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Back in the days of Captain Jack Sparrow, the boundary between a pirate and a privateer was not sharp. The function both of these groups performed was pretty much the same: raid ships. The only possible difference is that a privateer was sanctioned by a Government to do so. However, if a privateer were to be captured, either party would deny involvement with each other. So, that was it. No proper way to separate them.

In modern times, the act of computer piracy is pretty much the same. We generally say that the action belongs to a “Grey Area” and perform it anyways. In fact, most of the times, a person doesn’t even realise that he is committing an act of piracy. Let’s have a look at few cases where technically, you can be termed a pirate.

Downloading Movies, Music and Games:
Well, those who do this need no explanation.

‘Buying’ Movies from the nearby corner shop:
If you do this, you must think of yourself as an angel. After all, you’re paying, right? How is that piracy? Well, you are actually committing an act of piracy, as the “stuff” that you are “paying for” is actually pirated.

Ringtones:
The phone of your friend rings and you really like the tune. You ask him to transfer it to your cell through Bluetooth, and bang, that’s another act of piracy. With multimedia phones, piracy is as easy as pressing a few buttons.

Euro 2012:
You have office tomorrow, and you have to travel three hours everyday to reach office. The match between Netherlands and Germany kicks off at 12.15 am. If you do not reach on time, your boss is gonna get angry. What do you do? You record it to watch it later. That, my friends, is P.I.R.A.C.Y.

Youtube:
The tagline of Youtube is ‘broadcast yourself’. Basically, what it encourages you to do is post your own videos. On the other hand, what people do is post everything else. Let’s say I post a music video. Obviously, I do not have the rights to that video. Anyone viewing it would also be committing an act of piracy, along with the uploader. As I said in the beginning, it’s a very grey area.

Photocopy:
Let’s leave digital media for the time being, shall we? If you like a book in a library, and photocopy even a single page (many people copy the whole book), it is piracy. Please tell me how you have never ever done this in your life.


Ever bought an assembled PC?
Well, all the softwares in an ‘assembled’ PC are pirated, no matter how much the shopkeeper charges! Ever heard of the ‘Free DOS’ OS? Well, if you end up using Windows after purchasing a machine with Free DOS, rest assured it is pirated!

It is usually seen that the software giants are very concerned about the piracy. However, the guys who do pirate stuff have a pretty valid argument in this regard. They say- Piracy is like free advertisement. If someone has the money, he would buy it, and if someone does not have the bucks, he wouldn’t buy it even if there was no pirated version available.

Let me just a quote a frustrated lad, who tries to explain why he goes for piracy. (Read the full article here)

Get a handle on your pricing for digital media. Look, we understand why a paperback costs $7. You have to buy paper, glue and ink. It has to be written, edited, printed, shipped and stocked. And each of those people wants to cover their costs and make a profit. But when you write an ebook, and all you have to do is hit ‘copy’ to make another sale, you have no business charging $7 each. Remember before when I said I’m not downloading to try and stick it to you? In a situation like this, I’m downloading because you’re trying to stick it to me.

He goes on,

Music. If you want me to buy your music, I need to be able to hear it first. Even if you’re trying to sell for profit, you should find a way to get mp3 versions of your music on file-sharing sites. Now I know some of you are going to tell me that since you’re selling your songs on Amazon or iTunes then I can hear 30-second preview clips and I have no reason to pirate. Nonsense. Most music listening is not done sitting in front of the computer clicking “Play Preview,” waiting 30-seconds, clicking “Play Preview,” waiting 30-seconds, etc. We all listen to music while driving in the car, working out, partying or browsing the internet. I can download your entire full-length album in unrestricted mp3 format in less time than you can listen to one 30-second preview. You’re not going to sell me anything by forcing me to sit on one website, going click click click and only getting small snippets of your music. What you are going to do is make me not care about your content.

Going by his views(that post is far longer than these two quotes), I can not say that I disagree to even a single point being put forward by the writer.

If you want to read more on piracy, check out this.

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