Where do you draw the line? Is is file sharing, or is it stealing?
I love the mini information film that used to play at the start of a movie or DVD, the ‘would you steal a car?’ ad.
If I could steal a car without it affecting that owner of that car or damaging or reducing the value of the original car, yell yeah I’d steal one!! If I could download a car, I would definitely download a car! But unfortunately, we haven’t come that far in technology (yet), except for with movies.
‘You wouldn’t steal a movie’. No, I don’t know (m)any people who would physically go into a shop and steal a DVD, but I’m sure I know a few people who would copy a movie off a friend or off the internet to watch it. After all, who is it harming? Nobody’s getting hurt or anything. It’s not even really stealing, just copying, right? WRONG!
If some guy in a shop is selling apples for $3/kg and some other guy down the road is giving apples out for free that he bought from the first guy earlier, who are you going to go to to get apples? Are you going to pay for them, or get the exact same ones for free? Of course you’re going to get the free ones! However, I don’t know of any sane person who would give away apples that they had spent money on earlier, they’re losing money and losing apples. But what if you could simply copy those apples, keep some for yourself and give other people some for free? Infinite apples!!! Would anyone ever buy apples again? Probably not.
This is how the information business works. Someone produces information, then wants to make money off it. So they make copies of the information, then sell those copies to the public. But, someone else who has bought a copy has a friend who wants to access that information as well, but doesn’t want to buy it, so they just copy it and give them a copy. But then the person who created the information doesn’t make any money off their product! This is why we have copyright.
Copyright protects the information created by a person so only they can make money off it, after all it is their information in the first place. So ‘stealing’ a movie is completely different to stealing a handbag or a car. If you steal a car, you are robbing the owner of the ability to drive their car around, a car they paid good money for. But what are you doing if you ‘steal’ a movie? You’re not robbing anybody of the ability to watch their copy of the movie, you’re simply spreading the information around!
I know a lot of people who enjoyed watching movie or TV shows, even listening to music, but wouldn’t even bother doing so if they had to pay for it. The fact of the matter is, that a large proportion of people wouldn’t even bother consuming some media if they had to pay for it. So is piracy somewhat good for the media industry in that way? One person downloads a movie and tells their friend how great it is. There is a chance that that person will decide to buy the movie instead of downloading it. So the industry does make some money in the end.
What do you think? Can piracy be good for the industry in any way whatsoever?