Friday I submitted my courses to Udemy. Saturday I saw a sale on each of the three courses that had been approved. And I thought, “Oh, hey, that’s nice, someone needed that content and already found it. Cool. Surprised they did all three, but maybe they wanted to lock in that sale price. Nice.”
Today I woke up to no sales showing on those courses.
And I thought, “Hm. What are the odds that someone signed up for three brand new courses and then asked for a refund on all three within 24 hours?”
So I Googled. And, sure enough, someone had stolen the content and posted it on their own site, blatantly labeled as having come from Udemy.
Now, personally, I don’t think stealing any content is okay. Someone worked hard on that product and they deserve the right to be paid for that work and someone who takes their content is, in my opinion, a complete asshole. And thief.
But setting aside that part of things…
Why? Why steal from someone who hasn’t even sold a copy yet.
The course could be awful. It could be worthless nonsense. If you’re going to steal things and you’re that type of person, why wouldn’t you, I don’t know, steal the popular courses? Where your blatant theft wouldn’t be so obvious?
I mean, pretty easy to tell who the student was who signed up for the course, took the content, and then asked for a frickin’ refund because they couldn’t even bother to pay $10 for the content they didn’t create that they posted to their site when there’s only one student.
So what’s the point? This site/person/whoever just steals everything off Udemy?
It’s like the dudes who’ve pirated my romance audiobook and put it up on Youtube. Why? No one has listened to it. You’ve made nothing. So you’re just a random thief from little creators for…kicks?
Weirdly enough, I think about ethics and honesty and how we treat one another a lot. Maybe it’s because of my regulatory background. Maybe it’s because I have too much free time. Maybe it’s because I come across those people who think it’s good to cheat more than I should and I try to figure out what makes them tick and how to argue them into being better people.
Altruism is not gonna cut it with those types. They don’t care about being nice or fair.
Because on the surface if you don’t believe in some punishment at the end of the years we get to live, it seems like the best life strategy is to take what you can and damn everyone, right?
Just cheat left, right, and center and hope you don’t get caught. Or at least not punished. Because that strategy will let you personally get the most out of your life. With that mindset morality is just a social construct that’s someone else’s attempt to hold you back from getting what you could.
I can see how that’s a shiny argument to some people.
But the reason that’s not the path I choose to take and not the path I think is the optimal one is because it results in a really shitty world. If everyone chooses that path, you get a really horrible place to live.
Why create anything of value or beauty if it’s just going to be taken or destroyed by someone else?
Why engage in acts of kindness if people are just going to exploit that kindness by lying or taking what they don’t need?
(It’s why I don’t trust Go Fund Me postings. If I was at the vet and someone was crying in the corner because their dog needed surgery and they couldn’t afford it, I’d help. But some sad story posted on the internet by a stranger that I’m supposed to trust because it sounds sad? Nope. Too many liars and cheats in this world.)
Every time someone cheats or steals or lies like that our overall world gets a little worse. It contracts a little more. We take a step towards a worse world because one more person gives a little less than they could.
The cheaters need the rest of us to be honest and trusting and hard-working or the whole system collapses. But with each theft and lie they take us all one step closer to that collapse.
I hate it. And I wish I had some super power where I could just push each one that revealed themselves into an alternate reality where they could fight over a trash heap with others like themselves.
Instead I get to watch someone steal something I worked hard on and my only available response is to send takedown notices and hope someone cares enough to do something about it. Good times.