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drago13666

A Commentary on Piracy

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Aren't the hoops -> Buy PowerDVD -> Install -> Play ? Assuming it doesn't come with the PC or BD drive.

We'll spend $40 per BD disc, thousands on a A/V system, but not ~$60 of BD software? (Though as far as piracy goes. I'm fine with buying the Bluray disc and then downloading the MKV. Seems silly tho :p)

I've watched two BRDs on my PC. Well, one. The other I had to download a ripped MKV because the software I got with the drive stopped working.

 

$60 to watch a single disc?

 

I think it's instructive that we don't have to buy the software to make a STB play them.

 

 

For some reason, this is around the time I probably stopped buying BRDs (at all/as they came on sale).

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you can buy a BD player for under $50, and you can watch more than one disc ;)

 

EDIT : Having said that, it's not really relevant. IF DVD playback had been incorporated in every version of Windows and if it worked flawlessly it wouldn't have decreased the amount of piracy IMO.

Edited by Mac Dude

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what about if you don't run Windows? For a long time DVD playback was impossible or fraught with issues on any flavour of Linux and I assume BD is going through the same crap now (haven't checked).

I also have issues with having to have a standalone BD player hooked to the net to do what ever it does to play a BD disk (sometimes it can be impossible or painful just to get a net connection working).

Hmm... BD support not on Linux, justifying piracy is kinda like saying my PC doesn't play Xbox games so it's ok to pirate them. Ok maybe that's a stretch.. but the point is I can go buy an Xbox , as I can go by a device that plays BD's -and I can buy the BD if there is one, or I can wait, or I can get foxtel whatever.

 

^ That's all for arguments sake though, because being honest, I certainly don't practice what I'm preaching here. I've got Usenet and Sickbeard and Coachpotato and Sabnzbd etc all setup nicely. I get the tv shows I want, as soon as they're available, straight to my Media Browser on my HTPC. I even get a nice little prowl when they're in. But like I said in my blog post (the thing I quoted earlier). I'd happily pay $100 a month for an exact equivalent service if one were available. I'm not condoning piracy. It's like speeding a bit when I'm late, or just want a fang. I know it's wrong and I accept the risk.

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I have always been a big pirater, but I have also been a big customer of the things that I like. I also spread a lot of word of mouth among friends and family which leads to more views and in turn more people watching after their word of mouth has spread etc.

 

I've pirated terabytes of data, everything from movies to music to comic books. But I've spent a lot more money in doing so had I never bothered to consume any of it at all. There's a big misconception in the pirated industries that one pirated file = one lost sale. No, chances are that person wouldn't have bothered purchasing had there been no option to pirate and check it out. And after that person has pirated a whole TV season, loved the show, talked about it online and with friends, bought the box set and is now a happy customer, piracy has been a win-win for everyone involved. Even if the pirate didn't bother to spend any money, they'll be more likely to in future as opposed to completely oblivious, and their pleasant experience can lead to others' eyes on the show.

 

On the other hand, if a person pirates a few episodes, and doesn't like the show, then they're spared the cost of spending $40 on discs they don't want, and the industry isn't rewarded for producing something that person didn't end up wanting.

 

Out of curiosity, I just had a look at the TV section of the iTunes store for the first time. You can get the final season of Breaking Bad in 720p for $25 or in SD for $20. That's pretty damn good, considering a DVD or Blu-ray costs a lot more, and comes out months after the show is over, and a lot of people don't want to bother with physical media anymore. The Season Pass also lets you pay your money before the whole season has aired and the episodes download automatically as they come out. Very convenient. I'm not sure of the release schedule but the final episode only aired a few days ago US-time and it's there for download, not sure when it appeared. I clicked on the final episode and it gave me a 30 second clip playing full screen then and there. For the average person just wanting to keep up with a new show on their laptop, this looks like a really good option, I'm surprised to say.

 

Every season of Breaking Bad is available in this way. Agents of SHIELD has a Season Pass available, at a higher $40 presumably from the higher amount of episodes in the season. I'm not confident enough in the show to put money on it yet to try this out, plus $40 is about blu-ray money which I'd prefer, with all the accompanying special features, commentaries, and higher quality.

