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internet piracyBack in January, users of the Internet were faced with an interesting phenomenon – the SOPA/PIPA blackout Sites Go Down To Protest SOPA/PIPA, You Can Join The Protest [News] Sites Go Down To Protest SOPA/PIPA, You Can Join The Protest [News] If you visit any tech news sites, you might have heard about a pair of bills proposed in the United States called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). These... Read More . When American legislators introduced a bill that would give unprecedented power to the government over the Internet, consumers had no choice but to react. To be fair, the heart of the SOPA/PIPA bills were innocent. All they wanted was to provide a way for producers to protect their intellectual property. On the surface, those bills were meant to fight against Internet piracy.

But let’s open up a can of worms and think about this for a minute. Does piracy really need to be combated? Is Internet piracy bad? Or does it carry a number of benefits with it?

I’m here to argue that Internet piracy – while wrong – can provide a few benefits.

Disclaimer: Piracy Is Illegal!

In this context, when I speak about piracy, I mean the act of copying and acquiring computer data (video, music, software, etc.) without the authorization to do so. A lot of the definitions can get gritty, murky, and convoluted, so let’s just leave it at that.

internet piracy

Despite how you feel about piracy, it is illegal – at least for now. Even though this article observes some of the benefits of Internet piracy, MakeUseOf does not condone any action that leads to the breaking of laws.

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Discovering The Unknown

Organizations like the MPAA will often claim that they are losing millions – even billions – of dollars to Internet piracy. After all, if Internet piracy didn’t exist, then consumers would have no choice but to buy products legally, right?

Not so. Just because I pirate a movie doesn’t mean that I would’ve bought it if piracy wasn’t an option. Sometimes, the only reason I’ve even seen some movies is because I was able to watch it for free. I didn’t feel that they were worth spending money to watch. In that case, the MPAA really hasn’t lost anything.

internet software piracy

On the contrary, Internet piracy could actually be beneficial for mass media. If you pirate, then consider this question – how many music artists and TV shows have you discovered through illegal means that you would’ve glossed over otherwise?

Piracy allows us to discover media that we would’ve otherwise skipped. It could be argued that Internet piracy is actually what placed some bands and TV shows on the map thanks to word of mouth. Perhaps without piracy, they would’ve faded away into obscurity.

Accessing The Inaccessible

Suppose you’re wandering the Internet and you keep hearing about how Breaking Bad is the best TV show ever. Suppose you live all the way out in Venezuela or Siberia where they don’t air the show. What are you supposed to do?

Perhaps you’re fully willing to fork over some money to watch the show legally, but you can’t. You would buy the DVDs but nobody ships to your location. You would buy access to stream online but it’s not available in your country. When there are no legal means to access a product, what can you do?

For some, Internet piracy is the only way to access products that are otherwise unavailable. Some may call this self-entitlement. Others may call it fairness. I’ll leave that one up to you.

Spurring Technological Advancements

Have you heard of BitTorrent 5 Ways To Increase Your Torrent Download Speed 5 Ways To Increase Your Torrent Download Speed For many people, the distributed peer-to-peer download power of torrents isn’t all it’s made out to be. If you’re feeling drowned in fake files, choking from ISP speed throttling, and sick of being told you’re... Read More ? I’m sure you have. It’s an amazing file distribution protocol that has many legal applications. For example, Blizzard Entertainment uses it to distribute their games. Florida State University uses it to distribute scientific data to researchers.

internet software piracy

However, despite its legality, BitTorrent is mostly known for its connection to Internet piracy. Unlike direct downloads, where you download files directly from a host server, the BitTorrent protocol does not require a centralized network. There is no host. Thus, there is no direct “owner” that can be held culpable, and that means easier piracy.

If Internet piracy hadn’t existed, would the BitTorrent technology be as widespread? It could be argued that Internet piracy had its hand in pushing forward the development of this file sharing protocol.

internet software piracy

Then there’s Internet streaming. What if instead of being tied down to a network schedule (e.g., you must be available at 9pm on Mondays to watch House), you could watch your TV shows at your own convenience? That’s the question that Netflix 9 Tips & Tricks To Get The Most Out Of Your Netflix Subscription 9 Tips & Tricks To Get The Most Out Of Your Netflix Subscription Read More and Hulu How To Download Videos From Hulu The Easy Way How To Download Videos From Hulu The Easy Way Read More have tried to answer.

Piracy is not always about price. In the past, I’ve pirated episodes of TV because I just couldn’t find the time to watch it live. And now, I know plenty of ex-pirates who only stopped pirating their shows because Netflix filled that void. Without piracy, perhaps we’d still be stuck to our analog televisions without a Netflix on the horizon.

Making a Stand

In capitalistic societies, our demands are determined by our actions. We vote with our wallets, and producers and corporations will respond to that consumer demand. In this kind of world, piracy is another way that we can vote.

In an effort to maintain their power, media corporations will often go to extreme measures to make sure that their handhold on the market does not falter. For example, consider DRM technology. Since its inception, it has been widely protested – from video games to music to DVD purchases.

internet piracy

After reading the above comic, it’s easy to see why someone would opt to pirate. Not only is it free, and not only is it more convenient, but piracy doesn’t treat legitimate customers like criminals. In the world of anti-piracy, paying customers are punished while pirates remain free.

In some sense, pirating can be an effective means of voting with your wallet – or as the case may be, not using your wallet at all.

Conclusion

To reiterate, Internet piracy is illegal according to current law. You may or may not think that Internet piracy is immoral, but I think it’s clear that there are definitely benefits to its existence.

What are your thoughts?

