This is not to condone piracy. To engage in it, or to turn a blind eye to it, is bad for all the reasons people say it’s bad.

It’s illegal, too. What’s more, it’s politically incorrect to glorify them, although a massacre in Texas by chainsaw is qualified for glorification in the movies with nary a squeal, squeak or squawk from the politically correct.

You have to give the pirates some credit besides condemnation, though. Pirates equalize the scheme of things in the market. They serve as check-and-balance to the excesses of profiteers.

And I tell you, the excesses can be thoroughly excessive to persons like me with holes in his pockets.

A couple of years ago, I frothed at the mouth when I saw the P450 price tags of Filipino music CDs. I expressed my bewilderment why a blank CD costing P5 would cost P450 when songs are recorded on them.

The apologists of the music industry explained away the price aberration with erudite economics. The producer had to cover production cost, defray the expenses of marketing, packaging, shipping, and the talent’s salary. In exchange for these, the producer wanted to make money from his projects.

The explanation sounded plausible and fair to me. My bewilderment, though, returned with a vengeance when, in the face of piracy, the P450 CDs tailspinned to P150. In some stores they even sold for P100. Some music outlets even offered them on a buy-one-take-one basis.

The same CDs. The same artists The same packaging, marketing, and shipping expenses, but for almost giveaway prices.

Should I say, “Praise to the pirates” or what?

Now I brought up this thoughts because of the thrashing about in the magic community as a result of piracy, as if piracy is a problem specifc to magic.

It is not. Piracy infests the world. It is an infestation difficult to stop, a monster difficult to defeat. Piracy is a worldwide problem, not just Jokenini the Great’s.

All that magic clubs can do to help stamp out piracy is to appeal to its members not to engage in it and threaten them with sanctions or the fire of hell if they disobey. The officers should do the threatening with a straight face, because puny acts like that will surely bring zero results. Talking to one’s shadow is a more productive use of time than trying to police members on the issue of piracy.

Still fighting piracy is our shared responsibility, not one Club’s mission. (I said that to sound enlightened, but as a motherhood statement, it doesn’t mean much. I just said it to impress you.)

It’s a difficult fight. Maybe even impossible. The government, OPM, and Microsoft, with all their resources, could not stamp out completely piracy. What more could be expected from magic clubs with no huge resources, nor formal campaigns, to speak of in the war against the pirates.

Still let’s do our little share in the fight. Spread the gospel of anti-piracy. But let’s be careful with pointing accusing fingers against certain Clubs or its members.

Piracy is bad, but being sanctimonious is badder.

Leodini

www.leodini.com

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