Ok, so we all know what piracy is so I won’t bore you with the details. You’ll also know that it’s allegedly wrong from those lovely adverts before your film plays on DVDs and, if you’re old enough to remember them, video cassettes (weren’t they great?????).
I have no doubt that we’ve all participated in piracy in some regard. Be that downloading a song illegally, watching a movie online or else aiding in the distribution of other people’s intellectual property in some way without their permission.
As should be obvious from my previous posts, my stance on piracy would seem clear. It would seem that I am totally against it, and personally I am against it..to an extent. I don’t pirate games that can be obtained legally. I don’t pirate films that are readily available from the local DVD store (which may or may not be shutting down, but that’s irrelevant). I never pirate books, and very rarely (if ever) do I pirate songs. In fact, recently I’ve not pirated a single song.
If you will allow me to diverge from the point a bit for a moment I want to talk about why I have this stance. I assume many of you will remember the Stop SOPA campaign? Well a lot of the “reasoning” behind SOPA was the protection of Intellectual Property. Obviously some people could see beyond that reasoning, but most people would not. The internet was an untamed land, where criminals thrived, or at least that was how it was portrayed. I was fairly behind the Stop SOPA campaigns, something that some were clearly complacent about, but let’s not go into that. The point is that I decided that I should be doing my part to stop it by helping to remove the reasoning.
I am just one person, but I see it as doing my bit. However, this might not matter to you,so I’m going to explain more reasons as to why I’m against piracy, from a personal perspective obviously.
The point is that digital piracy is a new way of stealing.OK, nobody is losing any property, and some of the more idealistic among you may see it as you sticking your finger to the record labels while others just don’t want to pay. I ask you now, what is the difference between that and me taking something you posted online and posting it as my own? Or on a more dramatic scale, me coming to your house and taking a small chunk of wood from the legs of all your furniture? (I know, so dramatic but it’ll make sense). It won’t make a huge difference to you, but what if hundred of people suddenly decide to do the same. You’re without furniture before long. Now to explain that metaphor. When you take a song, or whatever (particularly one by a smaller artist who is struggling, yes struggling, to make a career out of their chosen art), you are both depriving them of some of the money they would have made. This can lead to them, in extreme cases, giving up on their music career, or else not producing as much.
Piracy can be weathered by larger artists such as Justin Bieber, One Direction,Rihanna, Chris Brown etc etc. They’ve made their fortunes and a few hundred illegal downloads are barely going to make a dent (especially when we consider how low the cost of production to profit ratio is). However, for artists such as Jonathan Coulton (who quit his job to focus on distributing his music online), the Jigsaw Jam (a small Irish band) and others, that money is important. Sure Coulton says that piracy is fine, but asks you to donate as well, and that some of his songs are creative commons. It doesn’t change much. The point is that your 99 cent or 99p or whatever, can make a difference, a small one, but a difference nonetheless. The same goes with films. Films have huge overhead costs, and while some stand to make millions in profit, not all of them do, but that’s a different argument and one more based on personal preference than idealism.
Quite apart from that mentioned above is the matter of respect. Many will claim to really like a band, to love them even, and then be proud of pirating the work. Yeah, maybe some artists just want an audience, but to keep that audience they need to produce content, and to produce content they need to show that they can being in money. I would argue the point that, if you truly love a band and have money to spend on buying their songs, then you’ll buy them. If you truly enjoy a director’s work, then you’ll pay for the film, and if you truly enjoy an author’s writing then you’ll help him/her to continue to work in that career.
And now, on a more personal note, maybe it was a little harsh of me to say “I don’t care what your opinions on piracy are..”. For me, I would aspire to work in the creative area. I want to produce content, and at the moment this is all free if you can find it. However, that can’t go on forever. Some day I’ll have to stand to make money from it. It’s not selling out, it’s me trying to make a career out something I enjoy. At the moment the worst you can do is take this post and repost it as your own, which would annoy me but wouldn’t directly effect my life. However, to all struggling artists out there, there may come a day where they need that small bit of money to live a life, and that euro or pound that might otherwise have been spent on a bar of chocolate or a nicer handbag or a new smartphone (obviously with more money added to it) could make a huge difference in their lives.
So those are my more fleshed out opinions on piracy. You may call me an idealist. You may tell me I’m wrong. In fact, I welcome it. Go anon and tell I’m wrong,or go off-anon and tell me. It’s irrelevant to me which you choose. Regardless, I want to hear your opinions. Prove to me that I should care what your opinions on piracy are, or tell me why you stand by piracy or are against it. It’s up to you.