Go download a car
“Piracy, It’s a crime […] You wouldn’t steal a car.”, these are the words of an anti piracy campaign launched by the Motion Picture Association, an organization which works for multi billion dollar corporations such as Disney, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, Universal, and Warner Bros. Entertaining as these words may be, they also excellently illustrate how ludicrous the arguments against piracy can be.
There is no value in a digital copy
Why is it that that comparing piracy and car theft is so silly? It is a question with an obvious answer, a car is a physical object, you cannot just download physical objects. To produce each car there are heaps of labor required to extract and to refine raw materials, eventually resulting in a car. It is in all of this labour in which the value of the car lies. This is in stark contrast to the digital media which the campaign directly compares to said car. Digital files require no additional labour in order to be produced, one simply copies the file, therefore each copy of the file holds no value. This in turn means that one cannot compare piracy to theft as there is nothing being stolen. During piracy no one loses anything, a new copy is simply created.
Piracy does not directly correspond to lost sales
When discussing piracy it is commonplace for the opposition to bring forth statistics of massive revenue loss, citing an estimated amount of pirated copies multiplied by the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). This logic however is faulty as it assumes that each instance of piracy corresponds to a lost sale. To claim that all, or even most people who downloaded the full discography of the rolling stones off Napster would have purchased all these records if Napster was not available is unreasonable. For this argument to be sound everyone who would be willing to receive something for free would also have to be willing to pay for it.
The truth is that most pirates would not choose to pirate if they were willing to pay the price of a product. This view is reflected in this quote from Gabe Newell, co-founder of software giant Valve Software:
The easiest way to stop piracy is not by putting antipiracy technology to work. It is by giving those people a service that is better than what they are receiving from the pirates.
In other words, the best way to stop pirates is not to “fight piracy”, but rather to provide something which is worth paying for.
Disney does not need your money
As a response to the first paragraph some readers might have thought something akin to “Well, there is still value in the work put into creating the original file”, which is true. Even though digital copies require no labour to create the original file does. While this is true you must still recognise the difference between stealing a physical object and copying a file. In the first case the creator loses all work put into the object, in the case of piracy nothing is lost, even if the creator isn’t compensated.
The original work does still warrant value though, and it is important that those who produce enjoyable media are properly compensated for their work. So please, if you like a product and you have the money then support independent creators. Artists, indie bands and indie game developers are hardworking people who need their money.
That being said. Disney does not need your money. Neither does Netflix, Sony, Paramount or any of the other corporations which the Motion Picture Association represents. These are multi billion dollar corporations which underpay their workers and bring in massive amounts of revenue. Even if this article were successful in convincing thousands to become pirates, Disney’s marketing teams would not even notice.
A quick guide to pirating
This is going to be a quick guide to where you can pirate software as well as where you can support independent creators.
First of all, if you don’t already have one, download a torrenting client. If you’re not terribly “techy” I recommend the free and open source qbittorrent. If you’re “techy”, I won’t tell you what to do.
Get Into PC - No torrents - A website which hosts cracked versions of a large variety of software. (Seemingly hosted by the same people who host Ocean of Games.)
The Pirate Bay - Torrents - The goto place for piracy
Torrentz2 - Torrents - A bit of everything
Ocean Of Games - No torrents - A website which hosts cracked versions of a large variety of games. (Seemingly hosted by the same people who host Get Into PC.)
z-library - No torrents - E-books
libgen - No torrents - E-books
sci-hub - No torrents - Research papers
yts - Torrents - Movie torrents which tend to have large amounts of seeders
nyaa.si - Torrents - Anime, Manga and anything related
cs.rin.ru - No torrents - “Game forum”
Support independent creators!
If you find music you like a great way to support independent creators is to purchase their music on bandcamp!
A great website for finding and supporting indie game developers is itch.io!
Have anything to add?
If you want to add any arguments or happen to know any other relevant websites feel free to contact me and I will update this page!
Originally written: 2020-09-16 12:02 Last edited: 2021-4-21-22:03