This is a hard post to write as I am still forming my thoughts on it. Traditionally I have always thought that piracy was wrong. Copyright infringement was a thing you shouldn’t do because it is stealing from the creator of that thing.
I have recently listened to Darknet Diaries on the Pirate Bay as well as watching PB AFK which has really challenged my thinking about copyright. I still wouldn’t pirate things on the internet most of the time. I just don’t want that stuff enough to warrant the hassle and the risk. Hollywood films are not that interesting to me.
I do however feel fine about obtaining something I already own or have access to in another form. For example, I already own Final Fantasy VII for the playstation one. I actually own it twice because I bought it twice due to one of the discs that went missing in the mid 00s. I want to play it on my PSP but I don’t feel great about buying another copy off of the playstore. I see nothing morally wrong with copying the data from my hard copy and playing that on an emulator on the device. Technically illegal but I am (in theory) fine with that practice.
Another scenario I faced the other week. I got a book from the library. I real, hold in your hand, made of paper book. It had words and everything. It was, in my opinion, printed very badly. The words continued too far in to the spine which was making it very hard to read. It strained my hands to keep it open. You know what would be easier to read? An ebook. They are all formatted the same. What is the moral objection to downloading the ebook version of those words and reading the story on that? Technically illegal but perhaps there is nothing actually wrong with that?
I also feel differently about old things. Drew Devault wrote some words about this which has influenced my thinking on this.
Finally I will say that it seems to me that copyright is advertised as protecting the creators but in practice it does more to protect the corporations who supposedly represent those creators. It is common knowledge that authors get very little from the sale of their books, while publishers make a lot. Isn’t it?
Actually finally finally. Do people get in trouble for pirating cooking recipes?
Well that was an incoherent ramble. Thanks.