Pirate flag

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If there is a controversial issue on the Internet, it is that of "piracy" of content, which generates a clash between the interests of the industry and the users. Even the use of the word 'piracy' to define the sharing of audiovisual material between users is in question. Many are more inclined to use terms such as free access, exchange, extra-market activities, etc. Undoubtedly the word piracy was introduced by the creative industries (film, music and books) as a way of calling users who downloaded copyrighted content from the Internet, and also to refer to the servers that allowed users to share their content with other users in P2P networks, peer to peer (such as Elite Torrent) which means equal to equal, being participants in one of the basic principles of the Internet. 

From the beginning the approach has been detrimental to both parties involved. Technology has become a moral problem, launching a very aggressive message from many actors who are involved as stakeholders, so there has never been an objective debate, but has been clearly biased to ensure absolutely from both the media and politics that it is wrong to download free content protected by copyright. 

In this way society has been divided between good and bad without nuances and without wanting to understand the ins and outs of any change. In this way, the thread was tightened, polarizing positions, while the industry urged governments to make campaigns appealing to morality, Internet users accused the managers of rights of usurers and of interference in private life, and politicians who legislated in any sense other than allowing free downloading without restrictions to be at the service of large corporations. Downloading audiovisual content on platforms such as Elitetorrent had become an act of resistance to those who forced you to pay a fee for buying a blank DVD, assuming the 'crime' before it was committed. 

In reality, piracy affects more the forms of commercialization of content than morality. In other words, it is a commercial problem and not an ideological one. The Internet has been a boon to the creative industries. We have seen this in music, in television and in general, in all audiovisual content. It has completely changed consumer habits. But as VoD, video on demand platforms such as Netflix or HBO have shown, the problem was never that users were pirates who did not want to pay for content, the problem was an obsolete model in itself, which already needed a paradigm shift. In other words, if the problem is a commercial one, the solutions should be approached with this approach by the industry.

 

Piracy has not been and cannot be a moral problem because there was not and is not a social consensus for it to be so. Moreover, we are faced with the futility of drafting laws that are difficult to enforce. People download and share music, books and movies simply because they can. In platforms like Elitetorrent it is possible to find audiovisual material that other users have freely put for it. And yet, it has been proven that those same users are the ones who pay a subscription to Netflix or tickets to the latest Disney Pixar premiere.

On the other hand, it is normal that the industry offers resistance to change. In fact, it is understandable within the framework of the need for readjustments in the value chains and the disappearance, on some occasions, of some intermediaries. But to focus the industry's discussion on piracy is nothing more than a distraction from the real problems it faces: the reconversion forced by the new models of content consumption. Luckily, the way to this reconversion has already been opened, and it seems that the reception has been good. However, the pernicious effects of some laws created in the shadow of the finger pointing at piracy remain.




Trying to stop internet users from sharing all kinds of files is to try to go against the essence of the internet itself, it is not even to want to understand what the network was invented for, because it was precisely for that purpose: sharing. Trying to go back in time, instead of looking for new creative ways to explore a new technology, shows how distressed the cultural industry moguls were. Only those who have been able to adapt and reinvent themselves have been able to weather the storm. Those who said not so long ago that you couldn't put doors in the field were right.

 

It is also true that the fallacious arguments of some users have not led to understanding. Some users argue that culture should be free and therefore justify free downloads of protected content. Culture can be free, which does not mean that it has to be free (although in English the term is confused when using the same word: free). When we talk about freedom in culture we are talking about there should be no censorship, not the right to download any content without having to pay any price. In fact, the issue of censorship and the culture of cancellation is a different matter. Creators deserve fair compensation for their work. The creators.

 

That is why the argument of the "death of culture" at the hands of piracy is also dangerous, as if the cultural business were the final guarantor of cultural creation. In any case, it will be killing off those who have taken over cultural enterprises in the name of culture and not the cultural fact, which is inherent in human beings. Cultural creativity is above business. The debate on whether what is being sold to us, or subsidised, as culture, really is, is open. Maybe people are letting a type of culture die that no longer interests them. And in fact there is a dying culture, dependent on subsidies, that might have died already, even without the intervention of the internet.

 

All of these issues should have been put on the table, for a calm and unexciting debate, before the laws and the finger-pointing accusations made ordinary citizens pay for an industry whose days were numbered. But it was not done. So we should not be surprised when the pirate flag is raised as the only true flag of freedom.









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