I am a thief.
I have been for a while.
In fact, when I stop to think of it, I fear that my children might inherit the inclination to engage in this nefarious activity of mine.
Looking back in my internal memory I can’t seem to pinpoint any ONE event or activity that led me to becoming a thief. It happened over time. Years, no decades (I get scared to think how I have aged) I gradually turned into a lawless citizen.
When I look around, I seem to see that it is the norm. I’m not the only one (no, I’m not writing from Chikurubi or Remand Prison!). There are many of us. In fact, I’m finding it hard to find anyone who isn’t.
Before you raise the ‘I’m innocent’ placard, lemme ask you a few questions.
Where did you BUY the music in your laptop, computer and/or phone? Speaking of laptop/computer, is it running on Windows? Do you have the user licence for it? Did you get your ‘product key/code’ after the purchase/payment for the software?
And the movies and series that you’ve been watching lately (yes, I hear a new season of House of Cards came out recently and is available through torrent websites), have you paid a bond coin for them? Well, have you given money to the rightful owner and not some guy who is standing on the street selling them for $1 for 2!
Then there is the situation of text books. A new school year just passed and for those of us with kids still in school, whether primary, secondary and/or tertiary the need to buy these much-needed learning tools is self-explanatory. Let me hear you say ‘Amen’ if you bought your books from Kingston’s (are they still open or they closed their doors?). Ok, maybe Innov8? Hmmm, mighty quiet in here, isn’t it…
Well folks, I’m not here to point any fingers. We’ve all done it.
This scene from The Amazing Spiderman shows Peter Parker (a.k.a Spiderman) getting into a shop to buy some stuff. Because he is not given the best of treatment he leaves in a huff and just seconds later the store is robbed. When the storekeeper pleads to him for help, he responds to him the same way he was treated just moments ago: “it’s not my policy!”
Alas, Spiderman’s very own uncle tries to stop the criminal and gets killed in the process.
What does this have to do with piracy?
Well, many times when we look and see the activities that go on in our streets, on WhatsApp and Facebook chat groups where people are blatantly STEALING someone else’s content, be it a movie, software, a textbook or even a song, we just look the other way, saying that it is not our policy to get involved (if we are not partakers of the very same act).
But my oh my, karma is a (some text missing)!!!
Today, that theft of content may not belong to you. But there shall come a day and a time when you too will have put some effort into creating something. Blood, sweat and tears later you will want to get paid. And when you realise that you too have contributed to a generation of consumers that will not pay the price for stuff, here’s hoping that the bite in your ass will not be too painful.
In a digital world where anything and everything is accessible through the right Google search, piracy is affecting us all. Whether directly (publishers, film producers, music artists, etc) or indirectly (think of a day when there are no longer relevant text books in schools because no one wants to write anymore because it does not pay…) it will have its effect on all of us.
Can we do anything about it? Even if we could, would we do anything anyway? Or will we just look away and say,
“It’s not my policy.”