Tuesday, November 22, 2005

What Makes A Pirate

Long long ago, I had a reluctance to buy CDs because they were expensive. I was but a poor college student then.

Nowadays, I don't want to buy audio CDs anymore because they might have malicious software in it. Or they have some other "copy protection" feature that makes the CD either too bloody inconvenient or totally useless to someone like me who likes to keep my original CDs unplayed and therefore unscratched, unmisplaced and unmissing.

I understand why record companies do this. All it did to me is just turn me off buying genuine music, perhaps forever.

While we're on the subject, sometimes I listen to these adds on TV and radio about piracy and how it's a bad thing and all that. Yes, intellectual property "theft" is not a good thing, in principle. Any moron knows that.

What I don't get is how some quarters paint people who download stuff off the net or make backups of their audio CDs or buy pirated CDs like they are some kind of criminal. No, I don't appreciate the guilt trip factor. It insults the consumer's intelligence.

Have any of these people wondered WHY people resort to downloading and buying 5 ringgit pirated CDs?

It's not because they deliberately want to deprive artists and others in the entertainment industry of their income. It's not because they purposely want to support the underground organized crime syndicates that produce the pirated goods. And it's not because they wake up in the morning and say,"Oooh, I feel like stealing today..." while booting up their DSL modems.

I dont' know about how it is in other countries, but in Malaysia, the reason is very simple. Original CDs are TOO BLOODY EXPENSIVE!

That is why people buy CHEAP pirated ones. Being considerate or not has NOTHING to do with it.

I don't buy the industry excuse that the prices are high because of the cost of promotion, recording etc is too high. It's high because some people, especially promoters and other middlemen are too greedy and too cowardly to slash profit margins and bet on incresed volume in sales that would result in lowering of prices. This is what I think.

Don't get me wrong, I do have a conscience. I do feel sorry for some of the less well known artists who need those CD sales to record more music.

I can't say the same about music execs who complain that sales are down and yet earn 1000 times more income than the average consumer. What does this excess wealth imply to me?

It implies that they can afford to fight pirates by reducing their profit margins instead of targeting school children and old ladies and threatening to sue them.

And yet have they taken this very proactive and practical step of reducing prices? Nope, at least not in Malaysia they haven't.

Why not? The answer is very obvious...

I have this sense that people who are either in powerful positions or in possession of great wealth or both have lost their pragmatism so much that they can't see the ground anymore and can't grasp reality. They've lost touch with the rest of the people.

So far, I have seen nothing that changes that opinion.

I mean, look at what politicians argue about these days.....

Here endeth the rant....

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