Here is a point most people miss. Let's say you go into a store and steal something. You have committed a crime. If caught, you can be arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned for doing so. If you go back and buy another of what you originally stole, you still have previously committed the crime. Buying it does not make the previous crime go away, and you are still subject to arrest and prosecution.
It is the same thing with illegally downloading a movie or song or game. You have at that moment committed a crime. Even if you go to the store and buy the movie, CD or Game, the crime has already been committed, buying the product doesn't make the crime go away.
And in the case of downloading, many people share what they downloaded. Multiplying their offense because it is illegal to distribute copyrighted material without permission.
When you commit a crime, you cannot un-commit said crime. And as such, you are still a criminal subject to punishment if caught. And the "I won't get caught" claim only holds true for so long. If you continue to commit the crime, you could eventually get caught.
Why is that so hard for people to understand?
I think the problem is you seem to be painting the housewife that downloads The Goodwife from torrent because football screws up her dvr's schedule with the same brush as the guy that sells burned copies of in theater movies and sells then out of a van on the corner.
The question of if a pirate is also a consumer depends on how wide your definition of a pirate is. The content industry leaders want to say that everyone that has ever downloaded a single thing in their lives is a dirty, stinking pirate, but there is a good majority of people that download and also purchase legal copies too. How can I say that? Well, there aren't 8 million guys selling burned copies of Walking Dead out there on the street corners are there, but there are some pretty healthy ratings and merch sales going on.
Good luck with the prosecution.
''Experience is a costly school but fools learn in no other''
Downloading is generally just treated as a civil offence... that can still be bad given the giant damages that can be assessed so it's of course a bad idea, but that doesn't mean the overly broad laws and the overly punitive damages aren't ridiculous and seeing the law as this black and white thing that is always correct is a bad idea. The laws regarding and the distributers that make their living from IP need to change to reflect the current realities of technology.
For example, I've heard interview with many musicans now that don't care if you download their songs as long as you come to the shows and buy some merch to support them, because they were smart and worked it out so the label doesn't get a piece of the merch... that's all them. That's changing to match the times.
And while some musicians may be enlightened as to how to get their money, that was necessitated by people who download illegally. And it may help the musicians but hurts the record companies. Record companies that (used to) employ many people.
Most people are usually extremely moral and ethical....
....until it inconveniences them.
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