Image Credit: Piracy Image Via Shutterstock, Copyright Image Via Shutterstock, BitTorrent Image Via Shutterstock

  1. Miguel Coscolluela
    May 22, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    I'm against sopa, Because piracy should be legal it can help people who can't afford to buy expensive things. Not all people in the world are rich. This isn't stealing, Because if it was, then the original would be gone. It's just sharing people and sharing is caring.

    • Joel Lee
      May 27, 2016 at 1:40 am

      That seems to be a common stance these days. Thanks for sharing, Miguel. I appreciate hearing your side. :)

  2. MovieCollector
    February 26, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Piracy is blessing to me, but my instinct is a curse.

    I rely on downloading, not just to watch it, but to own it.

    I pay for Internet. Buying TV every few years and HDD to store them.
    TVs and HDD becoming cheaper by time, but free products are becoming bigger that will make HDDs expensive if it retains its capacity and price.

    In 1980s many think that 1MB is too big but now it's very small. FHD movies consume 1-4GB and 4K will be 20-30GB if HDDs decrease its price and increase its capacity, these 4K files will considered small enough.

    We downloaders can afford 4K TV, HDD, PC and Internet.

    Downloading free-movies is same as watching in HBO, but the only problem is that the download sites don't pay the industries.
    Movies we owned should only be shared in private, it's only unfair if others make it a profit or modify and then upload it.

  3. gorrion2
    June 9, 2015 at 8:54 am

    I THANK GOD FOR PIRACY

    Anyone who is against it hasn't experienced the frustration of wanting to buy something legally and not being able because "this content is not available in your country" or having to pay extra fees because you are not part of the "first world" club.
    If producers treated every user equally regardless of their origin, piracy would diminish. A principle of microeconomy people, the black market diminishes when the (legal) supply grows.

    While they continue to do this differenciation between a potential costumer from Africa, South America, the US, or Europe, I will continue to enjoy as much free (I don't care if it was stolen) content as I can get my hands on. Just because I can.

  4. Captain Black Bart
    May 12, 2015 at 3:08 am

    Argh, shiver me timbers matey,

    None of this discussion changes my opinion on the matter. It's not theft. It's copyright infringement. It's seems very similar to taking a library book, cd, dvd and copying it in some way. Assume the library media is copyrighted. If my use is strictly for personal use or reference, I find this less objectionable form of copyright infringement. If I try to profit from it think it more fitting to call it piracy and copyright infringement. It's not something I would ever do....

    Bit torrent is never going to stop. There are too many legitimate uses for it for distributing large files. Thinking of Linux mirrors. The more the media conglomerates crack down on this, the more people will obtain the content with VPN, Proxies, Seedboxes or even resort to dark web solutions. I2P comes to mind. For every copyright infringement protection measure, there will be a hack.

    The media conglomerates will continue tomake money from the lemmings who choose to spend money on that content. It's going to have to be enough, because it's always going to be a problem for the industry.

  5. Painekiller12
    April 10, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    This article is straight up supporting larceny. It shows flawed "benefits" of pirating and doesn't review the consequences of these actions. None of these points are legit and some of them are just selfish people justifying theft.

    If you are not going to spend money on an item because it not "appealing" enough, then that makes stealing OK? What? "Well I wasn't going to pay for it anyways so it's not like I'm hurting you by just taking your product." Yes you are! You're taking a unit of their product. Sure, maybe you won't pay for it at first, but if the movie ends up being good then maybe you'll want to see the movie and then they have your sale. But if you have seen the movie alreadu then they get no sale from you you! You obviously have no economic knowledge on that regard.

    Also, why are you acting like previews are torture? It takes 5 minutes of your life to get a quick look at movies that you would potentially want to see. And warnings and disclaimers take up 1 minute of that 5 minutes. Seriously, if you can't take 5 minutes to spend 2 hours on a movie then you need to rethink your life. That's just plain selfish to say, "Why should I have to watch these previews? How could they do that to ME?!?" Well guess what, life isn't fair nor free. I'm sorry that if you want something that you have to give up something you have. Everyone has to deal with that. Especially in a capitalistic society. Also, media would be helped through that, not Piracy.

    As for the foreign country arguement, considering that 40% of the world has even touched the internet and trade reaches over 80% of the world then I doubt that if you can't have a media format delivered to you by legal means that an illegally streamed media is even available. In any case, that would be a very rare situation and not a good enough reason to even consider legalizing piracy.

    Technological advancements? No, Netflix and Hulu have nothing to do with Piracy. Before there was even internet there was a thing called a DVR which lets you record your shows or movies. Netflix and Hulu based their existence off of that and internet streaming was a convenient way of doing it.

    Piracy is theft, you are taking from someone. It is no different then going to a store and taking a movie off the shelf. It does not benefit anyone but the pirate who decides he is too good to pay for things he want. Too good to get a job and earn the things you get. Piracy hurts the economy and loses jobs. So stop it.

    • Gunnar
      April 8, 2016 at 4:02 am

      No it is actually not the same as physical objects are a limited material where as digital versions are not limited and do not take anything away from anyone. They may add to exposure to a friend of a pirate who may pay for quality and some pirates pay to support artists they like after downloading many songs and then buying the best and tossing the rest . If you would do some research you might find that piracy actually boosts individual song sales. Yes it may affect album sales as people are no longer buy a CD as there is no point when they can just get the best songs from it but the other factor to contribute to that is beatport and bandcamp as people buy individual songs and not full albums as often. Here is an expert on the subject ;) a musician like myself http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/31/2761597/neil-young-music-steve-jobs-piracy-is-the-new-radio

    • AT
      April 30, 2016 at 5:16 am

      You have no idea what it is like to live in another country! If we can't watch legally then we must not have the internet? Seems racist to me. I'm an expat living in Colombia, and I have to use VPNs to watch political debates, pbs, parts of the bbc, and tons of other online content.

