Is media content the new rum?

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Let’s raise our flags, polish our wooden legs, fix our eye patches and sail the seas of media content, you may be unaware but chances are there is some form of treasure on your laptop, smartphone or iPod, is yours the latest Romcom or Miley Cyrus’s wrecking ball?

Most of you reading will be confident in saying that you would never steal a car, or a handbag, yet most of us are stealing on a daily basis. Online and media piracy for many people is simply daily practice as we sit in the comfort of our own homes with our own media devices. At no point does the process feel illegal but Ahoy me hearties we are all law breaking Scoundrels.

Michael Bodey’s article ‘Online piracy appeals most to those who are better educated‘ focuses on recent research regarding the demographics of Piracy in Australia, which found the richer more intellectual Australians are the biggest pirates of them all! The results found 30% of ‘pirates’ earn over $100,000 a year, so if piracy isn’t about money is it about convenience?

Ramon Lobato broke piracy into ‘six faces’ including piracy as free speech and piracy as resistance. It makes you stop and think about your reasons for piracy…convenience or money? Thorin Klosowski wrote on Life Hacker about his personal experience with piracy and why he gave it up. He discussed the complexity that initially existed when media content first became available for download online. Companies such as Apple took a long time to make online media purchasing quick, easy and simple and in the meantime piracy became common practice. With inline purchasing now easy why is piracy still so popular…is it simply now just a bad habit?

But the issue is much broader than just downloading a movie; it extends into the creative areas of remixing and reproducing content. The blog Everything is a Remix, explores the extent to which creative content is reused, remixed and resold. Imagine if Hollywood didn’t use books, comics or existing movies when developing its films. No Batman, Notebook, Lord of the Rings or Disney…..what would our childhoods have been like? I personally think remixing old story lines or bringing stories to life is a creative practice to be celebrated as long as it recognises the original creator and identifies as an interpretation or remodel of existing material.

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There are fine, blurry lines when the word copyright is thrown into the creative arena but as long as we aren’t flat out selling someone else’s work and labeling it as our own we should embrace the remix and get creative. It’s hard to know whether piracy will ever be stopped and I don’t agree that it necessarily should be. Whatever the future may bring, it looks like piracy won’t be going anywhere anytime soon….

It’s a pirate’s life you see!

References:

Bodey, M, 2013, ‘Online piracy appeals most to those who are better educated’, The Australian, last accessed 11/09/2013, ://www.theaustralian.com.au/media/digital/online-piracy-appeals-most-to-those-who-are-better-educated/story-fna03wxu-1226660999120#

Everything is a Remix, last accessed 11/09/2013, http://everythingisaremix.info/watch-the-series/

Klosowaki, T, ‘Why I stopped Pirating and Started Paying for Media’, Lifehacker, last accessed 11/09/2013,  http://lifehacker.com/5990525/why-i-stopped-pirating-and-started-paying-for-mediaThe

Lobato, R, 2008, ‘The six faces of piracy: global media distribution from below’ In R. C. Sickels (Ed.), The Business of Entertainment (Vol. 1): Movies (pp. 15-36), Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, last accessed 11/09/2013, http://dtl.unimelb.edu.au/R/D91T82J25X5RAP6JVQ1FA72PCKMSA19G6YIPCN4XE5K7PES73U-01041?func=dbin-jump-full&object_id=93134&local_base=GEN01&pds_handle=GUEST

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