Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Resist The Pull Of The Dark Side

I have to admit that my afternoon “GO” friends really look out for me. In the past week both Dawn-Marie and Christina have taken the time to both send me links to where I can find the “Star Wars” themed Mr Potato Head called Darth Tater, where I can get it for half price this week (Zellers) as well as collected an extra pair of the special Medium 3-D glasses for me. Thanks, ladies. I greatly appreciate the efforts you’ve made, and tip my hat to you.

The special Darth Tater spud and an overheard conversation on the GO train this morning has made me think about the trend in downloading movies. And here I’m going to reveal my personal bias about the phenomenon. I think the technology rocks, but I’m not all that fond of stealing.

Call it an unpopular opinion -- but it’s mine.

I’m reminded of, earlier this year, my neighbour bragging to us that for her son’s birthday, friends of theirs gave him a copy of Revenge of the Sith on DVD the day after it came out in theatres. I thought the whole thing was strange -- I mean, sure, it was a unique gift, and likely something that nobody else got him but, ultimately her friends were giving her son stolen pirated merchandise. I wonder if they’d have been as proud if they said, "I was too cheap to buy your son a gift so I pirated something for him," or "I slipped into Wal-Mart and stole this DVD for your son. Happy Birthday Austin -- oh, don’t mind those sirens. Okay, gotta go."

What makes one a crime and another a very socially acceptable act? I mean, besides how we've gotten so good at justifying things.

What makes me so nervous to voice this unpopular opinion? (It's not that I've ever been popular or voiced a popular opinion all that often, but still . . .)

Is it because I’m a writer and engaged in acts of creative expression? Well, it’s not like I actually make a living on my writing or can say I’ve ever really suffered from the theft of my work. But maybe I have a soft spot for the people who have worked to create the music, the movies, the games. No, I’m not sympathizing with the "big bad" money-grubbing industry executives who are part of our justification that the pirating and stealing isn't "wrong", but the thousands upon thousands of people that they employ in various degrees, and yes, even those beyond the directors, producers, actors and even writers. Won't there come a time when their own livlihoods are at stake?

Apparently, I’m the only one who has a problem with this trend. Call me old-fashioned, call me a nerd, you can even call me a hypocrite, because sure, I’ve burned a copy of a CD that I bought for a friend and had friends burn me a copy of something from their own CD collection, and taped vinyl albums to cassette (if anyone still remembers what those things are); I've played games on my PC that I copied from friends and I’ve even used my share of “borrowed” bandwidth when posting images on this site.

Sure, the technology makes it easy, makes it accessible. But we should know better, shouldn't we -- that the right thing isn't always the easy thing to do?

So while I’m surrounded on all sides by a society that finds pirating music, videos, games, etc as acceptable, I’ve been relatively steadfast in trying not to be lured to the dark side, at least not regularly. Sure, I've had my moments, when I've been led into temptation, but I try really hard to avoid it.

Besides, while I do look good in black, I don’t think I’d look all that good as Darth Mark.


Anonymous said...

Go Luke-Spud-Walker, may the tater force be with you. Please bring Darth Tater on the train.


Anonymous said...

Yukon - I am your Father!!!!!

Darth Tater rules.


Anonymous said...

Ok I'm sorry I suggested you steal a pair of 3-D glasses. I'm a bad, bad man.


(Those are tears of shame dripping down from my sideways face.)

Franny said...

Some people judge crime by the jail terms being doled out for it. Murder, corporate fraud, armed robbery - all ultrabad.

But video/audio piracy in Canada?

I think it will become "bad" when everyone starts to see SWAT Teams arresting millions of people because of their extensive "mixed cd" collections. (Don't laugh, it's coming. The BIG BAD record companies are working on it right now...is that a knock at the door?)

Anonymous said...


Don't feel bad about expressing your opinions on this...I agree, Internet Piracy is not good.

(Peter, go ahead and steal the glasses, they would probably go to waste anyways)


Virginia said...

Heey, so glad to meet another one of us rare ones! I am probably one of the few suckers to have PAID for downloaded music. (So what if I only paid $7.50 for a few songs, I still paid, didn't I?!) I don't own an iPod cuz it would cost me $150 to buy the pod and $6000 to fill it up.

Plus, you can buy dvd movies for eight bucks. For the time involved, I'd rather spend the eight bucks.

Anonymous said...

What I hate about piracy is paying to see a movie in the theatre and then being forced to watch a poorly made comercial telling me not to buy pirated movies. If I was going to buy pirated movies then why would I be sitting in the theatre?