Why Pirates Keep Winning
Dutch Parliament has decided to keep file-sharing legal. Earlier this month, Switzerland had made the same decision. SOPA is getting it’s ass kicked as it maintains no real support aside from those in the entertainment industry who drafted it in the first place. So why, if internet piracy is such a heinous crime as some would claim, is this a pirate’s world?
Good question, Green Pirate. Let’s see… well, as many courts ruling on such things as file-sharing are finding, you simply can not block the flow of information on the internet and keep it open at the same time. To summarize, the internet is either open or it is not functioning properly. From a practical perspective, blocking and censorship are not options. Free speech will always become a casualty when censorship is considered a viable strategy.
What about from a financial or economic perspective? Frankly, claims of capital loss due to file-sharing are unsubstantiated. At the same time, studies have shown file-sharing to either have no negative impact on the amount people spend on entertainment while others have indicated that file-sharers generally spend more money on creative content that their non-file-sharing peers who seem to have a longer learning curve and wait for the industry to provide modern distribution solutions.
Which brings me to the next point. Where are the modern solutions for digital distribution? How are the slowtards supposed to find the same content as the freetards when there isn’t a legitimate for them to use? No wonder they make less purchases than pirates.
Efforts to quell internet piracy or not politically feasible either. Not only will it make you extremely unpopular in politics to attempt to criminalize the average voter, but it is hardly a cost effective solution for a government to waste money trying to solve a threat that is unsubstantiated. In other words, no amount of government spending and legislating is going to stop internet file-sharing. This problem can’t be solved by governments and a large reason for that is because piracy is not a problem. You simply can’t spend your resources chasing bogeymen.
So what is left? What other argument is there against file-sharing? Ah yes. The infallible moral argument that all anti-pirates cling to when all common sense and rationale fail to support their cause. Allow me to just say that I understand your beliefs are important to you. I understand that beliefs can become a sense of identity and that it’s fully up to you to choose what you consider moral and immoral. Like you, I have my own beliefs. I believe that file-sharing is taking the moral high ground.
The negative impacts of file-sharing have been discounted, so I’m honestly not concerned with jobs being lost or artists starving due to file-sharing or any of that nonsense. Instead, I like to look at how file-sharing has made the world a better place.
For one thing, we all have access to an abundance of entertainment that we didn’t have before. File-sharing has leveled the field, making everyone with internet access content rich. No longer does the guy on welfare have to sit on the porch and drink all day. No he can sit on the internet and drink all day while watching movies and listening to music.
Or maybe he is sick of being on welfare and drinking all day. Now he can download some software and make his own beats, upload it to the internet and start building a following to support is music career.
Maybe he isn’t a musician. Maybe he wants to learn a skill that will help him get work, but he doesn’t have the means to go to school. Thanks to the internet, he can download a variety of books on web development and get proficient enough find work in the field.
Some people simply don’t like the idea of a piece of plastic wrapped in more waste material being shipped across the world just so they can access content on a DVD when all of that could be saved by downloading online in a matter of minutes. What do you think requires more resources and produces more waste products and emissions, downloading 700MB or shipping a crate from China to USA?
A huge community and culture exists because of file-sharing. It is a huge incentive for people to interact. The guy who has a disability and does go out much might have more good friends online than the guy who spends his free time AFK. Being AFK is a good thing, but file-sharing has created a place and social structure for a lot of people who may not otherwise have had it.
“But Green Pirate, all those examples are of people stealing!” While many anti-pirates continue to cling to this fallacy, downloading content is not stealing. Nothing is lost when you download a movie. Besides, if downloading is theft, then why is theft a crime and downloading is not? Why are downloaders not charged with theft? Because downloading is not theft. Remember, movies are fictitious. Just because you saw a clip comparing downloading to stealing a car, doesn’t make it real life. Batman is neat too, but it’s not realistic.
Content that gets distributed by pirates online often reaches a much wider audience. A wider audience generally translates to more sales. Not only has piracy not been show to negatively affect profits, but pirates are doing a tremendous job of promoting content that reaches millions of people. This kind of market impact would normally cost a great deal of money. On behalf of all pirates, Green Pirate would just like to say, you’re welcome content industry!
Another area where internet piracy takes the moral high ground is by providing a service that is free to all where there is otherwise a vacuum. Despite the long time availability of torrents, file lockers and other means of accessing content online for free, no real competition has been introduced by the bulk of the entertainment industries. It has been left up to every day people to step up and become pirates, in the face of persecution, and perpetuate a service that wouldn’t exist without them.
When I hear someone say “I hate internet piracy” they might as well be saying to me “I hate liberty, freedom of speech, free education and information, the environment, poor people, sound marketing strategies, capitalism, community, culture, sharing, innovation, the ability to make informed purchases and reducing the cost of distribution.”
I am a pirate because I love these things. There are millions of me who love some or all of these things. We don’t really care about what you hate, but none of us can quite figure out just what exactly is it that you love? Until you have a valid answer, we will continue to dominate a world that is on our side.