-You own several comics, movies, and compact discs. You find yourself quickly running out of space, so you decide to box up all that stuff and switch to digital.
-Do you have to re-buy these works in a digital format or should you be allowed to download them for free?
-You’re not going to share your downloads. They’re strictly for your use, because you are a lazybones and/or out of space.
-You’re allowed to have a copy of your media for personal use. Does downloading an mp3 or cbr count as a copy? If you get a copy created by someone else, since creating your own backups can be time consuming, is that still valid?
-What if what you want a copy of isn’t available commercially? If the scan is the only source of it, barring back-issue bins? What then?
-Is this piracy? I feel like it probably definitely is, but it’s a type of piracy that I’m okay with.
-What are you buying when you buy media? Are you buying the Blu-ray disc with Redline or are you buying the experience of watching Redline?
-I would argue the latter. I don’t care about a disc or floppy. I care about reading a story or watching a movie. The comics or movie industry would argue differently, of course, and the law is on their side.
-My gut feeling is that it’s piracy, but it’s not the type of piracy I’d get mad at someone for. Yes, it’s wrong, but I think it’s the type of piracy that’s… I hesitate to say reasonable, but that’s probably the exact word I mean. For me, the delivery system doesn’t matter much at all, unless I’m buying something specifically for that delivery system, like an Absolute edition or tricked out special edition. Does that make sense? I’m not buying anything physical. (Though that does raise questions about medium vs message, but let’s table that for now.) Does that change the conversation at all?
-Is buying something secondhand more legitimate than downloading something you own? In both cases, the original rights holders don’t get paid for the new twist, but were paid for the original purchase. There’s a difference in legal legitimacy here, obviously, but if your piracy position is all about the creator being paid, then they feel like they’re both in violation (which is why video games companies have been going hard on the used games market and punishing consumers for buying used over the past three or so years).
-Should you be able to pirate something you have already paid for? I’ve definitely bought Nas’s Illmatic several times now across several formats. Tape, CD, MP3, and then vinyl. I wanted to listen to one of my favorite albums on whatever device I had handy at that point in my life (and the ritual of listening to one of the best albums of all time on vinyl was irresistible), and the purchases were several years apart. At the same time, I have several bootleg versions of Illmatic that I didn’t pay for. I’ve deleted a lot of them since, but at the peak, I had two different instrumental versions (one was legit, the other a recreation I believe), a piano instrumentals version, an Al Green mash-up, a version with a few demos from the original sessions or something, a live version, and another version where other rappers recreated the songs. Am I out of line? Where do my rights stop, as “dude who bought the album?”
What’re your feelings on this one specific aspect of the piracy debate? Once you buy it, do you have a license to more of it, or should you have to pay? Legally, I think the answer is clear, but… morally, ethically, how bad do you need to feel about yourself if you bootleg Amazing Spider-Man 121 because you’re too lazy to dig Spider-Man: Death of the Stacys out of storage?
Couple notes for the comments because I hate how people use any post about piracy as a chance to talk about how piracy is totally, 100%, a-okay: piracy is not a revolutionary act in any way, shape or form. You aren’t fighting the power. You’re listening to stuff for free. Seriously, I don’t care. You should pay a fair price for the stuff you enjoy. You shouldn’t pirate books you hate just so you can hate them. Piracy can help, but it can also hurt. It’s obvious that the person who created the work should get to decide how it’s used. People pirate because they want something for free more than they want to kick somebody else some cash. Something something it’s illegal so go kill yourself for pirating you filthy pirate something. Blah blah information wants to be free blah. Use common sense. Use protection. Don’t do drugs. Piracy funds terrorism and therefore pirates should be drawn and quartered. Never trust a big butt and a smile.
Please don’t be annoying in the comments, is all I’m asking.