Ah, the life of a pirate. Parrots and booze, skulls and cross bones, swords and treasure.

Sadly, real pirates are all long gone, and what we’re left with is depressing: assholes like me, sitting in front of their computers, downloading files. Why are we “pirates”? We get things for free that we should be paying for. That’s about it. You’re probably a pirate. Hell, even your mother could be a pirate. Has she downloaded an MP3 lately? Avast ye, she’s one of us.

See, we’re far from the days of smuggled rum in barrels or the raping and pillaging of entire villages. We’re onto things much more boring and benign – hard drives stuffed with music and porn, movies and games. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course – I heartily endorse jerking off while listening to your favorite band in mp3 format.

But apparently the “downloading movies” bit has finally reached the masses, and they’re throwing a shitfit. Kind of reminds you of something, doesn’t it? I guess Hollywood has a reason to be concerned: a lot of the time you can find movies released online before they’re even out of the theaters. They’re scared they’ll lose money… and what ever will we do if Cameron Diaz doesn’t make her 41 million dollars next year?! I don’t think I could stand it!

So, what to do? Looks like they’ve set out to tackle the whole “piracy thing” like the music industry did – by selling their goods on the internet and making people feel guilty. First are the ads in the movie theaters pleading you not to pirate movies, because the poor stuntmen need to feed their children and support their cocaine habits or whatever. Then comes this:

LOS ANGELES � The entertainment industry’s campaign to turn movie pirates into legitimate customers takes another leap forward Monday with a new online movie download service from RealNetworks and pay TV’s Starz Encore Group.

Unlike competitors, which charge $3.99 to $4.99 to watch downloads of individual hit movies, Starz Ticket on Real Movies offers 100 films monthly for a $12.95 subscription. Films include recent hits such as Finding Nemo and 2 Fast 2 Furious.

The launch comes as the tech and entertainment industries look at ways to turn the PC into a home entertainment hub. Apple and Microsoft are selling this concept separately and with partners such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Gateway. Later this year, Microsoft and several tech firms will introduce Portable Media Centers, an iPod-like handheld that will play music and videos.

Ah, yes. Now to get people to willingly download Real Player. That’s a feat unto itself.

One thing’s for sure, I can’t see piracy ending any time soon. The movies these companies release online will always be released earlier by someone who decides to just do it themselves. The albums and mp3s will always be pre-released because someone is kind enough to share. And as for porn, well… that’s not going anywhere any time soon, and praise the lord for that.

Really. Who gives a shit? You?

Nah, me neither.