Anti Piracy Analysis
Downloading movies, streaming series, copying music and so-forth have all become general practices these days by most of the population. In this post I’m going to outline a few key questions that might change your perception on piracy.
Why do we pirate? (many reasons. Not all justified – although it’s illegal,),
Is it ever justified to pirate? (answer is yes ;)),
Should you pirate? (depends on your reasons).
If you don’t care much for my rambling, feel free to skip to the end where I’ve captured the essence of this post.
Because I’m continuously trying to align my character with universal truths, I’ve been contemplating if piracy fits the person I’m trying to be. I define piracy by the following; As long as an item is copyrighted and you don’t own it, then downloading it (for free) is illegal. Easy as that, no exceptions.
I’ve been a pirate for quite a while now (Aarrrrrr). Movies, music, software, e-books, video-games, you name it and I pretty much had an illegal copy of it. Simply browse to a trusted torrent site, type in the name of whatever you want and five seconds later I would be downloading it in vuze. Easy-peasy
I used it to play games like Just Cause 2, Supreme Commander 2, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, for watching a whole load of movies and series (to much to sum up here ;)) and off course to download a ton of music .
Why Do We Pirate?
I’ve been doing some reading on the topic and tried to find the underlying reason why exactly I was pirating those products. If I could find the motivation behind the bad habit (IMO), I could get much more insight in this ‘moral’ issue.
After some digging, I came up with a dozen reasons why I was” justified” to pirate stuff that wasn’t rightfully mine.
“It’s too expensive”
” they make enough money anyway”
” it doesn’t hurt them”
“I’m sharing their content with my friends so they get more fans”,
“downloading legally is too much of a hassle”
and so-forth. I had countless reasons (read: excuses) not to buy said product legally.
I even succeeded in convincing myself that it was righteous, harmless and down-right justified that I was downloading these copies online. But through my conscious growth I’ve been able to see that I was wrong. For instance, I could easily buy my friends a copy of the content I’ve pirated instead of giving them a pirated version. But what I was doing was basically stealing.
After thinking for quite some time I realized this doesn’t resonate anymore with the person I’m trying to be. It conflicts with my principles of truth and love. The excuses I made were based on self-centered and scarcity thinking. How would you feel if you worked day and night to make a great product that everyone loves but others just take it away from you?
I believe in equal transaction of value. It’s what the world keeps spinning.
I believe it is fair to compensate a creator for his creation and therefore I’m going to support the production of more content by contributing value to its creators in the future.
Therefore, I’ve made a donation to Owen Cook and Steve Pavlina, since I’ve pirated some of their content and have gotten tremendous value out of it. I’m also planning to donate again in the future to other people (mainly musical artists)
Should You Pirate?
I’m not here to tell you what to do. I’m just giving you some insights on piracy. I believe that everyone should make up his/her own choice in a conscious manner. I believe the main thing you should be asking yourself is “why are you pirating?” If it’s is founded on self-centeredness and scarcity thinking like my piracy used to be, then I believe it is wrong. At the moment I’m mostly anti piracy but in some cases I can make an exception (on which more later in this post)
You could argue that actors and artist are “overpaid” for the work they do, but the amount of money they get is in direct correlation to the (subjective) value they provide to the world. Whether you like their content or not. If you don’t think their content is worth your money than you shouldn’t entitle yourself by checking it out anyway. Justifying piracy based on prejudice is a no-go in my eyes.
By pirating you can also take away jobs from distributors, packaging firms, marketing agencies and many others. These are all closely linked to the content creators. So keep in mind that piracy impacts more people than just the content creators.
When is it ok to pirate?
The only exceptions I make (atm) when it comes to piracy;
- Products you can’t find anywhere else.
–> If you live in Australia/Antarctica and you can’t possibly acquire a certain game/product, I’ll give you a pass on piracy. Again, don’t use this as an excuse not to look for it but only as a last resort.
- When you’ve lost a legal copy of the item
–>You’ve acquired it once but misplaced it or the cat ate your book then I think it’s in place to get a second copy from your pirate ships! Note that this isn’t the same as breaking your product or owning it in a different format. The latter two are not justified in my eyes.
- The product is dated (e.g. Death of creator + 50 years)
–> I don’t support people who market ideas that aren’t their own. When a product becomes dated it should enter the public domain and become global accessible knowledge. (this doesn’t include revamps or reissues by ne author/creators)
- When DRM limits the freedom/enjoyment of your legal copy
–> Explained below
Compared to normal distribution these days, copyright laws have become so strict that almost every product has become embedded with DRM (digital rights management).
This technology limits the use of a product for someone who has legally bought a copy of that product. And that can become really annoying in some cases (Yes, I’m looking at you audible! )
Sometimes I even get the feeling that the people who buy a copy legally are the ones who get penalized. Piracy has become so mainstream that most of the people who buy legal copies either;
- Know about piracy but still want to support the creators
- Don’t know about piracy at all.
People who know about piracy and still support you, don’t need/want warnings, DRM, advertisements and so-forth on their legally acquired products because they genuinely care for those creators and wouldn’t abuse their content in the first place
Anyway, what should you take away from all this? I believe you should support the creation of new content by contributing value to its creators. A fair system of sharing value is what the world keeps going. Don’t settle for scarcity or self-centered thoughts.
Vote on the content you like with your wallet and take conscious note of the impact your behavior has on your environment. By doing this, we can ensure the creation of great content in the future.
If you are having any questions or thoughts on this topic feel free to share those with me in the comments section below!
Guess I’ll also include this quick meme-video about piracy ;). Quite catchy – Don’t watch if you have epilepsy, you can thank me later.