Would You Rather Be 'Right' Or Realistic?

from the being-right-in-fantasy-land-doesn't-help-much-in-the-real-world dept

We recently wrote about the excellent comic from Matthew Inman’s The Oatmeal to highlight how companies turn would-be buyers into infringers by not making the content available. Here’s a snippet.

In response, some folks sent over columnist Andy Ihnatko’s response, in which he suggests the comic is actually representative of the sense of entitlement that people feel towards such content. Ihnatko’s writeup is slightly amusing as he tries to mock those consumers for actually having an opinion on how they consume content and concludes with this basic statement:

The world does not OWE you Season 1 of “Game Of Thrones” in the form you want it at the moment you want it at the price you want to pay for it. If it’s not available under 100% your terms, you have the free-and-clear option of not having it.

I sometimes wonder if this simple, grown-up fact gets ignored during all of these discussions about digital distribution.

I was going to write a rather long response to why this is kinda silly, but Marco Arment did a better job than I ever would in explaining the difference between being “right” and being “pragmatic.” You really should read the whole thing, because it involves a rather detailed example involving the physical layout of a restroom. I’m going to skip over that part and highlight the summary point, but it’s worth reading the full thing:

We often try to fight problems by yelling at them instead of accepting the reality of what people do, from controversial national legislation to passive-aggressive office signs. Such efforts usually fail, often with a lot of collateral damage, much like Prohibition and the ongoing “war” on “drugs”….

[….]

Relying solely on yelling about what’s right isn’t a pragmatic approach for the media industry to take. And it’s not working. It’s unrealistic and naive to expect everyone to do the “right” thing when the alternative is so much easier, faster, cheaper, and better for so many of them.

This point could be seen as the central theme of many of the 40,000 plus posts that have been made on this blog: dealing with reality is always going to be a more effective way to go about things than taking some “moral” stand on how things “should” be. And, if you can deal with the realities and it actually solves the whole moral “I’m right!” part at the same time, what good is it to not deal with realities?

Taking the point even further, there’s a simple fact of today’s world, which is that consumers have power. Ihnatko’s entire point seems to assume that this consumer power is “entitlement.” I tend to think of it as consumers making their will known — and that tends to lead to better products that should make everyone better off. What Ihnatko ignores is that a market is not determined by just one side. It’s the interplay between buyers and sellers, and if the buyers aren’t happy, they express that to the sellers in certain ways — and infringement is one of those ways. It’s a market signalling method. I’d argue that it’s just as much an “entitlement” mentality by the “sellers” to pretend that only they get to decide what the consumer should be able to get, without listening to what the consumer wants.

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Comments on “Would You Rather Be 'Right' Or Realistic?”

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215 Comments
el_segfaulto (profile) says:

Entitlement enshmitlement

Is it really entitlement when were being sold our own culture, repackaged? I understand that everybody needs to get paid, I really do get that. The problem that I think most people have is that the media companies are deliberately making it as difficult as possible for people to consume their goods, and then cry foul when they take the path of least resistance.

Imagine a company sells photographs of a mountain on their property. They’re a bit overpriced, but are professionally done. The only problem is that if you’re from outside the country, you have to wait an additional 8 weeks for delivery. In addition you have to pinky swear to never show the photo to anybody else. Would you act surprised if people just took their own photos of your mountain?

Anonymous Coward says:

‘The world does not OWE you Season 1 of ?Game Of Thrones? in the form you want it at the moment you want it at the price you want to pay for it. If it?s not available under 100% your terms, you have the free-and-clear option of not having it’

absolutely true. i am sure the buying public will be happy with that. also fine, providing the producer/seller is happy to not make as much money as could have been made and is prepared to be unable to produce anything else through lack of funds.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“i am sure the buying public will be happy with that. also fine, providing the producer/seller is happy to not make as much money as could have been made”

That would be the logical mistake.

Assume for a minute that HBO (or whoever) paid for an exclusive, full year contract for the show, and paid extra to be able to run it a second time before it went to retail. Typically what they are paying is enough to merit waiting for the retail distribution.

So the question of “making as much money as they could” might be better asked if they turned down the solid, firm contract and took a risk on retailing it. It seems they made a choice that has “as much money as they could” in it.

Almost Anonymous (profile) says:

“””The world does not OWE you Season 1 of ?Game Of Thrones? in the form you want it at the moment you want it at the price you want to pay for it.”””

