Print Story Regarding piracy
Religion & Philosophy
By tierrasimbolica (Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 05:58:40 PM EST) (all tags)
of music, movies, software, games, etc.

Of the people who do it, do you suppose that most feel that it's wrong and do it anyway, or do you suppose that most feel that it's not wrong?

Any thoughts?
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Regarding piracy | 33 comments (33 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
I suspect that most don't care by lm (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 07:59:55 PM EST
If pressed to think about it, they might offer an opinion one way or the other, but I suspect that most "pirates" don't give the matter much thought one way or the other in much the same way that most people don't stop to ponder the morality of picking up a copy of the free edition of the the newspaper next to the train station.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
makes sense. by tierrasimbolica (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 11:21:39 PM EST
 i wonder what they would say, though, if pressed for an opinion.  my guess would be that most people don't think it's wrong.

[ Parent ]
The former. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 08:10:56 PM EST
I believe that most media conglomerates have treated consumers and talent so horribly, that I have no sympathy for their alleged cash flow problem.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

do you mean the latter? by tierrasimbolica (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 11:26:34 PM EST
 and are you speaking for yourself strictly, or do you suppose that's how most people feel too?

[ Parent ]
The former [II]. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 02:14:43 AM EST
I took your term wrong to mean unlawful, but not morally-wrong.

So, I meant wrong - unlawful - but I don't cry for the "victims." As far as your second question, my megalomania makes me believe that everyone agrees (or ought to agree) with me, so yes - that's how most people feel.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
sorry, i'm confused by tierrasimbolica (2.00 / 0) #19 Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 01:07:32 PM EST
by the (II) in your post - is it to designate the second option as "former"?  typically the second of two options is the latter.

unlawful but not morally wrong, seems indeed to be the most common view.

[ Parent ]
I was lazy and used a dupe title. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #21 Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 06:04:01 PM EST

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
o i c [nt] by tierrasimbolica (4.00 / 1) #22 Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 08:28:20 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Ok by anonimouse (4.00 / 2) #6 Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 03:09:28 AM EST
Well, I assisted in writing improvements to the DeCSS module for Linux, which I think demonstrates my thoughts about region coding, DRM, etc.

I don't download movies, games etc unlawfully, but in the UK even transcribing your CDs to digital format is a grey area. IMO, the current copyright law is far too restrictive, and the duration of copyright is excessive.

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
(Comment Deleted) by mellow teletubby (4.00 / 5) #7 Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 03:28:56 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by mellow teletubby

variable by Merekat (4.00 / 3) #8 Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 05:52:08 AM EST
Copying for personal limited use I don't have a moral problem with and this is termed 'piracy'. People who do this probably don't feel it is wrong.

I do object to organised crime profiteering from piracy though as that can end up with some kid with no kneecaps on streets not too far from where I grew up. People who do this know it is wrong and rely on it for a profit stream so don't care.

The only time I've downloaded without paying by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 09:08:25 AM EST
Has been when I couldn't find a legal way to pay and wasn't going to spend $15 for a cd that had only the one likable (I won't judge whether or not "All Summer Long" is good) song. I think two songs, so far, in that class.

Ripping my own DVDs or CDs is not a moral issue. I do not, however, share the rips.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Hmm, that's a song I paid £0.79 for by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #10 Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 09:54:59 AM EST
Which seemed reasonable at the time.

[ Parent ]
It's not on iTunes or Amazon in the US by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #15 Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 10:42:44 AM EST
Or wasn't last summer.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Maybe it was only available in by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #17 Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 11:47:04 AM EST
June, ironically. Sorry, lame joke. I may have got it through a different download service, too. Wonder why it wasn't available in the US.

[ Parent ]
It's not available because Kid Rick by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #18 Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 12:29:56 PM EST
Or whatever his name is, is afraid that making it digitally available will lead to people downloading it without paying for it.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Most people I speak to about it. by ambrosen (4.00 / 2) #11 Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 10:00:28 AM EST
generally consider that the fact I say no thanks when offered copied goods to be a bizarre form of punctiliousness I have. I don't volunteer the fact that I choose not to copy things unless people ask.

That said, I do unlock all my iTunes (film/TV) purchases, and will download items where I've got a scratched DVD, even though the sites make me feel seedy.

A complex issue by riceowlguy (4.00 / 1) #12 Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 10:02:45 AM EST
I am not a philosophy major, lawyer, theologian/clergy member, guru, etc.  So I am not really an expert in moral or ethical issues.  However, I do feel for some reason there is a difference between something being "immoral" versus something being "unethical".  I don't have  strong opinion to back this up so feel free (anybody) to convince me I'm full of shit.

