A Different Kind of Theft

Gréta Tóth

Robert Perry is a forty-three-year-old American man. Robert has been happily married to his wife, Annalise, for twenty years. They met in high school and fell in love instantly. It was love at first sight. They got married as soon as Annalise turned twenty-one. Today, they have two beautiful children: Nathaniel Perry (eighteen) and Katherine Perry (fifteen).

Robert is a born perfectionist. Even his co-workers refer to him as “the perfect man.” He works in a bank; work is never too stressful, it is not boring, he never has to work overtime, and he has a really good salary. Both of his parents are still alive; they live in the countryside, where Robert was raised as a kid. In his free time, he reads or does something in the garden. There is always work to do around the house. They bought it in the same year that they got married, and they renovated it themselves. On the weekends, they often go hiking or camping with their family and friends. Every Sunday morning, they go to church, and they volunteer once a month. All in all, he has a happy family, a great job, the ideal house, and on top of all this, he is the most faithful child of God. He really is beyond perfect.

Robert is also strictly against criminals and any act against the law. No one could bring up anything bad against him. He is the ideal citizen of any country. Something that he adores is watching films and listening to music, especially songs from his teenage years. What he never realised was that the website he uses for downloading the films and the songs is illegal, since he never pays for downloading any of the songs. Therefore, he could be considered a criminal who has deflected a huge amount of money without knowing it. Despite this, he is still considered the “perfect man,” because no one knows about this, not even Robert. Meanwhile, a woman who stole a bottle of water from a shop gets punished and is going to have a criminal record and difficulty finding a job in the future. They did exactly the same thing: steal.

Everyone downloads files from illegal websites from the Internet. Even if many people would not admit it, they probably have done it at least once in their lifetime. These pirated software and media are worth thousands of dollars. An average person knows over 4000 songs and probably listens to at least ¼ of them, which is 1000 songs. According to famous legal song downloader websites, 1 song costs about 1 dollar. It leaves us with 1000 dollars per person, if they do not use some type of audio streaming service. An average person watches over 3000 films in a lifetime. To download all these movies, it would cost approximately 45,000 dollars, or, if we “rent” them, about 6,500 dollars. In total, we download and use data worth over 7,500 dollars. So the real question is, how come people steal this money but would never rob a shop? Just imagine someone walking into the nearest supermarket, grabbing everything they need, and then just walking out. Similarly, a person could go to a local car dealership and drive home in a brand new car.

What most people do not realise is that even though illegal downloading is not seriously punished, it is also a form of crime. It is unfair to the singers and film producers who made the songs and films, since they get their income from the people who buy their products. If we really want to support someone we love, we should at least pay for their work. Moreover, we should not judge the people who get punished for robbing, while we do it without any consequences. It is the same thing, even if we do not wish to admit it!