5 ways to give up Piracy in 2022
a new year's resolution I'm determined to keep
You know what that means. The gyms are full, trash cans are overflowing with junk food, and supply chains everywhere are buckling under the pressure of delivering new year planners.
Everyone, everywhere, is trying to become a better person.
What are we feeling about that? I’m usually not very enthused about keeping a new year’s resolution, and it shows in the resolutions I come up with. My resolution for 2021 was to tell God everything, even the embarrassing stuff. And while that was a pretty noble resolution, it was also pretty difficult to track. And for the three years before 2021 my resolution has been to learn to play the drums.
I have not yet learnt how to play the drums.
Anyway, I challenged myself to do a few difficult things in 2021 with an approximate success rate of 50%. So I figured this year I should be able to come up with a resolution that I can realistically keep. And I’m proud (and slightly terrified) to report that, ladies and gentlemen, I’ve found it.
My new year’s resolution for 2022 came directly from my conscience while I was reading the YouCat, a cheery little book that details the teachings of the Catholic Church specifically for the youth. Stealing obviously goes against the ten commandments, but this is what the YouCat has to say on theft of intellectual property:
The theft of intellectual property begins with copying other students’ work in school, continues in the illegal taking of materials from the Internet, […] and extends to business dealings in stolen concepts and ideas. Every acquisition of someone else’s intellectual property demands the free consent and appropriate remuneration of the author or inventor.
(YouCat #429: What rules apply to intellectual property?)
Now I don’t know about you, but as long-term resident of the Internet I’ve been a prolific pirate since the approximate age of thirteen.
That’s when I discovered Torrents, which led to a constant stream of more movies, TV shows, books, and music than I knew what to do with. I’ve certainly had access to whatever I’ve wanted for the past decade. Over the years I’ve justified it by the age-old complaint of never being able to afford anything as a student. But this specific passage from the YouCat reminded me that the decision to follow Jesus requires obedience in every area of my life.
And this is why I’ve decided to give up piracy in 2022.
This decision came easily to me after I received a 200% raise at work, allowing me to buy all the books I want to with all that extra dough. Just kidding! I certainly don’t earn enough to pay for all the things I want to watch/read/listen to.
So I did some brainstorming, and I’m writing this newsletter to tell you about 5 ways I plan on sticking to my resolution.
5 ways to give up piracy in 2022
1: Get Creative
Since I can no longer Google “Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone Free Ebook Download” to get my daily fix, I’ve had to exercise my creative muscles to find the books I want to read.
I recently visited a friend’s place and discovered that her book shelf is chock full of books on my to-read list. I asked her if I could borrow a few, and we actually ended up having a pretty fun discussion about the books she was lending me. I later reflected that if I had gone on the Internet and mindlessly pirated these books, I would never have discovered how much I have in common with this friend.
So crowdsourcing is a fun way to get the things you want. Sure it involves talking to other people (shudder, amiright? … I’m kidding. I love talking to people.) but it’s also so much better for your soul than the other thing.
Another way I’m being creative: I signed up for Audible, which gives you one credit for a free audiobook every month that you can spend however you please. I listened to The Hitch-hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (narrated by Stephen Fry!!!!) in December, and look forward to listening to the second instalment of the series later this month, when I get my next credit. Ignore the haters who say listening to a book isn’t the same as reading it. They don’t know the simple pleasure of having the secrets of the universe revealed to you. In the voice of STEPHEN FRY.
I also have it on good authority that if you ask a friend very nicely to use their Netflix/Amazon Prime/Hotstar to watch your favourite show over the weekend, more often than not, they’ll say yes.
2: Some Things Cost Money
If you, like me, have grown up on the bingeing diet of a pirate, the thought of paying for entertainment may sound alien and, frankly, a little bit ridiculous.
May I invite you to reconsider?
I’m of course not suggesting that you buy all the books you need (although, if you can afford it, go crazy). All I’m suggesting is that we set aside a little bit from our earnings to cultivate a hobby that no doubt means a lot to us. Of course, as in any budget, it’s important to consider how much you’re willing to put aside, and try your best not to cross that.
And the good news is if you leave ‘spending money’ as a last resort (as I do), you’ll find yourself getting creative far more often, and your monthly budget will snowball into a nice big sum. Just in time for your birthday. Perfect.
3: Take In Moderation
A dear friend recently recommended a few films to me that were totally my cup of tea. The catch? I couldn’t find them online anywhere. Not on Netflix, or Hotstar, or PrimeVideo. Not even on Sony LIV. Haha, just kidding. I didn’t bother looking on Sony LIV because nothing’s on Sony LIV.
The solution? I didn’t watch them.
Again, for the diet of a bingeing pirate, this strategy is Public Enemy #1. But as in most things, you only know the value of feasting once you’ve done a little fasting. If the credo of the pirate is to take, take, take, then my credo for 2022 is to take, but in moderation. Which means no more late-night binge-downloading 20 books I won’t read, just because they’re there and I’m bored.
If you think about it, it actually makes a bit of sense. We don’t need to read all the books we want to, or watch all the films we want to. Unfettered access to all the entertainment we can get our hands on ultimately reduces the value of that entertainment. A good exercise might be to think of all the people who have worked on the piece of media we’re trying to steal. Imagine their faces, their lives, and all the effort they put into that piece of media. It may then strike us as the right thing to do, to wait until we can rightfully afford to enjoy it.
4: Pray About It
This one might strike you as a bit odd. We pray for good health and for this stupid pandemic to come to a stupid end. But how often do we pray that God grants us access to the entertainment we so desperately want?
Of course God wants us to rest, and entertainment is a good and important part of that rest. There are books He wants us to read, and films and TV shows He wants us to watch, and even podcasts He wants us to listen to. Although probably not all those true crime podcasts. Those might be more of an addiction.
If you’re trying to get your hands on something and all the steps before this one failed, it might be worth it to do as St Paul said and “by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
Here, have a little glory story: Last June I was trying to get a copy of a book that promised to be something that would speak to my heart. Unfortunately the only copy I could find was a hardcover that cost way more than anything I could afford. As I was praying about it, I got the sense that I should drop an email to the author, and that’s what I did. I explained to him why I wanted to read his book, which involved sharing a little bit of my life with him, and then asked if there was any way I could get a copy of his book for slightly less than the selling price. He wrote back a few days later saying he’d be happy to send me a copy of his book for free! Along with a few other books on the topic that he thought would interest me! That was so amazing!
But even if that doesn’t happen (and trust me, I’ve prayed for many other books since then and found no way to procure them), the best part about praying about it is that it takes the load off your shoulders. Prayed about it? Good. It’s God’s problem now.
5: No Shame in Asking
Last year, I did the stupidly bold thing of sharing my to-read list with my friends a few weeks before my birthday. They very kindly collaborated and got me some books from the list. I have the nicest friends.
But asking in general gives me the heebie-jeebies. I’m trying to get better at it though. Here, let me practice.
If you liked this newsletter or any newsletter I’ve written before this one, and would like to support me on my endeavour of giving up piracy in 2022, would you consider buying me a book?
Phew! That sucked. But I did it. And you can too. 🤠
That’s all, folks! Those are my 5 strategies for giving up piracy in 2022. Since you’ve very kindly listened to my new year’s resolution, allow me to listen to yours by talking about it in the comments below!
What’s your new year’s resolution? And how are you planning on keeping it?
Until next time,