As I lurk and peruse these forums and many others, I see a sense of transgression pervading the discussion of so-called "pirated" digital materials. Justifications and guilt-ridden truisms dominate the conversation when it comes to downloading and/or using illegally obtained software. Statements such as "The company deserved it!", "I'm only using this as evaluation, THEN I'll buy it.", or, my personal favorite, "It's too expensive." belie a lack of understanding of technology and how it changes the game for humanity. It is also a symptom of the disease which infects and grips our world like a cancerous tumor with a trillion writhing, outstretched tentacles, squeezing our world out of every last drop of it's vitality. For you see, my friends, the free use of technology as we see fit is not the problem. Money is. Some clarification before I go on; I'm using "money" as shorthand for "any system of resource distribution which relies on the use of scarcity "value". This includes capitalism, communism, and any sort of barter system. It doesn't even matter whether it's fiat or "silver/gold standard". Any system at all that uses the scarcity of an item relative to the desire for it as "value" is fundamentally flawed, yet almost entirely unquestioned. A disclaimer, as well; this isn't to say it wasn't, at one point, a useful invention. It is simply irrelevant given our current level of technology and what we have been able to do as a society for nearly a century. That being said, allow me to make my case. What we are seeing in the phenomenon of so-called digital "piracy" is a conflict between money's desire to keep products scarce (therefore still in demand), and technology's capacity to reproduce a given work of art or piece of information nearly instantly and without end. Replication machines are the source of modern abundance in whatever form they take, be it automated factories or information processing computers. Copyright laws are put in place as a means of restricting this abundance when it comes to software and many other forms of information. They are seen as fair and just by their makers; and why shouldn't they be? After all, they continue to allow people who create content to be rewarded by the monetary system so that they do not starve, so they may continue to create their content. We all appreciate creators, don't we? We are grateful that they made what we play. We are SO grateful, that we are willing to take away a piece of our livelihood and give it to them that they may prosper. This logic, however, is a failure from the beginning. Not in that we are grateful, not in that we respect them; it is in assuming that money is still relevant to our goals, and that it is an institution which needs to continue to exist, even if that means making laws which give it life support in a technological environment that is deeply hostile to it's sustainability. When we continue to give credence to an existing system over the capacity to do better, we abandon rational thought and embrace absent-minded tradition. Tell me; what is wrong with us as a society, as a species capable of higher thought, when we tell ourselves that it is immoral to copy an infinitely replicable piece of data given the state of technology, yet entirely moral to continue to uphold a system which produces wars, creates famine and poverty, denies the use of healthcare to those who are both sick and impoverished, and crushes the discovery of science and production of technology, among many other horrific systemic failures? What is WRONG with us when we ignore better solutions to focus on temporary fixes? Here at the temp, and in many places around the web, we HAVE done better. We HAVE created homebrew of high quality. We HAVE opened the gate to a peek at what our technology would be like if money did not get in the way. Whenever you turn on your DS and open your flashcart to look at the backups you have on your card, that massive list of software that represents human achievement in the arts, you are peeking into the realm of possibility, of capacity realized when money has (almost) nothing to say about it. What you are looking at is freedom. REAL freedom. You are getting but a small taste. The guilt that you feel when you "pirate" something is the guilt of the slave afraid to leave his/her chains. The guilt of the runaway slave worker who fears that his/her fellow human property will be flogged because of his/her disappearance. Your empathy, though well meant, is entirely misplaced. Your chains are not of steel; they are of paper. Your locks are not the locks of metal; they are price tags. And make no mistake; they hold us ALL, from poorest street urchin to richest CEO. I do NOT blame the individual; there is nothing any one of us can do. We can talk, we can develop, we can try...but in the end, we can only not let this hold us back. We do not need to feel guilty about defying money. It is not immoral. It is the right thing to do, to tug on these chains until our fellow man feels the tug and realizes he is confined, though he may blame you before he blames the chains. If any of you are interested in a better, more scientific and systems theory oriented solution to our problems as a species, please feel free to check the link in my signature. To the temp! To logic! To technological freedom!