    • Sviatoslav
      August 21, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      "Get a job, earn it" - most of the time it is the rhetoric of those, who live in first world countries. Try living in Ukraine (or any other country that formed as a result of collapse of the Soviet Union), where people who have a salary of 150 dollars a month are considered royalty. For someone like you, subscription fees are pocket change, but for someone like me - well, I work in an restaurant and I have a salary of 2100 grivnas (which will be like 83 dollars a month). Forgive me for not being able to afford Netflix subscription for my kids. My main issue with companies and authors is the obscene (for Ukrainians) prices for their content. We are poor compared to Americans, yet we are required to pay just the same amount of money. Thus, people in third world countries pirate movies and the rest because it's not the Soviet Union with it's iron curtain - everyone these days wants to have access to popular culture (most of which comes from America).

  6. ekfrasi
    January 3, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Filesharing is just a miracle :)

    You own a copy and you give it to others by multiplication.
    You do not steal someone else's copy.
    When Jesus took 2 fish and 5 bread and fed 5,000 it was exactly that!
    (I don't care if you believe or not, it is for the sake of the argument)
    The bread making chamber did not accused him of being a thief, nor did the union of fishermen of being a pirate. No one got his fish stolen and none lost his bread. The "industry" did not accused Him of copying the patterns on bread making and the crowd was happy.
    He took what was there and shared it. (sharing is caring)

    If you are against "piracy" call Jesus a pirate and a thief :P

    As long as none is getting money for "selling" the copy and no copy is stolen from someone else it cannot be called theft, like it or not. The IP people should wake up and stop talking about theft, they'd never sell these copies and none is stealing from them. And stop using Intellectual property, is is an oxymoron. Monetization rights, yes but intellect is not property.

    Read http://falkvinge.net/wp-content/uploads/large/The%20Case%20For%20Copyright%20Reform%20(2012)%20Engstrom-Falkvinge.pdf it's worth it :)

    • MovieCollector
      February 27, 2016 at 4:13 am

      Downloading sites should be legalize, but monitored and pay, based on download counts. Advertisements are the source of income of free services and products(digital copies). For example I'm looking for movies and l saw products I need, has a mark-down promo being commercialize, but it doesn't mean I should buy these products.

      The best way is to have a peace agreement between downloading sites and producers. And downloaders should be responsible, they should not treat this as invitation, but it's ok to share file only to the closest people such as family and closest friends. If they know downloading it's better than asking for copies on friends. Or let others download than copying for them. Download counts and duplicating does not. Downloading sites will pay the movie industries base on downloads, if many can't pay for copies.

      Free movies are lower quality, so there is a reason to pay for it directly.
      Paid are not affordable, and the option is lower quality.

  7. Skylark-Torch
    September 12, 2012 at 11:49 am

    What you say about piracy and finding those hidden stars is true, if it weren't free there are a few artists that I would have skipped completely. The thing with me is though, if I like an artist enough because I heard them on the internet, I will later go and legitimately purchase their music to support them; it's as simple as that.

    • AT
      April 30, 2016 at 5:19 am

      This is the right way to pirate.

  8. Ryan Castillo
    July 20, 2012 at 6:14 am

    I "stole" the latest beastie boys album. It was so awesome, I bought the vinyl copy. Does that make me a theif?

  9. Chux
    June 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    There are some countries where you have a credit card but can't use it to purchase from most online shops, so the only way out is to try and get it free of charge. For example paypal and clickbank doesn't allow people from most African countries to use their service hence you cannot buy from stores where paypal is the sole means of payment.

  10. Anonymous
    May 29, 2012 at 2:59 am

    You are definitely right about how much more convenient is is to pirate a movie than it is to actually buy. Not only are there the many screens you can't skip, but it's also just easier to download it than it is to run to the store and buy the DVD or blu-ray.

  11. Nate
    May 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Piracy, in this circumstance, is virtually the same as buying a second hand copy. except that no money has exchanged hands, and i gained, but nobody lost anything.

    if i go to my local media shop, and buy a pre-owned item of whatever IP, or use eBay or Amazon, i then own said media, but instead i've paid someone that previously paid for it, or possibly this media disc has been owned by ten or twenty other people. no money has gone in the pockets of whoever produced or developed it, no publisher has seen benefit from my purchase, but still i own property that they created. how is this any different than me going to Rapidshare, or some synonymous location, and paying a premium fee for my downloads? the owners of the host are seeing the profit, the same as a second hand shop would. money has still exchanged hands, albeit digitally, so economic stimulation has still occurred. and the producer of the IP has still earned nothing from myself directly, but down the line, they have sold another COPY of their medium.

    its not just the site users who are to blame either, we are almost expected to be filling up our hard drives with someone else's content. is there anyone out there who has a 2TB drive who filled the space legitimately? blame the tech companies too while you're at it. why not go as far as blaming ISP's for giving us net speeds worthy of downloading or streaming. it is fair to blame the culprit, but why give exemption to those that gave him the means? dropping an atomic bomb makes not only the weapon user guilty, but also the person who built or designed it.

    i, like so many other discovered so many new films games and musicians through downloads, that i subsequently went on to purchase. media i would have most likely overlooked in stores or online. we all support what we enjoy. a sports fan will buy a ticket. even if i never bought an album from a musician, i will go see them live. if i 'own' a movie that has no physical form in my collection, i'll go to the cinema to see the next installment.

