Kant and piracy.

Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of the Premier League, wrote (£) in The Times on Saturday on digital theft, as more people stream games illegally on laptops. Unknowingly, he invoked Kantian ethics in an excellent line:

The paradox of digital theft is its parasitic nature: it erodes the investment that delivers the quality that makes it worth stealing in the first place.

Kant would see this as an argument for the immorality of piracy: you can only continue to watch football this way so long as others play the ‘game’ properly and pay up, so to speak. The illegal streams wouldn’t exist if they weren’t primarily intended to be channelled towards people who are funding those links. So when you watch football illegally, you free ride. And if the awkwardness of knowing that doesn’t move you to modify your action, perhaps nothing will.


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