Friday, November 5, 2010

What is piracy?

There's been more talk in the news about piracy lately and I've been doing some research on it, so I thought it'd be appropriate to make a post about it.  I'm hoping this will inform the uninformed

Let's get one thing straight:  piracy is NOT the same as stealing.  If piracy were the same thing as stealing, they would call it stealing and not have to make up a new word for it.
So all of those anti-piracy ads that claim piracy is the same as stealing are wrong.  
What is the difference between piracy and stealing, you might ask yourself.
Here's a handy little guide that should clear it up for you:

Theft is the act of taking an item or items without the permission of the owner.  When you steal an item you are taking the one and only item for yourself.

This is where piracy differs from theft.

When you pirate a file, you are taking a COPY of the original file, but the original file is still in the owner's possession.  Nothing is lost.  

Let me give you another example:  stealing a car = theft.  Making an exact replica of a car and stealing the replica, while leaving the original in the owner's possession = piracy.

Now let's bring a business aspect into the equation:

Let's pretend you are the owner of a hat store.  It takes money and time to put the hat together (money to buy the materials needed and time to put it together,) but you will sell the hat for a higher price than it took to put the hat together and therefore make a profit.  Simply put:  it takes money to make money.  The money you use to buy the materials needed for the hat is called the 'investment.'  You are hoping that the hat will sell so that you make back the money you spent, plus extra money in profits. 

If someone steals the hat, you will have lost all the money and time that went into making the hat.  This is why stealing is wrong.

However, if a person has the magical ability to create a replica of the hat and he does so, he will get a free hat, the exact same as the hat you made, BUT since he is not taking the original hat that you made, you do not lose any of the money/time that went into making the hat.

What you DO lose, however, is POTENTIAL money.  Every person who comes along and creates a replica of the hat is a potential customer.  They have the potential to spend their money to buy your hat, but since they have the ability to create an exact replica of the hat for free, they will obviously go with that option, rather than paying the money for yours.


This is why the RIAA and other anti-piracy firms are up in arms.  They want to stop piracy because they believe piracy is driving away potential money.

They believe piracy is morally wrong, and they're entitled to their viewpoint, however, the Draconian methods they are using to enforce their viewpoint SHOULD BE MET WITH PROTESTS AND HOSTILITY. 

Case and point.  <-- That is why we need to unite against these juggernauts and bring them to their knees.

Also, Kid Rock is a moron who needs to read this blog post.   

And lastly, I encourage everyone to read this:
he manages to say everything I said in this post, but in a much more eloquent and lucid way.  He also touches on something I briefly mentioned in other post about piracy, which is that businesses need to change their business models to incorporate piracy, because piracy is not going anywhere, any time soon. 


  1. I pirate alot of things, music especially. I torrent albums and if I like the artist or that specific album I will go see the artist live.

  2. I don't download much online anymore

  3. Personally, reading this blog, I don't think people should label piracy morally acceptable or unacceptable. There are honestly arguments for both.

    But on a REAL serious note, what do record labels/artists expect when technology is advancing at the rate it is? It's not going anywhere so stop complaining! :) Also, I've heard that the quality isn't as good when you pirate music... not sure...

  4. The music industry needs to get in to the 21st Century. Charge £1 per album. There will be no real reason for piracy then if you can get the album for only £1. How will they make profit? Well, if you're only charging £1, you will sell a hell of a lot more.

  5. Great information here. Clears up a lot. I would love to have that magic ability too. :)

  6. BRAVO. Really good post, although here on the interwebs youre kind of preaching to the choir, but still, good stuff

  7. Good argument! I'm going to remember this just in case I for some reason I ever end up in trouble for this! :P

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