Think the Brighter Side to Piracy

5/9/2012 5:13:44 PM

Piracy is stealing and a crime. But where a large corporation loses a little, sometimes we have a little more to gain…

While getting ready for a movie at the cinema recently, I was given a public message of appreciation by a local director thanking me for not pirating his movie. This was followed by an apathetic grin, from my part. Sure, I may not have pirated any of his movies (nor any locally produced movie, for that matter), but I can't say the same for the other things.

I don't deny that there were times I skirted along the Pasar Malam crowd for a "Buy 5 Free 1" deal with the local DVD peddlers. And when I discovered torrents, Josh Whedon's "Firefly" was quickly indicted into my hard drive. I suppose everyone of you out there shouldn't deny that you've at least pirated something once.

Description: THINK The Brighter Side To Piracy

Why did I pirate? I did it not because I couldn't afford it. I did it because my local DVD peddler had a copy of Johnnie To's "Sparrow" while the largest Speedy I could find haven't even heard of it. It was the same thing with "Firefly", which the original box set can never be found here. I pirated because of the unavailability of it all.

It's ironic, in a sense, when piracy was the only way I could access art. "Sparrow" was a Hong Kong art-house piece of magic, and so was my long-sought copy of "The Thief and the Cobbler", a long-forgotten animated feature by the great Richard Williams. So, in a way, piracy was my doorway to art. It is, perhaps, the same for many others.

Sometimes the doorway is opened up for the content creators themselves. There are instances in which piracy was actually beneficial, and I draw this point to a particular incident involving an independently produced movie named "Ink". "Ink" did well in movie festivals but failed to find an audience to recoup its costs, but when the movie hit the torrent sites it picked up such a sizeable amount of fans that they eventually bought the movie directly from the creators. Without piracy working as the medium, "Ink" would've faded into obscurity.

There are artists out there who believe that piracy isn't all that bad, simply that it allows their works to be seen, heard, read or touched. Writer Neil Gaiman had said that piracy is "just a giant form of lending."

Which brings me back to "The Thief and the Cobbler", which was such a mangled mess of a movie upon release that the Internet community came up with a 're-cobbled' version, essentially a Director's Cut. The only way to watch it is to stream it on YouTube, or pay a visit to a torrent site. Both, I doubt, constituted as truly legal means.

Writer and historian Benj Edwards wrote a brilliant and thoughtful piece titled "Why History Needs Software Piracy” (which you can read at www.technologizer. com), which iterated that, without piracy, we may be denying our future generations of art and history. According to Edwards, piracy has saved more software than it has destroyed, sparing tens of thousands of programs from extinction. The pirates might've done it unwittingly, but each individual action has created a vast web of data that ensures the software live on.

Edwards noted that piracy's preserving effect is nothing new, and it was through centuries of copies or widely distributed literature of Homer and Beowulf (pirated in their time) that ensured we actually know about them. Today, piracy ensured that we can still know and access the "Star Wars Christmas Special".

I've stopped pirating now, having discovered the painful but fruitful act of shipping. I do not condone piracy nor encourage it; it can, after all, be a harmful thing. What I'm saying is that instead of coming up needlessly totalitarian means of curbing piracy (here's to SOPA, PIPA and ACTA), perhaps the better way is to learn from it, adapt from it and, ultimately, profit from it; something corporate executives often fail to realise.

  •  These Companies Would Still Be Here In 5 Years
  •  Build Up Your Dream House with PC (Part 4)
  •  Build Up Your Dream House with PC (Part 3)
  •  Build Up Your Dream House with PC (Part 2)
  •  Build Up Your Dream House with PC (Part 1)
  •  2012 - The Year to Come (Part 4)
  •  2012 - The Year to Come (Part 3)
  •  2012 - The Year to Come (Part 2)
  •  2012 - The Year to Come (Part 1)
  •  Fallen IT Giants
  •  The new iPad - Should you buy it now?
  •  IT faces the mobile device test
  •  Wall Street’s “Technology Bubble” 2.0
  •  Standarlize Desktop Computer (Part 2)
  •  Standarlize Desktop Computer (Part 1)
  •  Paul Allen: In technology, management is not the promotion
  •  Apple may soon have a new competitor
  •  Apple, Google to meet with Schumer over privacy concerns
  •  A brief history of transforming robots (Part 2)
  •  A brief history of transforming robots (Part 1)
    Top 10
    Nikon 1 J2 With Stylish Design And Dependable Image And Video Quality
    Canon Powershot D20 - Super-Durable Waterproof Camera
    Fujifilm Finepix F800EXR – Another Excellent EXR
    Sony NEX-6 – The Best Compact Camera
    Teufel Cubycon 2 – An Excellent All-In-One For Films
    Dell S2740L - A Beautifully Crafted 27-inch IPS Monitor
    Philips 55PFL6007T With Fantastic Picture Quality
    Philips Gioco 278G4 – An Excellent 27-inch Screen
    Sony VPL-HW50ES – Sony’s Best Home Cinema Projector
    Windows Vista : Installing and Running Applications - Launching Applications
    Most View
    Bamboo Splash - Powerful Specs And Friendly Interface
    Powered By Windows (Part 2) - Toshiba Satellite U840 Series, Philips E248C3 MODA Lightframe Monitor & HP Envy Spectre 14
    MSI X79A-GD65 8D - Power without the Cost
    Canon EOS M With Wonderful Touchscreen Interface (Part 1)
    Windows Server 2003 : Building an Active Directory Structure (part 1) - The First Domain
    Personalize Your iPhone Case
    Speed ​​up browsing with a faster DNS
    Using and Configuring Public Folder Sharing
    Extending the Real-Time Communications Functionality of Exchange Server 2007 : Installing OCS 2007 (part 1)
    Google, privacy & you (Part 1)
    iPhone Application Development : Making Multivalue Choices with Pickers - Understanding Pickers
    Microsoft Surface With Windows RT - Truly A Unique Tablet
    Network Configuration & Troubleshooting (Part 1)
    Panasonic Lumix GH3 – The Fastest Touchscreen-Camera (Part 2)
    Programming Microsoft SQL Server 2005 : FOR XML Commands (part 3) - OPENXML Enhancements in SQL Server 2005
    Exchange Server 2010 : Track Exchange Performance (part 2) - Test the Performance Limitations in a Lab
    Extra Network Hardware Round-Up (Part 2) - NAS Drives, Media Center Extenders & Games Consoles
    Windows Server 2003 : Planning a Host Name Resolution Strategy - Understanding Name Resolution Requirements
    Google’s Data Liberation Front (Part 2)
    Datacolor SpyderLensCal (Part 1)