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Why Do They Do It? An Exploration of the Mindset Motivating Piracy
By: Melody Weister
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We never have money anymore. I’m the one who remembers, while he makes tentative plans, asking me if we want to do this-and-that with the friends we haven’t seen in weeks, only to come away frowning when I remind him, gently, “Baby, we don’t have the money for that.” The cinema has lost its old magic; the glamour of seeing a film filling up a screen that extends to every corner of visible space in front of us has become the disenchantment of $15.00 tickets coupled with nearly as high a cost just to enjoy some kind of refreshment. The refuge of a darkened theater has become the impenetrable darkness that filled our nightmares as children. Even television, which was such a delight as a child, now requires a cable plan, one that even if we could afford, we wouldn’t want, because the gild of television has rubbed away, revealing the Jersey Shore beneath.
What’s left when all our sacred escapes of fancy from youth have fled in the face of inflation and joblessness? What do we do when we cannot even afford the costs that enable our minds to slip the surly bonds of reality for a few hours, to fly about the globe and live vicariously?
There’s always piracy.
In these uncertain times, joy is so elusive that we must seize upon it by whatever means necessary. For some, this entails braving the oceans of information to seek out the happiness they used to find in movie theaters, to claim it as their own and convey it to the refuge of their bedrooms. Though it could mean arrest if they were to be implicated, the lust for escapism pervades their waking moments, driving them onward to snatch their reward from an endless sea of torrents. The corporations running Hollywood would have them wracked with guilt, consumed with a desire to buy in and atone for their supposed crimes. They call those seeking pleasure by these means thieves and criminals.
Yet I understand their mindset; with the bedroom lights dimmed, wrapped in the comfort of my boyfriend’s arms, watching dramas and comedies unfold in front of us, I find the worrisome thoughts of whether I’ll find a job this week, whether we’ll be able to find a new apartment if I don’t, slipping away from my mind for a few blissful hours. The popularity of cinema always burgeons in times of war and economic hardship. We need to flee the harsh truths that daily greet us as much as we need to feast, to take shelter, to make love. Such has always been our way, but when we find ourselves denied the freedom to abscond from time to time, when we are persistently reminded of our own adversity, when we cannot assuage our suffering, or even briefly suspend it, desperate measures become necessary. 

There ought to be no shame in stealing pleasure when pleasure has become a luxury accessible only to the wealthy.

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About the Author
Melody Weister is a technology aficionado, unashamed smartphone geek, and casual gamer from Montclair, NJ, where she works as a Social Media Coordinator. Follow her on Twitter: @msmelodyrose.
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