Eliminating Piracy – A long shot?

Updated: Revisiting Piracy (24/01/2012)

Piracy

Piracy basically is theft. Stealing can be broadly split into two kinds:

  • Stealing to fill one’s stomach.
  • Stealing for any other reason.

We are not talking of the sea-faring pirates, whose sins might just be pardonable when compared to the modern day pirates who follow a form of piracy more significantly put as copyright infringement.

Piracy: Why? (– Why not?)

Hunger here, signifies the inability to access content due to monetary or other situational constraints. This form of piracy is acceptable to a certain degree; more like compassion shown upon a man who steals to save himself from dying of hunger.

This form of piracy is practiced by ‘youth’. (Youth is a heavy word. Pardon me) The younger lot, of which I’m pretty much a part of, have a lot of things to spend on: weekend parties, fueling their vehicles, girlfriends, and a lot more! Wouldn’t it be obnoxiously painful to us when expected to pay for software too? And a few software like the Adobe Photoshop being so heavily priced, is unreachable by us; and isn’t it like curbing our creativity if good software like that are not available to us for free (or a reasonable price: $100? For the record, Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended costs $999! About 10 times the price I quoted for it!)

I’d say, the worst type of piracy is music. Most of the times, though the albums are reasonably priced, people tend to download them for free either from websites like ‘yourmp3.net’, ‘mp3raid.com’, ‘mp3pk.com’, or thousands of other such websites. The P2P in itself may seem like an ‘innocent’ advancement in technology (–like the nuclear power plants, which also gave us the atomic bomb!) but it is surely helping the phenomenal rise in music Piracy.

Sometimes, movie piracy is justifiable. For instance, living in India, I have access to only a few hollywood movies that are released here, compared to a lot that gets released around the world. I’m not complaining about new movies which can be easily bought (and shipped) at some online store like Amazon; I’m actually thinking about good old movies, which are out of cinemas a long time ago and you cannot possibly find it on any online store (and even if you could, the search is never easy).

The most unfortunate form of piracy is the piracy of books. Writers put their heart and soul into their works and go through a lot of trouble which they truly deserve merit for.

Eliminating Piracy

Thinking of eliminating global piracy is like trying to be heard in a crowd of a million people. No matter how many initiatives you take to curb piracy, there will always be a ‘small’ group of people who would resort to piracy in any case. Reducing piracy is a more realistic goal that the ‘concerned people’ must take up, rather than aiming to eliminate it completely.

Here are a few suggestions I’d make:

  • Ban websites primarily targeting to provide downloads of pirated content. Trying to get the country (in which the server is located) to take action is a foolish way of trying to stop the culprits. Instead, all countries must come up with an agreement that a universal list of domains (and IP addresses) will be maintained by a non-government and non-profit organization, all of which must be banned from being accessible to public by all ISPs.
  • Governments must initiate the funding of good open source software especially the alternatives to the expensive ones in the market. This encourages people to create good open source software, and also urges many to use more open source applications.
  • 90% of all movies make their share of money within 15-24 months of their release. The film makers must come to an agreement that the movies must be made available for download (for free or for a reasonable price) after 24 months of its release. This not only ensures that the movies reach out to a bigger group of people, also guarantees that the movie isn’t forgotten very soon.
  • Urge software companies to create a ‘student’ version of all software that they make and it must be available for students for free, if used for non-commercial purposes.

All good things in life comes free; for everything else, there’s piracy!

Disclaimer: The links provided to certain websites are for knowledgeable purposes only and are not intended to promote piracy of any sort or any method.

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12 thoughts on “Eliminating Piracy – A long shot?

  1. Ralf Wilmes

    Piracy is stealing. There is never a rational reason to steal in my view. It remains up to the individuals responsibility to download or not. If you are not willing to pay the price than don’t buy it. Also it’s up to the manufacturer to price his products. Would you work for $10 dollars a month? Or go to the effort of designing such a complex software as PS and make no profit at all?

  2. No hard feelings Ralf. I respect creativity as much as you do. I was just trying to cite the reasons for piracy and possible means of reducing it.

    Well, I guess $10 is a very small price for how great the software really is. I wasn’t suggesting a price (at least, I did not intend to) I was merely suggesting a non-commercial version with a smaller price tag. I’ll edit the post to make the quoted price a little more respectful.

    Thank you for the comments.

  3. Ralf Wilmes

    No hard feelings indeed and thanks for your reaction. I am happy with your $100. At present you can buy Photoshop Elements for less than that. And it is still commercial so other people don’t loose money.

  4. I see you are a hard rock fan of Photoshop. 🙂 Hehe.. I should have used some other software for my example. But then, I wouldn’t have had you come and comment here.

