauthorized copies? no. did they allow translations into any common language? no. did they execute and declare eternal damnation on anyone who claimed that the bible belonged to the people rather then the church? yes. did they do the same to anyone who claimed that you could have a direct relationship with god instead of going through them? yes.

            The idea of Intellectual Property as we currently know if wasn’t formalized at the time, but the catholic church did indeed consider the bible their intellectual property in all the same ways and to the same affect. That isn’t a secret and isn’t debatable.

            no one said that his translation didn’t help spread literacy or standardize the german language. that has nothing to do with the church’s official stance at the time, and is a strawman point at best. same with the concept of ip. either you understand the parallels or you don’t.

            don’t concentrate on the molehill and miss the mountain or the splinter and miss the log.

          6. History is intricate and convoluted. One can’t distill centuries of confessional debate and disagreement to a simple laundry-list of what the Catholic Church defined as its “property.” At least, one can’t do this accurately. At the very least, you have not done this with any measure of accuracy, because such work is done through research and argument, not simple polemic.

            Check this link for a rather nice look at Biblical translations, including ones into common language, authorized by the Church, as early as the fifteenth century.

            Nuance, always nuance.

          7. actually tdawg, it looks from here like you’re digging in your heels while also losing the debate. It was in latin because only the chosen would be taught latin, and that was power.

          8. Respectfully, you’re incorrect. Jerome’s Vulgate dates from the fourth century, when Latin was quite common. Its persistence speaks to its durability, quality, and centrality to the Catholic Church during its most vital millennium, when it was the matrix of culture for a large part of the world, what would later become Europe. Remember that this same Vulgate was itself a vernacular translation when it was made.

            The Cambridge History of the Bible notes

            the vernacular appeared simply and totally inadequate. Its use, it would seem, could end only in a complete enfeeblement of meaning and a general abasement of values. Not until a vernacular is seen to possess relevance and resources, and, above all, has acquired a significant cultural prestige, can we look for acceptable and successful translation.

            Do with that what you will, but it seems that the Church’s preference for the Latin during the Middle Ages came as much from caring for the flock as from wanting to keep power consolidated among the Latin-learned. I understand that this might not be as appealing as visions of a Latin-spouting demonic-vampiric Roman Catholic clergy busily drinking the blood whilst deluding the souls of a benighted medieval peasantry, but my version, while rather prosaic, has as least the merits of being accurate and grounded in historical fact.

          9. There’s a huge difference between sharing something interesting and muddying the waters. The former is welcome; the latter not so much. If all you were trying to do was share your insights on biblical interpretation, that’s fine with me. I may not agree with your approach to hermeneutics; but I do find it interesting, and certainly have no objection to you sharing it. But I still maintain that it’s irrelevant to the issue under discussion — i.e. whether what Jesus did in this story is analogous to file sharing — and ultimately serves only to muddy the waters. That may not have been your intention; and I certainly hope it wasn’t. If not, then I do apologize for reacting as if it were. But, when you argue that the text doesn’t really say what it clearly seems to be saying merely because it doesn’t use a particular word that is most definitely implied by the context, then I have little choice but to conclude that — intentional or not — you’re muddying the waters.

          10. When you argue that the text doesn’t really say what it clearly says merely because it uses a particular word whose literal meaning doesn’t fit with implications you’d like to be there, then I too have little choice but to conclude that — intentional or not — you’re muddying the waters.

          11. Okay, I’ve been polite with you up to now; but you no longer deserve that courtesy. You, sir or madam, are a troll, pure and simple; and I will treat you as such from now on.

            And, by the way — while I’m honestly speaking my mind — your hermeneutical method is utter hogwash, clearly designed to obfuscate rather than illuminate the meaning of a text; and anyone who uses it is either a scoundrel or a fool.

          12. Too bad you needed to resort to abusive personal invective. The Greek text–and the centuries of textual and scholarship and criticism on which it rests, whose humble methodology across the years is little more, nothing less, than “Read the text”–stands regardless. Good day to you, sapere_aude.

