Here’s an interesting article which debates this topic.
Downloading is “stealing”
So… you know that incredibly annoying anti-piracy trailer that they keep putting on DVDs? The one you can’t fast-forward or skip past? The one that seems to be on ever-more DVDs these days?
It’s got a lot of flaws… the fact that copyright infringement isn’t theft by any legal definition known to man; the fact that they’re comparing civil and criminal offences (apples and oranges, anyone?); but more than anything else, it’s got the flaw that pirated movies don’t include the stupid bloody thing so the only people who are forced to sit through the fecking “It’s a crime” crap are the ones who bought the damn DVD in the first place.
You have to wonder who came up with the idea of targeted advertising that specifically doesn’t reach the parts of the population you want…
So. My generic view of pirating - movies, music, or software - is that I’m against it. For a lot of reasons. Primarily, it’s because I believe in supporting creators: If you like something enough to acquire your own copy, then you should give something back.
But I have done it a few times. I’ve downloaded a few bits of software. Why? Because I didn’t want it, I just needed it temporarily. e.g. If some annoying company makes it impossible to access a file’s contents without using their software, I have no problem with grabbing said software to get around the problem.
Mostly, tho, I’ve done it because it was the only way. Take an old favourite TV show of mine: The Greatest American Hero. Loved it when I was a kid. But it wasn’t available on video or DVD, at least not in the UK. So I had no problem with finding it online to watch it. Now that it is available on DVD, I have the complete set. I have no problem with a company demanding that you pay for its product, but I do struggle to see how they lose money when you obtain for free a product that they won’t sell you…
So even though I don’t make much use of it, I do like knowing that the option of piracy is available. “Power to the people” and all that. I don’t think it should be used to just leech off creators for free; but I do think it can be used legitimately to bridge the gap between “What I think is acceptable” and “What a multi-million profit-making corporation thinks is acceptable”
But as a general rule, if I want a movie, I’ll buy the DVD. So I find it annoying that DVD players insist on making you sit through the adverts and the anti-piracy crap and flash you that snide “Illegal operation” message when you’re trying to just get to to point where you can watch the damn movie you paid for. On the machine you paid for.
Despite the MPAA’s et al’s greatest efforts, it’s not illegal. It’s just annoying. That’s why FOSS DVD-watching software is so great. It’s designed by people who want to watch DVDs, FOR people who want to watch DVDs. Neither of whom has any interest in what Big Media wants anyone to watch. So they skip the cruft at the beginning and if you want to fast-forward or skip to the menu at any point, you damn well can.
So if you get annoyed by your DVD player telling you what you can and can’t do, consider getting hold of any cheap, clapped-out old PC; shove a nice simple Linux distro like Ubuntu on it; get VLC up and running, and for next to nothing you can have a dedicated DVD-player that will do whatever you tell it to, not what the movie-maker tells it to.
Not only will your DVD collection be massively less annoying, but you’ll get a nice satisfied glow at the thought that you’re annoying the people who created that godawful anti-piracy campaign.[/quote]