    if an artist is making their art to get rich, then they're doing it for the wrong reasons, and we all hate those soulless, red carpet wannabes. the world is far too driven by having money and power, we're all told to want and crave it, we'll kill for it, break and create laws for it, lie, cheat and steal for it. i'm not disputing that a person deserves to be paid for their craft. but just because you create something, who's to say you own it? you choose to invest your time in it, it's a knowing risk you take if it doesn't earn you millions. are we supposed to pay someone for a joke we heard before we pass it on? noone really owns anything anyway, when we're all dead, our legacy will be a smoldering ruin for whoever inherits the world, and the whole cycle can begin anew.

    rather amusing though when you consider downloading a song and you're envisioned by fat men with fat wallets wearing a skull and cross-bones hat, with an eye patch.

    let's face it, politicians wouldn't give a single shit if there wasn't money to be had. and in a world that has since the dawn of time been crippled and raped by politicians, is it any wonder that we've stopped listening?

    • DJ
      September 16, 2012 at 2:29 am

      you say " just because you create something, who's to say you own it?"

      Intellectual property law says you own it. Simple as that.

      Your post would have more merit if it were less "F the man" and more thought out. A lot of what you say is so far from topic that it hurts to read it.

      I am all for everyone having their own opinion, in fact I enjoy a good debate, especially when it comes to movie piracy. But I am not sure you fully understand the topic at hand.

      • Duh...
        October 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm

        And who made IP laws? Greedy profiteers nudging legislators in a director that benefits them, that who.

        Anything has the potential to be "created" or rather, "arranged" into a form that we see as useful. If I had a huge bag of alphabets and I scattered the letters across the floor at random, most of the time it would form gibberish, but probability mandates that there will be some occasions, no matter how rare, where the letters actually form a completely readable and brilliant article.

        So called IP "owners" merely took what was available and arranged them into a particular form. The formula for that item to exist in a perceivable manner had been there since time immemorial. For example, music is simple an arranged series of sounds which, given enough time, can and will be played out in a series that people would call a "song".

        Thus shall we say that the content creators are pirating from the Creator (God or whoever you believe in)?

        Anything that can be beneficial to mankind as a whole should not be restricted to the profit of the individuals or groups that made them. IP laws stifle the betterment and advancement of mankind by limiting stuff that should be enjoyed by all, regardless of whether they could afford it or not, to those who can fork out the money. That is the most immoral and wrong thing that could happen, yet ironically it is protected by the law.

  12. Chris Hoffman
    May 5, 2012 at 5:12 am

    Piracy sucks and is less than ideal.

    But big corporations refuse to give people what they want at a reasonable price. They're restricting Hulu to cable subscribers, squeezing releases out of Netflix, blocking new albums from appearing on music streaming services, adding ridiculous DRM to games, and so on.

    Give people what they want at a reasonable price and piracy will not be a concern. People don't _want_ to pirate. People want to do the right thing, but the media companies need to meet us half way.

    I think the worst industries at the moment are the TV and movie industries. The music industry has caved to reasonably priced streaming services and such. But many movies and tv shows remain unavailable online or in certain regions, or only available for $4.50 an episode on iTunes (ridiculous).

    • Mike DeGeorge
      May 5, 2012 at 6:48 pm

      I haven't payed for music in quite a while, except for one album. I download everything from Youtube and use Freemake Video Converter to convert it into MP3. Boom. Instant song. And it can't be dubbed illegal, because they are both 100% legal services/apps.

      • Chris Hoffman
        May 7, 2012 at 4:30 am

        Well, that depends. I'm not a lawyer, but that's definitely a gray area at best.

        I mean, that sucks, though -- right? Downloading stuff from YouTube and converting it is a pain, and you're getting worse sound quality from the conversion. Plus, a lot of what's on YouTube isn't the best quality in the first place. And the artists aren't getting any money from that.

        We need cheap services that are more convenient than that. It's better for everyone involved (maybe not the big record companies -- but they need to go away. then things can be cheaper and there'd be more money for the artists.)

        • Mike
          June 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm

          if you used VEVO videos the artists do get payed per view so really everyone wins there

      • Skylark-Torch
        September 12, 2012 at 12:01 pm

        What you say, using legitimate tools to do an illegal thing is not illegal? I disagree.

        Metaphorically speaking, a hammer is a legitimate and legal tool. Using your hammer to go beat in a window on some car is not, however.

  13. DJ
    May 5, 2012 at 1:34 am

    While i agree with some of your arguments, like "Piracy allows us to discover media that we would’ve otherwise skipped. It could be argued that Internet piracy is actually what placed some bands and TV shows on the map thanks to word of mouth. Perhaps without piracy, they would’ve faded away into obscurity."

    I strongly disagree with piracy, period. It is illegal and i truly feel it needs to be stopped. The SOPA/PIPA blackout however i think would be taking it a little far... what this bill would do would be way to extreme. This was actually a topic of conversation in a recent meeting i attended at work. I happen to work in the film exhibitor industry and we were discussing the extremities that this bill put in place to stop piracy.

    It would basically make the internet completely useless, unable to be used the way it was really designed for which is sharing and using information. it suggests that if i were to go online right now to my facebook page and to share something that had more than 75% copied information, my post would then be blocked and no one would be able to see it.

    I am very firmly on the anti piracy side of this very common topic of discussion, while i dont think piracy would have any major affects on the industry in my life time it will most certainly have an affect in the future. Someone posted a comment below about going into wallmart, stealing a pair of shoes and so on.... most people have commented that piracy and stealing a pair of shoes are like chalk and cheese, not even close to the same thing.

