Confessions of an Elite Pirate

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silk42

This is really a never-ending battle. Let's just say that there was a way to actually prevent pirating, now all those people that pirate will be forced to pay for applications, movies, games, etc... (My argument will assume that everyone that pirates would actually buy what they pirated if they couldn't obtain it for free, since this is what the producers always assume.) With this being the case, now all the restaurant owners are going to complain that their customers can no longer afford to buy food and the battle will be moved to a different turf. I realize that everyone wants their money, but how hard is it to see that there's a limited amount to go around. To argue that the US lost X number of jobs due to piracy doesn't take into account that even if the movie industry did receive a billion dollars that they lost from pirates, that money was taken from somewhere else, thus restaurants, clothing stores, furniture stores, etc... would lose a billion dollars and X number of jobs. I'm not saying that I agree with what is happening, but find a better way. I play free games all the time on my phone that are subsidized by ads so that the developer still gets his money.

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Jox

"I play free games all the time on my phone that are subsidized by ads so that the developer still gets his money."

While I agree in part with the sentiment behind your statement, I don't want to see Coca-Cola cans in the next expansion of Skyrim =)
The reality of the situation is that $1 Billion in lost revenue due to pirating does not equate to $1 Billion in earned revenue if piracy were somehow eliminated from the equation. Many (I dare say the majority) of people who pirated a game/movie/song would not bother with it if they had to pay for it, or would pick it up second-hand, if they could. Returning to your statement, I agree there would be a loss of revenue from other industries, but I don't think the loss/gain ratio would be equal.

I feel I need to go on record here (especially after my discussion with KenLV) to state that I do not condone piracy. I'm simply of the opinion that treating the symptom is not nearly as helpful as treating the disease. Make legally purchasing an item more attractive to the consumer than pirating it and piracy will end.

-Jox

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KenLV

There are thousands of (dare I say, tens of thousands if not more) people who can’t afford a new 55” TV yet they somehow managed to “acquire” one. You are correct, if we made it more difficult or even impossible for them to steal it, no, their theft would not turn into a purchase. So what? Everyone isn’t entitled to own a new TV OR every game they may want.

To use your example, do you believe if we “Make legally purchasing an item more attractive to the consumer than [stealing] it [burglary] will end”? Of course not. Why? Because just like other forms of theft, maybe even more so, piracy has nothing to do with the “unattractiveness” of buying it and EVERYTHING to do with the belief of “entitlement” of the thief. And THAT sir IS the “disease”. And when people try to justify it, even people such as yourself who say they are NOT condoning the theft BUT turn around and blame the victim instead of the criminal, YOU are helping to spread that “disease” instead of eradicate it.

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Jox

It occurs to me that if there existed an organization, let's call it the Recreational Drug Dealers Association of America (RDDAA), the mandate of which was to lobby government to prevent people from using marijuana, cocaine, etc., there would be a large number of drug dealers going to prison these days. Sadly, there's no money to be made by corporate America on the sale of illegal drugs (only the treatments for people that use them), so this will never happen.

Law enforcement, like justice, is for the rich.

Welcome to America, Inc.

-Jox

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KenLV

Huh? 1 drug related arrest every 18 seconds. 180,000 arrested a year.

So much for that "theory".

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big_montana

You did not read Jox's statement correctly, as he said Drug dealers, not drug users going to jail. You may be correct in your assertions in the number of arrests every year, but those are mainly drug users, as the dealers remain free. If 180,000 dealers were arrested last year, there would be no drug problem

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KenLV

“If 180,000 dealers were arrested last year, there would be no drug problem”

That’s a joke right? I’m guessing you have no idea how out of control drug use and drug related crimes are. First, that actually was felony arrests. Simple possession is a misdemeanor. But to give you an idea for pot simple possession (under an ounce with no intent to sell (bagged in smaller amounts for individual sale) or near a school, etc…) is about 600,000 per year. Remember that’s pot alone. So no, the 180,000 felony arrests a year sadly doesn’t even make a dent.

