Sunday, March 4, 2012

Where We're Going

I'm an avid file-sharer and I'm not ashamed of it. I often read articles about file-sharing and piracy in magazines, blogs and newspapers. I sometimes hear about it on the news and I certainly hear people discussing it offline. What amazes me the most is how little people seem to understand about the topic. Everyone certainly has an opinion about it, but it's very clear most people don't truly grasp what file-sharing is, why people do it and what discussions we should be having to move forward.

Most of the anti-piracy articles I read are very adamant that we have a severe problem on our hands. And that if this problem isn't resolved, movies, music, video games - entertainment as we know it - will cease to exist. On the other side, the majority of the pro-piracy articles I read are immature diatribes with forced misspellings that basically say, "Fuck off, I'm d/ling ur shit and you kan't stop me. Fuck the MAFIAA!!!" I find both sides to be intellectually dishonest.

What I want to present are articulate opinions from those who aren't ashamed of downloading the latest movies and music. We do so by choice and for very specific reasons. During the course of our discussions, I'm going to be direct and probably borderline rude. If I was to attempt to sum up my attitude, it would probably be, "I'm tired of being dicked around by publishing companies and I've started making very deliberate decisions about who gets my money." If you decide to follow along, that's one of the first things you will realize. File-sharers do spend money.

Before we can really begin, we need to get past our first hurdle. I think it's fair to say that if you are a content creator, it's likely that you have a negative opinion about file-sharing. And you would be correct in saying that I've never created anything that anyone would want to buy. But I also want us to have a good healthy discussion on the subject, and we won't be able to do that if you equate file-sharing with stealing. The "copying is not theft" portion of this discussion has been beaten to death and I have no desire to keep bringing it up. There are dozens of other aspects to this discussion that we can argue about. But when I download a movie, I'm not stealing it. For you to argue that I am is intellectually dishonest. If you can't get past it, then there's no point in you being here.

I'm a daily Techdirt reader. One of the things spawned from them is the Step2 community. It was during my Techdirt and Step 2 browsing that I realized nobody had really put forth a well-thought out article showing things from the file-sharing point of view. So two months ago I posted a rather lengthy article on Step2 detailing why I pirate. I'm going to repost that article here over the next few posts as kind of an introductory message. From there, I'm going to expand the discussion and offer suggestions on how content creators can get my money.

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