Piracy’s got all of us hooked.

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.

PeglegPirate_answer_3_xlarge

(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.

 

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14 comments on “Piracy’s got all of us hooked.

  1. Don’t worry. Honest people will always have friends. True, loyal, honest friends. The others you don’t need so much anyway.

  2. I applaud you for driving to your beliefs. Let me tell you a little about my own. I support artists with pay what you will prices on their personal sites for music. Because they are way cooler then your generic musicians who do everything through a mainstream label and have tons of producers and such.

    As for television, I watch it mostly on Netflix, when I watch it at all. I have no use for a television and feel that having a ton of channels through cable or dish is a waste if my time. When I did have cable I could never find anything I wanted to watch. I have no interest in paying the cable company more than they deserve for the 2, maybe 3 shows I am interested in at a time. Until they resolve the “you have to buy the 300 channel package to get the three channels you will a actually watch” conundrum, I will be getting my TV shows from the net. It’s all a big scam. Let me just last for the shows I want to watch and I will happily support them. But I will not inadvertantly support all the other tripe being produced. I don’t support crappy, sloppily made shows.

    Thanks.

    • mushroomsup says:

      Thank you!
      I agree, pay what you will prices are an interesting concept, and it’s much cooler too 🙂
      Now that I think of it, you may be right. There’s really nothing good to watch on cable these days. Unfortunately though, Netflix is not accessible everywhere…if it were, I suspect that it might solve the problem of piracy to some extent, at least.

  3. franhunne4u says:

    When I was a teenage girl, we all sat in front of our radios when the chartshows were broadcast and we taped our favourite songs. Lousy quality, but we were happy to have those songs at all. An act of music piracy? No, Sir. You were allowed and still are to record anything broadcast on radio.
    We asked friends who had a record player and the albums to tape songs or even whole albums. Music piracy? Ah, here we reach a difficult law mine-field. If there were no more than seven copies, no piracy. From seven upwards, yes, piracy. Nobody ever got into trouble unless he/she SOLD that.

    The younger generation right now, like ourselves, does not have all the money to buy every single song they would love to. They do not tape songs anymore due to technical changes. What do the youngsters do then, when pocket money is non existent? Live without music?

    I am not trying to justify grown ups with regular income who illegally download everything they can lay their greedy hands on. I buy music now, that I have an income. And the only movies I ever got as a copy I never watched … I did not ask for them, a colleague wanted to do me a favour and I accepted, not to offend him.

    But the young ones should not be condemned for doing what we did – just with a different technique. Unless they know no limits, of course.

    • mushroomsup says:

      Hi, thank you for your comment! 🙂
      I will clarify this – I am not rigidly against piracy. As I’ve written in my post, if a television show is not available somewhere in the world, I don’t condemn piracy, because I understand that it’s the only option.
      Similarly, if music is unavailable to someone because of financial or any other reason, I don’t condemn piracy. My post is directed towards people who have the income and (legal) access to any television show/ film/ music, but still choose to pirate it because of impatience, greed or the like.

  4. I applaud you for driving to your beliefs. Let me tell you a little about my own. I support artists with pay what you will prices on their personal sites for music. Because they are way cooler then your generic musicians who do everything through a mainstream label and have tons of producers and such.

    As for television, I watch it mostly on Netflix, when I watch it at all. I have no use for a television and feel that having a ton of channels through cable or dish is a waste if my time. When I did have cable I could never find anything I wanted to watch. I have no interest in paying the cable company more than they deserve for the 2, maybe 3 shows I am interested in at a time. Until they resolve the “you have to buy the 300 channel package to get the three channels you will a actually watch” conundrum, I will be getting my TV shows from the net. It’s all a big scam. Let me just last for the shows I want to watch and I will happily support them. But I will not inadvertantly support all the other tripe being produced. I don’t support crappy, sloppily made shows.

    Thanks.

  5. Siddharth Singh says:

    “So basically, you’re a hypocrite.”
    – Why, yes. Yes, I am. I’m glad you noticed.

    End of discussion. Nah man, I see that you draw your line at short YouTube videos, others drop the line a little further. Personally I draw the line at software piracy, because written code is their only source of income.

    Music: Even if you didn’t buy the song you could watch the video on YouTube a million times for free. Music video free, then music free. Audio disc, records not free. Concert not free. Apparel not free. Collectibles and memorabilia not free. Some artists collaborate with

    TV: South park hosts all it’s episodes online for free. One show free, all shows free. Apparel not free. Collectibles not free. Advertisements shorter than TV.

    Movies: Not on YouTube, not free. Purchase on Netflix and get discount for no theater experience. Apparel not free. Collectibles and memorabilia not free.

    We also live in a world of internet superheroes, people write reviews, share and promote everyday for free. If you looked at your Facebook activity for breaking bad (replace with your obsession), it would seem like you were working for them as a social media manager (insert imaginary position here).

    Not everything illegal is wrong and not all wrong is illegal. Ex: Marijuana: legal wrong or illegal right. Laws are based on socially acceptable norms (I believe). If piracy becomes socially acceptable, it won’t be illegal anymore (that’s the dream). 😛

    As far as the money is concerned, in consideration of current unemployment rates, people have to decide: a dollar for a song or for a loaf of bread?

    Not saying you are wrong, just responding. I might as well have written a complete post here 😛

    Your friend

    SID

    • mushroomsup says:

      It seems like you can write your own post about piracy 😉
      Ah well, I suppose this discussion can continue ad infinitum…agreeing to disagree is probably the only way out…
      And I’m glad to see that I have one friend, at least 😀

      • Siddharth Singh says:

        LOL, the comment got a bit too long (to be called a comment anymore).. but yeah we can agree to disagree
        I would say something about friendship but I don’t wanna get all gooey 😛

        Your Friend

        SID

  6. adit1711 says:

    Don’t forget the ridiculous amount of censorship in India. If they’re going to censor and blur out pretty much everything it destroys the flow of the story. 30% of Game of thrones is cut out when they show it on HBO India. They don’t have to decide what is or what isn’t suitable for me to watch. But then that oft repeated argument – THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!

  7. Cheryl says:

    Well said, my thoughts exactly. If one can afford it and has legal access to it, then they need to stop being so lazy and greedy.

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