Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks
Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks

Philip Pullman: Illegal Downloads are a 'Moral squalor'

Illustration for article titled Philip Pullman: Illegal Downloads are a Moral squalor

An interesting article on The Guardian today about the His Dark Materials author lashing out against online piracy: "It is theft, as surely as reaching into someone's pocket and taking their wallet is theft." But in the digital age it's become simple for consumers to get the content they want, when they want it, with no questions asked, and arguably Piracy isn't as black and white as Pullman says it is.


There's simply more than one kind of Pirate these days - yes, there will always be people who steal because it's easier for them to get something for nothing, but there are people who only turn to piracy when there is currently no legal avenue for them to access content through. Whether that be using IP workarounds to access content unavailable otherwise, downloading episodes of TV shows that won't air in your own for months, years or even not at all, or downloading digital copies of physical content you already own, it's all some kind of piracy.

But there's a growing trend of people pirating content, and then going on and purchasing it when it becomes available to them legally - like, buying the DVD or Blu-Ray of a TV show when it comes out months after you've torrented the series - or pirates who even turn into a fan of the content and evangelise it to friends and family, who then themselves go out and consume it legally, generating more income for creators that they might not necessarily have seen without some piracy.

There's an argument to be made that Piracy can, in some cases, benefit content creators as much as it can harm them (see the PBS Idea Channel's excellent video on Piracy and Game of Thrones, above) - what do you think? Is it as cut and dry as Pullman says it is, or do you think that his definition of who Pirates are and what they do is too restricting in the modern, digital age?

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