Lavarinth wrote:Pirating is stealing.
Not according to the Supreme Court case of Dowling v. United States
. It is regarded as copyright infringement.
Equivocating pirating to stealing is silly, even downright manipulative. We already have a word for pirating, it's pirating. Same goes for plagiarism. You might loosely refer to plagiarism as "stealing another's idea", but to straight up call it stealing is misleading. We have a word for plagiarism, it's plagiarism
. It means to pass off another's idea as your own. Pirating means to make an unauthorized copy of a product. Stealing means to feloniously take something, removing it from the owner's possession. It's important for language to have words with clear meanings, so we can communicate with minimal confusion and cross-word baggage.
Though they all present degrees of harm, of stealing, pirating, and plagiarism, stealing can cause the greatest harm. Ad campaigns spouting, "Pirating is stealing!" try to capitalize on this fact through equivocation, to channel the emotional impact of real theft to this pseudo-theft, but it is misleading at best.Hypothetical degrees of harm
- Tame: You download a song you liked on the radio and don't buy their CD. A financial loss of one CD sale, but only if you would have purchased it otherwise.
- Severe: Everyone who would have bought a game pirates it instead, depriving necessary income from its creator. A financial loss that results in the company's bankruptcy.
- Tame: You pull a sentence from an article for your High School English paper. You get an A. A financial loss of -- no, no one lost anything here, this is just an ethics problem.
- Severe: You knew JK Rowling before she was famous, and she totally ripped off Harry Potter from you. A financial loss in the billions, along with an unquantifiable level of fame.
- Tame: While visiting a friend, you take a ziplock bag without asking. Now they have one less ziplock to use in the future, and will have to go to the store sooner. A financial loss in cents, and an inconvenience. While at work, they might even have to go a day without a homemade PB&J sandwich for lunch.
- Severe: You take a child's asthma inhaler. Without it, they have a serious asthma attack and die. A financial loss of -- WTF you just killed a kid! You monster!
Pirating and stealing are totally the same thing... right?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmZm8vNHBSU
That's what the people behind this commercial would have you believe, anyway.
Now, I don't support pirating any more than I support plagiarism or stealing. However, I must object to the manipulation at play in those "PSA" ads. They are not
the same, nor should they be. Plagiarism goes to civil court, stealing goes to criminal court, and big money from the media industry has pushed laws into place that has warped pirating from a civil case to a criminal one that can result in up to 10 years in prison
(more than child pornography).Capitol (RIAA) v. Thomas
has finally made its way up to the Supreme Court
. The last appeal found Jammie Thomas-Rasset liable for sharing 24 songs on Kazaa, with a $9,250 fine per song
($220,000 total). The music industry wants her to serve as an example, a deterrent, but when I think about how the average speeding ticket is $150, something that actually endangers people's lives
, I wonder where our priorities are.