If you read way down to the bottom of a Wall Street Journal interview with Bill Gates that ran yesterday, you'll discover that the Microsoft executive admitted to watching pirated movies on the Internet. The confession came as he was talking about content he had viewed on YouTube. Here's part of the exchange:
WSJ: You watch physics lectures and Harlem Globetrotters [on YouTube]?
Gates: This social-networking thing takes you to crazy places.
WSJ: But those were stolen, correct?
Gates: Stolen's a strong word. It's copyrighted content that the owner wasn't paid for. So yes.
The Internet's biggest social failure has been that it has served as enabling technology for rampant cheating and theft - and the rationalization of it. The Internet makes stealing so easy that most people don't even think about it.
Bill Gates' comments would appear to be a case in point. You can hear the wheels turning as Gates thinks through the reality of his actions before finally admitting that he has indeed downloaded and consumed copyrighted content.
If you have a WSJ subscription you can view the story, Bill Gates on ...the Competition here.