Punishments are a funny thing in that sometimes they work, sometimes they're a joke. As someone who was punished often as a "strong-willed" child, I can attest to this with the utmost of certainty. For instance, if the penalty for not cleaning my room was me not being allowed to watch Full House, chances are I'd leave crap everywhere again. If the punishment was me not being allowed to attend my best friend's birthday party (true story, never will get over it), you better believe my bedroom was shining like the top of the Chrysler Building at any given moment.
That's why punishments "administered" by the law often leave me scratching my head. Do officials really think that the threat of a rarely enforced fine is going to prevent people from doing bad stuff? The answer is no. But this new non-fine punishment aimed at illegal downloaders? It's genius.
Internet providers and media companies have devised what should be an effective system where people caught using illegal file-sharing services will be penalized with ... slow Internet. Amazing, right?
I mean, think about it: Could there be a more fitting punishment? It's the ultimate retribution against computer geeks, and something that will surely deter the unwanted behavior. This takes me back to my opening message -- discouraging bad behavior lies completely in the type of punishment that is dispensed. And with that said, I have a few replacements for the fines that are given out for certain "crimes."
Instead of a fine for not picking up after your dog ... Why not make the punishment dog poop all over the offender's shoes? 'Cause after all, that's what winds up happening to everyone else because of it, and in some ways, it's worse than having to send a check.
Instead of a fine for public urination (which, let's face it, happens to the best of us) ... Why not make the punishment banning public restrooms from the perp altogether? Or at least for a month. That could get really inconvenient. They may have to wear a diaper.
Instead of a fine for jay-walking (does anybody even get those?) ... Why not have the person write a 600-word essay on the perils of jay-walking? That would suck. Think about it. You totally wouldn't jay-walk. Unless you really like writing essays. But you don't. Do you?
Do you think slow Internet connection is a good punishment for illegal downloaders? Do you like writing essays?
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