1. Give an outline of the attitudes to copyright violation and illegal downloading as presented in texts 1 and 3. Texts 1 and 3 represent two opposing attitudes to copyright violation and illegal downloading in today’s technologic world. In text 1, “It’s Evolution, Stupid”, by co-founder of The Pirate Bay, Peter Sunde, Sunde displays his growing dissatisfaction with the current copyright law. As the co-founder of one of the world’s most popular torrent downloading sites, he claims that copyright protection is extremely out-of-date and seeks to convince the audience that he has been unjustly convicted for having given people the opportunity to share music and movies online. Calling the traditional entertainment industry, an industry that refuses to evolve, Peter Sunde shows his attitude towards the traditional copyright and uses evolution as an argument for changing attitudes and laws. In text 3, “You Like My Poems? So Pay for Them”, English poet Wendy Cope expresses her opposing view.
As a writer, she personally suffers because of, for example, free downloading websites such as The Pirate Bay. In fact, she often finds her own poems, and for that matter, those of other writers, copied online without any formal permission. Although such an amount of copying might be meant as an indication of talent, this considerably illegal act has caused harm to the income of writers, publishers, and other artists. Wendy Cope therefore argues that ignorance of copyright law is a major problem, due to the fact that society doesn’t realize the damage they’re causing. Despite this, the problem will likely continue with popular torrent downloading websites such as The Pirate Bay, being used by millions of people worldwide.
2. Compare the writing styles, e.g. language and tone, in texts 2 and 3. Illustrate your answer with examples from the texts. The writing styles in texts 2 and 3 are slightly diverging as their purposes and target audiences are different. By using everyday, colloquial language, and simple grammar, the comments in Peter Sunde’s article in text 2 achieve an informal tone. This may be to draw in his audiences or relate to them. Although the tone in text 3, “You like my poems? So pay for them”, by Wendy Cope is also relatively informal, her choice of words varies drastically compared to text 2. She uses formal words, for example “strolling” and “compiling”, along with informal and youthful words such as “googling” and “robbed”. While the genre of the comments in text 2 dictate a short form, Wendy Cope’s article is longer and therefore has room for a plethora of varying arguments to support her subjective case. It’s evident from her writing style that she works as a writer, specifically a poet. She uses direct speech and at the same time appeals to the sanity of the audience by using a huge amount of Logos, for example, “A poem is very easy to copy, whereas nobody is going to photocopy or download a whole novel”- l. 10. Furthermore, Cope uses many references to famous writers and associations in order to make the text appealing and to also emphasize her point of view on the situation at hand. Although Cope refers to numerous writers who have suffered from the poor enforcement of copyright law, she is still not afraid from drawing on personal experiences, such as when she stated, “My poems are all over the internet.” (Line 55) and “Even so, I sometimes feel a bit annoyed by the prospect of…”, (Line 132). The comments, on the other hand, all make use of the same basic picture, namely that copyright can be compared to a shop, and the users of these creative materials are the customers in that shop. As opposed to Cope’s article, the comments in text 2 are all based exclusively on personal thoughts and opinions, in which they are not backed up by any kind of evidence, sources or references of any kind, such as the lines, “I dream of a day when…” (Line 23) and “I have hundreds of legal films, I bought for under a fiver each…” (Line 38). These two examples support my claim. Although both texts refer to similar topics on copyright, the style of writing of each text are drastically different, showing that texts with the same topic can be perceived differently due to their writing styles.
3. Taking your starting point in one of the texts, discuss whether copyright of music, texts and films can and should be protected. In text 1, “It’s Evolution, Stupid”, Peter Sunde puts forward the opinion that current copyright law is outdated and that the music and film industry should basically stop “whining”. He therefore portrays the whole industry as the ‘bad guys’, since they are doing what they can to prevent people from sharing their products on the Internet. Although it would be wonderful for consumers for everything such as music and movies to be free, the idea is completely utopian. What happened to people’s way of thinking on the ethics? What if writers, musicians and filmmakers didn’t have the right to protect their own work, and movie and music productions would stop indefinitely? What Peter Sunde calls evolution is essentially stealing. Copying other people’s work without paying for it can never be justified, even though Peter Sunde desperately argues and tries by referring to democratic rights. His idea that as soon as something is published, it belongs to everyone is undeniably childlike. The fact is, if artists are robbed of their means of subsistence then there will be no one to make all the music, make all the films and write all the books we want, and at the same time need in the future. The quality level will drop, and there will be no further need for websites such as The Pirate Bay.
So even though Peter Sunde tries to make his mission sound noble by talking of evolution and democracy, this is a desperate attempt to try and justify his own obtuse activities. There should be some form of copyright protection, but it might need a harsh reconsidering in order to keep up with the new methods of sharing and copying online. The Internet should not be used as a free pass to robbing and stealing, and it is up to the moralities of society to decide what is wrong or right.