If I write this blog or if I were to create a piece of art, I most certainly want credit for what I have created (and what is rightfully mine.) Let’s say someone were to copy and paste my work onto their own blog and then claim that as their own, in which case I can then rightfully say that that is considered stealing, and plagiarism. But stealing or theft means that something is taken away, so essentially one person’s gain HAS to be another person’s loss.
So if this anonymous blogger were to take my work and then ‘repost’ it as his or her own, would it really be considered stealing? I mean, at the end of the day, I still have my original copy so what was the ‘real loss’?
Would it then be considered stealing if his/her following was much bigger than mine and was able to create revenue off of ‘my’ article?
This has always been the question with piracy. Is it right? Is it wrong? Is it stealing? Is it moral?
Here, I will try to present both sides of this complicated situation without instilling too many of my own subjective biases.
First, let’s start with copyright. Copyright was and is a man made construct that was designed to protect an artist’s work. Now just because something is a social construct doesn’t necessarily make it wrong or immoral but it does show that it was invented at a certain point in time (and wasn’t always around or is ‘natural.’
Did Leonardo da Vinci have copyright for his work during his time? What about Einstein? Did he prevent people from accessing his theory of relativity without first paying him a small fee or acknowledging his greatness?
Is not the point of art to be spread around the world and to inspire and incite some new thought so that further art (and science, literature, geography, etc.) can be created?
Many advocates of piracy argue that it is a ‘victimless crime’ since nothing is truly lost. If I download an mp3 file from the internet, the original file is still there so there is no real ‘loss.’ It’s not actually theft if I take something and the thing I take is still there.
BUT, if I take something away from you and it removes the potential of me buying that, then one could argue that there is some sort of loss. My act of downloading an mp3 file (or a movie, or TV show, etc.) removes the possibility of me purchasing that file, thus there is a loss in potential revenue.
So from both fronts we can see justifiable points that point to piracy being good or bad. If one were to argue that art is meant to be shared and viewed free of charge then that would inevitably lead to the definition of art. What is considered art and what is not considered art?
What can of art can be ‘stolen’ or ‘copied’ and what kind of art prohibits these actions?
Could playing a sport be an art? What about MMA? What about diagnosing psychological diseases?
Why is it okay for me to copy Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook or Mighty Mouse’s (Demetrious Johnson) fighting style but not okay for me to ‘copy’ Tee Grizzley’s song?
In either of these situations, I can either capitalize on those moves and make a living with it, or I can simply enjoy it whenever I want. But why is one okay and the other considered illegal?
What are your thoughts on piracy and what do you think we as a society should do with it? Should we allow it to freely happen or should we implement stricter controls?