Anyway, I sort of feel that music piracy is unethical but not immoral.  It's unethical because you are not being honest and open.  For a transaction to be ethical both/all parties have to be fully aware of it and agree to it.  I mean, you might tell your friends about all the time you spend on The Pirate Bay, but it's not like you would walk up to all those artists and their associated people and say "fuck yeah, I stole your music and I'm proud of it!"  Unless, maybe, you know that the artist in question has publicly said that it was okay.  You might feel that the services of the record industry in terms of distribution of the artist's work are not worth $12, $15, $18 bucks an album anymore, but they still seem to.

The morality of it is different and goes into all kinds of more speculative things.  A common issue raised is that the artists who actually produced the music see very little of the profit from music sales (although this may be starting to change with more direct distribution, made possible with social media promotion of artists - Jonathan Coulton and Pomplamoose come to mind).  Another being that artists usually make more from concert tours than from album sales and more widespread distribution of music helps promote concert sales.

And then there are individual circumstances to consider.  It's "ironic" that at the stage of life when people tend to be most passionate about music and most need music in their lives (teenage/college years), they are least able to pay for it.  Somebody with no money isn't going to be able to buy the album anyway.  It's hard to argue that it's really all that immoral for them to copy it from their parents or their friends or to just go listen on YouTube.

+4; Pomplamoose by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #14 Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 10:22:31 AM EST

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Not sure I see your distinction by lm (4.00 / 1) #23 Fri Apr 08, 2011 at 07:45:57 AM EST
But if I had to guess, you're saying that ethical matters are local and subjective, concerning matters between individuals, so long as certain basic requirements are in place (honesty, no deception, no hiding pertinent facts, etc.) while moral matters are non-local, they are issues that are somewhat objective and affect a larger sphere than simply those people involved in the transaction.

Or, at risk of over-simplifying, you're stating that being ethical is a matter of holding to some code of ethics, while being moral has to do with an objective moral code.

But maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're getting at.

. . .

Your second paragraph amused me. I remember going to a music festival in 2004 or 2005. In the vendor tent, some indy death metal band was hawking their wares. Their guitar player had an old school barker approach, calling out random people as they walked by, "Hey you! Sexy lady in the black boots! Come over here and buy the best death metal you'll ever hear!" Her response: "Why would I pay ten bucks for something I'll be able to download as soon as I get home?"

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Actually, I think I was saying the opposite by riceowlguy (2.00 / 0) #25 Fri Apr 08, 2011 at 11:54:50 AM EST
I think whether something is ethical is pretty objective.  Any action is ethical as long as all parties affected are fully aware and in agreement (again, I'm not an expert in ethics...I've been listening to Randy Cohen's podcast lately though, so that may be coloring some of my views).  Whether something is moral or not is really subjective.  Some people think terminating a pregnancy is immoral; some people think bringing a child into the world when you're not able to care for it and will become a burden on the public is immoral.  So, whatever.  According to my overly simplistic idea of morality it's not ethical for college kids to pirate music and tv episodes, but it's not immoral because, hey, they can't afford it in the first place, and the musicians and actors are doing all right anyway.  It's probably neither ethical OR moral for me to pirate music or TV because I can afford to buy all the music I want.  Or maybe I'm not worried about it because I can go on YouTube (VEVO) or Pandora and legally listen to things without buying them (which might be moral, if it's not supporting the artists as much as buying the songs would be, but at least it's ethical).

Am I nuts?

[ Parent ]
Nuts? I'm not sure what that has to do with it. by lm (4.00 / 1) #26 Fri Apr 08, 2011 at 03:12:05 PM EST
I was mostly just trying to understand what you were getting at.

Ethics, in your conception, is an objective state of affairs where all parties are open and honest about what's going on. There can be no ethical form of piracy of intellectual property because, by definition, piracy can only happen where the intellectual property holder is unwilling to allow free re-distriubtion of the intellectual property. Therefore, regardless of the motives or the honesty of the pirates, it's a one sided affair and, all parties not being in agreement, the arrangement is inherently unethical.

Morality, in this view, is an entirely different question. Some people, like yourself, hold that piracy is not particularly wrong in most circumstances. But others think that piracy is a moral evil. And there is no real point in the two camps arguing because, heh, whatevs, it's a subjective thing. You might as well argument about whether or not The Toxic Avenger is an awesome move or not. Some people like it. Some people don't. They're never goinig to convince each other.

Is that more accurate?

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Yes by riceowlguy (2.00 / 0) #28 Fri Apr 08, 2011 at 04:03:38 PM EST
Thank you, you summed up my position much more nicely than I could have.

