We are a nation of cheaters. Sorry to say that but the notion of intellectual property is a very vague one in Poland. From the early years at a primary school on we learn how to cheat, how to get good grades without learning either by using home-made cribs or by stealing the intellectual property of others peeking into their paper. I’ve been abroad a bit and have met many representatives of other cultures. Having discussed this topic with them, I have come to think that the art of cheating hasn’t been perfected elsewhere to the extent it has been in Poland. What is unacceptable, even inconceivable in many countries, is a kind of a sad standard in my country.
Unfortunately, what you learn as a young child tends only to get worse once you’re an adult. And it applies to many kinds of petty and more serious frauds. These include the issue of piracy of course. Let’s put aside the point that legal software and music CDs are far too expensive for an average person. Would we buy them legally if they were a bit more affordable? I doubt it. As I was told by many people ‘it is just so much easier, quicker and cheaper to download stuff from the Internet. I don’t really see why anyone would still pay for music or films’. Sad but true? Well, my biggest concern is always that when buying music or films you never really know what you’re going to get so it’s safer to download it first and then (if you like it) buy a legal CD or DVD. “What’s the point of that?” some will probably ask, as you already have the music on your computer. Well, I do believe that the quality of an original CD played on a good audio player is much higher than that of mp3s on the computer, and I admire people who still enjoy music this way.
Illegal copying is a difficult problem as it can be approached from many different sides, some claim it is a moral issue as you have to decide whether you cheat or not, some see it solely as a legal issue connected with copyright infringement. Whether the punishment for that be hell or prison, there are many people who try to justify their behavior… in many more or less reasonable ways. But all these excuses just prove that we feel that what we’re doing is actually wrong.