            Canuck, I dunno, I wish my Greek was good enough to really “feel” the distinction you’re noting qua the Greek. There IS totally a difference. “Shared” is nicer.

            And what’s Jefferson’s candle? Never heard that one.

          13. Yes, thank you Sabik!

            My previous post was meant to be in reply to Tdawwg’s (if I didn’t bungle this again, this post will lead back to the Tdawwg post in question) where he inquired as the metaphorical candle.

            It’s the wee hours of the morning here and I’m just finishing up at work… brain is a little crispy at this point. My prose tends to get more prolix as I fade out!

            G’night, all.

          14. God-damn me for being a simple fool, I mis-spoke: I meant to say:”‘Divide’ or ‘distribute’ – as there is a difference…” – that is, I meant to fully accept your textual analysis of thew relevant passage.
            But, I don’t think it harms the analogy suggested by the image here under discussion.

            ‘Dis-tribute’…the opposite of “paying tribute”, or “paying the royalty”, right?

            Perhaps this parable is more “on point” than you realize.

            PS Good morning, Ito! Sun’s up…

          15. If you don’t use it, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities. For instance: the bible often mentions how many years people lived, without mentioning that they died. The mechanics of where they are now may be implied, but this verb choice opens up a number of possibilities.

  16. What was translated as “leprosy” from the Bible doesn’t actually correspond to what we accept in a modern context as “leprosy.” If you read the few areas where the symptoms were described, it really just comes across as more of any number of skin conditions.

    The white spots Maggie was referring to are actually about the only symptoms commonly listed among Biblical “lepers.”

  17. Does this biblical story prove anything about the legitimacy of file sharing? No; of course not. I doubt it was intended to.

    Only “doubt“? :)

    1. :-)

      Yeah; after posting that I realized that it sounded as if I was referring to the intention of the story in the Bible. Actually, I was referring to the intention of whoever created the “PIRACY (Jesus did it)” graphic above. I doubt that the person who created that graphic intended for us to conclude that the biblical story of Jesus multiplying loaves and fishes proves that file sharing is okay. (Whereas, I’m 99.99999% certain that Mark wasn’t thinking about file sharing when he included that story in his gospel.)

  18. Any nearby merchants couldn’t claim copyright/patent on the fish since the Bible clearly indicates they were invented by God, not fisherman, on the fifth day (Gen 1:20-21) and that he reassigned the rights to all men, not just fishermen (Gen 1:26-28).

    If one of the non-human, half-hawk, half-lion gods of the time had performed this miracle there might be a problem but Jesus, being human, was well within bounds.

  19. Q: What is God’s favorite filesharing service?
    A: BitTorah.

    BitTorrent is not a service. It’s a protocol.

  20. It’s worth pointing out that the Torah, Talmud, etc. are Hebrew-Bible, Old-Testament: the Torah are the books of Moses, the first five books of the Tanakh, or Hebrew Bible; the Talmud Rabbinical commentary on the same. Jesus etc. is a Greek-Bible, New-Testament thingy.

  21. Well, assuming the story is a tall tale on an actual event, one where many things were shared in a large group, the rich help the poor, everyone helps each other (Acts 2:44-45, “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.”) In this story, though, is trying to show Christ as the Messiah and not “this is a pretty good idea guys…”

    What, p2p?

    Someone has bread and fish, and the idea to share. Someone else, seeing this other person sharing what they have, in turn copies the idea and shares.

    Then all are sued by Christ for stealing his intellectual property.

    God’s favorite filesharing protocol is Eden.
    It’s shut down due to accusations of piracy/theft.

    1. I suppose I’m assuming that these bread and fish are ‘abundant resources’, and that the originators of filesharing claim their idea… it’s hot in my office and I got my analogy confused. damn.