In a bold move, Andy Ihnatko completely ignores the fact that Season 1 of “Game of Thrones” is available in the form that most people would want it (DRM free), and at the price that almost nobody minds paying ($0.00).

“””If it?s not available under 100% your terms, you have the free-and-clear option of not having it.”””

But Andy, why bother with not having it, when it’s so easy to have it? See, it’s not the end-user defining the terms here, it’s the content gatekeeper: “I will sell no episode before its time!”

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re:

Assume for a minute that HBO (or whoever) paid for an exclusive, full year contract for the show, and paid extra to be able to run it a second time before it went to retail. Typically what they are paying is enough to merit waiting for the retail distribution.

So the question of “making as much money as they could” might be better asked if they turned down the solid, firm contract and took a risk on retailing it. It seems they made a choice that has “as much money as they could” in it.

Yeah – in their imaginary market where they don’t have to compete with piracy. Clearly it’s not working. So they can keep complaining and seeking laws that they hope will turn their imaginary market into a reality, or they can compete in the real market.

Anonymous Coward says:

Andy Ihnatko receives free review copies and test products from the various companies he covers, often in advance of their street dates.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he already has a Game of Thrones BluRay/dvd set!
No wonder he’s not frustrated about the unavailability of product!
He’s got his, and the hell with the rest of us.
(Yes, it’s grammatically-incorrect, but it’s dramatic!)

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

My process is more like…

Goes to Netflix, searches for Game of Thrones.

It’s not available, but look, there’s The Game with Michael Douglas. There’s Game of Death with Bruce Lee. Look, Kagemusha, or Black Books, or Kids in the Hall. Hey, there’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Producers. Beckett. The Long Good Friday! Three Musketeers! Blue Angel, A Canterbury Tale. So much awesome stuff to watch and I can watch it whenever I want as often as I want and I can press pause.

…and I forget all about Game of Thrones.

Why would I pay for HBO again?

fairusefriendly (profile) says:

i find it interesting that this arguement is basically sense of entitlement vs sense of entitlement

why should this author believe that a copyright holder should be entitled to dictate the use of content paid for. If the right to force people to watch a show on a specific day and at a specific time was ruled to not be a right granted by copyright (see timeshifting ruling) then why should they have a right to dictate at this specific location, or thru this specific medium. If (and only if) they choose to abdicate a medium why not grant users a fair use right to acquire such content (access shifting).

The principle is the same, while they lose some revenue, it really revenue from extending the copyright monopoly to a medium not from actually licencing the content.

Watchit (profile) says:

Re:

Not totally “free” to watch. “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” haha. You have to pay $M (Money-dollars) for the cable first, then you have to pay in $T (Time-dollars) and $P (pain-in-the-butt-dollars) to watch it at the time the cable companies dictate the show to be played. Unless you TiVo it, but then that’s an added $Money cost to buy TiVo.

Anonymous Coward says:

An interesting point people seem to be missing

“If it?s not available under 100% your terms, you have the free-and-clear option of not having it.”

I wonder how many people do take the “not having it” option. Or the equivalent “having something else easier to get” option. I would guess it is a lot more than they expect.

Everyone seems to be focusing in the “getting it even if illegally” side. But there is also the “getting something else” side. Even if piracy were to be one day defeated, it would not mean the increase in sales they think it would be.

Jay (profile) says:

How does he not get it?

HBO?s awesome. They have a streaming app that will allow you to watch pretty much any original series or movie that they still have the rights to (including ?Thrones?) and it works with almost everything that can play streaming video. HBO doesn?t even charge for the app or for the extra access.

You say you don?t want to subscribe to HBO, or even cable?

Ah. Well, no worries. The show will be released on DVD and Blu-ray later in the year.

You?re not into physical media? I?m with you. It?ll be on iTunes soon. See? The store page lists the release date. March 6. You can circle it on the calendar and everything.

There is a HUGE disconnect here where he doesn’t even consider a global audience such as UK goers or Russian borns who have to wait for a translated version which can take up to a year. And last I checked, they have to wait even LONGER for a series to hit without Bittorrent.

And right at the end, with his XBox issue, he doesn’t even know how expensive consumer goods are in other countries. I’m aware that in Brazil, people buy less games because they’re over $100 USD. But they do a lot more sharing and piracy. I wonder why?

