Sunday, February 17, 2008

WHO ARE THE PIRATES?

Prayer At Night (1978) – Erich Fried

Where injustice speaks with the voices
of justice and of power
where injustice speaks with the voices
of benevolence and of reason
where injustice speaks with the voices
of moderation and experience
help us not to become bitter

And if we do despair
help us to see that we are desperate
and if we do become bitter
help us to see that we are becoming bitter
and if we shrink with fear
help us to know that it is fear
despair and bitterness and fear

So that we do not fall
into the error of thinking
we have had a new revelation
and found the great way out
or the way in
and that alone had changed us.


We have fallen into that error. Our revelation has been capitalism, the most successful ism of all time – the one that appeals to the human being’s greed and which has triumphed all over the world. All over the world? Not quite.

We have heard and continue to hear these same voices every day of our lives. Voices of anger, of power, of legality, of benevolence, of promise, of reason and experience and wisdom. We have heard the voice of logic and accepted it as the truth. Things though, are not what they seem. We have become parrots of the elite and the powerful, who in turn are the parrots of capitalism. These are the trained parrots of the fellows with the purse strings, who pick the cards of their fate with astounding accuracy every single time. I am, by no means, poor. I am not a member of the Red Brigade (aka the Left). But what I see everyday, I shall attempt to translate. I shall attempt to deconstruct those very same sane voices and unmask their insanity.

Let me inaugurate this blog with a seemingly small problem. That of piracy. We have all heard and read about why we should not indulge in or encourage piracy in any manner whatsoever. But why ever not? What is wrong with reproducing a piece of work done by another human being? A film like Sivaji, made with an investment of Rs 60 crores (some say 80 crores!), is reproduced locally by some youth who’d otherwise be lolling on the streets and harassing women or possibly peddling drugs. They reproduce this film and sell it cheap to their customers. They make a small sum out of this business. Not even a patch on the sum invested in making the film. But they’ve made the crucial money that they need to maybe feed themselves for a day or a week. It is employment for them.

So why not encourage piracy? Take a closer look at those who denounce piracy. Film producers, artistes, the who’s who of the film industry, politicians (who are either former actors/actresses or who get kickbacks from the huge money-churning industry of dreams) and the biggies of the distribution industry – your Sony BMGs, T-Series and so on and so forth. Their power is such that they can even enact legislation against piracy. Against piracy, that ultimately benefits the common person, by say, a few rupees! All in the name of copyright and intellectual property rights. And with all this lobbying and legislating and appealing to all of us ‘social-minded persons’, piracy is stepped upon and trampled and one means of subsistence of the poor is likewise, squashed. The barons of the movie world get richer, the middle class (which is the main consumer of these films) empties its pockets a little more and the poor… well, that’s just one more thing they simply cannot do!

I say, enough of copyright. Encourage ‘piracy’. Let the masses reap the gains as well. Enough of a handful of people living obscenely wealthy lives, while people wait until midnight in queue to fight over a tanker of water to drink, cook and bathe from. Let your media moghuls make their money through their crawling advertisers. Place your products in your movies and put in ads while recording the film itself. Let the distribution of the film be left upto the masses. Let them make their own copies and make some money in the process. Let US give our unemployed youth some hint of a chance to redeem themselves.

Piracy needn’t be a bad thing. America’s terrorists call themselves freedom fighters. Whichever side of the fence you’re on, remember, there is always the other side. We have been lulled into a trance by the voices of injustice that’ve spoken to us in sometimes honeyed and sometimes threatening tones. It is time to snap out of it. It is time to put our heads together and come up with solutions. It is time, my friends… for revolution!