    1. The fish and bread were his intellectual property, though.

      I realize you may be joking here; but, just for the sake of making what I believe to be an important point, permit me to respond to your statement as if you were being serious:

      The problem with this sort of response is that it assumes that “intellectual property” is a valid concept. But the validity of the concept of “intellectual property” is at the crux of the debate over file sharing. You can’t simply resolve a debate that hinges on the question of whether or not “intellectual property” is a valid concept by assuming that it is. Too many opponents of file sharing simply cite “intellectual property” as if those two magic words ought to settle the issue once and for all. They don’t even try to defend the idea of “intellectual property”. They don’t bother to provide a logical argument for why someone ought to have the exclusive right to control and to profit from the products of his or her own intellectual effort, that trump the ordinary sort of property rights that usually apply to tangible assets.

      If Abel builds a house and sells it to Baker, it becomes Baker’s property; and Baker is presumed to have the right to dispose of that property as she sees fit — even selling it for a profit, or giving it away. Once Abel sells the house to Baker, Abel’s property rights in that house are terminated; and Abel can no longer claim any right to control or profit from that property. But, if Abel writes, performs, and records a song, and sells a copy of that recording to Baker, the concept of “intellectual property” presumes that Abel still retains rights over that recording, even after it has been sold. Thus, “intellectual property” rights trump ordinary property rights. But why? What is the justification for this?

      You can’t just say the magic words “intellectual property” as if that settles the issue; because the validity of the concept of “intellectual property” IS the issue.

    2. That’s assuming the premise, right?

      And for a more complete exegesis:


      PS TDawwg:

      Good textual points!
      “Shared”, then,
      or is it “distributed”? As there IS a difference.

      How long that action took – sharing or distributing takes time – also counts for something, IMHO. There must have been some kind of orderly queue. But yet, like Jefferson’s candle, there was something for the next person in the queue, to light the next candle, as it were.

      I wonder if they allowed any cuts into line? Or if any people got too bored, or maybe skeptical, that there’d be any left at all by the time their turn would came, and thus decided to just cut out?

      Personally, I regret that the Hebrew texts of the New Testament, which must have existed at some point, are now unaccountably lost.

      1. Make that the original Hebrew texts of the New Testament; not the medieval translations from the Greek.

      2. Why do you assume that it was all written in Hebrew? By the time of St. Paul, weren’t they aiming for a wider audience?

  22. An even more interesting parallel is how the Catholic church put DRM on the bible by insisting that all translations be kept in a language undecipherable by the common person, latin. this effectively prevented the people from using, copying, understanding the bible directly for their own purposes, and kept them paying the church and gave the church ultimate power over them.

    Fortunately Martin Luther broke their DRM hold over the bible by translating it into the language of the people.

  23. If you tell me that you started with 2 apples and ended up with 5 apples, you don’t have to explicitly tell me that the number of apples you have “increased” — I can figure that out for myself.

    I told you not to take the axiom of choice.

  24. A> I take it as a poor joke, Okay.
    But the comments and associated
    rationalizations I find moronic. It’s a parable, twisting it, taking it literally and applying it to piracy is just plain arrogant, self serving. Some one missed the f-n point,…
    and I am NOT what you’d call religious by any means.
    Yet I find it some whatoffensive.
    B>Yes… it is a joke. I did not read the comments. I found the image and caption mildly amusing though.
    A>Yes, I think on the surface, taking for its self, humors.
    The comments got all philosophical, that is what I was commenting on. In which case, it probably never crossed their minds: Can they reprint this Image? (which came from some book, per comments). Think maybe their use, intent could be mangled, construed as an argument against their own cause, if ya want to get all philosophical. Ha ha, I must be bored.
    ==> sharing, Wikipedia, blah blah ….Still more loosely, “sharing” can actually mean giving something as an outright gift: for example, to “share” one’s food really means to give some of it as a gift.
    A gift, So I assume it’s yours to begin with.

  25. Isn’t the guy in this picture that’s being approached by the one wearing the red robe saying: ‘No, thanks’ ?

  26. The American president Thomas Jefferson, while ruminating on the difference between “stealing” ideas and stealing property, said (roughly paraphrased) “if you light a candle from mine, I do not lose the use of it, my candle shines no less”.

    The point being that property, real property, can be stolen, but ideas can at most be copied.

    I think equating illicit copying with theft is dishonest. It’s a slander, a duplicitous act at least as immoral as the deed which it decries.

