Sunday, January 31, 2010
Piracy is it a problem?
Every time I read something negative about piracy it is always about "how the industry is suffering, due to piracy." I have no doubt that piracy has negative effects, but to claim it will negatively affect an entire industry? I'm not so sure I'll buy that, in fact I probably wouldn't even pirate it.
Decker argues that "unless the anti-counterfeit message is heard, public health and safety of consumers lies in the hands of counterfeiters. While designer knockoffs may only result in financial and reputation disparagement, dodge airplane parts and counterfeit pharmaceuticals kill" (19). Okay, so Decker argues that piracy in fashion will lead to piracy of more important products. First off, if products such as airplane parts are being sold and bought by airplane companies, the airplane companies should consider putting better quality checks in the airplanes that they fly. Secondly, piracy has been in existence since people started sailing the ocean, and yet humanity has survived this far, so somehow I think humanity will manage. Joking aside, I believe piracy of intellectual thought has always existed. For instance ledgendary myths and stories that were once told orally was passed around in an open-source manner, and not restricted by copyrights laws. Imagine if copyright laws existed back then; great stories like The Monkey King probably wouldn't have survived to the modern day, because people would be forced to pay an absurd amount of money for the licensing fee and then when people retell the stories anyways they complain about loosing profits they would have had.
Which leads me to the issue I have with anti-piracy ideology, the fact that they believe they are loosing money. According to TorrentFreak blog "Compared to music buyers, music sharers (pirates) are 31% more likely to buy single tracks online. 33% more likely to buy music albums online. 100% more likely to pay for music subscription services.60% more likely to pay for music on mobile phone." Essentially people who pirate digital media are much more likely to pay for the products online. If you delve into Torrentfreak's blog further you'll notice that this statistic is not rare. People pirating media have often report buying stuff they like. However, the idea that piracy is harmful to an industry has been debunked time and time again. Furthermore, piracy tends to help the industry in many ways; for instance it acts as free advertisement through "word of mouth" the media will reach a wider audience.
What the argument for piracy boils down to is that it's a tool for consumers to reclaim the market and force artificially high products to be cheaper as well as telling the industry that people want quality production (something not easily replicated). I think that products that are being sold for ridiculously high prices only ask for piracy when their product can easily be replicated at a cheaper cost. For instance, the amount of junky movies in theatres now a days is mind numbing, is it any shock people would rather pirate something like The tooth Fairy and not Avatar? Clearly people expect a quality movie when they pay 12 bucks for the tickets right? Additionally, I don't believe you can own an idea, you can claim it as yours but to restrict someone from using your idea? Good luck with that. If I was the first to wear blue clothes and then say it represents me, and no one else can wear blue how would you respond? Probably by just ignoring me and wearing blue anyways. This is the response consumers have given to piracy in fashion. You can not tell someone to not look like you, it's just silly.
Reading: Decker, Melissa A. "'Knockouts of Knockoffs:' the Global Implication of Fashion Piracy." 2004.
outside source: http://torrentfreak.com/pirates-are-the-music-industrys-most-valuable-customers-100122/
picture from http://www.metronc.com/article/?id=1118