If you were to ask me what the hardest part about running this site is, I would have to say it’s massaging the content for a wide variety of readers. It’s fair to say technology isn’t the most controversial of topics, but when my posts do stray into the realm of opinion I’m always hesitant to go off on a tangent for fear of offending one or many of my readers. The best example I can give you is this video clip. Even if you aren’t a Seinfeld fan, this scene perfectly illustrates what it’s like to throw an opinion online. Someone out there always seems to have owned a pony. A lot of bloggers view the ability to articulate their opinion as an asset and I don’t disagree – it’s just something I need to work on. I don’t seem to have the same issue on my Twitter account, but I digress.
So with the “pony” clip above in mind, let’s get into why I personally refuse to pirate and why I dislike it.
First and foremost, I would say the thing that I find most puzzling is how resilient people are when it comes to downloading things illegally. People tell me all the time that they find productivity apps like Evernote too time consuming or too complicated, or they’ll say things like “I’m just not tech savvy” and give up on something in a matter of seconds. Meanwhile, their computer is sitting at home with two Bitorrent clients pulling the last four seasons of Game of Thrones from the depths of the web. My point here is that creating a note in Evernote or backing up your files takes no more “tech know-how” than stealing a bucket-full of movies from a peer-to-peer network. If only people worked as hard learning tech as they do plucking things from the web! To this point, I would say the vast majority of computers I’m asked to “fix” are in a state of trouble as a direct result of torrents or their clients. Browser hijacking & toolbars that refuse to go away are almost always the result of a torrent download gone wrong.
I’m also put off by the phrase “why’d you pay for that?“, as if I’ve totally lost my mind for shelling out $3 to watch an episode of my favorite show. If you must ask, I paid for it because:
When I want to watch a movie on my AppleTV or use some software like iWork, it’s far more convenient to go to iTunes or the App Store and just buy it. I don’t need a torrent client, I don’t need to find the correct download file, and I never end up with a movie some guy filmed from the third row of a theatre. It takes two minutes to start a movie or grab an app and by doing so via legitimate channels I’m supporting the people the provide me with said apps and content. I also know that the file I’m getting is legitimate and hasn’t been tampered with in any way and that I’m free to contact support should I have any issues.
I Don’t Mind Supporting Things That Entertain or Help Me
I’m shocked when people get their nose up about an app that costs $4, or even a service like Evernote or Dropbox that will run you $50/year. If I’m using an app several times a day and it’s a huge part of my life, I don’t see where $50 is an issue. I know you can’t exactly pirate these subscription-based applications, but it’s a mindset people have that I just don’t understand. At some point paying for things became something to avoid at all costs., seemingly because free alternatives presented themselves. I prefer to follow the notion that if it’s worth it I’ll pay for it, if it isn’t then I don’t bother with it. When I hear people who make good money say “yeah, but it’s $50/yr!” I just have to shake my head as they probably spend more than that in a month on coffee or beer.
Not Paying For it is Stealing
There are certain situations, I admit, where the industry is clearly reaching for your pockets and it could maybe, possibly, almost be justified – but those are special cases .
All excuses aside can we be honest here and admit that downloading things for free is illegal? You don’t steal BluRay’s off the rack at HMV do you? It’s the same thing.
The Quality is Almost Always Better
As I mentioned above, the quality of movies and music that you grab from the darker passages of the web can be suspect. Viruses and adware notwithstanding, it wasn’t uncommon to find clicking, static, or artifacts within a movie or audio recording when I did make an attempt at jumping the wall.
If you pirate movies or music that’s your prerogative. I don’t mean to judge by way of this post, I’m just saying that I personally find it to be slightly immoral and above all else, far more inconvenient than just shelling out $3 from time to time.
What can I say – some people’s faces light up when a friend says “I have 65GB of TV on this external drive”. When I hear that I immediately assume that the quality is crap, it probably won’t work with my TV, and that you’d rather spend a day downloading something than shelling out $20 for 15 hours of entertainment.
I guess we can agree to disagree…