Saturday, September 04, 2010

Copying is not theft: A message for the digital age

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Easily the single most common (and simultaneously, the most blatantly false and exasperatingly dumb) argument launched against filesharers (smeared as “media pirates”) is that “piracy is theft”. Those who use and actually believe in this sort of thinking obviously fail to grasp numerous notions about the Internet and how digital information and media is created, stored and shared around – and the fact that filesharing is all about sharing, through copying, not just taking (or “stealing”) some material or content and handing it over to someone else, thus leaving the original proprietor empty-handed.

The fact of the matter is that laws, concepts and economic models that apply to the material world simply can’t be applied in the same way to the virtual world of the Internet. One example is supply and demand, a concept that is rendered utterly inexistent online, as one only needs to upload a single file once for it to be shared around ad infinitum, with no additional cost to the original proprietor. The original material won’t change, diminish or disappear, no matter how many people download a copy of it. To put it all into terms that even anti-filesharers can (maybe) understand, here’s a simple little video explaining this self-evident fact through song and cutesy animation. [Video below the fold.]

If anything, “media piracy” is a prime example showing how legality has no inherent correlation with morality, and that just because an act is illegal does not actually make it morally wrong. Such is the case with so many things these days.

(via @todayspolitics)