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It seems old and not sexy to talk about piracy. So many things have been said about it, a few good laws enacted and tons of raids conducted. And still, my own friends buy pirated things sometimes – movies, CDs and software programs – and shamelessly download all sorts of stuff that belongs to others.It is indeed a shame and I hate it, but that’s the way people are, despite their social or economic level, from the richest to the poorest. Numbers say it all: 66% of all software programs are pirated throughout Latin America and over 77% of all the music out in the streets has also been pirated.
What is it with people? Do they not understand that pirating is stealing? If my neighbor doesn’t steal my car if he likes it, then why does he think it is so cool to download hundreds of songs and software programs? Has he paid for them? Is he aware that he might just as well download a fine pirated song as he might viruses that could give him the worst headache or, worst of all, download child abuse material without even realizing?
Yes, it is obviously a matter of conducting more fine and thorough investigations but it is also a matter of education; few children are taught in schools that there are intangibles out there that just do not belong to them, no matter how close to a click they might be. Fewer children have ever heard from their own parents that it is wrong to use pirated stuff… what a shame.
Something has gone wrong, definitely. If still today more than half the Latin American population find it is so cool to be a pirate, there must be something that we have done wrong, or something we should have done but forgot to. We’ve tried to train our law enforcement officers as best we could, we’ve tried to have the best laws enacted, we’ve conducted really amazing raids and we’ve even gone to the press and became their friend.
But piracy’s still all over. Why is it not enough to warn people and tell them that piracy is simply wrong? Why don’t they listen to us? Yes, of course, they’ll tell us that prices are way high and that they have sort of a “divine” right to use whatever they can in order to be happier or live in better conditions. But, if that’s so true, why don’t we all go to any supermarket and simply take what we want? Maybe I’ll just take a fine bottle of Dom Pérignon in my next anniversary so I can happily celebrate with my wife.
It’s a matter of principles and decency. Pirated stuff does not enter my home – he who doesn’t like this doesn’t either. Am I some sort of a freak for thinking like I do? Have I been that brainwashed that I can’t see what seems to be so clear to others? I don’t think so. I’ll always believe that pirating is wrong and I’ll always teach my kids not to pirate.
It’s also a matter of respect. My kids can’t and won’t copy other’s sayings without quoting them and mentioning their names as they must. If I taught them otherwise I’d be teaching them to steal other people’s ideas and I myself earn my living out of my own ideas! Maybe this is a start, uh?
Not that law enforcement must not be strengthened, because it obviously must be; not that we don’t keep on being good friends to the press, because we need to have good relationships with them. Not that we must not seek better laws and international cooperation, because we simply ought to. Perhaps we all might just respect other people’s ideas as we’d like others to respect ours. Perhaps we might teach our little children to do so too.
Perhaps we just forgot about respect…
Note: In the meantime, while we discuss about these matters more than half our people will keep on willingly finance criminal or terrorist organizations through the purchase of pirated goods. Way to go, really! It feels so good to help fund the next bomb that will blow away innocent lives, or help laundering the tons of money that narcotraffickers get out of selling their drugs. Boy, are we really this stupid?
Carlos S. Álvarez
blogladooscuro @ gmail.com