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My Stance On Piracy

Note: This is a long and boring post. Ignore unless you have nothing better to do.

I read somewhere before that Malaysia is the third country in the world with the most amount of piracy. The first is obviously China. Hence, as a Malaysian, its obviously true that I have pirated, or bought, or used a pirated product before.

But we ALL know piracy is wrong/illegal. We all know that it is a form of stealing, albeit digital (note that I am referring to the piracy of movies/games/softwares/music). Apparel piracy is not exactly piracy, as anyone wise enough knows a fake Bally when they see one, and copies of design is plagiarism, not piracy.

Heck, yet we (Malaysians) still do them, and quite frankly, support them. And we aren't the only ones in the world.

As an avid gamer and a frequent reader of gaming forums, I often see threads getting tangled in arguments regarding piracy. So for this post, I aim to express a summary (albeit a long one) regarding the arguments/views on both sides of the rights and wrongs of piracy, and my personal two cents on them.

Lets start with the obvious. Piracy is wrong, and no one should ever pirate. It hurts the economy, and industry. Game developers, especially start-ups, small bands, start-up directors will be screwed, when they receive lack of support for their products of it is good. They obviously will not be motivated, nor funded, to make more products, if consumers buy/obtain illegitimate copies of their products. Hence, the industry will shrink, bla bla, yadda yadda.

I personally support this argument wholly. As a Computer Science major, I definitely would never want any softwares/games that I hopefully will develop in the future to be pirated.

Arguments from the other side regarding this is that, big companies/producers/blabla (think EA, FOX, BGM, Linkin Park, wtv) will still make a lot of money, even if a small amount of people pirate their products. So, the lose from piracy is negligible.

First, we gotta be clear that "a lot of money" and "small amount of people" are both relative terms. 1 million people out of 7 million people isn't a small amount, and 100 million dollars out of 1 billion is a lot of money. So regardless of the so-called size, the industry still lose money, and whatever companies, big or small, in it will obviously be affected.

Hence, this rebuttal is like saying that its ok for me to kick Jaspreet in the ass, since its so big and juicy. It's still kicking him in the ass, regardless of the amount of pain he feels.

Now from the right side of piracy. Piracy is ok, and perfectly legitimate, IF AND ONLY IF under certain circumstances.

One of these circumstances that I normally see is, the original is much too expensive. Looking at things relatively, RM200 for a Malaysian is a lot compared to 50USD for an American. So why must the Malaysian go all the way, when they can pay RM4-15 for something of equal quality, with less fancy packaging?

I have two view points regarding this.

First off, Entertainment Is A Privilege, Not A Necessity.
So what if you can't pay for the game? That just means that you don't have enough money for it. I would love to drive a Ferrari instead of a Wira, but you don't see me stealing one. I can still drive, and that's all that matters. You can't play a game you want? Watch a movie you like? Swing your head to some ecstasy infused disco bullcrap? That's YOUR problem if you can't afford it, the price does not warrant you the right to steal a copy.

Secondly, Entertainment In This Era Is No Longer Relative.

Ok, so you can't play a game you want now, you can't watch a movie at home, you can't listen to shitty music, cause you can't pay for it. Then wtf do you do now? With the world become flat and Americanized, people no longer play hide and seek and stuff for entertainment. Even my 7 year old niece is playing Age of Empires 2, and my 3 year old nephew understands the concept of Counter-Strike, and they both love Mulan to death.

So if these people who can't afford entertainment were to be told to f**k off, then what do they do? Stare at the stars for dates?

Then in these cases, what can they do for proper, modern, first-world entertainment if not for piracy?

Another thing to note is the lack of support, or subsidization of certain entertainment industries/companies (note: music, movies, games) when it comes to export of these overseas.

For example, notice how many people these days actually go for movies in cinemas rather than buying pirated DVDs anymore in Malaysia? (I know I do) That's cause it costs only freaking RM10, compared to RM15 for a DVD with horrible quality, and no surround sound system in your living room. FYI, a movie here in America is 7USD each, and the cinema here sucks dead donkey dicks compared to Malaysia.

Now, THIS is what companies SHOULD do to attract customers and stop piracy. They have to realize that direct conversation of currency is not the way to go, and not every country is a first-world nation. They also have to realize that even though they make less profits, they at least ARE making profit, and preventing support for piracy at the same time.

Which is why people are still pirating video games, because RM168 for Warcraft 3 is just insane., even though its 'only' 30 USD for Americans. Try dropping it to RM50-60, and I swear to God, we will see results.

Conclusion: I think that piracy is totally illegal in the first place, and it is not beneficial in any way. BUT, we can't blame consumers for pirating under certain circumstances, and it is these circumstances that industry leaders should
circumnavigate circumvent so that we can circumvent the problem altogether.(woo, that rhymes)

1 mad rant(s):

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  1. Comrade Cripple said...

    Piracy should be the way forward. Let's make piracy legal. Make a Pirate Party to rule Malaysia!!!  


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