Today, I’m going to write a post about piracy. It will be a balanced, well-informed, coherent discussion about why the demerits of piracy outweigh its utility. I will attempt to use clear, precise arguments and will try my best to appear knowledgeable and wise.
If you’ve stopped laughing, I’ll begin by clarifying that I do not mean ‘piracy’ in the “Arr, matey, let’s get us some treasure” sense (I apologize if my representation of pirate lingo is erroneous – the source of my information is Johnny Depp in a pirate costume). When I say piracy, I mean downloading stuff illegally off the internet.
I’ve been trying my best not to say this, but I must. Piracy is lame.
(Pun not intended).
I have expressed this opinion of mine on several occasions, and have been greeted by wails of mocking laughter, disbelief, and the occasional case of social ostracism. People also often misconstrue my statement about piracy as a satire on our preoccupation with mindless entertainment (#firstworldproblems, as I believe it’s referred to). It’s one of the rare but cherished occasions on which I’m actually mistaken for being smarter than I am.
So why am I against piracy, you ask? (Or maybe you don’t care and you’d rather go back to watching a pirated version of Sherlock, but I’m going to answer it anyway). There are two reasons: 1. It’s illegal and 2. It’s wrong.
Now, to explain why it’s wrong, I shall have to divide this into two: a) piracy of music and b) piracy of movies and television shows. According to me, each type of piracy has its own dynamics.
a) Piracy of music: Pirating music is, to put it plainly, pointless. You can get absolutely any song you want on iTunes for next to nothing. There are no shades to this. Buy the song. Be guilt-free. Lead a happy life. Live long. Get a big tick mark in your Life Book.
b) Piracy of movies and television shows: This is slightly more complicated. I understand that certain movies and television shows are not released in certain parts of the world and are unavailable to the people there. In cases like this, there is absolutely no way for you to access these, and piracy is the only option. It’s still illegal, but I don’t mind this sort of piracy (not that the law takes my opinions into account, but hey, as long as I’ve got a blog…). I do have problems, however, with piracy that involves downloading a television show off a torrents website simply because you cannot wait a week for the show to be telecast where you live. Be patient and you will be rewarded. I realize that I probably sound quite saintly, ‘holier-than-thou’ and morally scrupulous here. Well, good.
Now I’m going to play soothsayer to guess your responses to what I have just said and will also attempt to respond:
1. “Are you completely crazy?”
– Yes, probably.
2. “Why would I pay for something when I can get it for free?”
– To answer this, I’ve created the following list.
Why you should not be the Jack Sparrow of the internet:
a) Ethics are like, so cool: My motto is, “Buy it, and it shall weigh less heavily upon thy conscience”.
That’s assuming you have a conscience, of course.
b) The ‘their-shoes’ paradigm: Imagine that you became a world-famous singer or television/ movie star and made an amazing song/ show/ movie. Would you like it if everybody downloaded your life’s best work for free?
But who am I kidding? ‘World-famous star’? Yeah, right. Forget I ever mentioned it.
c) The unhappy artist conundrum: So you really like a singer, and you download all his/ her songs off the internet. Everybody else does too. And eventually, the singer has earned no money, and is so busy starving that he/ she has no time to write another song. Then what?
d) Every action has an equal and opposite reaction: You download the latest episode of a television show a week before it is telecast where I live. Then you tell me exactly what happens in the episode. I won’t delve into details, but a broken nose is a strong possibility.
3. “Research has shown that piracy is actually good for the entertainment industry because it promotes artists.”
– It’s just a guess, but I really don’t think that the entertainment industry would feel very ‘promoted’ if we all downloaded every single episode of every single television show off the internet.
4. “Technically, unofficial YouTube videos are pirated too. Don’t you watch them?”
– I do watch unofficial videos, yes. But to justify this I have something I like to call the cost-benefit analysis. If a YouTube video is a few minutes long, and is unofficial, I will watch it if necessary. If absolutely imperative, and if I have no choice, I will download a short video as well. But I draw the line at entire episodes – that’s just my definition of piracy.
“So basically, you’re a hypocrite.”
– Why, yes. Yes, I am. I’m glad you noticed.
So to conclude: I know that nobody will have an epiphany reading this post. In fact, I doubt that anyone even reached the end of this post without feeling the urge to laugh out loud at my idealism and pedantic moralism. But I live in the hope that one day, someone will read this post and actually reflect on this issue for a few minutes, before switching to another tab and downloading Game of Thrones.
P.S: If anyone’s interested in being my friend, please send me an e-mail. After this post, I predict that there will be many free slots available.