47 votes

What are your thoughts on piracy?

I was inspired to make this thread after seeing the very interesting side-conversation going on here.

Guiding questions:

  • Do you pirate media? If so, why? if not, why not?
  • When, if ever, do you feel pirating something is ethical?
  • Do you have a "code" that you follow for when it's right/not right to pirate something?
  • In what ways is piracy damaging, and in what ways is it beneficial?
  • If you used to pirate certain things and then stopped, what stopped you?
  • If you used to pay for access to certain things and then went back to pirating them, why did you move back?

This is a very broad and deep topic with a lot of different avenues to explore (different types of media, different regions, archives, pre-release content, law, etc.), so I'm interested in seeing what Tildes thinks.

113 comments

  1. [2]
    senko
    Link
    These won't really be answers to your prompts, but your question(s) prompted a train of thought and here's a coredump: I view piracy as a way to not play a stacked game. The game being the set of...
    • Exemplary

    These won't really be answers to your prompts, but your question(s) prompted a train of thought and here's a coredump:

    I view piracy as a way to not play a stacked game. The game being the set of copyright laws and regulations and the scarcity economy they prop up. I believe the game is stacked against both the consumers and the individual creators, to the benefit of big corporations.

    This is not to say I believe everything should be free or that artists shouldn't be paid (or should subsist on donations or welfare). However, the amount artists/actors/creators get paid and how much the consumers must pay are pretty un-correlated, when you look at it.

    Consider Spotify. I happily pay my Spotify subscription, however artists get a miniscule amount of what I pay. Spotify doesn't take a large cut either (there are some analysts that believe their margins are too small to be able to run a stable company) The labels and distributors gobble it up.

    Or look at movies - say, Avengers: Endgame. Hugely popular movie, stacked with stars, no expenses spared. Budget $356m, revenue $2798m. That budget includes what gets paid to everyone, from screenwriters and artists to guys driving the trucks with the equipment. The budget is almost a rounding error on the revenue, and the profits don't go to the artists.

    Combine this with an extremely long copyright duration (70 years after the death of an author, or 95 years after publication if it's work for hire) and you see the vast majority of the price consumers must pay never gets to the creators.

    So, with the main argument that piracy, disincentivizes creators to create, the above examples show that it has way less negative effect than current media industry setup, and nobody seriously suggests that should be criminalized. In the age where distribution cost is basically zero and discovery/curation is usually done by other players (Spotify, Facebook, TikTok, what have you), the media industry should be replaced by something more lightweight, that will include people getting access for free in some cases, but still generate more revenue for the artists. Napster -> iTunes/Spotify is a great example of this trend. You were a criminal if you listened to music for free through Napster. You can now do the same, legally, on Spotify or YouTube (with ads, or just pay a few bucks if you're annoyed by the ads). The war against piracy is a brutal attempt at fighting this (slow but inevitable) change.

    Or look at software. In my country, Microsoft is so entrenched in government institutions that I regularly get officiall government documents in XLSX or DOCX, that I need to edit and send back. Nothing except MS Office can render it properly in full complexity. And this is for things where PDF forms would more than suffice. Now, in order to do mandatory communication with govt/tax authorities/etc, I must use MS Office and I must pay for this, although I have no need for Office otherwise. I don't think that's fair. (Things are a bit better now with online MS Office version, but that's completely thanks to Google Docs finally putting pressure on MS).

    Also, thinking about abandonware and region lockouts. If the rights holder has no interest in allowing me to buy something - if there's literally no way to access it legally - then I don't see how there could possibly be any harm done by people pirating it. I don't mean from a legal standpoint - I'm sure lawyers can make a case and IANAL - but thinking through logically: if the only harm done by piracy is by denying the rights holder some amount of money, and the rights holder will not sell at any amount (ie. doesn't want your money), then there's no harm done.

    Both abandonware and region lockouts exist because there's a legal quagmire to determine who should get paid and who could distribute and people just don't bother with setting up a legal way of accessing. These are problems that copyright as we know it now created. If people would be free to "pirate" stuff they can't buy, nobody would need to worry about it.

    "Piracy" itself is a loaded word that ignores complex details and effects of dysfunctionality of our current copyright system.

    30 votes
    1. Besrotheq
      Link Parent
      I used to have similar views, but they changed over time, mainly because I have gotten more insight into how actual financials work over time. While yes, there are definitely people getting richer...

      I used to have similar views, but they changed over time, mainly because I have gotten more insight into how actual financials work over time. While yes, there are definitely people getting richer than they should be, I think "it's the distributors that suck out all of the money, leaving the true artists with pennies on the dollar" is too easy. The true situation is far more complicated.

      I can't speak for the music or movie industry, but I have some experience in the pharma industry (both through working as a researcher in the field as well as having friends who still work there): everyone is very quick to blame "Big Pharma" for getting rich by charging outrageous prices. But the truth is that developing drugs is outrageously expensive. Like, unbelievably so. Most drug research is unsuccessful. Even worse, most of the time you have a candidate drug, and a lot of people spend years (or even decades) to develop a compound. Only to discover in a Phase 3 Trial (i.e., the very last safety trial of a drug) that 0.1% of the people have a very bad reaction to it. That's easily billions of dollars down the drain. So yes, when you actually DO find a new drug, it has to cost more than the ~0.30$ that the ingredients themselves cost. It has to cover the cost of the thousand other drugs that failed to get to market. And the people who guide these companies get very well compensated because it's terribly hard to make decisions that involve these amounts of money, and making them every day. (Of course, there are assholes in that industry same as everywhere, I don't doubt that there were some greedy fucks involved in e.g. the opioid crisis. But that's beside my point).

      While I don't know for sure, I assume the entertainment industry is the same: If you give the artist 90% of the actual revenue for each stream (or sold album), then the producers won't have the money to finance all the less successful bands that can't make it on their own. My gut feeling is that for every successful band that actually rakes in money, you likely have 10-100 more that you spend more money own than they'll ever make. You have to scout all the talent, sign it, manage it, record it, post-process it, and market it, and potentially fight for their rights in court (artists get sued a lot). All of that costs a lot of money and involves lot more people getting paid than the 3 people that make up the band. So I think it's very fair that the artist doesn't get the lion share of the money. How much should they get? I have no idea. But I'm sure the situation is a lot more nuanced than what it seems. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for paying the creators, and incentivizing them to be creative. And I'm sure "the suits" are looking out for themselves first and foremost. But I do think that there is a lot of value in the whole supporting industry, and if the artists think they can live without a record company or a stream affiliate, then in this day and age, nothing would stop them. They might think the game is rigged against them, but I think their view is slightly warped because they don't understand the full economics behind it.

      4 votes
  2. Fal
    (edited )
    Link
    I don't pirate much, but I am freely willing to admit to using websites like sci-hub and libgen to access research papers that would otherwise cost me a fortune to access. For example, accessing...

    I don't pirate much, but I am freely willing to admit to using websites like sci-hub and libgen to access research papers that would otherwise cost me a fortune to access.
    For example, accessing this paper would cost me a whopping $37.50 for only 24 hours of access. This would charge me $35.95 for a one-time access. Charging people that much for what is essentially a PDF file is total bullshit. While most universities have journal subscriptions, even big-name institutions like Harvard and Cornell won't pay the millions charged yearly by publishers. I can only imagine that the cost of access then falls onto the researchers themselves, who presumably have to access hundreds of papers.

    36 votes
  3. [3]
    teaearlgraycold
    Link
    I usually pirate TV shows, sometimes movies. I have plenty of money to buy the content legitimately, but even though I pay for Netflix and Amazon Prime, I still sometimes need to purchase episodes...

    I usually pirate TV shows, sometimes movies. I have plenty of money to buy the content legitimately, but even though I pay for Netflix and Amazon Prime, I still sometimes need to purchase episodes one-off to watch them. It's not ethical, but it seems to me to be just over the fence into the domain of unethical things.

    I actually spend money to pirate things, though (monthly fees to a VPN and seedbox). Were there a service that cost $25/month or less and had everything I want to watch I'd have no need to pirate anything. I don't pirate games because Steam has all of the games I want to play. I don't pirate music because Spotify has all the music I want to listen to.

    25 votes
    1. [2]
      Besrotheq
      Link Parent
      Are you me? This post describes me almost down to a dot. The one thing that irks me is that one the one hand, I 100% agree that "If I could pay one service for all streaming needs, I wouldn't need...

      Are you me? This post describes me almost down to a dot.

      The one thing that irks me is that one the one hand, I 100% agree that "If I could pay one service for all streaming needs, I wouldn't need to pirate". On the other hand, I was raised with the conviction that monopolies are bad, and they stifle innovation. So as much as I hate that others are trying to compete with Netflix or Steam (and thus some movies disappear from Netflix), on the other hand I know that competition might be good for the market. I'm not sure yet what to make of this observation.

      3 votes
      1. teaearlgraycold
        Link Parent
        It wouldn’t be an issue if services couldn’t have exclusive streaming rights. Then it would not be down to the library, but the platform itself to determine where you watch your content. Maybe one...

        It wouldn’t be an issue if services couldn’t have exclusive streaming rights. Then it would not be down to the library, but the platform itself to determine where you watch your content. Maybe one has a better recommendation engine, or better support for your preferred OS.

        2 votes
  4. Akir
    Link
    I used to pirate everything because I was poor; it was the only way I could experience things. And today I still pirate things that I can't experience otherwise. There's a bunch of Japanese...

    I used to pirate everything because I was poor; it was the only way I could experience things.

    And today I still pirate things that I can't experience otherwise. There's a bunch of Japanese musicians I would love to financially support if only their stuff was available here. Likewise I would easily pay to watch a bunch of Macross series if Harmony Gold didn't want to troll the IP system and allow them to release those shows in the US.

    20 votes
  5. [40]
    xnaas
    Link
    I'll quote a recent comment of mine:

    I'll quote a recent comment of mine:

    I recently did some math and to get a really good coverage of movie and TV shows (and still not solve everything!) I'd have to spend more than $80/mo (not the issue) and be subscribed to nearly a dozen different services. I'm not going to pay $80+ every month just to play "let's guess which service X is on!" every day.

    19 votes
    1. [39]
      stu2b50
      Link Parent
      Hm, I guess my problem with this line of thinking is that you don't have a "right" to watch all the TV shows you want at a good price, on one platform. Sometimes, especially for luxury like...

      Hm, I guess my problem with this line of thinking is that you don't have a "right" to watch all the TV shows you want at a good price, on one platform. Sometimes, especially for luxury like entertainment, if you can't pay for it, that's that. Just don't watch them.

      8 votes
      1. [28]
        xnaas
        Link Parent
        I don't care what I have a right to, personally. They can sell me the convenient package (like Spotify or Apple Music) or I can continue doing what I'm doing to get the convenient package. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        I don't care what I have a right to, personally. They can sell me the convenient package (like Spotify or Apple Music) or I can continue doing what I'm doing to get the convenient package. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        31 votes
        1. [11]
          ducc
          Link Parent
          Well, that's pretty much what happened with the music industry, right? Music pirating was really popular in the early 00s because you couldn't conveniently get music online, so the industry...

          Well, that's pretty much what happened with the music industry, right? Music pirating was really popular in the early 00s because you couldn't conveniently get music online, so the industry (reluctantly) adapted and we got things like iTunes and music streaming.

          6 votes
          1. [10]
            vektor
            Link Parent
            Yep. The music industry is a model citizen in this regard. In games, you end up buying games directly from the publisher usually, ending up with several platforms where your stuff might be. In...

            Yep. The music industry is a model citizen in this regard. In games, you end up buying games directly from the publisher usually, ending up with several platforms where your stuff might be. In TV/movies, they want you to pay for a bunch of platforms with partially overlapping inventories just so you can stream them once and then lack access once you've moved to a different platform.

            In music, you just pay one of several services to give you access to basically the entire world of music. Or you can just listen to ads here and there. Those services are actually worth a damn. Sure, you're not acquiring actual copies of the music forever, but that's alright, as the rest of the model is fair.

            3 votes
            1. [9]
              arghdos
              Link Parent
              Except for music producers, that is.

              that's alright, as the rest of the model is fair.

              Except for music producers, that is.

              6 votes
              1. [8]
                vektor
                Link Parent
                I dunno. The arts are usually not commercially all too viable for anyone but the elite. Everyone wants to do it but no one wants to pay for it, so that's what the markets decide on. I get your...

                I dunno. The arts are usually not commercially all too viable for anyone but the elite. Everyone wants to do it but no one wants to pay for it, so that's what the markets decide on. I get your point though. The fact that capitalism does not value artists is not exclusive to this rare situation of a working market though. Crunch time for game devs is real, and I bet there's plenty of destitute actors too. Capitalists will exploit artists any way they can, it doesn't really matter if the market shaves down their profit margin.

                However: If you want to fix this, public funding seems like a reasonable option. How you allocate that (without making tax payers pay the govt and the publishers for the product) is up to you.

                2 votes
                1. [7]
                  Flashynuff
                  Link Parent
                  Streaming isn't a working market. The only ones making money are the big labels, the streaming services don't even make a profit themselves! A much better example of a functioning marketplace is...

                  Streaming isn't a working market. The only ones making money are the big labels, the streaming services don't even make a profit themselves!

