Claim: Piracy isn’t theft. It’s like a big, magic store where you can get copies, but never remove the original


Piracy is not raiding and plundering Best Buys and FYEs, smashing the windows and running out with the loot. It’s like being placed in a store full of every DVD in existence. There are no employees, no security guards, and when you take a copy of movie, another one materializes in its place, so you’re not actually taking anything. If you were in such a store, you’d only have your base moral convictions to keep you from cloning every movie in sight. And anyone who knows how to get to this store isn’t going to let their conscience stop them, especially when there is no tangible “loss” to even feel bad about. It’s not a physical product that’s being taken. (Source)

Response: The problem with this view is the fact that the creator has a development cost that needs to be paid-off. If everyone treats piracy as a victimless crime, then everyone should be allowed to have free copies of everything. Given the large production costs in creating the media in the first place, this leads to inevitable bankruptcy for creators. This is the reason I support copyright — copyright is a strategy for the continued production of digital-media. The idea that piracy is always okay because it doesn’t remove the original is to ignore the economics of producing this stuff in the first place. It ultimately results in “killing the golden goose” – i.e. pirates get too greedy and act in their short term interest (killing the goose to get all the golden eggs) only to discover that it’s a terrible long-term strategy.

See: Why Copyright Should Exist: The Economics of Digital Media Creation

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