Maybe this guy needs to get out of his home more instead of preaching the morality argument.

B-Con (profile) says:

Off topic

The original point is still valid, don’t shift blame. People do have unjustified feelings of being owed content in the manner that they want it, and they feel justified to take whatever action they want to get it.

The fact that the content providers are doing a bad job of meeting the consumer preferences is fairly obvious. They should, for both our and their sake, provide content in better formats for us. But that still doesn’t justify taking that matter into your own hands.

This is not an issue between “right” and “realistic”, it’s an issue for the customer between legal and illegal and for the content provider between “good model” and “bad model”. You’ve conflated those two into some “right vs realistic” nonsense.

Don’t violate laws then deflect blame to other parties for not making it easy to get what you wanted. That’s 3rd grade logic at best.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Remarkably, while it may be out of the scope of your reality, there is still a very high number of people who get their entertainment the old fashioned way, by actually PAYING for it.

HBO has about 28 million subscribers in the US, and plenty more in their various worldwide ventures that they provide content to.

It seems they have a pretty good customer base. Their market isn’t imaginary, but I am sure that the “selling it as cheap as the pirates” market would be a great alternative for them. They could get rid of those subscribers and replace the income with the positive vibrations they could get by giving stuff away.

*shakes head* I am guessing I know why you aren’t in business for yourself.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

When Andy gets it wrong, he goes BIG

I love Andy Ihnatko’s column and for the most part he does and says A LOT of good, but when he gets it wrong, he does it in style.

He should keep in mind that when camera’s started appearing in mobile phones, he was one of the people in the tech community who said it was HIGHLY UNLIKELY that cameras in mobile phones would ever catch on.

Guess he never read Dick Tracy while growing up

Anonymous Coward says:

Off topic

You’re a perfect example of someone who seems to be unable to rationally move beyond the “but I’m RIGHT” argument.

Ok, you’re right. So what? Your rightness is impotent. It perpetuates the divide. You put up sign after sign, demanding that paper towels be properly disposed of! People ignore them, not because they think they’re right instead, but because they are pragmatic and because your supposed moral superiority has no power over them.

That’s not confusing the issues. It’s not clouding anything. It’s a rational conclusion of what does and does not address the issue. It speaks volumes that your rebuttal of an objective analysis of the situation is that rationality and pragmatism are clouding the issue.

So you can keep putting up signs, or you can put another trashbin in. It’s your choice. Nobody cares about your signs, so you can scream yourself hoarse from a moral high ground or you can solve the problem.

Trails (profile) says:

Off topic, yes, but not how you meant.

The point is that yelling about what’s right doesn’t solve the problem, and no one wins. The fact that you can’t (or couldn’t, dunno if it’s still the case) get GoT season 1 on iTunes is pure dumb, and drives people to piracy, whether or not it’s right.

What’s “right” is in fact off topic to reducing content infringement.

I’ve never heard anyone complaining that it’s not easy to get what they want, quite the opposite, in fact. The complaints come in response to overbearing legislative efforts with huge collateral damage for non-infringers, and/or disproportionate damage for infringers. Again, the morality of content infringement is not relavent, especially in the former.

I think we can all agree that content infringement is wrong and that no one cares. Let’s move on.

antimatter3009 (profile) says:

Re:

The thing this fails to mention is that is that the content absolutely IS “available under 100% [my] terms”, just not from a source he approves of. But that’s his problem, not mine. My problem is that I want the content, and if the only way to get it how I want it is piracy then piracy is going to be where I turn. His problem is how to make me get the content from an “approved” source, and I can tell you with 100% certainty that not making the content available at any approved sources is not a way to win this battle.

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Re:

What’s being discussed here is the market they are missing, not the market they already have… Their 28 million subscribers is great and all, but how many people are turning to illegitimate sources because they are being underserved?

The reality is that in a few clicks anyone on this planet can have almost any piece of content they want for free. This cannot be changed through any amount of legislation. Of these dirty freetarding pirates, many of them are perfectly happy to pay for the content if it was available, convenient, and priced reasonably. These are the customers that are not being served, and they are the lost opportunity here. This IS the reality! What keeps being said over and over and over again is that you can compete with free but you are choosing not to, and it is pissing a lot of people off to the point where they are seeking the convenient alternative. Telling a company what you want as a consumer is how the market works not entitlement. If you fail to provide what the consumer wants, you do not have the right to complain when they seek it out elsewhere.

