It’s almost so common that we no longer notice it, but the technology media has a peculiar way of writing about content theft. Generally using the more familiar, less charged term “piracy” –  as many of us admittedly do – tech writers also employ a style that offers pirates a free pass, if not outright advocating for copyright infringement through their coverage.

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All too often, piracy gets the tech thumbs up (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a BGR article republished by Yahoo last month, writer Chris Smith gleefully expounds on the virtues of a revitalized streaming service that runs right out of your browser, offering all the latest movies at . Similar pieces across the platform and other notable outlets have in the past done the same for mobile and desktop download versions of this software.

What’s wrong with that, you ask? The problem is that the platform is Popcorn Time, and the movies that it serves up so easily are unlicensed.

These are pirated titles. As in stolen/distributed without permission.

It’s an inconvenient truth that no matter how good the user experience on these piracy sites, the content being enjoyed for free is ripping off someone else’s hard work. Such sites are constantly pursued and removed by authorities because they break the law It may not matter to certain individuals

Last year we raised a similar case when respected tech journalist Farhad Manjoo covered Popcorn Time for the New York Times. While stopping short of advocating for content theft, Manjoo clearly felt for the pirates and  lamented that “in the movie and TV business, such a glorious future isn’t in the offing anytime soon.

This is a perfect example of the technology media offering a pass to piracy, in one of the nation’s most venerable publications. By no means is that to say that writers should be constrained in sharing their opinions or covering legitimate news involving piracy sites, but would it be too much to ask from top journalists to show some balance, even neutrality?

It’s inadvisable for a mainstream, reputable media outlet to tell readers how to avoid police check points or security measures in a physical store. In the same way, it’s unseemly to publish puff pieces on piracy sites and what they offer, much less to cheer them on from the sidelines.

Next time you read an article about a site like Popcorn Time, The Pirate Bay, or one of a thousand torrent sites, try mentally substituting the term “piracy” for “content theft.” When you come to the end, think about the creators behind the titles being offered and accessed without compensation, drying up their revenue stream, and what impact that dwindling income might have on their motivation to keep producing the entertainment we enjoy.