“Borrowing” a Few Moments of Somebody Else’s Time

Help me understand. How can people who have cell phones that cost hundreds of dollars claim that they’re too broke to pay for the films they watch on those devices? How can people at any level of income justify watching pirated material?

My friend Michael Williams, an independent filmmaker based in Mississippi, is watching sales of his work suffer because pirates have put it on streaming sites. Michael is young, talented, and infectiously creative. Why is the electronic world so ambivalent about his well-being?

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14 Responses to “Borrowing” a Few Moments of Somebody Else’s Time

  1. Samantha Anderson says:

    I think although it does partially have to do with the monetary aspect, it is also a convenience factor. In most cases, it is so much easier to simply look up a movie or tv show from the comforts of your own home instead of going out either to theaters, Redbox, etc. You can watch while working on other things at your own pace unlike movie theaters which cut out a major chunk of time that could be used more productively. For example, instead of me going to the movie the do my work. Also, in terms of buying the film, many people only want to watch most movies once and probably never again. Another personal hindrance that causes me to pirate movies and shows is the fact the MSMS wifi does not allow Netflix due to the slow router. In this case, I am paying to legally watch someone’s work but can not due to current circumstances. None of this is to say that piracy is ok, but it is not without, in my opinion, moderately good reason.

  2. August Andre says:

    Some people with phones who claim to be broke are. In today’s society phones are a necessity so that students can check their twenty emails a day, contact their parents, and order food from Domino’s. My point being that phones are more useful than just for entertainment however big of a factor that may be. Being able to afford a phone doesn’t necessarily mean someone can afford something else. For example, let’s say I have $1000 and a phone costs that exact amount. I now have an expensive phone but have no money left to spend on leisure such as going to the movie theater.

    It is hard to justify watching pirated movies when you analyze your actions as theft. The problem today is that people don’t think of watching movies online as stealing. Consumers are more focused on the practicality of the matter. You can watch movies for free, in bed, whenever you want, and as many times as you would like to. In part, the average person (that watches pirated films) is not concerning themselves with Michael’s well-being. Many people pirate movies without knowledge of the morality of the matter or its negative effects on people’s lives.

  3. Sara Scott says:

    Of course piracy’s bad and extremely harmful and a form of theft. I disagree with it but I see how it’s so popular. As said by every other commenter, why pay for a film when you can find it so easily for free online? Unfortunately, our legal system is a long distance behind technology. Though it’s illegal, I’ve seen films pirated countless times, but I’ve never seen any punishment. I’m not condoning it by explaining how easy it is, but instead attempting to point out the fatal flaw in pirating, in that the only way to end it is to more carefully control what is published on the internet and end pirating websites. It’s of course a very serious and selfish crime, but the only way to end it is to actually enforce the laws banning it.

  4. Alex Jones says:

    It’s hard to get a free cell phone, but it’s easy to get digital material. This is one reason why almost everything digital can be pirated. It’s extremely easy to copy a movie because all it takes is copy and pasting an mp3 file and sending it over email or something of that nature. We can’t copy and paste a complicated electronic like a cell phone… yet. Maybe one day we’ll be able to 3d print or something of the like complicated electronics. Then piracy will be an even moreso prevalent crime, and many people will do it because they’ll be able to easier. Why steal a physical thing when you can just as easily steal digital things 10000x easier. My IQ is atleast 20 points lower after drinking flouridated water.

  5. Sophia Pepper says:

    One of the many reasons some people could believe that watching pirated films are acceptable are that they simply don’t see it as a true theft. For all that film is indeed a work of art, truly perhaps on of the most comprehensive realms of the art world, many people of my generation simply don’t view it as something to be treated with the same respect we would treat a painting, or even a digital photograph of a painting. We grew up with these fanciful moving pictures surrounding us, caring more about the people acting in them than what they were portraying, surrounded by advertisements for toothpaste or chips with a higher budget than we could ever really expect to make in our lifetime. With all of these around us, movies were never really shown as an art form, despite directors and actors being considered artists.

  6. Tija J. says:

    I think its many reasons why today’s people would buy a phone over a movie tickets is because they are aware that movies are somewhere out there free. People will go to wits end to find a free movie rather than paying for one. Personally, I sometimes don’t blame them. The cost movies nowadays are a bit pricey. (I watch most of my movies at the movie theater though) The question now is “spend $900 on a phone or $9 on a movie ticket?” While most Americans would gladly spend hundreds of dollars on the new iPhone, they realize that watching movies isn’t the only thing that can be done on the iPhone. At a movie theater you can only watch movies, but on a cellular device, you can do so much more. I’m not saying that that behavior is right, but that is what’s being done.

  7. Reagan Conner says:

    In this society, spending hundreds of dollars on a smartphone is something almost everyone does. Many feel smartphones are a necessity. Since most people have access to the internet and television from the smartphone in their pocket, more streaming options become available every day. While many people pay the monthly subscription to Netflix, it offers more TV shows than movies. In addition, it also doesn’t offer newly released movies or TV episodes. People feel the need to get the immediate satisfaction of knowing what is happening in their beloved TV shows and to know about the movie that everyone is raving about. One could simply google “watch ____ now” and there will be multiple search results that stream the content they wish to see. They don’t have to pay for it and they can watch it from their bed on their own time. Many often don’t realize how these actions affect those who make a living off of this content. Many also just don’t care.

