Today I had the best conversation with a stranger I have ever had. And I won.
I was at Starbucks and there was this relatively attractive dude talking passionately to two women. They were riveted. He was talking about the music industry and how pirating music is horrible and wrong.
I honestly had nowhere to be, so I just stood nearby and watched him talk. They asked him questions about his music. He talked about how it was so difficult for his band and everyone in the music industry to make any money because people were just stealing from the hard working artists.
I kinda chuckled and he turned his attention to me. He asked me questions about my spending practices, and my support of “independant” artists. Apparently, the look on my face read as “what an arrogant douchebag” because he started pestering me about whether or not I have ever downloaded songs for free, or if I used streaming music.
I answered honestly. Yeah, I used to download songs or share files with friends. I now use a streaming music program daily, but I make a playlist and then I end up buying the songs I like. Then there were more questions about his music from the two adoring women sitting there. How much work he spent recording. I even asked him about his experience with production.
He told me about the software he uses and seemed to be really excited about it. I asked him questions about what type of things he could do with it. Then I told him, “Man, that sounds awesome. I’d love to try it, but I’m still trying to recouperate from the holiday shopping.”
He then said “Oh, I can get you a free copy of it. I got it online.”
The thing is, I know the program. I know exactly how much it costs, because I’ve missed it since I first learned how to use it at school.
So I said “oh, a trial version?”
He then grinned and said that his friend cracked it, so he had the full version.
I then blinked at him, smiled sweetly, and said “oh. So… You pirated software…” and he told me that he didn’t, his friend did.
“So… What makes that any different from a pirated download of a song that a friend shares with you? SOMEONE created that. SOMEONE worked so hard to make art, and don’t fool yourself. Software IS art. I don’t care how expensive you think it is. Sit down, you fucking hypocrite.”
I don’t know if I said that verbatim, but I did tell him that software was an art… and I did call him a hypocrite… So I’m gonna high five myself.
Piracy is piracy.