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Jox

Thanks for the backup, big_montana. For the benefit of KenLV and anyone else who may be confused, my statement was an indictment of the US government's (apparent) interest in pursuing the perpetrators of "crimes" better dealt with under the auspices of tort law instead of protecting its citizens from actual criminals. Making available online a movie, music or game, while morally wrong and damaging to someone's pocketbook, is a civil matter. The FBI, CIA, Homeland Security and other such agencies should be directing their attention to matters that actually harm the citizens that these agencies are mandated to protect.

But that's just my opinion, and I'm a logical guy who likes to think for himself. Just the kind of riff-raff the MPAA/RIAA/Etc. don't want to hear from.

-Jox

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KenLV

And as I stated elsewhere, law enforcement agencies are able to focus on more than one type of crime and criminal. I don’t want them to ignore the punks breaking into homes/businesses just because there are ALSO murderers out there.

Theft and possession and distribution of stolen property are not just “civil matters”, they are criminal.

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Jox

KenLV - The fact is, we live in a world of finite resources. 1 law enforcement agency dedicating its time to protecting the interests of the film and music industries costs manpower, money and time that could be used to defend the safety and security of the civilian population. I don't argue that theft is wrong, I'm simply saying that the US government has been too long in the pocket of special interest lobbies and the result is a misguided set of priorities.

You say you "don't want them to ignore the punks breaking into homes/businesses just because there are ALSO murderers out there." What I'm saying is that these are the very crimes that SHOULD be the focus of law enforcement.

-Jox

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KenLV

…and I’m saying that they shouldn’t ignore EITHER of the crimes. Certainly not felonies - and as I stated previously, copyright infringement at the levels we’re talking about IS a felony. You disagree and feel they should ignore one type of crime.

Also, they aren’t “dedicating” and entire law enforcement agency to going after copyright infringement. To imply that we’re spending the same amount of dollars and resources on this as we are on something like counter terrorism is either out of ignorance or stupidity. They have different divisions focusing on all sorts of different crimes. And THEY prioritize where they are using their resources. That’s how it works.

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alexw1234

Anyone getting close to the push a button and your enemies get nuked? I would LOVE to use it on the U.S government.

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

Yes. Please, God. Hit that big Reset button in the sky.

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

Thank God the FBI is keeping us safe from these domestic and international terrorists, who threaten the very lives of our children ever moment they are allowed to run free.

Oh, wait--those would be the REAL CRIMINALS: Drug cartels, dealers, gun runners, human traffickers, pimps, murderers and the lot. Funny the FBI and most law enforcement can forget all that when The White Master cries his billions are in jeopardy. What matters genocide and slavery in the face of pimply-faced teenagers downloading Justin Beiber MP3's?

Fuck the FBI, ICE, and all the other slaves of white corporate America.

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tekknyne

I like your style sweetness. Well-said.

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KenLV

Yawn. Well thank goodness we’ve got folks like you to tell us which crimes should be ignored. This may surprise you, but law enforcement is capable of going after more than one type of douche bag, not just the ones you don’t like.

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

Silly me, not realizing downloading teenagers are the equal to mass-murdering drug cartels. Certainly, law enforcement has the resources to spare, as they've got the entire drug war well in hand.

Again, fuck them all. The Washington whores should all be burning in Hell, branded traitors all.

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kris79

Hey KenLV, it's pretty easy to see that Sweetness is commenting on the priority of prosecution. A 19 year old boy, like the 32 year old Minn. mother fined $80,000 per song for copyright infringement seems to be more important than 19 hijackers gaining control of our aircraft. Or millions of illegals stealing billions of tax dollars every year. How's about they take care of the big stuff first that concerns most of us tax payers, and let your lords and masters fend for themselves for a while longer? Until they get that done, I don't want them spending one god damed man-hour chasing 19 year olds at the beck and call of fat Hollywood types, Mercedes driving sheiks. Or you...

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KenLV

…and it’s pretty easy to see that I DID NOT try to equate the crimes. And to make the claim that they’ve put any of the aforementioned crimes (and that ARE crimes) as a higher priority than anti-terrorism just shows that you are either ignorant or just playing at being so. Just as local law enforcement is equally capable of arresting and prosecuting the purse snatcher as they are the murderer, the feds too can handle more than one type of crime at a time.

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kris79

Prioritization was Sweetness' point - not mine. But we should examine that argument further if you'd like. Tens of billions of dollars and we still have no competent protection for this country's borders. Over a hundred billion dollars each year lost to medical fraud alone. These organizations have those responsibilities which are vastly underachieved. Yet they have the time for thousands of man-hours on some ancillary or assumed part of FBI or ICE's reasons for existence (think copyright). Homeland security apparently means more about protecting the bank accounts of a miniscule number of individuals before getting the real work done. Chasing the purse snatcher (think 19yo) and letting the murderer go. Brilliant analogy! You made my point.

What about doing their primary work first, protecting the country, and us, and not the bejeweled elite. Their priorities seem to be reversed however. For example, the FBI Bureau of prioritized cybercrime (their wording), a subset of a subset of their charter, has a few hundred people to take care of such things as corporate and international trade secrets theft, credit card fraud, identity theft, child pornography, and internet cyber attacks as well as copyright protection and other things (CRS Report for Congress, 2 October, 2003). China's stealing our secrets, credit card fraud and identity theft are rampant, child pornography is more heinous than all other things combined, and our fine script kiddies Anonymous taunts them at will on their own turf. They ain't getting it done, are they. Maybe y'all just need a little more focus. Meanwhile, Mr Hollywood is laughing at you...

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KenLV

“Chasing the purse snatcher (think 19yo) and letting the murderer go.”

But they aren’t letting the murderer go. On the other hand, you think that while they are investigating that murder they should just ignore the purse snatcher who knocks down some 80 yo in front of them. So thank you for making my point.

But you are sort of right about one thing, the role of the federal gov’t is to protect us and that should be their focus. Of course it looks like you feel there are different “us” to protect. There’s YOU and THEM. Of course, you seem to forget that it’s the “them” that pays the vast majority of the taxes that pays for the protection. Also, it looks like you think they should ignore one crime to focus exclusively on another. I on the other hand believe they should look at both and protect ALL of us.

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kris79

Let's make this as simple as possible. Numerous FBI responsibilities vastly exceeding capability - check. Limited resources - check. All other responsibilities more important than the purse snatcher allegory - check.

(another allegory) When ten houses are being are being broken into at the same time in Mayberry, USA, reasonable people don't send Deputy Barney to catch the purse snatcher first.

As far as "You and Them" goes. How Obamaesque. Let's stay on only one topic, but what do you suppose RIAA's paying all that protection money for? One bit of evidence - suing a single mother for $222,000 for 24 songs. Yeah, you go there, Sir Lancelot.

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KenLV

I’ll make it as simple as I can for you: don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time or pay the fine.

As to the rest of your claptrap, well for one thing, we’re not talking about Mayberry. We’re talking about somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000,000 law enforcement personnel between local, city, county, state, and federal. You can change your story all you want to try to fit it into your narrow view of reality, but it doesn’t change the facts. I’m sticking with your original incorrect assumption that they are letting the murders go BECAUSE they are stopping other crimes. Did you think I would change my stance if you changed the “real crime” from murder to burglary? Seriously? If I felt that on the way to investigate a murder that they should and would try to stop some dipshit from knocking over an 80 yo grandmother to grab her purse, why wouldn’t I think they should do the same on the way to investigate a string of break-ins? Anyway, you seem to disagree and feel they should ignore the grandmother lying in the street and move on to the “real crime” as the ONLY priority. You are entitled to your opinion.

“How Obamaesque”??? Hmmmm… of me? I don’t see how. You my friend are the one who is trying to pit “them” (“Mr Hollywood is laughing at you…”, “…the bejeweled elite.”, “…beck and call of fat Hollywood types, Mercedes driving sheiks.”, etc…) vs. “us”. I was simply reminding you that the “them” (who in my opinion is still “us”) is who pays 70% of the taxes that “the man” uses to protect all our asses. Again, you may disagree, and that’s your right.

