Why I’ve Decided to Stop Pirating Movies

I’ve been doing this a lot all my life.

But it just doesn’t seem right anymore.

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I’m not going to lie: I used to love piracy. Only two months ago I saw my housemate’s ‘Supernatural’ DVDs and immediately asked her ‘Why do you have those? It’s 2017, you know you can get them online, right?’. She responded with a meaningless shoulder lift and continued enjoying Sam and Dean’s adventures.

I didn’t get it. Why buy DVDs or Blu-Rays or even pay for Netflix when you can get all of that, and more, on PirateBay? I must say though – I’m Bulgarian. We didn’t have Netflix up until a few months ago and pirating films here is neither illegal nor frowned upon – literally everyone does it. We do have a Blu-Ray section is our bookstores, but you will see barely one or two people there a day. Netflix is surely gaining popularity, but most Bulgarians still prefer getting their visual entertainment from piracy websites.

However, I’m changing and drifting away from the Bulgarian mindset for movie piracy. I’ve been in acting school these last three months and I am in much closer contact with the film industry than before. Not only that, my best friend is studies filmmaking and I know the struggles he goes though to create a short two minute scene.

I’ve always known and have always repeated that ‘people don’t realize how much trouble and effort goes into creating a feature film’. The general public can watch a movie and enjoy it, but they never think about the work that goes into literally every single shot of that film. I thought I did understand the value of film, I still think I do, especially because of acting school and the stories my friend tells me. However, I’ve been ignoring all that. Because when I pirate films, I completely disregard the work that goes into any production.

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The work.

Massive effort goes into every feature film. People devote months of their lives on one single project, work their ass*s off, and have the guts to put their vision out there for the world to see. A huge team of individuals is responsible for creating every movie, each working their own magic, but all of them working together nevertheless.

When I pirate films, I completely disregard that. I show utter and complete disrespect towards the creators of the film and towards those who have devoted themselves to that production. I take for granted years of work and dedication and quite literally say ‘f*ck you’ to many creators; creators just like myself.

I give nothing back.

I value cinematic art deeply. Not only is it certainly the art form that has affected me the most, but I also honestly believe that it is generally the most powerful art form nowadays. Movies have had a severe effect on me growing up and I’m the person I am today very much because of cinema. I really do believe that I gain a little something through every single film I watch and I really do think I am a bit changed after the credits roll.

When I pirate films, I give absolutely nothing back. A film can, and will, affect me deeply, but if I got it off PirateBay there is no way of me saying thank you. No way of me giving any sort of gratitude towards the makers. What they created, and with a lot of hard work, may I add, I got absolutely effortlessly and for free.

I have indeed only pirated many of my favorite films: I haven’t seen the in the cinema, I don’t own the DVD/Blu-Ray and I didn’t have a Netflix account up until one month ago. How do I thank Dan Gilroy for creating ‘Nightcrawler’ if I never gave anything back? How do I show gratitude to Martin Scorsese for ‘Gangs of New York’ when I got that film for free? It feels morally wrong to not give anything back and now, when I am this close to the industry, I simply can’t do it anymore.

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It feels good to own them.

Oh, yes. I like things. And a couple of years ago, before I even knew the internet was a thing or that I even could pirate films, I used to collect DVDs. 10-year-old me would be so happy over that new ‘Wanted’ HD DVD or over getting that exclusive ‘The Dark Knight’ Blu-Ray. And I still keep them. I still organize them and I still care for them. And it feels much better to own ‘The Dark Knight’ than to have to download it and thus have no virtual or literal possession over the visual material. Yesterday I purchased the Blu-Ray of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and I haven’t been this excited to own a film in quite some time. As a film lover, it most certainly feels amazing.

There is no point to pirate anymore.

And lastly, yes, it really doesn’t make any sense to pirate films nowadays. I used to do it because, A) I lived in Bulgaria and many production were not accessible here, B) I didn’t have any money, and C) I didn’t realize how wrong it was. Now, A) I live in London, B) I have enough money to be able to pay for Netflix and order films of Amazon, and C) I do realize the error of my ways. It makes no sense for me to pirate. Sure, waiting for my films to be delivered and/or spending some more money on cinematic experiences may be a bit uncomfortable, but it is something I’m willing to do. Nay, something I want to do. Something I need to do and something I should do.

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Damn, this publication turned out cheesy as hell. Nevertheless, you get the point. It’s a bit early still for this, but my New Year’s resolution for 2018 is to not pirate movies and TV shows. I’m usually sh*t at keeping my resolutions, but I’ll definitely do my best this year.

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As always, thank you so much for reading,

Mickey Angelov