Frequently, living digitally is about making the day to day things we use to do our jobs and live our lives better. Note I didn’t say bigger and better, since part of living digitally is also about making everything we have that works just fine as it is as teeny tiny as humanly possible. Not to get off on a tangent, (well not much of one) but I fully expect that one day I will learn to type 60-80 wpm with tweezers that hold special miniature dialing wands that tap keys on a miniature keyboard.
Tangent aside, the goal is for us to make everything better, and for the most part, we do just that with our technology. EXCEPT… when it comes to pirating.
If you look over the history of pirates, which is something I’ve done– albeit not very thoroughly since initially I just liked the hats pirates wear– you’ll notice a disturbing trend.
We’ve gone from this:
(Ok fine, he isn’t a REAL pirate, but he played one on the big screen and he’s awfully attractive so just work with me here.)
My point being that once upon a time, if you wanted to steal stuff, you had to put on a cute little outfit like Mr. Errol Flynn has on, and you had to wave a sword and you had to jump on somebody else’s ship and beat them up and THEN take their stuff.
But now, NOW all you have to do is click a button at your computer and you’re a pirate, arrr. Don’t get me wrong, I see the appeal of the insta-pirate ways we have today. In fact I’m willing to confess that in times past I enjoyed the occasional illegal mp3 download while sporting what I *still* consider to be a rather fetching eyepatch and pirate hat.
However, I also must fairly recognize that this is nowhere NEAR the rigorous standards for piracy that we used to have. And the worst part is, it makes for AWFUL movies. Do YOU want to watch someone download mp3s? Take a look at a potential pirate character for such a film that I’ve whipped together: Arr, here be the most cutthroat scurvy pirate of the internet. Captain Downloads-things-he’s-not-supposed-to –his very name strikes terror into the hearts of geeks everywhere– will be out downloading things he’s not supposed to. QUAKE IN FEAR!
My point being, would you rent such a film? Well I hope not, because you could probably get it off the internet for free…
We could fix this pirating problem very easily. On a simple level, what we could do is make a rule that before you illegally download something, you have to punch somebody in the face first and yell ‘aaarrrr!’
On a more complex level, one that would require government support, I suggest we place illegal mp3 downloaders aboard ships. Then we make a rule that if you want to download stuff, you have to attack another ship full of mp3 downloaders, beat up everyone on that ship (maybe punch somebody in the face) and THEN you can steal the mp3s.
The thing is, nobody ever takes my suggestions seriously. So I reckon we’re stuck with slipping pirate standards, and I for one am horribly disappointed about it.