Copyright Infringement : This Time Its Personal.


Thanks to Lavo, Kuma, nbetts, marc and a few others at Mactalk for keeping the the mammoth copyright/ piracy thread alive. Its definitely an issue that just wont go away for young geeks, and i feel i should respond again.My whole idea for this blog was to right about the issues i saw in the film and television production worlds, which i pretend to inhabit, and the geekosphere that i cant seem to leave. Its no wonder then that I’m obsessed with copyright, as its here both my spheres meet most often and fiercely. Looking over the viewing figures of my site though, its clear I’m not the only one obsessed with copyright. Up until yesterday my 5 page rant on Australian Televisions pathetic response to “Channel BT” was the most viewed article at Fulltime Casual. Then yesterday I posted a link to Harry Potter nude, and anything i had to say fell into the background. (note to self, post more nude celebrities)But back to copyright/piracy. Why is it such a big concern today? Nobody cared when i was a kid. Well obviously technology has made piracy so damn easy. An mp3 can be sent around the world a hundred times in minutes. A tv show is not that far behind for some lucky bastards with decent pipes. I can completely understand why the recording and motion picture industries are terrified about this, and for a long time as a hopeful content provide, i was quietly terrified myself.But then i realised my complete hypocrisy.I have been a pirate all my life. Hmmm, should i be writing this? Probably not, but its just too damn annoying saying “friends i know that pirate…””i’d never use bit torrent but apparently…” etc etc. I’m sick of continually trying to deny the fact that almost everyone i know has enjoyed a pirated film/tv show/song in their time. And i don’t think denying this will actually help change the laws surrounding copyright.To make laws that man cannot, and will not obey, serves to bring all law into contempt.–E.C. StantonLet me explain. I’ve never pirated anything to rip off an artist, or to fund terrorist sleeper cells. I’ve pirated for one reason only. I’m poor. I always have been. I’m not saying this for sympathy, because even though I’ve always been poor, I’ve been poor in Australia, and thats a damn sight better the some places you could find youself poor in. I have decent healthcare, a decent education, a decent HECS debt, overall, a fairly decent life.But still, as a child, i grew up in a single parent household in a Housing Commision estate. We simply didnt have that much money to spend on “luxuries”. So when i heard a song on the radio I loved, I didnt run to the local record store and buy it, I would sit up on the weekend for “The Hot 40 countdown” and I’d record it off the radio. Despite being a huge fan of music, I can only remember two singles and one album i ever actually paid for. All You Zombies by the Hooters, Blue Monday ’88 by New Order, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller. What can i say, i was a weird child.But that was my entire bought collection for the first 16 years of my life. But man, i had about three thousand mixtapes.Likewise with film. When I was eight years old, i left the cinema after a screening of Back to The Future and announced to my mum i was going to be a filmmaker. 21 years later i still tell her that, and I’m sure one day she’ll believe me. Did i buy the video of Back to the Future? Of course not. I taped it off the tv. Somewhere in Sydney is my childhood collection of VHS tapes. Its ana amazing collection to sift through. Most film have the ads removed, no small feet considering our vcr didnt have a remote. The films that don’t are probably more fun to watch these days for the cheesy commercials that pop up between them. I know I have a copy of The Terminator somewhere that is interrupted ever ten minutes with Greg Evens invite you to “Play Scrabble at McDonalds.”Either way, i never pirated anything for any other reason than because i couldnt afford to buy it. Sure, under all applicable laws thats theft. I’m not arguing it isn’t. But I’ve never been able to care all that much. Perhaps it was poverty, perhaps it was my damn lefty teachers, perhaps I’m simply immoral. But I just don’t care.Hmmm, this post was meant to be entirely different, but it kind of got out of hand, sorry about that. I think I’ll end it here for now and join you again in my late teens/early twenties, when I had a disposable income and bought many cd’s, dvd’s and books, just like a good little consumer is supposed to…

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