A lot of people who favour ‘free file sharing’, (aka ‘The Pirates’) like to use the Booze/Prohibition argument.
Hey, people drink so if you don’t make it legal people will bootleg it.
This is similar to the “People copied cassettes back in the day, so why can’t they copy CDs now you hyopcrite?” argument; filled with more flaws than swiss cheese. (OK, maybe yer average Emmentaler has more holes than flaws, but hey everyone misuses their analogies, right?)
And that’s the point.
Yeah, people have been drinking since before Bacchus. Gettin’ high is a basic human need. End of story. And people have probably been copying art since the days of cave paintings. But everyone except William Burroughs recognises that crack is different from beer. The ‘quality’ (the intensity of the high) is very different.
I’ve been making beer for a number of years. One myth is that the first beer maker was some Egyptian who left his maypo out after breakfast and forgot about it. A few weeks later, he decided to drink the fermented, but sweet soup that had formed on the top. Wait 20 minutes. Holy Akhenaten! We’re on to something,
But despite this attractive story, and despite what you’ve seen in prison movies, it’s not that easy to make a decent hooch. There’s a self-limiting effect on getting high. It takes time and money to get properly loaded!
But what if you had this fantastic single malt that you could put into the Enterprise ‘food replicator’ and instantly make as many shots of Laphraoig as ya liked in an instant? Yeah, that might require some regulation. If it was that easy and cheap to make and distribute? All sorts of social ills would spring up pretty quickly.
Current technology has made this scenario come true for music, which can now be perfectly copied and distributed for essentially no cost to thousands of people in a stroke.
I think part of the reason people don’t want to deal with piracy is because they live in denial about human nature. We want to believe that we are better than we are. But again, study after study of how people reallybehave when it comes to honesty/cheating/stealing have shown thatÂ ease is a huge determinant in whether or not people will abide by rules. If you make it too easy to cheat/steal and you make it clear that they will not get caught? Most of us will cheat or steal.
The ease is the problem. Is copy protection and law enforcement crappy? Sure. I hate it. But the fact is, when you make it that easy to steal? People steal.
If it were as easy to copy music as it is to make a decent home brew? I’d tell everyone to go right ahead and go for it. But as it is? Something has to be done because people will not control themselves. It’s human nature.