We Are All Criminals

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DeepBlueMorocco

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What follows is a short stream-of-consciousness piece I wrote this evening after becoming increasingly frustrated by how candid I have to be when writing/speaking about my media library.

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We Are All Criminals

Music is inherently a social system. Music scholars, historians, archivists, and an entire generation of self-made cultural custodians need to share their musical experiences with one another. This sense of community gives substance and shape to an otherwise formless and stagnant medium.

Unfortunately, the copyright industry has crippled that facet of social development with the legal construct of Intellectual Property, effectively criminalizing hundreds of millions of people for the way they consume their media. Avid fans of an artist, composer, or an entire musical movement must reserve their discussions of said works to private and exclusive conversations between trusted parties lest they expose the unsanctioned methods by which their content was acquired.

As a music blogger, I desire nothing more than to share my artistic discoveries with like-minded critical peers with whom I might find inspiring conversation. There are many such communities on any number of social networks, but my work in large library management would instantly raise red flags in terms of the legality of my projects. Resultantly, I must resign myself to closed, outsider communities where such activities are commonplace and accepted as the norm. It's a terrible shame for all the shared knowledge that is lost in this resignation.

The vilification of file-sharing participants paralyzes a fundamental function of musical discourse. A listener may explore works in the privacy of their own home, but relating those discoveries for the purpose of contextual elucidation is risky or at worst, incriminating. Instead of sharing and developing our understanding of the arts, we spend our days suspicious and silent in chronic culpability.

We are all criminals. We are guilty of sharing. And confined to the dark, our culture is paying the price.

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I will pose the question to the community - have you similarly had to curb your public speech about your own media libraries? And have you found any specialized-interest communities where file sharing is accepted?
 
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Joe

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I was happy I bought a book for $X. I came home..

Me: Hey dad, I bought this novel. Wanna read?
Dad: Sure Joey, send it to my phone. I will read along the way, just packing by backpack. See you next week.

*Me spent another $x to buy digital version of the same novel for Dad's Kindle.*

Joe: Hey Mon, I bought a book you might like. Just don't tell Chadler about it.
Monica: Is it porno? If yes, you better watchya.
Joe: Oh no, it's an interesting novel you might like.
Monica: Alright, just send to my iPod. I will listen while cooking.

*Me spent another $x to buy an audiobook of the same novel.*

Having a coffee in Central Perk.

Monica: Hey Joey, that was a interesting book. Why don't you share it with others?
*Chandler, Pheobe, Rachel & Ross looking right at me*
Me: ..Don't look at me like that. I don't know I think I can't do that. DRM and Eyes everywhere, if found I will sued. Sorry guys!

PS: I hate being a celebrity, and it's all because of Days of our Lives. Hope I would be a pirate in my next life. Not because I will get things for free but instead I want to be free from all these mechanism you made to bound. :jollyr:

Now, Warner Bros Studios don't sue me for using FRIENDS tv characters name here.
 
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Ethenred.

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I will pose the question to the community - have you similarly had to curb your public speech about your own media libraries? And have you found any specialized-interest communities where file sharing is accepted?
No. I haven't ever made a secret out of the fact that I do pirate a lot. And yes, I've had to deal with my fair share of criticism for it. And still, I don't see myself as criminal in that regard.
 
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Wolverin3

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I do not see myself as criminal (certainly the MPAA/RIAA do). What (I feel) it is that this is a failure to capture and capitalize the 'value' (to consumers / me).

I do not want to pay for 200 other channels I 'need to' subscribe just to have ESPN. Or incur $30 more in expenses because I want to watch a new movie while I have a perfectly good sound system and tv at home.
 
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Sk1llSh0t

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I am a criminal. I agree we are all criminals in the strict sense of the law.

In the spirit of my actions, I don't see myself in that light however. Content I enjoy, I will buy. I don't keep content around if i don't own it. I keep it until I have watched it and I remove it from my drive afterward if it is not worth buying.

For all parties involved (myself and the industries that provide the content), this is more profitable than if I would simply stop pirating. I stop pirating, then they are getting none of my money. I won't pay for something I can't experience first. I like to test drive the car before I hand my money over to drive it home with me. Same principal applies here.

I am a law abiding citizen. So to label myself a criminal in the strict sense of the word hurts a little.

