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Posts Tagged ‘piracy’

I tend to waste a good deal of time on the internet, and a chunk of that time is spent perusing reddit.com. Kind of a bulletin board, you might say, but that hardly covers it. A lot of people participate, and actually take up some causes. What I’m going to address today are two subjects which get a lot of “press” on reddit, and which are connected in my mind: file-sharing (piracy) and drug (mostly marijuana) use. My thoughts basically concern needs versus wants, and the advisability of knowing the difference.

PIRACY: I’m talking here about, mainly, musical recordings, movies, and video games. The “hive mind” (a term commonly used there) on reddit mostly sticks up for unregulated/unpunished internet sharing of copyrighted material without paying for it. I take the other side. If someone offers something for sale, either I buy it, or I do without it. Nobody “needs” to have a handy recorded version of any form of entertainment. It’s as simple as that to me. In my lexicon, it is theft. If one is starving, and has no money, or immediate prospect of any, there is some moral suasion to the idea of taking some food (although it is still theft) for survival, but that argument certainly wouldn’t apply to the latest song by Adele or whatever. I do not agree with the draconian fines/damages claimed by copyright holders in their battle against piracy, and the overreaching laws being considered/passed to protect the vendors of copyrighted stuff. If I steal a $.99 cent song, I don’t owe you thousands of dollars. I also don’t acquire a moral right to pirate your material, just because I think you are being too nasty.

DRUGS: If it were up to me, there would be no criminal penalty for possession or use of any drug. I’d allow all drugs to be sold and regulated like alcohol/tobacco. I think criminalizing drugs causes far more trauma (as well as government expense/lost revenue) than any potential harm which could be attributed to the drugs or their use. Having said that, I also don’t agree that the sometimes silly, often draconian, criminal laws and penalties fit the definition of the punishment fitting the crime. However, setting aside for the moment any claimed medicinal use of a drug, and any self-developed addiction, nobody “needs” the drugs which are illegal. They are just an indulgence. Just because someone wants to smoke pot, does not create a moral, or legal, right or privilege to do so.

I don’t believe everyone is entitled to do completely as they please. I don’t believe the proper form of indicating displeasure with existing law is to break it, consequences be damned. Just because I want to do something does not justify my doing it. If someone wants to take risks, they ought to be aware of and willing to accept the consequences. I certainly don’t agree that a voluntary decision to do something can reasonably be retroactively described as a “mistake” (the favorite word of convicted criminals these days). You don’t like a law, work to get it changed. Think the system is stacked against you getting that change? Then work on the system. Rich oligarchs have usurped the system and change from below is impossible (in your view)? Then just remember, what you want, and what you need, are not always the same thing.

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