Addenda to Tuesday’s Post About Piracy

Two additional thoughts I either forgot about or didn’t think of until after posting:

  • Although of course there is a fairly obvious legal difference, I do not see any moral difference between using AdBlock while watching a free, ad-supported streaming service like Crunchyroll, and just pirating the shows. In both cases, you are circumventing the distributor in order to eliminate the cost (monetary in the case of piracy, time in the case of AdBlock) of accessing the show, and in both cases, while the immediate and obvious victim is the parasitic and predatory for-profit industry that distributes the work, in the long run they are quite good at passing those losses along to the actual creators.
  • No one ever needs access to a creative work. It is debatable, as I noted in the previous post, whether people have a right to access others’ work, but it is never a need; no one has ever actually died from being unable to watch the next episode of Mad Men. “I needed it” is a legitimate justification for theft–it is justified for a starving person to steal food, for example. But merely very much wanting something is not actually justification for taking it; regardless of whether a given act of media piracy is right or wrong, its rightness or wrongness is unaffected by how much the downloader wants to watch it.

One thought on “Addenda to Tuesday’s Post About Piracy

  1. To add to the discussion, how does the first point relate to digital video recorders like TiVo, which allowed viewers to skip ads? While a consumer might see little difference between AdBlock and TiVo in terms of their viewing experience, the economic systems of cable TV and streaming are quite different.

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