Hugh Mann (profile) says:

Entitlement

“I’d argue that it’s just as much an “entitlement” mentality by the “sellers” to pretend that only they get to decide what the consumer should be able to get, without listening to what the consumer wants.”

Of course the seller is not “entitled” to any particular terms of sale. If he sets terms that the consumer does not like, the consumer has every right to reject the transaction. Flip it around, though, and it’s just as true. If the consumer wants things the seller doesn’t want to provide, the seller also gets to walk away from the transaction.

Both parties are entitled to walk away from a transaction that they feel is not giving them what they.

Yes, it may be the case that “infringement is one of those ways” in which sellers might do better to be “realistic” rather than “right”, but it is still important to note that infringement, though it may be a real-life response, is not a legitimate response.

HM

Benjo (profile) says:

Entitlement

I think we can also agree that content infringement is impossible to enforce without taking away almost all consumer privacy.

And if you agree with current piracy laws/penalties/collection methods, which run mostly like Mob shakedowns and making examples of .0001% of offenders by RUINING their lives with outrageous fees that in no way represent the damage they did to the party infringed, I doubt our ideas of “legitimate response” line up.

Jay (profile) says:

The copyright creed

Here is a copyright. There are many like it. But this one is mine. My copyright is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.
My copyright, without me, is useless. Without my copyright, I am useless. I must hold my copyright true. I must protect my copyright. I must protect my sales at all costs. I will…

My sales and myself know that what counts in this war is not the people we fire, the noise of our out burst, or the economic damage we make. We know that it is the hits to piracy that count. We will hit…

My copyright is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its power. I will keep my copyright clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will…

Before Mark Twain, I swear this creed. My copyright and myself are the defenders of my company. We are the masters of piracy. We are the saviors of my life.
So be it, until victory is copyright’s and there is no piracy, but sales!

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Off topic

You are conflating legality with morality… As a growing majority continues to view your illegal activity as acceptable, at which point do you concede that it’s no longer illegal?

No one here is “violating the laws and then deflecting the blame to other parties for not making it easy to get what they want.” People are breaking the laws as a result of not being able to get the content they want to legitimately. Trying to turn this around as an after-the-fact excuse and not the primary force driving the majority of this behavior is a much better example of 3rd grade logic at best…

Miko says:

Meanwhile, back in reality

More to the point, almost all content is already available under 100% our terms… and is even offered for free on top of that. The point isn’t that content creators (or, more accurately, content gatekeepers) should be forced to comply with our every whim: it’s just that we can ignore them completely and go to a torrent that will cater to our whims if they won’t. The content gatekeeper is completely free not to do what we want: after all, they have the free-and-clear option of choosing to have us not buy from them.

Modplan (profile) says:

Entitlement

If we were talking about 2 people meeting in a room to hash out the specifics of a business arrangement, that’d be great, but we’re not. We’re talking about companies that produce and sell products, which if they fail to do so in a way that satisfies customers needs, the line between consumer and provider inevitably blurs and the consumers aim at fulfilling the need/desire themselves.

A publisher failing at being good at distributing what its been tasked to distribute will only lead to competition. Piracy is that competition – people distributing certain goods that are easy and low cost to distribute because the alternatives are inadequate compared to what they can do themselves.

The only thing that would make that an “illegitimate” response would be the law and an assumed harm not based on any reputable evidence. Especially if you’re prone to assuming people who pirate are separate from those who are perfectly willing to buy.

Benjo (profile) says:

Off topic

They think that a) eliminating piracy will increase revenue, and b) that they can eliminate piracy.

On what basis they think either is true really baffles me. Also, I don’t know if it’s a moral stand or a lawful stand. Depending on how the question is posed (if you insinuate theft or not for the most part), I’m guessing most of society doesn’t think of piracy as truly immoral behavior.

Maybe I’m wrong, but we KNOW the lobbyists have done all they can to make it seem evil. Just like sharing books, journals, VHS, and cassette tapes will send us all to hell and destroy society.

DigitalDao (profile) says:

Entitlement

“Both parties are entitled to walk away from a transaction that they feel is not giving them what they.”

That’s true…but then sellers are entitled to approach other buyers and buyers are entitled to approach other sellers, if they think they can get better terms. That’s the way markets work and why markets are efficient.

