Never. It’s never okay. It’s illegal. That, by definition, means it’s unlawful or not allowed.
Okay, so it’s never legal to illegally download a movie or song or TV show; but when is it morally acceptable to do so?
It’s fucking illegal, I thought we’d covered that?
Illegally downloading anything is stealing. It belongs to someone else, someone who doesn’t want you to have it for free.
This is something which drives me fucking mad – people don’t think of it as stealing. It fucking is! It’s not yours, you’ve taken it without the owner’s consent – you’ve fucking stolen it!
I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it. Do whatever your conscience allows; but at least have the fucking balls or even the basic intelligence to admit/realise you’ve stolen it.
I keep hearing the same argument on radio or TV – some fuckwit admits to a reporter that he illegally downloads media and then justifies it with something like:
“Well, if DVDs weren’t so expensive I wouldn’t have to steal them.”
Yeah, good point. You know what else is expensive? Ferraris. Ferraris are really fucking expensive – do you steal them? Houses, they’re pretty expensive too, why not steal them?
Oh wait, you have a right to possess Season 16 of The Simpsons for free, do you? A human right? Is that enshrined in your country’s constitution? Or in the Ten Commandments? Thou shalt be afforded immediate access to a shitty cam version of the latest blockbusters? Where does it fucking say you shouldn’t have to pay for something which doesn’t belong to you?
Again, I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it. I’m not saying I don’t do it. I’m just saying call it what it fucking is – stealing.
You know what really pisses me off though? People won’t pay for a DVD but go and buy a knocked off version. They’re not prepared to pay the people who made the film, but they’re prepared to pay the people who stole it.
That’s fucking madness.
Oh, but it’s cheaper, is it? Oh well, that’s alright then.
Paying someone to steal a car for you is much more acceptable than stealing it yourself.
Except, oh no … it really fucking isn’t.
The problem is, stealing media has become so widespread that no one even realises it’s a problem.
I was in a meeting about a TV thing recently and the producer wanted me to watch a particular show as research.
Have you seen it?
Oh. Maybe there’s some way you could watch it somehow?
I don’t think so, it’s not on any more, is it?
No. If there was some way you could watch it, it would be very useful.
I don’t think there is.
The stupid thing here is he clearly wanted me to download it and watch it; but he couldn’t actually tell me to steal another TV company’s product, because it’s fucking illegal.
I did download/steal it. It was shit. But that’s beside the point.
Or rather, it isn’t.
I’ve written some bad films which were very heavily torrented. The people who stole those films then complained about how bad they were. To me.
Writing those films was a traumatic experience. It was every bit as painful for me to write as it was for you to watch. And I’m not even being compensated for that pain!
Worse that that, some guy in a market somewhere is getting paid my nerve-soothing money.
How is that fair?
Well it’s not and life’s not fair. So it’s just tough shit.
But at least have the common fucking courtesy to man or woman the fuck up and admit that you stole it. You didn’t torrent it or share it or download it – you fucking stole it.
Is there ever a time when stealing stuff is perhaps not quite stealing?
I don’t know – maybe. Maybe if you pay for Sky Movies and the film you want to watch is on there, but only on the day you’re not at home and (for some reason) you have no way of recording it and you’re going to be out of the country so Sky Go doesn’t work and (for some other fucking reason) you’re not capable of setting up a simple fucking VPN to get around that … then maybe, just maybe it’s alright to steal a film you’ve technically already paid for so long as you don’t actually keep it forever?
Or if you buy the DVD but want to watch it on your phone but haven’t got any way of ripping the DVD to your phone so you steal a copy for your phone. Is that stealing? Yeah, but … maybe that’s understandable/allowable?
Or if a show is on the BBC and you’ve technically paid for it with your licence fee and you want to watch it while you’re temporarily abroad but forgot to download it on the iPlayer before you left and still can’t work out how a VPN works?
Is that still stealing?
Or is that just circumventing an annoying process which stops you viewing the content you’ve paid for at the time and in the manner you wish to view it?
I don’t know.
All I do know is stealing is stealing and stealing is wrong. You may choose to do it, but it’s still stealing and it’s still wrong. Doing it makes you a thief, that may or may not be acceptable to you, it’s not for me to judge because I don’t own a snazzy wig. It’s up to you do whatever the hell you like; but thinking it’s anything but stealing just makes you a fucking idiot.