[pp.int.general] Correct word usage for PP.

Boris Turovskiy tourovski at gmail.com
Mon Apr 11 00:46:51 CEST 2011

Ahoi NingúnOtro,

> Good, I did not like to use some of your own medicine, but I knew it
> would hurt good enough to make you understand. Please do not think about
> me as condescending just because I knew it would be effective.
Let's go to the meta level for a moment: what are my aims when I
participate in a controversial discussion? There can be basically two
(apart from receiving and thinking over new information should there be
some, which I consider self-obvious):
* To convince my direct opponents of my viewpoint;
* To convince the spectators of the discussion of my viewpoint and/or to
dissuade them from joining my opponents'.
These two goals can either go hand in hand or not. In the first case -
when I try to do both - a moderate and respectful approach is indeed the
only way to go, as an offended opponent will most surely not listen to
my arguments. In the second case, however - when I have no intention of
convincing my opponents of anything as I deem them hopeless - it is OK
to supplement argumentation with irony, sarcasm, and direct attacks on
my opponents, as long as they hit the right target.
To bring an example which is probably familiar to many of us: When I go
to a public discussion with an ardent defender of the current copyright
system, I don't suppose that I'll be able to convince them of my
positions. Thus, I use all the polemical statements I can think of to
discredit them, as my goal is to make them look bad and thus strengthen
my position, not to come to some sort of agreement. If, on the other
hand, I participate in a public discussion in an academic round where I
know that we'll try to really understand each others' position, I remain
factual and avoid making harsh statements just for argument's sake.

Returning to my style in this discussion - I don't think it is possible
to convince my direct opponents of my position, so I do not limit my
postings to factual arguments but also make ample use of other kinds of

> I'm sure that the wiser one is the more one tolerates from
> others, but not trying to respect the minimal safety limits in this can
> rapidly cause any group to disband, no matter how good and urgent the
> goals they chase.
I agree, that's why I hope the new PPI Board will implement the
splitting of mailing lists I've been advocating, so as to allow those
who take pleasure from participating in lengthy flame wars to lead them
on a list which those who don't enjoy this kind of communication won't
need to read;)

>> Firstly, I also have a long-term strategy. It doesn't include promoting
>> instruments (like software) or even cultural achievements to a sacred
>> status.
>> Secondly, I happen to know some things about linguistics, and the FSF's
>> argumentation in that field is depressingly primitive.
> Please elaborate, I'm all ears, and I might not be the only one
With pleasure:)
As to 1: I share - sorry for the pun - the idea that being allowed to
share is a fundamental right. I do, however, strongly oppose the idea
that making money (through direct selling and other ways) out of sharing
the products of other people's work without their consent and without
paying them is a fundamental right also, and actually, I consider it to
be something that should be prevented. The right of the author of a work
to define what may be done with the work should be limited compared to
the current situation (e.g. it should not include the right to prohibit
non-commercial sharing), but it should not be abolished, especially the
rights which now fall under "moral rights" (like attribution of
authorship and protection from plagiarism).

As to 2, I'll take the entries apart one by one:

- "The word creator may invoke allusions to a deity..." - I admit that
this statement may be valid for the USA where Richard comes from and
which has, according to various studies, a much deeper religious
consciousness in the population than, for example, the Europeans. Thus,
while the advice may be sound for texts directed at American listeners,
it is bizarre for an international movement. While we should definitely
not use the term "creator" when talking about publishers and the like
(and I don't think any Pirate would do that), there is no reason not to
use it to describe somebody who has created something.

- "Protection implies preventing destruction and suffering..." - that's
a statement with no support whatsoever. Protection is, in the widest
sense, prevention of something negative or upholding of something
positive, therefore "copyright protection" is a fit description. As
"protection" itself does not have moral connotations, it can very well
be used in our own argumentation, for example in the statement
"copyright protection protects the media industry's business profits
rather than the authors";)

- "The word consumer alludes to consuming the actual product..." -
that's again factually false. The word "consumer" is indeed derived from
the idea of consumption, but the object of consumption is immaterial (in
economics speech, it is "utility"; in more natural terms you may call it
"pleasure" or something like that). It is absurd to assume that anyone
physically consumes a TV or a computer or a navigation device, they all
are nonetheless rightfully called "consumer electronics" as the person
using the devices receives something positive from using it.
The argument brought forth in the second part - that "consumer" assigns
a narrowly passive role for those it is used to describe - is much more
valid and indeed, the new opportunities to create own works turn more
and more consumers into "prosumers" (producer+consumer). While we should
keep that in mind and avoid talking about "consumers" in situations when
the creation of derivative works is actually a significant factor, but
there is no reason to avoid the term completely.

-  "Software industry makes people think of factories..." - The word
"industry" is long past the stage where it described smoking brick
factories and is now used to describe any kind of business. Talking
about "industry" is actually beneficial for our goals as it allows to
point out that we're talking about commercial enterprises looking after
their business interests. "Content industry" is a widely accepted term
among German Pirates to refer to the copyright lobbyists (when the
format prevents us from saying things like "content mafia"^^), for
exactly that reason.

- "Compensation refers to the idea of debt..." -  that's just false, as
compensation has no connection with indebtedness but rather for a
payment to offset the losses of the other party. Actually, I strongly
agree that we should not use the term, but the reason is different:
namely, it is one of the cornerstones of Pirate argumentation that the
negative effects of sharing are mostly affecting the industries (music,
entertainment, software...) than the actual authors/artists for whom it
may even have a positive effect. Speaking of "compensation", on the
other hand, implies that they are suffering losses from sharing for
which they should be reimbursed.

I would welcome everybody to comment this list;)

> No, seriously, I'd rather be friends, and I'm sure we'll share a drink
> sooner or later.
That makes two of us;)

Best regards,
The big green-bellied creature from under the bridge

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