Tag Archives: Piracy

“A Game of Thrones” – To Torrent, or not to Torrent?

We've all been there, haven't we?

From The Oatmeal’s comic – “I tried to watch Game of Thrones…”.

Of course, you could always just be patient and wait for the DVD box set, but that’s not quite as fun, is it?

Older blogger snarking aside – try waiting a year for a movie to possibly be released on VHS rental tape and THEN come and complain to me about not being able to see the stuff that you want to see when you want to see it – this comic nicely bashes the nail on the old proverbial.

Big Media companies want to create desire for their product, so that it has a ready-made audience who’ll pay to consume it.  Then, via a combination of arrogance, shortsightedness and media rights deals structures which are so last century that it pains me to think of them, a large part of that eager audience is cut out of the picture.

Can’t afford to/don’t want to subscribe to a cable/pay tv package?  You’re screwed.  Have the misfortune to live in a country deemed unlikely to have an audience for the product?  You’re boned.  And as we geo-lock everything anyway and you’re not in the US, we don’t care about you anyway.

I never excuse piracy and what Big Media would term IP theft (is it still theft if there’s no legal way to acquire something?), but I can certainly understand why hardcore genre fans sometimes resort to it – if you can’t legally watch it via pay TV and there’s no streaming option, no physical media to import and you want to see it, are you supposed to just say “Bugger it!” and not bother?

At that point, a tv series has gone from being an entertainment to becoming a nerd-friendly quest with an entirely achievable end game – downloaded content on a hard drive – which takes money out of the creator’s pockets, out of the distribution system and makes the process of making television, films and games that bit tougher.

A simple solution – make it easier to buy your product, before Hollywood and it’s antiquated business model ends up being as decimated as the music business was by P2P sharing.


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What he said…

Giant Bomb’s Jeff Gerstmann on the central issue affecting content providers, via Reddit.

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MegaUpload shut down by The Man – not before time?

It won't stop piracy, but will it make people think about the value of entertainment?

So, file-hosting, ‘digital locker’ site MegaUpload has been shut down by the Feds and smart people are worried about the implications of that.

Whilst it would appear that the odious US political bills SOPA and PIPA have been momentarily stopped from turning the internet into a no-go zone by making the idea of remixing, mashing-up and developing new content from established intellectual properties essentially illegal, this Thursday’s closure of MegaUpload suggests that the Governments of the world are still serious about cracking down on sites which flout international law in order to allegedly facilitate piracy on a massive scale.

Whilst the MegaUploads and RapidShares of the world have legitimate users who use online, ‘cloud’-type storage to exchange files legally and to facilitate their international businesses more easily, there’s many, many more users employing these sites to download albums, game files and DVD rips without ever thinking too much about the people who they’re ripping off.

Which obviously sucks – it’s hard to weep too much for the heads of record companies and film studios when they’re quoted in news stories about the evils of intellectual property theft, but I do feel for bands, indie film makers and game developers who now have an immensely tough time to try to forge a career when they can’t make any money from record sales because their potential audience are heading to a digital locker or torrent feed to get their music, movies and games for free.

If you have a political or ethical beef against the major labels and big studios of the world and don’t want to give them your money that’s perfectly fine – I don’t go to see Fox movies in cinemas and have as little to do with Rupert Murdoch’s media arm as possible – but don’t punish bands, artists and creative folks by ripping them off wholesale.   Find a way to get the stuff that you love which doesn’t end up hurting the artist (who is usually the party in all this who gets royally shafted).

If you’ve downloaded a song online and enjoyed it, why not actually do what many people pretend to do and then download the actual version from iTunes, Amazon or one of the many internet music stores?  Give the band some money for putting out art that spoke to you.

In fact, if you can, go direct to the artist and buy a shirt, CD or other piece of merch and give them cash to allow them to keep on creating art and making a living at it.  It’s not that hard to do and, in this age of increased access between fans and the people who create art, the gap between the two has never been smaller.

The iTunes of the digital ecosphere are by no means perfect, but piracy is a lot worse.

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