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Posted by notKlaatu , 03 December 2008 · 217 views

Software and Multimedia Piracy is Wrong.Haha, just kidding. No, actually piracy is not wrong at all; the environment which forces it to exist is wrong. Think about it:It's human nature to want to share with others. I mean, real human nature, like when you are feeling good and you're with friends, and you're not thinking about mundane stuff like paying bills and going to work and nonsense stuff like that. When you are feeling like your true self, admit it, you like to share. You find a cool song that you really like -- you want other people to hear it. You find a computer application you like -- you want other people to try it and get as much satisfaction from it as you do. That's why we have music sharing sites like last.fm, and it's why we have podcasts in which people are raving about that cool file manager they just found.Proprietary software, copyrights, the idea of Intellectual Property, and so on -- all of these things rob you of your right to be truly passionate about the neat things in life that you discover and want to share. In fact they set you up to be what they will call "a pirate". Now I don't know about you, but a "pirate" to me is someone who sails the seven seas and kills people for their boats and gold and stuff. We could get into a sociological discussion of why Pirates feel they need to do this, but that would be a bit of a digression......but the point is that people who share music and software and stuff like that are NOT pirates.Furthermore, people WANT to share. And proprietary systems forbid that. There's this model of oppression that goes a little something like this:1. Establish the fear of punishment if a law is disobeyed.2. Create an arbitrary and unjust law.3. Encourage people to break the law.There are variations on this theme, but essentially the idea is to create an inescapable trap for people. Give them something that you are marketing as revolutionary and life-changing, and then threaten to lock them up in prison if they in turn share this revolutionary thing with their friends. You see similar techniques in society's treatment of sex, or even drugs; tell everyone it is bad to remain a virgin too long, but also add that sex is bad. Or tell everyone drugs are bad, mkay? but then manufacture all kinds of interesting pharmaceuticals and advertise them on TV and make them really desirable. Brilliant ways to send the general population into an infinite loop of moral dilemmas.Back to my point...My point is that if Photoshop is so freaking cool and will enable me to become a better artist, a more beautiful model, and more desirable in the Job Market™ and I just paid an arm and a leg for it, how am I supposed to NOT share it with a dear friend? Obviously I would want my friend to have the same benefits; I would want her to be a better photographer, a better model, to be able to get super cool graphic design work. But of course to share it would be illegal, and I would risk being arrested.So piracy is not wrong, it is in fact right. So...post all your copies of proprietary software on warez sites, right? Well, no.Piracy is Right but supporting proprietary software that creates an environment of moral dilemma, "illegality", and marketing nonsense is Wrong. If we, as GNU/Linux users, use proprietary software and push it out into the mainstream, we are helping create this environment. Put in a less abstract way:Let's say we all use GIMP and eschew Photoshop. We start demanding plug-ins for GIMP, we start asking about drivers to make sure wacom tablets (and the like) work to their full extent in Linux and GIMP, we write our own plug-ins and scripts... You can see what would happen; it would be a victory by popular demand. Photoshop would lose influence and popularity and market share, and "piracy" would no longer be an issue. Obviously I am just randomly using Photoshop / GIMP as one example, but it applies to all applications.So don't Pirate, just Reject.

Dec 06 2008 07:50 PM
My thoughts exactly. Well said!!

Im always saying this to people but sometimes it feels like i'm preaching to the converted. The only people who seem to care and want to do something about it are the people who already use free/open source alternatives. I think the big companies need to start to make more of a stand. If companies didnt insist on exporting all there documents as docx then i doubt many people would have payed for/pirated office 2007 (same with other software, Office is just and example). Im actually under the impression that the likes of Microsoft, adobe etc wanted people to pirate there software. If little Jimmy pirates photoshop when he's young he'll grow up with the skills to use photoshop and work for a company that will have to buy legit copies. When companies change what software they consider "industry standard" then i think regular users will start to change as well
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Thanks for eloquently saying in one paragraph exactly what it took me to say in five paragraphs... in fact, can i repost your comment as a blog entry?? That is EXACTLY what I think. And I quote:"If little Jimmy pirates photoshop when he's young he'll grow up with the skills to use photoshop and work for a company that will have to buy legit copies. When companies change what software they consider "industry standard" then i think regular users will start to change as well"
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