When you hear people talk about piracy they usually talk from either one of two sides:
- Piracy is awesome and the Big Media Companies® are bad people! I have no idea why they keep coming up with things like SOPA, PIPA and CISPA! They’re obviously clueless and making an issue out of something nonexistent! Now excuse me while I’ll leech a copy of the new album of my favorite band, giving them not a single dime for it should have been free anyway! Surely there are plenty of OTHER people buying their stuff anyway!
- Piracy is bad and hurting my revenue! We should do everything to stop it! Sue everything until all 7 billion people in this world that feel any remote urge to share anything oblige to the will of my company’s income! Nothing will stop my ultimate grip on the government for I am the most important thing in the world as the money my company makes feeds thousands! The internet is a bad place and torrents and sites like The Pirate Bay are just a feature that can be removed without any significant impact on the working of the whole internet!
Putting it like that might even give some people an idea of what my rant is about. People have been swamped with so much information and choices in the subject they usually return to one of these two sides, which in itself isn’t that bad, after all, the less in numbers and the bigger in size the groups are, the more likely they’ll be heard.
But, dear leechers and pirates and the like, have you ever considered that that one CD you pirated doesn’t just make them miss out on the 5.99$ YOU would’ve paid otherwise but also that of everyone else with the same attitude? You can’t just assume someone else will fix what you do wrong, surely you’ve heard of the saying “A better world starts with yourself”. No, SOPA/PIPA/CISPA are shit laws and it’s horrible they even got consideration from the government, and Yes, that does show they’re in fact a little clueless about the internet and how it works, but what if I told you they’re not just doing it to annoy you and rake in more money? Would you honestly believe that a company with so much people working for it would really be so stupid? No! Piracy IS a real problem! They’re very right when they say you’re guilty of stealing when you take an unauthorized copy of a work. And don’t give me that “But how do you know if I would’ve bought it otherwise” crap, you don’t hoard 3TB worth of music, games and movies that ‘you wouldn’t have gotten if it weren’t free’.
And, Dear media conglomerates, do you really think you’ll end piracy suing everything that smells like it could affect your income? “Piracy” is nothing more than copying, it’s the act of sharing a file with fellow people. When you say “fix the internet, so that it doesn’t allow piracy”, the closest example with something less technologically advanced that is similar in demand would be “fix wheels, so that bankrobbers and other bad people can’t use them under their cars anymore”. It just doesn’t work like that. When you sue a website, you’re suing a piece of software that just makes it easier for people to do what they would’ve done regardless. It’s the PEOPLE you have to change, NOT the internet, the internet is an objective data transfer medium, it doesn’t know that it’s transporting data you don’t like to see transported. You can’t make it stop running piracy just by saying “it shouldn’t run this protocol” and you can’t make pedophiles stop from sharing child pornography for the same reason. I think we can all agree that child porn should be stopped. It’s got nothing to do with money, it’s just not accepted by society, and while the cause would be to some more noble than stopping piracy you’d get the exact same results as when you’d try to stop piracy. The government isn’t unwilling to help, it’s simply downright impossible from the attack vector you choose!
And that brings me back to the original subject: Piracy. Some of you might by now say “but, there’s a lot of good things piracy does!”, and I’m happy to tell you, I agree! Absolutely! I’m just saying that the reasons WHY you should resort to piracy is something you should really think through before you download that CD, or movie, or game, or anything else. You don’t have the money? Well, I understand. But when you do have the money and you did enjoy the music, make sure to toss em a few coins, they’ll highly appreciate it! Or perhaps you just want to learn? You want to become say, a graphics designer, and by far most companies out there use the well known Adobe Photoshop, but even though you could perhaps scrap together the huge amount of money that it costs, you never intended to use the program the way those companies do; You just want to try stuff out, draw things, be creative. THEN I can understand you’d download a cracked version! You’re not making money with it, you’re not a company that needs Photoshop as part of its business plan, you’re just an innocent civilian that wants to learn.
But if you CAN spare the money, and you LIKE that CD, movie, or game you just found, and you STILL feel you’re entitled to a free copy at the cost of the artist’s income, you’re a thief in my book.
A video I think everyone should see at some point is Cory Doctorow: The coming war on general computation. He makes some very good points about the subject, and he knows how to keep an audience entertained, so give it a try! It’s inspiring.