Piracy is a big thing. Despite media companies’ best efforts there seems to be little they can do to stop piracy. But just because everyone is pirating this doesn’t excuse the fact that it is illegal. Then again, something being illegal doesn’t necessarily make it wrong. So is piracy wrong? I am not arguing for or against piracy. I am only addressing some of the fallacious arguments people use to excuse piracy.
Media companies don’t care about their customers
Poor behaviour on the company’s behalf doesn’t excuse poor behaviour on the part of the consumer. If they’ve screwed you over so much why do you want their product? If the product is good enough that you want it despite the company’s behaviour then the company has done enough to be rewarded for its product. If I want to buy a shirt at a store but the salesperson is rude to me I don’t steal the shirt. I deal with the rude salesperson, buy the shirt and get over it.
People can’t afford to pay for products
If you can’t afford it then you can’t have it. That’s the sad truth. I can’t afford a car but I can’t go down to my local car dealership, hop in the latest model and drive off in it. You don’t have the right to something just because you can’t afford it.
Piracy doesn’t hurt anyone
Piracy reduces a company’s sales. A company runs on sales. By pirating, you are depriving a company of money and thus hurting the company and its employers.
Piracy isn’t theft. It’s copying
Lessening the crime doesn’t stop it from being a crime. The argument goes that there is a key distinction between stealing and piracy. Stealing deprives a person of that thing you have taken whereas piracy simply makes a copy of that thing and takes the copy. Except that stealing is a crime because you are taking something that doesn’t belong to you, which is exactly what you are doing with piracy. Furthermore, while a company isn’t losing stock from you taking a copy of their product rather than the product itself, they are losing the money you didn’t spend on that product. The company is actually losing money from your piracy. They aren’t making any money from you pirating their product and they are losing the money it took them to product the product you didn’t buy. If piracy isn’t theft in the strictest sense, it’s still just as bad.
Piracy is the only way I can access these products
This is a tricky one. Some products aren’t available in some locations or at least there is a considerable wait. I know that if a show I want to watch airs overseas it can take many months (sometimes many years) for it to finally work its way over to my TV screen. In this case does a person have the right to pirate something they wouldn’t otherwise have access to? I don’t know but if piracy is your attempt at getting back at those spiteful companies that refuse to let you access their products then I think you are being slightly naïve. There are copyright laws that disallow companies from selling products in certain regions so there’s more going on than an evil corporation depriving you of your favourite shows just for the lols. It’s not simply a case of ‘I wouldn’t have to pirate Breaking Bad if it actually aired in my region. I’m forced to pirate it if I actually want to watch it.’ Heavens, how the world has conspired against you.
The word ‘self-entitlement’ keeps springing to mind. These days, it seems no one can stand to be inconvenienced and people take it as a personal insult if they aren’t immediately given everything they want. These arguments seem to boil down to selfishness and ignorance. It isn’t your God-given right to be able to watch all these shows and listen to all this music.
If people want to pirate then that’s their choice. All I ask is that people be honest to themselves about their reasons for doing so. Admit there is some level of selfishness involved and don’t hide behind poor excuses.