    I urge you to think of it this way.... In an age where we can transfer money over the internet. If someone was to go online, transfer all your funds from your bank account to theirs, that would be stealing yes? and i already know the arguments people will come up with "but thats money that i had to earn, so its my property" or "but the money is still physically there, just cause you cant touch it doesnt mean its any less my property" - well its the same with books, tv shows, movies, music. That is someone's property, they worked hard to make it, write it, film it etc...... thats is why they call it intellectual property.

    just because you may not have watched that movie/ listened to that music otheriwise, doesnt mean its ok...

    you didnt earn that money, you wouldnt have had that money had you not stolen it by means of "file sharing"... but you didnt physically go into that persons wallet and steal the money - does that make it ok??

    • Sc
      September 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm

      The problem with your logic is exactly the problem with the shoe analogy, and many have refuted exactly the same line of logic. Piracy is not about "taking" anything. Nothing is missing when something is pirated. There is no hole where something once was. If you were to steal, yes, steal, money from somebody's bank account, that is exactly the definition of stealing. Something is missing. Somebody has to pay money to replace the stolen funds/items. I don't care how a person could justify that, it would be stealing. Somewhere down the line someone is actually paying for those missing bank funds. This doesn't happen in the case of piracy. If a friend of mine brings over a DVD to my house and we watch it together, is this piracy? How about if I go to his house and watch it? Ok, let's magnify that to 10. He has a party at his house, everybody watches. Still not piracy? 100 people? Is this going to at some point turn into an actual issue as the numbers rise, but not at a smaller level? That's called hypocrisy.

      • DJ
        September 16, 2012 at 2:17 am

        While I understand your argument, I still disagree. Yes, when you pirate a movie, music or a book you are not physically stealing anything, but you are still not paying for something that was intended for sale...

        You can be arrested for walking into a cinema without paying for a ticket because you are 'stealing' a product or service intended for sale. It's the same with downloading movies illegally...

        The reason I used the 'shoe logic' is because it does have some merit to it. Stealing a pair of shoes is stealing, illegally downloading a movie is still stealing...

        You say that it's not because there is no 'hole' there isn't anything missing where something once was....

        I go back to my 'file sharing/ bank account argument'. What if I were able to stop your salary from going into your bank account and instead it went to mine? There would be no 'hole' where something once was because the money never made it to your bank account in the first place... Would that still be stealing?

        The answer is yes, because you are not receiving something that you should have, money that is yours because you worked for it. It's the same with piracy.

        Someone had to have worked on making the movie/ book/ music for it to be available to you in the first place. So not paying for it is still stealing...

        Not matter which way you look at it, or what justification you come up with, stealing in any form is still stealing...

        But I enjoy the debate, keeps us thinking :)

        • SC
          September 16, 2012 at 8:10 pm

          The issue with the bank account analogy is that the money that is taken from my account is not theoretical money. It's real money earned by me for work I've done. Not dependant on any outside factors. Again, I agree that case would be is stealing. Piracy on the other hand is for theoretical "purchases". Like the above article, most people wouldn't buy the things that they pirate if that was the only way they could get it. Now on the other hand, if someone were able to benefit from my labor on top of the money I've already gotten for it, then sure, good for them. Honestly, if my days work could be spread out so everybody could benefit from it, I don't see why I would be outraged for not having "proper" compensation for it.
          To compare it to a physical analogy: Let's say you have 500000 beans. I buy one bean, and can duplicate it for 1000 of my friends. You might say that when selling your beans there were 1000 beans that you would have sold the compensate from the beans that I gave to my friends, but you have no way of ever knowing if they would have bought the beans. In all likelihood they wouldn't have bought those beans at all, because your beans are probably too expensive anyways.
          Personally, I believe the entire entertainment industry is a ridiculous farce. The amount of money poured into the whole thing is absurd. Entertainment is pretty much one of the biggest crux of our society and it's ridiculous for it. It makes me sick that a person can be paid literally 1000x the salary of a policeman, or fireman for putting a basketball into a circle. I have much more on the subject, but I think this portion of my rant can be cut short. :)

        • SC
          September 16, 2012 at 8:13 pm

          Please forgive the formatting of my response. I guess my browser doesn't acknowledge my use of paragraphs.

  14. JerryP
    May 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    As long as there are 2 groups of pirates, and one is always ignored, not much is going to change. The first group we can call "apples" are those are who this article talks about.
    The second group are those who pirate that which is readily available, relatively cheap, and what they would buy if it wasn't so readily available: "oranges". Some do make money off of piracy, but they are the exception.

    All the reasonable opinion pieces are about the apples and they tend to ignore that the oranges exist. They have valid arguments about how things shold be restructured to eliminate the need for apples. Since they never even mention the oranges the view from the outside is that they are all oranges and just throwing up excuses. And there are many weak excuses out there ("I only download and watch their crappy stuff because I am bored and I can, but I wouldn't watch it if I had to buy it" - so it's worth spending your time watching it over many legitimate alternatives, but not good enough to pay for??? or "I can't afford to pay $0.99 to listen to a song" - as much as I sympathize, entertainment IS a luxury item) that get tossed in with legitamate arguments and takes the legs out of from under the apples.

    All the corporations see are oranges. They pretend that the apples don't exist because it is easier to pass draconian laws then to actually look at better business models. And the laws they get passed are (in theory) aimed at the oranges. And they aim to hammer them so hard that anyone caught will serve as an "example". Not exactly how the system is supposed to be setup, punishment fitting the crime and all that. Generally, who they catch are the apples.