Infringement is an example of a market seeking efficiency – potential buyers who don’t like deal they can get from some distributors go to other distributors who serve their needs better. That’s the very definition of how a market should behave, and we should be THANKFUL that people are willing to do it because it provides competition that might cause so-called legitimate providers to improve their offerings.

The framing of the “right or realistic” post is all wrong, imo. The framing should be “Take care of the consumer because otherwise the consumer will take care of himself.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Piracy is a problem because it offers a zero cost alternative to all of it. Without piracy, those who wanted to see the show (but didn’t want to pay for cable) would instead pay or rent the product when it is released on DVD or for download.

Piracy offers a third choice that short circuits the entire thing, and over time erodes the demand for the paying products.

What is the most funny is that when piracy becomes completely successful, there will be nothing new left to pirate.

Anonymous Coward says:

Good business plan

Only in “reality.”

In media-reality, no one wants to pay for anything therefore the “price they are willing to pay for it” is always $0.00 in their mind.

Of course, when you assume no one wants to buy your product you come up with some very convoluted and inefficient business models. But, at least they’re “right.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Whooosh!

Yeah, but they whine about while it continues to not be actually true.

We have yet to see convincing evidence that any individual title has fewer sales due to piracy, if anything the evidence points the other way, that the greater the level of piracy the higher the sales, as with Avatar in terms of box office as well as dvd and bluray sales.

Unfortunately, all they are left with then is that some products make more money than others and some do actually lose money. But as that is standard business and there are no externals to blame, it isn’t something they wish to look at. The sad thing is, it is that unwillingness that will lead the ones who remain intransigently committed to solving a purely fictional problem, to be the authors of their own destruction which would be fine except they seem determined to damage as many other people and businesses as possible in their death throes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“What’s being discussed here is the market they are missing, not the market they already have… Their 28 million subscribers is great and all, but how many people are turning to illegitimate sources because they are being underserved?”

The thing you are missing is that they cannot look at the market they don’t have without considering the effects on the market they DO have.

The question is always the same: If you make the shows available online for, say, $1 download (or put them on Hulu… or whatever the idea may be), how many people drop your higher price product to go for the cheaper download / DVD / streaming option?

If the people who are “underserved” aren’t really buyers anyway, or are only buyers if they can get it at a much lower price than market, are they truly a market that deserves attention?

The only reason anyone is looking is because when the shows are available for free (via piracy) some people will download them. Yet for all the discussion here, there is little to show that these people would truly be buyers at a price that would make a real market out of it.

As for the old “you can get any piece of content you want for free”, just remember: When nobody is paying, there is no money left to make it. Being truly successful in piracy is fatal.

In the end, content is a deal, not just governed by copyright or sales contracts, but an understanding that without a little financial support from each viewer, there is no chance this stuff gets made. Failing to understand that contract is what makes piracy so likable. There is a belief that someone else will always pay for it. At some point, that won’t be right anymore, and poof… what you pirate is gone.

It’s not a marketplace. It’s a poison pill.

DigitalDao (profile) says:

Re:

“Piracy is a problem because it offers a zero cost alternative to all of it. Without piracy, those who wanted to see the show (but didn’t want to pay for cable) would instead pay or rent the product when it is released on DVD or for download.”

It’s a problem for the companies who used their dominance of the distribution system to reap fat profits off of consumers, but it’s a huge improvement for the consumers who now have choices, isn’t it?

Anonymous Coward says:

The world does not OWE you Season 1 of ?Game Of Thrones? in the form you want it at the moment you want it at the price you want to pay for it.

Dear Andy Ihnatko,

The world (and most particularly myself) does not OWE you the money I worked hard for whenever you feel like it, for whatever price you feel like charging for it. If you can’t provide it to us in a manner that is convenient and cost effective to us, some of us may indeed pirate, the rest of us will just take our money elsewhere.

You talk about the consumers sense of “entitlement”, but that is really more of a reaction to the industry’s sense of entitlement.

Anonymous Coward says:

Good business plan

I guess it comes down to how they value their product.

“Our product is worthless, but we have to make money from it. Because it is worthless no one will be willing to pay us anything for it if they can get it for free, therefore they must be threatened and coerced into paying for it or we need to be able to bypass their ability to choose by getting a “you must be a criminal tax” on ipods and hardrives and blank discs and computers and pvrs and cheetos and shoes and clothing and ….. “

Perhaps the artists being represented by publishers/labels/studios and the representatives of those publishers like mpaa/riaa/pro-music should be asking them why they believe their creations are so worthless and perhaps suggest that such poor representatives seek alternate employment, more suitable to their core skills, such as bag packing or dog walking.

