The Instigator
WrickItRalph
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
TheAdvancedLemon
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Joke Theft is Wrong

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/12/2019 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 306 times Debate No: 120781
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (0)

 

WrickItRalph

Con

My position is that joke theft is not wrong and should not be considered a crime. There are a finite amount of jokes in the world. Even if you change around certain details, The idea of the joke is till there and most comedians would still consider it joke theft. If we were to take this silly standard seriously, Everybody would be stuck listening to the same George Carlin jokes for their whole lives.
TheAdvancedLemon

Pro

I am specifically against intentionally stealing jokes, There is a difference between coincidentally writing a similar joke to someone else and taking and using someones joke without their permission. I am not arguing for the law to be brought into this issue, Of course it should not be considered a crime to take someones joke. However it is morally wrong as it not only devalues the work that the original author put into making and writing the joke, But it also means that your riding on someone else's success which is obviously not right.

In the comedian community it is and should be looked down on as it means that someone who writes their own original jokes puts in effort to be original and funny while someone else can just take jokes they like and have the same popularity with minimal effort. This is lazy, It is not fair, And it should be looked down on.

I don't think that it should be enforced by law but if someone consistently and clearly steals jokes they should be looked down on. And yes sometimes people accidentally write similar jokes to someone else and this is fine but the act of stealing jokes itself should be looked down on.
Debate Round No. 1
WrickItRalph

Con

Okay, So I think we both agree that people can't steal words. So lets start there. There's a limited amount of words, The minute you tell people that certain word patterns (aka, Jokes) are immoral to steal, Then you're hoarding them. In reality, The person hoarding the phrase is actually stealing that phrase from society. If you don't think that the law should be involved, Then you can't say it's immoral, You can only say that it's frowned upon, Because your attitude is objective. I can give an example. You say that using someone else joke is looked down upon, But did you know this was not always the case? Back before we had radios and televisions, Using somebody else's act was considered the highest honor you could show them. Most Jazz artists made their careers by ONLY playing other people's music and everybody was perfectly okay with it. Louis Armstrong is a good example as this, So I'm quoting his life as a source for this point. So if it depends on the opinion of society, Then it can't really be immoral and it's only looked down upon in our CURRENT society, That doesn't mean that society couldn't or shouldn't change it's attitude toward this.

I'm also going to use another music example here to show why the idea of music stealing is also a bad concept and how it is analogous to comedy. So anyone who studies music knows that there are only 12 tones that can heard by the human ear. These are the only 12 notes in music, These notes repeat in rising circles called octaves. This means that every A note just sounds like a higher version of itself and I could play any song in any octave and it will sound identical except the tone will be higher. Most songs have 3 or 4 note patterns that anybody can recognize with the ear. So if people start copyrighting songs, What they're actually doing is stealing patterns from society. The note pattern for under pressure by Queen could easily steal over 100 patterns depending on how you define the copyright. Eventually, No matter how long it takes, All the patterns get taken of the table and nobody can legally write anymore songs, Or it can just be frowned upon and every musician would be hated for stealing even though they had no choice. This is a mathematical fact because the number of musical patterns is finite and any long pattern made will just be a combination of smaller patterns.

This same concept applies to jokes. Sure, There's a lot of words, But most of them are synonyms for other words. Comedians can't use every word combination either, They can only use the ones that are funny. This already limits them severely because most comedy stems from specific kinds of situations that the comedian sets up. Eventually, So many situations will be covered that every joke will just be a rewrite and everyone will know it. It's inevitable so I think this stigma around joke stealing needs to go away. Victor Borge never once complained when people did his act and neither should anyone else.
TheAdvancedLemon

Pro

Just because I don't think it should be illegal does not mean I think its moral. Many different things that are immoral are legal and just because I disagree the law should be involved does not mean I agree with them doing it. I am not saying people can't have the same jokes I am saying people specifically and clearly taking others jokes should be looked down on as they did not put effort.

And the premise to this argument is misleading your point was that joke theft is not wrong but what you are arguing for is not joke theft you are arguing that the premise of joke theft within itself is flawed because there are a finite amount of jokes making the accidental taking of a joke inevitable however accidentally using a joke that someone else wrote is not joke theft its just an accident. While intentionally taking someones jokes because you cannot be bothered to write your own is joke theft and should be looked down on as you are not putting in the same effort as the person who originally wrote the jokes.
Debate Round No. 2
WrickItRalph

Con

I'm not arguing that the jokes are taken accidentally. I'm saying it would reach the point where we would have to knowingly use old material. Joke theft is the name of the title because that's what people call it. The phrase necessarily implies that a given string of words can belong to a person, That is fallacious. Words belong to no one. What's next, Are you going to say that people can't breathe other people's air?

