Downloading movies - theft in disguise?

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Jamie Frost
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I had a debate with someone yesterday whether downloading movies was justifiable. It's something I'm passionately against, and I'm becoming increasingly frustrated that it's being accepted as the 'norm', and is practiced by usually law-abiding people.

My argument is that it is nothing more than theft - just like shoplifting off HMV. Surely in both cases you are obtaining goods that legally should be paid for and against the will of the owner - it's kinda the definition of theft.
This guy I was talking to said that the difference is that one is in the real-world, while the other is via your computer. However this is just a physical difference, fundamentally they are the same thing.
Piracy is frowned upon less than shoplifting because somehow it is a perceived as more 'innocent', since it is usually undetectable.

This guy came up with the following flimsy arguments trying to justify it:

1. "Everyone else does it"
Everyone could be carrying out an evil act- hence by doing so does not at all justify it.

2. "Movie production companies are greedy and charge too much for DVDs."
Two wrongs don't make a right as the saying goes. It's a shame if such companies charge excessive prices (which I've never seen myself) but they're still entitled to set a price. If I was to sell my car for £1000 more than it should be, it doesn't give a carjacker the right to jack my car.

3. "A £15 loss for a movie corporation it's going to break the bank"
But you could use this argument to justify stealing almost anything!

What are people's opinions on the topic? Does anyone actually have a decent justification for downloading movies, or even any music/programs that would usually be sold.
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fishpaste
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I agree with you entirely, but I'm morally bankrupt, and will probably continue to do it until there are real threats against me.
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zizero
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(Original post by Jamie Frost)
I had a debate with someone yesterday whether downloading movies was justifiable. It's something I'm passionately against, and I'm becoming increasingly frustrated that it's being accepted as the 'norm', and is practiced by usually law-abiding people.

My argument is that it is nothing more than theft - just like shoplifting off HMV. Surely in both cases you are obtaining goods that legally should be paid for and against the will of the owner - it's kinda the definition of theft.
This guy I was talking to said that the difference is that one is in the real-world, while the other is via your computer. However this is just a physical difference, fundamentally they are the same thing.
Piracy is frowned upon less than shoplifting because somehow it is a perceived as more 'innocent', since it is usually undetectable.

This guy came up with the following flimsy arguments trying to justify it:

1. "Everyone else does it"
Everyone could be carrying out an evil act- hence by doing so does not at all justify it.

2. "Movie production companies are greedy and charge too much for DVDs."
Two wrongs don't make a right as the saying goes. It's a shame if such companies charge excessive prices (which I've never seen myself) but they're still entitled to set a price. If I was to sell my car for £1000 more than it should be, it doesn't give a carjacker the right to jack my car.

3. "A £15 loss for a movie corporation it's going to break the bank"
But you could use this argument to justify stealing almost anything!

What are people's opinions on the topic? Does anyone actually have a decent justification for downloading movies, or even any music/programs that would usually be sold.
Downloading movies is in itself not theft. If you pay for movies you download and it's all legal, or if you download a free movie, it's alright; it's as if you bought a film from a shop.
*I apologise for my pedantry.*

What you mean is probably the illegal downloading of movies for free. I totally agree with you: Piracy is theft. As simple as that.
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Swim By
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i agree with you, its the same for mp3s i guess..
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Do Chickens Fly
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There is no disguise about the theft.

It's what I'd call 'common theft'.

If enough people commit a crime, but are not caught and persecuted, the criminality of the crime in the eyes of the masses decreases.

I guess the question is, who really cares? If no-one cares enough to persecute, no-one cares enough to be legal.
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Masonne
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what do people think about taping films and television programmes off of the tv? id like to know how people compare that to downloading films and tv programs off of the net.
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benm
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(Original post by Jamie Frost)
I had a debate with someone yesterday whether downloading movies was justifiable. It's something I'm passionately against, and I'm becoming increasingly frustrated that it's being accepted as the 'norm', and is practiced by usually law-abiding people.

My argument is that it is nothing more than theft - just like shoplifting off HMV. Surely in both cases you are obtaining goods that legally should be paid for and against the will of the owner - it's kinda the definition of theft.
This guy I was talking to said that the difference is that one is in the real-world, while the other is via your computer. However this is just a physical difference, fundamentally they are the same thing.
Piracy is frowned upon less than shoplifting because somehow it is a perceived as more 'innocent', since it is usually undetectable.