[ Parent ]
I strongly suspect by wumpus (4.00 / 1) #13 Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 10:12:43 AM EST
that the majority of people who care the morality of IP are unhappy with supporting the companies who own and control the IP. If more people thought that piracy was wrong, I would at least expect an astroturf campaign to pretend there was more support for more stringent DCMA-type laws. Note that I also think the amount of people who care about the issue is tiny, and not much smaller than the people who are even aware of the laws that exist.


one thing I certainly have no qualms at all about by gzt (2.00 / 0) #16 Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 10:49:51 AM EST stealing things that can't be bought new anymore. If the only place you can find something is on the used market, your money wouldn't go to the producer anyway. Like, one recent example is that there are a lot of chess books from the 70s through 90s that are pretty good, but not good enough for the producers to go through the hassle of reissuing them. The copyright hasn't expired, and sometimes used editions go for like $30 or more. Sometimes you can find pirated editions on the internets. I don't have any problem with doing that.

I don't have much of a problem with downloading TV shows that the networks are offering streamed.

I have definite problems with pirating software and games and simply don't do it.

I often rent and copy movies. On rare occasions, I might download something, but I usually rent afterwards to assuage the conscience (downloading is faster than renting, see). There's plenty of movie-borrowing, and it just doesn't seem wrong to copy a borrowed movie.

As for music, I try to make it a point to buy things from artists I like. I also have a lot of music from people I don't think are good enough to pay money for, though...

most of my movie downloads by garlic (2.00 / 0) #32 Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 12:54:24 PM EST
are things i feel that I should be able to download from netflix, but can't yet for some reason. I figure paying for the streaming service, plus the dvd's that sit on my tv for weeks at a time covers this.

[ Parent ]
years ago, when i was poor, by tierrasimbolica (2.00 / 0) #20 Thu Apr 07, 2011 at 02:43:33 PM EST
i didn't think twice about downloading music from limewire, and before that, napster.   my then-husband often downloaded cracked software which i also had no qualms about using.

nowadays, i care more about the issue being that i'm an artist who has more of a vested interest in matters of "intellectual property".  yes, there are still megacorporations out there exploiting the artists, but some artists are actually selling their own music online now without representation, and pirating their music does actually come right out of their pockets.  so it's a complicated issue.  manufacturers of karaoke music are having a heck of a time trying to protect themselves from piracy.  theirs is not the sort of industry that benefits from the income of live shows, like performers & bands do.  once a compilation is ripped and shared freely, they're losing money bigtime.

for a while i went to using limewire only, since they claimed to respect artists who didn't want their music shared through limewire.  the usefulness of the software eventually went to shit.  these days, i really don't feel the need to pirate anything, as thankfully i can afford to pay for whatever software, movies or music i want.  it's easy enough to buy mp3 singles and albums from amazon, although i have on occasion torrented some rare DJ remix of a song that didn't appear to be available anywhere else.

i totally agree with mellow teletubby, though - intellectual property should benefit the creator(s) while they're alive.  after that, public domain.

The way I see it by Herring (2.00 / 0) #24 Fri Apr 08, 2011 at 11:13:40 AM EST
it's only a "lost sale" if you would've bought a copy. So following that logic, I only ever pirate things I hate because I wouldn't have bought them.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

A long history of convenience by tuscoops (4.00 / 2) #27 Fri Apr 08, 2011 at 03:23:36 PM EST
The following may seem a bit convoluted, but I don't think the question is quite that simple.

Beginning with books, I think some could question whether or not libraries had a negative impact in book sales (people who were in relatively close proximity to one could simply stop in and rent a book free of charge). The original book purchases were either funded by public entities or donated by private individuals, but the idea is that they were purchased by someone and read by many others, though selections were limited. Also, one book could technically have impacted the local bookstores or publishing houses thousands of dollars. But these were books that most people only had intention of reading once, so ownership wasn't really something that interested them. Paying $10-$100+ to read a book once seems a bit ludicrous.

Then there was music. Before recordable music, one would actually have to pay to see a show. Then, that expense became somewhat cheaper when people could simply play music at home (I believe phonographs were the first, but I might be mistaken). This was followed with people having the ability to play music free of charge through their radios (again, purchased by someone else and listened to by many others), but the selections were limited. People continued to buy music that they had enjoyed, but still, selections were limited. Technologies advanced, so people would have to replace that old record/94/cassette/whatever, with the next new device. A commitment to liking a single record by one individual could technically, in updating their players, their medium, etc, cost a person thousands of dollars. Some people are dedicated like that with music, but others have shifting tastes. Again, paying $2 for a 3 minute song, $40+ for an hour's worth of songs, etc, seems a bit ludicrous, especially when you may only listen to it a handful of times.