                  A much better example of a functioning marketplace is something like Bandcamp. The platform is sustainable and their revenue sharing model is fair.

                  11 votes
                  1. [5]
                    Autoxidation
                    Link Parent
                    Is the iTunes store a working market?

                    Is the iTunes store a working market?

                    1 vote
                    1. [4]
                      Flashynuff
                      Link Parent
                      I haven't used the iTunes store in years, and I don't know what their revenue model is, so I can't confidently say. If I remember right it comes with a lot of DRM and vendor lock-in which is huge...

                      I haven't used the iTunes store in years, and I don't know what their revenue model is, so I can't confidently say. If I remember right it comes with a lot of DRM and vendor lock-in which is huge points against it.

                      2 votes
                      1. [3]
                        joplin
                        Link Parent
                        Music on the iTunes store is DRM free and has been for something like 15 years.

                        Music on the iTunes store is DRM free and has been for something like 15 years.

                        6 votes
                        1. Flashynuff
                          Link Parent
                          Oh that's awesome to hear. Maybe I was thinking of the audio format; I remember having compatibility problems at one point, but again that was years ago

                          Oh that's awesome to hear. Maybe I was thinking of the audio format; I remember having compatibility problems at one point, but again that was years ago

                          1 vote
                  2. vektor
                    Link Parent
                    Allow me to clarify: By working market, I mean that the competition is so thorough that you don't see companies charging extraordinary markups. There is very little profit margin. The big labels...

                    Allow me to clarify: By working market, I mean that the competition is so thorough that you don't see companies charging extraordinary markups. There is very little profit margin. The big labels make money because they have a monopoly on the people and bands they've signed exclusivity deals with. That's outside of the scope of the market I was talking about. The market of distributing finished music to customers is so competetive that the services don't make money.

                    1 vote
        2. [16]
          Contentus
          Link Parent
          Do you also obtain other people's purses, or houses or cars? You don't have the right to them. I'm sorry but someone has to challenge an assertion like "I don't care what I have a right to". I...

          Do you also obtain other people's purses, or houses or cars? You don't have the right to them. I'm sorry but someone has to challenge an assertion like "I don't care what I have a right to". I don't want to be the neighbor (in the whole world sense) of someone who thinks like this.

          2 votes
          1. [13]
            iiv
            Link Parent
            If I liked someone's house and could take it without them losing it, yeah. Wouldn't you? Would you download a car? in dramatic voice. Of course I would, who wouldn't?

            If I liked someone's house and could take it without them losing it, yeah. Wouldn't you?

            Would you download a car? in dramatic voice. Of course I would, who wouldn't?

            17 votes
            1. [12]
              Contentus
              Link Parent
              Let's drop the analogies for sake of clarity. When you pirate anything you are not paying what the person who made it agreed to. Yes by pirating the creator doesn't "lose the creation", but you...

              Let's drop the analogies for sake of clarity. When you pirate anything you are not paying what the person who made it agreed to. Yes by pirating the creator doesn't "lose the creation", but you just stole from him.

              Digital goods don't fall from the sky, they were created by someone through effort and they want to be rewarded for that.

              I was going to ask you if I could have your work for free but then I realized that you are probably going to answer yes because that is your view of the world. The thing is, I'm ok with that. If you choose to distribute your work for free, it is your choice. But most people don't do it because they want compensation for effort.

              3 votes
              1. [9]
                iiv
                Link Parent
                Yes, let's skip the analogies and I'll give a couple of examples of where I've pirated something (and feel justified). Maybe you can respond to each example. I pirated a game that I couldn't...

                Yes, let's skip the analogies and I'll give a couple of examples of where I've pirated something (and feel justified). Maybe you can respond to each example.

                1. I pirated a game that I couldn't afford. Later I could afford it, so I bought it.

                2. I pirated a game that didn't have a demo. I didn't like it, so I didn't buy it.

                3. I wasn't allowed to have my phone with Spotify during an exam, but an mp3-player was fine. I wanted to listen to Kate Bush's album Hounds of Love and pirated it.

                4. I pirated Adobe Photoshop, which I will never afford to buy.

                5. I pirated Jeeves and Wooster which isn't available on Netflix and I don't want to watch it enough to buy it.

                6. I pirated a book that is out of print and isn't sold anywhere that I could find.

                4 votes
                1. [8]
                  Contentus
                  Link Parent
                  Not being able to afford something doesn't justify piracy in my view. You probably also can't afford a house and that's no reason to occupy one illegally. I don't see a problem with 2 and 6. But I...

                  Not being able to afford something doesn't justify piracy in my view. You probably also can't afford a house and that's no reason to occupy one illegally.

                  I don't see a problem with 2 and 6. But I am skeptical that there is a book you can't find anywhere, not even used. Maybe this website will help you: https://www.bookfinder.com/

                  1. [7]
                    iiv
                    Link Parent
                    Well, that's the difference between physical and digital goods. If I occupy a house illegally the owner will want to have his house back. I see no problem with occupying a hypothetical copy of a...

                    You probably also can't afford a house and that's no reason to occupy one illegally.

                    Well, that's the difference between physical and digital goods. If I occupy a house illegally the owner will want to have his house back. I see no problem with occupying a hypothetical copy of a house.

                    not even used.

                    If I buy a used book the creator will not earn any money from that, which is the same as just pirating it.

                    Notice that in all my examples the creator doesn't lose any potential earnings by me pirating it, since I would never have bought it anyway.

                    1. Contentus
                      Link Parent
                      I've commented about why I don't think there is an ethical difference between digital and physical goods. They both come from effort and people want to be rewarded for it. If you want to give away...

                      I've commented about why I don't think there is an ethical difference between digital and physical goods. They both come from effort and people want to be rewarded for it. If you want to give away houses and ebooks I'm fine with that, but most people don't do that. When you pirate an ebook you are paying less than what the book seller wanted for it.

                      On the used goods I guess you have a point. If you can't find the good for sale as new (digitally or physically), then I don't see an ethical issue with that. But I am still skeptical that one can't find any specific book for sale as new. What the hell are you reading? Some book authored by dinassaurs =p?

                    2. [5]
                      Parameter
                      Link Parent
                      I don't understand this statement. I've heard it a lot but it feels unsound to be honest. If a person accepts your justification as being true then the choice to pirate or not is NOT an dilemma....

                      the creator doesn't lose any potential earnings by me pirating it, since I would never have bought it anyway

                      I don't understand this statement. I've heard it a lot but it feels unsound to be honest.

                      If a person accepts your justification as being true then the choice to pirate or not is NOT an dilemma. You're either getting what you want for free or not. But it's now based on your interest in the thing you want.

                      Say you couldn't pirate, would you then stop buying media forever? If the answer is no then you're just stealing from creators with no justification.

                      1. [4]
                        iiv
                        Link Parent
                        I buy media and pirate right now. If I couldn't pirate, I'd still be buying media, but I wouldn't buy the media that I would have pirated, if that makes sense.

                        Say you couldn't pirate, would you then stop buying media forever?

                        I buy media and pirate right now. If I couldn't pirate, I'd still be buying media, but I wouldn't buy the media that I would have pirated, if that makes sense.

                        1. [3]
                          Parameter
                          Link Parent
                          Yeah it makes sense, I'm trying to point out the you can't actually know that you wouldn't buy something that you would have pirated. It's artificial because that's not your situation, you know?...

                          Yeah it makes sense, I'm trying to point out the you can't actually know that you wouldn't buy something that you would have pirated.

                          It's artificial because that's not your situation, you know? If pirating was never an option for you, it should follow that your sense of "what's worth my money" would be very different.

                          Pirating creates a situation where we can tell ourselves "I wouldn't have bought that" but there's no real feeling of missing out that normally causes a purchases because your brain knows that you can still get the thing and for free.

                          1. [2]
                            iiv
                            Link Parent
                            Well, for me it is pretty easy, I would never buy anything (and I never buy anything other than food and clothes right now). But sometimes I've had a little extra money, and then it might be more...

                            Well, for me it is pretty easy, I would never buy anything (and I never buy anything other than food and clothes right now). But sometimes I've had a little extra money, and then it might be more difficult to know.

                            The crucial thing is that pirating is an option to me. If it wasn't, who knows what would happen? If pirating is somehow eradicated in the next few years, send me a message and ask me how much media I buy :)

                            And finally, what are your thoughts on buying second hand or getting gifts? If I go to a local second hand shop I can get 5 books/films/cd's for a dollar, not much more expensive than the internet and electricity I use. Or my friend can give me a film after he's done watching it, then I get it for free.

                            And what is the difference between me giving my friend a physical book and a pdf of that book?

                            1. Parameter
                              Link Parent
                              Is it pirating to re-gift legitimate copies of media? I didn't think so... I guess the difference is that the publishers of the physical book agreed to sell one copy and lose their control over...

                              Is it pirating to re-gift legitimate copies of media?

                              I didn't think so... I guess the difference is that the publishers of the physical book agreed to sell one copy and lose their control over it.

                              That's not the case with the pdf version. The creators and their publishers did not agree to license their intellectual property to your friend. You could probably make backups for yourself but distributing an infinitely reproducible clone of the product is different.

                              If you managed to buy a pdf you probably agreed to something about not giving it away to others.

              2. NoblePath
                Link Parent
                Just fyi, “stealing”, “rights” and “infringement” are all arbitrary legal terms, defined and enforced by states according to their laws and whims. There are no absolute ownership Rules or rights.

                Just fyi, “stealing”, “rights” and “infringement” are all arbitrary legal terms, defined and enforced by states according to their laws and whims. There are no absolute ownership Rules or rights.

                2 votes
              3. xnaas
                Link Parent
                I apologize for the lack of reply before. At this point it sounds like we have two fundamentally different beliefs on the differences (or lack thereof) between physical and digital goods, so I'm...

                I apologize for the lack of reply before.

                At this point it sounds like we have two fundamentally different beliefs on the differences (or lack thereof) between physical and digital goods, so I'm not sure much progress would be made in a debate to change someone's point of view on the matter.

                I will add a point of clarification though: my world view does not equate physical and digital goods as two equal things as one can actually be stolen from one's possession whereas digital goods are just copies. My "I don't care what I have a right to" was from that point of view and about digital goods specifically, as that's what the conversation was about.

                2 votes
          2. [2]
            crdpa
            Link Parent
            If i could copy someone's house for free and they get to keep the one they have, sure. You can do the same with my house.

            If i could copy someone's house for free and they get to keep the one they have, sure.

            You can do the same with my house.

            16 votes
            1. AugustusFerdinand
              Link Parent
              I can't find the article at the moment, but this is essentially what happened with the early 20th century Sears mail order homes. Sears would ship nearly everything needed to build the house along...

              If i could copy someone's house for free and they get to keep the one they have, sure.

              I can't find the article at the moment, but this is essentially what happened with the early 20th century Sears mail order homes. Sears would ship nearly everything needed to build the house along with blueprints to the buyer and it was a regular occurrence for the blueprints to be copied by others to source and build their own home. Not a 1:1 to piracy, but comparable.

              6 votes
      2. [10]
        nothis
        Link Parent
        The thing with internet "piracy", though, is that it literally doesn't cost companies a thing if you would never have considered dropping $100 (more like it) to watch all that stuff in the first...

        The thing with internet "piracy", though, is that it literally doesn't cost companies a thing if you would never have considered dropping $100 (more like it) to watch all that stuff in the first place. You pay for your bandwidth, piracy sites pay for theirs. Piracy sites make money from ads, which is "unfair", but not directly damaging to companies either.

        A question never asked (because inconvenient and hard to answer) is "would the pirate ever have paid for the content if piracy literally didn't exist/was impossible?". Often the answer is "no". Maybe your life quality would actually increase by not being tempted to binge watch shit all day, different issue but kinda relevant to the "privilege to watch" part.

        When you go to a store and steal a physical copy, that copy can no longer be sold. You actually stole something. When you binge watch Stranger Things or something on a pirate site, Netflix only looses theoretical money that you would have paid if no way of pirating existed. I'd never pay for Netflix just to watch Stranger Things (disclaimer: I pay for a Netflix account for other things and watched Stranger Things out of utter boredom).

        Also: Who fucking cares? Why isn't the whole streaming industry literally bankrupt if pirates are hurting them so bad? Why are they making billions? It's hard to sympathize with an industry that complains so much while making so much money.

        13 votes
        1. [6]
          Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          I see this a lot, but people often don't consider the impact on the artists. Netflix can afford to lose some profits from piracy because they are so huge. Joe Music, an up and coming producer...

          Also: Who fucking cares? Why isn't the whole streaming industry literally bankrupt if pirates are hurting them so bad? Why are they making billions? It's hard to sympathize with an industry that complains so much while making so much money.

          I see this a lot, but people often don't consider the impact on the artists.

          Netflix can afford to lose some profits from piracy because they are so huge. Joe Music, an up and coming producer cannot. Jane Producer, a local film director, also cannot. Often times Joe Music and Jane Producer get a break and end up with some content being picked up and spread more widely through a major company such as Netflix or a label such as Universal.

          To consider the cost of piracy, one has to consider who is being pirated. If you're pirating a movie by a major studio and producer that's distributed on a major platform such as the next big Marvel movie, you're probably not going to do much harm. But if you're pirating the first major breakthrough show by an up and coming artist that's distributed on a large platform, you may be doing more harm than you realize, especially if you enjoy the content and want to see more of it.

