February 20, 2005

Crime? What the…?

2 min read

Posted 17 years ago
by Téa Smith

Check out this story. It has been pretty widely reported that the good-folk of the UK are responsible for massive amounts of TV “piracy” — one fifth of the traffic, actually.

Not too much of a surprise, with the emergence of broadband and popular peer-to-peer protocols making it possible to download a high quality episode of The Simpsons or Desperate Housewives in about half an hour.

This article at first appears innocent enough. After all, it is simply reporting. But it was the headline that made me double take. Desperate viewers turn to crime. Crime? What?

It might seem to be nitpicking, but there is no such crime as downloading TV Shows from the internet. Sure, there are a number of powers that be that would like to see people locked up for watching a show 6 months in advance, but there is nothing in the criminal code that indicates criminal charges for downloading anything except kiddie porn.

The civil suits are only partly effective, and those powers that be actually appear to be losing in court when it comes to the crunch. Sure, they are running an effective PR campaign, making popular the idea that downloading is a crime, but really, they are losing.

So I guess I am surprised to see the words “turning to crime” used so naturally, and so uncritically, by the media. I mean, I guess that being part of the organisations that are brainwashing people into believing that they are criminals for downloading Desperate Housewives plays its part, but really all it does is show that the MPAA and RIAA are winning in one area they can: in the propaganda war.

Don’t buy into it. These shows are aired in the US for free. We in Australia need to wait 6 months for the popular shows. If its an unpopular show, you can guarantee it will not air in any decent timeslot and will be moved around till you lose track of it and give up. Most of us will still buy the DVD of shows we love. I would think that the issue of TV show piracy would be a moot point, as these television shows have the ability to increase their audience. Family Guy being case in point. Obviously not.

Don’t believe them when they tell you it’s a crime. They are telling you it’s a crime, but its not. I don’t think they even believe it’s really a crime anymore — they’re just so used to hearing their own bullshit and pursuing their own greedy cause that they can’t discern fact from reality anymore.

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