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To see piracy as the same as theft?

(148 Posts)
SquidgeOps Tue 25-Mar-14 15:50:00

Cos it is right? Sure, the software/film companies are loaded. But so are retail stores and supermarkets etc. Why is it any different from stealing?

Nomama Tue 25-Mar-14 15:58:28

It isn't different. It is theft.

It is stealing not only from the film company and the supermarkets, but all the local, indy shops trying to make a living. All the bedroom music makers too, these days.

Never done it, won't agree that it isn't harmful. Don't get me wrong I used to tape all my albums, but that is sort of allowed (different format for own use is on the margin of legal). But piracy is theft!

IndridCold Tue 25-Mar-14 16:01:21

That's why you can end up with huge fine, or in prison, if you are caught.

squoosh Tue 25-Mar-14 16:01:33

It is and it isn't.

If you steal a physical item from a shop, the shop loses money, as they've purchased that item to sell on at a higher price.

If you steal software from Microsoft for example it doesn't cost them anything. They lose the money that someone would have spent if paying for it legally but they aren't any financially worse off.

SquidgeOps Tue 25-Mar-14 16:02:51

It astonishes me how people are so blatant about it and tell you about this way or that way of getting pirated material. And to stand up against it is often seen as so righteous and sanctimonious. When it's just about the law and decency imho.

Add to your list of people it affects programmers and graphics designers etc too.

ImAThrillseekerHoney Tue 25-Mar-14 16:03:02

What squoosh said - it's theft, and I don't approve, but it's not the same as stealing a physical entity.

NurseyWursey Tue 25-Mar-14 16:03:12

Classed as theft but still different in my eyes.

SquidgeOps Tue 25-Mar-14 16:03:53

But it's still illegal and it's still theft! Trying to justify it by who it does/doesn't affect doesn't make it okay!

squoosh Tue 25-Mar-14 16:05:06

I'm just trying to point out the difference between stealing a physical item and stealing a software download.

If you didn't want any contrary opinions you should have stated that at the start.

Sallyingforth Tue 25-Mar-14 16:06:52

But both are stealing. You said so. So you do agree with the OP.

Beeyump Tue 25-Mar-14 16:08:07

I just can't see it as the same as theft, even though logically it is.
I guess.

wannaBe Tue 25-Mar-14 16:09:24

there isn't a difference other than that you don't have a physical product to show for it at the end. It's a bit like saying that burgling a shop is different to burgling a house because the shop puts some items down to loss anyway/has better insurance/makes £££ but the home owner may live in poverty/not be able to afford insurance. It's different in that the item you are stealing is different e.g. one is a physical item and the other is a piece of software/music/film, but the impact is no different and the legitimacy is no different.

squoosh Tue 25-Mar-14 16:09:27

Stealing a dress from Topshop - v bad

Illegally downloading an album - really find it hard to get worked up over.

squoosh Tue 25-Mar-14 16:11:20

'e.g. one is a physical item and the other is a piece of software/music/film, but the impact is no different and the legitimacy is no different.'

Morality aside there is a difference. Microsoft don't have a finite amount of downloads of their programmes available. Waterstone's does have a finite amount of books in its shops.

gertiegusset Tue 25-Mar-14 16:14:55

Possibly I am wrong but surely if you download music without paying you are stealing from the artist who doesn't get the royalties.

Forago Tue 25-Mar-14 16:15:16

I agree that it's not the same as stealing a physical item that someone has already paid to stock and sell on. Ultimately it's all 0s and 1s and I don't think you can "own" the flow of bits. I do agree that it's illegal and copyrighted and can see why it pisses the music industry and developers off. I am afraid I don't have as much sympathy for the software industry as all the developers I know are in demand on £500 per day + and none of them are struggling to find employment.

I think that instead of complaining about it (the genie is out of the bottle, lets face it) they should think of more clever and current ways to charge for their products. eg Apple/Google/Amazon and the App/Play store. All the people I know who wouldn't pay £11.99 or whatever it costs for a CD are happy to regularly pay £2/3 for an app. Or distribute cut down versions of the software for free and then let people pay for extra functionality and content.

Same with the streaming providers like Spotify, Netflix, Blinkbox etc. Modern sales channels and business models that people are happy to pay for (even though they may know how to get the content for free) because it is high quality and not excessively over-priced (like music and software was in the past)

TheGirlWhoKickedTheVipersNest Tue 25-Mar-14 16:17:34

I don't do it myself but I don't see it as being as bad as theft either. I think the distinction is as squoosh said, you're not actually causing the original owners to lose money, apart from the money that you would have paid if you'd bought it - if it's not something you would have bought anyway, or for example a TV show that you could have watched for free, then no-one's losing out.

To be honest, it doesn't really matter on a practical level whether it's right or wrong - realistically it's not something that's going to stop happening, and people involved in the music/film industries etc are going to have to find other methods of funding their work than expecting people to buy it. I'm not saying that's right but I do think it's inevitable, tbh.

OddBoots Tue 25-Mar-14 16:19:58


The time of the people making it has still been spent, the materials in heating and lighting the office they are in, the marketing of the product, all those expenses have been paid out so I really don't see a distinction, it is theft and if you steal it you are by definition a thief.

I'm sure some would claim they wouldn't have bought it so the company hasn't lost your money but that doesn't add any moral value, if you wouldn't want to buy it you have no right to steal it.

RiverTam Tue 25-Mar-14 16:21:52

yes, it is, but so many so-called law-abiding people I know are merrily illegally downloading Game of Thrones or whatever with nary a second thought. And they don't like it if you point it out...

caruthers Tue 25-Mar-14 16:22:08

The world went digital because these people designed the digital world and wanted to profit from it.

Personally i'm not in the least mithered if someone downloads something illegally as long as it is not illegal content.

If everyone paid for everything online they'd have a template ready made to charge us an arm and a leg for a service that is now entrenched into our lives.

Sixgeese Tue 25-Mar-14 16:24:32

It is still theft whether you steal jewellery or software.

My parents wrote and sold Educational software for about 5 years (my Dad was a Computer programmer and my Mum a Teacher), people buying from them wouldn't have known if they were a huge company or a couple of 50 year olds working from their spare bedroom. They used to get calls from customers on Sundays or midnight from people who expected an answer phone in an office.

It was really hard work, after the 5 years they sold the software to a huge educational supplier (who promptly increased the cost), but it has definitely coloured my opinion, as some people phoning the 'help desk' had pirated software, as my parents had a list of all the schools they had sold to, and so had directly stolen from my parents.

SquidgeOps Tue 25-Mar-14 16:26:52

Those software designers didn't start on that rate. Some are someone's DCs fresh out of uni.

It's not that I don't want contrary opinions. It's that I don't put much stock in the opinions of those who approve.

Beeyump Tue 25-Mar-14 16:27:49

'You wouldn't steal a car,
you wouldn't steal a handbag,
you wouldn't steal a television,
you wouldn't steal a movie....'

That used to freak me out a lot.

WhosLookingAfterCourtney Tue 25-Mar-14 16:28:39

I think it's different because there are infinite copies of files, no cost is incurred by making extras.

It's sad that the music industry is suffering, and I don't know what the answer is.

Morgause Tue 25-Mar-14 16:30:46

It's nothing new in the 50s and 60s people used to tape albums for their friends. I find it difficult to be bothered about. If I really want an album I buy it on CD, I like the inlays and art work.

But I have some copied stuff on my iphone - so shoot me.

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