We need more Squares

It is time for “squares” to honor IP rights proudly.

During my life, I have heard many people referred to as “squares” because they chose not to participate in some activity, whether it be drinking, smoking, or promiscuous sex. I have been on both sides of that intended epithet, and it is much harder to stick to ones choices than to go along with the crowd. In my youthful experience, everyone is doing it” was the key argument in such situations.

Fast forward several years into the future. Drinking can lead to alcoholism and drunk driving, and “Drink responsibly” is the new mantra and mandate. Smoking causes addiction and early death, not to mention an offensive smell, and people are now generally encouraged to quit (and congratulated for doing so). Sex, practiced irresponsibly, can lead to unwanted pregnancy and/or STDs, and now many people take pride in their choice of either abstinence or a monogamous relationship.

Now it seems that copyright violations, in the form of pirated software and illegal music and video files, are another foolish act that “everyone“, especially the young, are being encouraged by peers to do.

It is high time that we “squares” stand up and start turning the tide against these unethical, immoral, and illegal practices. I am confident that nearly everybody who reads this blog understands the importance of creative people such as game developers, artists, and musicians getting properly paid for their work. Nevertheless, I will still make the point that if creators are not compensated fairly because their work is being stolen, then there will soon be a decrease in software, video games, music, movies, and other art, to the detriment of society.

I realize that people are not often willing or able to think about abstract concepts such as the “detriment of society”, so perhaps the fear of the logical extent of what it happening already will sway them. Groups such as the RIAA (according to Google, “Trade group that claims to represent the US recording industry.” [emphasis mine]) are becoming more radical and aggressive with lawsuits and technological means of locking content and spying (yes, spying) on their own customers. We are rapidly moving to a point where, in order to watch a movie at home, play a computer game, or listen to a song, we have to completely give up our privacy (not to mention our credit card numbers) and still endure painful DRM procedures. Yet the problem grows worse.

Instead of encouraging such antagonistic means, it is imperative on all of us (thoughtful, intelligent people) to be vocal about how uncool it is to steal others’ creative work by making digital copies without paying. If one makes a living, or has any intent to ever make money, in a creative field, then one cannot condone copyright violations in any area. With some reverse peer pressure from the millions of people in creative fields, it is possible to give digital theft the social stigma it deserves.

Are you all with me?

[Note: This posting was delayed for days due to a technological failure.]