          7 votes
          1. [5]
            mftrhu
            Link Parent
            But then, when you consider just who is doing the pirating, the alternative wouldn't be "person spends money to buy that piece of media", because most of them cannot afford that.

            I see this a lot, but people often don't consider the impact on the artists.

            But then, when you consider just who is doing the pirating, the alternative wouldn't be "person spends money to buy that piece of media", because most of them cannot afford that.

            4 votes
            1. Gaywallet
              Link Parent
              Yes, I didn't mention it here, but if you can't pay for it anyways then it doesn't matter. This is directed at people who can but choose not to, because they think it won't cause damage. It's one...

              Yes, I didn't mention it here, but if you can't pay for it anyways then it doesn't matter. This is directed at people who can but choose not to, because they think it won't cause damage. It's one of those "well yes, but actually no" situations.

              5 votes
            2. [3]
              joplin
              Link Parent
              Do you have any proof of that? Most of the people I know who pirate can very well afford to pay full price for the stuff they pirate. They just don't feel like it. And it's been that way most of...

              because most of them cannot afford that.

              Do you have any proof of that? Most of the people I know who pirate can very well afford to pay full price for the stuff they pirate. They just don't feel like it. And it's been that way most of my life.

              1 vote
              1. [2]
                mftrhu
                Link Parent
                And most of the people I know pirate because they, being adolescents or penniless young adults, flat-out cannot afford it. There are also about eight billion people I do not know, of which four...

                And most of the people I know pirate because they, being adolescents or penniless young adults, flat-out cannot afford it.

                There are also about eight billion people I do not know, of which four point five billion use the Internet, of which less than 25% live in Europe, North America, or other countries with a relatively wealthy population - not that averages matter that much, as there are a lot of people in the Western world who struggle to get to the end of the month, and who can't afford to spend much on entertainment.

                5 votes
                1. joplin
                  Link Parent
                  I see what you mean. Sorry, I was thinking in a different context. Let me rephrase what I was trying to say. I have a suspicion that as wealth increases, the rates of piracy do not decrease, or at...

                  I see what you mean. Sorry, I was thinking in a different context.

                  Let me rephrase what I was trying to say. I have a suspicion that as wealth increases, the rates of piracy do not decrease, or at least decrease at a slower rate than the rate of wealth increase. I don't have any proof of that beyond anecdotal. I'm curious if anyone has studied that?

                  2 votes
        2. [3]
          stu2b50
          Link Parent
          It does cost, in the more abstract form of opportunity cost. Creation has a cost. When you spend days making an art piece, for instance, that's days of productive time that you could have spend...

          It does cost, in the more abstract form of opportunity cost. Creation has a cost. When you spend days making an art piece, for instance, that's days of productive time that you could have spend making ends meet.

          It's incredibly unfair to just talk about the base material cost in these cases.

          A question never asked (because inconvenient and hard to answer) is "would the pirate ever have paid for the content if piracy literally didn't exist/was impossible?". Often the answer is "no".

          Even if it's 50% "no", or whatever percentage you want, it doesn't change the fact that it cost significant amounts of revenue of the total possible to the creator.

          Why isn't the whole streaming industry literally bankrupt if pirates are hurting them so bad?

          Because A) piracy has technical barriers in place that prevent the every-man from easily doing it and B) thankfully there is still a social pressure to pay for what you use.

          It's easy to attack "big movie pictures", but what about the small indie devs? How many times has Stardew been pirated, and how many of those are lost sales? If every pirated, these wouldn't exist. Piracy exists in equilibria right now because it's in low enough numbers that, for the most part, creators can still get by. But no doubt there would be more creators with more financial incentive.

          5 votes
          1. [2]
            nothis
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I think we can have a discussion about the "significant amount", but it seems futile as there is no real data. And if we go into theoreticals, you'd also have to take into account the value of,...

            I think we can have a discussion about the "significant amount", but it seems futile as there is no real data. And if we go into theoreticals, you'd also have to take into account the value of, say, the "Game of Thrones brand", T-Shirts, word-of-mouth making people subscribe, tweets, memes and internet buzz, possibly by a large group of pirates. It's an endless spiral.

            In the end, good shows feed everyone involved in the production and make many of them rather wealthy people. Arguing that they deserve 15.3% more wealth seems like a rather awkward position to take, you might as well make this about taxes. I have not yet seen a show that was "canceled due to piracy". That would probably make me rethink my position (in games, that kinda is the case).

            One more thing I'll throw in: The main reason I defend piracy, really, is because I see no way to prevent it other than completely locking down the internet. The former in no way justifies the latter so it's easy for me not to feel guilty about defending piracy (more so than any individual pirate). It's a symptom of freedom of information. It hurt the movie industry about as bad as libraries hurt the book industry.

            7 votes
            1. stu2b50
              Link Parent
              The way I see it, piracy is just digital commerce friction. It saps a little bit of money out of every endeavor. And yes, for the big companies, that's a measured cost. But surely anyone can see...

              The way I see it, piracy is just digital commerce friction. It saps a little bit of money out of every endeavor. And yes, for the big companies, that's a measured cost. But surely anyone can see that it's only that way, for big companies, because it's a small percentage. If everyone were to pirate, Netflix wouldn't produce Stranger Things, because it cost a fuckload of money.

              Arguing that they deserve 15.3% more wealth seems like a rather awkward position to take

              Not really, I'd be happy to argue they deserve 15.3% more wealth. They're not stealing anything, or causing harm. If you make a cool movie, and everyone wants to watch, get your bag. There's no reason to arbitrarily cap income at some point.

              The main reason I defend piracy, really, is because I see no reason to prevent it other than completely locking down the internet.

              I mean, I feel the same way, but I also morally and ethically disagree with piracy. I wish no one would do it, and yet there's no way to do it, but I'm still not going to defend it.

              Big companies are an easy target for "too much money, who cares lol", but that friction is too much for many of the little guys, and they can't afford expensive DRM either. And there's a lot of little guys.

              6 votes
  6. [3]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    I pirate everything and I’m also a founding member of the Brazilian Pirate Party. So let’s just say I have strong opinions on the subject.

    I pirate everything and I’m also a founding member of the Brazilian Pirate Party. So let’s just say I have strong opinions on the subject.

    15 votes
    1. [2]
      UniquelyGeneric
      Link Parent
      I’m curious what some of your strong opinions are. Aside from “Information should be free” or “copyright hinders creativity”, would you mind sharing? Also, what does founding (and running) a...

      I’m curious what some of your strong opinions are. Aside from “Information should be free” or “copyright hinders creativity”, would you mind sharing?

      Also, what does founding (and running) a Pirate Party entail? The only ones of note I can think of are Sweden’s and Iceland’s. The former being one of the first of its kind, and the latter having a non-trivial representation in parliament due to a more liberal population.

      6 votes
      1. mrbig
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Many of the Pirate Party's ideology is similar if not identical to GNU, FOSS, etc. Privacy is a big deal, as well as the right to freely disseminate information (those are linked: anti-piracy...

        Many of the Pirate Party's ideology is similar if not identical to GNU, FOSS, etc. Privacy is a big deal, as well as the right to freely disseminate information (those are linked: anti-piracy measures frequently infringe on the user privacies). Copyrighted movies and software are just other kinds of information.

        Our other policies are extremely progressive and also similar to the liberal left (with a heavy emphasis on liberal).

        I haven't been in touch with the party for years, so I don't know what's going on right now.

        It's not easy to create a party in Brazil without major funding. In 2013 the 101 required founding members went to Recife, Brazil, and started both legal (documents, signatures, etc) and ritual (assemblies, discussions, social gatherings) processes to create the party.

        Besides minor legalities I would not know how to detail, the next step is just gathering the signatures of 430 thousand voters.

        You need a lot of people and a consistent organized effort to do that. It has to be outside, on the street. It doesn't help that we're mostly a bunch of geeky computer hackers.

        That's a very hard requirement for us to fulfill, for many reasons. First, mergers and funding from companies are prohibited by our statutes. Second, (related to the former), party members are extremely distrustful of the current political establishment. Third, our activists are mostly online and many have very distinct priorities. We're very open to different views and that comes with a price.

        I stopped actively participating in the party because some prominent members of my local chapter started opposing the very idea of creating a party. Some only used the meetings to socialize or to feel more immersed/connected to our hacker scene.

        There was also a lot of friction around the social platform we should use, as we wanted a social website of our own (Pirate Party members are extremely paranoid about privacy, so using something off the rack seemed unacceptable to many), but I don't think that ever came to fruition. I just opened the official website and only saw a link to a Mumble channel.

        Anyway, in practice, I don't think the Brazilian Pirate Party will be an actual party any time soon. We're just too "pure" and faithful to our ideals to prosper in the current scenario. I'm not saying it's impossible, crazier shit happened before. But, for now, our small "army" of armchair politicians will probably just do what I'm doing: talk with people over the internet.

        Personally, I believe most research shows that piracy only rarely hurt sales. I also believe that moral thinking about physical objects is hard to apply to virtual ones. I did not actually stole one copy of Avengers: Endgame when I downloaded it from The Pirate Bay. Even if I concede that piracy is immoral (very unlikely), I will not concede that it should be evaluated on the same grounds of stealing or anything of that sort.

        Besides, I'm in the third world. Things are different for us. For many, access to world culture can only happen via piracy. This is much less true today, but still very much so. Should less fortunate regions of the world be cut out from the cultural zeitgeist? What is the value of culture anyway? A lot, I think. And I'm not just talking movies and videogames: if a poor teenager in Brazil uses some JavaScript to read a New York Times article about its country, broadening his worldview with a different perspective, I say let him. The world is not coming to an end. Capitalism will find its way.

        5 votes
  7. Amarok
    (edited )
    Link
    I pirate everything first. Frankly, I've been burned too often by false promises and criminally deceptive marketing. See any advert, always assume scam. Games, music, movies, I don't spend a penny...

    I pirate everything first. Frankly, I've been burned too often by false promises and criminally deceptive marketing. See any advert, always assume scam. Games, music, movies, I don't spend a penny until I've confirmed the quality for myself. If it passes that test, then I'll pick up a copy.

    Pirating isn't ethical, but neither is the market or the law so no help there. Ply me with deceptive DLCs, skinner-box mechanics, and in-game pay-to-win purchases? I'll pirate your game, crack it so I don't have to pay for your silly slot machine, have my enjoyment out of it, then pay nothing back while hoping you go out of business and badmouthing you on forums for being a shitty service provider. Or you can provide me a kick ass experience and I'll buy it and sing your praises instead.

    The problem with that equation is that everyone seems completely out of 'kick ass' lately, so they have to put a shine on turds and then get angry when nobody buys it because of the smell. Successful, in-demand properties of any stripe have nothing to fear from piracy. It's only the hot garbage that really gets buried by it.

    I think it'd be less of a problem without our patently ridiculous copyright term length (thanks Disney). There should be a shift towards profit-rights instead of copy-rights which do not make sense (and never will) in the digital age. The concept of a copy now has nothing at all in common with the concept of a copy back then.

    Computers make copies just by the act of playing a piece of physical media, yet they don't charge you for the one living in your memory chips. They would if they could (and they've tried), which is part of the reason I don't weep for intellectual property theft when the dominant system is an outmoded, overextended clusterfuck. I feel for music artists, though - streaming has never been profitable and I doubt it ever will be. The world of music licensing is a nightmare.

    I know that if I enjoy something and I'd like to have more of it, the only way that's going to happen is if I show my support. That's all the motivation I've ever needed to buy the stuff I like.

    The law itself never even enters into my thinking on this issue - can you think of a single law in human history that is as omnipresent yet universally disregarded and unenforced as copyright in the digital age? Copyright is the kind of law that undermines and makes a mockery of other 'law' by existing beside it. It's an embarrassment and we need to do better.

    This little 'sting' of the top pirate groups used to happen about twice a year for the last what, two or three decades? It never had any effect. Law enforcement can pat themselves on the back for spending several years busting a couple teenagers while wasting tax dollars on crimes that only matter to corporations. By the time they finish their second round of drinks at the bar, there will be three new release groups replacing the others. The hydra has never been phased by legal actions, not for one second in half a century, and I've seen nothing to make me think that will change yet.

    I always wonder what percentage of VPN service provider revenue (and bandwidth consumed) is generated by piracy. I'd bet it's a decent chunk.

    12 votes
  8. [16]
    stu2b50
    Link
    To some degree I'm okay with "fungible rewards". Buy a copy of mario 64 on the Wii shop (back when it exited), then feel free to emulate it. Buy a bluray of a movie, then feel free to rip...

    To some degree I'm okay with "fungible rewards". Buy a copy of mario 64 on the Wii shop (back when it exited), then feel free to emulate it. Buy a bluray of a movie, then feel free to rip it/torrent it.

    But I really do think people on the internet underestimate the financial harm of piracy, and I do think creators should have a right to control who gets their creation (obviously with exceptions in the case of necessary goods, like medicine, or monopolies).

    10 votes
    1. [15]
      bloup
      Link Parent
      On the contrary, people on the internet often tend to grossly overestimate the amount of control content creators even have over the content they have made and how much of the proceeds even go to...

      On the contrary, people on the internet often tend to grossly overestimate the amount of control content creators even have over the content they have made and how much of the proceeds even go to the content creator vs, say, their publisher.

