I'm writing this with a cracked rib, so I may be a bit off from my usual.
Today - again - one of the blogs in my feed posted about piracy. It seems like every day that one of the geeks I generally listen to posts about the ebbils of this horrifying method of theft. Frankly, it irritates me.
I think it's perfectly okay to think software/music piracy is wrong. But I think it's important to realize where this thought comes from. It's been injected into your head. It did not arise there magically, and I'm damn sure you didn't decide it on your own, because by the time you were old enough to think rationally on the matter, you had already been taught about it.
Now, that doesn't inherently mean that the thought is wrong. There are lots of things you get taught that are correct. And I'm not even going to argue one way or the other. What I am going to do is point out that arguing about it is like pissing in the ocean.
The fate of the "copying is theft" meme will not be decided using our minds or our culture or our rhetoric because it has no strong inherent morality. It will be decided by reality. The reality of the situation is that, no matter how you feel about it, it is simply impossible to even slow down the advance of "piracy". There is no way to magically turn back time. People will steal software. More and more.
You can, if you wish, argue with them. Brand them evil, or at least jerks. But it's already more than half of the people you know. In ten years, basically everyone under 30 in a first-world nation will be a pirate. Already, I would wager that it's over 50%, at least in cities. Hell, I bet there are destitute Africans downloading illegal ring tones to their shared village phones.
You can brand them all jerks and criminals. But that seems kind of retarded.
Whether or not copying is theft at the moment, in ten years, nobody under thirty will consider it to be significant. In twenty years, everyone under thirty will be amazed anyone ever thought it was immoral.
So before you judge for or against, how about you stop and think about how things are, rather than how your fantasies want the world to be. Your business model had damn well better not conflict with pirates, or you'll go out of business faster than an honest politician.