This guy came up with the following flimsy arguments trying to justify it:

1. "Everyone else does it"
Everyone could be carrying out an evil act- hence by doing so does not at all justify it.

2. "Movie production companies are greedy and charge too much for DVDs."
Two wrongs don't make a right as the saying goes. It's a shame if such companies charge excessive prices (which I've never seen myself) but they're still entitled to set a price. If I was to sell my car for £1000 more than it should be, it doesn't give a carjacker the right to jack my car.

3. "A £15 loss for a movie corporation it's going to break the bank"
But you could use this argument to justify stealing almost anything!

What are people's opinions on the topic? Does anyone actually have a decent justification for downloading movies, or even any music/programs that would usually be sold.
I disagree. Because movie and audio files are not physical entities, they are easier to share, ie. by transferring them over the internet. If I wanted to let a friend or anyone else borrow a physical entity, say a vacuum cleaner, should this be disallowed also? Or how about if I had a magazine, and a friend enjoyed a particular article in the magazine, would it constitute a criminal offence to photocopy the article for them?
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NDGAARONDI
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(Original post by Masonne)
what do people think about taping films and television programmes off of the tv? id like to know how people compare that to downloading films and tv programs off of the net.
Same principle. Whilst everyone points the fingers at people who download stuff using p2p and buy lots of CDRs, not a lot of them do it the same with people buying lots of blank VHSs of 10 hour LP to build a video collection!
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NDGAARONDI
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I always hear this piracy is theft argument. Is it in any theft acts at all?
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Swim By
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(Original post by NDGAARONDI)
I always hear this piracy is theft argument. Is it in any theft acts at all?
theft acts??
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Quiksilver
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(Original post by benm)
I disagree. Because movie and audio files are not physical entities, they are easier to share, ie. by transferring them over the internet. If I wanted to let a friend or anyone else borrow a physical entity, say a vacuum cleaner, should this be disallowed also? Or how about if I had a magazine, and a friend enjoyed a particular article in the magazine, would it constitute a criminal offence to photocopy the article for them?
good point
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edufly
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Its funny how many now well established and rich artists actually back music piracy and even promote it publicly. The funny thing is they've now made all their fortune so they're just stabbing their fellow artists in the back.

The reason why I personally dont see anything wrong with people downloading music and films illegally is because the prices charged in shops is too unreasonable and it should be a message to them to drive down them hefty prices (ie. 99p singles).

Great thing about piracy is that the fat cats are losing out, however so are the breaking through music artists which is the bad side.
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4Ed
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(Original post by eddiedaboss)
Its funny how many now well established and rich artists actually back music piracy and even promote it publicly. The funny thing is they've now made all their fortune so they're just stabbing their fellow artists in the back.

The reason why I personally dont see anything wrong with people downloading music and films illegally is because the prices charged in shops is too unreasonable and it should be a message to them to drive down them hefty prices (ie. 99p singles).

Great thing about piracy is that the fat cats are losing out, however so are the breaking through music artists which is the bad side.
i would agree with the above.

a lot of internet piracy takes place because things are just far too expensive - £18 for a DVD that costs about 35p to make.... the film/music industry need to review their pricing and make it much more reasonable.

can someone remind me on the law that it's ok to 'share music with a friend' - the theory that the original Napster was based on? surely the same principle, if it's still in place, can be used here...
it's a very fine line between sharing with friends and just commiting piracy. in most cases the industry would have to spend far more money sueing individuals than they would recoup if they won the battle, so there's not much point to it.

and for dirt poor students, i don't think we're too fussed about music giants such as EMI etc making a bit less money. i'd rather get free downloads, and give money to the third world instead.
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edufly
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(Original post by 4Ed)
i would agree with the above.

a lot of internet piracy takes place because things are just far too expensive - £18 for a DVD that costs about 35p to make.... the film/music industry need to review their pricing and make it much more reasonable.

can someone remind me on the law that it's ok to 'share music with a friend' - the theory that the original Napster was based on? surely the same principle, if it's still in place, can be used here...
it's a very fine line between sharing with friends and just commiting piracy. in most cases the industry would have to spend far more money sueing individuals than they would recoup if they won the battle, so there's not much point to it.