 

I see this as a much better model than randomly tuning in to broadcast television, with networks relying on bullshit magical ratings to guide their decisions. It's also better than having to pay for a $100+ subscription television service just so you can get HBO to watch Game of Thrones. Paying $30 for all the episodes of a show you actually want to watch as it's airing is an excellent way of judging actual viewers, without punishing them with ads and selling them a bunch of shit they don't want. Definitely steps in the right direction.

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I've not seen the actual stats, but whenever netflix hits a county it's piracy levels go down heaps. Makes sense really.

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I don't know what people find hard to understand about 'piracy': If you try to restrict access to something people want (which is readily available someplace else), they will get it anyway - and you will be out of pocket. Worse, the criminals who feed that want will make more money than you would have if you had supplied them in the first place - which they will use against you. That's true of drugs, alcohol, software, movies and god knows what else.

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It's not really much of a discussion point other than trying to justify thievery.

 

Yes, I have downloaded plenty of content. Yes, I still buy plenty of content - purely for the fact that I like quality. I like BlueRay and I like CD's

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I am entitled to download content for free though, though. That's my choice, not my right.

 

But as MD puts it, (I also work for a software company and) I can see how licensing or lack thereof can really affect the bottom line.

 

Music/film and software, it's a business, essentially. Sure, the companies cry that they have lost significant amounts of money, but they're allowed to cry about it! The content belongs to them!

 

The iTunes revolution is an interesting point. Put music aside, just think of software. I have invested a lot into Apple, apps wise. From productivity apps to games. I barely think twice if I want/need something, I just hit 'purchase.'

Why? Because it is not only convenient, but it is also cheap.

A few bucks for a cool app or game. Sometimes a bit more than a few bucks. But compare that to 100 bucks for a console game/PC application or what ever they are worth these days.

 

Apple have formulated a convenient and cheap way for people to access content. They are making it so easy and cheap that people like me who would traditionally go out of their way not to pay for it, actually pay for it.

 

Music industry and film industry needs to find a sweet spot.

It's not going to stop piracy all together, nothing ever will. But it will help to reduce it and keep their profit margin coming in. Might even increase it.

Prosecuting people isn't doing much to scare the rest off. At all.

You will ALWAYS have freeloaders. Just find a way to reduce the quantity of freeloaders and you're in good stead.

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It's not really much of a discussion point other than trying to justify thievery.

 

...

 

Music industry and film industry needs to find a sweet spot.

It's not going to stop piracy all together, nothing ever will. But it will help to reduce it and keep their profit margin coming in. Might even increase it.

Prosecuting people isn't doing much to scare the rest off. At all.

You will ALWAYS have freeloaders. Just find a way to reduce the quantity of freeloaders and you're in good stead.

I'm not trying to justify anything - it's just a fact of life. If companies want to not have people smuggle or pirate their product, they need to make it available through legitimate channels. Many, if not most, of those pirates will buy it if they can.

 

Sure, there are some arseholes who just steal stuff because they can. They would never have bought the product in the first place.

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My initial sentence was directed towards the OP but the rest of your commentary is kind of what I was getting at. They need to alter their ways to ensure growth and profitability. Every business needs to move with the times. It's like Harvey Norman having a whinge about people buying online.

Guess what Gerry? People don't want to pay for your real estate, your staff, logistics or any of your other expenses.

 

Customers want value.

Value is key. To all businesses, no matter what market.

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itunes store suffers the same problem that steam does: rights holders/publishers aren't in it to make it convenient, they're in it to make money, and as far as they're concerned Australia's higher wages means higher profits. Or, exclusives get made that bypass online distribution, eg Foxtel making sure you need a sub package to see GoT locally, legitimately.

 

 

At the end of the day, if I buy something on optical media, I already have it digitally. I just don't like hearing drives spin up and down, or wasting time ripping stuff myself. My monitor is better than any TV in the house, and I don't have access to the other TV anyway. It's ultimately more convenient for me to download something and pay for it later, than it is to manually timeshift something and then try to find a way to get to it.

