Why people have no respect for the law

“Piracy” is rampant (and by piracy here, we mean copyright infringement, not the actual killing of people and stealing of material goods, which is what real piracy is and always has been), and the mega-corps are pushing for more laws, but laws don’t matter because people have no regard for the laws. And why not? Well, I think this hits it on the head:


By the end of the day, John has infringed the copyrights of twenty emails, three legal articles, an architectural rendering, a poem, five photographs, an animated character, a musical composition, a painting, and fifty notes and drawings. All told, he has committed at least eighty-three acts of infringement and faces liability in the amount of $12.45 million (to say nothing of potential criminal charges).50 There is nothing particularly extraordinary about John’s activities. Yet if copyright holders were inclined to enforce their rights to the maximum extent allowed by law, he would be indisputably liable for a mind-boggling $4.544 billion in potential damages each year. And, surprisingly, he has not even committed a single act of infringement through P2P file sharing.

When an average person on an average day breaks the law so many times, it has a numbing effect. It becomes apparent that the law is broken. Yet our politicians, firmly in the clutches of big business, don’t do anything to make the laws reasonable to the point where people will comply. They instead pass stricter laws which increase the likelihood/amount of our violating the law, which only serves to increase our disdain for the law.

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