My Brother’s Friend

Recently, I’ve been considering writing a piece here about music piracy and how insane it is right now. Haven’t yet, but I probably will. Not sure when. Anyway, related note…

My brother has a friend over right now. He slept over last night. I think he’s like 14. Anyway, he steals music. He gets it off the internet, burns it to a CD and doesn’t think a thing of it. This sort of attitude I am very much at odds with. And it’s not just a few things. It’s a lot. It’s music and movies and a lot of them. And it’s not just him using it himself, him and his family give it to other people. And his parents approve of it.

But, he’s friends with my brother and there are a lot of people out there like him, unfortunately. It doesn’t make any sense to go up to him and out of the blue tell him what I think. No one asked. So, I’ve just been friendly with him as I am with people normally. He seems like an OK kid besides that.

So, he came over last night and he brought what appeared to be a pirated copy of Pirates of the Carribean to watch. It was on a generic CD-R disc. My family watched it, but I didn’t. I just couldn’t, but I didn’t make any stink out of it. I just took my dinner upstairs and didn’t speak a peep about it. Plus, House was on and I have to watch that, obviously. :)

So, they watched it, whatever. I had told my brother that him and his friend could watch Homestar Runner on my laptop if they wanted. So, they came into my room and asked if they could and I said yes and started to get it out. He asked if they could play some music on my sterio because I have Eminem’s latest album and he doesn’t and that would have been fine.

My brothers friend then asks me why I didn’t watch the movie last night. Now, at this point, I would have been surprised if my brother had not already told him why before this and he was just asking me a canned question. Nonetheless, I told him I didn’t watch it because it was obtained illegally. He laughed.

Now, this annoyed me a little bit. If you’re gonna steal, keep your mouth shut. After he laughed, I told him that as a creator of content, I support the rights of those that create content. He then started talking about his rights and he kept saying it says “right to copy” on his computer, “on Windows XP.” I have to say, I don’t have a clue what that means. I have a 100% legally obtained music (huge) collection and DVD (not huge) collection. I don’t have a clue what he meant. I asked my pal Jared who knows more about computers than I do, he has no clue. So, given his established history of theft – I’m assuming that this is a bunch of nonsense, especially because when he said that, I said something like…

Right to copy what? You only have a right to copy if you bought the DVD. Did you buy it? No answer. He repeats that he has right to copy. Where does it say that? On his computer. I told him that it doesn’t matter what it says on his PC, if he didn’t buy it, he has no right. And he laughed.

Now, at this point, I’m a little peeved. Not frustrated, but just annoyed at the whole attitude. I don’t like people who steal content/bandwidth and I don’t like people who steal music, etc. And when they don’t keep their mouths shut, I don’t like them even more. So, I told him he can stop laughing or he can get out. If this is how he is going to be, I don’t want him on my laptop. (I didn’t say that, but that was what I was thinking). He laughed again. I simply said “Out.” He stood there for a moment staring at me and his smilie turned from a smile to a hard expression, let’s say and then he walked out, taking his CDs with him.

I told him to go earn some money and buy DVDs instead of stealing.

Patrick O'Keefe

Managing online communities since 2000, I publish a collective of websites known as the iFroggy Network. I wrote the book Managing Online Forums and, as a public speaker, have presented for organizations like CNN, institutions like Australian National University and conferences like SXSW. More about me.



about 12 years ago

Stealing is very wrong. That is why I use Napster for my quick PC music needs. It might not be the best service but it gets the job done.


Brandon Eley

about 12 years ago

Good for you! It's hard to stand up for what you believe in when you're the minority. I too buy CD's and DVD's legally. My wife worked in that industry for years, and it provided a very good living for us. I can't imagine how people think there is absolutely nothing wrong with it! You did the right thing, in a very uncomfortable situation.

Now you just have to decide whether you want to tip off the RIAA ;)



about 12 years ago

Thanks. :)



about 12 years ago

Good read.

I buy a lot of CDs (I'm a member of BMG and and always get odd looks from my friends for doing so. They think it's a huge waste of my money, but I think, even without the legal issues, there's something to be said for physically owning a CD.



about 12 years ago

Yeah, same here. I like having them.

I have always purchased music online (because I was given free credits or because of a promotion/exclusive) at iTunes, MSN Music and the Real Store.


Leave a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you would like to comment, I welcome you to do so. Please keep in mind that the atmosphere here is kind, respectful and work appropriate. If you can't disagree without being polite, this probably isn't the best place to comment.

I'm probably more strict as far as advertising goes than other sites you've commented on. If you aren't sure if something is OK, please contact me privately (rather than in the comments) or read the full Comment Guidelines. Participation constitutes acceptance of the guidelines.