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Piracy Is Wrong. Period.

Monday, March 24, 2003 by TheDoc || [0 Comments]

[Taken from TechTV and can be found here.]

David Lawrence rips the wheels off the fair use bandwagon and urges parents to get with the program.

Radio host and good-natured loudmouth David Lawrence will be on Friday's show to teach the Screen Savers the error of our online ways. Read Lawrence's argument and post your responses in the TechTV Talkback section and on the TechTV message boards.

There's a total lack of ethical training when it comes to technology. We can do just about anything on the Internet, but just because we can doesn't mean we should. Some examples:

  • When Usher (one of your faves, I'm sure) was about to release his album, "8701," he had to go back into the studio to re-record a tremendous amount of new material. Why? Because a recording engineer at the studio at which he was mastering the CD stole the material and posted it on the Internet for free download two weeks before it was released in record stores.
  • When "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" was released in December, pirated versions of the movie appeared on the Internet within three hours of its delivery to movie theatres in the United States.
  • When Eminem was about to release the soundtrack to "8 Mile," vendors on the street corners of New York were selling (from laptops right on the sidewalk) burned copies of the CD they had downloaded from the Internet.
  • When Steven King tried to write an online-only novel and sell it a chapter at a time, he abandoned the project in the middle of the fifth chapter because the first four chapters were being pirated openly on the Net ("fair use" was the cry) and the sales of the fifth chapter were almost nonexistent.

And yet we're told by respected journalists that this is because record labels, movie studios, and publishing houses are "old school" and need to "update their business models or die."

Who are these people to dictate to media producers what they have to do... "or die"? This is nothing more than technological blackmail. And we're not teaching our kids that it's wrong.

Other behavior is equally amazing. People will flame (attack via email) other people online in vicious ways that they would never do in real life. Music and movie piracy, identity theft, credit card hacking, software cracking, and other activities are being promoted as "security assessment" and "the unavoidable new way of doing business" and other "helpful" acts. That's pure rationalization.

The public, especially the generation of Americans raised on technology, needs to step back and reset their attitudes and actions regarding the way they use technology, or this will end up being a very dark and very embarrassing part of our history.

David Lawrence is the host of Net Music Countdown and Online Tonight, available on both XM and Sirius Satellite Radio services and other major radio stations throughout the country. Lawrence will appear this weekend at a motivational speaking event in Santa Clara, California, during which participants are encouraged to walk on hot coals. You can even watch the insanity live on the Web.

Originally aired February 7, 2003 Modified February 7, 2003

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