  8. Ashley Nguyen says:

    The cost of a ticket is absolutely outrageous, but so are the prices of our phones and laptops. When we pay for the ticket, we can only watch one movie, but when we buy our phones we have the option to watch movies, play games, etc. I see both sides clearly, but i feel that we can get more use out of a phone, than a ticket.

  9. Indu Nandula says:

    On average, a typical ticket costs $8.12. Let’s say a person goes to 10 movies in a year. This amounts to approximately $81.20 per year. Or, if you want to go the other route and buy DVDs, the average cost per DVD equals about $15.00, with an added cost of a DVD player, which usually costs upwards of $80 for one of decent quality. That said, movies are becoming less and less available to many patrons. Subscriptions to streaming services annually cost many people about $96.00. With the technology available in this day and age, why spend so much on a purchasing the means of seeing a movie when you can just stream it for free on a device you already own? This is the logic of many people. When an individual comes across a means to achieve their goals for free, despite the risks, they are likely to take it. This is especially true regarding pirated websites. Movies can be found on such sites for free, which seems like a jackpot for the viewer, but what many people don’t know is that these websites pose serious threats to the entertainment industry. If this continues, the entertainment industry could end up not having enough profit to make new movies, resulting in dissatisfaction on both ends of the table.

  10. Piracy has been a concern since the idea of making money through the internet arose. Why would I pay $1.99 for an app on my expensive phone when I could get it for free? It is not because of the factor of instantaneous access when an app is considered because I could just buy the app from the App Store and get access to it within seconds. The reason most people decide to pirate is due to the “cheapness” of people, often the people who pirate are the people who are better off and can afford to pay for the app. If a person’s financial income can not support a $1.99 app then firstly, why do they have a smartphone and why can they not use an older generation phone and spend the money they saved on valuable items such as food or clothing? Piracy is a growing field and websites are only getting more and more prominent. If I was asked to name a pirating website that contains millions of dollars worth of material on there, I could instantly name one due to the growing awareness and the acceptingness of the entire act by the people who do not get affected by it. Although it may not hurt a writer such as J.K. Rowling, it sure will affect young, independent filmmakers such as Micheal Williams.

  11. Richie Andersen says:

    Piracy is a crime and in no way does this statement defend the use of piracy.
    As our world advances technologically, we are more and more used to having services provided to us instantaneously. This is known as instant gratification. But as a result of internet users being used to this, we find that “web surfers” have become increasingly insensitive to property rights and the weight that comes with it. The internet itself conveys a care-free place where anybody can get anything. Piracy has only improved that idea in the sense of obtaining whatever one so desires. In this era, people aren’t really worried about having money to purchase films and shows, but people nowadays think “why spend money when I can find it online for free?” To be quite frank, the internet is ruthless and merciless when it comes to the property of others. Only with a serious crackdown of piracy can this problem be reduced and the property of talented individuals become safe once again.

  12. Zion Hargro says:

    My cell phone costs $349. The average costs for a movie at the movie theatre is about, more or less than, $10. Why not watch a movie on a website FOR FREE on my expensive phone that I can go back to whenever I feel like it than pay to watch it in theatres? Sadly, that totally ruins the profit the actors, actresses, directors, produces, etc. make. In our generation with social networks like YouTube Reddit that allow us to watch movies and television shows for no price at all, and even with Netflix and Hulu where you can watch a selection of movies and televisions shows for around $10 a month. This payment is preferred by even the poorest of people because we can get what we want right then at that moment.

  13. The platforms are emerging fast; therefore, piracy has continued to increased. Technology is evolving more and more around cell-phones, so anyone that has a cell phone could possibly be declared independent by technological standards. As the cell-phone becomes more prevalent, it is easier for pirates to stream because everyone has to take a glimpse on their phone.

    The way people buy phones that causes thousands of dollars really grinds my gears; actually, the phone companies make you buy a new one by not allowing certain updates on past phones. For example, the iPhone 5s was a hit thing, but when the iPhone 6 and 6s hit the shelves, everyone complained about their phone messing up, forcing people to by the expensive iPhone 6. The people behind these technologies are forcing us to be corrupted and pay large sums of money for a phone.

  14. Kaelon McNeece says:

    We live in a world of instant gratification. With social media continuing to climb and platforms such as YouTube and Reddit giving users immediate entertainment for no price, people start to expect the same from the film industry. Society starts to expect the entertainment they desire immediately and cheap, and if they can’t get it, they can sometimes resort to other methods. For this reason, digital piracy is rampant not only in the film industry but in TV and the gaming markets as well. The blatant ignorance of law and the well being of content creators is what is currently tearing down developers, more significantly smaller, independent developers. Unfortunately, if the public focus remains on immediate entertainment and not on praising and support creators of brilliant content, piracy will only become more of an issue in the world’s digital age.

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