Should File sharers go to jail?

There’s a new law that’s about to be passed in Germany, under which a file sharer could get up to two years in jail. And they’re not talking about someone distributing the illegal software, they’re talking about the average Joe ( or Hans in this case ) who downloads software once in awhile. They seem to be under the impression that downloading software is equivalent to stealing. Here’s a quote – “There should be no legal distinction between stealing chewing gum from a shop and performing an illegal download.”
Interesting…. because the way I see it, the guy who stole gum, STOLE GUM. The gum is gone, the store lost money in that they purchased the gum, and now they can’t sell it. So if they paid $.32 for the gum, they are out exactly $.32.

If Hans downloads, say, Doom 3 instead of buying it, how much is ID software out? How much did they lose? Let’s take a look. There isn’t anything missing from ID software’s shelf, so they aren’t out the cost of the product. Doom 3 is still available for sale from ID software, so they aren’t missing a retail opportunity. Yes, there’s a *chance* that Hans would’ve bought Doom 3 if he wasn’t able to download it. Then again, there’s a better chance that he wouldn’t – he’s probably broke and can’t afford the game. Does that make it right? No, of course not. I firmly believe that good developers should be supported, so they can continue to make great software. But the fact is that the software company has a net loss of exactly $0.00. That’s zero dollars and zero cents – they have no loss whatsoever.

Even the suggestion that the two practices are the same, is absolutely ridiculous. It does not stand the test of logic, and as such, should certainly not pass into law. Let’s hope such foolishness doesn’t get introduced here in the US.
Story found at Techdirt.

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