    Jefferson was setting himself in opposition to Oliver Evans, the inventor of modern milling, who believed that a man had a right to his ideas for eternity, and that this right should descend to his heirs, and that the law should punish those who would profit from an idea previously claimed by another.

    It is through the sharing and spreading of ideas that man has brought himself from the state of a pinkish food product for bears to a being of such power that he can destroy his own planet from greed and a childish obstinacy.

    What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the Sun. There is a thing of which will be said, “Here, see this, it is new.” Nay, it has already been for ages which were before us, but there is no remembrance of those who have gone before, and neither will the later ones that will be have any rememberance among those who will be after them.”

    1. Thomas Jefferson to Isaac McPherson, 13 Aug. 1813: He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation.

      (It goes on in that vein for quite a while, actually, but this is the “candle” section that’s been aluded to.)

    2. “The American president Thomas Jefferson, while ruminating on the difference between “stealing” ideas and stealing property, said (roughly paraphrased) “if you light a candle from mine, I do not lose the use of it, my candle shines no less”.”

      Keep in mind that Thomas Jefferson supported copyrights.

      1. Keep in mind that Thomas Jefferson supported copyrights.

        Indeed he did, as do I.

        Limited copyrights, granted by law, in recognition that no such natural right exists or can exist, and only to the minimum degree necessary “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts”.

        Nothing wrong with that. Seven years on verbatim printed material (with exceptions for personal and family use, educational use, literary criticism, parody, satire, and courtroom use, of course) seems reasonable.

  27. I’m not a Christian, but I am a software developer, and please don’t try to legitimize piracy with a ‘Jesus did it’ argument. The major problem comes from the fact that it takes en enormous amount of time and effort to create the software you use. We, as software developers, have to eat and pay rent like everyone else. The ethic of “everyone gets it for free” doesn’t work for us because it means we end up either having to work for your benefit (and you don’t give back to us, meaning we can’t be properly compensated for our work or pay our bills) or it means we go bankrupt and go find something else to do that pays our bills (which is bad for us both). It’s hard to have everyone throwing around these “I should get it for free” arguments when, from our perspective, it translates to “I should benefit from your work for free. I don’t really care about giving back in kind. I don’t really think about whether or not you can pay your bills.”

    1. Jeez, what software developer in this day and age is going bankrupt? We’re in demand! All over the place! And our biggest weapon is ideas, and there’s no better way for ideas to prosper than to share them and absorb other peoples. When it comes to software development, sharing is where it’s at.

    2. If you demand unreasonable legal protections for your work (as the RIAA and MPAA are doing) or use technical protections that inflict unreasonable burdens on your customers (such as DVD tracks that can’t be skipped) your customers will feel justified in ripping you off, and they will do so.

      I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I’m saying that’s what happens. We have to acknowledge reality even when we don’t like it.

      But in my experience, if you ask for reasonable compensation, you will get it. I have been writing software for more than 30 years and I haven’t had any trouble feeding my family. Of course what you write has to be worth buying – Linus Torvalds has never charged anything for his software, but it’s value is so high that people pay him anyway. Same with Andrew Tridgell – he wrote a better copy command (rsync) and people send him pizzas from all over the world.

  28. if jesus is God, who did he pray to, himself, better still why did he bother? in fact if jesus is God when he says on the cross my god, why hast thou forsaken me? he is in actual fact lying, because he clearly cannot forsake or leave himself!!!!the same goes for all the drama with the bloody sweat and general appearance of stress as depicted in the bible,as he would know if he was god that he was able to rescue himself out of the situation, herby rendering null and void any need for stress, that is to say…the account is proof of jesus lying??
    finally on the subject of piracy,,,freely you have recieved freely you should give! go and broadcast(speadshare) the goodnews of the kingdom of god to all the inhabited earth….(all languages, showing a [patent needs for translation(breach of romes copyright)so you have there two examples of a christian directive to both plagarise (illegal copying, and theft of copyright)and free distubution of materials intellectual and literal….do i really need to go on?

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