New Study: Piracy Increases The Quality Of Content

from the well-that's-not-going-to-play-well... dept

Eric Goldman points us to a very, very interesting new research paper by Atanu Lahiri and Debabrata Day, showing all sorts of real examples about how "piracy" appears to increase the quality of the related goods that are being infringed upon. Of course, this counters the "common sense" argument that such infringement inevitably lowers the quality of content, since the creators and distributors of said content can no longer invest as much in the content.

The key explanatory factor here: the best way to compete with piracy is to offer a better product yourself. And one way to do that is to increase the quality. For example:
A case in point is the European unit of the cable TV channel HBO, which is fighting against unauthorized distribution of its content by illegal torrent websites by raising the quality of its offerings. The piracy rate faced by HBO is estimated to be between 30% to 50%. HBO has responded to this high piracy rate by churning out new high quality contents in different European languages (Briel 2010). New contents are available through both HBO’s cable TV channels as well as its new IPTV channels. HBO’s innovative offerings have reduced piracy and brought in new subscribers. Valve, a video game manufacturer, has also adopted a similar strategy. Since releasing its game Team Fortress 2 in 2007, it has made frequent quality enhancements, including addition of new weapons and avatars. This strategy has encouraged enthusiastic gamers, who have a strong preference for the latest version, to switch to legal downloads.
The study doesn't just look at such anecdotal cases. It digs in on some evidence as well, showing how investments in R&D from software companies continues to increase, almost directly in line with claims that "piracy" rates for those companies has increased. The conclusion: less enforcement of copyright laws will likely lead to greater quality in output in many cases, and conversely that greater enforcement likely leads to less social benefit as the quality decreases, in markets facing the same conditions. In fact, they find that content creators (or distributors) are likely to increase profits by focusing on product quality, rather than enforcement.

Most of the paper focuses on creating and testing an economic model that explains this behavior, and highlights when such factors apply and when they don't, for the purpose of trying to optimize policy as well as an individual copyright holder's response to piracy. That is, they do find some conditions under which the traditional "common sense" view holds, but it seems relatively rare. In fact, one part of the study models whether or not there are "ethical" consumers who don't infringe for ethical reasons -- and finds that in such a world, there tends to be even fewer reasons for increasing enforcement.

Of course, when you think about much of this, it makes sense. We've argued from the beginning that there are tons of ways to "compete" with unauthorized access, and providing quality is definitely one such way. It's nice to see this bit of research adding deeply to this debate, both with real world examples of this happening today and a detailed economic model that explains the behavior.

And yet... our policy makers continue to think that the best answer is simply to keep on ratcheting up enforcement.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 11:01am

    I've always thought HBO would benefit a lot from focusing more on the near-religious communities that develop around their shows. Something similar to Konrath's every e-book as a social network idea. Imagine you sat down to put on the latest episode of Game of Thrones on Netflix, and got an offer to join a live-chat with the writers after the show for $50 - only 500 spots available! I know a lot of people who would leap on that...

     

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 11:02am

      Re:

      (this is the sort of mechanic I wish services like Netflix included - there are so many monetization opportunities within the on-demand TV world)

       

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      Jay (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 11:09am

      Re:

      They currently have a license to print money with the HBO Go.

      As I've iterated a dozen times, the fact that you can see the episode 1 week early if you're a true fan is amazing. But I would think using George R. R. Martin a little more would benefit greatly by having someone able to contact him and discuss the growing success of his series. (Now he just needs to finish it!)

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 11:11am

        Re: Re:

        the newest book is literally written with a pen made of win

         

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          The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 2:17pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          For which the only harvestable source is trace amounts in women named Winona or Winnifred. Further, it can only be harvested after they've died for ethical reasons. Which explains why it took him five fucking years to get it finished.

           

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      CommonSense (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:23pm

      Re:

      YES!!! Not that I'd jump on that particular idea myself... But I'd absolutely love a way to support HBO (and Showtime for that matter) for putting out quality content, if only I could get my hands on it for a reasonable price. I can't ethically pay comcast any money at all anymore for TV content (and I'm saving like $120/month because of it) so the only way to get the shows that I loved on HBO/SHO is to download them. I can get access to the Starz shows, which are also pretty good, through my netflix subscription, so that's awesome... Too bad for the other fools that there's no way for me to pay them for their stuff without going through some criminal, I mean, middleman...

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 11:05am

    Here come the shills.

    /popcorn

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 11:28am

      Re:

      ** stumbles into blog.... brushes off pants and fixes hat** crap, sorry I'm late... any other shills beat me here?...

      HBO should be thinking of the children by debunking ... Masnick is an idiot and the freetards want everything for free... and the....errrr... I should probably read the post first... naa... never stopped me before.. lets see ... anyone insulted Mike yet?... crap.....A.C. already insulted him.... I should make sure he actually wrote this, before Dark hands me my ass.... bah.......no one will notice I'm drunk...

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 1:06pm

        Re: Re:

        Seriously folks, troll right or go home. Use of the word Freetard and Study in the same sentence is necessary for it to work for this post.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 11:16am

    Finally! An actual example of "correlation does not equal causation".

    I love how this site has just gone completely off the rails. Masnick must be fishing for some of the torrentfreak crowd now. Eyeballs are his source of income, after all...

     

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      TDR, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 11:20am

      Re:

      And not a single empirical fact to back up a thing you say. How typical of you. Someday you'll meet reality. One can hope, anyway.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 11:20am

      Re:

      are you enjoying paying for mike's new car?

       

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        Rikuo (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 11:24am

        Re: Re: "are you enjoying paying for mike's new car?"

        Actually, yes, yes I am. He gives me a quality product (well-written blogs), and all he asks in return is that I read them. He thus earns ad money from my page views. No-one is cheating anyone here and we're all happy.

         

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        Ninja (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:01pm

        Re: Re:

        He'd be in bed with Mike if he could. This is love, can't you see?

        All I can see is a futile attempt to discredit Mike's opinions.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:40pm

      Re:

      You must have missed the part where this study counters the previous claim that the correlation would be between piracy and a reduction in content quality.

       

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    TDR, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 11:18am

    While I agree with what you've said here, Mike, I do wish you would stop using the term "piracy." At all. Discussing the issues in the IP fanatics' terms only makes it harder for others not as familiar with them as we are to understand what's going on. So I propose we call it what it really is—sharing—and stop using the IP trolls' vocabulary. For example:

    "New Study: Sharing Increases the Quality of Content."

    "The key explanatory factor here: the best way to compete with sharing is to offer a better product yourself."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 11:27am

    It's sort of drawing conclusions where none exists.

    Would poor subscriptions numbers have done the same? Would moving into a new market have done the same? Would HBO increase the "quality" of their programming in relationship to any of these?

    Also, how does increasing the content lower piracy? Wouldn't there just be more to pirate?

     

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      E. Zachary Knight (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 11:38am

      Re:

      In answer to all of your questions:

      Would poor subscriptions numbers have done the same?
      Yes. By making more quality content, you would get more subscribers.

      Would moving into a new market have done the same?
      Not sure. It would depend on if the new market is not interested in the current content. If so then the answer above applies.

      Would HBO increase the "quality" of their programming in relationship to any of these?
      Already answered.

      Also, how does increasing the content lower piracy?
      If the quality offered is not available through piracy/infringement then yes.

      Wouldn't there just be more to pirate?
      See answer directly above.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 11:55am

        Re: Re:

        "If the quality offered is not available through piracy/infringement then yes."

        What makes you think the person "infringing" would assign a monetary value to the media? Perhaps they wouldn't buy it even if it wasn't available to download! Maybe the reason they are "infringing" in the first place is because they don't think the product has value above the cost of the bandwidth to acquire it.

        If a specific part of the customer base assigns a zero monetary value to your product, why make them criminals? Why not try to find another way to monetize the interest?

        Example:
        If you won't pay me for my lemonade, then buy a piece of pie, and I'll give you the lemonade for free. Or I can call the lemonade police and have your sorry freeloadin ass hauled off to prison...

        One of these ways may yield a good customer, the other will get you someone who won't mind building a culture around kicking your ass...

         

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          E. Zachary Knight (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:13pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Not quite sure what you are asking. So I will attempt to throw a few things against the wall to see if they stick.

          If the goal it to get someone to give you money, then the means to that end is to offer them something they actually value.

          Let's look at Marcus Carab's example above. So a person is a big enough fan of Game of Thrones to watch the show, but not enough to pay for a subscription to HBO. So what do you do? Throw in some goodies that only people who pay can access. In Marcus' example, it is a limited seating to a Q&A with George R. R. Martin or the writers or Director of the show. This is a scarce commodity that has value to fans.

          The object here is to get creative in how you part fans from their money. As long as you are adding value, it will be easier.

          Simply upping the frame rate or resolution in non-pirated goods will not add that value. Contrary to what many people in *AA's and other similar organizations think, the content itself is not the most valuable part of their arsenal.

          Using Turntable.fm as an example, the value is not in the content(music) it is in the social experience the application provides.

          Same with Cinema. Sure people can download a shaky cam recording of the film, but the experience of actually going to the theatre is lost and thus the cam recording lacks value.

          Even though your lemonade stand example is pretty terrible, I will attempt to use it. In your example, you are changing your business completely. Nobody wants music producers to stop producing music or only produce music for film and advertising. People still want music, just like people still want lemonade. If you are having trouble getting people to buy your lemonade, perhaps you can find something they will value more than just lemonade. For example, the drive in restaurant Sonic has a good idea. They let the customer customize their drinks with added flavors. So there is an idea to add value to lemonade. I am sure you can find others.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:05pm

        Re: Re:

        You still face the problem: If the quality of the content is better, is not the quality of what is pirated equally better?

        Using the techdirt standard operating rules, once it is broadcast, it is then shared everywhere. What are they adding that cannot be pirated?

         

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          :Lobo Santo (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

          Re: Re: Re: Gryffindor?

          Timeliness and Originality, duh.

          In the future:
          Read, comprehend, think--then question. In that order.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 2:06pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Gryffindor?

            *sigh*. All you can manage is that? How low end. Be glad you don't make your living off of subscribers!

            Piracy trumps almost all of it, except something that is truly time sensitive, like a live sporting event. Even that can (and often is) pirated online.

            I am only going by the Techdirt standards here. Infinite distribution means that anything that is broadcast can be given to everyone for free quickly and easily. The miracle of the internet means that anything that is live can also be streamed. So what exactly are they offering as a movie / tv channel that cannot be duplicated?

            Live chat? That isn't much of a feature to hang your network on, is it?

            I am sorry, but in reading the underlying report and looking at the author's other works, I would say that this is more wishful thinking and making the effect match the desired cause than any real "study".

             

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              Nicedoggy, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 9:19pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Gryffindor?

              If piracy trumped everything why Netflix is still in busines, why Spotify keeps growing, why Angry Birds is making so much money.

              Why da frak are so many artists gaining more money today than a decade before?

               

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          E. Zachary Knight (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:16pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You still face the problem: If the quality of the content is better, is not the quality of what is pirated equally better?

          Only if that quality is easily pirated. If you however offer something scarce that has value, then there is more incentive for pirates to become paying customers.

          See Marcus Carab's example at the top of the comments thread.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

        Re: Re:

        Also, how does increasing the content lower piracy?

        When you increase quality, then the end consumer feels the value is worth giving up real money for.
        For example, If you make a terrible movie, and I torrent it, I will be glad i didn't waste my time/money going to the theater.

        On other hand if you make a really good movie, and i torrent it, then I am much more likely to go to the theater AND recommend it to friends. And since we know that word of mouth is much more valuable then any advertising. We decrease piracy.

        Look at the gross income for Star Trek(2009)
        World Wide Gross $385,680,446 (38,568,044 Movie tickets, assuming $10 ticket)

        with well over 10 million downloads.

        Or 4 to 1 box office sales per torrent.

        If i had downloaded it, I would have paid to see it in the theater, with my wife. Alas, I did not, so I waited till netflix.

        Avatar has an even higher Box office sales to torrent ratio
        (278,227,517 movie tickets to 16,580,000)
        16 to 1. Both of these were quality movies.

        But just because a lot of people dl it, a bad movie is still a bad movie.


        Another expected entry in the list of most pirated movies in 2010 is The Hurt Locker. This film was already available on BitTorrent for most of 2009, but really started to gain attention from the public after it won six Oscars.

        This huge success online compared to the meager box-office earnings was most likely one of the reasons why the makers of the film sued thousands of alleged BitTorrent users last spring. Despite the looming threat of legal action the downloads continued pretty much undeterred, resulting in a 9th place in todays list.

        As every year there are also a few notable absentees, such as the two best grossing movies at the box-office this year, Toy Story 3 and Alice in Wonderland. On the other hand, Kick-Ass and Green Zone were both hugely popular among the downloading public, while their box office grosses were relatively modest.


        http://torrentfreak.com/avatar-crowned-the-most-pirated-movie-of-2010-101220/

         

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    TDR, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 11:36am

    Ah, trolls... they just keeping coming back. Like roaches. Maybe we should try fire and acid, they can't regenerate from those. Oh wait, that only works with D&D trolls. Not much difference between them and the ones here, though. At least the D&D ones don't pretend to be anything other than what they are.

     

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 11:47am

      Re: Disguise & Bluff

      There's a thought... trolls with disguise and bluff who just kinda blend in for awhile before attacking.

      I think I'll throw that into my present campaign.

       

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        freak (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 11:58am

        Re: Re: Disguise & Bluff

        I've done that :)

        "I'mma fire-breathing dragon that's going to rip you apart!"

        Player: "No you aren't . . . you're a giant maggot wearing a badly stitched costume" *attacks*

        Of course, the fire-breathing dragon who failed his bluff check and succeeded, barely, his disguise check proceeded to have a happy lunch.

        Bonus points if you know what I'm making reference to, btw.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:07pm

    I would have to say too that the study authors pretty much seem to have drunk the "free!" koolaid, many of their other papers are along the same lines. Is this really a study, or is it more a case of starting with a desired conclusion and looking hard to find a situation that can be moulded to match it?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 3:37pm

      Re:

      Is that really your argument, or is it more a case of starting with a desired conclusion and looking hard for some way to attack the authors without actually addressing the study?

       

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    out_of_the_blue, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

    Yes! Wolves increase the "quality" of sheep herds!

    They pick off the weak and sick. Absolute fact. Therefore -- in your non-sequiter logic -- we need more wolves.

    On a slightly different point: HOW can creators "offer a better product ... increase the quality", when by definition they'd be competing AGAINST themselves? Problems is that those creators aren't getting rewarded for the competition, that's the definition of piracy.

    This alleged study cherry picks questionable cases:
    "Valve, a video game manufacturer, has also adopted a similar strategy. Since releasing its game Team Fortress 2 in 2007, it has made frequent quality enhancements, including addition of new weapons and avatars. This strategy has encouraged enthusiastic gamers, who have a strong preference for the latest version, to switch to legal downloads."

    SO? That's not in the absence of DRM! Authors of this study are simply ignoring that OTHER METHODS ARE AT WORK TOO.

    At best, you seem to miss that Valve users "switch to legal"! That means they obey copyright and DRM -- because they have to probably, but for whatever reason, comes out LEGAL.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:14pm

      Re: Yes! Wolves increase the "quality" of sheep herds!

      Ahh ignorance is beautiful. You don't have to legally obtain any valve software. There is a crack for everything. But valve does offer their games without having to leave your computer chair. They made it easy to be legal. Though i do wish they would integrate bittorent better. I could use the extra bandwidth. Same with WOW.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:16pm

      Re: Yes! Wolves increase the "quality" of sheep herds!

      Problems is that those creators aren't getting rewarded for the competition, that's the definition of piracy.

      actually if you do a simple google search you will find that that is not even close to the definition of piracy

      pi·ra·cy/ˈpīrəsē/Noun
      1. The practice of attacking and robbing ships at sea.

      WHAT NOW BLUE?!?!?

       

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      E. Zachary Knight (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:25pm

      Re: Yes! Wolves increase the "quality" of sheep herds!

      On a slightly different point: HOW can creators "offer a better product ... increase the quality", when by definition they'd be competing AGAINST themselves?

      No they are not competing with themselves. They are competing against a website that offers the same product for free. The goal of the provider is to offer something the other entity does not have or offer.

      Example of win: Infringement site offers a shaky cam recording of the latest hit movie. Theatre owners offer 50 foot screens and 27.1 surround sound and uninterrupted video.

      Example of loss: Infringement site offers HD rip of latest television show. If they show's producers even make the latest shows available for streaming, it is often in lower quality, late, and loaded with ads or a paywall.

       

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        E. Zachary Knight (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:29pm

        Re: Re: Yes! Wolves increase the "quality" of sheep herds!

        For an example of my second example there:

        I like the show Mentalist from CBS. It is a fun show. I try to watch it whenever it is on. However, I do not have a DVR and when I miss an episode, there is no legal way for me to catch up on it. Warner, the shows producers, have for some reason deemed streaming of the show something they don't want to provide. So I end up having to pirate the show to watch missed episodes. However, if the show were offered on Hulu or even the CBS website, I would have watched it there rather than spend a few hours trying to find a site that has episodes up for download. Had it been on Hulu or CBS, they would have gotten ad revenue from me that they lost because they do not make the show available legally at all.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:31pm

          Re: Re: Re: Yes! Wolves increase the "quality" of sheep herds!

          "You still face the problem: If the quality of the content is better, is not the quality of what is pirated equally better?"

          Yes it is. Look ...you have to operate under the assumption that casual "pirate" really wants to be your customer, and react to his "pirating" accordingly, sounds crazy... but stick with me on this...

          I have a computer at home running Twonky (Streaming Software). I have an extensive music, dvd, blue ray collection. I have purchased all this and all the copies are sitting on my shelf. What I want is to be able to load all this legally purchased media onto my media server, but in order to do so, I have to become a pirate. Now what do you have? You have a customer that has become a pirate because he had to do so to get the value out of your product. Who is at fault here? Is this what you wanted?

          How about this.. I buy the dvd and it comes with a flash drive with the movie on it, pictures, interviews, gizmo's and gadgets galore, and not only can I load it on my media server, but I get all this extra stuff..! Hell yeah!

          Now instead of pirating to get a half assed ripped POS recording from someones cell phone so i can load it on my home network, I've got a fully paid for fully sanctioned full use collection of my favorite DVD"s and CD's at my immediate viewing disposal..total and complete win for all involved...

          But stepping back into reality, I am now a pirate with a price on my head, and all I did was download the software to strip the DRM crap off my legally purchase disks.... if only 1/4 of the pirates think this way, think of the market share gain by changing your business model....start incorporating real ideas and/or services to recapture the customers you call pirates?

           

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            fb39ca4, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 1:38pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes! Wolves increase the "quality" of sheep herds!

            Pirating is when you share the content with others. You are just using this within your home so it isnt piracy.

             

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              Rich, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 1:55pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes! Wolves increase the "quality" of sheep herds!

              It's not that simple. The laws have gotten absurd. Fair use says he can legally rip a DVD for his personal use (format shifting). But the DMCA says it's legal because he is breaking the encryption to do it. I believe an exemption was added to the DMCA to make ripping DVDs for personal use legal. But the problem with that is it may be temporary (they could change it at the next review), and it's too specific. Ripping DVDs *may* be OK (for now), but what about Blu-ray or HD-DVD or some future type of disc or other media?

               

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                E. Zachary Knight (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 2:03pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes! Wolves increase the "quality" of sheep herds!

                There is no exception. Every time the exception panel is held, that is the first request made and most every time it is the first to be rejected. The closest thing to a true consumer oriented exception has been granted is in specifically allowing jailbreaking on an iPhone to change carriers.

                 

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:21pm

    more "reason to buy" but less quality

    It seems to me that you are confusing providing a "reason to buy" here with actual quality. Sure, constantly adding new weapons and avatars and the like to a game provides a "reason to buy" because legitimate customers get the many updates automatically whereas pirates have to go through considerable hassle to find the new versions and cracks.

    The problem is that while these sorts of additions do work to exploit the customers' "gotta catch them all" mentality to get them to buy rather than pirate, these additions tend to do very little to improve the actual quality of gameplay, and they take away from developer time that could have been used for more substantive improvements to the next major expansion or new game.

    There have been several posts on this site about how in the music industry, providing fans with a "reason to buy" needn't be the huge inefficient waste of time it might at first seem, but video games are a different industry. So far it certainly seems like the vast majority of the "downloadable content" and other such "reasons to buy" the industry has been creating are just loads of very shiny crap.

     

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      The eejit (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:48pm

      Re: more "reason to buy" but less quality

      You've obviously never seen the 'Free with Store' model work. When done intelligently (as with TF2's MannCo), you can almost literally print money.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 2:17pm

        Re: Re: more "reason to buy" but less quality

        You've obviously never seen the 'Free with Store' model work. When done intelligently (as with TF2's MannCo), you can almost literally print money.


        I'm not disputing the claim these new business models allow companies to profit more from video games or that competing with piracy may have helped them find these new markets.

        I'm disputing the claim that these changes represent an improvement to the "quality" of the content, in the case of video games.

         

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          Jay (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 4:46pm

          Re: Re: Re: more "reason to buy" but less quality

          This is not rocket science... Add value to a service with constant updates means more reasons for people tip come to you as a service provider. Take away value by enforcement and watch money run from you like Usain Bolt. How is that so hard to understand?

           

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          Jay (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 4:47pm

          Re: Re: Re: more "reason to buy" but less quality

          This is not rocket science... Add value to a service with constant updates means more reasons for people tip come to you as a service provider. Take away value by enforcement and watch money run from you like Usain Bolt. How is that so hard to understand?

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:28pm

    In fact, one part of the study models whether or not there are "ethical" consumers who don't infringe for ethical reasons -- and finds that in such a world, there tends to be even fewer reasons for increasing enforcement.


    In a world where there are always more ways to spend time than there is time available, finding out the quick way if something is worth my time investment seems very worthwhile. This means relying on things like word of mouth and reviews - those tend to be far quicker in terms of time invested than actually experiencing it.

    I'm quite willing to spend money on things I enjoy (or need, but that's a different topic). I'm frugal, but I will still pay for things that are worth it. This means that things I consider worth my time that happen to also be free (or, say, ad-supported) are good, but something that is not worth my time will not get any attention just because it's free. (If something is overpriced by my judgement it will usually still not get my attention.)

    I'm happy to pay the people who made the products I enjoy a fair price. This makes it more likely I'll get more of them, after all - and I like returning value for value.

    If it's NOT worth the price being asked, why am I spending my valuable time on it? There's always something else that is.

    I've never even looked into other methods of obtaining things, because I can't see myself using them which makes it not worth the time to consider it.

    So ... am I lazy, or am I an "ethical" consumer?

     

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    alex (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:31pm

    hmm....

    I would completely agree that offering a service that is better than infringement is a better solution than fighting the infringement without improving your offering. If these companies have had difficult times (because of piracy or otherwise) and up'd their games to deal with it than that's a good thing.