and for dirt poor students, i don't think we're too fussed about music giants such as EMI etc making a bit less money. i'd rather get free downloads, and give money to the third world instead.

yep thats all true

but to say dvds only cost 35p to make is a bit misleading, the typical film budget runs into tens of millions - this should be taken into account when commenting on the cost of each dvd
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4Ed
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(Original post by eddiedaboss)
yep thats all true

but to say dvds only cost 35p to make is a bit misleading, the typical film budget runs into tens of millions - this should be taken into account when commenting on the cost of each dvd
well dvds themselves don't cost much to buy in bulk - it's probably around what i said.

don't forget the film recoups money through sponsorship and cinema showings, not just dvd sales. i doubt £15 of the £18 dvd goes toward the film producer's royalties anyway.

so much of it goes to taxes as well.
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edufly
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(Original post by 4Ed)
well dvds themselves don't cost much to buy in bulk - it's probably around what i said.

don't forget the film recoups money through sponsorship and cinema showings, not just dvd sales. i doubt £15 of the £18 dvd goes toward the film producer's royalties anyway.

so much of it goes to taxes as well.

dvd sales would play a vital part in recouping the films budget

film stars get SOOO much for their roles in films, piracy may lower these pay rolls
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fishpaste
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The thing is, as the original poster made a point of, however you try to justify it through the wealth of producers/labels etc etc, you could use the same argument to shoplift.
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Jamie Frost
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(Original post by NDGAARONDI)
I always hear this piracy is theft argument. Is it in any theft acts at all?
I've already addressed this point. Yes, there is a PHYSICAL difference - legally they are treated differently. But fundamentally they involve the same principle; if you define the word 'stealing' you'll find the definition applies to both.

People are complaining about DVD prices - they really aren't that bad. I managed to get the Two Towers - 4 disc extended edition for just £18 on www.dvd.co.uk, and many older titles like Spiderman/Matrix etc are as low as £6.50.
If prices are too high though - you'd do the same as you would in any other shop - just don't buy it.
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Pip210
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some of the best films out there have been made on v.small budgets, and they make their profit via ppl going to see them in the cinema, because a downloaded film is nothin compared to watchin it on the big screen. They also make money out of merchandise, and also, these big hot shot actors get far too much money for some of the lame ass films they make.

The record labels use this piracy argument with MP3's, which I tihnk it utter horse****. A band wanting to make it in the music industry should be making their money from performing live mainly. This way they can make their name known, make some money, and in most cases, not have to sell out to record labels. Of course make recorded music, but there shudnt b so much emphasis on sellin' it. If bands did this, there wudn't be so much shite in the charts today, like these pop bands who have no musical talent, but sound good once they've recorded it and used a computer to make them sound amazing. If they can't perform live, they've got no actual musical talent, and therefore shudn't be making any money anyway, neither shud their labels, so screw em.

Someone sharing a file across the internet, so? really, who cares? only the fat cats losin money as someone else said on this post. That's v.true. They should learn to work a little bit harder for their moeny and hire bands with REAL musical talent to make moeny from tours and merchandise.

Here endeth the lesson.
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Jamie Frost
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You're still missing the point.
Just because you have frustrations with crappy music in the charts and industry bosses supposedly raking in fortunes doing nothing (have you ever actually looked what their job entails before making such assumptions?) it still doesn't give any sort of excuse to then download to our heart's content.

You say "who really cares?". This is incredibly naive. It was only on BBC news yesterday that it said how piracy is resulting in losses of BILLIONS. And there are people like me who care - who have a very valid moral objection to it.
You may think because such companies make so much anyway that 'deserve it', but they are perfectly entitled to set what CD/DVD prices they like - if you have a problem with it you just don't buy any of their stuff, you don't use it as a excuse to then download.

You say bands should make money mostly from touring. Again this is naive - such tours often act to promote interest and reputation of their band hence leading to people buying their music.
Income is predominantly gained by CD sales not touring - therefore what right do you have to say how and how not bands should be allowed to make their money?

All your arguments are completely baseless and obviously not thought through. You're using your frustration with the music industry in general to try and justify stealing - I can't really see the connection.

If people are so unhappy with prices, rather than use it as an excuse to download, find a cheaper alternative!
Apple's iMusic system is very easy to use, and it only costs a mere 79p for a track, and something equally good for an album. My brother uses it extensively.
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