Response to Mangagamer Header
Response to Mangagamer
(Summary Part 2)
This is a summary of the 2nd half of a response I wrote to Mangagamer's lawyer in their C&D takedown of DC3 fan translation. So this is not the exact letter, it's just a summary of the ideas, modified for this page. It's actually relevant to all fanTL and not necessarily just dealing with MG. And I think it is a good representation of my position on copyright so I retyped it.
Part 1 is here.
This is a summary of how I argued it to MG's lawyer:

These advantages (copyright) I mentioned, is in the handing out of exclusive rights to the artist to copy & distribute one particular work. An exclusive right is simply an euphemistic way of saying the destruction of everyone else's right to copy in order to give the artist an economical advantage, let me explain. So an exclusive right, is not the same as a natural human right. Statutory rights work by necessarily rewriting other people's real rights.

So say for example:

My legitimate copy of Da Capo III is sitting here on the shelf in front of me. Everything in the box is mine. Including the DVD. The DVD is a physical object and I have a physical property right in the DVD. Here when I say physical property right, I mean that I am justified in the use of (sufficient) violence to thwart any attempts by anyone who dares to intrude on my exclusive use of this object. And that moral justification exists outside of legislature. It is before any state legislations factor in to the protection of these rights, before there is even law, I was already entitled to the full use my physical disc in any way I like, be it to play it, to break it, to play frisbie with it, or to print the data on it onto another disc and then give it out to my neighbour (because the 2nd disc is also my property). Outside of legislature, I am already justified in the use of violence in defence of this piece of property, because it is my property. And that includes my right to copy the disc.

Now enter 18th century copyright

Now one of my rights in my physical property, the right to copy, is denied, because a law created by legislature that steps in and explicitly takes away those rights that I had in my disc. But not just one right. A total of six rights are taken away (i.e. copy/distribute, derivative work, sell copies, perform in public, display work publicly, & audio transmission, USC Section 17, chapter 1, para 106). The argument that I want to make is that copyright is necessarily the rewriting of the customer's real physical property rights (in their purchases) so as to give an economic advantage to the artist or publisher, and therefore, constitutes theft. For all statutorily-created rights work by necessarily rewriting other people's real rights. Either we fully respect real physical property rights, or we rewrite real physical property rights to make way for copyright. There is no in between. [see Thomas Paine's Rights of Man]

We are all born with the right to copy – today as well as prior to 1709. It is merely a law that says otherwise, that this right should be annulled and held, by exclusion, in the hands of “copyright holders” for their commercial exploitation. It is not that people abuse copyright, and are even now, trampling on the author's humanity into non-existence, but that copyright abuses people. In fact, you can deduce this in just a couple of sentences:

“Copyright grants its holder certain rights.”
What rights does copyright grant to the holder?

“The right to produce copies or reproductions?”
No, the holder already can do that. He does not need the government to tell him that he can.

“The right to make adaptations and derivative works.”
No, again the holder already can do that.

“The right to perform or display the work publicly?”
Again, this isn't a right being granted to the holder, he is permitted to perform the work as he sees fit. None of these rights are granted to the holder by copyright law; they exist independently. What copyright law does is take away the rights of everyone else to do these things.

That is why an exclusive right is really just an euphemistic term for saying “exclusive privilege” (i.e. they are privileged with the power to suspend your rights). I make the moral argument that I have a right to improve on my own purchased copy of Da Capo III, and then share those improvements to whomever I wish. But that these rights have been temporarily annulled by the state for a default total of the artist's lifespan + 50 years.

Copyright vs. Freedom of Speech

The last argument I make is that freedom of speech is incompatible with copyright. Quoting the First Amendment to the United States Constitution:

“Congress shall make no law… abridging the (people's) freedom of speech, …”

Notice that it does not say, “Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise or abridging the freedom of speech, unless someone wants to repeat someone else's speech.

Stopping people from repeating each other's speech IS abridging the freedom of speech. So these people cannot even obey the very first law in their lawbook. [See No Law: Intellectual Property in the Image of an Absolute First Amendment]

Questioning Intellectual Property

“Intellectual Property” law is not an inherent natural law, it is a
"product" of human design, it wasn't here "before the beginning
of time" like property was and we just had to articulate it and
write it down as a law. Unlike real physical property law, it was
designed by a few people and then forced upon the rest of us.
In fact property exist even among animals, they can't articulate
(they can't talk) they certainly can't understand it, but try to take
something away from a dog and he will defend it because it is
his property. The same was true for us. Before we evolved
into homo sapiens, our ancestors could neither speak
nor articulate their "thoughts", but they already had
the concept of property because that was the only
way to achieve peaceful coexistence. If something was scarce
and rivalrous, it was designated an owner and it was shared only under the "blessings" of this owner and that it can be exchanged for other property and they did this even though they didn't understand any of the concepts behind their actions.
We consider theft a crime, not because of the "ten commandments", not because the "people who wrote the law" said it shall be like this, but because it was a law long before we could articulate such a thing as law much less write it down on paper. This is why we tolerate and (most of us) accept the confiscation of unlawfully obtained property because it doesn't disrupt the peace, it actually makes the peace more stable.
This is why the majority of the internet does not accept "Intellectual Property" (even though they say they do), this is why there are so many "thieves" out there downloading music, movies, books, software. These people are doing it because they "know" it does not disrupt the peace, they "know" it is something we can do without injuring another individual, and if we injure nobody then we are not disrupting the spontaneous order and consequently we are not disrupting the peace.
When a large majority of the population doesn't care for some "law" and/or they care about it only because of severe punishments, it is not law at all, it is just some bad and counterproductive command from the "authorities" forced on us in order to serve the interests of some groups at the expense of other groups. Real laws are those respected by the large majority even without the threat of punishment from the government – only a small minority (the criminals) need to be forced to respect a real law, that is why we call it law, because the large majority "know" it emerged in order to save the peace, not designed in order to serve somebody's interest.

>>> Next: Objections