The hypocrisy of anti-copyright campaigns

This video, which I’m sure we’ve all seen, is the crown jewel of the “respect copyrights” campaign.

The blatant hypocrisy of the companies and government agencies which sponsor either the MPAA or this campaign is far reaching to the very foundation of capitalism.

This video (and its campaign) has 2 premises both of which are either hypocritical or just plain stupid.

These premises are:

#1) what is illegal is also inherently morally wrong.

First, every thinking person knows that what is illegal or legal has no bearing on what is moral or immoral and this has been a known fact since the days of Plato.  Marxists believe that, while the practice of capitalism by definition is legal, it may still be immoral to allow people to starve to death and die all the while others go with too much food.  What’s more though, this argument can also be made from a right-wing point of view.  Right-wing, anti-abortion activists would argue (and they do frequently argue) that while abortions are legal, they are nonetheless immoral. 

So on this point, the anti-piracy campaign is just talking out of its ass because most politically engaged people on all sides of the political spectrum recognize the fact that the law does not equal morality.  So this premise is just plain stupid.

#2) You and I shouldn’t make our decision to share music based on a cost-benefit analysis.  We should make our decision not in terms of what is the best, most economical decision for us, but rather for what is the best for the industry.

Capitalism is based on the very idea of each person behaving in their own best interest through rational, cost-benefit analyses!!   That’s just how capitalism works. 

Union Carbide made a cost-benefit analysis and decided that if it just cut on safety measures and moved its operation to India, then it could save TONS of money even if it cost people their lives. The result: 20,000 people DEAD because of the Bhopal disaster caused by Union Carbide.

British Petrolium (BP) made a cost-benefit analysis to intentionally allow its pipelines in Alaska to corrode through sheer negligence because it knew that the resultant oil spill would hike up oil prices globally and net the company an overall profit even after paying for repairs.

Ford Motor Company learned in the early stages of production that its Pinto model would explode under certain circumstances and would be expected to kill  people.  Ford decided that it would cost more money to do an $11 repair on all of its models than it would to pay for lawyers to fight all the personal injury and wrongful death suits that would result from their car.

Chevrolet made basically the same decision with regards to their Malibu model.

Moreover, each of these 4 examples are just the really popular ones that have been published widely. Most cost-benefit analysis is so common that it doesn’t even get reported on. For instance, every single capitalist company makes decisions everyday on how low they can pay their workers — ex. “Is paying starvation wages worth the extra cost in lower employee retention and higher training costs?” etc… — in order to make a profit.

Using the biblical (and original) definition of hypocrite, we see that a hypocrite is somebody who imposes standards on others which they refuse to accept for themselves. So the very companies which support the MPAA in this campaign are by definition hypocrite since the very way they make money is founded upon the necessity of cost-benefit analyses while they advocate that we refrain from the same practice when it will cost them money.

If capitalism can use cost-benefit analyses at the cost of peoples LIVES in order to save money, then I sure as hell can use a cost-benefit analysis at the cost of their money.  And, what’s more, I won’t feel the slightest bit of guilt because of it. In fact, I’ll do you one better: taking money away from companies which can do such things is perhaps the most patriotic and beneficial act you can do while sitting at home in front of your computer!


5 Responses to “The hypocrisy of anti-copyright campaigns”

  1. 1 CMD 17 December, 2006 at 3:49 pm

    Interesting article, however, I question the credibility of some of the statements you make in the second part. I’ve definitely read conflicting arguments in each of these situations. I think the article is great at pointing out the hypocrisy of the industry, but I just don’t know about the accuracy of the Union Carbide, BP, Ford and Chevy information.

  2. 2 paulitics 18 December, 2006 at 11:52 am

    Fair enough, I suppose in my attempt to keep the length of this post down, I sacrificed supporting evidence in that part. I’ll post a follow-up in the next little while, outlining the evidence which supports my argument (however the Union Carbide example is pretty undisputed).

  3. 3 Edward 2 February, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    Another thing is that piracy isn’t stealing. It’s copyright infringement, and the two terms are deliberately separate in law. When you steal a car, handbag or movie, those are items that there can only be one of, thus you are depriving the items lawful owner of his/her property. Downloading movies, however, copies them. The deprivation (or lack thereof) is what defines theft and copyright infringement. Go read your countries crime and copyright laws, I know that the New Zealand crimes act and copyright act make the distinction between these terms very clear.

  4. 4 paulitics 2 February, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    Edward – great point! I actually hadn’t considered taking the argument back to such an obvious and straight-forward position. To me, it’s the mark of a strong argument when the people listening think “why didn’t I think of that?”.

    As for your point about Canadian copyright laws, our Supreme Court has ruled that it’s not illegal to share music and videos etc. which has recently caused Hollywood to threaten to delay movie releases in Canada by up to two weeks (gasp!). Thus, Canada has even more liberal copyright laws than most other countries yet (to the best of my knowledge) we don’t have a problem with people stealling cars and purses at higher rates than normal.

  5. 5 miss universe 29 September, 2014 at 10:15 am

    This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!!
    Finally I’ve found something that helped me.
    Appreciate it!

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