“If you pirate something, it’s yours for life” [Comic]

There is a fierce and ongoing debate regarding online file sharing, popularly known as piracy. One component of the debate many people tend to ignore is the vast advantages of pirating content. As the artist of the following comic rightly points out, you will always have access to content you pirate as opposed to DRM-protected content you purchase. Check it out:

…Okay obviously what I’ve said above is a bit tongue-in-cheek. Anyone that knows me knows I don’t encourage piracy and never will. However, the comic artist makes a good point…

[via xkcd]

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9 comments

  1. Shava Nerad

    I’m just saying @ashraf, you are not — I think — serving your ultimate ends with your language around the issue. And this isn’t the first time by a long shot.

    I’m not saying you should stop writing. I’m saying you should stop using that specific idiom which you’ve used before and is not the connotation you *mean* to put forward.

    Because I think you have influence and reach, I urge you to consider rhetoric as a tool. You are going to be using it whether consciously or not. It’s always best to use it with art.

    It’s very unfashionable today to talk about using rhetoric in writing. It’s “inauthentic” — but the fact is that every writer uses persuasive fillips by instinct, training, or formula (the formula ones are the ones who make us cringe — marketingspeak).

    The best writers use rhetoric by training in a way such that it looks like instinct, and so move under the radar of the authenticity police.

    But really, it’s just an issue of proofreading for connotation for most of us to keep our writing consistent with our context and beliefs.

    I just hate to see people with activism in their hearts working against their own interests with their own language. As a professional, it grates — a good instrument out of tune.

  2. mukhi

    @Shava Nerad: never mind, everybody should be free to express within certain limits…and, dottech is very open to that, right ASHRAF?

    i am a scientist, not a linguist but i like your language since i am pretty much fan of beauty of variegated language. ^_^

    keep writing please…

  3. Shava Nerad

    @Mukhi – On the contrary I responded precisely to what Ashraf wrote, understanding the connotation of his language. I write for a living and I track the tone of his posts over time. I’ve worked in the field of online privacy and security, and I have a reasonable literacy in this topic and am deeply familiar with its rhetoric.

    I know exactly what I was responding to. Look up my resume if you like.

    My objection is equally exact: file sharing is not piracy and assumptive language (a phrase you might want to look up) indicating that it is harms the debate as to whether file sharing should be considered to be legitimate under any circumstances.

    It serves the forces that would rather see tracking in every packet, regardless of content, and that kind of escalation is not in the service of the idea that “information wants to be free” — which I think is where Ashraf leans.

    Unfortunately, extremism in the defense of liberty is a vice, as it tends to justify those who would tread on rights, privileges, and civilities and bring jackbooted order and control to obliterate our freedoms.

    So we all need to be civil and moderate in our language.

    Like I just wasn’t — see how you are reacting? Language is important. I’m not an extremist but I just got your adrenaline up by using one or two phrases. Just a few words.

    So, when I read a blog for a while and see the tone veer into dangerous territory for a while — where it doesn’t serve even the bias of the author — I sometimes feel obliged to comment on it (assuming I like and respect the author, and sometimes whether or not I agree with their bias ;).

  4. mukhi

    @Shava Nerad:
    “Please stop. Online file sharing is not popularly known as piracy.”

    please stop commenting without understanding the write-up. please don’t misquote him. ASHRAF said, “popularly known as piracy” (means people say, in general), and did not say, “online file sharing is piracy”.

    IMHO, piracy is a rather complicated term than what most people think it is. it has lot to do with T&C, and it varies from country to country, from group to group and so on. you have given good examples though.

    piracy may actually be referred to the materials that you are not entitled to use, modify or transfer without prior consent. unfortunately, if someone strictly adheres to this definition, he may not be able to deal with real life at all. in other words, none can claim that he has never done piracy in his life, knowingly or unknowingly.

    i even see pirates claiming “copyright” of the materials he creates, LMFAO.

  5. Shava Nerad

    “There is a fierce and ongoing debate regarding online file sharing, popularly known as piracy.”

    Please stop. Online file sharing is not popularly known as piracy.

    Online file sharing is done all the time in ways that are not known as piracy. They are done with files that are shared with the consent of both parties — for example, an email message that is sent between two email client is sent as a file, presumed to be only for the recipient (however valid that assumption may be) and is transferred from carrier to carrier in trust on its way to the recipient’s ISP. That is file sharing.

    Companies like Pando make a business of using torrents to fileshare copyrighted material like game programs or large data files to clients of companies all over the world. That is file sharing.

    Archive.org is a wonderful repository of public domain and Creative Commons licensed materials that allow the files to be freely shared under open or limited license (for example, they can be shared but not modified, or shared but must include information on the origin). And that is file sharing.

    This “piracy” you speak of is only a certain case where copyright holders disagree about the distribution of their materials over digital channels. It’s a large case but it is not all cases.

    By describing all file sharing as piracy you are dissing the work of groups like archive.org and Creative Commons who are working hard to liberalize practice and laws, and to educate the public on how culture can change the laws to better fit changes in technology.

    Please stop. I keep seeing this here and it doesn’t help your presumed bias on the topic to phrase things this way.

  6. Ed

    You know, I am old enough and have bought the same music SO MANY times over I think I am entitled to pirate !

    Seriously , I have gone fom buying music on vinyl, then 8 track tapes, then casset tapes, then CD, now I have to do digital downloads? I think not, the music industry has gotten more than enough of my money over the years.

    Those of you that download DRM content, not to worry there are some quite good DRM rippers out there I hear …….. LOL