A Pirate’s Honor

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August 8, 2012 by McDowski

There seems to be a new trend in the 21st Century – I call it rebellious whining, and its practitioners have membership in The Whine Club. This can be seen almost anywhere, but nowhere is it more prevalent than, you guessed it, the Internet. The best and worst thing about the ‘net is the same thing: that it gives a voice to the masses. The masses who would previously struggle to be heard over the privileged few, the masses who rarely have anything worthwhile to say.

At what point, exactly, did we reach the stage where the primary focus changed from investing in luxury that made our lives easier and more convenient, to luxury that made our lives easier and more convenient for free? Does everything in the world have to be free? What the hell is so wrong with the idea of actually paying for shit you use or like? When did getting stuff for free go from being a wonderful bonus to a ‘basic right’?

The most vocal and self-righteous proponents of the “We Want It Free!” movement (let’s call them the WWIFers) are, not surprisingly, piracy advocates. The ones who download all of their media from sites like The Pirate Bay. Now, I’m not dissing TPB nor all of its users. As it so happens, I am one of them. But I have a measure of self-awareness. You’d be surprised by how many of the WWIFers constantly live under the delusion that what they are doing is not only right, but it is some sort of noble revolution. That what they are doing is partaking in a ’cause’ and that they fighting for the rights of the everyman.

What an odorous and heaping pile of horse manure. How is denying creators the benefits of their creations a just cause? On a somewhat heated thread (whose link I won’t mention so as not to promote such ignorance) one particularly dense individual mentioned, “Their main concern are not movies, are people who feel compelled to share, whether it be movies, music or knowledge in general… it’s time to stop defending big companies and governments and their selfish interests, and start supporting THE PEOPLE.”

Such sanctimonious BS. WWIFers, stop pretending that you are doing this out of some sort of ridiculous belief that you are fighting a good fight for “THE PEOPLE.” You’re not. You download shit from TPB for the same reason I do: because it’s convenient as hell and cheap as shit. The difference between you and I, though, is that I don’t convince myself that I am selflessly doing the world a favor.

Original Photo by arbyreed

There is one key aspect to remember for WWIFers: It’s not sharing if it does not belong to you in the first place. If someone was stopping you from sharing your own content (which can happen in cases where the creator has signed over the rights of his contents to a studio/record label/publisher) then you can claim to be fighting for the right to share and discuss and inform and educate. Downloading and sharing the latest Transformers movie doesn’t make you a civil rights activist. You’re not fighting to disseminate information vital for the betterment of the human condition. You’re not undertaking a risk to your person to give a race of the oppressed and enslaved their rights. You’re not preventing the wrongful prosecution of incarcerated innocents. You’re sharing a dumbed down, action-packed, green-screened, money-making summer blockbuster whose depth barely surpasses that of the average puddle. Get over yourself.

Yes, I download shit from TPB all the time. That’s how I watch all my TV shows. I haven’t bought an actual music album in a decade (except when I paid $5 to download Radiohead’s album when they had the “pay what you want” experiment a couple of years ago). I don’t download books, because authors don’t have nearly as many avenues for making money as actors or musicians, and I don’t download movies (because I prefer watching them in the cinema). But yes, I download pirate stuff, too. And I do it while not convincing myself I am fighting for a cause. I do it while knowing full well that what I am doing is illegal and wrong.

Perhaps that makes me a whole different sort of evil. But you know what? I would rather be evil than to give in to self-righteous delusions.

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