Students talk online piracy

Jacob Waring Reporter 

Piracy, no not the kind involving Jack Sparrow, online piracy is something we’ve all heard about from time to time. Perhaps, you or someone else downloaded music, movies, a book or a video game online for a variety of reasons. Southern students were asked their opinions on this topic, which side of the debate they fall on, and whether they themselves have participated or benefited from online piracy.  

Just to be clear, online piracy is a federal crime. According to the No Electronic Theft Act (NET Act) that was passed back in 1997, it is a law that enables people to be prosecuted, regardless if they benefited monetarily or commercially from the copyright infringement. It can be punishable up to five years in prison and with a fine.  
Some like 21-year-old senior Jeremy Delvalle, who majoring in physical education said that he believes that such actions would go against his own personal morals.  

“Since it’s considered illegal, morally it’s not the right thing to do.  I do understand also from the other perspective of certain individuals can’t afford certain things online. Whether that be for example textbooks as a student, said Delvalle. 

He said in his explanation he himself understands the perspective due to the prices of textbooks being expensive. He also said he only empathizes with those who do online piracy out of necessity and not those who only do so as a form of recreational activity or as a shortcutHe admitted that he had done online piracy in the past, but due to ignorance rather than immoral reasons.  

“I was younger, and it was honestly for two reasons. Being influenced negatively and not being educated on the whole piracy concept and illegal downloads,” Delvalle said.  
While some like 19-year-old sophomore Paige Teero who’s a pre-nursing major said that she believes that is something a lot of students do, especially with music and movies. She also said students likely do that because school is expensive and that they want free entertainment.  

“I wouldn’t say that it’s right because it is, you know, illegal. I am on the side of the student in the sense of, ‘you gotta do what you gotta do’, as it is expensive, “Teero said.  
When it’s not a student, then she sad that it is dependent upon where some one is in life. The example she gave is a scenario where if the person has a lot of cash or is well-off then it’s a pointless action rather than someone who is struggling financially. Yet, she had participated in online piracy, and she said that a movie was involved in that instance.  

“My friend, and I really wanted to see this movie and we didn’t have enough time to get it on DVD. It wasn’t available anywhere else online. So, we downloaded it for free. There is this specific website that I was recommended to see any types of movies,” she said.  
She hasn’t used the website since, and she said it was due to the convenience of Netflix typically having the movies she desires to watch.  

Yet some like 20-year-old junior Kemnath Cardona who’s a phycology major had said that does not condone online piracy at all, and to justify its use would lead to a precarious slippery slope.  

“I do understand but first off, I don’t condone piracy at all.  I do understand that there are some individuals that are kinda having a rough time economically speaking. I feel like there should be a way around, not necessarily paying full price up front, but there should be another way of getting that information. Whether it’s through the institution, you’re already paying for the tuition. So, why not already get the books for freeThat’s where I stand on this,” said Cardona. 

He did said that he felt like everyone participates in online piracy at some point in their lives. He also said that when he was a freshmen, and the fact that textbooks are expansive, he would’ve taken an opportunity to find a free version. Now, he said, he would go out of his way to avoid using online piracy.  

Some students such as 21-year-old junior  Emma Conley who majors in phycology with a concentration in behavioral neurology are simply indifferent towards the whole online piracy phenomenon. She has said that it’s not okay to pirate music from local musicians but for bigger names it is. She said she made that justification by noting the income differences between artists at different levels. She said that she followed that logic due to being frugal with her cash, and spoke on why she didn’t fall into the camp that say it’s bad regardless who you’re pirating from.  

“Because I’m a bad person [laughs], I really have no reason other than my money, you know—I like music, I’m not gonna spend a lot of money on music,” she said.  
She said she grew up with online pirating being the norm as her father made a habit of online piracy. She said her father had an obscene amount of music. 

“My dad has over like, 75 thousand illegally downloaded songs, or something like that. Cause he had a contest with one of his other engineering buddies on who can get the most music illegally,” she sad. 

She said she did not express concern about the legal implications of her father illegally downloading all that music.  

“It’s not on my computer, so… if my dads want to do it then he can do it. If he gets busted then its his fault,” Conley said.  

She realized the act of online pirating is bad but said with laughter, “Yeah, I’m a jerk… with flexible morals.”

Photo Credit: Jacob Waring



One comment

  • Always interesting to hear from the next generation on piracy. Those in college when Napster appeared in 1999 see piracy as part of their right of passage into adulthood and were far more militant about protecting their perceived right to download whatever they wanted.

    They claimed it had something to do with “free” speech, when there was really no connection. They also attacked any artist that tried to explain the need to get paid for their work.

    Part of this was accomplished by claiming their actions really hurt the wealthy music companies, but this was a half truth, because it hurt musicians and songwriters, working people, far more than the corporations.

    But ultimately, it was you who got screwed. When artists who were popular enough to sell 5,000 tickets and up per show, saw that concerts was now the only way to make money, ticket prices skyrocketed.

    So you’ve actually ended up paying a lot more for music than if you were still paying for recordings. Plus you’ve made it nearly impossible for popular club bands to earn a living.

    But let’s face it. Since you were born they haven’t been able to solve the problem. When we got close to a solution 5 years ago, google, who owns YouTube, spent tens of millions hiring lobbyists, publicists and used their huge e-mail network to spread false information, like we saw in the last election.

    Many of us who are either musicians or artist advocates like myself, have watched this go down and know that we have lost a lot of great music, because, unless you’re a star, there’s just no money.

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