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Ridnarhtim

But if we didn't stop these horrid, violent, sociopathic criminals, how would the poor musicians be able to leave the slums of millionairehood and make it into the esteemed ranks of the billionaires? Show a bit of sympathy here!

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Ghok

I hate it! A decade now since Napster popularized illegaly downloading music, and truly, the RIAA was spot on. Since no one can make money off music, all the musicians just stopped making it. I can't even remember the last time I heard a song! Oh, if only the FBI had arrested more teenagers back then...

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hammeredtoast

Stealing content is stealing.

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Tenhawk

Actually, it isn't.

Copywrite infringement and what we refer to as piracy is actually more akin to forgery than theft. Basically it's the same as going to the Louvre and snapping a picture of the Mona Lisa, then reproducing the painting perfectly at home. You didn't buy the painting, but now you have it hanging in your living room. You're not a thief, you're a forger.

The legal issue should really begin when you try to SELL that painting, but that's now how the world today works. Since the value of art today isn't measured by the patron who commissions it, but rather by the theory of modern economics in which value is apparently determined by imaginary numbers multiplied by arbitrary ones... well things just get stupid.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that piracy is legal, moral, or ethical. I'm saying that when one set of bad guys screw over another set of bad guys, the law sides with the bad guys who have the most money for bribes.

Oh look, there's the studios' Washington lobbyist now...

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vortX

Thanks Tenhawk for two good points there:

1) Copyright infringement is not theft, since theft implies that the original owner/creator is now left without the item. Copyright infringement is a different animal, where the 'right to copy' has been misused, in the case of somebody making a copy of the item without having been given the right to do so by the owner. Forgery is a much closer comparison.

2) The 'value' of art, or indeed the value of anything that is made nowadays, is well screwed up. Gone are the days when you added up your materials and time, plus a markup, and put that on the price tag. Now it's all to do with how much the market is willing to pay based on how bad the need is. Look at airline tickets. Look at pharmaceuticals. Look at virtualisation. Basically, pick an industry. Not to mention the 87 bajillion middlemen/agents that all want to get paid along the way.

3) Three good points actually :) Yes, law is looking more and more like a commodity, which as per 2) above, is 'sold' first to the parties that are willing to pay the most.

(BTW, Hi all, long time MPC reader, 1st time poster ... or maybe that's 2nd time poster, shoot, can't even remember)

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KenLV

While certainly a form of theft, you are correct, the specific crime here is copyright infringement. But it’s NOT theft in the same way that murder is NOT assault. The crime committed by “pirates” is copyright infringement and at their level a felony: distribution of greater than 10 copies with a combined value of at least $2500 or involves distribution of a work being prepared for commercial distribution over a publicly-accessible computer network.

And before anyone incorrectly claims that I’m saying something I’m not, let me be clear: I am NOT saying that copyright infringement is as bad a murder. I am NOT even equating the two. I’m pointing out how silly it is of people to claim that since nothing physical is “stolen” that legally no “theft” or crime at all, was committed. My statement is NOT comparing copyright infringement to murder, but comparing the difference between two types of theft and two types of violent crimes. I can’t be any clearer than that so any such posts ranting otherwise will be ignored.

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Wonko33

blah blah blah /trying to justify that I'm not paying for something that someone else made and is selling/ blah blah blah. Enough BS, ah but they're rich, ah but i'm not really stealing... bunch of losers.

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Ridnarhtim

@Wonko: What we were debating here is not whether it's a crime or not, or whether it's ok or not, but that there are much bigger issues to deal with. Or are you telling me that downloading a song is as bad as rape and murder?

Not to mention I'm still not convinced that piracy hurts anyone. Any album, game, film, tv show etc. which I like, I will buy. Good games, for example, have repeatedly shown that they sell very well even without any form of DRM.

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tekknyne

"Since the value of art today isn't measured by the patron who commissions it, but rather by the theory of modern economics in which value is apparently determined by imaginary numbers multiplied by arbitrary ones... "

hahahaha well-said. Economics be damned, dont look behind the curtain! MPC really needs a LIKE button or +1!!

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