 

Cloud-streaming, micro-transaction-based shouldn't be that difficult by now. I honestly don't understand what is holding up things like Hulu/+ and Netflix just going global - or why rights holders don't deal with locals like (is it Flixter?) that are prepared to set up the infrastructure.

Edited by Nich...

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I'm just noticing something about my own piracy habits, in that I almost NEVER pirate games anymore. It's just so easy to grab them on Steam (or elsewhere and get the Steam code) for a pittance and not have to mess around with cracks and mounting and serials and whatnot. Especially with today's model of gaming with constant updates and strong online interaction in most games, it's way more of a hassle to pirate these days. Also, Steam's method of downloading and installing is so damn streamlined and simple, you'd be mad to go back to the old disc system. I used to pirate most of my games at LAN parties because I didn't have adequate internet to download an entire game at home. That was when I could be bothered playing games a lot and wanted to play the latest games. Now I'm happy to wait a year and get it in a Steam sale.

 

I would still pirate software, but there's not much I really use that isn't freeware anyway.

 

My initial sentence was directed towards the OP but the rest of your commentary is kind of what I was getting at. They need to alter their ways to ensure growth and profitability. Every business needs to move with the times. It's like Harvey Norman having a whinge about people buying online.

Guess what Gerry? People don't want to pay for your real estate, your staff, logistics or any of your other expenses.

 

Customers want value.

Value is key. To all businesses, no matter what market.

Hardly Normal actually does a lot of online sales, though I'm not sure where they're trying to go with it. Basically all the deals are well below cost (one that particularly stuck out to me was a model of Canon DSLR being consistently sold WAY below cost for some reason) and shipping only ever seems to come up at around $5 when it obviously costs a whole lot more to ship someone a box with an Xbox in it. I guess it's them trying to gain a foothold as an online contender.

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My initial sentence was directed towards the OP but the rest of your commentary is kind of what I was getting at.

My apologies - I can see that on rereading, now that you point it out.

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Well, yeah. everyone's in it to make money :)

 

There are a lot, a shitload, of musicians out there who do it because they love it. But they have to put food on the table somehow.

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People really to under-appreciate the advertising generated by piracy.

 

Its much easier to calculate how many people downloaded a show than it is to monitor how many people where actively watching a TV show when it aired.

 

I think it also increases the desirability of a show, 1 million illegal downloads seems to make much bigger headlines than 1 million viewers

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I think it also increases the desirability of a show, 1 million illegal downloads seems to make much bigger headlines than 1 million viewers

So people desire my product. Good-o. Are they paying me for it? Is the question.

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I wonder what a network pays for a new show, and how many people you'd need to split that over to make it not expensive.

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The network doesn't want to make it not expensive though.

I guess TV shows and TV networks are maybe slightly different. The network makes its profits from advertising. The TV show actually costs them money. It's an expense. The network doesn't give a fuck, really. Just make the show popular, it will attract big paying advertisers and then they roll in it.

 

So putting it that way a TV network has already signed its deals, their customers are already advertising. So at that point, does it matter how many people download Breaking Bad?

Do the companies advertising conduct studies (surely) to determine what their return on investment was Vs what it could be taking into consideration TV show piracy?

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Sorry, not talking about it like that. Just wondering what would happen if a consumer group bought broadcast rights, set up some servers and streamed it for a small fee - no ads.

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So putting it that way a TV network has already signed its deals, their customers are already advertising. So at that point, does it matter how many people download Breaking Bad?

Do the companies advertising conduct studies (surely) to determine what their return on investment was Vs what it could be taking into consideration TV show piracy?

Yes it does because the viewer numbers specifically relate to how much advertisers are prepared to pay for ad slots during the show. So a very popular show can generally attract a lot more ad revenue to the tv station. If viewer numbers drop too low then the advertisers either pull their adverts, the show doesn't get another season, or the ad slot fees have to be reduced to try and keep the advertisers on board.

