Almost exactly four years ago, I wrote an article right here at my blog about causes, concerns and possible remediation for the phenomenon called Piracy. Looking back at what I wrote, my understanding of the topic – or in many ways, the seriousness of the issue – has severely changed.
Let me first begin by correcting some of my earlier statements:
- “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.”
No form of piracy/stealing is acceptable/pardonable.
- “…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…”
Maybe when I wrote the article, there were not (or I wasn’t aware of) many cheaper or free alternatives to match the features of Photoshop – but now since there are so many; Curbing our creativity? – Seems silly to myself! (Besides, Photoshop still costs $999 😛 )
- “Sometimes, movie piracy is justifiable…”
‘Justified’ may not be the word – but I share my views with this Oatmeal comic.
- “Ban websites primarily targeting to provide downloads of pirated content…”
I cannot believe I suggested this! Of course, I had not forethought how we go about determining what websites to ban and what not. I hope my earlier post was not an inspiration to PIPA/SOPA! I would dread that!
Piracy = Stealing!
The problem with piracy is in stark contrast with the real-world stealing. Consider this scenario: You cannot afford a fancy cellphone. Do you go steal your friend’s phone? Any self-respecting person would say ‘No’.
Consider another scenario: Your friend bought the DVD of the Godfather movie. You love the movie – who does not? – and you borrow the DVD and watch it. The movie is so awesome you decide you want to watch it again sometime, so you make a COPY of it. Then you return the DVD. Tomorrow, one of your friends wants the movie and you oblige him another COPY. And thus it began..
Coming back to the discussion on the contrast between real-world theft and ‘virtual’ theft, if a person stole your cellphone, you’d ‘lose’ it. However, if a person COPIES your DVD, you wouldn’t lose anything right? That’s the problem with piracy, the people involved in the real act of stealing are not the ones suffering. Therefore there is lack of moral judgement (unfortunately) and sometimes people are honestly ignorant of the fact that downloading movies off P2P is illegal. It has become so rampant (considered normal) that it just seems OK.
In fact, there are some people who are convinced that piracy is not stealing, but ‘only’ copyright infringement and they can live with it. Only that they do not realize that copyright infringement is also theft! As long as there are weak minds which believe something like that, piracy will thrive.
That said, piracy can be eliminated (to a great, great extent) if means of acquiring something legally was as easy as pirating it. Big companies, instead of pouring time and money into never-ending legal disputes, must try to create a user-friendly, easy way for people to obtain something that many a time, they are ready to pay for, yet find themselves pirating because of the medium of obtaining it, is so tedious (so subtly depicted in the comic by Oatmeal).