But when it comes to antiquated laws being applied to modern technologies, I'm not going to blindly adhere to the strict sense of the law.
 

Phantasia

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I do not think of myself as a criminal.
I really like to use games as a good example of what I do with the material I download.

Download X game. Install, try it out. Don't like? Uninstall and never ever think about it and for sure no purchase from me. There's a lot of games coming out, practically unfinished, bugs, you have to wait for 0 day patches (stupidity)... Those are a waste of good money, especially since the price for games is madness nowadays at release.

Do I like it? Play through it a bit more. Upon reaching the end, I make an assessment of the fun factor it provided, number of hours, experience, story, vs the price of it on release.
If I really like it and find it is worth the price of release, I put it on my list of things to buy and end up buying it to support the industry.
If the experience is only mediocre or something like that, I just wait for the price of it to come down and support it that way.

As to the matter of hiding my pirating activities... It really depends on the audience. Closest people know that I download a lot. I really don't make a fuss about it in public, but neither do I hide it.
 

Klatt

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I don't openly advertise my torrenting activities, but those who know me well are aware of it yet not concerned about it, other than the fact that they think I spend too much time on the computer.
I also remove the tags off my mattresses, so I guess I am a criminal.
 

gs83

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We all love pirates and here is TPS I think it's so natural. What she said Britney? 'Mama I'm in love with a criminal' :D
 

captaincold

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Xmm sometimes i feel like i egoistically steal from industries,whether that being movies,tv,music etc.

From the other hand,it is actually not something illegal in my country,at least officialy.And i have thought many times about it.Its always like a circle for me: i may not pay for "this", but i might eventually end up buy " that",because i had the chance to taste "this" etc for free.

I may actually take advantage of piracy for my enternaining,well-being and way more things,but in the end of the day,i feel like we are not part of the problem.I strongly consider that,by promoting free digital content,we just contribute in marketing .

Not to mention that piracy is not always safe,from a security aspect.So may see more and more people escaping to conventional methods,like usenet.

Tricky subject,for some is legal,others totally illegal,though we should just emphasize on the benefits of it.Even antipiracy groups.Even companies that think their interests are violated.
 

ZebTM

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It's a little difficult because BT is a such a big part of how I spend my free time and it's not something I can talk about to someone who I just met which makes me come off as less involved in things hobbywise then I actually am.

As for being a criminal, I absolutely see myself myself as a criminal. I live in the US and I'm breaking federal copyright laws on a regular basis. I don't believe the laws are right, but that doesn't make me not a criminal.

I hate the US legal system and don't believe that legality=morality so that frees me from having to do the mental gymnastics to think im not a criminal that so many in the BT world seem to engage in. It actually actively pisses me off when people on tracker forums shit on drug users/dealers for the sole reason that it's illegal when they have hundreds of torrents seeding on that site alone.
 

Silk186

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It's a little difficult because BT is a such a big part of how I spend my free time and it's not something I can talk about to someone who I just met which makes me come off as less involved in things hobbywise then I actually am.

As for being a criminal, I absolutely see myself myself as a criminal. I live in the US and I'm breaking federal copyright laws on a regular basis. I don't believe the laws are right, but that doesn't make me not a criminal.

I hate the US legal system and don't believe that legality=morality so that frees me from having to do the mental gymnastics to think im not a criminal that so many in the BT world seem to engage in. It actually actively pisses me off when people on tracker forums shit on drug users/dealers for the sole reason that it's illegal when they have hundreds of torrents seeding on that site alone.
A couple friends call my the 'torrent king', not even joking. I don't hide it at all. It's not like the police are going to come to my door. I do upload content but don't want to get into encoding or anything that would significantly increase my liability like uploading new releases. I don't post about my activities on facebook or anything stupid like that but I don't have separate e-mails online and online identities either. If I become concerned I will get a seedbox or VPN.
 

jammyone

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Nothing wrong with certain types of criminals anyway. Not all criminals are the same. The type of law you break makes a difference. Steal bread to feed your family = extra long vacation in the sun :p

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!
 

ZebTM

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Nothing wrong with certain types of criminals anyway. Not all criminals are the same. The type of law you break makes a difference. Steal bread to feed your family = extra long vacation in the sun :p

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!
I can agree with this to extent, the metric I use is if you are harming other people that is bad...I would never defend a child pornographer etc. And I see a need for the law to exist to deter that type of activity. but piracy, or say buying drugs or dealing "safe" drugs like weed I think someone is not a bad person for breaking those laws...and on the other hand if you are harming people without breaking the law you are still a bad person!
 

