Arr, me hearties! I’ve been known to partake of the plentiful bounty in my 30-odd years, but as Nicholson said “never rub another man’s rhubarb!”, and that isn’t a bad idea. So is it really possible to straighten up and fly right? (and actually obey the mad, crazy-ass law?) Well, sort of…
I’m law-abiding in the same way that vegetarians eat fish. That means, I’m very principled, unless I don’t like it or it somehow makes my life just a little harder. Therefore, I copy (rip) movies which I own for my own use on the various devices I own. Obviously, I won’t tell you how to do this here, but since many of you are doing it anyway, it matters very little. You’re all breaking the law and you’re all going to hell. Oh well, change is as good as a rest isn’t it? Apart from the copy of “Loose Change” which I still have somewhere, this is the most illegal thing I (or most of us) do, and if you’re prepared to stand your corner against corporate bullying, it might not be illegal at all.
You see, because the law moves about as fast as an old dear in front of you in the supermarket queue during lunch hour, no-one really knows the boundaries of digital rights. Obviously, ripping commercial movies and selling them down the market is a no-no, but what about trans-coding for personal use? What if you give them to your friends or family? Well, I’m sensible, non-commercial and I don’t distribute movies. When I talk about “going straight”, I think I speak for most of us when I describe my “illicit” activities. There is provision for “backup” of digital media within usage rights, and I’d like to think it really should apply here. If it doesn’t, we’re all fucked!
But let’s pretend that the law isn’t a stupid nonsensical ass for a moment, and let’s talk about what Piracy really is. Piracy is when you obtain or sell some work which you haven’t paid for. That’s it folks.
I’ve always found the anti-piracy campaigns of movie studios and record companies absolutely hilarious, especially the “downloading movies is stealing” ad that came on before many DVDs I purchased. The fact that we use contentious ripping software to remove this “nagging” so we never have to see it again really says it all. When you try to fast-forward through it on the original disc, you get a “can’t do it right now” type message. Well you know what, it’s my disc and I think I’ll do whatever the hell I want. I won’t sit through ads, I won’t limit my enjoyment of the movie to its original format and I will decide how to navigate the disc. Leave it to the movie companies to piss everyone off, and well, there will be consequences…
In part two, I’ll talk about what really happens in the wild world of file-sharing, and your legal position when you use it. I also have some really nice things to say about Apple. Clearly, I must have been drinking.
The Average Windows Nerd
Image Source – Slate