I’ve had quite a lot of talks recently with people about the subject of piracy, be it music, films, software, whatever. You might think that being a Computer Scientist and DJ, that I’d be quite blase attitude toward it, but it’s quite the opposite really.
My take on it, is, whichever way you come at it, it’s theft. That might sound quite harsh, but I might as well to cut to the chase. If you download or copy cd’s with no intention of rewarding those who created it with payment of some way shape or form, I’m sorry, I really can’t see it as a good thing. You might argue that fat cats mark up media with artificially high prices, with little going to the original artists, but it’s untrue for the most part (there are a huge number of people involved in producing most albums) and goes a short way as to why you should award those artists with no payment whatsoever…these artists do after all sign contracts and know what they’re getting themselves into for the most part.
Admittedly, there are occasions where my opinions blur. In the case of mix cd’s, I see the cd as a showcase for the DJ’s mixing skills, as well as those songs upon it, so I’d quite happily download mixes from the net. If there is a good track within, I’ll add it to my collection anyway, the majority of the dance music scene seems to encourage these methods anyway – getting their artists to produce mixes and distribute them online so people buy the bare, unmixed, tracks. It gets really messy with the issue of sampling – I’m not even going there….
What’s a little more scary, is the attitude Christians take to piracy. I’ve known in the past Christians quite happily pirating software worth thousands to produce albums or websites for projects in the Church, with little or no concern for what they’re doing. Surely there’s something wrong there – making Church websites with stolen software? The majority of the time its simply not necessary for the tasks in hand either, there are other ways of achieving the results in a more ethical way. (Ask me if you want to know how)… I’m probably more sensitive in this area, due to the fact I create software myself.
I was really disturbed when I first got into sharing applications as a teenager at the volume of Christian music available, Delerious, Redman, Jars of Clay, you want it its there…it seems we’re just as bad as the rest of the world here. The Gospel Music Association even has the stats to prove it. The Bible calls for us to ‘abide by the laws of the land’ because such authorities ‘have been established by God’ (Romans 13:1-7) – if we’re going against them we’re going against God. I can’t see that laws for copyrighting music, films go against what God says, so really we have no reason for being so lax in this department.
I was reading a book called the Net Commandments back along which describes how easy technology has made it for us to sin (or cybersin – but that sounds like you need a peripheral). Not only this, but its also removed a large majority of the barriers which have been in place which otherwise may have presented us from sinning. I’d love to see some of us going into Virgin and using our MD to record the album we’re sampling at the listening point, it’d never happen.