2011-04-18

Ebook piracy is colossal what

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Somebody's reading a newspaper and I'm seeing only a part of the headline on the Metro, the freebie liberally sprinkled around on the, umm, metro (small m). It is "Ebook piracy is colossal ..." with the last word occluded by fold, or hand, or shade (whatever). So I'm trying to imagine the last word, 'fraud'? or something like that. But I can't see it because the angle's all wrong. But when I get off the metro I'll be able to look through the window and see that final word. So I do. And it's 'threat'. And I am perplexed.

I really wasn't expecting that. It's not a word I would have chosen. A threat is surely something posing a physical danger to life and limb. But then I remembered that the people who own things and who derive an income from them - and it really does seem to be especially those things originally produced by others - use the word 'threat' over a much wider domain than those who do not. So I concluded that of course I should not have been surprised by that answer to my question.

I hardly ever feel threatened in the mostly civilised society that we inhabit. It is a rare word in my personal vocabulary. It's the sort of word, however, that is used by organisations and corporations and states. Not people. Not so much. It seems to me slightly weird that a term used by individuals to represent the concept of harm to the physical body should be used by non-human institutions to represent the concept of harm to the financial income.

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