Saturday, 24 March 2012

Creating Change: Majority vs. Minority

Pirating has become accepted, and necessary in our technological word, as Matt Mason confirms in chapter two of his book The Pirates Dilemma. Throughout this chapter the main themes Mason conveys is that pirating is a good thing. He takes us through the history of pirating, explaining how it has been going on for centuries and evolved greatly in 1906. This is the time when DJ Fezzy broadcasted the first radio show with music and the voice of a human being. He was the inventor of the AM radio that we are all familiar with today. Radio was a breakthrough in piracy, and it sparked the interest of many. Others followed in DJ Fezzy’s footsteps and even resorted to broadcasting from international waters; in order to avoid the laws of copyright and theft. As it has, and continues to evolve it is affecting a great number of participants and viewers in every aspect of pirating. Pirates are not thieves they are just people who want to expand the population’s knowledge of existing material, express their opinions of it, provoke thought, and promote creativity.  Mason states that the common knowledge of pirating is society thinking about a man selling poor quality DVD’s of a movie only released in theaters. This is in part true but pirates are being given a false reputation due to their invasion of media platforms and scolding from corporations that created the original content.

We need to take advantage of the fact that these entrepreneurs are working on solo projects to project material to the population that may not have otherwise been acknowledged.

Society often looks down upon pirating acts because they are gaining more popularity with less political structure. Businesses are losing clientele because pirates are giving them material with easy access. The power has shifted from the “elites” or business corporations to us, the citizens with the help of Web 2.0. By making everything simply, and immediately available there is lack of necessity for these major media outlets. This forces them to inaugurate new policies and attempt to establish or reinforce copyright laws.

Democracy has a strong influence over our society, and today pirates and their audience is becoming the majority, while the law and law makers are becoming the minority. In order for any entrepreneur to be successful there must people who desire their commodity.  Commodities such as DVD’s, music, and blogs that express simplification of a subject, and other pirated materials are desired by the population, enabling the progression of pirates. A good example of pirated DVD’s causing issues for the film industry is the collapse of Blockbuster. With so much online opportunity for customers to find a more convenient, and close source for movies, Blockbuster had little choice; they were not meeting client demands.

Mason says that when pirates do something worth-while, or exceptional it creates a discussion that often leads to changing the law based around the newest idea of pirating. Based on this “discussion” spared by pirates Blockbuster created Blockbuster@Home to compensate for their physical loss and gain an invisible online purpose. There are two ways in which pirates avoid consequences pertaining to privacy – either change the law, or ignore it. Favourable of the two outcomes is ignoring it. This is seen in the illegal downloading of music, movies, and other copyright material.

As well pirated DVDs are not going to disappear anytime soon because the law says so. This is an income for the pirates and their discretion has become impeccable. It leaves me pondering: what’s next? Pirates changed the way in which we view movies by pulling people into the realm of Web 2.0, and I think this is just the beginning. Theaters are not closed due to pirates, and in this sense concerts are still taking place regardless of the fact that they can be streamed live to your computer without leaving your room. Piracy is changing the entertainment industry entirely.

I leave you with this thought: John Berger, the author of Ways of Seeing stated, with respect to art that art comes to us, we no longer need to go to it. He was referring to the media and the internet. This is what is happening with every other entertainment outlet as well. If pirates continue to do what they are inevitably going to, large corporations/companies should prepare for the next wave that washes over Web 2.0. (Berger 123)

Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. London: Paris, 2008. Print.

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