High Street Piracy

Could some of last weeks looting in England be put down to the pirate culture that the majority of 10-30 year olds have grown up with in the UK? This continues my thoughts from my previous post about the riots.

Much has been written about the volume of online piracy over the past 14 years since the early days of Napster and the reported damages to the music, film, games & software industries. I’m 31 and would struggle to find someone my age who has not, at one time or another engaged in some sort of piracy. Whether that be downloading an MP3, buying a bootleg DVD in the pub or streaming a Premiership football game over the Internet. 

I would estimate that 90%  of the young people I work with have done so, and that the majority ‘steal’ in this way on a regular basis. In fact when I discuss this with them when I spot iPods full of music/games which i suspect have been downloaded illegally the young people involved have no grasp at all that they are stealing. It’s something they’ve always done, as have their peers and parents (& teachers?!?). I normally give them an easy way to understand wether it’s theft or not: “Did you pay for it?” “Would you have to pay for it in HMV?” A no and a yes = theft. The number of pupils this surprises is huge. 

So many people have grown up with this culture of free, is it such a leap for them to then help themselves from a shop? My gut says yes, looting a shop feels like it should be a greater crime, but is it really? Smashing your way in in the first place certainly is. But what about everyone in the crowd who followed the first two in? Is that so different to downloading a film on a torrent site because everyone else is doing it? I think this may go some way to explaining the number of people who have jobs, qualifications etc who have been charged for opportunistic looting over the past week. They, and millions of others have been doing the same in the safety of their own home for years  Was their crime any worse than when you watch your football team next Saturday online because it’s not the game being shown on Sky or download that episode of Top Gear / CSI / Doctor Who because it’s not being aired in your country for another 6 months?!

What do you think?

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *