Corporations should pay users for sharing their products

Corporations should pay users for sharing their products

This article is the first of a new series here at the Pirate Times. It is an editorial and so will contain subjective opinion in contrast to a pure news story. As such, it reflects the opinions of the author and cannot  necessarily be construed as the being the opinions of the Pirate Times, Pirate Parties International or any Pirate Party. The Pirate Movement is diverse and thrives on lively debate that is held in a respectful manner. We encourage you to add to this in the comments section.

Copy is everybody’s right

“Pirates”, in the sense corporations put it, have always existed and are all of us! Wrongly, everyone has made copies of his favourite music on cassettes and other storage media, because it was and is illegal. But how many beautiful moments have we experienced, by being “pirates” and copied music to liberate it everywhere, at  friend’s homes, in the car, at the office. It is something that people feel deeply inside them, the desire to share things with those they love.

There was once the “home taping is killing music” motto, a directive that no one ever took seriously. Well, if this is the definition of “piracy” then everybody is a “pirate.” Remember the ship of the Pirate Bay has a cassette and bones in its flag?

Cassettes offered people the choice to copy, from a lot of records, the songs that we liked. Why were consumers  not allowed this option? After all they bought the records and paid for copyright. Copy is everybody’s right`. We made a copy, a sample, for our friends to listen to. By copying, we acted as a salesman for a product and advertise it to friends. Maybe all, or one or none of them being influenced, depending on the presentation.

Word of mouth

There is a selling method called viral marketing, via networks, otherwise “world of mouth” well known from the beginning of last century. These networks always existed and were the cheapest and easiest way of advertising goods. Corporations elegantly adopted this element of advertising and require internet users to pay for using their projects.

During the seventies and eighties, people used to gather at home with friends and listen to vinyl records. This describes a private moment, happening in a house and no one has the right to know what the person inside doing with his friends, with whom he is doing something he likes. Namely, he publishes his music preferences in a private circle. Essentially advertising to his friends, an artist or band and thus the recording company and those involved with the production of the project.

His friends maybe would buy the album, as everyone has done before, buying records they would not have known existed unless their friends had never played them for him. These gatherings and meetings are currently happening digitally, over the web.

In the case of  the web, apart from the fact that our private moments are violated and made public – in which our friends were in the meeting, how many listened to the song and liked that – corporations are seeking new ways to put taxes on copyright!

They do not take into account this element of advertising that exists in every posting of our favourite artists on the web. The fairest solution would be for corporations to pay us, for each time we advertise their products, by giving us a portion of their income for our contribution to their promotion.

If we add the fact, that many people have already paid twice or maybe more times for copyrighted material, by buying the song on cassette, vinyl record, CD, DVD, then we are talking about greed on the part of corporations and insult to the consumers. We have paid so many times for copyright and do not know sufficiently well where the money goes, to artists or traders and manufacturers of these products ?

Protection of privacy

Today, meetings with our friends happen  over the web though with one significant difference; we have so many more friends than ever before and thus there is a spectacular increasing rate of our influence on them.

Companies seem contrary to such a perspective and believe, in a simplistic way, that this is a case of “piracy.” It’s the eternal confrontation of «home taping is killing music». In fact copying, is like freeing the music, because music should not be imprisoned and killed. For Pirates, all knowledge, art, information, should be free to use in the internet.

But our digital “meetings”, with friends at “home”, raise some more issues, such as invasion of privacy and freedom of expression, namely, the natural rights we enjoy in real life, to meet with our friends and talk about everything we want.

In a recent study in Greece , among children and adolescents, parents and teachers of all levels of education, it was found that the protection of privacy (83.8%), and the right to control all postings and data (58.2%), were two out of ten top online rights internet users would like to be respected. The survey was part of actions held to commemorate this year anniversary of “Safer Internet Day”, started 10 years ago.


Featured image:  Elberth 00001939 and smallritual CC BY-NC

Stathis Leivaditis

About Stathis Leivaditis

The English “pirate” is derived from the Greek word “πειρατής” (peiratēs) and this in turn from the verb “πειράομαι” (peiráomai), “I attempt”, which is a derivative of the noun “πείρα” (peîra), “experience”. Coming from the depths of the centuries, the word “pirate” took on another dimension in our days. The ruling classes saw pirates as rebels and hated them. Rebels without a state, they were not submissive to any law, except from the laws they instituted themselves, improvising together. This is the feeling of a Pirate: when something doesn’t work, you have to attempt to bring a new concept. Sometimes it goes beyond a certain point and perhaps exceeds certain limits, because it is an expression of challenge; the challenge to change the system. I’m a member of the Board (and former chairman) of Pirate Party of Greece, also a member of press team of PPGR, former journalist, now a free lancer. I'm in the team of Pirate Times from the start, I joined voluntarily and consciously because I am interested to meet pirates from around the world, to exchange views and spread the pirate spirit.