    For now, the two sides are talking past each other because both ignore an important part of the conversation.

    • Joel Lee
      May 4, 2012 at 8:42 pm

      You know, you make a good point. I'm starting to see that many arguments are largely perpetuated because the two sides talk past each other. Whether it's a husband and wife, or politicians, or an Internet debate, a lot of it comes down to not speaking on common terms.

      So how do we stop doing that and start facilitating a sort of discussion that is useful?

  15. MarisAvis
    May 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Apparently, they're saying that the terminology "piracy" doesn't sound as bad as it used to, especially now that we've all watched Jack Sparrow. :-)

    Seriously, though, the issue of using entertainment media without paying when there is some type of stated cost is not new. This started at least before the VCR which was contested because people were recording programs off the networks when they weren't at their TVs. It's precisely because of the Betamax case, that something like BitTorrent is acceptable, that is because it also has significant legal, legimate "non-infringing" uses.

    We can take copyrighted books out of the public library and nowadays DVDs, VHS, video games are also available for enough time to use them in these libraries, even without paying a dime. TiVo seems to have wide legitimacy. The likes of Windows Media Center allows one to record from the networks and there are utilities available for removing the commercials.

    In a society in which legality is determined almost solely on "humanist" philosophy (including with reference to the Constitution) laws can change very quickly and it's hopefully because, as expressed in Vulcan philosophy, "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the view" but usually some lobbyists have convinced lawmakers to govern in their interest.

    In a humanist society, the lowest common denominator may be simply "make sure you don't get caught." If there's a technical way of dong something, then what's stopping anybody. That's also the kind of thinking that people use to justify hacking into systems, stealing identities, etc.

    Religious individuals or groups may, for instance, have their ethical objections to piracy. The groups active in trying to reduce or eliminate piracy, including via the legal system and government, are almost certainly operating more out of economic considerations than moral convictions.

    Our society's self control or even a perception that there's a problem may declining. That's a reason why the fact that this issue is being raised now is interesting.

    We're also living in a society and era where entertainment and fun is so prevalent. People tend to default to entertainment and fun, when we're not working or in some type of school study mode or having to sleep, rather themselves through, say, some type of education or other self improvement.

    It may not have been the intention of the entertainment industry and many of us may not be conscious of it but, in perpetuating such fantasy, they may also have been perpetuating the morality that, if it's OK to be entertained by an ever increasing level and amount of sex and violence, it's also OK to use their media without going through the proper payment procedures.

    There are many free legal methods of obtaining media, if one is willing to leave one's options open. Some methods of relaxation may even be really better for one's health than what people are pirating.

  16. BlackFireNova
    May 2, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    I firmly believe that if every single instance of "Piracy" as it is presently defined and applied today were shut down and eliminated the following would obtain:

    1: Firstly there would be very little increase in real sales of those products, either in digital delivered or 'real' form. The claims of "Loss" simply cannot be "validated" in the manner that they are using now.

    2: Secondly, there are instances where I will download a song, or movie, and find that I really DO like it. I would never have gone to see it in a theatre! I don't go to DVD or Video Rental Stores, and if I DID, the chances I would actually notice that particular DVD or CD in amongst the thousands of others there is infinitesimal (unless I went there LOOKING FOR IT, which does not count in this scenario). WHEN I FIND SOMETHING I DO LIKE I BUY IT. By my lights they would NEVER see this sale unless I had had the opportunity to check it out BEFORE I purchased.

    3: The argument that was advanced about those who download products that are simply unavailable in their area, OR downloading products that are presently not available for purchase (either out of print / production, or not available in the area the person lives in) is completely valid. Such downloading in no way, shape or form can be construed to result in loss of sales or income to any artist, publisher, producer, or company (given that the person that downloaded it uses it for strictly private viewing / purposes).

    4: Relating to #3, above, the argument FOR downloading in that circumstance is that with social media connections, blogs, and other methods of communication there is the excellent chance that the person who downloaded a product and liked it may comment on that. If even ONE SALE resulted from that comment, then the purportedly "illegal' download by that person (who could not in any way have purchased or acquired it 'legitimately') actually in a sense validated the acquisition and provided some free advertising by that individual in favor of the company. They certainly make no attempt to offer any predictions of how such circumstances may result PROFIT to them.

    Now I don't advocate wholesale downloading. When I do download something it is because I am interested in it, and I want to find out if it's applicable and usable and enjoyable for me. If it is, then I go out and buy it. If not, I dump it.

    Now, if the artists, studios, developers, etc. were to change their shoddy marketing practices, and offer a fair and real return policy for consumers, so that if I were to purchase a DVD or CD or Program, and it was CRAP, or didn't work properly, or didn't suit my needs, AND I COULD RETURN IT AT WILL, then that would go a long way toward making their protectionism palatable. However on the one hand they want to say "You've bought it, it's YOURS. No, you cannot return it once it's opened" Their position is that if I don't like it .... too bad! As long as they are not willing to stand behind their product, and offer me a fair refund if I don't like it after I have purchased it, then I have little compunction about doing what I need to do to get a GOOD LOOK at it before I buy.

    If I purchase an appliance, or a car, or a book, or any manufactured product (that is not video, software, or digitally developed) I can RETURN IT if it doesn't work properly, or I just don't like it. The store will take it back, the Lemon laws insure that the dealership is screwed if they don't make it right, or take it back. But with a DVD, or a software program I'm screwed. They want to have it their way, every way, and until they moderate their attitude, they will continue to face this issue. For every avenue that they try and close off, 10 more will open up.