Breaking Bad is actually an interesting example as according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Breaking_Bad_episodes US viewer numbers have been increasing each season which is rather unusual.

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It can't solely be about ratings numbers, tho'. If it was - if show producers didn't look at ratings in Australia vs download numbers for Australia - it'd be a simple matter of people with ratings surveys not downloading stuff and everyone else being fine.

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So putting it that way a TV network has already signed its deals, their customers are already advertising. So at that point, does it matter how many people download Breaking Bad?

Do the companies advertising conduct studies (surely) to determine what their return on investment was Vs what it could be taking into consideration TV show piracy?

Yes it does because the viewer numbers specifically relate to how much advertisers are prepared to pay for ad slots during the show. So a very popular show can generally attract a lot more ad revenue to the tv station. If viewer numbers drop too low then the advertisers either pull their adverts, the show doesn't get another season, or the ad slot fees have to be reduced to try and keep the advertisers on board.

Breaking Bad is actually an interesting example as according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Breaking_Bad_episodes US viewer numbers have been increasing each season which is rather unusual.

 

super bowl is another example of this. the rights to telecast would cost shit loads, but so does the advertising space.

which is also why telstra took (who ever optus/apple) to task for being able to play footy on 30 second delay after spending shitloads for exclusive digital rights.

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People really to under-appreciate the advertising generated by piracy.

 

Its much easier to calculate how many people downloaded a show than it is to monitor how many people where actively watching a TV show when it aired.

 

I think it also increases the desirability of a show, 1 million illegal downloads seems to make much bigger headlines than 1 million viewers

Yes but in a way that can be replicated through paying. If you went through a service like Hulu, netflix, itunes, collecting stats on the most popular shows is trivial. Therefore a "Top 10", or whatever, is easily compiled. It becomes obvious what shows are popular and also helps people like me decide what I want to watch, and pay for. So while saying X people downloaded breaking bad from torrent sites is impressive as an indicator of a shows popularity, it doesn't have to be through piracy.

 

--

 

The rights to broadcast is an interesting one. Take Formula 1 for example and their reluctance to get into the digital world of today. They don't need to yet because the traditional methods are still working well. Source if you're interested in this particular case of why it's not happening in F1 yet.

Edited by kikz

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I was going to raise the point of MotoGP. they sell streaming and information packages to people. it's like 60 euro for an annual pass of live races and as much digital content as they have on their web site. given how militant they are about youtube showing their telecasts, motogp.com is one of the few places to get that stuff.

you get alot of stuff that if you do not catch the TV (free or otherwise) telecast you may not get your fill, on Australian footy centric TV.

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Here's an idea. Never going to happen but I think the concept is interesting.

 

In my make believe world all entertainment types (music, movies, games etc) are free and easily accessible to download and use.

Every ISP charges their customers a 'content creation' tax on their plans.

Each time a customer downloads a bit of entertainment from an entertainment creator, the creator gets some of the users tax paid to them from the ISPs.

Lots of nitty gritty detail needed but I think the premise could work.

View ratings and distribution of available entertainment funds is thus dynamically and organically dished out according to what the consumer consumes.

 

 

Another way is the whole crowd funding idea. Maybe studios can pony up for the first album, season, game release.

After that they could be like, "Like it? Pledge this much money to us and we'll make the next season, album, game v2 etc" This forces the crowd to pay for what they want, not just make it and presume they will aquire it legitimately.

 

Star Citizen and a few others in the game industry are certainly proving it can be done and could be the way of the future.

 

 

I have always been a big pirater, but I have also been a big customer of the things that I like. I also spread a lot of word of mouth among friends and family which leads to more views and in turn more people watching after their word of mouth has spread etc.

 

...

 

On the other hand, if a person pirates a few episodes, and doesn't like the show, then they're spared the cost of spending $40 on discs they don't want, and the industry isn't rewarded for producing something that person didn't end up wanting.

I'm similar to you. For me it's mostly convenience factor and the flexibility non DRM'd material gives me to watch or listen to stuff where, how and on what device I want.

