B) Medosch argues that: “piracy, despite being an entirely commercially motivated activity carried out in black or grey markets, fulfills culturally important functions” (Reader, page 318).
Discuss ONE of these arguments while giving an example online.
Fist of all, I would like to share a video
English singer and song-writer Joss Stone stated, “Music should be shared.” “I don’t care how you hear it (her music), as long as you hear it, and you come to my show and have a great time…I don’t mind.”
I don’t want to judge whether piracy is ethically right or wrong, or whether it’s a good or bad thing. But one should face the reality that not every one can afford copyrighted goods, and under this circumstance, like Medosch stated “It (piracy) gives people access to information and cultural goods they had otherwise no chance of obtaining.” (Medosch 2008:81)
Everyone has their right and freedom to listen or watch whatever they want. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to do so. This is when piracy comes in. People who cannot afford or have access to these goods, they rely on piracy, because piracy is always cheaper and easier to obtain.
In China, only 20 foreign movies are allowed into theatres each year. (David Pierson 2011) This restriction has kept local Chinese people from all other great foreign films. The easiest way they could get access to these films is through internet, and most likely, they will choose those pirated version with Chinese subtitles.
http://movie.douban.com/ is a very popular Chinese movie forum. In this forum, people are encouraged to rate and give a review of films they have watched, and these films include not only Chinese films but also foreign films. In here, I would (bravely) assume that people who gave comment/review on the films, mostly likely watched those movies through “illegal” access, or in other words, the pirated movies. (Of course, there are Chinese people who lives overseas, therefore can easily watch foreign movies in foreign countries and then comment on the forum.)
Pirated movies have several advantages that attract Chinese people. Firstly, it is free. Although China’s economy is strong, there are still a large number of people who cannot afford buying copyrighted movies. Even if they are able to, they don’t have access, since a lot of the foreign websites are blocked by the Chinese government. Secondly, a vast majority of Chinese people do not know a second language. Although English is very strongly promoted in China’s education system, there is still a gap between Chinese students’ English level and the level of being able to understand an English-language film (no need to mention other languages). So even if Chinese people buy a copyrighted movie from foreign websites, they will not be able to understand because there will be no Chinese subtitles.
In fact, there are many Chinese students who use these pirated movies which has subtitles as a material to learn English. In this case, piracy, does “fulfills culturally important functions” (Medosch 2008:81) By watching pirated movies, and sharing their thoughts on the “Douban” forum, Chinese people are engaged in cultural discussions about art and film. Without those pirated movies, the movie forum in China will only have 20 foreign movies to update each year, and very likely these movie forums will not be very popular because there won’t be a lot of updates and exciting discussion.
Armin Medosch, ‘Paid in Full: Copyright, Piracy and the Real Currency of Cultural Production’, in Deptforth. TV Diaries II: Pirate Strategies, London: Deptforth TV, 2008, pp.73-97.
David Pierson, ‘China still restricting foreign media, U.S. complains’ Accessed on 14 May, http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/22/business/la-fi-china-wto-20110322