Here’s a little speech from Neil Gaiman, talking about book piracy (and I suppose by extension all internet piracy, though he doesn’t explicitly say so).
I’ve been a heavy downloader ever since such a thing became possible. Remember Hotline? Or before that, Gopher and Archie? I was all up on that shit, downloading even stuff I didn’t want at the moment, but might someday. Now that I’m a grownup (har!) with an income, I try and be the good sort of pirate, that goes out and buys a legit copy of the game/movie/comic if I actually played/watched/read it all the way through.
I’ve recently stopped downloading DS games altogether in fact (though since the impetus was the fact that my romcard died, it’s not as noble as it sounds). Going back through the list of all the games I’d downloaded (pretty much every game that came out that wasn’t obviously stupid, like Imagine: Wedding Planner*) I discovered that the ones that I’d liked and played all (or at least most) of the way through were, generally speaking, the ones you’d expect — the ones that you would know were worth buying before you played them, just from online reviews or developer/series credentials. There were one or two hidden gems — Soul Bubbles in particular was a bit of a sleeper — but the obviously worth-buying games are quite plentiful enough to fill the amount of time I have to devote to playing them, so there really wasn’t any point to downloading any more. So I went down my list of downloaded roms and bought real copies of the good ones, and that’s that, I guess.
Which is not to say that I’ve stopped downloading shit entirely; I downloaded a bunch of issues of the comics Wasteland and Casanova the other night, because Warren Ellis mentioned them on his blog. As it turns out, yep, they’re pretty awesome, and I’ve got the trade collections on my Amazon list for when I get paid again. I guess all I’m really saying here is: go ahead and download, but don’t be a dick. Support the stuff you like.
I didn’t even post this video with the intention of writing a big ol’ piracy article. I just posted it because Neil Gaiman, like Stephen Fry and Patrick Stewart, could read out a collection of classic software EULAs and I’d listen, delighted.
* has anyone done Imagine: Heroin Addict or Imagine: Bulimic Fashion Model or Imagine: Failed Child Star yet?