A Total Robin Hood Situation
Yeah, I should probably acknowledge the terrorist attacks in London, but if there's anything that ABC taught me yesterday, it's that 'if we don't show an old episode of "Who wants to be a Millionaire" with Meredith Viera shortly after 40 English people have been murdered, then the terrorists have won'. Peter Jennings must be rolling in his grave.
But enough about that as it has nothing to do with missing blonde girls from Alabama and is therefore not of any interest to most Americans.
Let's instead talk about Pirates. Not the 'Arrr!! Matey' pirates, but rather those 'yo ho ho on a torrent-search, plunderin' Grokster', rip the whole Bloc Party album before it comes out' pirates. A lot of people seem to have a big problem with them, callin' 'em thieves and accusing them of robbing poor artists who will have to now shamefully go back to the jobs they were doing before they became recording stars.
I'm totally fine with it. I see music and movie pirating as a natural reaction to an entertainment industry that has been engaged in robbing the general public for years. I feel like it's my duty to help put these greedy fuckers in check, and make people realize that because you have nice bone structure or can write a nice song (or, even more ridiculous, KNOW someone who posesses one of these qualities), it doesn't entitle you to live like a French Aristocrat.
Let's start with music. When CDs were first mass-marketed, burning a CD was an expensive proposition. All that new technology and crystal clear digital sound meant that buying music in this new format would have to be more expensive, about twice as expensive as record albums as it turned out. Since then, the cost of digital media has gone down by about 500%. You can now buy a blank CD for about 10 cents. So naturally, you would assume that record companies would want to maintain the same profit margins (give or take), right? Wrong. CDs cost exactly the same, and they now make an ungodly amount of profit for doing the same thing. That's not fair at all.
Same thing applies to movies. There used to be one way and one way only for a movie to make money, at the box office. Now there's instantaneous overseas saturation, video sales, pay-per-view, airline showings, cable television. For a movie not to turn a profit these days, it has to be a $200 million dollar, 9 hour epic about Hitler's rectum, and even then, you'd probably find an online niche market for it. So now that moviemaking is impossible to lose money doing and digital video gets cheaper by the day, you'd think their prices would plummet too, right? Wrong again. Go out tonight and try seeing a movie for under twenty bucks.
The entire entertainment industry suffers when the only people involved in it just see a way to make an awful lot of money really quickly. But there's no reason for entertainers to be paid millions of dollars and certainly much less reason for agents, managers, publicists, PR people, A&R Reps and record company execs to be paid just as much. Good art will happen regardless of how much money there is to be made in it (in fact, you could easily argue that better art would be made if all the greedy assholes were removed from the equation). So if the music and movie industries suddenly become not very profitable, it won't eliminate entertainment at all, it will just force the people out who had no business being involved in 'art' in the first place.
I realize these are all very shaky arguments and that there are probably people who work very hard that are hurt by piracy, but I feel their anger is misdirected. They should be pissed off at the greedy assholes who have cashed in on the cheapness of new technology to buy themselves a 5th house, not the poor bastard who uses technology to hear an album they wouldn't have been able to afford to buy.
Onward Buccaneers! Onward!!