You know, when this whole illegal download fad started, I didn’t really give it much thought. I wasn’t really too concerned with the morality of it, as I was much more fascinated with the technical aspects of it. How does a movie get on the internet anyway? How do you find it, and then download it? I didn’t understand – and still don’t – what a “torrent” is and how it works.
I even tried downloading movies once or twice myself, mostly unsuccessfully. It was far easier getting the cheap DVD from the DVD shop owner, who does all the downloading for you. But over time my opinion on illegal downloading started to change. The subject started to come up in business magazines. I started reading articles about how movie and recording studios, as well as recording artists incomes started suffering due to illegal downloading of their material. I read how singers had to do more touring and work harder on merchandising to keep their revenues consistent.
I now consider it a form of theft, just like other forms of theft. I admit it took me a while to see it like that, and I guess the main reason is because it’s so easy to do. And you do it at home sitting at your desk, with no one watching, which makes it seem harmless. But the thing is it’s not harmless.
Why I Think It’s Wrong
I remember having a conversation with a relative some months ago about the topic of illegal song downloading (he hasn’t bought a song in years). When I asked how he’d like it if someone stole from him, he replied sarcastically “Oh poor millionaire singers!” I think this is a dangerous way of thinking; just because someone is rich does not make it okay to take away their money.
If they are millionaires it’s because they deserve to be. They worked hard! They worked hard at providing the right value (entertainment) that society deemed worthy of rewarding them greatly for. What most people don’t see is the years they spend perfecting their skill, and the hours and hours they spend recording and/or writing their songs. How would you feel if someone dipped into your monthly pay cheque whenever they wanted, you work hard and deserve that pay cheque. Personally, I wouldn’t like it if someone walked into one of my businesses, and stole money from the cash register. It would infuriate me! I feed my kids with this money.
Affecting Me And My Family Directly
So far, I’ve only written one book and co-authored another, and to be honest I don’t think there’s any danger of people rushing to make my IP (Intellectual Property) available free on the web. But I actually know people who make their living out of their IP, and they’re not big movie stars or singers. They’re feeling it, and they’re really frustrated. They’re real people that work hard at what they do.
And now I can feel their frustration, because I’ve seen illegal works of my late father on the web, and it annoys me! My father was an author, poet, and novelist who’s written over 80 books, and whenever someone makes them available free online, it takes away from the income I and my family are entitled to. Not to mention the income of the publishers who’ve taken the business risk of printing, marketing and distributing the books.
The Karma Thing
I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge believer in Karma. If you steal, even if it’s an invisible type of theft like illegal downloading, then it will come back to haunt you, either in this life or in the next one.
I guess anyone under the age of 30 reading this probably did’t understand a single thing I just said, but these are my two cents on the subject. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m very much in the minority.
Thanks for listening and talk to you soon.