Monday, September 15, 2003

This was in FLIP a few months ago.
And you wonder why she's my goddess.

> Copy This
by Jessica Zafra

Does anyone else find it funny that people who make much more money than we do are appealing to us not to deprive them of their income? You have the nerve to charge me P450 for a CD that is being sold on the street for P60 and you expect my sympathy?

The campaign against pirated software, CD's, VCD's, audio and cassettes, would have us believe that piracy is our problem. Really? How is shelling out P100 for a disc that contains P50,000 worth of software a problem for me? It would seem that the pirates are doing me, and my shrinking wallet a big favor. Why should it bother me that a movie which has not yet opened in Metro Manila theatres is being peddled on VCD on Ayala Avenue for P90? I have no fights with the pirates. They are selling me information I might otherwise not have access to because of prohibitive costs. Yes they are thieves and thieves should be punished, but they are not stealing from me. Oh sure, you can lecture me about in the long run I will pay for buying bootleg but by then I will have used the information for my benefit.

So let me make a correction. Piracy is the problem of the manufacturers, the software houses, record companies, and motion picture companies, whom I shall refer to from hereon as the corporations. By telling us not to buy pirated materials "for the good of everyone", corporations make it appear that corporate interests and the public interest are the same thing. This is unlaughably untrue. Corporations makes noise about working in the public interest but these noises are called public relations, PR. But their duty is to their owners. The anti-piracy ads, which appeals to my virtue, pass the responsibility of combating piracy to me. HELLO. They invoke the law and call on my conscience to protect their profit margin, but when I shell out P450 for a CD that turns out to be crap, I can't invoke the law, and corporations have no conscience. We may all be equal under the law, but they have the best lawyers. I guess their complaints are valid because they stand to lose more money, while I'm just a sucker who bought the promotional hype.

The anti-piracy campaign says that when we buy unauthorized copies a.k.a. bootleg we are stealing from the creators of the music, movies or computer programs. This would be the case if the proceeds of the sales went to artist themselves. We know that the artists get a small royalty; most of the money goes to the corporations. They profit from the work of the artists dry. Their excuses is for a small royalty, they can suck the artists dry. Their excuse is that they spent vast sums of money on the marketing of the artists' work.

In short, the season "originals" cost so much is because the huge marketing expenses are passed on to us. Why should we finance the ridiculous costs of hype? When you buy bootleg, you deny the artist a couple of bucks but you stick it to the corporation, which is so rich it won't even say ouch. I find it hard to summon up any sympathy for a multi-million dollar entity that does business in 100 countries. Awww, the poor corporations, their executives won't be buying personal Lear jets this quarter. Buying bootleg has a Robin Hood appeal; Rob the rich to give the poor, meaning you. It's the opposite of jueteng, in which robs the poor in order to give to the rich.

The corporations are laying a massive guilt trip on consumers when they should be working to make their products less easy to steal. With the technology we have, it is extremely to make high-quality copies of anything. In the past we worried that the bootleg goods could damage our electronic equipment; today's fake CD's are almost exactly like the originals. While the corporations are piracy-proofing their wares, maybe they should cut us a break and drop their prices. The pirates have shown that it is possible to make CD's cheaper. Take the hint, and spare us the sob stories about high marketing costs and your dwindling profits.

I don't buy pirated software not just because pirates don't usually do Mac programs but because I love my Mac. But I cannot tell PC users not to buy bootleg software when it costs one-fiftieth the price of the original. Caveat emptor, naturally, and the fake software may cause their PCs to crash but PCs do that anyway. Hey doesn't the idea of killing Bill Gates of .0000000000000000(add more zeroes)1 of his income appeal to you? Look at him, the guy's rolling in money, but he won't spend for a proper haircut. Besides, If you really want to quibble over it, didn't Bill Gates and Steve Jobs borrow information from the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center?

Cut the crap, and stop appealing in my good nature. It is not my job to protect your interests. The pirates are sleazy, but they have inadvertently raised the possibility of a future in which the artists reaches her audience directly, without a corporate middleman. Think of a future in which you profit from your ideas. Not bloody likely right but it's a good thought.


May babaeng talipandas na nilalandi ang CB ko.

At tama ba namang ipangalandakan ni lalake na lumalabas pa silang dalawa?

Gago ka, magpasalamat kang kalbo ka na kung hindiiiii. Inisa-isa ko yang nasa bumbunan mo, hayup ka.


*If you want a trasnlation, tell me and I'll e-mail it to you.
** I am so glad I speak more than one language fluently.

[ in my ears] Spin Around - Josie and the Pussycats


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