Everybody knows that online piracy is the result of a distribution problem, namely large content providers stubbornness to embrace the ways of the Internet. Netflix & Co being exceptions
Obviously a certain percentage engages in piracy to cheat the system.
But piracy can also be a political tool to effectively project power against overwhelming dominance.
- Antigua had a flourishing online gambling business that got destroyed by US legislation, after legal battles ith the WTO ruled Antigua could legally pirate ;-p US copyrighted works as punishment. http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/avast-me-hearties-antigua-legally-pirate-us-copyrighted-works
- The big music labels got decimated by piracy and as a result they lost allot of influence: We got DRM-free mp3's as business standard, as well as music-flatrates-services & platforms like bandcamp. The void the big labels left got filled by small artists that could assert them selfs. The music diversity & quality grew orders of magnitude. Cutting out the bloodsucking middleman was like removing the shackles from the industry.
We now see the lovingly dubbed "content & patent mafia" pushing for evermore outrages & society-disrupting legal measures to uphold a scarcity-business-model for information.
The apologetics to defend the need for scares information in the age of computers & Internet grow ever more comical & eccentric. Painting the image of decision makers ruling from a windowless ivory tower.
I believe that averting monstrosities like pipa sopa acta tpp ... is not offensive enough.
IMHO the root problem is that the "Wrong People" have too much money they can use for political influence. Holding back progress, sometimes even undoing progress. Not to mention all the anti consumer/privacy measures the people are forced to endure in the name of copyright & intellectual-property-holder -interests.
We could just stop paying money to the Wrong People, to decimate their influence. Shrinking Hollywood & Television would create a void that could be filled by better business models like netflix. Independent content providers like teksyndicate could flourish much better, without having nonsense like a DMCA-censorship-hammer hanging over their head. As cherry on top it would create a huge incentive to massively speed up fiber development.
I think that piracy is the best tool to effectuate this long overdue renewal, circumventing all the political & legal blockades the outdated-business-model-defenders have put in place.
In the history of humanity new technologies have been catalysts for progress: We have the technology, now lets disrupt the wannabe Oligarchs. And remember they fear us for good reason.
Piracy will always be necessary for those exact reasons. It was always going on, from burning a CD for a friend to photocopying text books for a classmate. The only difference now is there are ways to track it via numbers clearly displayed on every download page. So the numbers finally make an impact.
Everyday we see it as less and less of an issue to the point where we do it right in front of the whole world. And yet the rich still get richer. And the poor and new finally have a way to circulate their art. And the remote people finally have access. Yet so many people see otherwise out of greed or pride. They either don't want to wait till next year to upgrade their private jet or they don't want to feel stupid for paying for the media in the first place.
And laws are passed trying to back them up. But I have never had a say. In fact I don't know anyone who has had a say. And I know I'm not the only one. So when is it going to happen. When do I get a vote? Never, that's when. Because the bottom line is money. They just gotta milk the old technologies dry before we can evolve to something more practical in relation to the population.
I share your general sentiment OP, but I think you're a little off on some things.
I do not think the piracy problem is a distribution problem, as you alluded to later in your post, it is a problem in law. Intellectual property law concentrates valuable information to the elite in this country, and prevents the rest of the country, and world from being able to take advantage of technological advancements that can greatly improve their lives.
I don't think piracy is a very effective tool for fighting government and corporate oppression. It's not really possible to pirate patents, and pirated music or movies, while some can provide great philosophical insight, it cannot affect the improvements to humanity that new ground breaking technologies can. Information like that is very valuable to corporations, as it is how they leverage power over others, so they keep it very closely guarded. It cannot be found on thepiratebay.
You have the right answer though, but only half of it. Not only do we need to free information that is being used by the elite to oppress the world, we need to make their secrets and technologies obsolete, and this can be done with free, open source software.
In terms of pirating software, it is much better to either find, or produce an open source alternative to whatever it is that you do not have access to, than to steal whatever it is, as closed source software will always be inferior in the long run. And in human terms, the long run is what matters.
You raise a few interesting points, especially the need to lift "their" secrets. Whistle-blowers seem to be working given how viscous they are pursued. But relying on sort-off-martyrs to defend our interests seems too random and unreliable. Isn't there a less dramatic, more subtle approach. I like the metaphor of killing the dragon by a million tiny cuts.
Not having a vote is so painful. I'm rather interested how the world or individual regions would be like if the people had a real vote, not the party crap that is going on in most (?) countries. How high or low would the speed limits be? Would certain drugs become legal? Would politicians still get outrageous wages for doing very little?
I believe there's plenty of stuff you can leave to the parties that got voted into power, but no party has a clear stance on enough things that matter to the people, or cannot possibly decide on them correctly and/or informed. I would love to be able to cast my vote on specific subjects where a party, or a group of parties, cannot and really should not decide on their own. There is so much crap pushed down our throats I'd find it hard to believe that if people got a choice to vote on certain subjects, that they'd get it through (ridiculous traffic limitations, drugs, piracy laws, privacy laws or lack thereof, etc).
Obviously it's not possible to vote on every single thing, but it should be possible to have a system where you can vote on certain subjects and a system to decide which subjects would be best decided on by the people and not the party/parties in power. As it is, a party system is quite limited since you might like points of one and points of another but you can only really vote for one and possibly hope they'll get in power together but what if you like points of many parties? They also have conflicting points so you'd still not get what you want even if one or a combination of them get into power. Not to mention all the other political bullshit going on.
Anyway, I don't see this happening at all, as if the politicians would give real power to the people, hah. (Also, there is always the possibility for things to go horribly wrong, but that is already happening kinda, sorta, right...)