Saturday, February 07, 2009

Arrr, mateys...we'll just be takin' yer thoughts for free

The title sound sinister? Strange, it does, doesn't it. But you really can't be taking people's thoughts from them. Thing is, ideas are free. Anybody can think about anything they want, even if other people have already had those ideas. No matter how hard the RIAA and MPAA want to do so, they'll never be able to charge you for what you think.

They sure try, though.

The term "Intellectual Property" is a joke (and a very bad one, at that.) I refuse to recognize it. Copyright law as it currently stands is also ridiculous (as is patent law, but that's outside the scope of this blog.) It has gone way beyond its original purpose of protecting recent creative works from being exploited for profit by those who had no part of its making.

Let me say this outright: I applaud casual piracy. I would be a card-carrying member of the Pirate Party of Canada if it had formed yet. Bittorrent is the best thing that the Internet has offered us yet. I am entitled to take whatever other people want to give me. You cannot own thoughts and ideas and thereby prevent others from sharing them. The law has to end. I'd thank God (if I believed in one) that Canadian attempts to introduce DMCA equivalents have all met bad ends, and with the minority government still in place, we won't see one soon, either. I just hope the Information is Free movement gains enough traction to permanently kill it.

So, looking for fun stuff to pirate?

Music is stale. Not only is there very little good commercial music to listen to, but those rare times I find it, it's usually an independant publisher and I don't mind giving them a few dollars for a CD. So how about movies? The MPAA is making you pay full price for new blu-ray copies of movies you already bought on DVD, might as well download a few of those. Hard Drive space is cheap, but damn does it eat up your bandwidth. But dollar-for-dollar, if you're a geekgrrl like me (or more likely, geek guy), the most lucrative form of piracy (and by that I mean, the amount it would have cost you per megabyte downloaded if you bought the items in question) are roleplaying game books. Hasbro's Wizards of the Coast bought TSR's D&D license years ago and has run it into the ground with their "4th edition." They want everyone to forget 3rd edition ever existed. But it's free! $40 hardcover books in PDF format only cost 10MB of your drive space. There is nothing you can't get online if you want it. Hell, why give billionaire Rowling money? I never read Potter until I downloaded the entire series.

I'm unapologetic about this. Piracy is not anything like stealing, legally or morally. As the US supreme court once said, copyright infringement does not deprive the owner of copyright access to their "property." It's nothing like theft at all. And regardless of what the law says, governments don't get to make our morality for us--right and wrong are always in the eye of the beholder. Everything is relative. So whether you wanna "stick it to the man," or just want to free up your entertainment budget, if you've never used Bittorrent, go to and download their wonderfully safe and slim client, then visit a few sites like,, or maybe luck out and get a membership to There are dozens of others. Don't forget to keep sharing after you download for as long as you can. Help make the world a more fun place to live...for free!

Or in the immortal words of Jack Sparrow,

"Take what ye can, give nothin' back!"


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