So What Counts as Piracy Anyway? And Should We Be Doing Anything to Stop It?

Good artist steal, bad artists borrow, right?  Then there are pirates.

Over at Techdirt, Mike Masnick pubbed a lengthy response to the Weekly Standard’s assessment of piracy. In summation, the Standard is in righteous indingation about the public’s blase treatment of piracy but Masnick points out the issue isn’t a moral one. It’s an issue of consumer choice:

VerBruggen says this as if “an illegal alternative” and “a superior alternative” are mutually exclusive. They’re not. And that’s the issue. History has shown, time and time again, that infringement is a way for consumers to express that they’re not satisfied with the official versions and have found “a superior alternative.” That the said alternative is “illegal” is an issue, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the best response is a legal one.

If you haven’t read Valve’s head Gabe Newell said about piracy, it’s certainly relevant here: 

We think there is a fundamental misconception about piracy. Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem. If a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24 x 7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate’s service is more valuable.

He then goes on to point out that Russia has become one of their bigger markets despite other’s predictions that their sales would be savaged by privacy.  Read the rest of Masnick’s piece that gives a great outline of the remaining issues.

-Jamin Warren