Piracy, What’s the REAL solution to the “problem”?

Over the past week or so, I’ve signed up and began to use the free version of Spotify (a little late to the game I know). It offers me a service that I can legitimately and legally use for free should I so desire. So what service is that exactly? Well, I can stream as much music as I please, from a collection of over 15 Million tracks. So far, every track I’ve searched for, I have been able to find. Great stuff! Granted the free version is Ad supported, meaning every so often there are radio style adverts that I have to listen to and there is a banner on display in the application window it’self. To be fair, this doesn’t bother me _THAT_ much. So, I can happily listen and share the music with friends. Infact, writing this post has reminded me that I need to get in contact with my ISP (Virgin Media), who when I signed up for their services, gave me a 6 MONTH FREE TRIAL of spotify PREMIUM, giving me access to a whole host of more features and an Ad-less experience. Now, im not a sales rep for Spotify, so on with getting to the point.

Netflix offers a somewhat similar service for Movies and TV shows. However the problem here is they are not at all up to date. For me, that’s where it all breaks down. These days, there is defiantly more of a trend to download the latest Movies and TV shows through illegitimate sources simply because it’s not available to watch. Lets take TV shows as the example here. I LOVE to watch american TV Shows, I’m a sucker for it. In my opinion They’re VERY entertaining compared to TV shows here in the UK, and I’m sure there are a great number of other people that would agree with me from within the UK or even elsewhere. It’s a fact that TV shows that air in the US, take a stupid amount of time before they become available on Premium TV services such as Virgin media or Sky. And there lies problem number 1.

If it’s available for people to watch on the internet by quite simply downloading a torrent or using a streaming website, then people will do it. What’s the difference between watching it now, as opposed to 3,4 even 5 or more months down the line? I’ll tell you what. Advertising. Nearly all TV channels are funded by adverts during the TV shows. But is this the ONLY reason why it takes so long to air here, after it’s been aired in the US? If i’m missing something else, please comment and let me know!

Virgin Media along with other ISP’s in the UK have recently been given a court order to block user’s access to our beloved PirateBay (click it, try it… if the site is blocked from your ISP, try that link), in a move to combat piracy. But what happened instead? It took a matter of MINUTES before the tech savvy people like myself where able to re-gain access to the website. So what did this achieve? Nothing. Well actually, it did achieve something. In fact it gave TPB 12 MILLION extra page loads, and began an era that we’ve all feared for some time. Internet Censorship is amongst us, whether we like it or not. They’ve blocked one website at the order of the courts, now there will be more for sure.

Is blocking (or attempting to block I should say), these websites really the solution to the problem? Of course it’s not. That’s crazy talk. The real solution is to make them less and less desirable to people, and make more services like Spotify more and more attractive. That way, money is getting put back in to these industries and everyone is a winner.

Charging the quite frankly ludicrous prices that we see today for a DVD/Blue Ray discs is also the problem. Why would I want to spend my money on something that I won’t potentially enjoy and get my money’s worth from? Simple answer? I wouldn’t. I like to know what I’m investing in, and have the option of sending it back if I’m not satisfied with my purchase…. something which simply cannot be done with physical media like discs.

I hope i’ve given at least some food for thought here, and I am VERY interested in your responses. Please tell me what you think… Post a comment, Tweet me (@danashurst), send me a youtube vBlog (eKKoTech), whatever. I feel it’s very important that people discuss these issues, so that a proper resolution can be made to the wider problem.

Until next time, Happy surfing! 🙂

Further Reading:

  • I have to completely agree with you on this one, for the first time thanks to spotify it is actually easier to get music on there than it is to pirate it. For me it was never a case of the cost of audio cd’s, it was the time and effort involved getting them. Spotify is cheap (or free if you can handle the adds and banners) easy to use and most importantly for me, convenient.
    Netflix seems to be a half hearted video orientated attempt at spotify but it just doesn’t quite seem to go far enough, it dosen’t have the coverage I would like, it is more often than not several weeks behind what is currently airing on TV and from what little I have seen of it it just doesn’t have the ease of use that it should.

    TL;DR as soon as legitimately getting media content is easier than piracy you will start seeing a massive drop in it but until then, for me at least, the easiest route will always be used.

    • Absolutely. I guess what also shot netflix in the foot was their recent release of the fact they support the SOPA bill. I mean sure, they want to stop online piracy.. but that bill is the entirely wrong way to go about it. They had the makings of a service that was getting a nice number of subscribers, until then.

      Wonder how long it will be till spotify (or at least the makers of) expand and do more than just music? They’d have a VERY nice market share if they did, that’s for sure!

  • Yep, totally agree. 

    begin rant.

    I registered for Spotify when it first came out but was quickly put off by the adverts. I do not blame them for having adverts, they can’t provide such a service at a loss, but all the same the adverts were terrible. The reason they were (are) terrible is because they are not context aware, they are dumb adverts. For example, you could be in the middle of listening to some classical music yet you would still get the same crappy ndubz advert interrupting, instead of, well I don’t know a classy advert for Mercedes or something. Anyway point is unless you go premium the experience of Spotify is somewhat hostile and alien. I suspect this is not necessarily a mistake, probably it is a calculated decision that ‘eventually the consumer will cave in and give us money’ but perhaps that is just being cynical. My long-winded point however is this, Spotify ‘free’ is a pretty crappy user experience right now. Spotify premium is an excellent experience.I have bought premium a couple of times, both so it could be on my mobile and also because it obviously is advert free. Despite the excellent user experience of this service, I have still never felt like I wanted to pay a permanent monthly bill for it. It is just too hefty and the perceived value, at least for me, is not enough. I do however subscribe to Netflix, and I am happy to give them money. i would even give them more money, perhaps upto £20 per month (rational to be explained). I do agree that the content on Netflix (UK) is currently lacking, but it is enough that I have subscribed now for about 3 months and it has basically become my TV. I should probably state at this point though that I hate old-school TV, I see it as a dying form of entertainment. You are bombarded with adverts and good content is thin. There is masses and masses of good TV shows on Netflix though. I will say it is annoying that the amount of up to date content is lacklustre, there are some big gaps in the Netflix catalog making it sometimes feel a bit like a pound bin for DVD’s. But this is why I would happily pay more if they would go on to get better and fresher content on there.Now, to pirating, your main topic. I think there is now enough disruption happening with Netflix and Spotify at the forefront that the dinosaurs in the music industry can no longer hide behind the veil of projectile vomit they have stated as reasons for piracy in the past. We now have real-world proof that consumers are more than willing to give them cold hard cash in exchange for content and we are not just a bunch of thieves. The term itself ‘piracy’ is just a demonstration of how idiotic these people are: piracy is stealing, stealing is theft, theft, according to our good friend Wikipedia, is “theft is the taking of another person’s property without that person’s permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it”. Taking a copy of a file is copyright infringement, the owner of the file is not deprived of their copy and if the ‘infringer’ does not sell or profit from it it is merely the act of making a copy. They have chosen to demonise all consumers as dastardly thieves who would rob their grandmothers at a mere chance. This is demonstrated by the absurd, unskippable warnings on DVD’s calling you a filthy scum thief; pro-tip, if I had pirated this DVD I would not be watching this, you are just inconveniencing and calling the people who paid you hard earned cash a bunch of thieves. To sum up, I think you have made the point extremely well and I completely agree. My final thought is that I do believe the entertainment industry is finally beginning to wake-up, and perhaps in future the stuff we want to listen and watch will be offered at a fair price. Unfortunately it does still has a bunch of greedy dinosaurs involved who will do anything they can (including bribing politicians to enact laws) to prop-up their archaic business model.End rant.