      14 votes
      1. [3]
        kfwyre
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        This is anecdotal, but I'm good friends with someone whose sibling is a member of a decently well-known band. By all accounts, they're a success story: multiple albums, multiple tours, critical...

        This is anecdotal, but I'm good friends with someone whose sibling is a member of a decently well-known band. By all accounts, they're a success story: multiple albums, multiple tours, critical acclaim, solid fanbase, years in the industry.

        I asked my friend about their sibling given all that's gone on with the pandemic, and I learned that he was working (and lost) a service job as his primary income. The vast majority of the royalties from his band's music goes directly to the label. Apparently a lot of recording contracts last 10 years, after which some bands gain distribution and royalty rights for their music, which explains why you'll see a lot of "10th Anniversary" re-releases and deluxe editions for albums. That's the band's first chance to really cash in on their work themselves.

        I find this interesting because it seems like he should be living the "rockstar life" based on the reach of his music, but he's really not seeing much of the monetary benefit from it yet.

        10 votes
        1. [2]
          joplin
          Link Parent
          This isn't quite the same thing because it has to do with orchestral music which certainly doesn't pay anywhere near as well as pop music, but years ago I heard an NPR interview where it was...

          This isn't quite the same thing because it has to do with orchestral music which certainly doesn't pay anywhere near as well as pop music, but years ago I heard an NPR interview where it was revealed that composer Philip Glass used to work as a dishwasher repairman to make ends meet between gigs. It seems odd (and sad) that someone can be well known, but still not make enough at what they're known for to make a living.

          7 votes
          1. TheJorro
            Link Parent
            That's actually something I've come to a realization of myself. My boring, non-famous, quiet and out of the way 9 to 5 job pays me more than many of the famous content creators, YouTube stars,...

            That's actually something I've come to a realization of myself. My boring, non-famous, quiet and out of the way 9 to 5 job pays me more than many of the famous content creators, YouTube stars, critics, indie artists, etc. out there on the internet get (unless they're top tier internet celebrities with millions of followers and endorsement deals, of course).

            6 votes
      2. vektor
        Link Parent
        Indeed. I remember being utterly disgusted by a pie chart of where your video game money ends up. Platform royalties, publishers, etc. WTF?

        Indeed. I remember being utterly disgusted by a pie chart of where your video game money ends up. Platform royalties, publishers, etc.

        WTF?

        8 votes
      3. [6]
        Contentus
        Link Parent
        Creators are not forced to sell their product in platform x, y or z. I understand it is very convenient to do so, but they don't have to. In order to do so they accept the contractual conditions...

        Creators are not forced to sell their product in platform x, y or z. I understand it is very convenient to do so, but they don't have to. In order to do so they accept the contractual conditions and I think costumers should too.

        4 votes
        1. [4]
          bloup
          Link Parent
          I really feel like just describing it as “very convenient” is such an understatement that it practically borders on disingenuity. It’s not “very convenient”, it’s more like the only way you can...

          I really feel like just describing it as “very convenient” is such an understatement that it practically borders on disingenuity. It’s not “very convenient”, it’s more like the only way you can realistically have a shot at being able to make a full time living out of being an artist, and the publishing companies are keenly aware of this and ruthlessly exploit the situation. Artists are basically given the choice between a bad deal or no deal at all.

          10 votes
          1. [3]
            Contentus
            Link Parent
            I don't want to get into semantics, but what I'm saying is there are alternatives. There is no universal law that states that creators must be able to live of their creations. Maybe the mindset...

            I don't want to get into semantics, but what I'm saying is there are alternatives. There is no universal law that states that creators must be able to live of their creations. Maybe the mindset should be more "I like creating and maybe I can make some money out of it", instead of "I like creating so I must support myself with this".

            1. [2]
              bloup
              Link Parent
              You think piracy is wrong because it threatens the ability of an artist to be compensated for their creative efforts, but see no problem with predatory publishing contracts, because “there is no...

              You think piracy is wrong because it threatens the ability of an artist to be compensated for their creative efforts, but see no problem with predatory publishing contracts, because “there is no universal law that states that creators must be able to live of their creations”?

              More equitable publishing deals would do way more for artist compensation than if nobody pirated anything ever.

              1 vote
              1. Contentus
                Link Parent
                I didn't say anything about "predatory publishing contracts". I don't know enough about the industry to give you my assessment of what constitutes such a contract or if they even exist. Your...

                I didn't say anything about "predatory publishing contracts". I don't know enough about the industry to give you my assessment of what constitutes such a contract or if they even exist.

                Your second statement could be true, but we have no idea. In the meanwhile pirates are cutting seller's revenues. This is a fact.

        2. [2]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. Contentus
            Link Parent
            You did, a non-physical ethical one. If someone decided to sell a product for x and you get it for less, you are breaking an implicit contract. If the creator wanted you to have it for less than x...

            You did, a non-physical ethical one. If someone decided to sell a product for x and you get it for less, you are breaking an implicit contract. If the creator wanted you to have it for less than x then he would set a lower price.

            3 votes
      4. [4]
        stu2b50
        Link Parent
        I didn't say they have necessarily have the control over, I said they should have a right to control over, in the moral sense.

        I didn't say they have necessarily have the control over, I said they should have a right to control over, in the moral sense.

        1. [3]
          bloup
          Link Parent
          I was really trying to make the point that I don’t really see a good reason to feel any sympathy for the people who are financially hurt the most by piracy. It’d be different if it was the artists...

          I was really trying to make the point that I don’t really see a good reason to feel any sympathy for the people who are financially hurt the most by piracy. It’d be different if it was the artists who principally suffered, but it’s not. It’s the parasitic publishing companies that exploit artist creativity for profit.

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            stu2b50
            Link Parent
            First, really the large publishers are the least hurt on a percentage basis. Like I said earlier, piracy at the current percentage is like digital-economic friction. If you're a giant train, you...

            First, really the large publishers are the least hurt on a percentage basis. Like I said earlier, piracy at the current percentage is like digital-economic friction. If you're a giant train, you can bulldoze ahead. In other words, the larger companies can price in piracy.

            Smaller artists and companies, though, may get stopped flat. In particular, digital artists frequently have their watermarks photoshoped off and their IP abused.

            Secondly, just because companies are big, doesn't mean it doesn't matter. For instance, if everyone pirated Stranger Things, then Netflix wouldn't produce another season. And then it wouldn't exist, because you need hundreds of millions of cash on hand to pay the producers, all the actors, etc.

            Same for video games. Yes, Activision gets your money when you buy CoD. They already paid a horde of developers, artists, and producers. And they won't if they can't make money from it.

            In its current state, piracy is small amount fractionally that for the most part the world goes around, just like mechanical friction hurts the efficiency, but doesn't stop, vehicles from moving today. Doesn't mean it doesn't suck, though.

            2 votes
            1. bloup
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              I mean, it’s a small percentage because they have signed so many artists to terrible predatory contracts... and then they use that profit to lobby for changes to the law that make the world a...

              I mean, it’s a small percentage because they have signed so many artists to terrible predatory contracts... and then they use that profit to lobby for changes to the law that make the world a worse place to live... I’m not defending piracy as some kind of moral act. But I think it’s pretty crappy that people have a bigger problem with people illegally downloading songs than they do with, for example, record labels signing artists to contracts that grant them 90% of the revenues, who then turn around and lobby for copyright extensions and laws that make it even easier to sue people for doing something that you yourself described as nothing more than a drop in the bucket for them.

              1 vote
  9. knocklessmonster
    Link
    I'm stealing the template, it'll organize my thoughts. I do. I pirate old video games, typically something malware resistant like older consoles, or emulators. I don't pirate modern-era PC games...

    I'm stealing the template, it'll organize my thoughts.

    Do you pirate media? If so, why? if not, why not?

    I do. I pirate old video games, typically something malware resistant like older consoles, or emulators. I don't pirate modern-era PC games because with keygens it's too easy to take a wrong turn, and I have the means, somewhat, to support developers I enjoy the work of. If I don't like you enough to pay for your game, I don't like your game enough to play it, most likely.

    When, if ever, do you feel pirating something is ethical?

    When you don't harm a creator in doing it. If you do the demo thing, you're good, I think. If it's abandonware, you're good. If you pirate all of Adobe CS for personal use to build a business and buy a license once you get that far, you're set. If the artist is dead, then the next generation can make their own music. I think it is at worst an ethical gray area until you start to profit from piracy, with exception to the Adobe example: you're profiting from pirated tools, but your output is still your own.

    Do you have a "code" that you follow for when it's right/not right to pirate something?

    Can I get it easily? No? yoink

    Most of my pirated stuff is retro video games from the Atari 2600 to Nintendo DS. I have everything. I pirate 3DS games because I don't play many, and even then most of the game I pirated are ones I own a cart for, I just fetched a rom, rather than a ripped rom with godmode9, and I think I only pirated Skate 3 for fun. The only PC game I pirated was THUG2 to get THUG:PRO, which is an extension of the original game.

    In what ways is piracy damaging, and in what ways is it beneficial?

    It is somewhat damaging when a studio puts a game out, it is cracked, and they lose potential sales on day 1, whether it's a AAA studio or an indie. I am striclty against pirating indie games, as in many cases they simply can not afford to take the hit of a couple hundred lost sales.

    It helps people experience culture they would otherwise have not been exposed to, either music, textbooks, video games, whatever. It keeps people from being alienated from their society by economic means. I wouldn't blame somebody with $1000 for building a kickass PC, putting some Linux distro on it, and only pirating previous-gen consoles, to be honest, becuase if they spent as much on a console, they would be locked in to a thing until support for it died 6-8 years later.

    If you used to pirate certain things and then stopped, what stopped you?

    I used to pirate music software, when I first started making electronic music. It was FL Studio. I switched to music trackers, first Buzz, then OpenMPT, now Renoise, because I felt guilty about it. If I was going to do something pure and fun that was an expression of me, I didn't want it contaminated by moral/ethical gray area.

    If you used to pay for access to certain things and then went back to pirating them, why did you move back?

    It was my kryptonite: retro games. I tried going legit and buying Nintendo VC titles, but they stopped the system leading up to the Switch. I gave my Switch to my brother, and now I'm back to just emulating pirated ROMs.

    9 votes
  10. monado
    Link
    This better not be a honeypot... I torrent anime that I can't find easily. I'm too poor to buy blu-rays and I'd rather just find a high quality version on a torrent site rather than put up with...

    This better not be a honeypot...

    I torrent anime that I can't find easily. I'm too poor to buy blu-rays and I'd rather just find a high quality version on a torrent site rather than put up with crappy soft-piracy websites a la Kissanime.

    8 votes
  11. [2]
    tempestoftruth
    (edited )
    Link
    I don't pirate things all that frequently, but when I do, it's usually movies and television shows to watch with family. I don't really mind pirating big-budget TV shows or films produced by large...

    I don't pirate things all that frequently, but when I do, it's usually movies and television shows to watch with family. I don't really mind pirating big-budget TV shows or films produced by large corporations, for example, Game of Thrones. I wouldn't pirate content from smaller publishers, like indie music or an indie video game. It's often difficult to find indie content anyway.

    If a video game is no longer being sold commercially, I don't think it's immoral to emulate it. That being said, I used to emulate plenty of titles still in stores when I was younger. Perhaps there's some reflection to be made there?

    Whether or not pirating is immoral, for me, is about whether or not the creators of the content being pirated can live a decent life if I do download the content. Most of the revenue from big-budget shows is probably going to corporate executives, so even though the crew deserves my money too, I don't have too many qualms when it comes to pirating those - if those people aren't making a living wage, the first-and-foremost challenge to them getting paid well is corporate greed, not a few individuals pirating the content. Projects created by individuals or small groups who've put their heart and soul into their work are off-limits for me, e.g. Stardew Valley or Slay the Spire.

    6 votes
    1. Contentus
      Link Parent
      First the concept of a "decent life" is quite vague, but I don't want to focus on that. I don't think people are helping creators, small or big, when they pirate their stuff. Even if a large cut...

      First the concept of a "decent life" is quite vague, but I don't want to focus on that. I don't think people are helping creators, small or big, when they pirate their stuff. Even if a large cut is taken by whoever. The creators agreed to these terms and by not buying their product you are literally reducing the revenue they get from it.

      Yes you probably also hurt executives, but I honestly think people are too emotional about this class. If you don't like the practices of a company, don't buy from it. Also try to find other platforms to get the product you want. If you can't do both then don't pirate as you are hurting the creator.

      3 votes
  12. The-Toon
    Link
    I pirate nearly all my media. By virtue of being a student, I don't have much money so I pirate most things. For the streaming services I do have access to, I pirate shows to have a downloaded...

    I pirate nearly all my media. By virtue of being a student, I don't have much money so I pirate most things. For the streaming services I do have access to, I pirate shows to have a downloaded copy. I've recently backed a successful kickstarter campaign, so that is what I would consider my limit for pirating.

    Ethically, my limit would be what I wouldn't be able to access without paying absurd prices. However, if I didn't pirate things I wouldn't view them anyways so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

    6 votes
  13. kimyon
    Link
    It's complicated. As the streaming services become more prevelent and more accesible to those who live outside the US (such as myself), the amount of stuff that I pirate has decreased drastically....

