Internet Piracy Will Die (But Not in the Way You Think)

Ajey Pandey, Blogger

These days, there are countless stories about online piracy, its devious perpetrators, and oh, think of the poor media companies victimized by this horrendous practice! The “you wouldn’t steal a car” video is now infamous. There are Internet piracy cases popping up left and right. Anti-piracy bills like SOPA and PIPA have launched firestorms around the world.

Media corporations paint a nice picture, portraying Internet piracy as the scourge of cyberspace, carried out by petty thieves, sucking out any hope of making a living out of creating.

That is a fallacy. Those conglomerates are fighting against a culture shift. Their days are numbered, and a new system is taking their place – one that benefits both listeners and creators.

The companies are a relic of an era when creating and sharing media took far different forms. Back then, it was more difficult to create and, more importantly, share created works without corporation-level infrastructure. Vinyl, cassettes, and books are not very easy to publish and share out of a garage or basement.

Now, creating is different. We have digital music, YouTube, e-books, and a near-endless array of networks to share art and technology. One can create polished material, share it, and even make money, without corporations or piles of expensive equipment – and these new creators care far less about squeezing every last penny out of their work.

The electronic music scene is a good example. Pretty Lights literally posts his music for free on his websiteSkrillex, with his three Grammys, posted an EP in 2011 saying he would rather his fans pirate his music than not listen to it. Rusko has promised to release all of his new music for free. If they wanted to, these artists could quite easily crack down on piracy of their work – but they don’t.

And as traditional copyright fades, a new kind of licence is edging it out in small-scale creators, one that is more conducive to free sharing and creation: Creative Commons. Where copyright refuses nearly all forms of free sharing and derivative works, Creative Commons licences are more flexible, allowing for free sharing and in many cases freedom to create derivative works. The system works: Bad Panda Records runs quite successfully with it.

Internet piracy will indeed cease to exist – but not because of those media conglomerates. We will just stop considering it piracy, instead affixing a new name to free downloads: sharing.

Text from Essays About Life ( by Ajey Pandey