Piracy and Illegal Downloads

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Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by ertyu »

Hard yes? Hard no? Yes for some sources of media but not others? Teaming up on subscription passwords -- for Netflix vs. for the Wall Street Journal? What's you personal policy and why? What are your lines in the sand?

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Re: Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by bostonimproper »

I've never downloaded pirated media onto my machine and avoid streaming sites that aren't sponsored by a major company. But if someone downloads a movie I want to watch on YT, I might watch it. Mostly I expect the platform to take down copyrighted content so I as a consumer don't have to navigate those complexities. Most of this reflects the old model of who'd get prosecuted for piracy. I'll also go out of my way to donate money or buy the content separately if I like some piece of content and want to support the creative team.

Never bummed off subscriptions, mostly because I don't want other people seeing my watch history. I try to watch as much content as possible during those two week trial periods (and a lot of times they'll send out additional trial offers to woo you back).

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Re: Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by Bankai »

I think there was a topic on this subject years ago where people started calling each other thieves. So yeah, very charged topic. Everyone has their own morality (as per H.Browne) so do what you want to do. I was in a firm no camp until reading a bunch of essays on the subject at mises.org. consider this: if you download something you have means to buy, you win at someone's cost (+1/-1). If however you have no means to pay for it (ie. You're in Africa) then it's neutral for owner but beneficial for you (+1/0). Some say that piracy makes content creators stop creating, but while there's probably more piracy now than ever before, there's also more content created than ever before.

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Re: Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by daylen »

Easy, just requires torrent application and VPN subscription to avoid repercussions from ISP (not free but cheaper than streaming memberships). Ensure VPN company is based in a county that does not force transaction information to be kept and that the company has no incentive to do so (PIA is probably a good bet). Some sources will be more challenging to find than others (depends on what is popular). YIFY for movies and shows; Piratebay mirrors for other stuff. Websites are periodically taken down but piracy is like a hydra (three more mirrors emerge). Risk is low; especially for leechers.

My ethical principles in this domain are something like:
1. Piracy is more like copying than stealing.
2. If I want a individual to continue producing content then patron or similar can be used.
3. If I like a book enough I will buy a physical copy.
4. Media produced by medium to large businesses can be copied without much harm to individuals.
5. Corporations tend to make deals with each other to help cultivate individual dependency on their products clusters, and piracy could be a [small] negative feedback to this by giving individuals an alternative to driving to a theater to pay $20 for soda, nachos, and a movie.

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Re: Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by Jean »

Steam stopped me from pirating video games. I stopped me from watching movies to.

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Re: Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by jacob »

I'm agnostic and also a hypocrite about it, because I mostly see this [freeloading] as a vast ill-defined grey zone. For example, I'm a heavy (very heavy) library user to the tune of $3000+ worth of materials per year. There is to me little difference between what a library does legally and what a pirate nest does illegally: They both provide content to consumers free of charge w/o compensating the content creators (beyond the first book in the library's case).

Being a content creator I am however also fully aware how lack of compensation changes the content thanks to Gresham's law. Basically bad content drives the good content behind the (pay)-walls. This is why books, for example, are turning into quickly-written advertising for the author's resume, speaking gigs, private member clubs, or personal consulting where access can be controlled. Ditto music for concerts.

I watched the adpocalypse on youtube and saw how it drove some channels out/back to a mundane job. I support about a dozen on patreon but I don't think patreon is the ultimate answer because compensation doesn't always reflect the value-add---such contributions are more life-support than support. Most people are freeloaders.

Ultimately consumers get what they pay for because that's what producers will ultimately deliver according to. There is a lag between the two and I think that's essentially what has been monetized over the past 10-20 years and creators are catching up to the fact that their business models have changed.

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Re: Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by 5ts »

Don't engage in any form, and don't really feel pirates are bad people. As an aside, I can't stand DRM so I will support non-DRM content (Humble Bundle, for example) any time I can. Not really worried about getting caught and I like to save money whenever I can, so not sure why I am a hard no.

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Re: Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by jacob »

To a large extent, I think the problems come from the internet and computing (costless copies) are replacing extant [legal] models and attitudes in unfair ways. Right now all the monies go to advertising and ISPs while extracting value from content creators. This is like paying for the water pipes and getting water five seconds after turning on the faucet after watching a brief commercial without ever paying for the actual water.

https://earlyretirementextreme.com/the- ... worth.html

I don't know how to fix it, but I do know how the online eco-system is responding to it. Eventually, you get Flint, Michigan.

How do you guys think this forum would change if you received a micropayment depending on how much time other people spent reading what you wrote or how many responses you got? One of the problems is that there's no clear best way to handle it and that any method such devised would change the system as people tried to game or just adapt to it---just as people have gamed and adapted to the one we're currently in.

Each measurement/ecology has its potential downsides for some species.

