Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Piracy vs. Pride of Ownership

Sharing?! HA!!! Don't make me laugh!  Do you own the album? NO?!! Then you're stealing.  No, don't try to justify your petty thieving with "moral implications" or that the music industry has been ripping people off for years.  You may feel you're right in a moral sense, but it's what's right LEGALLY that you have to worry about.  Don't like the Copyright laws? Then change 'em.  Lobby, protest, do whatever.  Too lazy?  Well, don't bitch when the governments of the world start cracking down on pirates.

   No, I'm NOT a hypocrite.  I was a software pirate for a LONG time.  I KNEW what I was doing was wrong, but I didn't care.  I didn't try to justify my actions, I KNEW they were illegal!  Of course, I can honestly say I've "seen the light", in a sense.  I now BUY my software, even stuff that's readily available on pirate networks  (Like the Voyager web browser for the Amiga. Man, I felt a sense of ownership after having registered it).  Hell, I would have registered Miami (Internet dialup software for the Amiga) the same day, if their damned registration servers were up!

   In my case, I turned over a new leaf for a few reasons.  Pride of ownership is first and foremost.  There's something to be said about owning a legit copy of something.  I like seeing "Registered to Shaun Wheeler.  Thanks for your support" on programs.  I like having people over to  the apartment and hearing them say, "Geez, you've got a lot of CDs".  Programmers and artists can only survive with our support.

   The second reason I've taken to registering shareware and buying legit copies of software and music is simply because I've started programming again.  I wrote a little script for Yam, the email client I use on my Amigas.  I call it "CJ's Quote-o-matic", and all it does is read from a data file containing quotes from songs, and adds it as a tagline to outgoing mail messages.  It's not an overly complex program, but it took me a few hours to write, and a few days to debug and improve.  I can understand and appreciate the effort that goes into writing large, complex programs, and I have to say I'd be right pissed if people were ripping me off by pirating my work.  I'm also starting to write songs in my head again, and may well eventually get around to arranging them and recording.  And if I ever decide to release these songs, they'd all be self-produced, self-recorded, and self-distributed.  No Big-Name Major Label, just me.  And if I found out people were pirating my stuff on KaZaa, Morpheus, the Usenet, IRC, whatever... I'd be pissed enough to put some of my internet know-how to good use! Heh heh heh...

But enough of that.  I just bought a couple of new CDs I wanna listen to.