If I’m going to be totally honest, I’ve obtained numerous forms of entertainment through questionable means. That said, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve also gotten lazier. That, and I got dinged with one of those “cease and desist” letters from a lawyer.
It scared the crap out of me.
I had downloaded some Dexter and accidentally left it uploading, which is a no-no. A few days later I get something in my inbox saying I’m a criminal. I ignored it and nothing came of it, but I definitely stopped downloading as much. Your scare tactic worked, Mr. Lawyer Man. Too bad I killed your cat in retaliation… because I’m effin’ crazy.
Paranoia and laziness has made me a complacent buyer of entertainment. I’m not proud of it. I don’t feel moral. I feel broke. Techdirt recently delved into the issue of morality in regards to illegally-downloaded material. Evidently, the MPAA hopes to deter downloading material by appealing to everyone’s sense of right and wrong. Unfortunately, this is America, and relativism is king. So not only do we typically reject the idea of a hard and fast morality, we also accept different moral codes depending on the cultural climate. In other words, it doesn’t matter if it’s “wrong.” If everyone’s doing it, who cares?
I’m torn on this subject. Cognitively, I recognize torrents and other forms of web-looting as immoral and akin to physical stealing. There are arguments that such claims have no standing in a digital world, but I don’t buy that. If I steal a song, I’ve stolen a song. It’s a product. I’m a criminal. But there is an ocean between my cognitive recognition of immorality and my actual guilt.
I recognize my criminality, but I don’t feel anything from it. Maybe I’m desensitized. Maybe I’m a terrible person. Or maybe I don’t see my actions as immoral because I’m not directly confronted with the effects of my actions. I’m betting money it’s that last one.
Question: Do you acquire any form of entertainment illegally, and how do you justify it?