This post is for you.
If oppose internet piracy because 'stealing is wrong':
This post is for you.
If you are an artist/author that wants to protect his/her income from unscrupulous characters:
This post is for you.
What is Internet Piracy?
For the purposes of this discussion, Piracy refers to Internet Piracy, and Internet Piracy is defined as: Downloading copyrighted material without financial compensation to the copyright holder. While this is meant to include both those who profit from distributing copyrighted material in exchange for cash, and those that profit via advertisements while providing the copyrighted material for free to their users, it is somewhat more directed at the latter.
For this discussion, the term Piracy would apply to, but is not limited to, downloading or streaming movies, television shows, music audio, e-books, etc. from websites that have not purchased license of the material from the copyright holder.
Why does Piracy exist?
Piracy of copyrighted material exists because of demand for the material. People illegally download content because they want the content, and:
Why does Piracy exist?
What we commonly refer to as "piracy" exists only due to failure on the part of the free market.
- Cannot obtain that content through the channels they desire to obtain that content.
- Cannot afford the asking price of the content they wish to obtain.
Here is an example of that demand:
I heard the new episode of Spartacus was recently released, and I want to see it. I'm pretty sure you have to have basic cable television to see the 'official' broadcast. I do not and will not. It's not available to me on DVD, and not really even worth the cost of a DVD rental as far as I'm concerned. At this moment, it's not available online from the 'official' site for viewing
laced with commercials brought to me by some fine company in exchange for viewing advertisements for their wonderful products. It's also not available for me to watch online in exchange for a small amount of cash (Really, probably about $0.25 max, and only as an impulse purchase).
The reason that demand is not being met is complete and utter bullshit on so many levels:
1. The product itself is harmful. It is an ironically parallel piece of distracting entertainment loosely recounting a time in history when entertainment was used to distract the populace who would otherwise demand a better existence from those profiting from their toil.
2. The limitation of distribution is an intentional manipulation of the viewer to make the product more appealing to the advertiser. Since it takes a mountain of atrocity before even a small percentage of the American populace will inconvenience themselves with the responsibilities of patriotic consumers, the copyright holders and advertisers know that forcing consumers to watch the advertisements in order to view the content will not result in decreased sales for the advertiser. In fact, doing so is likely to increase sales of the product.
3. The great wealth generated by these product sales to unpatriotic consumers and the sale of the advertisement slots to the product manufacturers is then used to purchase politicians to craft laws that prevent the natural free market response to such bullshit - Piracy.
The content producers, distributors and advertisers are all perfectly capable of putting an end to piracy, but why should they meet the demands of the consumers? Why lower their prices when they can buy the legislators and legislation required to divert OUR tax dollars to ensure they won't have to spend THEIR money to innovate and properly meet the demand?
By opposing internet piracy, you support the stifling of innovation and creativity in product development and distribution, as well as the other benefits capitalism touts as selling points.
What about the Authors?They have to eat too, right?
If that's what you think, you're setting the bar far too low. You've bought into the system that owns you. Do you honestly believe that J.K. Rowling should have been on food stamps and writing on the backs of napkins? Is that your ideal vision of society, that a person capable of producing something with such broad appeal should have to struggle to make a living while making far greater money for someone else than themselves, fail at that, then with desperation as a source of courage take an abundance of free time to pursue a dream? Should not the pursuit of the dream have been encouraged and supported from the start? Is there any reason that one must slave away for another to survive and work their dream in on the side? Is there a reason the basic human needs cannot be provided for all citizens of a nation so that the pursuit can be given full attention in much better circumstances?
Copyright Law is a Product of a Bygone Era
When I click 'publish,' literally MILLIONS of people will be able to read these words. If someone copies them and sells them to others, thereby making a fortune - is that truly wrong? If it is wrong, where is the wrong?
The crime is not selling my work to customers I could have had. That is a failure of the system to provide a means of distribution from me to my customers. The crime is that when someone admires a work, he does not know where to direct the admiration. For me, the only wrong therein is the loss of recognition - and the technology either exists, near-exists, or could exist to completely prevent it.
If the technology exists (and in light of the existence of facial recognition software it's reasonable to believe it could if it doesn't already), every sentence of this post could be searched for and compared with every sentence posted to the internet. The trail either exists or could exist to determine the origin of that string of words - the first time it was seen on the internet. Attach to that string accurate author data, and the only crime of piracy can be completely eliminated along with most other the other reasons for antiquated Copyright Law.
With that technology in place, existing Copyright Law could be replaced with a percentage-based system. If you copied this article and sold it as a portion of an e-book that you compiled from a hundred various bloggers writing about copyright, those sales could be 'run through the copyright system' with the predetermined percentage cut going to you for the compilation and distribution, and a predetermined percentage going to each contributing author.
The pace of technology has long since surpassed the usefulness of Copyright law, and Piracy is proof of that. By opposing Piracy you hinder the development of laws appropriate to the medium and beneficial to artists and their fans everywhere.