J K Rowling and other bestselling authors took on SCRIBD, and the Times of London Online reported sympathetically.
On a Copyright Alliance blog, a commentator suggested that President Obama's gift to The Queen of England may have set an unfortunate example of piratical behaviour.
How about the Queen? Should she have to give her Ipod back? Technically what she did is infringement!
Another interesting discussion of infringement
Apparently, there is a report that someone at the prestigious TED conference has analyzed morality and petty theft, and the conclusions may tend to be rather depressing.
If I read the argument correctly, humans are hardwired to cheat and steal if they think they can get away with it, especially if they know someone else who does so.
When I started teaching, it wasn't easy to steal copyrighted material. Those were the days of carbon copies and the Banda machine which you rolled to press out glorified and very messy copies one at a time, and before you could do that, you had to use an old fashioned typewriter, and type every character. Your time had to be worth very little for piracy to make economic sense!
Now, photocopiers are everywhere, and they probably do not come with the same warnings that are stuck on FedEx Kinkos machines for the public to use. "Copying Is Illegal" is printed large on materials intended for school use, and teachers copy the materials, warnings and all, and give them to children. A generation has grown up honestly believing that, if you don't have the budget, it is fine to copy and share, and nothing bad will happen.
What a difference 25 years make! Where will we be (morally) in another 25 years, assuming that Nostradamus was mistaken, and the world doesn't end in 2012.
Will there be an entertainment industry? Will it be like ancient Rome again, with the Emperors responsible for putting on mass entertainment (free) to pacify the masses and deciding --based on brutal popularity polls and Imperial whim-- whether we are paid and how much, or whether we are put to death for not being appropriately amusing?
Also, what will happen with regard to the law, and theft? If Robin Hood were King of England, would he tolerate several million lesser Robin Hoods all over the merry realm, making up their own minds who had more than their fair share? If theft becomes a matter of interpretation... some sorts of stealing are acceptable... well, it won't be like feudal England.
Bring back the pillory and the stocks! (And the rotten, soft vegetables. I wouldn't want to hurt anyone).
PS. For those artists and writers and musicians who want their copyrighted work taken down from "file-sharing" sites, look at the Footer of the site in question for words such as "Copyright". That's the text link to find out what their requirements are for a "Take Down Notice". Usually, you will need a screen capture, and dual processor so you can have two windows open at the same time. You also need an ISBN. Not all works have ISBNs.
You also need an email account that suggests that you are the copyright holder. This, too, is a problem these days.
Here's the form of words that one site requires:
Pursuant to 17 USC 512(c)(3)(A), this communication serves as a statement that:
1. I am the exclusive rights holder for [TITLE OF WORK] ISBN [OF WORK], the titles of copyrighted material being infringed upon, which were published [DATE OF COPYRIGHT/DATE OF PUBLISHING];
2. These exclusive rights are being violated by material available upon your site at the following URL(s): [GIVE THE URLS TO THE DOWNLOADS AND TO THE PAGES OFFERING YOUR WORKS]
3. I have a good faith belief that the use of this material in such a fashion is not authorized by [YOUR NAME] the copyright holder, the copyright holder's agent, or the law;
4. Under penalty of perjury in a United States court of law, I state that the information contained in this notification is accurate, and that I am authorized to act on the behalf of the exclusive rights holder for the material in question;
5. I may be contacted by the following methods
[GIVE YOUR NAME, ADDRESS, PHONE NUMBER, EMAIL ADDRESS]
I hereby request that you remove or disable access to this material as it appears on your service in as expedient a fashion as possible. Thank you.
Please be aware that if you send a take down notice, the site is likely to post a note telling the world that you were the person who requested that the download be removed.