  17. Chumscrubber
    May 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    there is no need to vote about that issue, it already has been decided for us.

    But if you ask me, then my answer is PIRACY FOR LIFE

  18. Scutterman
    May 2, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Two interesting bits of news.

    France cuts piracy, but sales don't improve
    http://torrentfreak.com/french-three-strikes-law-slashes-piracy-but-fails-to-boost-sales-120330/

    Pirates spend more money on music than people who just buy music
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/illegal-downloaders-spend-the-most-on-music-says-poll-1812776.html

  19. Susendeep Dutta
    May 2, 2012 at 10:05 am

    If the content that's aired in other part of the world is not available,then one must not bother to get it anyway if the artist is not at all interested in providing it.All these organizations wants to protect their money and they are just trying to protect their profits.MUO has also an article -

    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/campaign-piracy-farce-opinion/

    which states that these companies are not in loss and they are just simply getting jealous of piracy.Majority of the people in any part of the world would like to access anything in life hassle free while they have paid something for it and these companies are not going to gain anything if they continue such practices as depicted in the above comic for a paid customer.I think that these companies are themselves responsible for piracy and this article proves it with many examples like Netflix.

  20. Toby
    May 2, 2012 at 7:46 am

    True piracy is illegal, but it seems like the government is trying so hard to remove something they started or w/e. for example look at the megaupload fiasco. We all downloaded something from megaupload before. They claim that megaupload was causing the entertainment industry to lose billions of dollars because of piracy, yet look at how long it was around before they took it down. It served it's purpose in society. Famous people like Kim Kardashian and alicia keys donated to megaupload and supported it; now if megaupload piracy was so bad, why would the hollywood stars who are losing money support it? TBH I feel like rapidshare was used way more for piracy than megaupload.Let's face it, piracy helped their careers and helped promote their image. the government should just give up the fight in piracy. Let's look at the PS3 now; you can't watch backup movies on it because of the Cinavia protection that reads audio streams to tell if you have a right to play the film. This software is expensive and pretty dumb imo. If a movie won't play on the ps3, you can watch it on a computer or put it on an android phone or something and plug that into your tv and enjoy. If some people had linux on their ps3 after installing cfw, they had an easy fix. No matter how bad they make it seem piracy benefits the economy and they can't do anything to stop it. At least you know that you didn't spend your money on a movie,game, or cd that was absolutely trash. Also, with the price of gas and cost of living nowadays, who really has any spare cash to drop on something they can get for free.

    • Joel Lee
      May 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      "No matter how bad they make it seem piracy benefits the economy and they can’t do anything to stop it."

      I agree with this. In 100% of the cases that I've pirated, I would not have spent that money anyway. However, because I DID pirate, I ended up spending money on related products (DVDs, merchandise, etc.) and I spread its popularity via word of mouth.

  21. El
    May 2, 2012 at 7:40 am

    What if I do live in Siberia? What is I really have no legal means to access legal content? What if I want to pay, but no one will take my money? What if even iTunes store is blocked here? Am I supposed to shut up and watch whatever content I'm given by local providers. Am I not allowed to watch US & UK shows? Am I a third rate person? Am I somehow less worthy than those who have an option of legally acquiring content? Isn't this discrimination?

    • Joel Lee
      May 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm

      I mentioned that in the article and I agree with you. If piracy can provide a service that producers aren't willing to provide, then what? Only the naive would think that one wouldn't choose to pirate.

    • JerryP
      May 2, 2012 at 9:32 pm

      When things are blocked it's not about what YOU are supposed to do. It is about what the VENDOR of the material is legally allowed to do. If they don't have the rights to distribute/sell it in your country, they won't. It is about where you happen to be. Companies are not going out of their way to keep you from buying their crap just because they think it is funny, or because you speak with an accent.

      Further, they have to at least *try* to enforce copyright and trademark laws or else they may lose the copyright/trademark entirely.

      And it is discrimination, just the other kind: 2.Recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another.

  22. Austin
    May 2, 2012 at 5:32 am

    The most useful thing for me is when I buy something and for whatever reason, I can't use it anymore. I buy a new computer with Windows, I later need to reinstall. I lost the 7 recovery DVDs preloaded with all the crapware I don't want, and if I try to use a real Windows disc it will whine about activation. If I use a pirated copy and crack for a piece of software I bought, it works better.

    Same if I buy a PC game and the discs get too scratched or something, or the copy protection gets on my nerves. I'm not gonna buy a new copy just because my discs are scratched, I'll just download another one (then be forced to use a crack because of that. Also, who wants to put the CD in the drive every time to play a game. Games don't do that anymore but the one I was thinking of in my example did that)

    • Joel Lee
      May 2, 2012 at 4:25 pm

      "If I use a pirated copy and crack for a piece of software I bought, it works better."

      This is the thing that amazes me. People wonder why piracy is so widespread (other than it being free), and this is why! It's just more convenient and, in many cases, it just works better.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Jeremy
      May 2, 2012 at 9:22 pm

      The best example is if I buy a movie, I get a big scary warning about where I can show it then I have to sit through previews and in some cases commercials to get to the menu so I can then choose to watch the movie.

      I don't have to deal with content protection systems that limit how and what I watch it on.

      An unauthorized download copy...just plays and can be easily watched on anything I want.

  23. carie
    May 2, 2012 at 3:55 am

    You logic is flawed!

