Sometimes my mind takes things literally. It can be embarrassing when my mouth gets engaged, but as long as I keep it in my imagination it’s a fun way to relieve stress.
When I hear about online piracy, books, movies, code, or other booty, I can’t keep the image of Jack Sparrow out of my mind.
The scenario I see
Tricorn hats tipped at a jaunty angle, eye patches in place, parrot on shoulder, our intrepid pair of Internet pirates rub their hands in glee over the boot in the chest. One wooden leg balanced on a rock Captain Red Eyes says, “Arr Billy, we’ve got ourselves a nice chest of treasure here.”
Billy doesn’t answer, but his parrot squawks, “Crackers?”
“Hackers?” the captain says, “We don’t need no stinking hackers.”
Billy spins with his cutlass raised. “Where be those hackers, Cap’n? I’ll teach them to sneak up past our wall of fire.”
The parrot sighs and rolls her eyes. “Cracker, you idiot. I be hungry. And how many times do I need to remind you to use earplugs when the cannon is fired?”
Captain Red Eye spits a stream of tobacco juice to the side. “Never you mind, parrot. We be the pirates here. Billy you pull out that iPad you always be playing with. It’s time to sell our bounty and get back on the ship. I miss my bottle of rum.”
Billy sheathes his cutlass and pulls out a smartphone. “I be using this little beauty, Cap’n. That iPad be a bit too big and heavy for our business. Look here.” He points to an icon of a skull and crossbones. “I’ll upload the booty and then we can be off to a night of rum and pirate song karaoke.”
Putting it in perspective
I know some people think online piracy is a big problem. That somehow every download is money stolen from their sales. I find it hard to agree that people who download pirated copies would buy the product if they couldn’t get it for free. To me, those free downloaders are probably not going to be customers, they like free stuff.
What I try to do – if only for my own sanity – is get excited about fixing things I can fix. If someone could figure out a way to stop piracy, it would be great for the 5 minutes it took for the pirate to figure out a new way to take what they want.
Online criminals are no different to real world ones. They have an amazing capacity to adapt to changes. If they turned that energy into something society wanted, they would be millionaires. And then some other online criminal will start taking their stuff.
What do I think I can do?
I can try to make my book so good that people want to buy them and not worry about someone stealing. After all, a pirate wants the good booty. Writing crap is one way to protect yourself, but who wants to do that?
So, me hearties. Set sail in the internet and keep a weather eye out for the virtual Jolly Roger.