MrWilson says:

Entitlement enshmitlement

Yeah, the other side that Ihnatko doesn’t see is the entitlement of the entertainment industry. The entertainment industry people talk about entitled pirates stealing content, but they think there’s nothing wrong with being cultural gatekeepers. They talk about people needing to make money to continue to create art, but they’re not free market capitalists. They want more and more monopoly rights granted by a captured government. They want to dictate to the market and collude to fix prices. They don’t want consumers, being a natural market force, to determine anything about the market.

So yeah, I think consumers have a right to expect that the industry will serve their demand with supply. After all, they can’t make more art if they don’t have that precious money that we choose to give them in the first place.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

1) But wait, you can’t have it both ways…either there is a real market of paying customers who are generating enough revenue for HBO to continue or there isn’t.

2) If you want people to pay who aren’t currently paying, you need to offer something that they want to buy. Those who pirate obviously can’t or won’t pay for what is currently offered. Hence, you need to treat them like an untapped market: a) figure out what they want; b) figure out what they’re willing to pay; c) figure out how to make money given a and b.

That’s called dealing with reality. There’s no entitlement here.

If the product isn’t worth buying for a certain segment, making laws that force them to buy it is the lazy solution. Talk about entitlement…this is corporate welfare in its most transparent form. I’m waiting for these companies to start asking for direct transfer payments next. I mean, why not…our business models don’t work, making not purchasing our products illegal doesn’t work, let’s short-circuit the whole thing and just have the guvmint give us the money.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

It’s a huge improvement in the short term, not the long term. If it takes money out of the system (and no, they don’t make “fat profits”, sorry!), you end up compromising to get things done.

Basically, if the economics shift too far, the consumer (paying or pirate) loses because the quality of the product will diminish, or the availability will go down, etc.

You can already look at what has happened on network TV. There are already shaved seasons (use to be 24-26 shows… now many series do 20 or less), or part season shows (Fox is famous for series with 12-15 episodes, starting in January), etc. They have to shave the budget somewhere, run an extra re-run, slide in a cheaper reality show, etc.

So yes, consumers have more choices right now – but some of them are fatal to the very product they want.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“Rhetorical question: If we all hate Mike, why are we reading this blog?”

I don’t think people specifically hate Mike as a person. He seems likable enough that nobody would walk away from him or whatever.

However, enough people disagree with his stands. I know I personally dislike his word games, his “I am smart than you” snarky attitude, and his need to always be right, even when he is painfully wrong.

Like most good snake oil salesmen, Mike has the gift of gab, the ability to cover up the obvious flaws in his material, and a keen sense of how to select narrow statements, information, or data to prop up his points of view.

He loves to play weasel as well, not supporting piracy, but supporting everything around it, it’s right to exist, the business models that come from it, the “free speech” generated by it, etc., all while pushing business models that would be hard to justify without it. He is unable to come out and say “I support piracy”, yet without it, his business models would not work out very well at all.

Reading his blog is a challenge, it is entertaining and fun to try to get people to stop sipping the kool aid for a minute and consider the other side of the argument. For those who can, the time spent is worth it. For those who cannot, it’s amusing to watch them get their knickers in a bunch trying to explain how much they hate copyright, hate patents, and hate big music, while working in one field, and aspiring to one of the others. It’s fun, amusing, and entertaining.

The rest of it is like watching sheep get herded. Boring, until you watch the movement of the dog. That is skillful, and Mike certainly has barked up a storm.

Roland says:

business/politics attitudes

I see this attitude among business & political people all the time:
You have {a business/political office}, right?
And you run that {business/political office}, right?

WRONG! Your {customers/constituents} run it. And if you don’t do things their way, they will be unhappy with you. If do things your way for long enough, you won’t HAVE any {customers/constituents}.

But power is intoxicating. And here I thought {business/politics} was about {profit/service}. Silly me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Yes, his line of thinking assumes that if you offer a 3rd option (not get cable or wait until right before season 2 starts) everyone will drop their subscription and use that third option. This assumes the only reason they pay for HBO is GOT and not all of their other shows and having the movies as well.

