ThoughtStorms Wiki

Context: PirateParty, IntellectualProperty, AlwaysOnPanopticon

Quora Answer : When consuming things online such as videos, music, or magazines, does it make a difference to you whether it's pirated or genuine?

Apr 25, 2014

I prefer to pirate as a matter of principle.

I believe one of the most important political struggles of our age is whether information, which by nature is not scarce, is going to be artificially coerced into being scarce by a combination of ubiquitous technology and draconian government oppression.

In a hundred years time we'll be in one of two futures.

  • either we'll have won the right to freedom of having and sharing ideas, even if the cost of that is the end of music making as a professional activity and a return to music making as something that amateurs do for fun.


  • we'll have accepted a thought-police-state where all information technology is specified and controlled by the entertainment-industrial complex to tax every drop of culture we consume, and everything we do or say, every digital file we produce, is carefully monitored by the system to make sure it's not "stealing" ideas from the corporations that "own" them.

(Such ubiquitous surveillance will, as a side effect, also ensure that no-one ever challenges the government again, because any sign of opposition - from mild dissatisfaction to planned insurgency - will be spotted early and dealt with - either bought off or smacked down.)

There isn't really a middle-ground where we can trust the entertainment corporations (or the politicians they've bought) to curb their own greed and paranoia and back off to allow us some space to innovate and share without them wanting to continuously check-up on us. This is a very stark and unfortunate dichotomy that the technology has forced on us.

As a musician and music-lover I prefer to see music become amateurized than see it become an excuse for totalitarianism. And I'll try as far as possible to avoid feeding money to any organization that might be supporting or lobbying for laws to criminalize the sharing of information and the continued dissemination and vitality of culture.

Sometimes, I will give money to artists that I like and want to support. I'll do this by buying via BandCamp (which I believe gives pretty much all the money to the artist, doesn't push DRM formats or laws etc.) Even better would be a donation link on the artist's site. But I refuse to consider this as "obligation". Information isn't scarce and shouldn't be restricted by a government given monopoly. And ethical musicians should no more build their career or business model on collusion with such a system than they should build it in partnership with other immoral sectors like slave-trading or non-voluntary organ-trafficiking.

Aaaannd ... I'm out ... Peace ;-)

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