I should have something better to write about than Michael Jackson, considering Government arrogance and indifference is at an all-time high, but I take comfort in knowing this unbearable arrogance is a surest sign of a falling Government and it would only be a matter of time before this current bunch of Ministers are replaced, just to show them who is really boss.
I wonder how many Michael Jackson’s fans who are now mourning his loss and signing condolence books actually bought his albums or legal downloads. True, he sold 750 million albums in his short lifetime but he would have sold much more if people didn’t think it was right to steal music. Part of Michael Jackson’s problems was his lack of will to manage his financial life as well as his image but with the success of peer to peer file sharing services, and accusations of being a pedophile, his income dwindled to the point where he had to vacate his Neverland Ranch and rent a $US110,000 per month mansion in LA.
Despite a halfhearted attempt by the Trinidad and Tobago Government to educate the public about intellectual property and why we should not steal it, there is a lack of will to shut down illegal DVD stores. The alternative to an illegal $10 DVD in Trinidad and Tobago would be a legal $200 one. That would be politically unpopular and there are very few countries in the world where the population can tolerate, constant flooding, a high crime rate, interference in democratic institutions plus expensive DVDs. In Trinidad and Tobago, DVD stores are selling nicely packaged, pirated Michael Jackson DVDs and CDs and there will be no police action, either by car or bicycle on these smooth criminals.
People argue that legal DVDs and CDs are too expensive and legal MP3 downloads of foreign music is not available so that is why they must be stolen. People in the developed world have no idea what it means to be third world until they try to buy an MP3 from iTunes or Amazon using a Trinidad IP address. Our region is not supported, they say. “We have the money so what is the problem,” some would scream but as Naipaul is fond of saying, we are just a dot.
So we steal because they won’t sell. Didn’t the cable company in Trinidad pirate HBO and Showtime for years without suffering any Government interference? Apparently, once you steal the Government doesn’t interfere – the government only meddles to stay in power. Nevertheless, there are websites such as MP3VA that sell MP3s to the Third World but their legal standing is questionable and not just because they are Russian. But you can get legal, high quality, downloads to buy from selected labels and artiste from HDtracks.
While people mourn Michael Jackson’s death they illegally download his music. We in the dotty Third World crave to be First World and use any means possible to appear to be by playing the same music and mourning in the same fashion, even if it means acting unethically, if not illegally.