Everyone is a pirate

Posted by Dave On Thursday, August 4, 2011

Transferred from paxdora.blogspot.com [LINK]
Original Post Date: 7/4/11

It's funny how people draw a line on what constitutes piracy. If you pirate 20 video games per month for example, you're a pirate. But, if you only pirated a couple cheap games a few years ago.. well, you're not a pirate.

Many will only associate pirating with video games or applications, but conveniently ignore music, movies, art, or written material. The definition of piracy also varies from country to country. Piracy in one country might be perfectly legal in another. What piracy is can also become a moral or ethics debate, but here's roughly what the universally accepted definition of pirating means: the unauthorized use, appropriation, or reproduction of copyrighted or patented material or ideas.

Since it's safe to assume that if you're murdered once, you would still be labeled as a murderer, it would also be accurate that if you've ever pirated (even once) you're still a pirate. You might be a reformed pirate or a remorseful pirate.. but you're still a pirate.

Knowing this, try to examine your own life:

* Have you ever downloaded or used a copyrighted song, game, or application?
* Have you ever downloaded or used a copyrighted picture, photograph, clip art, logo, book, comic, or other piece of art?
* Have you ever recorded a TV show, movie or commercial using a tape recorder, VHS/Beta, or digital recorder?
* Have you ever recorded a song off the radio?
* Have you ever photocopied a book or any kind of copyrighted text?
* Have you ever watched an unlicensed video on YouTube? Listened to a song?

If you answer yes (or even a "sort of") to any of these questions then you're a pirate.

Things can get even more complicated:

* Have you ever watched an online or streaming video? Are you 100% positive it was licensed for your viewing?
* Ever listened to music online?
* Did you take a screenshot of a video game or webpage and save it?
* Is your desktop wallpaper licensed for your use?
* How much do you know about the software on your own PC?
* Do you use Windows? Then you're a pirate. Why you ask? I take it you weren't aware that Microsoft software contained patented code owned by other companies... they've lost legal cases for pirating code, but you were still technically using their code, and it was unauthorized for your use.
* Almost ever major software/hardware corporation is embroiled in unlicensed patent cases and you've been a party to them all. Have you ever owned a cell phone? Chances are it contained patents & copyrighted material that were owned by another company and unlicensed.
* Have you ever taken excerpts from a book or any kind of text online? How was it used, do you know what the Fair Use limitations are?
* Your PC downloads unlicensed video, audio, graphics all the time from web sites, and they are all copied to your computer and stored in cache.
* Do you have any shareware, demo software or browser plugins with expired licenses?
* Do you have any open source software in which you accidentally deleted the wrong .txt file which was required for its authorized use?
* Have you ever copied a friend's drawing or homework? Are you sure they didn't copyright it? It doesn't take much to copy protect your work or ideas.
* Have you ever used the old MP3.COM "music locker" service? (As you recall, the case was won in favor of the record labels.)
* MP3tunes allowed users to purchase music through their service and store in music lockers as well. The record labels viewed this as copyright infringement as well.
* Are you 100% positive that all of the software you use at work (installed by others) is fully licensed?
* Are you 100% positive that you don't have any software on your PC that has been sharing files, music, or videos on the internet?
* Have you ever downloaded free software without knowing you were only allowed to use it for 15 or 30 days?
* Have you ever used sound effects, logos, graphic materials or clip art without receiving a license directly from it's owner? How do you now the website you purchased the clip art from was licensed themselves to sell the art?
* Have you used Amazon or Google's cloud players? They're unlicensed.
* YouTube is a really big offender of copy protected material. It's saturated daily with unlicensed and illegal videos, songs, and other forms of art and material.

I love to hear the classic excuses for this type of thing too:
"YouTube? Well, I asked Yahoo Answers and everyone said it was legal. So it must be legal."
"If you delete your cache, the cops won't find anything. So yes, it's legal."
"Well, officer.. I didn't know is was copyrighted material!"
"I thought was legal. There wasn't any kind of notification telling me it wasn't."
"I'm just a kid, I didn't know it was illegal."
"I thought I could trust the website.. it looks official."

When you think about it, it's extremely difficult if not impossible NOT to pirate or unintentionally use patented material. A person (or website) may tell you one thing, but the record labels or entertainment industry might view it as the complete opposite. And just because a court case hasn't set a new legal precedent, that doesn't mean it's not piracy or wrong.

So, please don't complain about pirates.. after all, you're one of them. If you surf the internet, it's impossible for you not to be one. Unintentional pirates are still pirates.

If you complain about piracy, that makes you a hypocrit.. and a filthy pirate. If you didn't even know about your own crimes, then you're an filthy and incredibly ignorant pirate.

If you absolutely MUST complain, just complain about how they're a bigger pirate then you. It's a lot more honest.

And if you're still looking for some kind of loop hole, argument of oversimplification, or justification that you're not a pirate, then there's something I should tell you: Everything I posted on this blog is Copyright Me. You're not authorized to copy this, but I see that you have already in your active system memory and hard drive cache without my authorization. So, by reading this you've just confirmed that you're a pirate.

Welcome to the family. Arrrr.