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Saturday, April 25, 2009

When to accept piracy?

Strangely enough piracy doesn’t have the same signification for all people. Let’s start with the Pirates of Caribbean: they are heroes, right? Why? Probably because of the freedom they represent. But piracy also has a darker side.

Pirates have been around as long as people have used the oceans as trade routes. Though Portugal, my country, doesn’t have piracy for ages, on the past we have been both pirates and suffered from the piracy of others. But piracy today has changed. Except for Somalia, piracy nowadays is about music, movies, software and counterfeiting.

So why do most people tend to accept this kind of piracy? First of all, because this piracy is made with no violence on the comfort of our homes. But above all because most people, right or wrong, don’t understand as fair the price of what they are getting, believe that these prices are manipulated and that the people that should get the money, the composers and authors, don’t get but a small piece of the pie. And finally because those who judge these cases are probably biased. And should I ask: can the recent Somalia piracy have influenced the decision against thepiratebay.org?

But let’s face it: even if we can understand some classes of piracy, we can never defend it. So what should we do? We should lobby for:

  • lower music and movies prices
  • more copyrights to composers and authors, less to content holders

Ok, this doesn’t apply to software and counterfeiting, I know. On the software, and since free software is so broadly available, there’s less reasons for keep pirating software. On regards to counterfeiting it will always exist as long as there are products that cost much more than they cost to produce and this is above all a producer and counterfeiting problem, not as much as consumer problem as the others.

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