    It's complicated.

    As the streaming services become more prevelent and more accesible to those who live outside the US (such as myself), the amount of stuff that I pirate has decreased drastically. I acknowledge your questions, but instead of answering them one by one, I'll spread my answers out.

    Piracy is a broad term, so let me break it down as to what my thinking of it is (at the risk of sounding irrational) when it comes to various mediums and/or industries.

    Before I pirate anything, I ask myself these questions (not always actively):

    • Is this thing available in my country?
    • Is it more convenient to buy it rather than to pirate it? (e.g. Am I gonna be able to read/listen/watch on device X but not Y because of some DRM?)
    • How is it priced? Is the price adjusted to my local currency, or is it sold in another currency.
    • Various other considerations depending on the medium. (I'll elaborate where necessary.)

    Software

    I do not pirate software. Granted, I do not use a lot of paid software, but the ones I do have to pay, I do so. This is mostly in the form of subscriptions.

    Music

    I do not pirate music ever since Spotify started operating in my country. Before Spotify, I seldom bought CDs and bothered ripping them into MP3s. Pirating them was cheaper, and more convenient.

    Movies

    I pirate movies often. Because of the way they're distributed (I assume due to some logistical difficulties, such as language), I often have to wait for months before they're released on VOD platforms that I have access to. This is especially bad for someone like me who almost exclusively watch arthouse movies because not only they become available later than most mainstreams movies, but they're often not even available at all. The only time I genuinely feel bad about pirating something is when I'm pirating an arthouse movie, but unfortunately there's nothing I can do. I'd love nothing but to sacrifice considerable amount of my income to be able to subscribe to something like the Criterion Channel, even if the price is in USD, but it's just not available. By some miracle, if a movie I previously pirated and even remotely liked makes it into the iTunes store, I do buy it to feel less guilty.

    TV Shows

    I have not bought a single TV show, ever, because there's literally no avenue for me to do so. I do not watch a lot of TV shows, but the ones I do watch, I pirate.

    Games

    I almost never play games but when I do, I buy them from Steam. Steam adjusts its pricing to my local currency and the games are priced fairly.

    Books

    I try not to pirate books as much as I can. However, it's become unfeasible for me to buy books anymore because of state my country's economy is in. (To give you an idea, a newly released book costs about the same as I'd otherwise pay for necessities that'd last me for about a week.) This used to bother me quite a bit, because I was addicted to buying and reading books, but quite frankly, with the way the world is going, I just don't feel like I have the same mental bandwidth to absorb anything a book has to offer me anymore. (I read non-fiction books almost exclusively. So reading books were never really an "escape" for me.) So I do not really pirate books, nor do I buy them. However, if I did want to keep up my old pace, I'd have no option but to pirate them.

    I'm talking specifically about foreign books, meaning books written in English. Non-fiction books written in my native language are trash, and the translations of foreign non-fiction books are awful because they're not translated by competent people (Don't mean to bash on these people, they're doing more than they're being paid to.). I either read books in English, or I just don't.

    Papers

    Ever since I graduated and lost access to journals, I use Sci-Hub exclusively to read papers that interest me. I have qualms about piracy to varying degrees, but when it comes to accessing scientific papers, I do not feel one iota of guilt.

    I guess that covers it!

    6 votes
  14. [2]
    mono
    Link
    I've probably pirated thousands of dollars worth of creative professional software over the years, starting with warez forums in my teen years. Being able try out and learn loads of different...

    I've probably pirated thousands of dollars worth of creative professional software over the years, starting with warez forums in my teen years. Being able try out and learn loads of different programs, like Photoshop, 3D modellers, and code IDEs, has been a huge educational and creative blessing for me, and I owe a huge part of my now very wide and valuable skill set to piracy. For that, I refuse to feel guilty about huge software companies losing out on a very small amount of revenue they never would've earned from me in the first place because I wouldn't have been able to afford it anyway. Now that I'm used to their software and can afford to buy/subscribe, they have a regular customer they might not have had otherwise.

    As far as entertainment goes, I used to pirate a lot but now significantly less, almost none at all. I no longer need to pirate music because I have a music streaming subscription. I have Netflix and Amazon Prime so I mostly stick to watching movies and shows from them. Occasionally, I'll pirate a show or season of show I really want to watch if it's not available.

    I don't play video games as much as I used to, but the only video games I've pirated in the past few years are Sims games and their expansion packs... I own some of them, but frankly, EA is an absolutely AWFUL company and I no longer wish to financially contribute to them under any circumstances.

    5 votes
    1. bailey
      Link Parent
      I think that a lot of companies have realised this - free use allows for people that would not buy the software anyway to become familiar with it, and then buy it when they either have the...

      Now that I'm used to their software and can afford to buy/subscribe, they have a regular customer they might not have had otherwise.

      I think that a lot of companies have realised this - free use allows for people that would not buy the software anyway to become familiar with it, and then buy it when they either have the financial means themselves or are working for a company that can afford it. A good example is the JetBrains IDEs - IntelliJ and PyCharm community editions undoubtedly have trained a large number of programmers with the JetBrains workflow, who will now prefer those IDEs when given the option at work.

      3 votes
  15. [3]
    joplin
    Link
    Rarely. In the last 10 years, I have probably pirated: A show I paid for, but couldn't connect to the legit server when I needed it, so just pirated it because I fucking paid for it Medical papers...

    Do you pirate media? If so, why? if not, why not?

    Rarely. In the last 10 years, I have probably pirated:

    • A show I paid for, but couldn't connect to the legit server when I needed it, so just pirated it because I fucking paid for it
    • Medical papers from sci-hub because the people who wrote them and did all the work received no compensation, so fuck Elsivier and the like
    • Old video game ROMs and disks (or even cassettes in some cases!) for emulation purposes

    Other than that, I don't really need to pirate because I can afford any type of media I want. (I'm not really into super-rare/hard-to-find special editions of things.)

    When, if ever, do you feel pirating something is ethical?

    When you paid for it, but couldn't actually access it due to stupid formatting, inaccessible or defunct servers, inane region locking, etc. Or when the people who created it were screwed out of the revenue by the company that distributes it.

    Do you have a "code" that you follow for when it's right/not right to pirate something?

    Generally, if I can easily afford and find it, I don't pirate it. (And if I can't afford or find it, I usually just go without.)

    In what ways is piracy damaging, and in what ways is it beneficial?

    It's mainly damaging when it's a smaller producer with limited ability to distribute their work. That shouldn't really make a difference, but due to the power imbalance that large corporations enjoy, I feel that it does. It's almost always beneficial to larger companies because it's basically free advertising. People use their product, get used to it, and eventually it just becomes more convenient to buy it than to continue pirating it.

    If you used to pirate certain things and then stopped, what stopped you?

    Stuff became readily available, and I started making enough money to afford it.

    If you used to pay for access to certain things and then went back to pirating them, why did you move back?

    I didn't, but I considered it back when DVDs were the main way to get video. I'm sure you've all seen the chart comparing the experience of trying to watch a DVD you paid for vs. trying to watch the movie you pirated. That hit home. It wasn't just the inconvenience of dealing with all the forced, non-skippable BS they put on DVDs, it was the lie that you were purchasing a movie, when in reality, you were purchasing a bunch of ads with a movie tacked on the end. And they'd continue to be there when you watched it again in 10 years and they were no longer relevant.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      Crespyl
      Link Parent
      I'm also in that group of having pirated stuff I purchased because the distributor either can't or won't actually deliver the content. For a while things seemed to be getting better in that...

      I'm also in that group of having pirated stuff I purchased because the distributor either can't or won't actually deliver the content. For a while things seemed to be getting better in that department, with more things moving to browser based streaming services that were reasonably reliable, but I'm annoyed at HBO for arbitrarily blocking Linux clients just in the last month or so, when it's been working fine for years.

      Likewise with Amazon Video, the browser client works, but they only stream in terrible quality to Linux clients, so I just pirate the things I want to see.

      3 votes
      1. joplin
        Link Parent
        I can't argue with that. It's not like Linux doesn't support video playback or something. It's probably some proprietary DRM that doesn't actually work and they don't want to port it to Linux,...

        I can't argue with that. It's not like Linux doesn't support video playback or something. It's probably some proprietary DRM that doesn't actually work and they don't want to port it to Linux, which makes it all the more frustrating. Pirate on!

        1 vote
  16. crdpa
    (edited )
    Link
    I only buy if it meets these: Games: Your game is on sale It has no DRM of any kind (mostly gog.com) Has full Linux support For music: Cheap It's on bandcamp and I can download in flac format...

    I only buy if it meets these:

    Games:

    • Your game is on sale
    • It has no DRM of any kind (mostly gog.com)
    • Has full Linux support

    For music:

    • Cheap
    • It's on bandcamp and I can download in flac format

    Movies:

    • Only pay to watch on the big screen

    TV shows:

    • I'll never pay streaming services. Too much trash, too much DRM, too little linux support.

    Ebooks:

    • If it's cheap (in Brazil it's almost always the same price as printed), I buy. If not, f*ck Amazon.
    5 votes
  17. gpl
    Link
    My thoughts on piracy have definitely been evolving lately. When I was younger, I would occasionally pirate movies and TV shows - typically foreign ones I didn't have easy access to, but a good...

    My thoughts on piracy have definitely been evolving lately. When I was younger, I would occasionally pirate movies and TV shows - typically foreign ones I didn't have easy access to, but a good amount of ones I just didn't want to pay for. Something about it always rubbed me the wrong way, but I could never pinpoint exactly what, and I was content with the usual justification of "it's only sharing".

    I think I am more opposed now, and I am more able to articulate why after reading Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier, which addresses piracy as a part of its overarching thesis. (Incidentally, Lanier was the subject of a recent Tildes thread). I think I agree more or less with Lanier's position, but I will put it in my own words.

    The content created by creators and distributed via publishers, streaming services, labels, etc is data that they have produced. I fundamentally believe people should have control of the data that is produced as a result of their actions, whether those actions are sitting down and playing an instrument, coding a game, or interacting with a network. So in my mind, what Facebook has a right to do with my data and what I have a right to do with others' are two sides of the same coin. I believe people should be able to decide what happens to their data, whether that is giving it away for free , making it open source (for software and hardware), or asking for payment (for creative content).

    In a broader sense, I have become more skeptical of the notion that "information wants to be free" is true, or that "free" (in the sense of available to be copied) is a good end goal for information. I will quote directly Lanier on this point because I think he articulates things pretty well. Just for context, Lanier's thesis is that people should be compensated for the value they add to networks in the form of data produced that is then used, e.g., for training machine learning algorithms at large tech companies. People would be free to opt out of this, but then they would not be compensated. It's like a 350 page book, so if this one sentence summary seems flawed I would encourage you to read the full thing and judge for yourself.

    It's an article of faith in cyber-democracy circles that making information more "free", in the sense of making it copyable, will also lead to the most democratic, open world. I suspect this is not so. I have already pointed out some of the problems. A world that is open on the surface becomes closed on a deeper level. You don't get to know what correlations have been calculated about you by Google, Facebook, an insurance company, or a financial entity, and that's the kind of data that influences your life the most in a networked world.

    A world in which more and more is monetized, instead of less and less, could lead to a middle-class-oriented information economy, in which information isn't free, but is affordable. Instead of making information inaccessible, that would lead to a situation in which the most critical information becomes accessible for the first time. You'd own the raw information about you that can sway your life. There is no such thing as a perfect system, but the hypothesis on offer is that this could lead to a more democratic outcome than does the cheap illusion of "free" information

    The big caveat here is that there is currently a huge asymmetry in who profits from data in our increasingly networked world, and while that asymmetry exists I think it would be unfair to expect average people to not pay while large corporations (and governments) are profiting off of data produced by average people without being compensated. So while I would eventually like society to get to a point where piracy is not needed, some reciprocity on this point is certainly needed in the first place. In any case, this view, coupled with a personal version of the categorical imperative means that I try not to pirate, although imperfectly. I still pirate textbooks for example, and like @Fal I regularly use service like sci-hub when my institution doesn't have access to a useful paper.

    5 votes
  18. vegai
    Link
    In the past, piracy was a hugely more easy method of getting media and games. Price was also an issue, since I was quite poor as a student. It's quite probable that my piracy didn't cause anyone...

    In the past, piracy was a hugely more easy method of getting media and games. Price was also an issue, since I was quite poor as a student. It's quite probable that my piracy didn't cause anyone to lose any income, because I wouldn't have had any extra money to give out anyway.

    Things have changed quite a bit since. Streaming services for both music and video has become easier than piracy, and the price isn't an issue either. So I don't think I've hit the torrents for a long time, other than to find something that just wasn't available in other methods, or because there was some piece of media I wanted to check out but for some reason or other didn't want the artists to get any compensation.

    I think it's important to keep this door open so that companies keep behaving well and to preserve things that no longer generate income for these companies and is in that way below their radar.

    I think it's very important that artists get paid for doing what they do, which makes piracy problematic. Then again, I'm quite elitist when it comes to art, and in a world with no piracy at all I'm absolutely certain that wealth would not flow to the people who most deserve it.

    4 votes
  19. Flashynuff
    (edited )
    Link
    I used to pirate a decent amount of music off of what back in college when I had no money. I have money now and generally try to support the artist and buy straight from Bandcamp or something. I...

