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If there are strict rules and/or laws on Internet use today, I’d probably be in jail by now. What, with about 95 songs I just downloaded in the Internet in the past two days. And for free, nonetheless. I needed them so I could use them as background songs for my cousin’s debut party. By downloading each song, I was able to fulfill her wishes to make sure the songs matched the personalities of the participants in her “fairytale” themed party. If we had to buy the different CDs just to be able to personalize and copy the songs she liked, her parents would have had a hard time paying for the remaining balance needed for the party venue. For this, I thank the Internet.

But if you read my previous post, you’d know that I don’t think it is right to download without payment or permission. When my friend, Jody told me that my earlier blog entry seemed to focus on the negative, I had to agree with her. I guess I need to point out that somehow, something good came out of piracy. Aside from our selfish wishes (getting things for free) being granted, that is.

For one, prices of original CDs and DVDs have been lowered. Although, it’s still not as low as that of the pirated ones. But then, we can hardly expect them to sell original CDs and DVDs at P30. They have to pay the talents, producers, and distributors after all.

Secondly, piracy and the Internet have exposed us to many other cultures all over the world. Hello, K-pop. Despite the fact that we owe our initial fondness of Korean, Taiwanese and Japanese pop culture to shows like Meteor Garden because it was shown in local TV dubbed in Tagalog, our local television was not the reason for our addiction. We owe it to piracy. Had the “pirates” not bothered to download/copy and reproduce all those other dramas that were not broadcast, we wouldn’t have had the chance to see what kind of culture other Asian countries have. It is the truth, I have never seen original copies of Koreanovelas in stores like AstroVision and Odyssey before. I guess they decided to sell them because the pirate vendors are earning so much from them. And when it comes to YouTube, well, do we really have to discuss that? For those who didn’t want to get the DVD because the season is not yet complete (it would be a waste of money to buy prematurely), well, that’s where YouTube or Megavideo and all other video sharing websites come in. We can watch the episode as soon as it is uploaded. The only problem would be the loading time.

I first read about this idea in an article that discusses the benefits of piracy by Kaiser Kuo. It is true that I haven’t watched films from Thailand before our suking tindahan recommended the films Chocolate and Power Kids. I also remember Madame Inton giving us a film list for our Integration Paper plus a DVD with downloaded copies of the films including The Love of Siam. It has been one of my favorite films since watching it. And I’ve never seen an original copy of the movie anywhere. Except, of course, in the Internet. (Please note that I did not intend to say that Madame Inton is an advocate of piracy :D)

Third, I think piracy has made our local media think that they ought to have an online presence. They now offer online services such as Pay-per-View and Video on Demand in response to the wishes of their audience who are not able to view shows using the television. As I’ve said in my previous post, there are about 24 million Filipino Internet users. It may be a relatively small number compared to the entire population but the fact that the number is fast increasing, we can say that the power of the World Wide Web could no longer be ignored. As we can see now, broadsheets and TV networks have already ensured an online presence by putting up their own websites.

Lastly, though I’m not really sure if you’d agree with me here, piracy has provided people with jobs. Or at least, it has ensured the vendors that they would have money to buy food and other daily needs. Piracy may be a form of stealing but I guess to people who have nothing to eat, selling pirated CDs and DVDs may simply be their way of surviving the harshness of their everyday lives.