    Thanks for dropping by again. 🙂

  5. Ralf Wilmes

    Yeah, I admit that I am provoking just a little.:-) And yes I would not have reacted if you would have given another example.
    But what I mean really is that I fear that there is no such thing as a non-commercial product. What do you define this? Do you mean to sell at production price? I mean the cost of the material and labour?

  6. By non-commercial version of a product, I mean that the company must release the product at accessible rates (as an educational version) to people who use it for non-commercial purposes.

  7. Ishwar

    Good article, hypocritical nevertheless..
    for the records, atom bomb was far more prevalent(rampant is the word) before nuclear power.
    Cant agree more with Ralf, stealing is stealing and buyers setting a price for the product is against my principles( manoj, for the hundredth time: read Ayn Rand)
    “Governments must initiate ..” :this was a fresh and beautiful idea.
    Cheers

  8. Agreed Ishwar. I was talking about the technology behind the nuclear prevalence and the rampant remains.

    “buyers setting a price for the product is against my principles” — buyers don’t set the price; they decide what a fair price is.

    (And for the hundredth time: I’ll remember to read it!)

    Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  9. Ralf Wilmes

    This is getting fun now. Point 1: “a company must release..”. Fact: they are not obliged to release anything. By what law?? So that should read ” I would like companies to release “.
    Point 2: whether you use a product for commercial or non-commercial purposes does not change anything to the price you need to pay. With the same logic producers must sell TV sets for a reduced price because you just use it for fun?
    Last: buyers to not decide what a fair price is. Sorry, that’s just not the way it is. You can however evaluate if the price is worth the value it represents to you. If it’s not worth it, you probably don’t value it enough, or there is a cheaper alternative to choose.
    In the end downloading is a sure way to give to producers no chance to make more profit, make investments, improve efficiency and reduce the price. Don’t forget: no producer has an interest in pricing his product too high and sell nothing. They can’t ignore the competitive working of the market. If they ignore the price/value relation of the competition then they will go out of business sooner or later.

    Yes, I suggest too you read some Ayn Rand who is for sure a lot better able to explain all this than me!

    A last thought: radiohead’s last album was available as a download in a new way. They asked the public to pay anything they thought was fair. 1 cent would be enough so to speak.

    Guess what happened? This album was still available on and downloaded from on all p2p sites.

    How do you explain that?!

    Happy buying and thank you guys for the discussion.

  10. Agreed Ralf.

    About Radiohead, I did mention, whatever measures are taken to curb piracy, there is always a sect of people who would do it no matter what.

    And moreover, I feel, the problem with being right always isn’t very easy. Like, if you want to get pirated stuff off the net, all you have to do is a couple-of-clicks. When you have to buy it legally, you first search for a good retailer with any on going offers which ‘may’ get you the software cheaper than usual. If you are paying through credit card, you always under the risk of phishing. And even after you ‘buy’ it, many times, you have to wait for it to be delivered: which may take a few weeks sometimes. So, piracy is also an easy way out!

    Thanks Ralf, you helped making the discussion more interesting.

  11. Ralf Wilmes

    Ok thanks. We made full circle now because you now said clearly what illegal downloading is about: it’s not about price but about the fun in obtaining things.. without doing effort for it.
    The Radiohead example was meant in this sense by me: if the price were to be the problem than why download it from P2P in this particular case? There was no price to pay in the first place doing it legally! That’s how I meant the example.
    Hey and without stating details here, I am not a saint either. I just noticed at a certain point to have GB’s of stuff just sitting on a hard-disk without ever listening to it and wondered how come I listened to my few vinyl records a hundred of times over and over again and seemed to enjoy it more too back in the times when digital was not existing yet.
    The answer is that I bought disks to enjoy them, and not to have them. I did not want to just throw away my money!
    So I changed my mind. Opened up an iTunes account and you can bet that I only buy what I really like now that I pay for it! And listen to it too. And every time I got something I didn’t like I get more selective the next time.
    And c’mon do not try to convince me with that phishing story..if you really would have that fear you would not use P2P anyway as you risk to loose much and much more money in fines when they bust you:-)
    My point is: everybody must do what he feels best about, but just be honest and don’t try to rationalize things. I don’t pretend to know better, but I just know for myself how I enjoy my stuff more and feel better about it, that’s all.

    It’s time for a new theme whattayasay!
    best wishes!

  12. Yeah, like you said, piracy is more about having the stuff than about wanting it.

    I do know one other person, who gets his music from iTunes and his entire 27GB iPod music collection is legal! 🙂

    Hehe.. I know. The phishing issue was a bit far fetched; but possible nevertheless. P2P detection is very tough. Or else, why would every body sit tight and let people go rampant with ‘stolen’ stuff?

    everybody must do what he feels best about, but just be honest and don’t try to rationalize things.

    Yes. The best way is to be true to your conscience, then you’d be doing nothing wrong.

    Thanks. Best wishes to you too. 🙂

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