    I used to pirate a decent amount of music off of what back in college when I had no money. I have money now and generally try to support the artist and buy straight from Bandcamp or something.

    I think pirating is usually not great, especially when you're pirating from smaller creators, but I understand why people do it. The bigger issue is honestly that copyright should not exist. Most media companies abuse copyright (like Disney changing laws to protect their claim to Mickey) in order to maximize profit. Information and art should be free and creators should not have to rely on selling their art in order to survive.

    3 votes
  20. babypuncher
    Link
    Only if something is difficult/unreasonably expensive to find legitimately. (i.e. discs out of print, not available digitally). This is pretty rare though, as just about any movie can be rented on...

    Only if something is difficult/unreasonably expensive to find legitimately. (i.e. discs out of print, not available digitally). This is pretty rare though, as just about any movie can be rented on iTunes these days. I was even able to get HD versions of Arrested Development by importing the German blu-ray release for $20.

    I have an enormous Blu-Ray and DVD collection (all ripped and sitting on my home server), as well as Netflix, HBO, and Hulu subscriptions. I'm not exactly starved for content.

    3 votes
  21. Tardigrade
    Link
    I pirate books. I used to get all my books from charity shops but wanted it to be more convenient so have an ereader and now pirate the books and give a donation to charity

    I pirate books. I used to get all my books from charity shops but wanted it to be more convenient so have an ereader and now pirate the books and give a donation to charity

    3 votes
  22. thistle
    (edited )
    Link
    I have in the past. I am now trying not to as much as is possible. When the conditions under which something is provided are obviously extortionate and unreasonable (up to you what that means) or...

    Do you pirate media? If so, why? if not, why not?

    I have in the past. I am now trying not to as much as is possible.

    When, if ever, do you feel pirating something is ethical?

    When the conditions under which something is provided are obviously extortionate and unreasonable (up to you what that means) or when the thing you're pirating is literally unobtainable for you due to your location, for example.

    Do you have a "code" that you follow for when it's right/not right to pirate something?

    I used to pirate music based on the code that if it were older than 10 years old, I would pirate it, and if it were more recent, I would buy it from a more ethical retailer like Bandcamp. I stopped following this because I realised that my pirating was having other consequences: I was using Tor as a VPN, which was using up valuable bandwidth that people might need more than me. I don't want to pay for a real VPN, since money is the main reason for pirating in the first place. So, I no longer pirate.

    In what ways is piracy damaging, and in what ways is it beneficial?

    Beneficial in that allows people who genuinely can't get something to get it. In all other ways... it's damaging.

    3 votes
  23. tomf
    Link
    tldr; piracy is good for these industries since we often talk to non-pirates about some of these amazing shows, which leads to them streaming or purchasing said-content since they don't have any...

    tldr; piracy is good for these industries since we often talk to non-pirates about some of these amazing shows, which leads to them streaming or purchasing said-content since they don't have any other way to access it. This may be flawed, but its my experience. :)


    I genuinely believe that a lot of movies, TV series, music, books, etc benefit from unauthorized distro.

    I pay for Netflix and some other services, but never use them. I prefer the automation that comes with piracy. The quality is either the same or better with downloads, and I don't have to worry about a series being taken down from whatever service when I'm halfway through it... or missing seasons, in some cases.

    I buy a lot of music, but still download it to make sure I have the best quality. A few months ago I joined Spotify, though, which has reduced some of the scooping. With some genres I'm into, the albums just aren't available through traditional outlets.

    All in all, I have no issues with pirating so long as the user is protecting themselves and is completely aware of what they're doing. I have the same view re: eating meat.

    Another reason I pirate stuff is that I don't have an optical drive and streaming services never have the commentary tracks, which are very important to me. With my efforts to be zero-waste, I don't want a bunch of physical media / plastic kicking around -- especially when I'll only watch certain films once or twice every other year.

    3 votes
  24. hamstergeddon
    Link
    I used to be all in on piracy. Games, music, movies, tv shows, all of it. If I wanted it, I pirated it. But then Steam made games more accessible and dirt-cheap, Spotify made music more...

    I used to be all in on piracy. Games, music, movies, tv shows, all of it. If I wanted it, I pirated it. But then Steam made games more accessible and dirt-cheap, Spotify made music more affordable, and Netflix/Hulu made movies and TV shows more accessible and affordable. At this point it's more convenient for me to use those services than to pirate things.

    That being said, I do still pirate ebooks often because the pricing on them is insane. There's absolutely no reason an ebook should cost close to what a physical copy costs. I'll pirate movies if I can't find them on a service or rentable for a few bucks. I'll pirate games if I just want to try the game out without committing to it or if the game has an insane amount of DLC I'll never being able to justify purchasing.

    3 votes
  25. [3]
    Grendel
    Link
    I used to pirate everything. Movies, Music, and video games. Now I try really hard to pay for things, with one exception: Books. I don't know why but I have a hard time paying for books. I almost...

    I used to pirate everything. Movies, Music, and video games. Now I try really hard to pay for things, with one exception:

    Books. I don't know why but I have a hard time paying for books. I almost always pirate them, and I'm much more likely to do so if the original author is dead.

    3 votes
    1. mftrhu
      Link Parent
      I know why I do: most of the e-books you can find cost barely any less than their hard copy version - sometimes not even 10% less - and they come bundled in DRM that I'd already have to break to...

      Books. I don't know why but I have a hard time paying for books.

      I know why I do: most of the e-books you can find cost barely any less than their hard copy version - sometimes not even 10% less - and they come bundled in DRM that I'd already have to break to be able to read them on the devices I use. Also, in minor part, because I can't check them out otherwise: as far as I know, Italian libraries don't carry a lot of English books (not that I actually had access to a library for most of my life).

      4 votes
    2. guts
      Link Parent
      It's so easy to pirate books, there are some books that i have no problem paying and reading from Amazon Kindle. What it is impossible to pirate are market reports, those are really expensive.

      It's so easy to pirate books, there are some books that i have no problem paying and reading from Amazon Kindle. What it is impossible to pirate are market reports, those are really expensive.

      1 vote
  26. Icarus
    Link
    I pirate movies and TV shows if they are not readily/easily available on my main content platforms (Amazon, Google Video Store, Netflix, Hulu, an on-demand channel like Smithsonian, etc.) These...

    I pirate movies and TV shows if they are not readily/easily available on my main content platforms (Amazon, Google Video Store, Netflix, Hulu, an on-demand channel like Smithsonian, etc.)

    These are few and far between but some recent examples for me include:

    Shogun miniseries
    Ed, Edd, n Eddy
    Hallmark movies/shows (my significant other likes these)

    I have Plex, but have not purchased a large HDD to store media, and definitely not 4K torrents. If anything, I will go above and beyond to find a blu-ray if a quality release is out there since I know that will be the highest quality media format available. I notice a big dip in quality with pirated media that I just don't want anymore.

    2 votes
  27. ohyran
    Link
    I usually pirated shows that I couldn't get. Either for technical reasons, or because they aren't released here at all. I have a few streaming services so usually there is no need - but some (like...

    I usually pirated shows that I couldn't get. Either for technical reasons, or because they aren't released here at all. I have a few streaming services so usually there is no need - but some (like HBO) have pushed up the DRM-stuff meaning that alternative OS's can't play it.
    Oh and because I was broke was another reason before. Which isn't the case any more so I very seldom pirate stuff. I guess my piracy is incredibly low burn, a show here or there and seldomly.
    Oh and when the thing I am getting isn't something I would pay for but would actually steal. I found some torrents with the Turner diaries and some other nazi-stuff that I was interested in. Not gonna pay for that shit anyway.

    I have no issues with the concept of piracy, no matter what its defined as (theft or something else), as long as the victims are large companies I have no great problems with it. At the same time I do think that if you CAN pay or an alternative exists, you pay or use the alternative. Like you could either buy a book because you can afford it, or you could borrow it at the library - then stealing it would be out of the questions (not equating piracy with stealing, just using it to explain the thinking).


    As for the large companies part - we're all trapped here. From Jeff Bezos the CEO, to Maria Kovac the cleaning lady. Every move you make is supervised and analyzed. Every need and urge, commodified and monetized.
    I can't move for all the self-help books and viagra ads, or exist without being part in an international chain of sale where the first link is locked to the slave collar of some kid in a mine digging for materials hidden inside my phone.
    My sneakers, my speakers, the shampoo I use - all are covered in the same sticky tar. My lower spine still hurts when its cold from when I worked in a warehouse lugging rock slates and floor tiles. People somewhere can't take a step without resting their foot on a my kinked back 15 years ago.
    I can punch a person and for some reason thats less problematic than breaking a window. The farmer who grows the wheat I eat, can beat his wife, but if he tries to repair his own tractor using off brand parts he is more likely to go to jail. Some child in the US gets arrested for downloading porn and gets a bill so high he's ruined for life. All for a wank.
    Right now Jeff Bezos is squatting like a dog over his toilet somewhere in a mansion thinking out new ways to blow his wealth, something to purchase, to spend on to exist with. Last time he had to buy a space program to get his fix. Maria Kovacs treats herself to a new nail polish during a weekend afternoon spent in a shopping mall looking at stuff to buy, dreaming about stuff to buy. We're all trapped here.

    So, if someone steals a thing, that no one would knew they stole unless they really really really investigate them, where the value of the thing is so hard to quantify that even those that think its a crime have a hard time defining it, where no one is hurt. If for a slight second, just teeny tiny one, we don't exist fully in that reality sized prison of commodification and supervision. Not leaving it but peering, standing on tiptoe next to the cell window, out between the bars. Then I'm ok with it.

    2 votes
  28. mrnd
    Link
    I consider pirating as okay if the product is not reasonably available for sale. Reasonably requires that the product is DRM free: if the product is sold DRM-free, for me it is very hard to...

    Do you have a "code" that you follow for when it's right/not right to pirate something?

    I consider pirating as okay if the product is not reasonably available for sale. Reasonably requires that the product is DRM free: if the product is sold DRM-free, for me it is very hard to justify pirating it.

    When, if ever, do you feel pirating something is ethical?

    Generally speaking, people have the right to our collective culture, so if someone can't buy something (because of money, DRM restrictions etc), they can pirate it.

    Do you pirate media? If so, why? if not, why not?

    I pirate some things. I subscribe to two different streaming services and Spotify, so if something is available there I prefer it because of the convenience. I very rarely pirate games, because most of the games I'm interested in are available DRM-free, and the rest are on Steam which is okay-ish.

    In what ways is piracy damaging, and in what ways is it beneficial?

    In the current economy piracy can sometimes be harmful. Sometimes the word-of-mouth effect makes piracy beneficial. It depends.

    In a more just society, people's livelyhood is not dependent on sales, so piracy would not be an issue, or even be a concept.

    2 votes
  29. aymm
    Link
    I pirate *some* things, depending on how easy it is to throw money at the problemand how convenient the result is. Games I very rarely pirate games, and pretty much all of that is a try-before-by....

    Do you pirate media? If so, why? if not, why not?

    I pirate *some* things, depending on how easy it is to throw money at the problemand how convenient the result is.

    Games

    I very rarely pirate games, and pretty much all of that is a try-before-by. I don't think I ever pirated a game, finished it and didn't buy it. I either buy it after playing the pirated version for a bit, or buy it afterwards. I actually pirated Borderlands 3 at first, because I didn't like the Epic Game Store exclusivity, but have since bought it on Steam.
    Basic rule of thumb: If I can't be sure enough that I'll like and it doesn't have a demo it I will just go ahead and try it through other means. I know I could just refund them on Steam, but I sometimes need more than 2h of playtime to figure out if I like it enough to buy it.

    Software

    I try to avoid it. I used to pirate the Adobe Suite for a while, but I only used Illustrator and only rarely. So I switched and bought Affinity Designer. I have a pirated version of PowerDVD, because I bought an old version for playing Blue-Ray disks a while back. It started nagging me to upgrade (despite being fairly expensive and me not needing any of the new features), so I installed a pirated version of the new one. Problem solved. Other than that, most software I use is free, has a free version with limited features, and I bought a license for the others.
    Rule of thumb: I'll pirate if I can't find a good-enough free alternative and the price/value ratio is not good enough

    Music

    This has become an absolut non-issue, due to streaming services.

    TV Shows

    It depends. There are some things I can't really get access to (e.g. HBO's Last Week Tonight; I don't live in the US) or are only available super inconveniently (e.g. Game Of Thrones only streamed on a single service while the seasons were running and their app was so incredibly bad, to the point of being unusable) I will pirate it. If it's on one of the services I pay for (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+) I will watch it there, if not, I'll pirate it. Sometimes I'll also pirate the Disney stuff, because more often than not I can only watch their content in 720p, despite every other service else working flawlessly in FHD.

    Basic rule of thumb: If it's on one of the streaming services I have I'll watch it there. Otherwise pirate it is

    Movies

    Ideally, I'll watch a movie in cinemas. However, sometimes this isn't a feasible option for me. Some movies popsup on my radar too late. I also don't live in an English native country, but I want to watch movies in English (at least, American and British movies). So if my theater doesn't show a movie in English or the show times are bad enough that I won't make it (some are on for 3-4 evenings at 8:30pm or 9pm during the week in total, which is not something I'm willing to do).

