As long as I remember, piracy was always there. Pirated movies, games, books, software, whatever you could imagine, you name it, is available. But as the title states, is piracy always the answer? And is the ethical part essential? Does it matter at all? I won’t try to defend whether piracy is right or wrong in this article. I will just write down some facts and things to consider. The answer will always depend on the person who seeks it.
What is piracy
There is a legal and a standard form for the piracy term. I am not a lawyer or an expert, so I will try to simply analyze it. Piracy is the way you obtain illegally or by shady tactics a product that is otherwise not available for free or doesn’t meet the official license agreement of the person/company which distributes it. Though my term might not be perfect, it mainly covers what piracy is considered. There might be better explanations, exclusions, etc., but the critical part, I think, is covered.
Why is it considered illegal?
The best way to prove that it is illegal is by a simple fact. When someone works, he expects to be paid for his time and services. For example, if a gaming studio releases a game, it usually comes with a cost. The cost would play a part in the game’s price tag. For a game to be released, there is usually a whole team behind it. Actors, developers, producers, marketing, etc. that aren’t free. Somehow, all these must be paid, and the studio should profit. And some of the profit might be for other projects, bills, etc. When someone pirates this game and makes it available to others, this profit is less. This is like cheating the team which spent time on this project.
While large Gaming Companies might not be prone to bankruptcy, this might not be applied to smaller studios. In a way, it is like helping a Studio run out of business. It might seem a bit exaggerated, but it still is a fact. And this fact can’t be ignored, right?
Why someone may pirate?
I think the answer is simple. The price tag is the main reason. Usually, a product might be too expensive or difficult to obtain. A game, a movie, etc., is generally appealing to children and younger audiences, which is more challenging to pay for. So, piracy by torrenting or other means is an easy way. Some even offer it illegally at a meager price, and some consumers might prefer this way. Still, the price tag is the case. Above all other reasons, too. You should also be aware that pirating for business or making a profit is a financial crime. Some countries have stringent rules for this type of piracy. Even some private educational lessons offer pirated software to their students. It is a very complex matter.
Why is piracy dangerous?
When a product is officially available should meet some criteria and requirements. Moreover, paid products usually offer customer support which is essential for businesses and professionals. This is not the case with pirated products. They are generally outdated or even contain nasty surprises like malware. You should know that not all pirates are angels. Some of them have a purpose. And the next target might be you, and the fact is that you invited them. In some countries, piracy torrenting, streaming, etc., is illegal, and I think facing justice for something like this is rather unpleasant. So yes, piracy is dangerous.
What about the companies?
Piracy was always a headache for companies, developers, artists, etc. They tried many ways to face it, but piracy still stands strong. They also know that someone who likes only a song from an entire album won’t buy the whole album for it. On the other hand, they are aware that fans or consumers who love a band usually buy the original without considering the price. You see, all of us have something or somewhere to spend our money for the love of it. Moreover, some companies are asking too much for their product or offering them a subscription fee that is too high for many of us.
Businesses and professionals are willing or obligated to pay for it, but not all of us can. Some streaming services like Netflix offer various entertainment shows for a low monthly fee. But Netflix doesn’t provide all TV shows. So, what about someone who wants to watch a show that Netflix doesn’t offer? Legally he should pay for another Service. And some of us watch series that are exclusively available on other platforms. That makes it even more challenging, and companies are aware of this. So, is it fair to pay for it, or is it ethical for us to stream it illegally? It is like pushing someone to piracy, even if this is not the answer.
It is said that if you can’t afford it, you can’t have it, but some things make you wonder. Companies should find a more accessible, less expensive, and fair way to offer their products. A method that would help them face piracy at its root. Only this way can we achieve something. Unless they prefer how their “system” and piracy work together. You never know.
There are alternative ways, but unfortunately, they come with a caveat. For software, you can search for a free alternative. Some of them are more than enough, even for small businesses. For example, LibreOffice is a free alternative to MS Office. For OS, you can install official Windows 10/11 without a product key with some fundamental limitations. You can also try Linux distros. Trialwares are an excellent option, and I believe some companies should adopt this model more. Try before you buy to check if an app meets our expectations. About games, you can wait for discounts and sales. Steam or Epic often offers a wide variety of games at relatively low prices, even for free. There are also free games. For streaming, books, etc., you can watch for free some older movies, Shows, etc., even on Youtube or sites like Libremovies.
I won’t mention gray markets or some tricks to obtain cheaper games, software, etc. It would be best if you were very careful with these options. So, yes, there are alternative ways, but unfortunately might not be adequate for everyone. But we can’t have all. Let’s be realistic. It’s simple.
Piracy is still going strong. Although there are, alternative ways still are not adequate. So, I don’t write this article to judge someone or say the ethical thing to do and show myself as a saint. None of us is. We, one way or another, “pirated” more or less. I just wanted to show some facts and things to consider. So, the next time you try to pirate, please take a breath and think about it. Should I pirate? May I search for something alternative? May I wait for a sale or a discount? Should I prefer a subscription? Does it worth the risk? I would also like to see a fair plan from the companies. I know that things will constantly improve if we want to. I hope for the best.