Downloading some latest hit on mp3 from rapidshare, or a great movie that is just about to come out from a torrent site: most people have done at least one of the above 2 recently. Now to mention downloading software, video games, scanned magazines, etc. Why are they doing this? It is safe to assume that in most cases people realize that they violate the law – obviously, if one finds a movie before it’s official premiere, it is probably not uploaded by the copyright holder, and if he is able to find it, he has probably at least heard before that he has to be careful with some of the content that he encounters on the Internet, because it might be illegal.
I remember a several years ago, me and my friends had the average for these days 120GB hard drives, and we had them constantly filled with at least 30GB music, 20GB video clips and 40GB movies. Is this really something one needs? 30GB / 10MB per song (which is even a high bound) * 4 minutes per song = 12000 minutes = 200 hours = 8 days, 8 hours! Obviously: no, it is not. None of us had listened to a significant part of his collection. Looking at stats from a torrent site: one of the most downloaded torrents recently was 9GB and was called “Michael Jackson – FULL Discography”. Not just “Thriller” or “Bad”, but all his songs – that is 2019 files, I doubt that any one of the downloaders would sit at home for a week and listen to that.
Illegal and impractical – still, people are doing it. And it makes them feel good about it: it is not uncommon to hear people proudly telling about how many gigabytes they “pirated” recently. Why – because, even though people know they are doing something wrong, and no matter how many times this has been disproved, they feel anonymous online. While surfing the web you don’t directly see an authority watching your actions, yet you know for yourself when you are doing something inappropriate. The effect is natural: downloading transforms into something that is so easy to do, in the same time you will probably not get caught, and at the end you get the positive feeling of “tricking the system”. Then of course you will download!
Deyan Simeonov, Stanford University