Sunday, April 21, 2024

The Ethics of Media Piracy

The words ‘media piracy’ is unlikely to conjure positive connotations. After all, piracy in general is bad, regardless of what is involved, right? However, when it comes to media, there could be a certain ‘morality’ behind pirating it.

Consider your favourite book. Imagine if the entire printing industry catastrophically collapsed, and there was inexplicably no way to make new copies. As valiantly as you could try to preserve your own copy, there’s always a risk it could get destroyed. It’s certainly hyperbole when you apply the scenario to physical media, but it’s a reality digital media has to contend with. PlayStation had announced the removal of Discovery content due to the lapse in content licensing arrangements, meaning even if you had already paid for it, you couldn’t access the content regardless. The decision was eventually walked back, something not all digital-only properties have had the luxury of.

When you think of the multitude of streaming services you could subscribe to, a particular series you may be interested in can be on one platform, but not on another. Much like with PlayStation and Discovery, if the licensing lapses, what are the odds of either a license renewal, or perhaps the series finding a home on a different platform? Unless these services offer a guarantee, you might never be able to see something you like years down the road through legal channels.

Hence, media piracy. People can claim they will always try to consume their media legally and never do it, of course. However, if there isn’t a legal option to begin with, then it would be hardly surprising if people decide to take matters into their own hands.

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