    I'd prefer to buy movies, but I don't think the industry wants me to.
    Buying digitally is shit, because not only is it tied to some server which ahs to stay online, but also because it restricts where I can watch it. My parents' don't have a smart TV, but instead rely on the connected features of their BD player. This is limited to Amazon and Netflix. It can't play Disney+, it can't play anything bought on the iTunes store. Buying digitally on Amazon doesn't include the usual disk extras. Also a hard pass.
    Buying phsically is shit, because I personally don't have a TV, but a computer + an external BD drive. This is reliant on astrocious, overpriced playback software. I also can't use some of the features on some disks, because the physical player doesn't allow it. My parents' old player just refused to play some newer discs one day for whatever reason and didn't get a firmware upgrade to solve it. Not being able to watch your physically purchased medium on your physically purchased hardware, due to some unknown bullshit put me off buying the disks. Especially, because it only affected some disks and before trying to play one there was no indication whether it'd work or not. Playing back physical disks has become cumbersome and annoying (and not because I have to put in a disk, but because the experience itself is so bad).
    I'd like to switch to UHD Bluerays at some point, however I don't think my general BD issues are fixed with these. I'd need a new player (which I can't easily connect, because my monitor only has a single port, a DisplayPort) or a new UHD BD Drive (which is again dependent on software and my current CPU can't play UHD BD disks anyways, so I'd need a new one there too). Too expensive, and still inconvenient.

    So I end up pirating most of the movies I watch, with the exception of those on streaming services or the ones I saw in the theater. (And if I'm honest here, I'm likely to still pirate them, because they have a tendency to disappear from streaming services after a while, and you can't easily re-watch theater experiences, so I consider that a personal backup). Every now and then a movie comes along I care so much about, or I really want to see the extras that I go ahead and buy the disk. But that's about it. Bonus point is, I can pirate the 4K versions of movies I can't watch in 4K despite paying for it, because of DRM (looking at you iTunes, Netflix and Disney+). I do have to give kudos to iTunes and Disney+ for including extras and theoretically offering 4K without additional costs (although, again, can't use it because of DRM)

    Rule of thumb: I'll pirate it, either as a personal backup, or because the alternatives are all crappy experiences.

    E-Books

    If I can find it DRM free I'll buy it, otherwise I'll pirate. I do make a lot of exceptions if I really like the author, or they are still small and not yet established. Even then I'll either remove the DRM myself if I can or buy + pirate a DRM free copy.

    Audiobooks

    Used to have an Audible subscription which covered my audiobook needs (especially, because you can buy additional credits). A couple days ago I switched to libro.fm to get away from Amazon, support local book stores, and get DRM free versions (I did remove the DRM rom all of my Audible audiobooks too, but I can now skip that step).
    Some publishers have exclusive deals with Amazon (even libraries can't provide them to people using libby or something similar, which is bullshit) and I'm not yet sure how I will handle these. I could just re-sub to Audible for a month to get these with their credits, but that would only reinforce that behaviour. I might go ahead and pirate these then.

    When, if ever, do you feel pirating something is ethical?

    I don't find it unethical, if:

    • the pirated from industry is trying its best to combat piracy by hurting legitimate users and unwilling to solve the problems causing the piracy (see: movies and tv)
    • as a backup copy for content I purchased for (e.g. ripped movies for the disks I bought)
    • it mainly hurts the big players (I'm willing to put up with more annoyances for independent creators)
    • the pirated from party has repeatedly gone against my values and is being (in my eyes) a prick (e.g. Ubisoft, JK Rowling) and I don't want to support them with my money

    Do you have a "code" that you follow for when it's right/not right to pirate something?

    Depends on the medium, see my "rule of thumb" in most sections above

    In what ways is piracy damaging, and in what ways is it beneficial?

    Beneficial: There are quite a few things I started out pirating them and ended up as big fans, throwing a bunch of money at sequels/merch/etc. If I hadn't had the chance to dip my toe in I would've kept that money. Also, I have bought plenty of video games, because I liked the pirated version enough.

    Damaging: More piracy usually leads to more and stricter DRM, while trying to combat it. Also, IMHO it hurts small and independent creators proportionally more :(

    If you used to pirate certain things and then stopped, what stopped you?

    Convenience. I stopped pirating anything where I can throw a reasonable amount of money at the problem and get to consume the content the I want to (or can easily transform it to fit my needs). And on some level: This also depends on the DRM used. Audible's DRM is so incredibly easily removed, that I can process my audiobooks to fit my needs. (Which is, chopping them up in 90ish minute long sections and adding them to my podcast player, so I have podcasts and audiobooks in one queue, because I prefer it that way)

    If you used to pay for access to certain things and then went back to pirating them, why did you move back?

    I never completely stopped, but I'm not pirating more TV shows and movies than I used to. The ecosystem has become too spread out with too many services, titles getting removed from catalogues, and the annoyances of Blue-Ray disks have added up over time

    2 votes
  30. Contentus
    (edited )
    Link
    I don't pirate much. I have Spotify for music, which I'm not a huge fan since they track you all the way to hell but I also don't want to bother with looking up and actually buying the few music...

    I don't pirate much. I have Spotify for music, which I'm not a huge fan since they track you all the way to hell but I also don't want to bother with looking up and actually buying the few music tracks I like. I buy all my videogames either used or online but always way below the price of new. I used to buy books but I'm finally starting to admit to myself that I don't like reading and buying books is a waste of money. I get a free copy, read a few chapters (which many platforms actually give you for free) and usually drop it. I did this with Edward Snowden's book and ended up reading the whole thing so in the end I bought the physical version. In the future I will buy digital because selling used books just isn't worth my time, as their prices are too low.

    I watch very little shows or movies and I did try to do something similar to what I do with books: watch a free copy and then buy it physically. It turns out that most of the times I won't ever touch it a second time and they are also not worth much used, so again it's not worth it for me to get a physical copy. I would just buy it, watch it and then want to sell it, which is a lot of work for something of low monetary value. I would like to buy digital I don't know any platform that sells them DRM-free. The same for books. If anyone knows a platform like this please do tell me.

    I don't pirate any software because free stuff usually does the work. I do pirate research papers for Uni because it is easier then looking for them through the various (sigh) Uni systems and faster than asking the author to send me a free copy (which I hear they usually do). I honestly don't understand the current distribution system of academic papers. Why don't Unis just have a repository for the material students and teachers produce and share it for free? If the author wants to charge for it I guess it wouldn't be too hard to set up some digital store.

    Generally I think piracy is theft but I'm still working on figuring out the best ways not to do it. I think theft is only morally justified if the person is in great danger by not getting what they are stealing. For example, stealing food if you don't have money for it. I don't see how digital media is a basic necessity so I don't think it is morally justified.

    2 votes
  31. Muffin
    Link
    Living in northern Europe, I resort to piracy when a show or a movie isn't available anywhere to digitally rent or otherwise stream. I find myself having to pirate stuff a lot more then a few...

    Living in northern Europe, I resort to piracy when a show or a movie isn't available anywhere to digitally rent or otherwise stream. I find myself having to pirate stuff a lot more then a few years ago, because of the streaming service wars. I think I'll just set up my own Plex server eventually, and rip my physical movies and fill the gaps by borrowing from friends or from the depths of the P2P network.

    I buy most of the music I listen to and the rest I stream on Apple Music.

    2 votes
  32. guts
    Link
    I somewhat agree what Gabe Newell said about piracy, "The easiest way to stop piracy is not by putting antipiracy technology to work. It's by giving those people a service that's better than what...

    I somewhat agree what Gabe Newell said about piracy, "The easiest way to stop piracy is not by putting antipiracy technology to work. It's by giving those people a service that's better than what they're receiving from the pirates."

    I used to pirate games since the PSX with modchips and ripping rented cds to pirate almost everything on the WII and the 360, mostly because money and because i could. I remember it takes time to be up to date with the latest hack and mods and it usually takes time and effort. With Steam, Game Pass and the upcoming game streaming services i rather pay than saving little few bucks and deal with all the hassle of learning how to hack a system.

    I still pirate some movies just because are not available on the streaming services i am subscribed, and to be honest with the Nvidia Shield, Kodi and all the batteries included as Seren it is so easy to see any content you want.

    2 votes
  33. NaraVara
    Link
    Basically never. Not for any principled reason or anything, but most of the media I would have pirated is now just convenient enough to pay for that I'm not interested in going through the effort...

    Basically never. Not for any principled reason or anything, but most of the media I would have pirated is now just convenient enough to pay for that I'm not interested in going through the effort of finding out what the trustworthy torrent trackers are or where I would even go to find the media I want to see. The sheer size of my backlog in TV, movies, games, books, and comics that I have access to from subscription services is already vast and grows faster than I can keep up with.

    Most of the advantages of pirating I care about are things that appeal to the archivist in me, like my desire to just be able to watch specific things without worrying about where it's streaming or where to find it. I'd love to put a big film library on a Plex server, but at a point it almost seems easier to just buy a legitimate version off iTunes or something and just convert it to an un-DRM format that I can archive without issue.

    2 votes
  34. Hidegger
    Link
    I pay for a lived experience, like going to a movie theater or seeing live music. I use piracy to explore that content as well as the content I would normally have no access to. Foreign and Indie...

    I pay for a lived experience, like going to a movie theater or seeing live music. I use piracy to explore that content as well as the content I would normally have no access to. Foreign and Indie content isn't advertised on any legit platforms in any meaningful capacity and that consumes the majority of what I get into. I watch more movies at the theater because piracy keeps me up to date and excited to watch something like that. I like niche genres of music that rarely tour my area, piracy lets me explore the music at my leisure and things that actually pique my interest I find a way to see live, buy a shirt, poster or raffle ticket from.
    I pirate TV and anime content without much compensation to those markets, the streaming platforms are all over the place and very limiting, not to mention streaming is kind of a shitty option for me with a slower internet connection. Honestly I did fine without watching this content and spending my time with other activities, so no one was really going to sell me anything anyway.
    Pay for porn.... LOL

    Overall if I wasn't pirating I'd spend less time with media and more time being productive with my other hobbies which consume all of my "extra" money. Whatever you consider "extra" when you have 130k+ worth of debts to be paid.

    2 votes
  35. [2]
    reifyresonance
    Link
    I pirate a ton of books. Like, probably averaging more than 1 a day. While some of them are fiction and I read them for relaxation/entertainment, most of the books I read are for their educational...

    I pirate a ton of books. Like, probably averaging more than 1 a day. While some of them are fiction and I read them for relaxation/entertainment, most of the books I read are for their educational value. For example, right now I'm reading The Body Keeps The Score, and learning about trauma so I can begin to work on mine.
    How do I justify this? There are a few angles of attack:

    1. I have very little spare money right now. I wouldn't be buying these books if I had to spend $10 or whatever per. It's better for the world to have people who have read a lot, knowledge shouldn't be kept behind bars.
    2. Information wants to be free. Related to the above point, I strongly believe that books are vehicles of condensed knowledge, and it should be criminal to prevent people from bettering themselves without paying.
    3. It's a way to exist more outside the capitalist system. Every book I don't buy is a "screw you" to the idea that you should have to pay for books.
    4. I collect books for when they jump out at me - I want to have a shelf I can look at, and for any mood go "oh, this one is perfect." So some spiritual stuff, some sci-fi, some about art, etc. I don't read most of the books I download. I also don't read most of the ones I buy! I'll go to friends of the library sales and pick up a few bags of books and never read 90% of them. Now, I get books I want instead of just what's there, and I get them for free.
    5. I don't want to give just anyone my money! Like, I downloaded a book on "the science of the soul" that I'm sure is absolute garbage but I'm interested in hearing what they have to say. I don't want them to have my money though!
    6. A digital copy is vastly inferior to a physical one, to me, so I get physical copies of books I really dig so I can write in them and lend them out. The digital is more of a test fit, and if it hits, I'll put it on my bookshelf.
    7. I get the same feeling downloading books as buying things ("retail therapy", ew) except I don't spend money on something I don't actually need.

    I could also rattle on about DRM (I have bought some drm-free ebooks) or ease of use, or come up with edge cases like where I've already got the physical book and I want ctrl-f, but at the end of the day it comes down to the fact that I have limited resources, and this is a free way to better myself, so I'm going to take it.

    2 votes
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      This is very much beside the main point of your post, but The Body Keeps the Score is such an excellent book. I honestly need to re-read it, because there's so much information in it that I don't...

      This is very much beside the main point of your post, but The Body Keeps the Score is such an excellent book. I honestly need to re-read it, because there's so much information in it that I don't think a single read is enough to do it justice. I hope it helps you.

      1 vote
  36. [4]
    suspended
    Link
    The first problem with this line of questioning is the multitude of definitions/scenarios for 'pirating'.

    The first problem with this line of questioning is the multitude of definitions/scenarios for 'pirating'.

    1 vote
    1. [3]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      For the purposes of the conversation, we'll ignore ships and go with the still pretty broad umbrella of copyright infringement/illegal media access.

      For the purposes of the conversation, we'll ignore ships and go with the still pretty broad umbrella of copyright infringement/illegal media access.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        suspended
        Link Parent
        Things get blurry between ethics and legalese, mind you.

        Things get blurry between ethics and legalese, mind you.