This basically comes down to your opinion. You think that using someone else's material means that the comedian is not talented. This is not the case. You're familiar with cover song right? When a band does a cover, They're version is weighed against the other version and if the cover was performed well, Or if they added they're own original twist, It will be accepted by the public. This attitude that you have towards entertainment is not helping the art. Artist should have the attitude that, If someone does a cover of their act, That is a complement to how good it was.

Comedians don't get paid for their material. They get paid for the performance they give. The material is just their ice breaker to insert their personality after the fact. That's why they can go on tour and do the same act for a year straight while people have heard it already.

Morality is based on harm vs benefit. Any action has to be placed within a specific state of affairs and measured for it's net harm vs benefit ratio. There is no inherent harm, Because they're not really stealing the material, Their just emulating it. So it's not like the joke got stolen and the victim can't use it anymore. Not like stealing a car. So the two don't compare. There's no financial harm because, Like I said, People fill the seats for the person, Not the material. The only real issue is the feelings of other people. But hurt feelings is not harm. On the benefit side, You give people the freedom to write jokes the way they want and they can emulate their favorite comedian without being needlessly shamed. Seems like a simple decision.

your floor.
TheAdvancedLemon

Pro

I cannot grasp how intentionally taking someones joke using a claiming it to be your own is moral, It is unoriginal and results in you benefiting from someone else's hard work. And we are not talking about bands we are talking about joke theft which is generally when someone takes a joke performs it and passes it off as if they wrote the joke.

If someone took a song word for word and passed it off as there own I would be pretty mad, So your cover argument does not really make any sense. It is not joke stealing to re tell a joke that someone has said before if you specifically outline that its not your joke. But it is theft when you claim it to be your own and profit off of the other artists hard work in coming up with the joke without crediting him.

Therefore joke theft is wrong and what I consider joke theft is better compared to copying a song than it is to creating a cover of a song.
Debate Round No. 3
WrickItRalph

Con

You're only thinking about this in the short term.

"I cannot grasp how intentionally taking someones joke using a claiming it to be your own is moral"

They're not taking the joke. People cannot own words. Words belong to humanity.

"we are not talking about bands we are talking about joke theft"

You might not be talking about it, But I am, Because the situations are analogous. They both deal with intellectual property and they both share the same fight if they're copyrighted to death. My statements about music remain relevant.

"If someone took a song word for word and passed it off as there own I would be pretty mad, "

People are only doing it because of the stigma around using other people's jokes. If there was no stigma. This wouldn't happen.

"But it is theft when you claim it to be your own and profit off of the other artists hard work"

Like I said before. Comedians don't fill seats because of their material, It's how they deliver it. The person using the copied joke is not stealing anybody's hard work. They still have to get up and perform and earn their paycheck.

All you've shown so far is that copying jokes is in bad taste. Since society has and could once again change their mind about that, You're argument is meaningless. The only way you can prove me wrong is to show how it causes any actual harm besides just saying that it makes people angry.
TheAdvancedLemon

Pro

How does it harm people? How is it immoral?

It is theft, If someone wrote a book and someone else copied that book exactly claimed it to be their own and published it to get millions, Would that still be "not theft cause you cannot own words" no that would clearly be theft. It results in confusion as to what is original comedy and what is not and it results in it being harder to see who has the talent in the world of comedy.

If you write a series of jokes for a show and someone directly copies all the jokes and use it for their own show you would be understandably furious, As they just profited off your hard work. You act like writing a joke is not even important for comedy even though without jokes written you don't even have a show to perform, The jokes is one of the most important parts and stealing them is clearly immoral.

It is simply not good for someone to take something that someone else wrote and worked on and then to claim it as there own even though they did not put in the work that the other person did.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by WrickItRalph 3 years ago
WrickItRalph
good debate
Posted by WrickItRalph 3 years ago
WrickItRalph
omg, That's funny! Man that's a tough question. I don't know if I can just pick one.
Posted by Kvng_8 3 years ago
Kvng_8
Who is your favorite comedian
Posted by Kvng_8 3 years ago
Kvng_8
I looked up the definition of Joke theft and now I understand lol, I was confused at first. I'm thinking of someone actually stealing (actual theft), And then calling it a joke lmao oops
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