The Price of Art

If you’ve illegally downloaded movies, or music, or books (or audiobooks), this is for you.**

Now, I’m not generally referring to people under the age of twenty who don’t have disposable income, especially if they might be downloading things that their family/town wouldn’t approve. Should those young people illegally download things? No, they shouldn’t. But I was that age once, and there were things I wanted and couldn’t access and I downloaded things (music, as this was before such things as Spotify). It’s not right, but it’s maybe understandable.

But if you are an adult, and you’re illegally downloading music, books (audiobooks), movies, and television shows…SHAME ON YOU.

“But, Alex,” you say, “I am also lacking in disposable income. I cannot afford these pretty things!”
To which I reply: bullshit.

1. Yes, I realize some things will not be accessible to some people because of financial reasons. And it’s sad, but also: tough shit. My car is a bare-bones vehicle because I couldn’t afford something nicer. THAT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S OKAY FOR ME TO GO OUT AND STEAL ONE. We shouldn’t treat a concrete object as any less worthwhile than a digital one.

2. There are various outlets that let you enjoy media for free! Spotify for music, Crunchyroll for anime, libraries for books (and audiobooks) and movies. Yes, sometimes that means sitting through ads. That’s the price you pay. (I’m not as familiar with sources for television.)

“But, Alex,” you whine again, “my library doesn’t carry those books.”

 a. Maybe it doesn’t (I’m in a small town, so my library also only carries so many titles) but most libraries are connected through the county and so you can get books from all over the county! Check it out.

b. If you voice that you want these types of books at your library, there’s a chance the librarians will try to get them for you.

3. And if libraries aren’t a possible outlet, then ask for money for holidays from your loved ones, or ask for the books directly. This, of course, applies to other media as well. Heck, if you have a big social media following, maybe ask them to help you out sometimes!

4. There’s a lot of LEGALLY FREE stuff out there. Search for it. Enjoy that media! Authors put out tons of free shorts you can enjoy. Musicians make things available on Spotify (or listen to the radio…really).

My overall point here is illegally downloading digital media is stealing, and stealing is wrong–not because I say so, but because you’re stealing money from the artists who make these things. You can tell me “but it’s only five dollars” (to which I will not point out that I could say the same to you). I will reply: Yes, but five dollars stolen by a hundred people is five hundred dollars. That’s groceries and rent and gas for that low-end car I bought because I didn’t have the money for the fancy one.
Entertainment media is not a necessity for life. There are accessible options that are free. Stop stealing from artists.

**Most of this doesn’t discuss movies and mass market American television because I don’t watch a lot of it. Mostly because I don’t have the funds to pay for all of it (or else to pay for the internet fast enough to handle streaming). I rely on friends, holidays, and house-sitting opportunities to watch various things on Netflix, etc. Just to prove that I’m not all talk.

Also, in case you were wondering: no one thing brought this post on. I’d just seen one too many people, who supposedly love artists, who were advocating for stealing from them.