Originally Posted by KitEKats4Eva!
That's such a great post, Mirinae. It covers every single viable ethical issue regarding this subject.
And yet, still - you know, stealing is stealing, but somehow (and I don't know why) it just doesn't seem as bad this way. Is it because there are faceless victims to whom we will never pay an ounce of attention? Could be...just like smoking. We know it kills, but it kills slowly and only `maybe'. So we keep smoking. Maybe, we never see the people we hurt by doing this so for some reason it seems ok? Like ripping off Sony is nowhere near as bad as ripping off the beggar down the street. It isn't as bad, materially - but is it as bad morally? Probably, and yet.....
I think part of the reason it's so easy to steal in this fashion is that we feel like we're being ripped off by Hollywood. It costs $19.50 for J and I to see a movie together, and that's not
including junk food (which would be another twenty bucks, if we both got something). Most of the movies being churned out today are pure crap. Actors get paid in the tens and hundreds of thousands, production companies make millions, and most of it isn't worth the price of admission (or the price of the rental). Every day on the news there's another crazy story about some dumb stunt a celebrity has pulled -- driving under the influence, beating up their assistant, spouting off racial slurs -- so we don't feel any compulsion to support or reward their behaviour and it's hard to take them seriously. It's not just
that we're stealing from faceless corporations, it's that we feel like we're
being stolen from first, so it's just a case of tit for tat. There's even a director who deliberately makes craptastic movies because the German government (I think
it's the government) has a program in place to help film investors "recoup" their losses, so it's more profitable to make a flop than to make a box office hit (the director's name is Uwe Boll, for those who are interested). So, it's easy to say that it's okay to steal from these people, because some of them deserve it.
So, I understand why people might feel justified in buying illegal copies of movies. You do
get ripped off at the theatre. Hollywood is
selling you crap. I understand, but that doesn't make it the right thing to do. As someone else pointed out, you're being ripped off by the oil companies. Why not steal from them? Or from grocery stores, for that matter? Or clothing companies? Everything
costs too much, and most of it isn't nearly worth the price you're paying for it. That doesn't justify you becoming a thief yourself.
Or maybe it does. I don't know. Go nuts, steal whatever you like. But where do you draw the line? It's okay to steal from faceless corporations, but not independent companies? Or you can steal from strangers, but not friends or family? Or it's okay to steal movies and music, but not food or clothing or medicine (even though you actually need food, clothing [okay, that's debatable ...] and medicine)? Or maybe it's okay because it's just light and sound waves, and not something more tangible? I guess I don't really understand how we can justify this one kind of theft, but not any other.I think too much about this stuff. I really do. I need a hobby.