The Problem with Pirates

“We are the pirates who don’t do anything. We just stay home and download games. And if you ask us to purchase anything, we’ll just tell you we pirate everything.” This is what one would call a “pirate’s theme song” (sung to the VeggieTales’ tune, “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything”). Pirating is also known as illegal downloading. Sometimes software pirates use the argument, “I am going to pirate this game, because the company that developed it is going to get millions of dollars regardless of what I do.” This is one of the dumbest excuses I have ever heard. It’s still the developer’s game and the game is still their profit. Regardless of how much the company makes, it’s wrong to pirate someone else’s hard work.

First, to say that your reason for pirating is justified because the companies that make the game are making millions anyway is not only irrelevant, but also an immature way of looking at it. It would be like saying “I’m going to rob a bank, because millions of people give them millions of dollars and they have plenty to spare.” Do you see what’s wrong with that logic? Just because the bank has money to spare, does not give you the right to take some of it from them. (Unless, it’s your money you’re taking out.) If everyone thought like this, companies would be making pennies from their products. Furthermore, if every possible consumer had this same idea and pirated a game, the company would not be getting ANY profit.

Second, we’ve already talked about what some people say about stealing from a big business company, but what about the small, independent companies? These would be companies such as 2-D Boy, FrozenByte, and Exor Studios. They generally don’t make the same amount of money as the larger companies like Valve, EA Games, and Activision. Quite the contrary really, independent companies have to sell as many copies as they can to make a living. Major companies like Activision have huge game franchises like “Call of Duty,” in which they release a new game about once per year and every year they make millions off the copies. Independent companies, however, usually start out with much less publicity and generally sell their games at cheaper prices. So the indie companies are selling less games and making less money.

Third, some of these pirates say that they will download the game now and donate money later (I personally have had one tell me this). The game developer(s) spent much of their time to make the game, so they should be the ones to say how you get to download the game (for example, either purchasing or playing freely). Who does the pirate think he is to decide for himself how he gets to play the game? He didn’t work on it and he definitely didn’t pay for it. Besides, when the pirate says “I’ll pay later,” does he think anyone will believe him? Most definitely if it came to such a situation he should pay later. But stealing the game in the first place shows that he is dishonest and thus, not trustworthy.

In conclusion, using the excuse “I’m going to pirate this game, because the company that made it is getting millions anyway” is a childish, selfish act – and NOT a valid excuse. Just because a company is making money, does not mean pirates can take the game for free. Independent companies need the money even more than major companies and yet pirates still steal games from them. If a pirate says he will “pay later,” he is saying this because he is hoping everyone will believe him so he will feel better about what he did. Pirates may be cool in the media, but in the real world they are nothing more than thieves. —Jon

Image Credit: Shamus Young, an unschooling dad, programmer, gamer, cartoonist, and husband of the founder of Christian Unschooling.

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