        1 vote
        1. kfwyre
          Link Parent
          Agreed. That's actually why I think this is a particularly interesting topic, as I think many people's ethics diverge pretty far from law when it comes to piracy.

          Agreed. That's actually why I think this is a particularly interesting topic, as I think many people's ethics diverge pretty far from law when it comes to piracy.

          3 votes
  37. eagle
    Link
    I should preface this with the fact that I'm doing well enough where I don't necessarily need to pirate anything and could buy most of the media I consume if I wanted. Often, but I also have a...

    I should preface this with the fact that I'm doing well enough where I don't necessarily need to pirate anything and could buy most of the media I consume if I wanted.

    Do you pirate media? If so, why? if not, why not?

    Often, but I also have a Netflix subscription and occasionally buy games.

    My rule for this is simple, if it's a movie or a TV show, I'll check Netflix and if it's not available I'll pirate it.
    Firstly because it seems hard to find out where a particular show is available and I don't want to a) spend time searching for it and b) subscribing to another streaming service. It's just not sustainable to pay for ever-increasing number services, especially when I can have the show streaming in 30 seconds on Popcorn Time.

    Fragmentation is a real problem here. Additionally, I don't live in the US and while paying almost the same price, we only get ~10% (!) of library that's available to people from the US. It's not exactly a great deal.

    Secondly, I pirate a ton of video games. Over the past decade developers (especially AAA) have started releasing games that are IMO decreasing in quality from both technical (bugs, crashes, performance issues) and gameplay (repetitive, unoriginal, microtransactions) perspective, started including draconian DRM such as Denuvo which demonstrably reduces performance for legitimate buyers, all while increasing prices.

    When, if ever, do you feel pirating something is ethical?

    Whenever it's a choice between not buying something at all or piracy.

    There is no way to know if I'll enjoy a game or if it's going to run well. I treat piracy as a demo in this case. If the game is good, I'll buy it after playing it for a few hours. I'd say I buy about 1 in 10 games I try.

    I lost all trust in the developers as far as releasing good game goes and I've been burned more than a few times, so I don't find this "trial period" morally wrong at all (anyone remember Watch Dogs?). If gaming industry wants to gain my trust again, they'll first have to stop with their practices.

    Do you have a "code" that you follow for when it's right/not right to pirate something?

    I won't think twice about pirating AAA games or movies/tv series. I'll most often buy an indie game if I enjoy it - I don't play games that much but I bought 3 games from smaller studios this year.

    In what ways is piracy damaging, and in what ways is it beneficial?

    I believe it's only damaging if the "pirate" was going to buy the product in the first place, but even then, it could be a way of voicing disagreement with the business practices - which I don't personally find to be all that wrong.

    I definitely wouldn't have paid for another streaming service to watch movies and TV shows. It's a matter of principle for me - paying for streaming was supposed to make things easier, not harder than piracy.
    Additionally, I probably wouldn't have bought games that I did if it wasn't for piracy. I would say the piracy was beneficial in the latter case.

    1 vote
  38. heavyset_go
    Link
    I'm a software engineer whose products can be easily pirated. This is a problem that I'm directly impacted by. However, I came from a very modest background financially, and if it weren't for...

    I'm a software engineer whose products can be easily pirated. This is a problem that I'm directly impacted by.

    However, I came from a very modest background financially, and if it weren't for piracy, I would not have the breadth and depth of knowledge, skills and interests that I have today.

    For that reason, I can not, in good conscience, support anti-piracy measures against individuals. Deep down I know that information should be free, and would be free, if it were not for artificial protections on intellectual property.

    Protections on intellectual property would make sense if the market were made up of only corporate entities that weren't human and only need to maximize their profits. Limitations on the freedom of information hurts people and society, though.

    I think private and for-profit organizations should respect IP and pay for it, but I'm not going to pretend that the millions of individuals who pirate are doing anything wrong.

    1 vote
  39. UntouchedWagons
    Link
    I pirate mainly TV shows because no one can say "You're not allowed to watch that", or "You can't watch that on this platform". Also, little to no commercials. I have downloaded a few, old movies....

    Do you pirate media? If so, why? if not, why not?

    I pirate mainly TV shows because no one can say "You're not allowed to watch that", or "You can't watch that on this platform". Also, little to no commercials. I have downloaded a few, old movies.

    When, if ever, do you feel pirating something is ethical?

    When the content cannot be purchased in a DRM-free format. I have bought DVDs of old shows and ripped them. There are some shows I want to buy on Blu-ray but they either not available or only available on DVD for some stupid reason.

    Do you have a "code" that you follow for when it's right/not right to pirate something?

    Support indie guys

    In what ways is piracy damaging, and in what ways is it beneficial?

    I don't think piracy is damaging, but if you enjoyed something made by a small crew or just one dude pay for it if you can. Piracy is good for preserving old media like games, audiodramas, TV shows and music

    If you used to pirate certain things and then stopped, what stopped you?

    I don't pirate games anymore because A) Steam, B) I can afford it and C) the games I've found interesting are few and far between.

    If you used to pay for access to certain things and then went back to pirating them, why did you move back?

    I used to buy music but I don't anymore because I don't know where I can outright buy songs. I won't pay to stream music for reasons similar to why I pirate TV shows.

    1 vote
  40. ThyMrMan
    Link
    I have pirated thousands of GBs of shows/movies/anime over the years and still do. Currently have a 16TB storage server I'm upgrading because I ran out of space in after pirating so much. But...

    I have pirated thousands of GBs of shows/movies/anime over the years and still do. Currently have a 16TB storage server I'm upgrading because I ran out of space in after pirating so much. But honestly I don't use my own server as often as I used to. It is less something I do because I feel the need to do it in order to get good media to watch, and more because I've been doing it for so long I would feel odd not doing it. I watch a good 80% of my media via legal sources such as Hulu, Netflix, Prime. The one hold out, and original reason for pirating is anime.

    Gonna break down the various things I currently pirate/have pirated.


    Anime: I originally started to seriously pirate a couple years back after Crunchyroll degraded their visual quality of shows by an insane amount. And after sticking with them for a couple months more, and not seeing any visible progress to better quality I decided pirating was the better method. I could stream in the best possible quality with the best quality subs, and I didn't have to deal with Crunchyroll's horrible website and video player that was still using Flash when I left. Than I had the issue of figuring out what was streaming on what platform, some of which was only streaming on the legit but odd ad-supported free websites that I was forced to reload the page a dozen times to get to play. After the visual downgrades, horrible user interfaces and video players, confusing selection of what shows are on what site. Grabbing a pirated 1080p copy was now just easier and had less friction to watch than the legit methods. Even now after many years I feel like anime streaming hasn't improved, the shows are scattered across the internet on various platforms and the quality is still pretty bad.

    TV-Shows: Normally I just end up streaming these without issue, I think it does come from not watching many tv-shows. On occasion I still do end up pirating something to watch. It normally comes when the show is only available on a service I just feel isn't worth the money, CBS All Access for watching Star Trek Picard and Discovery was that way. I felt they were charging way too much for the privilege of watching a single show when the rest of their selection was so empty. The other major part of tv piracy at the moment isn't actually for me to watch. I end up pirating shows for friends and friends family to watch. This is something I am just doing still because I like the process of maintaining my trackers and server and downloading random shows for friends is a decent way to do that.

    Movies: This is a mix for me. I will gladly watch a movie if it is available on a streaming service. And also if it isn't a major movie that I'm trying to get fully immersed in. What I mean by that is a movie that I'm not watching in 4k hdr in highest possible quality. I find streaming services good enough for most movies, but they just don't have high enough quality for me to really love the 4k hdr experience with them. I also refuse to buy movies on various platforms at all, because I can't get the movie off the platform. I've been burned before by buying a movie and having it disappear when the platform disappeared. If I could download my movie digitally without drm so I could watch it wherever and whenever I wanted I would buy it, but since I can't I don't. I could buy the blu-ray, but my issue than becomes it just isn't super convenient. I end up with a pile of blu-rays taking up space, and have to convince the various parts of my set-up to all play nicely together and actually play the correct settings and resolution. In the end, it just becomes more effort than pirating the 4k hdr copy in 10 minutes.

    Books: This various. While I don't like the drm that Kindle has, or the Adobe drm. I still end up buying books from the various drm platforms and stripping the drm using various tools. So I can feel like i'm still buying the book and supporting the author, but actually own the copy of the book. It is also just way too convenient to get a new book to read in 20 seconds verse tracking it down on my tracker, downloading it and uploading it to my tablet.

    Music: I haven't pirated music in many years, but more recently I have considered doing so. I currently use Spotify, but I have also tried every other streaming platform. And they all have the same issues. Music selection is hit and miss, Spotify normally has most of what I want but ends up missing many songs that just disappear one day. Various other platforms have similar number of available songs but commonly end up missing something Spotify has. Unfortunately every platform is missing songs I want to listen to, mainly non-english songs. And they might have those actually, but tracking them down via the terrible interfaces and search features and navigating terrible cover songs just becomes frustrating. Spotify has another major issue that is really pushing me away, and that is the crazy amount of bugs in the program. It is an every day occurrence that I have to force close Spotify because it doesn't play anything, or the display doesn't match the song playing. It will refuse to load a page and just spin forever. It will refuse to play a song because it can't decide if I actually have it downloaded or not. It is getting close to the point that the frustration is almost too much and I'm looking for another solution.

    Games: I don't really pirate games, just too much effort really. Though I will pirate console roms. The various platforms are easy enough to buy and play games through, and I don't have enough issues to not use them. I will end up pirating console roms, and don't really feel bad about it. It isn't like I can buy an original copy of this game from the publisher and support them for most roms at this point. So having a legit copy to say I supported them means nothing.


    Depending on some various factors and if I can, I think I'm going to start moving away from pirated mostly on my server. I'm thinking about spending more time tracking down the blu-rays and ripping than uploading them to my server. Of course this will relay on me figuring out the best way to rip blu-rays, so I can conveniently stream the highest quality movies and tv-shows and know that I actually own it. It will also let me continue to enjoy working with my server and give it a reason to exist.

    1 vote
  41. stonetheman98
    Link
    Before answering much of the questions, I'm going to preface them by saying that I don't consume too much media. Or I guess I do, I definitely get my money's worth out of my Spotify account, and I...

    Before answering much of the questions, I'm going to preface them by saying that I don't consume too much media. Or I guess I do, I definitely get my money's worth out of my Spotify account, and I definitely get my money's worth out of my gaming devices, but I don't particularly watch hardly any shows, or much else media that isn't already free/easy to find (for example, most of the video/show-like content I watch is on YouTube). With that out of the way, let's get into it.

    Do you pirate media? If so, why? if not, why not?

    Technically yes, since I suppose downloading ROMs/ISOs of older video games count. It's easier and more cost effective to just find a ROM or ISO of an older game, then set up some cartridge ripping, or ISO ripping hardware (depending on the console) with a legitimate copy of a game sometimes.

    When, if ever, do you feel pirating something is ethical?

    I feel like what makes piracy unethical is when the creators of a work don't get any compensation for their work. While I think there's situations where it's still unethical to pirate even in that situation (like say, if the author of a book was dead, and thus unable to collect compensation for writing a work, but the profits of its sale now are being donated to some genuinely good charity), if the sale of access to a work just benefits someone or some company that had no bearing on the creation of the work, sends none of the money to the creators, and just sells a work so that they can make a few extra dollars because they have the rights to the work now, I don't think that piracy is particularly unethical.

    Do you have a "code" that you follow for when it's right/not right to pirate something?

    Honestly what drives me to pirate is how easy something is to obtain legally, and if the original authors still get compensated based off of getting that original media. Going off the answer to the last question, even if a company's just selling a work because they have the rights to it, while the original creators don't see a cent of that, if it's cheap enough I'll likely purchase it anyway, due to easier access to the legal way of purchasing than otherwise. I'd imagine a few of the old games I've bought on GOG.com fall under this category. Even if we ignore how often times they'll add patches to let the games run on modern systems, the convenience of having known good downloads of these games ready and easy to find is worthy enough for me. I guess it comes down to convenience to give the short answer to it.

    In what ways is piracy damaging, and in what ways is it beneficial?

    It really depends on how a given company wants to go with its attempts at thwarting piracy. If they see piracy as a service problem, and attempt to thrwart it by offering services that are better than piracy, than I'd say that the piracy that urged the company to go that route was beneficial. I think that things like the Steam Sale are an example of a service improvement that likely came about as a service improvement that curbs piracy. However, companies can also go the anti-consumer way to thwart piracy, where an example is always on DRM, which I'd hope we can agree has a largely negative affect on the quality of services. Honestly I haven't researched enough as to if piracy drives more positive than negative outcomes like that, plus I don't know if the measures that improve services were even implemented in full response to piracy, or in response to something else, but just happened to improve going the non piracy route, but I don't think piracy can just simply be described as a purely beneficial, or damaging force.

    1 vote
  42. [2]
    Keegan
    Link
    I think this is one occasion where a "incognito" posting mode would be useful.

    I think this is one occasion where a "incognito" posting mode would be useful.

    15 votes
    1. crdpa
      Link Parent
      Maybe Tildes should implement in a way that the thread creator could allow incognito posts and moderators should review such choice before allowing.

      Maybe Tildes should implement in a way that the thread creator could allow incognito posts and moderators should review such choice before allowing.

      5 votes