The Slashdot Conundrum: Pr0n versus Pirates

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I’ll say it here. Slashdot is the best accumulator blog of interesting articles on the Internet. But it has very little original content and very strong biases for Linux and Open Source Software and against Microsoft, against software patents (and the abuse of the US Patent System) and against the enforcement of copyrights in regard to media like films and music.

Although there is a groupthink in these matters, there is plenty of dissent. Many Slashdotters create new and innovative software and hardware and want to be paid for their efforts.

But this is a story about Porn. Good, legal, heterosexual porn between consenting adults. Vivid Entertainment, a giant porn movie producer in California has taken the lead from  mainstream film producers and started a lawsuit against some 7000 freeloaders who copied and shared one of its productions, Batman XXX: A Porn Parody

And because its about Porn (or in geekspeak Pr0n), it falls to Slashdot to defend the rights of pirates to rip-off other people’s work and pass it on under the guise of “sampling”. There’s even an argument in the comments that because Avatar was pirated yet managed to make more money that any other movie in history, therefore such “sampling” is not damaging.

But then we get this comment from one of Slashdot’s famous Anonymous Cowards:

Fellow pirates,

I implore you to continue your campaign on Slashdot to make me feel less guilty. I know that not paying someone for their work is wrong, but if Slashdot posts enough articles bashing the RIAA/MPAA/copyright law/whatever, it’s easier for me to accept what I’m doing emotionally by visualizing someone else as the bad guy. Once on the forefront of relevant IT news, Slashdot is now a lame repository of mainstream pseudoscience links and pro-piracy articles to appease a dwindling readership. I am overjoyed.

Even though the open source community is about giving back as much as it is taking, I’m just going to take. I’m a human leech with self-serving beliefs and an inability to empathize with content creators who are trying to make a living.

I don’t believe John Carmack should be paid for his work. I’m going to sit on my ass while he spends years coding the next advanced 3D engine from id Software. When their game comes out, I’m going to pirate it without giving a second thought about paying John Carmack for his work. I’m just so used to pirating things now that I take it for granted. If anyone mentions John Carmack to make me feel guilty, I’ll look for Slashdot articles that bolster my viewpoint, such as this one, amusingly posted in the Your Rights Online section even though none of my rights are being violated.

According to that study, it’s okay to not pay people for their work because there’s some vague hope that they’ll make up the difference in income through “concerts and speaking tours.” Artists are now forced to take time out of doing what they want to do. John Carmack must stop programming in order to make money from programming. It’s genius. The study does exactly what I need it to–make me feel less guilty when I pirate. We’ve managed to stretch the truth so far that we’re actually telling ourselves that we’re helping artists by not paying them for their work. Excellent job.

I look forward to Slashdot telling me everyday who the bad guys are. Even though Slashdot has sued websites in the past for copyright infringement, and they’ve pretended to care about plagiarism, we’re supposed to go along with Slashdot’s anti-copyright agenda. I’m okay with that hypocrisy because it serves me. It makes me feel less guilty when I pirate something. Remember, I’m not the bad guy–the RIAA/MPAA/whatever is. That makes it okay for me to not pay people for their work.

EULAs and copyright licenses are wrong, yet the GPL is good. Piracy isn’t theft, yet GPL violations are referred to as “stolen GPL code.” I accept all of these double-standards because it serves me. I pretend not to notice when someone points out that the GPL relies on copyright law, and if I want to get rid of copyright, my beloved open source code will no longer be protected by the GPL. I don’t care, because I’m too busy concerning myself with what I want for free, not about the consequences. I want to get rid of copyrights because I’ve been told that copyrights are the bad guy, and they are an obstacle to my rampant piracy.

Fellow pirates, let us continue our selfish leeching. Let us paint others as the bad guys to absolve us of our emotional guilt. Our goal is to convince people that piracy is something the good guys are doing in a fight with the evil corporations. Making money is wrong, even though Slashdot displays ads, and it cost me money to buy the computer I’m using to pirate stuff.

Yours truly,
A fellow Slashbot

A classic piece of satire that skewers the leeches with their own words. Well done.

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