Hollywood (the movie studios, the record labels, etc.) sure does have a knack for causing its own problems. You’ll recall that it’s en vogue to call copyright infringers “pirates,” which is an insult to legitimate pirates like William Kidd and Henry Morgan. Just because you can fire up uTorrent doesn’t mean you can take on a Spanish Armada. But, whatever, it’s simply easier for Hollywood and its acolytes to call you kids “pirates” than it is to have an adult discussion about the subject.
The word is nothing but trouble. Using it is akin to calling someone “Hitler” or a “Nazi” in a debate: it’s basically an intellectual shortcut to a ready-made conclusion. Those guys? Bad. Us? We’re good.
Or in fancier verbiage:
To say that X is a pirate is a metaphoric heuristic, intended to persuade a policymaker that the in-depth analysis can be skipped and the desired result immediately attained… Claims of piracy are rhetorical nonsense.
Said by “noted copyright scholar” William Patry.
Now, had Hollywood, when the likes of Napster and Kazaa first came out, taken the time to explain the difference between wholesale theft and copyright infringement, rather than rushing to sue everybody, throwing around meaningless terms like “piracy” and “stealing,” well, this is the consequence.
Show me one 16-year-old who has a problem with downloading Lady Whatshername and I’ll finish this stupid sentence.