Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Should we punish the actual perpetrator of the crime, or the seller of the means which was used?

A quick answer to this question is that we should punish the actual perpetrator - the criminal. I strongly disagree with the recent rulings in America that pronounced as guilty Megaupload and its founder Kim Dotcom. While there is no doubt that Megaupload [and similar websites such as RapidShare] was misused by some/many of its users to illegally acquire/spread copyrighted content, that misuse by its users doesn't and cannot make Megaupload the perpetrator.

Should firearms/guns be banned in America because some people misuse them? Should knives be banned because they are/were used to commit murders? Should we ban Google because it helps people to commit plagiarism? Should liquor be banned because it's the cause of so many accidents and conflicts? Should we ban the Internet because people use it to illegally acquire/spread copyrighted content? Should bikinis and miniskirts be banned because they can lead to rapes? Should DVRs be banned because people use them to store copyrighted content and to skip adverts? Should aerospace engineering be banned because it's used to design missiles?

Why are we punishing the products, the tools, the means, and not the actual criminals? Why doesn't the American government identify and beat the hell out of the people who uploaded/downloaded the content?

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