I won’t try and hold myself up as some kind of paragon of virtue when it comes to pirating material. I’ve occasionally indulged in using a download site to get my hands on things that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to get.
Still, every now and again someone comes up to me and asks whether I’d like to get my hands on a cracked copy of Game X, or the whole first season of Game of Thrones, which neither my wife nor I have seen as we don’t purchase pay TV.
And I (mostly) say no.
The first reason is, despite my occasional lack of will, I stay clear of piracy in general. Now, I take the point of “try before you by,” but I also believe in “you pays your money, you takes your choice.” Sometimes you just have to take a risk with your hard-earned cash, and that, I think, is part of the point – you may be rewarding bad work with your money, but at least you’re still encouraging people to put the work in in the first place.
But then there’s the other point:
There are only so many hours in the day.
I mean, take one mate of mine. Fantastic guy, great sense of humour. He’s mad keen into sports of all stripes; I doubt there’s anything you couldn’t find that he could be an armchair commentator of. He downloads games, TV shows, movies, whatever.
Yet try and get him out of the house on a weekend (unless you happen to be close family) and it seems nigh on impossible.
It’s the one thing that always confuses me with people who take advantage of The Pirate Bay and the like on a regular basis. Where the hell do they find the time to watch / read / play all the things they’ve downloaded? Do they have lives at all?
Look, maybe it’s just me going off anecdotal evidence, but I feel as though the people who give Napster and BitTorrent such bad names are suffering some sort of consequence (beyond the the whole getting-caught business). Having downloaded so much stuff to watch / read / listen to, they must have to cram it into every available second in order to get through it all (before the next thing comes along).
So when do they actually shut all the noises off and give themselves a chance to find some equilibrium, some inner balance?
Is there a real worry that if you switch everything off for a while, you’ll start noticing all the ways in which (you think) you’re deficient, or not keeping up? That without something to watch or listen to or play, a legion of fears, concerns and worries will come crowding into your head and the only way to banish them is to play something louder?
Look, I know what you mean. I have enough trouble with worries about my job, my pay, my mortgage, my bills (notice the “my” there, like I don’t have a wife who shares those pressures too). You folks have seen the money-related posts on this web log. My closest mates know that I can stress out over twenty bucks like nobody’s business.
Yet I’ve got this huge backyard which I can work out my stress in, a house that I can maintain, dogs I can train, a lovely wife with whom I can just be with. They help keep me sane and happy and I don’t have to spend a cent.
Ont op of that, there’s the novel I’m working on, the interviews I’m recording. I have plenty of stuff to keep me going without needing to resort to piracy for entertainment, and half the time I don’t even feel like I’m trying.
That’s the other good thing about avoiding piracy:
If I can’t afford to have something, it usually means I can’t afford the time I’d otherwise put into it once I’d bought it.
Now there’s a thought for you folks. Instead of breaking a law (and yes, I know about outmoded selling models and I don’t have an argument with you there, but until such time as the law catches up I can’t see the point of chancing my income on some passing fancy) to get the magic boxes in your life (TV, PC, iThing, etcetera) to give you something to occupy your time with, how about you spend that time instead by looking around at what you own and finding ways to make something with it?
Are you non-plussed?
How much of your free time do you spend on being entertained (watching TV / movies, playing games, etc.)? How much do you invest in truly chilling out, and how do you do it?
What’s your take on the whole piracy issue? A misunderstood benefit? A plague on legitimate ways of earning money? Nowhere near as big a deal as some make it out to be?
Featured image sourced from MorgueFile.