I pirate some stuff, and I don't have any qualms about it.
We are abandoning an age in which humongous distributors squeezed the last dime out of the public and out of the authors. And I'm tired of it.
music. I didn't do it at first, I still bought as many original CDs as I could. But once I learnt about how record labels (i.e. the MAFIAA
) pay so few cents to the artists and shackle them with draconian practices (let alone the current trend of sueing P2P users), I stopped buying CDs. I grab the MP3, then I go to the live shows and buy a T-shirt. The artists see more money from me if I buy the ticket and some merchandising, that if I had bought several copies of the CD. In the very strange cases I get to personally know the artist, I invite them to beers.
I don't pirate
books, even if there's a nice digital copy available. They are not really overpriced, and the writers don't seem to be as upset with their publishers. I might get both the dead tree and the PDF versions, and use the digital copy when convenient, but if I see a book I like in a store shelf, I grab it on the spot.
movies, since so many of them are crap. I like to see the good ones in the big screen, but I feel very annoyed when I pay good money and the movie is utterly bad (which seems to be the majority of current movies). Thus I can see which ones are worth going to the cinema to see them. Heck, if I hand't downloaded Episode I from the net, I might have gone to the cinema to see it
I don't pirate
software. Mostly because I use Linux and other Free / Open Source Software, but still. When I used windows and played games, I did something similar to the movies: I grabbed demos or the whole game from the net and bought only the ones that were worth it.
I think basically my stance can be summarized in "if you try to shove loads of worthless overpriced crap down my throat, I'll pirate just to cut through all the chaff"
. And I feel totally cool about it.
On a personal note, the problem I see is that nowadays movies, music and almost all forms of creation are developed and marketed with one goal in mind: to grab as much money as possible! When you create something intended for everyone, by definition it can't be any good, since it caters to the common denominator.
So, usually, what appeals to the global audience is usually bland, uncompromised and empty. If you want quality you have to go to niches. That might be why specific writers or less-known bands usually have a fiery band of followers: it's easier for me to shell out cash to Children of Bodom than to Christina Aguilera, for example. You usually feel much better giving money to an author that resonates with you than to one who is a packaged product from multinational media cartels.