I'm not as familiar with software and games (though games tie in a bit with the movies), but I think the same applies: you may pay $50-$100+ for something that you rarely use, becomes obsolete, etc, and needs to be replaced. Basically, if you take any of this to the grave, I would be surprised.  And so, in essence, the price you pay isn't of ownership. The price you pay is the cost of your rental.

I've saved the best for last, because I think this is symbolic of the direction the rest of information is trending towards: movies. Back in the day (and in all honesty, I'm not quite sure what the conversion rate in our present economy is) but you'd basically pay $5 to see a movie at the theatre.  Over time, production cost increased and you ended up paying $10+ to see a movie once (actually, much cheaper than music is). Anyway, you were limited to whatever was playing at the theatre. Eventually, they started making devices so you could watch movies from home. I think laser disc was the first, but maybe it was beta. People were actually willing to pay hundreds of dollars to play movies at home and paying incredible amounts at that time- $50(?) maybe, to see a movie that they hadn't even seen before, simply because they could watch it multiple times. They started to get really jaded when technologies moved at a rapid succession of beta/laser disc/vhs/dvd/blue ray/etc. In the midst of this, someone thought it would be a great idea to purchase a ton of movies, open up shop somewhere, and rent them out for less than a movie ticket- $1/night or whatnot. Of course, they had late fees, but people didn't seem too terribly upset by paying, what was still, less than the price of movie tickets for multiple people in a household. Sometimes, if people actually liked the movie they rented, they'd go out and purchase it so they could see it on demand. And then, there was Netflix. People didn't have to go out and buy that movie and they didn't even have to drive to the video store. Now, they could pay a flat montly fee and watch movies multiple times, so long as Netflix maintained their contract with the movie companies, as sometimes these expire and the movie becomes unavailable.

So, to answer your question about pirating: I don't think the problem is a question about right and wrong as much as it's a sign that they are selling information in an incorrect format/approach. I wouldn't be surprised if they eventually, through time, evolve a platform like Netflix to include streaming ebooks, music, games, software, etc, based on a low (comparably), flat monthly rate, so that we aren't paying what could normally amount to hundreds of dollars a month. If they made the information more affordable and accessible to a larger majority, I don't think piracy would be as prolific because I don't think people have a problem necessarily paying for things given a fair price (that's like asking everyone if they could walk into a bank and rob it, would they do so. The question should be what motivates them to rob the bank and what would motivate them not to).

Hmmmm by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #29 Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 07:44:12 AM EST
With regards to software - I download stuff (for personal use) that I wouldn't buy - photoshop for instance. So they're not losing a sale and thusly I don't feel it's morally or ethically wrong for me to do so.

With regards to music - if I download something and don't delete it after a couple listens then yes - it's wrong and although I still do it I don't try to make excuses (civil disobedience!! I won't let the man oppress me with his high prices!!! Etc!!!) for my behaviour.

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

How's my blogging: Call me at 209.867.5309 to complain.

Penniless student point of view, I guess. by ReboundRabbit (4.00 / 1) #30 Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 08:43:23 AM EST
It's usually a matter of money, as most already said. I don't think it's wrong if I use it privately. Distributing, yes. So now come that some (e.g. me) don't know how all these download-programs work (not being an IT geek). I might have download *some* audio-books (back at home in Germany), and oops, got actually "caught" doing that. So, it wasn't the fact that I downloaded it, but that I was not "technically smart enough" to use a different software where you do not "exchange" while downloading. At the end this superduper huge lawyer company caught and recorded my "illegal distributing" stuff for exactly 5.34 minutes, which they want me to pay almost 800 EUR for. Well, technically not me, but my old flat mate. Because the internet/phone connection is in her name.
Anyhow. We took a lawyer and are since then in negotiation with this superduper lawyer company. I think we have up to three years according to German law to get to a decision before the case becomes time-barred.
So, again... doing it for personal use I don't think it's wrong, but distributing it, yes.Would I do it again? Hmmm. Not in Germany.

Optional activity: Standing around and enjoying life. -- Jan Gehl (Architect)

+4; CSS by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #31 Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 10:22:51 AM EST

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
interesting that you got caught. by garlic (2.00 / 0) #33 Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 01:52:08 PM EST
The likelyhood appears very low, but the costs can be relatively high. 800 EU sucks, but it's also better than the 10's of thousands that the RIAA in the US has been settling for.

[ Parent ]
Regarding piracy | 33 comments (33 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback