Stephen Fry: Time For Politicians To Represent People's Interest On Copyright, Not Corporations

from the like-that'll-ever-happen dept

Stephen Fry is a very well known British actor, comedian and writer. He's also known as a real tech geek sorta guy -- who doesn't mind getting his hands dirty with new technologies to learn about them. He apparently gave a speech (made up on short notice) about copyright and the future of music, where he complained that politicians, such as those who created the Digital Britain report were clearly reflecting the views of various industries and not of the people. Fry made it clear that he doesn't endorse the idea of widespread file sharing -- and he warned against misinterpreting his speech that way -- but still admitted that he's been known to fire up BitTorrent himself to get the latest episodes of 24 or House. And he admits that he feels a bit guilty about it, but the reason is that he can't really get that content elsewhere. The fault is with the industry, and yet the gov't is trying to protect that industry, rather than recognize that the real problem is the industry not giving people what it wants. Having the gov't come up with a plan to try to stomp out file sharing misses the point. The problem isn't the file sharing -- it's the industry not responding to the market.

This is an important point, actually. Thanks to some of the press coverage, and the way the industry often tries to frame this debate, you get this picture of evil kids destroying an industry by downloading tons and tons of content. And, there are some folks out there who do download a ton of stuff. But the real issue isn't with that group of folks, who would never have bought any content in the first place. It's with the everyday folks, like Stephen Fry, who would just like to access the content in the most convenient way possible -- and the industry is failing him. The answer isn't to go after some kids and fine them millions or throw them in jail. It's to respond to the market.


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    Ima Fish (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 6:01am

    "Having the gov't come up with a plan to try to stomp out file sharing misses the point"

    It's been said, so many times, so many ways...

    When you need the government to protect your business model, it's time to get a new business model.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 6:37am

    "he's been known to fire up BitTorrent himself to get the latest episodes of 24 or House."

    Something about Stephen Fry firing up a few torrents to watch Hugh Laurie makes me giggle. Americans: look at their history together if you don't know what I mean.

    For what it's worth, the last time I used a torrent myself was to download a few seasons of Fry's excellent quiz comedy show Q.I...

     

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    Eric (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 6:44am

    Re:

    I love QI - just grabbed Series F last night.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 6:44am

    Not competing with "free"

    I've seen the argument put forth here before that "free" is simply a lower price, which simply creates competition. Here's the problem with that argument:

    If a BUSINESS were creating a way to offer the same services at a lower price (even if that price is "free"), then that's one thing. That's legit competition.

    However, what is mostly happening is that consumers are FORCING free through infringement, by illegally gaining access to services without paying for them. That's not competition. That's not another business finding a more efficient (and thus, less costly) way of delivering the same product.

    I haven't seen this distinction successfully addressed or debunked yet. I'd love to see it.

     

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    Designerfx (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 6:48am

    Re: Not competing with "free"

    wow, what a straw man. The price of all things is fated to become free at some point or another. We're just hurrying it up because businesses are deliberately avoiding it. Lawsuits for filesharing are easy examples of that.

    The real problem is what Mike's article is about: corporate interests are being represented but the public interest is not.

     

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    Cro, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 6:50am

    Stephen Fry

    Love the man, absolutely love him...! I'm proud to come from the same county (that's counTY, not counTRY) - he is about the best thing to come out of it! :D

     

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    Cro, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 6:52am

    Stephen Fry

    Next to Admiral Nelson, of course... ;)

     

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    Gunnar (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 6:56am

    Re: Not competing with "free"

    "I've seen the argument put forth here before that "free" is simply a lower price, which simply creates competition. Here's the problem with that argument"

    Which has what to do with this article?

    Stephen Fry, who has millions of dollars, downloads 24 and House because it's the only way he can get them. He wants to buy something the industry refuses to sell.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 7:03am

    Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    "he price of all things is fated to become free..."

    How the hell do you justify such a ridiculous claim? When do you think you will ever be fed, or have shelter, for free? Even if you take care of these things yourself, they still won't be free as they will, at minimum, cost resources and work.

    And how is the argument a straw man? You can't just throw those words about and act like that addresses the issue.

    The only thing you got right: the comment isn't on topic.

     

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    chris (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    Which has what to do with this article?

    it's an excellent example of how the industry "frames the argument" from the blog post:

    Thanks to some of the press coverage, and the way the industry often tries to frame this debate, you get this picture of evil kids destroying an industry by downloading tons and tons of content.

    according to the industry, file sharing is always about cheap bastards who want everything for free. market failures, legitimate uses, fair use, and all that other stuff is brushed aside in favor of the "you are all thieving bastards" argument.

    steven fry is a famous actor (at least in england) who probably has millions (probably hidden in offshore pirate bay accounts!!) and he downloads stuff, so he must be the ultimate thieving bastard, making money from TV and then stealing TV.

    i download a lot of british TV (being human and the IT crowd for example) simply because it's not available where i am in the US.

     

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    Fi, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 7:18am

    I've even found direct quotes from his twitter in the Times resently. The man is being taken notice of.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 7:27am

    Re: Not competing with "free"

    "illegally gaining access to services without paying for them"

    This is a reaction to an industry that charges excessive rates, sues its customers, purposely limits markets AND gets the government to back them while doing it. The fact is that there is no real competition, so lots of folks simply bypass the market as it is today. When the industry becomes more consumer friendly folks like Stephen Fry will stop their 'infringement'.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 7:46am

    Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    I think you're probably right, and hope so. However, currently, just because you don't like the law doesn't mean you get to break it and not face consequences, right?

    I agree the business models and laws surrounding them need to change. I don't think that justifies breaking them ... though the fact that others do break them does bring awareness to the problem.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 7:48am

    Re: Not competing with "free"

    "However, what is mostly happening is that consumers are FORCING free through infringement, by illegally gaining access to services without paying for them"

    OK, point me to where I can *legally* buy the last 3 seasons (season D - F) of Q.I. so I don't have to keep the copies I downloaded (I own DVDs of the first 3).

    I'm waiting...

    OK, too hard? Tell me where an American viewer (or anyone outside the UK, in fact) can obtain a legal copy of *any* series without either importing the region-coded DVD or using a torrent.

    The industry needs to stop causing its own problems. If there's no way to obtain a legal copy (or those copies are regionally restricted / way too expensive), then they are by omission encouraging piracy.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:08am

    Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    Two responses:

    1) You're arguing that, since I can't obtain what I want, when I want it, then it's OK for me to resort to illegal methods to get what I want when I want it. Cool.

    I mean, I get your point ... and if that was the only (or even primary) reason that people illegally acquire media, then it would be a strong reason to slap the face of the industry. But beyond that ...

    2) Not being able to acquire media legally because of geographic limitations is not the only (and I'd bet, not the primary) reason for illegal downloads. I'd be willing to bet quite a lot that most of what gets downloaded illegally could be purchased legally pretty easily by the people doing the downloading.

    So, while I get your point, and it's not a trivial one, it still doesn't address the initial argument raised in the first comment in this side thread.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:27am

    Re: Not competing with "free"

    Several things missing with your argument...

    1) What most people argue is not that infringement is a competing business, but that without heavy-handed laws stunting competition, the end result is "free".

    2) Businesses offering free have been created. Yes, legitimate businesses, not illegal activities posing as businesses. What happens to them? Lawsuits and increased royalty fees killing them off (just look at web radio).

    3) The consumers are the law in consumer based markets. This does not mean that the consumer gets whatever they want for the price they want, but that the supplier must follow its customers to maintain a good business.

     

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    reaperman0, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    How about the fact that it is a TV show that is broadcast for FREE across the airwaves? Since TV shows are supported by advertising and the broadcasters and creators of the show have already been paid by the companies who purchase ads how are they loosing money? If I can record that show with a DVR to watch it later and keep a copy indefinitely on my DVR, then what is the problem with me downloading the same show on my computer and keeping it on a hard drive?

    As for music and movies, that (in my opinion) is a whole other argument and I agree that downloading it isn't legal at all since they deserve to get paid since they are not supported by advertising.

     

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    robin, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:29am

    Re: Not competing with "free"

    "However, what is mostly happening is that consumers are FORCING free through infringement, by illegally gaining access to services without paying for them. That's not competition. That's not another business finding a more efficient (and thus, less costly) way of delivering the same product."

    Yes! it is legitimate competition.

    "Pirates", across thousands of years, attack only where there is a market failure. It's easy, the risks are lower.

    An intelligent business would recognize a failure, step in and start selling what these potential customers want. And clearly want. It's happened in exactly that order certainly more than once.

    "...illegally gaining access to services without paying for them..." ??

    in what way is it illegal for me to ask the pirate bay servers to send my browser the html code for their home page? or any of their pages for that matter?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    I would ask you where the immorality is when no one is harmed.

    If I download a product that is not being sold legally, who loses out? No one, because there isn't even a "potential loss of sale".

    Say I wanted a car, but I don't have money to buy one. However, I have the schematics for that car, the expertise to build it perfectly, and I already own all the materials required. I would be committing trademark infringement, but would building that car be "wrong"?

     

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    PaulT (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    "You're arguing that, since I can't obtain what I want, when I want it, then it's OK for me to resort to illegal methods to get what I want when I want it. Cool."

    No I'm not. I'm arguing that if the content producers are actively refusing to sell to potential customers, then they lose the moral high ground when those customers decide to "steal" anyway.

    Besides, how exactly do you "steal" a piece of entertainment that's not for sale in the first place? Copyright infringement is not stealing. The reason why it's still technically illegal is that potential sales are "lost" (and even that's debatable).

    Even if every downloaded file equals a lost sale, it's not "stealing" if it's impossible to buy a copy in the first place. You lost a potential sale? So what, if you were refusing to sell to that person to begin with?

    Offer the product for sale as freely and in as high a quality package as the pirates are offering, then we can discuss it on equal footing.

    "I'd be willing to bet quite a lot that most of what gets downloaded illegally could be purchased legally pretty easily by the people doing the downloading."

    Agreed. When this is the most common situation (it's not, especially outside of the US), and preferably the only situation in which people download, then the content producers can take the moral high ground. They just get no sympathy right now when I have to jump through hoops to obtain the legal product.

     

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    Paul Brinker, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:37am

    how much should the content view cost?

    The TV model is add supported, so how much are the advertisers paying per viewer (this should be easy math) This number should fall bettween fractions of a cent to a dollar but both ends of the range are not all that much. So why cant TV content producers go direct to net and give a pay option thats about the same per viewer price (add some for bandwith of corse) and make everything almost free?

    Would I be willing to toss 30 cents to watch the newest torchwood (a xfiles like show on the BBC) that I cant get in the US in my area. You bet ya.

     

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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    Allow me to fix it for you:

    The price of all non-scarce (aka digital) content is fated (by basic economics) to fall to the price of reproduction (aka $0.00)

    Does it make more sense now? Maybe not, I'll give an example.

    If you and I are in the digital file selling business selling the *exact same* files, then the only difference between our goods is the price. So, you sell yours for $5, I'll sell for $4, then you go to $3, and I'll go to $2. Since there is no cost to reproduce a digital file, this trend will fall zero. You'll be selling files for $0.05 and I'll say, well, $0.02 profit is better than $0.00, and I'll drop my cost to 2 cents. Then you'll say the same about 1 cent. Then our business will fail unless we find a way to sell something that can't be easily reproduced and using our, now free, digital files as a selling point.

    Ever wonder why the real world didn't work that way for digital files? Well, that's because, through misusing the purpose of copyright, big corporations are buying up all the rights to the music and wielding their money and the twisted law to prevent any competition. Without competition, the price will never fall.

    Also, as for your original post:

    That's not another business finding a more efficient (and thus, less costly) way of delivering the same product.

    No, it's even worse, it's the consumers telling the business that the business is doing such a horrible job distributing their product that the consumers will just do it themselves.

    Furthermore, if a business' customer base can perform the service that that business is trying to sell them more cheaply and more efficiently than the actual business, then there is no further need for that business.

    I hope this clears things up for you.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:58am

    Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    Are you being intentionally dense, or just dishonest?

    A consumer taking what they want without payment, regardless of the asking price, is not competition, and certainly isn't legitimate.

    As for the pirate bay, accessing their site is clearly not what I was referring too ... which makes me lean toward intentionally dense.

     

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    Rosedale (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:59am

    Nice take

    Nice to hear people recognizing this point. It is just a shame that politicians don't seem to get it.

     

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    BobinBaltimore (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    @PaulT - you write "When this is the most common situation (it's not, especially outside of the US)" intimating - I think - that MOST of the content downloaded illegally is not otherwise available for purchase. How do you know this? It is certainly counter-intuitive to my experience both in the US and Europe. But my mind is open to be educated.

     

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    Lachlan Hunt (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:00am

    Re: Not competing with "free"

    The product may be effectively free if it can be downloaded illegally, but it's the services and the quality that add value for the consumer that make it worth paying.

    Illegal downloading, especially P2P, has inherent complexities involved that can make it more difficult to find the product in many cases. A user may have to search multiple torrent sites just to find a copy of reasonable quality with seeders, and then be reliant upon the seeders actually having sufficient bandwidth. This happens a lot, particularly with older items.

    A reliable service that offers a guaranteed level of quality and availability for a reasonable price can quite easily compete with free.

    The music industry really has started to address this issue now that it offers DRM free content through a wide range of services, although it still suffers from availability issues in many markets due to its overly complex licensing systems.

    The film and television industry, on the other hand, is still failing miserably, caused in a large part by sticking to it's old media distribution channels for cinema and television, causing significant delays for availability in many countries, and locking their content down with DRM. That type of model has no chance of competing with free because, despite the slightly lower quality pirated versions, they're significantly better than either nothing or the DRM encumbered alternatives.

    Seriously, the day that high definition, DRM free TV series and films become available legally, will be the day that I stop downloading them illegally and start paying. That's already happened with Music, so it's only a matter of time.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:01am

    Re: how much should the content view cost?

    Agreed. But let's say your friend pays the $.30 to get the copy, then decides to put it up on a torrent. Now you have two options: $.30 legally, or free illegally. Many of the people on this site would still argue that the "free illegally" is the better option and call it "competition."

    Distribution is certainly so easy (with digital media) that it should be nearly free. But creation of the content that's being distributed is certainly not easy or cheap. And becoming a "free distributor" of other peoples' content isn't competition.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    All I can do is speak for myself (and my social circle) in which it really comes down to not caring. At all. One bit.

    Yeah, I could go an buy this dvd, or I could just download it and not pay for it because it's easier. Yeah I could buy this game, but I'm really not that into it, so I will just download it and give it a whirl (note that this doesn't apply to games such as Bioshock, X3:Reunion, Prototype, or Gothic 3. What do these games have in common? I like them and decided to support the developers) Essentially, if I don't like what you are making enough to pay for it, I won't buy it. But I might take a look at it for free. Just a peak maybe. Or maybe I'm bored and just want to throw it on sometime.

    Honestly, I have no urge to buy the entire Blade boxset, the movie WallE, or the Fast and the Furious Movies. But I will download them. They make great drinking games for a boring Saturday afterall. Then again, I will buy movies such as Escape from New York, MASH, Dead Poets Society, the list goes on and on. 15 years ago I would have just not watched these aforementioned movies I am not paying for. Now I can watch them when I'm bored, or for other reasons.

    Effectively nothing has changed. Just we all now have access to shows we don't care about. Most people I know will gladly pay to support a game, show, movie, or book they care about.

    If you make compelling content, people will pay for it. Problem is, like everything in life, 90% of media is crap.

    Wow that was alot of bile.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    Who said anything about justification? I just noted that there are lots of folks that would not 'infringe' if they could actually get what they wanted. The whole 'infringement' thing is arguable anyway, just read the comments here. You cannot steal what you cannot otherwise buy.

     

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    Anonymous Poster, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:14am

    "The answer isn't to go after some kids and fine them millions or throw them in jail. It's to respond to the market."

    And when has the movie or music industry ever done that?

     

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    PaulT (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    I gave examples in previous threads, and here's some other examples:

    - I am currently not allowed to buy digital music through Amazon, Play and several other UK-based outlets because I currently reside in Spain. However, Spanish outlets do not stock the British music I'm interested in.

    - I have a UK XBox 360, which won't let me buy XBox Originals games such as Halo, because they're "not available in my region". I can change my region to Spain, but I no longer get the option to buy the games in English.

    - My 360 prevents me from playing DVDs I've legally purchased from the US and Hong Kong. My Wii won't let me play legally-obtained games from other regions. If I didn't have ways to bypass these (methods which the content producers are constantly trying to make illegal), unauthorised downloads would be my only way forward.

    - Games are regularly withheld from the European market, 3 - 12+ months later than the US release (especially "niche" titles like the Trauma Center series). The reason? So that they can be translated into 5 other languages. Why do I need to wait? I just want the existing English translation!

    - Streaming TV services such as those offered by Hulu and the BBC will not allow me to watch TV programmes at home. There are no similar services in Spain as far as I know, and judging by the way TV is operated here, I probably wouldn't be allowed to watch the programmes in English anyway.

    - Europe has to wait a long time, sometimes more than a year, for movies to be released. For example, The Mist was released in the US on 21st November 2007. The UK release was on the 4th July 2008 (the Spanish release was before that, but dubbed into Spanish, which I am learning but nowhere near fluent as yet).

    I am CONSTANTLY being prevented from obtaining products legally, and I live in one of the major markets for such products, which supposedly has a free common market (though not for digital files apparently). Many people have simply given up waiting for the legal releases.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    "Yeah, I could go an buy this dvd, or I could just download it and not pay for it because it's easier."

    Thanks for highlighting the asshole factor in this debate. This attitude is a large part of the problem and one block to finding a reasonable solution.

     

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    E.C., Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:34am

    Kinda reminds me of...

    This reminds me a lot of what Trent Reznor said about Oink, which I really think summed up the whole problem: "If OiNK cost anything, I would certainly have paid, but there isn't the equivalent of that in the retail space right now." It's the same problem here. If you own all of this content, is it really that hard to just offer it to us in several different formats, in a simple interface, DRM free?

     

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    robin, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    "A consumer taking what they want without payment, regardless of the asking price, is not competition, and certainly isn't legitimate."

    [I]Your[/I] opinions on certain uses of bittorent file technology don't make it any less of a competitive threat. Sony, Warner, RIAA, MPAA et.al. clearly view it as such, or else they wouldn't be paying any attention to it. [I]You[/I] feel it's not legitimate. Fine and honestly debatable. That won't make it go away.

    As other commenters amply describe, such piratical uses exist, in the main, at a point of market or delivery failure by the rightsholders and sellers.

    "...is clearly not what I was referring too..."

    Learn to be lucid, state what you mean and you won't have to backtrack like that.

     

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    James, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:00am

    Its called a black market

    When the existing market is too expensive, lacks proper competitions, penalizes its customers or is just too cumbersome or too stupid,.. we wind up w/a black market, in this case file sharing.

    It bears repeating for the "industry" types, provide a better alternative to file sharing and you'll have customers.

     

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    Petréa Mitchell, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:09am

    Since they mention Top Gear...

    Feel the pain of US-based Top Gear fans, who will have to wait months at the very least to see whatever it was he did with his iPhone, assuming it makes it into the BBC America cut at all! (For those who didn't know, the show is actually a full hour without commercials.) And let's not even go into how long it takes the British programs shown on PBS to make it across the Atlantic...

    Competing with free really isn't the issue here. I would totally be willing to pay for a service that could find a legal way to deliver me the programs I want to watch, in their entirety, in a timely manner. And I'd be able to, because if such a service existed, I wouldn't need my satellite subscription.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    And who made the methods illegal? That's right, the industry, with his millions of dollars in bribes (ahem, contributions) and their lobbyists.

     

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    TW Burger (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:44am

    Stephen Fry

    Stephen Fry reminds you that he is, unlike most actors (even good ones like him) socially aware, interesting, and thoughtful.

     

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    herodotus (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 11:29am

    "Yeah, I could go an buy this dvd, or I could just download it and not pay for it because it's easier."

    Thanks for highlighting the asshole factor in this debate. This attitude is a large part of the problem and one block to finding a reasonable solution.


    But what do you do about it?

    I regularly tell the kids that I work with who swap mp3s that they didn't pay for that what they are doing is illegal. I even try to look stern while I say it. They just look at me like I'm some sort of circus freak.

    These aren't obnoxious little rug rats, either. Some of them are honor students. Some go to Catholic schools and come off like something out of Little House on the Prairie. Most of them are already preparing to go to college, and have been raised in stable homes with both parents. None of them would ever steal anyone's money or bicycle. They are the future solid citizens of our community.

    And yet, every single one of them looks at me like a circus freak when I suggest that what they are doing is wrong. And I am an adult that they actually know and respect.

    What do we do? Fine them all into a life of debt? Make public service announcements that they will laugh at? What exactly can anyone do when an entire generation thinks there is nothing wrong with doing this stuff?

    How about....let's see.....adapting??

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    BobinBaltimore (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    @PaulT, your examples are good for you, I agree. And the region issue on DVD is a real problem, I also agree.

    But the point you made was about the broader market. Are you contending that MOST of the illegal downloads being done globally (or in the US or Europe) are for content which is not now or ever available legally?

    I'd also note that a number of your examples are more about timing and your personal convenience than the willful, indefinite withholding of product from a market for no business reason. Games are often released in Japan earlier than in the US...so do U.S.-based gamers have a right to download those games because they don't want to wait a week or a month? What is the "convenience cutoff" which justifies this illegal activity - one week, one month, one year? Illegally downloading content because you don't want to wait a week or a month is a very different scenario (morally and from a business market perspective) than downloading something which is not at all available and never will be. Impatience as an excuse for illegal activity is not a great foundation, IMHO.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    icon
    BobinBaltimore (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    One of the most (apparently) honest and realistic posts I've read here in a long time. This is a big part of the problem with both the perception and reality surrounding illegal downloading. A great example of the "Free Stuffer" mindset.

     

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  42.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    "But the point you made was about the broader market."

    The broader market is the entire world, most of which doesn't have the same level of access to legitimate content as we do.

    "Are you contending that MOST of the illegal downloads being done globally (or in the US or Europe) are for content which is not now or ever available legally?"

    Well, who knows? The content providers certainly don't seem to have asked *why* piracy exists in their mad dash to "fight" it. But, it's certainly more justifiable to download movies in territories that are being blocked, and content providers lose the moral high ground for reasons already discussed.

    "I'd also note that a number of your examples are more about timing and your personal convenience than the willful, indefinite withholding of product from a market for no business reason"

    Those examples are essentially about me entering a store and offering to hand over my cash. I'm then refused and told "sorry, you have to wait 6 months, but that guy over there can buy this product no problem". So, instead of having my money and the other guy's, they refuse my money in the hope that I'll be willing to spend it again in 6 months. It's ridiculous. Again, the content providers are *actively refusing* my money. Whether or not I decide to download the product instead is a separate issue.

    Content providers need to learn that international regions are irrelevant on the Internet. The money they spend hyping a movie (for example) in the US creates buzz that reaches all over the world. Forcing another market to wait months or years loses them money whether or not the product is officially released worldwide (after they double their marketing costs to market to me again, of course).

    The delay is understandable to some degree with physical goods. it's ridiculous and idiotic with digital goods. If I'm reading about a new movie that's just been released on DVD in the US (often via ads paid for by the studio), preventing me from watching the movie for another 6 months is not going to increase your profits.

    "Games are often released in Japan earlier than in the US...so do U.S.-based gamers have a right to download those games because they don't want to wait a week or a month?"

    In most cases, the reason for the delay is to translate it into English. That's fine - an acceptable and justifiable delay. My point was - I want the English copy. Why should I have to wait for the French, Spanish, Italian, German and Dutch translations when I only want the English to begin with? There's no technical reason why I shouldn't be able to do so.

    Besides, what about the many games that are released in Japan but never officially released elsewhere? In those cases, yes, US gamers are right to download where no alternative exists. Those same gamers would also probably pay for an official translation (should one later be offered, and the game is good). There have been many examples of this over the years.

    "Impatience as an excuse for illegal activity is not a great foundation, IMHO."

    Again, make products available to everyone who wants them. I understand what you're saying, but complaining about "piracy" while simultaneously refusing to sell to large parts of the globe is astoundingly stupid, whichever way you slice it. Whining about "pirates" is stupid in a world where the "pirates" are more willing to service your customers than you are.

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    dorpass, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    So AC wants proof and then AC makes a statement without providing proof himself:

    Thanks for highlighting the asshole factor in this debate. This attitude is a large part of the problem and one block to finding a reasonable solution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    yozoo, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 1:01pm

    Seems sad

    That after so many years working with Laurie (especially on the best tv series ever Black Adder) that he would have to torrent episodes of house . . .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 1:28pm

    Re: Re: how much should the content view cost?

    A lot of people would prefer to pay 30 cents for legit, virus-free, fair trade, non-
    DRM, good quality files distributed over an easily used channel versus free torrent files.

    No I can't prove it. What's up with lots of people these days seem to want blog comments to have the academic rigor of a MA thesis? But count me and Lachlan Hunt (the commentor four above) as examples. I'd gladly pay much more than 30 cents for a product that is designed for the consumer.

    BTW, when I say "a lot of people would prefer to pay", feel free to consider the case of iTunes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 7:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    Your misreading and branching off into the specifics of something not even mentioned in the original post is not my responsibility.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 7:16pm

    Re:

    Maybe the only thing to do is wait until their livelihood is dependent on the things they produce and then they have to watch others freely distributing the fruit of their labors, with no recompense. I'm not sure what the answer is. But it's scary that whole swaths of people have little to no respect or appreciation for the efforts of others. Do they not get that someone had to create that song/movie/game that they're blithely redistributing? Do they not care that the creators earn anything from their efforts? I would think they'd be on the side of the creators ... but it seems not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 11:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    According to the pro-copyright people here, you're "stealing" a car. Yeah.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not competing with "free"

    Which also highlights the biggest problem of the content producers.

    "I don't want to buy it."
    "Why not?"
    "Because I don't have a reason to buy it."
    "But you downloaded."
    "Because I didn't lose anything by downloading."
    "Well, we've cracked down on that, and you can't download ever again!"
    "...okay. Now what?"
    "Well now you'll buy it."
    "I still don't have a reason to buy it."
    "..."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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