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Piracy and the Entitlement Mindset

In reading a bit about “Mega,” the new site/service launched by alleged pirate Kim Dotcom, I did something that is really against my better judgment: I scrolled down and read through the comments posted in response to some of the articles.

As an employee of an anti-piracy service, I must say that there are few things more disheartening than reading comments posted to ANY story about copyright, content piracy, or related subjects. On the occasions when I peruse them, I find myself clasping my hands to the side of my head and screaming “WHAT?!?!” at the monitor as a I read (which is probably a pretty disconcerting habit from the perspective of my nearby coworkers, come to think of it).

This morning, I ran across a number of real head-scratchers in the comments, most of them being the sort of cliche, juvenile defamation one often sees/hears directed at “Big Content” or the “MAFIAA.” One comment in particular stood out for me, not because it was the most outlandish (it can’t hold a candle to the seemingly serious calls for murder of Hollywood studio executives, various rights-holders, Congressmen and judges), not because it was the least coherent, but because it is sadly representative of the entitlement mindset that is all too common among consumers when seeking to justify and rationalize their own acts of infringement.

The article the comment was posted in response to was a piece by Pat Pilcher of the New Zealand Herald, about Kim Dotcom’s five-point prescription for ending piracy. That plan, according to Pilcher, is as follows:

1. Create great stuff
2. Make it easy to buy
3. Same day worldwide release
4. Fair price
5. Works on any device

The list itself is not entirely without merit (except for the fact that, as the New Zealand recording industry association RIANZ soon pointed out, the music industry is essentially doing all those things, and online piracy of music remains rampant), but it’s also naive to believe that following Dotcom’s recipe would really eliminate piracy. It’s also telling that the list says nothing about addressing existing piracy through DMCA take down notices and/or the courts — although I suppose it might be understandable for a fellow in Dotcom’s current position to avoid mention of the merits of intellectual property rights enforcement.

Here’s what one reader (identified only as “CS”) posted in response to Dotcom’s points:

Highly commendable.
It would most likely happen as long as governments keep their beaks out of it.
I tried to buy a new album a couple of months ago but they wanted me to wait 2 or 3 days to buy it here!!!
So I downloaded it for free.
As for the artist he toured here and I bought over $1500 worth of tickets so even if I were to have a moral problem with it I don’t. His problem for not releasing it in a way it was easily able to be purchased. I will buy some fruit with his 5 or 10 dollars.
Kim is dead right once again.
Obama and his Hollywood cronies are bad news.

What kills me about that comment is the author’s apparent belief that any delay in delivery of the new content he desires is an iron-clad defense of his subsequent decision to illegally download the content, instead of waiting a trivial amount of time to obtain it legally. They wanted him to wait two or three whole days? The horror!! Have these greedy music industry suits no decency?!?!

It’s nice that this person claims to have purchased over $1500 worth of tickets to the same artist’s concerts (a claim I find dubious at best), but to justify the illicit download by decrying a two or three day wait…?

Wow. Just wow.

Note to self: Stop reading comments on articles about piracy. Instead, spend the time doing something more uplifting…. like getting a root canal.