    However, that doesn't justify the infringement. It's shit to say, "I don't pay for movies/music/software/books because research has shown that will improve the quality of them."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:32pm

    I wait, unfortunately in vain, for persons (including economists) to realize that the majority of copyright holders do not sit back on his/her haunches and do nothing about "quality". People tend to overlook a pretty important fact. There is no such thing as a copyright "monopoly" that locks others out altogether. Rights holders have to compete with their industry counterparts, and letting competitiors come up with better, original products means your "digital inventory" is going to sit on the shelf as consumers gravitate to what they belive are better quality offerings.

     

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    ahow628 (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:36pm

    Time to market

    If I watch a reality show, how does it help me at all if it is not available to watch for 7 days? Stupid.

    Make content available in accessible ways for a reasonable fee in a timely fashion and watch people flock.

    Quality doesn't hurt either.

     

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    Ken, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 12:56pm

    Going viral is a good thing.

    Most people consider something going viral as a good thing because it increases your exposure an thus increases people's interest in it and thus increases the value of your work. Marketers understand this which is why advertising works but for some reason many copyright holders forget basic marketing principles.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 1:09pm

    "... and providing quality is definitely one such way"

    That right there automatically excludes Hollywood.

     

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    Chris Brand, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 1:28pm

    It does explain one thing

    ...why the MPAA has led the charge on the "enforcement" front. You can picture the meeting :
    Suit 1- "We seem to have two options - we can compete on quality or try suing"
    Suit 2 - "I'll call the lawyers, then"

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 2:09pm

      Re: It does explain one thing

      Except you can't compete on quality because you are competing with yourself. Raise your quality, and the quality of the piracy goes up.

      We aren't talking two different products here, we are talking the same. Anything that happens on A happens on B.

      Your slam on the mpaa is somewhat amusing, but your logic is fractured beyond repair.

       

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        Nicedoggy, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 9:10pm

        Re: Re: It does explain one thing

        Can't they compete on quality of service?
        Can't they made an actual product that has more to it then just the bare content in it?

        Are pirates now going to create beautiful box sets, printed material, merch and experiences?

        Yah right.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 6:43am

          Re: Re: Re: It does explain one thing

          Actually, some pirates will do the full deal in order to sell product.

          If you are buying music as an example not because of the music but because of the silly box it comes in, then overall it's a huge failure. They might as well just be in the box business and stop wasting their time with music.

          The reality is what you really value is the music, not the box. When a whole generation wakes up and realizes this, the music business will return back to what it was, people paying for what they value, not the brightly colored, cheap box it comes in.

           

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    Miff (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 2:31pm

    Of course Team Fortress 2 is freemium now, so take that as you will.

     

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    surfer, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 3:40pm

    If I have a choice, and I do..

    I pay for expensive internet, business class 190usd/mo. This satiates my content cravings by giving me ala carte of what I want, when I want it, how I want it. If cable TV (which was supposed to be pay subscription vs commercials) was actually commercial free, then perhaps some cable/dish provider could actually cut into the 190usd/mo I pay. I could actually get the same content for 60usd/mo, which I have in the past. This only takes longer to obtain the content I am interested in, the only reason I upgraded my internet is to be able to get what I want faster. I can come home from work, find an episode of True Blood, and download it in the time it takes to make a drink, and get my affairs in order. To me, content has no value, only the availability on my schedule, and freedom to watch it without commercials has value.

    I have not had a mainstream content delivery system for over 8 years now, and have not seen a commercial in the entire time. This is value to me, not DVR'in the show I want to watch, or organizing my schedule around the time of showing. I even got Captain America from the internet the day it debuted, and what I got was a slapped together, mumbo jumbo of lackadaisical organized stream of 'pros', nothing more but an expensive setup for 'the next movie'. So try before you buy is an essential element in my content consumption. After watching the horrible TS, I am utterly convinced that actually paying to see this content would be a waste of money. It was not even in the league of other comic book genre that the MAFIAA vomit out periodically.