    By your logic, I walk into a large wallmart owned store, filch a pair of shoes I would never buy, it is not so bad because wallmart are not loosing, they rich anyway and well they should be pleased that I am now wearing their poorly made shoes. Let's be clear, the poor children who actually made those shoes were never going to see no more than a few cents of that money so in fact I am doing a good thing by not supporting this horror trade. It is a way for me to vote against this horror industry and show support for free trade and fair practice. I am also helping the local unemployment problem, because of people like me, the wallmart owned store hires several security guards.

    It is theft, pure and simple. The fact that a person watched something they have no legal right to do so, makes them a thief! It is actually that simple!

    • Tom Paine
      May 2, 2012 at 6:01 am

      @carie:
      You use a flawed analogy. Information flow is nearly free and only limited in speed of transmission. Piracy is not like stealing a pair of shoes from a store. Pirating a pair of shoes would be getting a pair of shoes but the original is still right there. Theft assumes scarcity, but if you can make infinite copies of something, there is no scarcity. You are simply copying a set electronic signals we call bits.

      • Andrew
        May 2, 2012 at 7:50 am

        I can't believe I even have to explain this (unless you work for the MPAA) but piracy simply is not theft. Piracy is like copying pages from a book. I'm not ripping out the pages, I'm making more of them. In your fundamentally flawed Walmart example, the company loses an actual investment, the shoes. When I pirate yet-another-generic-thriller (that's already made it's due share of box-office revenue...) NO ONE LOSES ANYTHING.

        • Beduin024
          August 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm

          Despite of using a bad analogy he also managed to make theft sound moral :)

    • Scutterman
      May 2, 2012 at 11:32 am

      I have to agree with Tom, no law defines piracy as theft, that's only the view put out by corporations who don't actually understand the subject.

      • Bruce Epper
        May 2, 2012 at 12:09 pm

        Piracy and theft have been roughly equivalent for a long time. Originally, piracy only dealt with robbery on the high seas and was later expanded to cover the theft of cargo regardless of the mode of transportation (land, sea or air). The Merriam-Webster dictionary has a third entry regarding the unauthorized usage of IP now based on the MPAA/RIAA and nearly universal media usage in that context, hence we get many people believing copyright infringement is theft.

        Carie, you need to pay attention now. If you look at the definition of theft, it involves DEPRIVING THE VICTIM OF THE USE OF THE STOLEN OBJECT. Since copyright infringement involves making a copy of the item and not the removal of it, IT IS NOT THEFT.

        What makes this entire thing so annoying is that by the MPAA/RIAA definition, I am violating copyright when I take a folder full of mp3 files that were ripped from CDs that I own and move them to a larger hard drive on my computer (I just made another copy of the file on a different device). The same thing holds true if I just moved them from one partition to another on the same drive since a different copy of the file now exists.

        Sorry Scutterman, I wasn't originally going to go that far when I started this and only the first portion applies to your comment.

    • BlackFireNova
      May 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      Carie:

      I'm sorry, but I disagree with you. You are generalizing.

      If I were to download a movie to watch which is out of production, and not available for sale or rent where I live, then I do not see where you can consider it 'theft'. Theft of anything carries the implication that someone or some entity has 'Lost' something permanently, and ./ or due to that loss has been deprived of money, or use of their owned goods, etc.

      In the case of the download mentioned, or ANY download that is strictly digital you cannot say or prove that any individual, company, or entity has been directly, immediately, and permanently deprived of the product, item, etc. Therefore no Theft has taken place. The fact that the remote possibility exists that they MIGHT have been deprived of some money that MIGHT have accrued from the sale of said product or item to the downloader is specious, at best, there is no way to ever prove that is, or would have been the case.

      Furthermore, there could well be a BENEFIT in the individual downloading that product, or item etc., in that if they like it they well MAY buy it, OR they may influence someone else to buy it who might never have done so had the first individual not become acquainted with the product or item, and then recommended it.

      Finally, there are thousands and thousands of programs and other digital products that are available for download which are considered obsolete, and / or discontinued by those who created or marketed them. If I were to download the complete Macromedia Suite (the one released prior to Adobe purchasing the company) and used it in a limited fashion to do a few things that were required, I see no way at all that this harms Adobe, and certainly not Macromedia, they no longer exist. As I do not have $10,000 + to shell out to Adobe to buy the current suite, and would NEVER be in a position to purchase it, how can my use of the older product (which incidentally the sales of that product fully compensated the company for the development during it's life cycle) harm anyone? I see none. No one loses anything, no money is lost, no sales are lost. In the event that what I am doing should accrue to my benefit in terms of monetary recompense, and I begin to do well, and that software turns into a requirement, then I would be purchasing it due to need, and the company would then benefit by my having had the use and experience with the older version.

  24. Matt Smith
    May 2, 2012 at 12:33 am

    We have to vote via piracy only because the power of our real votes have been diminished by huge corporate donations to political campaigns and the promise of posh "jobs" for ousted politicians who supported this or that corporation during their time in office.

    If this were not the case we'd have consumer laws that declare things like region-locking or activation limits illegal.

    The saddest part is that, because we can only vote by piracy (or just not buying or downloading anything at all), the people who make the games, shows and music we enjoy are hurt he most.

    And just for the record - I personally take the but-almost-nothing-at-all route. I get by with a Netflix subscription and some Steam games these days.

    • Joel Lee
      May 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      Unfortunately you are right. Piracy (like many things) is mostly a political issue. Many politicians avoid common sense and only vote in ways that'll lead them to money and power.

      It's sad that piracy doesn't hurt them, though, and perhaps we should find ways to truly hurt the legislators and corporations instead of the good-hearted producers. Maybe social media could be involved, like the SOPA/PIPA blackouts.

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