Why does piracy exist?

Reading around on the internet lately, I have seen a great deal of talk about piracy and how it “negatively effects” the economy and the companies involved. I am strongly of the opinion that such a statement is complete and absolute bogus. If anything, piracy has helped the economy and companies. I myself have downloaded plenty of things that I didn’t own. Why, might you ask, have I pirated things? Well; how else am I going to find out if it’s actually any good?

Sometimes you can walk into a music store and listen to an album to see if you like it, or download a demo of a game off the internet to see if the game was actually fun–sometimes being the key word there. For the most part, this simply is not the case. How can you expect someone to buy something that they don’t even know they will enjoy? And for such unreasonable prices, I might add!

You know how much it costs to have DVDs pressed? Approximately $0.50 per disk. The current generation of video games costing between $50 and $70, that’s over a 10000% profit margin! The production budget of Halo 3 was less than most major blockbuster movies like Spiderman 3, so why does Halo 3 sell for $70, while I can find Spiderman 3 DVDs all over the place for $20? Greed.

But I said that piracy even helps the economy didn’t I? Well, yes; I did. If it weren’t for piracy I never would’ve found Serenity or Casshern, two of my favorite movies, I never would’ve found about 90% of the music I listen to, I never would’ve found out Gitaroo Man was such a fun game.

Would you deprive me of my enjoyment in hopes that I buy your product? That doesn’t exactly seem like a very effective marketing strategy to me…

Open Source is the future, in all respects. You will never get anything back if you never give in there first place. I’m not saying we should all turn commie and live in identical mud huts, but we should have the freedom to support what we want to and only IF we decide we want to. We should be given the chance to experience it for ourselves before deciding if we want to fork over $50+ for it, these things should not be concealed. You know what my greatest regret is? That I actually paid for Beyond The Beyond. That game was so horrible I snapped it into little pieces and melted it, so no one else would make the mistake of inserting that cancerous disk into their poor defenseless Playstation.

I have plenty of pirated stuff, yet I, on more than one occasion, have donated up to $100 to some random programmer on the internet for programming fun games independently. They released the games for free to anyone, but I felt it was deserving enough of my support, so am I still a thief for downloading a game I never would have paid for anyway? Tell me that.

So why is piracy so much more rampant now than way back in the olden days when dinosaurs still roamed the earth? It’s not. There is a greater number of people involved in the piracy scene, but there is also a greater number of people in general. The ratio has actually decreased rather significantly. How many of you couldn’t dig through your house and find an old mix tape lying around somewhere? That was piracy. Everyone had mix tapes back in the day, piracy is not a new thing at all. It just got easier because that’s what time does; it improves things. If, in several decades, the efficiency of piracy had not improved it would be nothing short of an miracle.

Piracy isn’t a bad thing though; sure, it adds a bit of unbalance to the equation, but more often than not, it gets you more attention. Everyone likes free stuff, even if it’s not ‘technically’ legal.

That having been said there is one simple reason why piracy still exists even when it shouldn’t; everything sucks. That is the first expectation anyone has until proven otherwise these days, because that is quite often the case. The market has been flooded with so much mediocrity that it becomes nigh impossible to sift through it all to find those rare, hidden treasures. Thus is the dark side of the technology age. But with the technology age many of these hidden gems wouldn’t even exist because even the companies producing all this mediocrity follow the mindset that everything sucks until proven otherwise. You can’t go to a game company and say, “Hey! I’ve got this cool idea for a game!”, because they’ll just tell you to buzz off. That certainly doesn’t help to promote creativity. I don’t know about you, but I’m not really looking forward to Burnout 17.

I’m sure you anime fans know piracy all too well. Fansubs are treading on mighty thin ice, and could quite easily be interpreted as an immoral practice. They continue to be released because someone loves the shows so much that they feel others deserve to see the show too–even need to see the show too. We’re it not for piracy, I would never have experienced the greatness of Makoto Shinkai’s or Hayao Miyaaki’s works, I never would have experience anime at all. This blog would not exist. The several thousand people that read this blog would likely be in the same position. It is unfair to conceal such a powerful art from such an expansive audience.

Art is to be shared, not locked away for only a privileged few to experience.

Anyway, enough of my ranting. If you know any employees of the entertainment industry send them the link to this post. This is a message that needs to be seen, before the entire entertainment industry simply collapses into itself from such anti-creative methods.

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