Why I Don't Download Movies, Songs And Other Content Illegally

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.

4 Responses to Why I Don't Download Movies, Songs And Other Content Illegally

  1. Anonymous Coward 12 February 2011 at 9:37 am #

    I’m sure I don’t know who this relative is BUT he might have said poor millionaire record company execs! Not artists. 😛 Just a couple of points though:

    1) The music industry is a prime example of an oligopoly that works against the interest of consumers (and arguably artists). 4 record companies control 99.9% of the music that is sold in stores and they control the price. Supply and demand goes out the window. The rise of Napster, Gnutella, Bittorrent, etc gave the entire industry a much needed kick up the back side.

    2) Why do we pay more for CDs than we did for tapes even though the cost of production has gone down? The same is true for DVDs and now Bluerays. No, those extra 15 minutes of “Bonus material” are not worth the extra money we pay for something that costs less to produce.

    3) The artists aren’t suffering, they barely take home any of the record sales to begin with. Their money is made through sponsorship and gigs. Unfortunately for most pop stars nowadays, they don’t know how to perform live. The people that ARE suffering are mega bloated record companies.

    4) Several studies have shown that illegal downloads actually help BOOST the legal sales of songs or movies. The logic is that when someone really likes a song or movie they downloaded illegally they end up acquiring it legally. The other stuff they download is stuff they wouldn’t have bought regardless.

    5) Record companies are profit maximizing businesses (which is fair enough), however this generally results in them promoting cr@p they know will sell and then discard the artist without a second thought. As apposed to, God-forbid, actually developing talent. – the cream does not rise to the top, just what’s deemed to be profitable.

    6) If people have the option to do something legally, they will.The Appstore / iTunes, have proven that the consumers want alternative distribution method to walking into a store and get a CD/or DVD. I stopped downloading music illegally as soon itunes offered DRM-free music. I’ll pay for movies as soon as I have the freedom to play what I PAID FOR on any device of my choosing. ( imagine buying a book that you can only read when wearing certain glasses, its quite perverse).

    The sheer scale of illegal downloads shows that there is a market imperfection that needs to be addressed. but when an industry is stuck in the last millennium sometimes they need to learn the hard way. If it wasn’t for Napster we wouldn’t have DRM free music on the iTunes store (and that took about 10 years!). Rant over. You’re right ofcourse in terms of morality and karma – Don’t break the law, kids!.

    • Suhail 12 February 2011 at 11:33 pm #

      AC, that is probably the most elaborate and interesting justification for theft I’ve even seen. Thanks for your input!

  2. link 20 February 2011 at 1:42 am #

    One or two of my friends hit the like button for this post on facebook so I thought I would check it out. I just did the same so perhaps a few more people will find it 🙂

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