If the MPAA and RIAA are to be believed, rather than buying media, file-sharers around the world are saving billions of dollars by downloading copyrighted material instead. For these people, we now have the ultimate solution to salve their ‘guilt’. Donate a week in piracy ‘savings’ to reduce poverty among those who need it.
Together with thousands of other blogs, TorrentFreak is participating in the Blog Action Day 2008. This year’s goal is to raise awareness and generate discussion on poverty, so that’s exactly what we’ll do.
Our plan? Encourage people to donate their pirate ‘savings’ to projects that help to reduce poverty. Why? Because we believe in sharing.
The idea is to calculate how much you have ‘saved’ in the past week by downloading copyrighted content. If you haven’t downloaded anything, just pretend you have, we’re trying to raise money here.
In the interests of grossly inflating the figures and therefore raising as much money for charity as possible, just like the MPAA and RIAA we’re going to assume that one pirated copy equals one lost sale. We decided not to include software, because things can get a little out of hand for those who downloaded Photoshop.
1 music track = $1
1 music album = $10
1 movie = $10
1 TV-show = $5
1 book = $10
Now, calculate your savings based on the example above (you are allowed to show off in the comments) and donate this amount to a project that aims to reduce poverty. You can pick your own charity of course, but we also have a pretty good suggestion.
Where to Donate?
We assume that most of our readers are familiar with the concept of P2P, so we would like you to consider the following. Let’s say you fire up your BitTorrent client because you want to download the latest album from your favorite artist. You use BitTorrent, which means that the more you share with others, the more you will receive back.
The only problem is that you will start with nothing, so initially, you don’t have anything to share at all. Luckily, the BitTorrent protocol has solved this problem, and when the swarm recognizes you as a new entrant, random peers will send you a few bits which you can then start to re-share with others. People might wonder what this has to do with poverty, so we’ll try to explain.
In ‘real life’, people sometimes also need to receive something before they can start building up their business, and generate a steady income. They are just like file-sharers – without the first bits, they can never fully participate in the downloading process. Kiva tries to solve this problem. With Kiva you can lend a few dollars to entrepreneurs in developing countries, who will use it to make a living for themselves.
These people will use your $10 to start their own businesses, so they can provide for themselves and their families – P2P in the real world. The good thing is, once they have a steady income they will repay their loans, give to get, just like BitTorrent.
The MPAA, RIAA and other anti-piracy lobbyists want you to believe that thousands of people lose their jobs because of piracy, and that it’s a disaster for the global economy. We know better of course, and would argue the opposite. An illegally downloaded song is not a lost sale, in fact, it tends boost sales. We could even argue that, without piracy, hundreds of thousands of people would lose their jobs. For example, iPod sales would plunge and bandwidth usage would drop by 50%.
Piracy is embedded in our world economy and eliminating it would be devastating. It’s better to work on legal alternatives instead. So dust off your calculator and let’s donate!