Software Piracy, Open Source, Free Software, Copyright

By Xah Lee. Date:

Read: The pirate bay .

Basically, it's a website for illegal downloading of stuff. Music, movies, games, software, books.

The mob want things free. So, there's a movement from the mob, especially from the poor and young who has nothing to lose (such as yourself), that says copyright or patent should be eliminated, that digital goods such as software should be shared. The excuse for this greed is goodness for society, such as freedom to share, and chanting in the ways of “evil” and “greed” of “BIG corporations”.

The website, as a indirect medium for others to steal anonymously, of course quickly become the most popular. Ranked in the world at 92th. It ran ads, and due to the traffic, the site is making in the ballpark of 1 million USD a year. (estimates vary) The people of the site, of course went political defending their actions, that the reason they do it is for “the goodness of humanity”, of course. According to Wikipedia, it seems some politicians have donated large sums of money anonymously, for their own selfish motives.

I think the copyright and patent laws, certainly should be modified today for digital goods. Fundamentally, because digital goods are new. Unlike physical goods, digital goods can be copied in unlimited ways and effectively without cost. But if we completely ban copying, we are also eliminating the opportunity for billions of other people who might also benefit from the product but otherwise wouldn't buy it.

But, writing a good book, thinking and writing a good song, producing a movie, usually costs thousands or millions of dollars. Writer takes years of training, paying for college, etc. Same for software programer and song writers, singers. Money is the primary incentive we produce. If producer can't make any money because whatever he produces can be freely obtained on piratebay, would we still have much good books, songs, or movies?

However, i think much of these file-sharing sites, and to some extend the Free Software and Open Source movements, are scumbags in society who just passed alone and seized a opportunity for their own “right” to get things for free. See: Anti-copyright .

This “free info” movement is what drove the Death of Encarta .

See also:

[Pirate Bay Guilty Verdict Upheld By Jared Newman, PCWorld. At]