LadyCuddles

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I find the subject very interesting, mostly as we all draw lines in the sand, saying and using different words. This seems to justify, and in many ways, rationalize, what we do. Yes, it is illegal. Yes, it is against copyright. Yes, it is bad, and in all intensive purposes, organizations have been created to dictate and police it. But, if we consider just the word filesharing, that is actually used in legal areas. Like distribution of Ubuntu, Debian, and even Microsoft uses filesharing (legally).

We all know what we are talking about here though, and those above mentioned avenues are not within this subject we are speaking of. People exceed the speed limits on freeways all the time, and when they are pulled over by the policing authorities, they still play the dumb card and respond "what seems to be the problem?" We know what we are doing, and we know its wrong because thats what the "policing" authorities tell us. In the case of "pirating", the same is true. We know its wrong, because those people who have been caught, and those "policing" authorities make examples of us doing it. In many cases, we dont get caught, or just haven't been caught "yet". Doesn't change the fact that if you drive 100 MPH on a freeway with a posted speed limit of 55 MPH, isn't illegal (because it is), and if caught, will be heard responsible for excessive speeding.

In the case of some artists, and/or groups, in the music industry, many have taken a free distribution method. So, filesharing in those instances, is very much legal. Copying, and then distributing that copy, even if you purchased it, to those who did not, is illegal. We have this ingrained in our heads, and we know the rules. But, as history has been quick to point out, many times, a rule is sometimes stupid, or not able to be enforced. In the case of not being able to be enforced, people tend to break it to the point the rule is almost forgotten. In the issue of a rule being stupid, many times it is broken to prove the point that if someone is going to enforce it, it may never go anywhere. We all walk the lines drawn between not being caught doing it, or skirting the posiblity that it may not be enforced (at our level). Risky, but we do it.

Am I a criminal? Yes, but there is a lot of grey area between black & white, when it comes to the subject of filesharing.
 

curtis07

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I've actually been moving slowly towards legally consuming media. I began with music when Google Play offered a reasonable service at a reasonable cost. Now my music library is 100% legal. I also stopped downloading movies and started using Amazon, Netflix, HBO, and my Blubrary (I just came up with that portmanteau and hope it sticks). I'll never get there with TV, though.

That's not to say that my movie collection is legal, though. I've ripped them all with Handbrake in H.265 and put them on my Plex server. None of that is legal. But I own the discs. I feel I've done my part there. I just ignore the rules that actively screw over their members.
 

LadyCuddles

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The way I see it curtis07 curtis07 you are in the grey area. Many have said, once a pirate, always a pirate. Anyway, for some reason, this used to be something in that grey area back in the days and I don't hear it mentioned anymore. Used to be, like in the issues of software, when you bought software, you were "entitled" to making "backups" of it for your own protection. Haven't heard it said much since then, like it doesn't matter anymore. I'd like to think that goes for "anything" you purchase. Movies, TV Show Season Packs, Software, and audio CDs. This isn't piracy, its protecting your investment. For the price you pay for it, you should be entitled to keeping it safe and at least have the option of backing it up.

I remember when I first purchased my very first audio CD. The price was unheard of in todays prices. The quality was at best analog to digital, and as I came from the older technology of audio cassettes, my car tape player was notorious for eating them. So, when that CD stopped working, I went back to the same store I bought it at, and demanded they replace it with a new one. As for my days in cassette tape, not one cassette got inserted into my cars tape player that didn't have at least two backup copies of it.

I once said this, and it makes sense to me, maybe not to any of the "legal bulldogs" who police the piracy World, but, I make backup copies of "everything" I have, and choose to save those backups on an unsecured, cloud based, fileshare. This location gives me the ability to store, and retrieve my backups anywhere, and anytime. Just so happens, it also being unsecured, gives other people access to them as well. Hey! I'm not perfect. LoL

So, may be I am a Criminal, but don't crucify me for the fact I choose to store on unsecured cloud storage. Even that statement can be seen as more a bad choice, and not criminal though. To split hairs here, it may actually be a secured cloud based storage, but could have been hacked. Is that my fault? [giggles]
 
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