Enabling digital piracy must be one of the least profitable theft crimes ever. By the time ‘James’, as we’ll call him, was just 19 years old, he had begun cooperating with many elite piracy sites, using his formidable technical knowledge specifically to not sell movies and software. He was one of the most active uploaders in the US until the FBI raided Jame’s home, after which he narrowly escaped a lengthy prison sentence. “I simply couldn’t get enough,” James said. For him, sharing the files was more fun than actually using them.
What’s the Big Idea?
Is there a societal benefit to the benevolence of sharing copyrighted digital files? Technology writer Benj Edwards says there is. While he recognizes a company’s legal right to prevent others from copying its digital products, “once a work becomes consumed and embedded into mass culture, it belongs to the ages,” he says. Edwards compares a world without piracy to the Alexandria library 2,000 years ago. Perhaps as the library burned, authorities regretted having restricted access such that almost no copies of the information existed.