Though the freedom of discovery factor is certainly something NO ONE else is offering (TV/movie wise. Trailers don't even come close). Having that paywall up front for something I might not like is a big factor.

 

I've watched shows I never would have seen otherwise and bought Blu Ray seasons of them I otherwise never would have. Perhaps they don't air in Aus or only on cable TV, or simply aren't available in our region.

My pirating has turned profits for tv show and movie makers. Otherwise I wouldn't have seen their content, not wanted it and thus not bought it.

 

It's not really much of a discussion point other than trying to justify thievery.

No question that its thieving, any court appearance wont go in a pirates favour.

The problem is that the system need to be altered. The reasons why it's happening is failure on the distribution front. Consumers what it delivered or available one way, the distributors want it the old way. They need to catch up.

 

It's like what I believe Gabe Newell said when he started up steam, convenience is the biggest driver behind piracy. Make it harder to pirate the game than to legitimately get and play it and piracy will fall hugely. I think he's been right.

 

To me, movie and TV show distribution networks simply still don't get it.

iTunes is changing that and same with Netflix however there's still DRM and freedom of use issues with those that to me shouldn't even exist. And is largely why I continue to pirate them.

DRM only hurts the legit consumer and gives pirates the more attractive DRM free product, why buy and 'inferior' (DRMed) legit version?

 

I can stick my downloaded content on any of my devices, for as long as I like and watch it where and when ever I like.

Streaming, activation servers and things will only be good as long as the servers remain up and running.

 

 

Steam solved my game pirating habit a long time ago. Sure there's DRM in there but they've made it so convenient it's transparent. Most games need net connections for multiplayer anyway or for updates that come down automatically, I can download and play them on any other computer and now/soon we can share those games with relatives/friends in a loan type fashion.

Valve GETS it. And it why it is the PC games juggernaut it is today.

 

There's nothing music, movie or TV wise that's close to this kind of DRM/convenience state of zen. iTunes for music is the closest but not everything plays AAC. Haven't used it in a bit but if iTunes offered multi format download options that'd tick the last gripe I had with it.

 

itunes store suffers the same problem that steam does: rights holders/publishers aren't in it to make it convenient, they're in it to make money, and as far as they're concerned Australia's higher wages means higher profits. Or, exclusives get made that bypass online distribution, eg Foxtel making sure you need a sub package to see GoT locally, legitimately.

This sort of regional discrimination gets me all up in arms.

Many publishers on steam still practice it despite there being no justification for it.

 

$90 for a game I can buy from elsewhere for $45 is just ridiculous. $50 - 60 is insta buy for a AAA game >$70 makes me look for alternatives.

 

Apparently iTunes does it too though I don't use it much to know.

 

People really to under-appreciate the advertising generated by piracy.

 

Its much easier to calculate how many people downloaded a show than it is to monitor how many people where actively watching a TV show when it aired.

 

I think it also increases the desirability of a show, 1 million illegal downloads seems to make much bigger headlines than 1 million viewers

Yes. This is something I don't think they consider much or at all. Though the head of HBO seems to get it, not sure about the addon sales thinking of it though.

How many people would be talking about Game of Thrones if it wasn't pirated at all? I know I wouldn't be and everyone else at my work place.

 

Pirating has gotten me to buy seasons of blu rays, people at work have bought books based on the shows, I bought comic series that spawned the TV show in the first place. Posters. Games. The list goes on.

 

It's the classic drug dealers ploy. Give them a little bit for free until their hooked, then it's all profit from there.

 

I'm a piracy addict, and the content producers love me for it, they just don't know it.

Give me the convenience and freedom to use your works, charge reasonable prices and you'll have my business and break the addiction. Just perhaps give out the first bits for free so I know I want what I'm paying for.

 

The rights to broadcast is an interesting one. Take Formula 1 for example and their reluctance to get into the digital world of today. They don't need to yet because the traditional methods are still working well. Source if you're interested in this particular case of why it's not happening in F1 yet.

Yeah if F1 had an official streaming/replay service (image the back catalogue *drool*) with full coverage I'd be happy to pony up for it.

Will check out that article.

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