We're All Criminals

Human beings are so great at either ignoring reality, or bending it to make themselves feel better. The truth of it is, the majority of people whom own a computer steal things regularly. Even as I write this I find myself having to constantly fight the urge to feel that to steal a digital item is far more forgivable than walking into a shop and stealing a physical item. What compounds this feeling is that it is different, because when you steal a DVD there is one less copy of that DVD. When you stream or download a movie, you haven't necessarily taken something from the world. The problem with this line of thinking is that you are looking at it in regard to what you have taken from other potential customers, rather than what you have taken from the creator. In both scenarios you are stealing from the person or persons who made the content you are now enjoying. Why is that not enough for us to realise its a crime?

I Can't Afford It!

Then you do not get to have it. You have no inherent right to it just because you want it. I cannot afford to buy myself a Tesla, and so I don't own one. The difficulty in stealing the Tesla is not the only reason I have not yet stolen one. Having such easy access to illegal copies of things does not justify the crime.

I Wouldn't Have Bought It Anyway!

To take it you are by definition saying that it is worth something to you. It may not be worth the cost, but you are indicating that it is worth your time and attention, and therefore it has some value. The creator(s) determine the price of their work, you don't. There isn't a middle ground where you want it, but don't want to spend money on it, and can therefore warrant taking it.


That's what you sound like.

Many people have legal access to thousands of movies through services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime and still go out of their way to pirate the films they don't have. There is an innate desire within us to want what we cannot have.

I'm wrestling with the notion that this is not as big an issue as it seems, because it seems like a pretty big issue. We're moving towards a future where most of what we consume is digital. For all of the imperfections of the physical world, there was some order, and people weren't looting shops 24 / 7. In this new digital world everybody is stealing from everybody, it feels like chaos. Nothing is worth anything anymore, and we're going to lose a lot as a result. When the app developers I work with are complaining about people not valuing our app, and at the same time they are streaming Game of Thrones, I worry about our ability to compartmentalise and rationalise our wrong-headed actions.

I don't believe we can put the cork back in the bottle, and so we're going to have to find other ways to reward people for their art and content, but what the hell is a more useful reward than money in a world so obsessed by it?