I've actually had a few approach me asking me to take stuff down rather than just strike my account. Two, however, did strike my account without warning, so my main channel is on it's last legs. However, one writer was very happy I'd put his show up as it was his first glimpse of whether or not anybody liked the show, whilst another understood the promotional value and has told his bosses to leave me be :)
I had been putting a show on YouTube that I did not hold the copyright to. The copyright holder asked me to take it down, which I did. I pointed out to them, though, that I wished to promote their show and the fact that I had mentioned the DVD was available worldwide in the description. They explained to me politely why this was still not a good thing.
"Nowadays, people, particularly children expect to get everything free on the internet whether it is films, TV , music. It is a dangerous culture. I don't know if you watch the news but big companies like MGM, Universal, HMV to name but a few have gone bankrupt or close to bankrupt. This situation will only get worse. In twenty years time people will complain there are no good films and TV shows being made anymore. The reason will be is that no one will invest in them as there will be no financial return. I appreciate you were trying to promote the show, but you should leave that up to us. Sharing these files even with adverts for the DVDs is totally illegal. We pay huge amounts of money for these licenses and when the public gets to view them for free, they are essentially stealing them "
I thanked them for actually explaining it this way rather than just jumping up and down and saying it's illegal. Well, I don't know if everybody wants everything for free. But I do know I used to watch that show for free on TV years ago but if I want to see it now, I have to pay for the DVD set (which I did!) and, given how much I like the show, I hope others do too.
Hello! This is my first post as a registered member of TechDirt. I'm known on here as KC as I don't fancy giving out my full name, even though I don't even use my real name online. I am here tonight to talk about piracy on the internet and why it is sometimes a good thing for the end user.
First of all, a little bit about me. I am an internet pirate. I upload music and TV shows (occasionally movies and comic books) to the internet for people to download or stream. I make no money for what I do. In fact, it sometimes costs me money - hard drives ain't free, you know! I'd like to know how come people here keep claiming that internet pirates are making heaps of money. If I got paid for everything I uploaded, I'd be rich. But I don't get any financial gain at all whatsoever.
Now, you may call me a pirate if you like. I just told you I am. You can call me a theif if you must, although I am yet to steal any physical item and I have no intention of doing so ever. Heck, I even pay for my pay TV! But please don't call me a Freetard as I am not of the opinion that everything should be given away free. More on that soon.
Getting down to the first item in my post: COICA. Sounds like a word a two year old would make up. Anyway, let's look at what it stands for: Combatting Online Infringement and Counterfieting Act. Well, the name is fine. But the way in which it does the combatting is going to do absolutely nothing to stop the online infringing and counterfieting part of the act.
A website - say it's called www.illegaldownloads.com - gets the URL taken away by ICE and PayPal is forbidden to work with them and ISP's are forbidden to resolve the DNS. So what? It changes it's name to www.illegaldownloads.cd and uses a different payment system to get donations. PayPal is not the only one out there you know. Meanwhile, the site, after a change of .com to .something-not-controlled-by-the-US and a few confused users, carries on as normal as all of the actual site is still there.
So all of the arguments about COICA censoring free speech aside, there's no way COICA is going to be effective at all anyway. Seriously, just ask any internet pirate. There is a workaround (or crack, if you will) for everything.
Next topic: YouTube. As has been mentioned here at TechDirt, if COICA had existed in 2005 then Viacom could have had it removed as having no purpose other than hosting infringing content. Now nobody is going to deny that there is infringing content on YouTube. Heck, I've put some of it on there myself! But, like with bit-torrent, CD-R's, VCR's, photocopiers, etc, etc, YouTube has many legitimate uses. And many people use it for legitimate purposes. But if you listened to Viacom, it is ONLY used for copyright infringement.
With that in mind, I begin my demonstrations on how internet piracy can be beneficial to both users and content creators and content owners. Myself, I have uploaded many kid's and teen-targeted TV shows to my YouTube account. Some of the shows are not available to purchase anywhere in any format and thus fans are now able to watch them again. Other shows are on DVD and people are watching them, having a memory jog of that they did (or did not) like that show and are seeking out the DVD. One show from Canada was cancelled mid-season in the US and fans of the show in the US are now happy that they have been able to see the rest of the series.
Copyright infringement on YouTube has also allowed people, myself included, to discover many things long forgotten, including TV shows, movies and music. Some of it is on DVD or CD or availeble to purchase as a download. Some people then go and seek out a copy to buy. Those who don't never would have anyway, in spite of what the major corporation copyright holders would have you believe.
YouTube is just one part of the picture, however. There's also the collector's market. As has been pointed out numerous times at TechDirt (as well as elsewhere), many people do actually strive to own a real copy of something if they have a counterfiet copy. Incidentally, counterfiet handbags and watches and the like used to be called imitations, but that doesn't sound as evil.
Let's look firstly at the OOP scenario: Out Of Print. Recently I went to buy a DVD and found out it was deleted. Hitting up the second hand market, I found a copy at Amazon UK for one hundred pounds. That DVD is not worth one hundred pounds to me. So I found a rental copy and copied it. An act of piracy. Would I have bought that DVD if I was able to buy it? Of course. I did make it clear that I wanted to buy it at the start of this paragraph.
