What is Theft?

I found this article by Chris Hartman amusing because the word “theft” is used so frequently outside of its literal legal definition. The article searches Google for instances when people write “_______ is theft” with the rankings shown below.

Its a brilliant example of how people distort the truth by using a vague or general definition of a word with a lot of emotional weight. Like “theft.” When you use a word like “theft” to mean any general sort of taking or use of a right, it ceases to mean theft. Its also interesting to note that publishers appear four times in that list, including the top spot, but in none of those cases do they mean actual theft. Infringement is bad, but its also hard to conceptualize. Theft is immediate and visceral.

Hat tip to Marginal Revolution.