Why do we pirate?

I was asked a funny question once in which the person said "Why do you buy original DVDs? Can get at the pasar malam for RM6 only-ma". This got me to thinking as I surveyed his living room which, not surprisingly, had pirated DVDs and VCD/CDs displayed amongst other things - Why do people buy pirated goods?

The most obvious reason of course is price - with knockoffs of originals selling at a mere fraction of the originals' price. With this alluring factor comes demand and with demand comes more piracy, thus we have a never-ending cycle that continues to flood the market with fake goods.

There are reasons why pirated DVDs sell so cheap. For one thing it relies on the work of others. By buying a pirated DVD, you have stolen a paycheck from the person who created the content on the disc. You have taken away the effort put in by the artwork designer that created the original cover and packaging for a cheap photocopy. You have thrown away all the hardwork of the staff at legal distribution and production companies. Not forgetting to mention, minisculed the hardwork of the hundreds (if not thousands) of people who work so hard on the film it contains just for 1-3 hours of your enjoyment. None of the money you've paid went to the actual people who deserved it but went into the pockets of pirateers instead.

FACTS you might not have known about piracy

  • Authoring something like a DVD can cost anywhere from US$10,000++. This does not include costs for obtaining copyrights and production of new materials (e.g. documentaries, commentaries), manufacturing and packaging as well as promotion and distribution.
  • Pirated DVDs may cost anywhere from RM3 to RM20 but the cost of each pirated disc? Maybe around 30 sen (maybe less or more depending on quantity). Buying a pirated DVD means you're probably paying for his third Ferrari car.
  • That RM100 Nike Shox was probably made in Vietnam by workers that earn few a sen a day (not saying that originals are that good either ... just better)
  • Piracy DOES feed into the black market. Watch the documentary on C&I channel and see how children (sometimes abducted) are shackled to sewing machines for hours at end making fake apparel for a few measly ringgit per day. Do you want to support this industry? What if it was YOUR child or someone you know?
  • Supporting piracy means attracting greed and greed makes man do the most despicable things. Worst case scenario occurs when piracy affects human lives (melamine tainted milk scare anyone? or killer cold medicine?) You wouldn't want to end up in the hospital suffering just because of faked goods would you?

Food for thought - if you buy pirated stuff, think of this REALLY HARD. How would YOU feel if someone stole from you behind your back? The act of piracy exists in many different forms and you might have experienced it before:

  • If you're a programmer, imagine not getting a paycheck because your colleague took credit for your work.
  • If you're a teacher, imagine giving classes and never getting paid for any.
  • If you're a software publisher, imagine a program you've toiled thousand of man-hours away being downloaded freely without your permission or worse being sold without you getting the profits.
  • If you're a student, how would you feel if your classmate copied your assignment and got better marks?
  • Would you be angry if someone wins a music competition with your composition?

There's a reason for the sticker price of a few tens of ringgit. It pays the people who work, just like how YOU receive a paycheck for the work YOU do. Don't deny them their means of livelihood and try not to support piracy of any form if you can. You don't want it to happen to you.

P/S: I might sound hippocrite, but this post does not mean that I myself don't buy pirated items. I just try to avoid them whenever I can. I most certainly am NOT going to pay RM1999 for something which I KNOW does not cost that much to make :D

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  1. So how about downloading? No middleman except the uploader.

  2. Haha...as long as its free then its fine with me :D

    I'm an ardent fan of Demonoid and Isohunt anyways.