    So, call me a free-tard if you want, because I am actually proud of the fact that I can get content at my whim, and not the other way around, THAT is value. If, ever, the MAFIAA understand this, perhaps they can have a piece of the 194usd/mo I pay, otherwise, well, this PATRIOT IP Act will be as successful as the other two decades of stupidity they have enacted. Nor will it hinder my ability to consume content at my leisure, and not theirs.

    So, what happens when Anonymous starts sending bogus DMCA notices to the likes of www.sony.com? What's good for the goose..

    The internet considers censorship as roadblocks, and just routes around it. I already use OpenDNS instead of ISP provided malware. For every PROTECT IP law they enact, there will be a way to circumvent it, so good luck with that.

     

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      Gern, Feb 11th, 2012 @ 3:02pm

      Re: If I have a choice, and I do..

      Wow.

      Your convenience does not trump the rights of those who create content to be able to determine how their work is seen and consumed by others. I don't care how much you pay for your internet access, because having access to the internet does not mean "I can get whatever I want, when I want it, free". Not only is that an absurdly entitled position to take, but it completely diminishes the rights of hard working individuals who create the things you take such blatant advantage of.

      I made a short film last year. It was an incredible amount of hard work for EVERYONE involved, and a lot of time and energy was put into making it. It also cost a lot of money. It has been made available for people to see who pay for a movie ticket at a film festival, or who pay for a digital copy. As the creator of this film, I have determined that to be an acceptable, and entirely reasonable arrangement for someone who wants to see the movie, and it is within my rights to make that determination. Now tell me, what gives YOU the right to decide that you should be able to see it for free, if you so wanted? What gave you this that your own personal convenience is SO important, that the the only thing that matters is how easily and freely you can access whatever you choose? Who the fuck do you think you are?

      I'm not going to argue about "Try before you buy". Hell, in some cases that could be a good idea for someone who wants to get their work seen. But it is in no way up to YOU to make that decision or impose that ethos onto whatever you want. It's up to the people who made the goddamn thing. I don't care if you think a movie is shitty, you still watched it, and the viewing is worth something, regardless of your final opinion.

      You're a shining example of the worst byproduct of the internet. You want everything instantaneously, whenever you want, for nothing. You try to justify it by alluding to your stressful life, or your work, or a million other things that are SOOOOO much more important than silly movies, or music, or TV shows, cause you simply can't be bothered to pay money to watch a movie, or sit through a commercial. But that's bullshit. By doing so you completely de-value art and culture. Sure, commercials are annoying, and sure, some movies are shitty. But that's beside the point. These things have value, and by refusing to acknowledge that you're implicitly dismissing the value of art and the people who create it.

       

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    Robert Freetard, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 11:10pm

    Valve / Team Fortress is actually free now

    Valve actually made team fortress free to play and is STILL updating it with new content and etc.

    How did they do this?

    By selling in game content for (in most cases) less than a dollar a pop.

    People around here throw around the tshirts argument? Well I have news, Valve is selling freaking ingame digital HATS (and such) and making more money off those sales than they ever did on selling the game itself.

    You can buy a freaking can of paint to paint your (whatever) whatever color you want and people are going nuts for it.

    I saw the business model expressed as;

    1) give away entire game
    2) sell non-corporeal entirely digital hats weapons and accessories
    3) ??? nope, Profit.
    4) No, Really, HUGE Profit.

     

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    Mr Big Content, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 4:55am

    In Denial Over Common Sense

    Since when has any scientific finding that ran counter to common sense ever been successful? Common sense is the product of billions of years of evolution, culminating in the ascendancy of the human species, whereas “science” was dreamt up by lily-livered liberal-leaning lackadaisical losers who believe what they read in library books. That evolution that produced us also led us to produce intellectual property; in less advanced times, there was no intellectual property, but there is now, therefore it represents an advancement of our society and our species, ipso facto, QED, it stands to reason. It’s just common sense.

     

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