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Re: Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by Sclass »

Hmmm. I guess I’m paying for almost everything now.

I used to copy almost everything. It made a difference to my bottom line too. CAD packages were extremely expensive especially electronic design software and specialized compilers for embedded targets. Music, movies etc.. I don’t like to steal but it was too easy and I like saving money. I can add up thousands that I managed to save over the years.

Now I pay for almost everything. It is so cheap compared to before. I bought a CD at the $1 rack at my local library yesterday. It cost somebody $15 in 1996. I was a broke student back then so $15 was a lot of money. Now I paid market price considering the cost of digital downloads.

Even CAD tools are offered up free for non commercial use. Like Autocad Fusion 360. This kind of package used to cost $3000...or more.

So my line has shifted with the sand. My feet have moved to higher ground (no longer a broke kid).

I still crack DRM ebooks for a blind friend who needs small size audiobooks made using text to speech converters.

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Re: Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by basuragomi »

I think opinions on piracy vary with how one views the creator-consumer relationship and how one views a work as a product vs. an experience. It's a spectrum that closely relates to the authoritarian-anarchist political spectrum, so IMO there can never be a consensus.

In order of decreasing authoritativeness/control to the creator:
0: Some people see piracy as outright theft. The work must only be consumed within the creator's specifications.
- Product: Torrenting a movie is wrong because the creator wanted you to buy it.
- Experience: A chef forbids take-away boxes because the tempura will be less crispy than they want you to experience.
- Product: Sampling a song is wrong because the creator only wanted the melody to be associated with their song.
- Experience: Sharing the ending to a video game online is theft (this actually is a thing) because the creator wanted you to "earn" the ending.

1: Some people see piracy as sometimes justifiable. The creator suggests terms for consumption, but the consumer has a right to interact with the work.
- Product: Borrowing a textbook from the library is fine because you cannot afford it otherwise.
- Experience: Torrenting a movie is fine because it is censored or dubbed poorly in your country.
- Product: Torrenting a TV show is fine because it only airs when you are at work on night shift.
- Experience: Stripping DRM from an e-book and transcoding it is fine because the DRM renders the work unusable by your device.

2: Some people see piracy as always justifiable. The relationship the consumer has to the work is as important as the creator's.
- Product: Making an unauthorized print of your favourite painting is fine, because it inspired your entire career.
- Experience: Pirating a sports broadcast is fine because you are a supporter of the team and want to share the experience with your fellow supporters.
- Product: Pirating a computer game you played in your youth is fine because you have spent hundreds of hours playing it.
- Experience: Quoting large sections of the original work in a fan fiction/pastiche is fine because you have expended creative effort in generating it.

3: Some people see piracy as an impossible act. The only thing that matters is the consumer's relationship to the work.
- Product: Pirating WinZip is fine because you would otherwise use a free archiving program like 7zip.
- Experience: Representing someone's scenic trip photos as your own is fine because you saw the same thing and the photo merely reminds you of it.
- Product: Cross-breeding patented GMOs with your crops is fine because that's your standard practice with new varieties.
- Experience: Blocking internet ads is fine because you have the right to control what you consume.

Note that any of these examples can be justified by a stricter category's reasoning (except category 0), but not the other way around. I'd say that 5% of people are in category 0, 50% in category 1, 30% in category 2, and 15% in category 3. Ultimately people tend to take the least-hassle route to their consumption, regardless of their ethical stance.

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Re: Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by Seppia »

I don’t have too black and white of an opinion on this subject.
I almost never pirate new movies, for example, but I don’t have any moral issue downloading older movies that are hard to find otherwise and have passed on TV millions of times.
Many of the mp3s I have in my phone have been acquired illegally, but I own the CD of more than 95% of those albums.
The rest (usually one or two albums at most) is music I’m “tasting” that either gets deleted in a few days, or bought.

I try to use common sense but certainly my Italian blood makes me more morally flexible than someone coming from countries further north :lol:

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Re: Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by bostonimproper »

@jacob: You may already know this, but for e-books, libraries pay multiples higher cost per copy than what is available to individual consumers or are subject to per-checkout cost models. And the friction of picking up and dropping off a single physical book stymies distribution in a way that feels categorically different from digital pirating. So I wouldn't really say the two are equivalent.

In either case, I feel morally neutral about piracy. I think people should pay for art, music, content, etc. if/because they want to encourage more content creation. That said, the fact that many people will freeload on art, but would go without if they had to pay frankly indicates that it is not our highest priority, even if quality entertainment may be important for a "cultured" public. That might suggest, if one really wants quality art that is publicly accessible in the world, that they should treat it as a public good and support more public grant money pushed toward the arts (cue Mr. Rogers).

