The scourge that is piracy | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 27, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 08:19 PM, May 28, 2019

The scourge that is piracy

Being a resident of Bangladesh, piracy isn’t foreign to me - rarely would you enter a store where people weren’t selling pirated goods. The stores my mom and I have been going to, ever since I was but a mere child, have been selling disks with torrent files burned into them. I just used to think CAMRIP was just the terrible conditions movies were released in initially. My uncle had bought me a PlayStation 2 slim, along with a few games, when I was 12. But instead of the slim plastic black disk holder, I was familiar with, there came a thick solid cover with the disk on one side and a small booklet on the other. Confused, I fell prey to the wisdom of my 17-year-old cousin, who then explained to me the existence of piracy.

11 years later, it is clearer how piracy creates a convenient situation for those born in countries which aren’t household names. To an American, a video game costs $60. With the way exchange rates work, we also essentially pay $60, however, the toll seems worse, as almost Tk. 5000/- must be yanked out of our bank account. That’s a month’s wage at a starter job. In the US, that’s a day’s work with minimum wage. Some other countries have it worse, while others have it even easier.

Countries that are well known to be destitute, get products at adjusted prices. Yet, some products are region locked due to companies not agreeing with this price change. Multiple streaming sights have exclusive shows and people need a subscription on all of them if they want to watch something they like. We don’t even have PayPal yet. With conditions that hamper entertainment that is out of our control, what more can be expected of us. We do what we can to help ourselves become a part of the rest of the world.

Obviously, piracy faces severe backlash from the public. Most complaining about piracy are those living in western nations. Besides the general public, companies bellow out the same slogan: Piracy is stealing. Western Europeans mimic their overseas neighbours and try to buckle down on those committing these heinous crimes. Claims were made that piracy hampers sales, create losses and ruins the economy. None have been confirmed as of yet. Heavy regulations, warnings, and general discouragement are projected towards these cybercriminals. The EU has even gone far enough to suppress a 300-page study that determined that piracy did not affect sales, for video-games at least.

So, for an issue that has taken the western hemisphere by storm; what about us? Why do we not read articles detailing the arrests of teenagers torrenting the latest Avengers movie? Well, there is the broken window theory.

The broken window theory suggests that if a window of a building that breaks remains so, then the community will believe that this minor discrepancy will remain unnoticed by the authorities. Since no one cares, let's break some more windows. For our country, not only is the window broken; for the last decade, we’ve managed to break off the entire wall. But in our case, instead of looting whatever the people have on the other side of that wall, we simply wish to sit and enjoy it with them. The pirating community marches along with this, what some might call a deluded mantra. It is for fairness and the betterment of the less fortunate. And maybe they’re justified. Even though software is getting harder to crack, and countries continue to grow, piracy fails to waiver. We have become habituated with its nature and have installed it into our culture. And quite frankly, we’re fine where we are.

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