Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Movie and Music Piracy

Many of my friends see no problem with piracy. They argue that it is okay to copy music off those library CDs. They argue that it is okay to watch that copy of a movie that has been leaked online illegally. Some of them just don't know that this is, in fact, a crime. Others know it is technically considered "piracy" but don't seem to mind aligning themselves with the likes of Jack Sparrow.

Guys, this is a serious issue we as Christians should take note of.

Pastor Dean had a very good message a couple of weeks ago on 1 Peter 2:11-17. He spoke of submitting to government not because their laws always make sense or are convenient, but because we as Christians are called to live lives above reproach! Pirating movies and music definitely falls in this category. The argument that "Hollywood is making billions of dollars, and they don't need my hard-earned money to watch this one film. And I don't want to support them anyway" is against the point. If it is truly a crime--which it is--to copy, listen or watch pirated content, then we as Christians should have nothing to do with it. We are to keep our behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that they have no reason to slander us!

For those of you who may not know what is considered piracy, here is a great article that will allow you to educate yourself on it so that you can keep the law. As the article lays out:

"There are very clear laws about what people can and cannot do with purchased content. Generally, purchasing content means you are allowed to listen, play, read, or use that content yourself. It does not give you the right to copy it, share it, trade it, let others download it or make money off of it for yourself, like buying a movie and then charging people to come see it."

Also, here is an article about library cds or dvds and the illegality of downloading them onto your device or burning them onto a disk. It is very clear that this, too, is a crime. We are in effect producing copies of someone else's work without the permission to do so.

Finally, there are some online sites that are actually licensed to show movies for free, because they have bought the rights to do so from the movie's producers and because these online sites in return make their money off of ads--kind of like a radio station that plays songs for free. However, there are also a lot of sites offering pirated films. Please do careful study on the online sites you use to make sure that they are completely legal. You can find some legal sites to watch free movies on as well as information about why to avoid the ones engaged in piracy by clicking this link.

To circle back to the arguments people make about why piracy is okay, I find it both amusing and sad at the same time how people say on one hand how Hollywood with all it's egregious sins doesn't deserve their money, while on the other hand they skirt the law so that they can watch something that they just described as egregious. We lose our ability to stand strong against Hollywood, guys, when we break the law. If you truly don't want to support Hollywood, than stop watching their movies all together. Invest your money and time elsewhere. Don't use your moral objection to Hollywood as an excuse to do something morally objectionable.

Another argument I've heard is that "I wouldn't watch this movie anyway if I couldn't get it for free, so at least by being able to watch it, if I like it, then I can recommend it to my friends or even buy the DVD myself." As always, the end doesn't justify the means. Piracy is still piracy. You can very cheaply rent those movies you are not sure about buying. For like a dollar at Redbox.

As someone who has made a fledging attempt at publishing a few works of my own, I know how terrible I would feel if someone took one of my stories and started copying them. That is my work, that I've spent countless hours on!! That story has my blood (a paper cut or two at least), sweat, and tears stamped in it! No one has the right to make themselves a copy of my hard work without at least asking me first.

It doesn't matter if it is on a much, much larger scale with Hollywood. They have spent millions and millions of dollars on each movie they make. Thousands of people have poured their blood, sweat and tears into each movie. Recording artists do the same with the music they make. Regardless of whether we think they are rich and can afford us ripping them off or not, if we appreciate their work enough to participate in watching or listening to it, we should pay the proper fee to do so.

Now, for those of you who have engaged in piracy without realizing it till now, I want you to know that I am not trying to throw you under the bus. The last thing I want to do is label you as some criminal for innocently downloading music that you didn't actually purchase. I know I have engaged in piracy myself unwittingly. But now we know, and now we are responsible to responding to what we know. Let's keep the law. Let's be above reproach. And let's reject being pirates any longer.

After all, it's not "yo ho you ho, a pirates life for me" that we sing, but "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me."

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.
1 Peter 2:9-15