Surely if GOT is the only time they turn on HBO this might happen but it would probably still be cheaper to keep the subscription than to by each HBO exclusive show individually as well as the movies people watch on there.

Creating a new revenue stream will not completely cannibalize their old one. But that is what they like to pretend so they can act like what they are doing is “smart business.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Or could there be shaved seasons because of all the crap on television? Although “crap” is a subjective term. They rehash ideas over and over to the point of death. Why are people going to tune in to watch the “new” show that is entirely like one of the old shows?

Then, you have to factor in that it’s cheaper to make things like “reality” tv as opposed to something scripted.

Then factor in the fact that some shows, are really for niche audiences, at which point if they don’t draw IMMEDIATE huge rating numbers, they’re cancelled before they’ve even been given a chance.

But yes… let’s all just assume that “piracy” is the problem and that people (consumers) are the ones killing these shows. It’s got nothing to do with those in charge or their out of date business practices.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re:

The only reason anyone is looking is because when the shows are available for free (via piracy) some people will download them. Yet for all the discussion here, there is little to show that these people would truly be buyers at a price that would make a real market out of it.

If that’s true, then piracy is not a problem at all, as the ones pirating will not purchase anyway. Nothing lost. On the other hand, if the pirates were monetized, even at a low price, that’s extra dollars that wouldn’t have been received at all. Gravy!

As for the old “you can get any piece of content you want for free”, just remember: When nobody is paying, there is no money left to make it. Being truly successful in piracy is fatal.

Well, firstly… the $ cost is not the only reason that people pirate. It appears that it isn’t even the most important reason. At a minimum, a very large percentage of people who pirate are not doing so to get free stuff. These people could very easily be encouraged to pay if the industry were able to actually meet their needs.

Secondly, even if it was actually impossible to make a single dollar by producing movies or music, these things would still get made. It would change the nature of them, to be sure, but would hardly be “fatal”. But we don’t even have to go that far, as it will never be true that money can’t be made from this stuff, even if piracy reached 100%. The profitability would be reduced, but it would still exist.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Well they didn’t make as much money as they could because they lost my money. GOT is the only thing HBO has that I want to watch. I will wait till this summers free HBO weekend and just watch them all on the free demand because they refuse to let me buy just a streaming HBO GO.

It’s not the most profitable way, its the familiar and comfortable way.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re:

…and you hate MIKE’S “smarter than you” tone? This is one of the most hilariously arrogant and self-deluded comments I’ve ever read. “I, the shepherd, enjoy watching the simplistic antics of the sheepdog while laughing at the mindlessness of the sheep. You should all be grateful that I go so easy on you, using only a fraction of my near-infinite superiority. You do not deserve my attention, but at least you amuse me from time to time.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“But yes… let’s all just assume that “piracy” is the problem and that people (consumers) are the ones killing these shows. It’s got nothing to do with those in charge or their out of date business practices.”

A wonderfully arrogant answer.

Your points are all valid, except that you are trying use them all to justify piracy as acceptable.

If you don’t like the “crap”, then why the worry? If it’s not available online, who cares? It’s crap, right? Oh wait, you WANT the crap. So the crap isn’t crap anymore, you just don’t want to have to pay anything to get it.

Sorry to poke such a big hole in your arguments.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re:

Remarkably, while it may be out of the scope of your reality, there is still a very high number of people who get their entertainment the old fashioned way, by actually PAYING for it.

Wait so now paid cable TV – introduced after decades of free broadcast TV – is the “old fashioned” way?

I think you’re the one who needs to check the scope of your reality.

Anonymous Coward says:

Off topic

“The fact that the content providers are doing a bad job of meeting the consumer preferences is fairly obvious. They should, for both our and their sake, provide content in better formats for us. But that still doesn’t justify taking that matter into your own hands.”

No, what it would justify is a new content industry, creating content and selling it direct to consumers quickly, without the middle step of broadcast or network or anything like that.

People who use the situation to justify piracy are missing it. It should be used to justify a different type of content producer. But see, they don’t want THAT content, they want the good stuff, the HBO stuff, the network stuff.

The situation in the end is laughable, only because it seems people have deluded themselves into thinking they are “making a stand”, when really they are just “making an illegal copy”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Off topic, yes, but not how you meant.

“””I think we can all agree that content infringement is wrong and that no one cares. Let’s move on.”””