Now those who would like to label me a Freetard will at this point say that I was able to buy a legitimate copy as I had found one at Amazon UK for sale. This is true. I found it available at what I consider to be a very unreasonable price. What is a reasonable price? I would like to think that the original retail price was reasonable. I do know that when it was out in Australia it cost AU$35. Would I be willing to pay that? Yes. When it came out, I could not afford AU$35. I did not copy it then. But now that I can afford to buy it at AU$35, I cannot find it at that price. Of course, because it is now a scarce item, I do expect the price of it to increase. However, I do have a cut off point where how much I am willing to pay for something relates to how much enjoyment I will get from owning that item. In this case, the enjoyment factor did not equal the price, by a long way.
On to music, I have a friend with a collection of over 4,000 CD's. He is attempting to collect every song that was in the Top 40 from 1970 to 2000. However, he is now at the stage where there are some CD's that he simply cannot buy as they are deleted. There are also quite a few CD's that he can only purchase as an import, where he only wants the CD for one song or a particular version. One CD, he downloaded because the last time it was available on eBay, it was Buy It Now for 700 Euros. You read that right. Not seventy. Seven hundred. Other times, he has found a CD that he can buy and might want. He has then looked for a free download copy of it, a pirate copy. He listens to the download and, if he finds that the CD has the right song or version on it, he proceeds to buy the CD.
Did you know that you can download comic books? They are purchased, scanned and put online. Many long out of print comics are available if you know where to look. I can tell you now, as soon as I found that out, I immediately downloaded many comics that I could not find or were way to expensive for me to purchase. One of my first downloads was "Detective Comics" issue 800 from January 2005. I had tried to purchase it as it wrapped up a story I had been reading. Unfortunately my local comic store was unable to obtain even one copy. To buy it at my local store would have cost AU$6. To import a copy from America would have cost me over AU$20 by the time shipping and currency conversion was added. A very unreasonable price for what was, at the time, last month's issue.
I can tell you now: A comic book on the computer screen comes nowhere near the experience of holding that paper in your hand and reading it. Not at all. So why do it? It is a brilliant way to obtain old comics. I have read comics from the 1940's through to the 1980's that I have either not been able to find or have not been able to afford. I would much rather buy and have the real thing. But I am not always able to do so, be it for financial reasons or for scarcity reasons.
Again, for those who wish to label me a Freetard, I would like to point out that I have no porblem with scarcity. I understand that the old comics I have read on my computer are worth a lot of many because they are scarce. That is fair enough. All I wanted to do is read them. I would like to own them but I can't find them and when they do turn up I often can't afford them. I thank the people who took the time to scan these valuable comics and put them online. I have now been able to read them. Financial gain to me: Zero. Enrichment of life expereince: Priceless.
But doesn't this devalue the comics or CD's or DVD's that are out of print? Not in the least. Why pay for it if you can get it for free? People who want and can afford to buy the genuine article will buy the genuine article. In the meantime, they can still experience seeing, hearing or reading the object they desire. And having an imitation object, such as a scanned comic or a ripped CD, does not diminish the desire to get the real thing. For some people it does. For most it does not.
But if there was no piracy of any kind, wouldn't that mean you always get the genuine item? Not necesarily. My friend who buys CD's after making sure it has the right song on there would not have bought at least twenty CD's that I know he has bought in the last three months if he had not been able to listen first. My uploading includes many out of print CD's containing songs that are hard to find at the best of times. People are able to still listen to and enjoy them until they can find a legal copy to buy. I was able to read the old comics that I am now more determined to buy and hope that one day I can afford to.
Now think about this as well: Kids around the world enjoy the shows that I put on YouTube that they can't buy and, for whatever reason, were unable to record them off television themselves - something which these days is also called piracy. However, as they look at all the other shows I have uploaded as well as the ones they already like, they have a chance to find another show they might like and, if available, purchase. Thus my piracy is actually leading to an increase in each person's experience and enrichment. It may also lead to more sales if the show in question is available on DVD or for purchased download.
Take away online piracy and you take away not only sales found through previewing, you also take away the enrichment that everybody enjoys in the meantime. And that is something that money can not buy.
Of course, all the copyright defenders will say it is theft. In case you haven't noticed, I have not at any point in this post said it is not theft. For those who wish to call it theft, though, I pose a few questions and points to ponder upon.
An illegal download is considered theft as it equates to a lost sale. If something is out of print and unavailable, does that still mean an illegal download of it is a lost sale? And, if so, who is losing the sale? Certainly not the copyright holder.
Maybe illegal downloading is theft. Locking the world's culture in a vualt and not letting it be easily accessable is also theft. It is theft of the enrichment and experience that people can get from reading the book, seeing the film or video, hearing the song and enjoying the art.
Digital Rights Management is also theft. It is the teft of rights from the consumer to use what they have purchased as they desire. When a DVD won't play in a player due to the player being incompatible with the disc's copy protection, that is theft of the content of the disc from the consumer by the company who produced the disc. When Amazon remove a book from somebody's Kindle, even if a refund is granted, that is theft of the Kindle owner's enjoyment, experience and enrichement from the book. When Sony removed the ability of the PlayStation 3 to run Limux, that was theft of the PlayStation 3's owner's right to install Linux if they wanted to.
There are many examples of theft by content creators and copyright holders who are also large corporations, especially in the movie and music industries. Theft of income and royalties from actors, musicians and so on, has been well documented.
So to all the copyright defenders who will say that THEFT IS THEFT and STEALING IS STEALING, you are right: THEFT IS THEFT and STEALING IS STEALING, no matter WHO does it.