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Re: Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by Toska2 »

I was a fan of limewire in its heydays when I was poor. I bought a large collection of eclectic music because of it. I put it on my phone and computer. My computer got downsized to just a hard drive and google deleted everything off my cell phone. My piracy and legal purchases went down 95%. NPR in the car and silence at home. Okay some YouTube. Life goes on.

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Re: Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by ertyu »

Things I have 0 qualms about pirating:

(1). Netflix and other TV shows, Hollywood movies. Made by large multimillion corporations for the express purpose of providing brain popcorn to the masses. Ditto, Metallica songs. The latest pop-hit. Apologies to all entertainment company shareholders.

(2). Books which I would have bought second-hand. Author wouldn't get anything from me anyway. Also books which would be prohibitively expensive to ship to where I am or that would arrive here only with a lot of time delay.

(3) Material that I don't see as of sufficient value to justify spending on. TV shows and hollywood movies; also thrillers or crime fiction or whatever there designed to waste time more than actually enriches you as a person. If I had a choice between not having it and paying for it, I would choose to go without. Romance novels would fall into this category too. Popular Sci-Fi or fantasy, etc. (I am aware there might be some debate around the relative merit of the genres).

(4) Material that is not legally available for me to buy in my country - this is a no-brainer.

(5) I would gladly pirate the Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times. This might be more controversial. I know revenues are needed for quality journalism. I also think free access to quality information must be a right and should be paid for through taxes. I am also aware it would likely never be paid through taxes, at least not in the states. I am also aware that if it were paid through taxes, the gvt might wish to have a say, thus compromising the integrity of the information--but then, there is enough "infotainment" that I am not sure paying necessarily results in quality information either. Of all sounrces/types of media mentioned so far, a subscription to a quality news service is probably what I am most likely to actually spend on.

(6) Where I draw the line: that comic a college student makes on her Patreon. A local artist's music. Bargaining for commissioned art or otherwise being a choosing beggar with services / products by local small businesses - do not do it, it makes you scum.

In short, I would pirate, if able, from anyone who makes content specifically to get my money rather than to express or popularize an idea they are passionate about or to express themselves.

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Re: Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by IlliniDave »

Similar to some of the folks above, I don't download stuff that I suspect is pirated. Like someone mentioned, YouTube is maybe a gray area, but it's out in the open and content owners can readily have stuff removed. So something that's uploaded by a third party and allowed to remain for years (and typically generates ad revenue) I assume can be watched above-board.

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Re: Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by GandK »

The only thing I do that is theoretically sketchy is use TubeMate to download YouTube videos to mp4 and m4a files. Almost all of my downloading is stuff for my sons homeschooling, e.g. sign language videos and science fact songs. I do this just in case we're in an area with no mobile internet, so school is not interrupted by the fact that T-Mobile has no towers where we chose to park. And no, I feel no qualms about doing this. I will go right ahead.

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Re: Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by Cheepnis »

I haven't pirated anything in a long time. I've pirated very few movies/tvshows mostly because I don't watch very much of that media, but I have pirated lots of music.

I never really saw much philosophical difference between ripping 100's if not 1000's of CD's from the lbrary vs. downloading. I had an oink and later a what.cd account. Those websites were to me much more than a place to illegally get content. They were really archives of humanity's recorded musical output. I could go to what.cd and get high quality downloads of anything: obscure jazz records that haven't been in print for decades that are more or less nonexistent in the physical world, with many seeds taboot.

And with such a wide breadth of modern music to explore it was also a good way to check things out. I could get the latest record from some modern day niche jazz artist. If I didn't like it I didn't have to spend $20 to find that out and if I did I would always end up buying more of their output/attending their concerts and such. Exploring new media has become much easier because the producers of said media have far larger online presences than they did even 5 years ago, but downloading is how I did it back in late high school and college.

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Re: Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by Stahlmann »

herro my corporate/gov AI friend who ranks my/ur activity online :------DDDDDDDD

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Re: Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by steveo73 »

I have a VPN and access to all the e-books, TV shows and movies I and my family want to watch. It's one of the best ways to get a lot of value for little cost.

It also requires a certain IT skill level that not all people have. It is very ERE in a lot of ways. People pay who haven't spent the time developing the skill to utilise the amount of free products available today.

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Re: Piracy and Illegal Downloads

Post by ZAFCorrection »

The only things I pirate on the reg are papers and textbooks because I am too lazy and impatient to deal with the university VPN or interlibrary loan. Regular books are at the library. Most videos are available on some streaming service which can be cheaply subscribed to for some time. Video games can be gotten (and stored off-site as needed) from Steam or Origin. It seems most stuff is available cheaply if willing to wait. Analysis software for which I can no longer buy a student/academic license might be a problem in future. Or I could just start using free equivalents.

Pirating stuff seems to be the most obvious case where people come up with moralistic post hoc explanations for their preferences. Grandpa who barely knows how to use a computer opposes the thievery, while hacker Jane has a million excuses for why it is legit.

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