I’m a writer. I sell my work. And I have been pirated. Want to know something? My most pirated work has DRM on it.
You know what really helps with piracy? Not being a complete cock toward honest consumers.
I rarely talk about my kid on this site because he is none of the general internet’s business. But his existence is germane to this anecdote: I have a lot of Pixar movies. LOTS. The kid’s a big fan. I have seen Cars and Toy Story 2 so often at this point that I can recite them, and as such, I am grateful to Pixar for making great movies. (We’re pretending Cars 2 never happened.) I’ve bought them all.
The movie we watch MOST often is… a pirate copy. Now, I didn’t steal it. I bought a laptop off Craigslist and told the guy I needed the software to be legit. He brought the CDs for Office, but to let me test the DVD drive, he brought along a movie. DVD drive thus proven functional, I started looking for the button to pop it out of the tray and he said “Nah, keep it for your kid.” I thought it was sweet of him, and it was, really.
Only I got home and found out the movie was on an unlabeled disc and wasn’t out on DVD yet anyway. Whoops. As an artist, I don’t steal from other artists, and as soon as possible I bought a “real” copy. But as I said, we watch the pirate copy… because my kid isn’t really old enough to understand why he has to sit for up to ten minutes before we can just watch the damned movie. The pirate copy plays immediately.
I don’t blame the kid. I don’t understand, either.
Want to make more money, movie people? Let me skip all of the bullshit. Fuck the warnings, fuck the threatening notices, and definitely fuck the unskippable artsy shit with the fading and the animating and the whatever the hell. I am already committed to paying artists for their work. Stop punishing me, stop acting like I’m the problem, and stop lobbying. Less legislating, more art making.
And while you’re at it, make it EASY to get the movies. Take music. I will always pay a dollar for a song rather than search the pirate networks for some virus-laden file that may or may not eat my brain… at least, now that I actually own the songs and listen how I want when I want where I want. Now that digital music is as much mine as the music I bought on cassette tapes was mine, I buy more of it.
Books? I like paper books a lot. I like writers. I also want my books on my gadgets and I don’t want to buy shit twice. If I buy a paper book, gimme a code to DL a copy for my gadgets, and with me it’s a small gain… and a big gain from people who were happy to buy the book but willing to pirate because the publisher made it hard or impossible to be legit.
Anyway, that’s where I’m coming from. Scott (owner of all things Broken Toysish) is joining the strike tomorrow*. I asked him to take my domains dark as well. There are only eight of you, but the nice thing about a free internet is that all of us matter, even if we aren’t enormous corporations with huge budgets.
*When he wakes up.