Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of.... Game of Thrones Episodes?

When you think of pirates, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Some may think of the classics like black bird who "sails the seven seas looking for treasure and plunder" while others may think of pirates that "act silly and have long dread locks and always ask where the rum is". These pirates aside, there is one other type of pirate that sometimes gets forgotten by the not-so-technical of people. Some may even debate or even think these people are pirates at all. I am talking about the so-called pirates of the internet: who "pirate" different things off the internet like movies and music.

But the question I want to ask is why? Why do people pirate things off the internet? Piracy has been a common practice since the early days of the internet, and it would become a big thing that would change the very nature of the music/movie industry after Napster came out in 1999 which made it easy for everyone to download music for free off the internet (or i guess "pirate" it off the internet).

One of the obvious answers we can get as to why people pirate is because of the cost of such items. If given the option of going out to a store and buying a $29.99 Blu-ray or staying at home, finding a Torrent (the name for a file that contains the content) of the same movie at 1080p for free they will almost always go for the free option since they don't need to spend money. But I feel like it is not as cut and dry as that.

There are a lot of factors as to why people pirate, sure stuff being free can be one but that is not the only reason. Many scientists, economists, and psychologists have been pondering this question, one major reason is the digital nature of the product, as this article explains: "Research into the matter suggests that many software pirates steal programs regardless of the software's price tag. The economic factor provides the pirate with a means to justify his or her actions but it isn't a real motivator. Studies suggest that people view digital property differently than physical property. They don't place as great a value on software as they would a physical object like a car. In addition, they think that stealing software isn't the same as taking a physical object because they're making a copy of a program rather than taking a physical object. Because they perceive software to have less value than physical objects, stealing software doesn't raise the same ethical concerns as grand theft auto" (Crowell, 2009). We are taught from a young age that stealing is wrong, but one thing that we did not have back then that we have today are advanced computers and P2P (peer 2 peer) torrenting which is mostly all the time all digital. I think this article makes sense in the fact we do not place high value on purely digital content and thus we see it as okay to pirate it as there is an infinite amount of the digital item to go around unlike physical ones. Another factor I think as to why they do it is because of the lack of risk involved, think about it: what do you think would be easier to get away with? Steal a car? Or steal a music CD off a website from inside your home?

Another reason as to why people pirate I think is because of the company's implantation of various forms of DRM or Digital Rights Management. It is kind of hard to explain what it does, and it also comes in a variety of different ways, but bottom line it is a part of the software which tries to hamper people from taking the product and re-selling it or limiting how many times you can "activate" a product. DRM sole purpose is to place restrictions on the consumer, the person/people who have bought the product legally with cash. In a way the consumer sees this as themselves being punished for legitimately purchasing the product and is seen in many peoples eyes as anti-consumer. Sure, DRM may stop people from pirating it, but then again, it will ALSO drive these people to pirate content in the future or pirate the SAME software that has no DRM. Usually what happens is if a product has a very bad form of DRM people will try and "crack" it and put it up on BitTorrent sites and people instead of buying it will go to torrent it as it has no DRM on it. So in a way, DRM does more harm then it does good as it can be a gateway to torrenting.

Look, I'm not saying it is okay to pirate stuff, it is steal illegal and I believe that people deserve to be compensated for their work, I am just saying how corporations while in the pursuit to save their money have done more harm to themselves then good and has turned loyal customers into people who would pirate the same software to avoid the DRM of the products they put out. So piracy is a product of a lot of factors and is something that can't be blamed on one sole reason as it is usually is a combination of various different factors based on each individual.

Also, I really recommend taking a look at this article that I linked earlier as it is a pretty good read about why people do pirate.

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