New age piracy

26 Oct

lie, cheat and steal…the title of the new US3 album reveals the slight tendencies we all have. To a certain degree, we all do a little bit of each one, sometimes so uncounsiously, almost automatically, and our conscience has become so numb that it does not even catch it. A little hip hop man jumping around on stage has to be the one to help us realize that unclothed, we are all culprits, in a certain way.

No one does it on purpose, or at least there is usually a good intention behind it.

Take for example, the evolving debate about music and video piracy.

A man walks into a video store and carries out a new CD, bypassing the cashier completely. Clear crime. A man sitting in his home, on his computer, on his internet, rips a CD. Stealing? Many would rush to defend his back. 

Up until quite recently, there was no iTunes store for the Czech Republic,

and so there realistically was no way of legally buying singles from the internet.

People technically had a legitimate excuse and got used to free music.

CZ, let me introduce to you iTunes. Good luck, you’ll need it.

But back to piracy. Intellectual property lawyers face to an interesting case. Before, it was legally possible to resell an old CD-swap meet, garage sale, Ebay. Toady, it is not allowed to sell a virtual song. It would seem that the law is somewhat behind technological innovation. Yet, there are 2 reasons for this:

  1. You can never quite prove that all digital traces were erased from your possession
  2. The quality of the content does not deteriorate over time

Before, you could make a copy of the CD and sell it anyway, but you did not have the original artwork, lyrics, printed CD and other goodies. Also, both the original and the copy continue to lose value over time through scratches on the CD, torn leaflets, broken cases, and you cannot copy the CD again when your copy goes bad. The life cycle of a CD had a definite consumer end. 

The digital copy differs: make a copy, upload, resell, lose nothing. The value becomes inflated (as so many things in the internet today. Facebook, $70 Billion, excuse me?) all while degrading the value of the work of the artist.

The argument for the legal sale of digital content is weak. Wanting to resell seems clear proof of the intent to misuse the system. Digital content has become so accessible, and still we want to make a profit off it. Saw it, sold it, snuck around the system to personally gain from it. 

Having the privilege of buying digital content should be seen as the equivalent of a service. You are paying for the simplicity of downloading and luxury of multiple device usage. It is impossible to resell or return a service that you payed for and so it should not be possible to resell content you only ever had in your computer. 

Different opinion?

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