Why Piracy Lives

18 October 2001 19:09

Much has been said recently about how rampant piracy is in this country. I've been thinking about it lately and it struck me that one of the factors contributing to the situation is availability. I went to Tower Records the other day hoping to get myself Crystal Method'sTweekend, Baby Boy soundtrack, Methods Of Mayhem, Tyrese's 2000 Watts but NONE of them are available! I realize that the market for those albums may not be as many as the larger mainstream and commercial (read Boyband loving) market but you're ignoring fans of those artists and music genres altogether! So what else can we do but resort to finding MP3s of those tunes on the Internet and subsequently contributing and succumbing to piracy altogether? Now I really like those artists to the point that I'm willing to support them by getting actual copies of their albums but there aren't any dammit! And what's the deal with only the censored albums being available too? When I cough up the hard earned dough for an album, I don't wanna listen to some deformed and neutered piece of work. In this situation, piracy wins again when those people resort to other means (e.g. Internet via Napster) to get their music fix.

Of course, the other factor has to be consumers' purchasing power. Look at it this way, the average Malaysian earns between RM2,000 (USD 520) to RM3,000 (USD 780) a month. The average American earns between USD2,000 to USD3,000 a month. Now, there's already an imbalance there. However, the price of a music CD costs around RM 45 (USD 11) here in Malaysia. Looking at some online music stores (e.g. CD Universe), the price is about the same. Now, does that seem right to you? Two different groups of people with different income levels trying to purchase the same goods at the same price. The group with the lower income will definitely feel the pinch of course and what else can they resort to other than pirated goods which costs way, way less. And there we go, piracy wins again.

Then of course, there are those VCD/DVD movie pirates as well. Again, this is contributed by the high cost of a DVD to the average Malaysian. To the average American, forking out USD 20 to USD 25 may not be much when they're earning some USD 2,000 to USD 3,000 but it does to the average Malaysian who's earning around USD 500!

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