Growing up where I was from, piracy was possibly the only way to get content at all. The media world around me was totally censored or simply banned outright (Daredevil was banned because it had the world devil in it for fucks sake). The only people who sold movies and music that were worth the time and not uncensored were people selling pirated content. When I re-watch a lot of old movies it’s like I’m watching entirely new films – which is great to some degree, it’s a whole new experience! But in all honesty I wouldn’t have known about the world of music, games and movies if it wasn’t for piracy, and now that I can afford them I spend money whenever I see something worth spending on.
I don’t think big companies neglect this truth either, otherwise they’d be working even harder to take down individuals for minor offences in piracy. Besides, the world of copyright is muddy as fuck. If I’m a music producer and my tracks get used in clubs and bars around the world for profit, I should be getting a cut for all of it – as a DJ would I really want to go through the trouble to credit 30 different artists just for a one hour set, which I change every time I perform many times a week? Well in that sense it’s probably the venues responsibility to sign up with a body like APRA and pay their dues there, but I don’t know if most do.
There is no real black and white when it comes to it outside the pirate flag itself.
Leaving it to the music (or whichever related) industry is akin to letting the mob handle its bidnuz, and they will bully the fuck out of everyone they can to milk every single penny they can.
Saying no to ‘piracy’ is like saying no to drugs. It’s not gonna happen and with good reason. People have been ‘stealing’ and re-appropriating art since forever. It’s a learning process, it’s how we develop more complex ideas and make new things. Most of the media if not all of it that you know and love today is a copy or a ripoff or a remake of something someone else already has already done. Trying to stop that and stamp your name on it is like trying to kill the creative process and say no to any growth unless it has your name on it. If this ran rampant it would inhibit any real progress and just seems totally counter-intuitive and unproductive.
The whole notion of ownership is a human construct anyway, but we want recognition and incentive to continue making works of art. If there’s nothing in it why bother? I think the illusion that to be a successful creator you need to reach triple A status is a big problem with this – that you’ll only ever be considered an artist if you make a lot of money.. the most money. Otherwise your life is a failed endeavor. But art is the creative playground in which all other aspects of our lives are born, it is innovations’ playground. Creativity deserves much more credit on the basis that without it nothing would really exist today and we’d still be living in the jungles smashing shit with our fists. The whole field of design can be argued as a place for futurists to plan out what our life will be like, isn’t that important as fuck?
I find myself in a particularly peculiar position as I myself am a media maker, but I have also pirated many things in my life, and I’m not alone in this as I’m sure a majority of creators around me do so to. It’s not because we want to steal from the people whose work we adore, rather it’s often times down to a few things like being financially incapable or simply not having access to text in a legitimate way. Knowing the way the internet is and how when you put something online, or if it does end up online somehow, it really doesn’t belong to any one person anymore or group anymore, it becomes part of a greater collective – and to be honest I think that is fair and right. The internet has always been the greatest tool of unknown collective collaboration we have ever seen (I mean you collaborate with people you’ll never know, and people you’ll never know will make things out of your work that you’ll never see) and as long as it stays free it will continue to serve people.
The problem is the warped attempt to capitalize on everything possible at every turn. The term pirate for people who ‘steal’ files was supposed to be derogatory, but if anything when a company goes after an individual for downloading some tunes or films they are the ones that come off as evil and it’s probably because of this
which is why nobody really feels like anything is being stolen when they pirate. Big companies still make million of dollars and thrive and continue to do so and when they crack down on poor unsuspecting kids they make themselves out to be even bigger greedier heartless machines.
The line has to be drawn somewhere,
and this is a discussion that needs to find a resolution.