As far as I know, all of my friends are law abiding citizens. They wouldn’t dream of going into a shop and “lifting” so much as a bag of sweets.

But many of them think nothing of downloading music and films illegally, buying ripped and copied DVD’s from the market, or picking up a fake Rolex or two on a visit to the middle east.

I’ve done all of these things in the past, to my shame, but I took a decision a few years ago that I wouldn’t do so any more. Since then I’ve paid for everything from computer software to films and music tracks.

Maybe its become personal to me — after all, I earn most of my income from the books and words I write. The thought of somebody else copying my work and selling it on cheaply fills me with horror.

I’ve seen the argument that large companies like Rolex should take it on the chin when people steal their designs and sell them for a tenth of the price. But that doesn’t wash — how many years have Rolex spent building their brand and reputation? Why should that time and financial investment be ignored now that they are making large profits?

I guess I have some small empathy for the people who illegally download stuff, although in many cases they could and should afford to pay through the proper channels, and where will we be if musicians and computer program writers simply stop producing great stuff for us, because there’s no money in doing so any more?

But I have no time at all for the parasites who actually make a living for themselves by pedalling other people’s work.

These are the people who take a movie or a music or language course CD and copy it, for the cost of a blank disc, and then sell it on to make money for themselves. To add insult to injury, because their business is illegal, they almost certainly aren’t paying tax or social security on the money they are making.

They’ve done almost no work to produce their product. The people who sweated hours, days or months to create it don’t get a penny, and they’re not contributing to the infrastructure where they live and “work.”

Let’s unite in putting these people out of business.

Just stop buying from them.

Owner of Lanzarote’s best destination website, Lanzarote Information and Camel Travel, offering worldwide luxury holidays at affordable prices.

Owner of Lanzarote’s best destination website, Lanzarote Information and Camel Travel, offering worldwide luxury holidays at affordable prices.