I’m always surprised with how open and almost bragging people tend to be about digital piracy. It feels like piracy is seen as an acceptable and commonplace thing. We all know that it’s illegal but people seem happy enough to openly discuss their hard drives full of terabytes of movies, TV shows and games.
I don’t mean to be judgemental on the people that do pirate. I’m not claiming to be an angel who has never contemplated piracy in my life. Just everyone seems so relaxed about this particular thing. On one of the popular UK deals websites anytime there’s a remotely media-related item posted there will be droves of comments of “just go and get Kodi”.
One common excuse/justification I hear for piracy is that the media they are accessing is overpriced or inaccessible. One person on facebook stated that a Sky subscription, at approx £30 / £40 a month was too expensive for watching Game of Thrones. When I pointed out that they could just legally get Now TV for £7.99 a month, they were very disinterested. It felt like anything more than £0 was too much for them. However, just because you don’t personally see the value in the service/product that the content owner is providing – doesn’t mean that you have the right to steal it.
We definitely act like physical products have more value than digital. Digital, after all, can be replicated endlessly – limited only by available physical space. Yet, when we purchase a DVD, CD, book or game cartridge it’s the right to have a copy that is taking up most of the cost of that product. It definitely seems strange when an EBook costs the same as a paper copy or when an MP3 album download costs the same as a CD.
One area of piracy that really makes me sad is Indie Games. When you pirate Game of Thrones you’re avoiding giving revenue to one of the largest media providers who generates billions of pounds of revenue year on year. When you pirate an independent video game, you’re avoiding giving revenue to a small developer who has been working diligently hard to make that game. Indie Dev’s are often just living off the small amounts of money they get from sales – so each sale can really make a difference.
It just feels like another form of entitlement. People want the content. People do not want to pay for the content.