Actually, I don’t agree. “Stealing” a show from HBO is certainly “wrong” to B-Con’s (and many outraged content producer’s) way of thinking, and I won’t argue that here.

However, I’ll be damned if I will pay for Asteroids or Pac-Man or Tetris (the list goes on and on!) ever again in my life. I’ve paid for all of these many times for many different platforms before I finally decided enough was enough. I’ve paid for the right to play those games and I will never feel bad for not purchasing them again for Android or iOS or whatever new platform comes along. And that also goes for any music cassette or CD I’ve purchased in the past. I’ve paid already, I’m not paying again.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Yes, but when you deal with high dollar markets, and try to replace them with lower dollar markets, you don’t really need much in the way of cannibalization to have a problem.

In simple terms, if you have a customer giving you $100 a year, and they drop you to buy the $10 product, you need to make 9 other sales JUST TO BREAK EVEN. Even if he is a buyer of a few products, you would still have to make 10 individual sales with him to be back at the same part.

Cannibalization is a real problem for any business moving into lower income marketplaces.

So if HBO has 28 million viewers, and lose 10% of them as a result of a new, lower cost option to view their prime products, how many sales of that lower cost product do they have to add to even stay where they are right now? The price ratio might be 2 to 1, 3 to 1, or 100 to 1… in each case, it gives you an indication of how much larger the market has to be at the cheaper price for them to just stay in place.

A great example is PPV pricing for the UFC. The price is fairly close to insane ($50 or more per event), but through testing in the PPV market, they know that dropping the price in half will not generate twice as many buys, which would be break even. It’s not even close. So what should they do? Perhaps more viewers would bring them more t-shirt and hoodie sales, maybe not. Certainly the higher price has managed to keep them a certain cache and kept the fans coming back. They sell plenty of PPV for each event, that is for sure – and they they re-run parts of the event and maybe all of it at a later date over the air with commercials and take in even more money.

Sometimes just dropping the price to satisfy some consumers isn’t a good business model.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“If you don’t like the “crap”, then why the worry? If it’s not available online, who cares? It’s crap, right? Oh wait, you WANT the crap. So the crap isn’t crap anymore, you just don’t want to have to pay anything to get it.”

Isn’t the whole point that we would like more options to pay for it? We can already have it for free, that is not a problem. I could have got the GOT books for free but guess what I bought them because I like them but I don’t like the show enough to start paying 100$ a month for cable and then add the 15$ HD fee and 30$ HBO package on top of that. I just want to watch one show.

Why is this so hard for you to understand? I am not and will never be a HBO subscriber, I would however purchase this show and possibly a couple others if they were available. I will not wait a year, I will either get it a different way or forget about it by then either way they make no money, so just need to LET ME GIVE THEM MONEY. But I guess they don’t want it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“If that’s true, then piracy is not a problem at all, as the ones pirating will not purchase anyway. Nothing lost.”

Incorrect. Left alone, those non-buyers are not an issue. It’s what they do to the marketplace. They encourage buyers to turn into non-buyers (see, you can get it for free, why are you paying?). They erode the marketplace.

They don’t exist in a bubble, they are a negative market force.

jackn says:

The world does not OWE you Season 1 of ?Game Of Thrones? in the form you want it at the moment you want it at the price you want to pay for it. If it?s not available under 100% your terms, you have the free-and-clear option of not having it.

The company that can deliver anytime, anywhre on 100% the consumer terms for a reasonable price will score bigtime.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“Sometimes just dropping the price to satisfy some consumers isn’t a good business model.”

I guess, but I just don’t want to hear them whine that those consumers are not giving them money. If they make more money by letting people who won’t pay full price pirate they are free to let us pirate I guess. They can’t have their cake and eat it too. No, “They refuse to pay our price and we refuse to offer it cheaper so this is all THEIR fault.”

I still don’t see how offering HBO GO to non-subscribers can be a losing situation in the long run. More people cut the cord everyday, HBO will not be getting them back. If they had half price for an online only option I could easily imagine them getting 2 online customers for everyone who cuts their full subscription down to just the online version. And again, a lot of people would still want to be able to watch it on TV, record it with their DVR and watch all the other movies + shows that HBO gives you beyond their exclusive series.

Jay (profile) says:

Re:

Your points are all valid, except that you are trying use them all to justify piracy as acceptable.

Translation: I know you have good points, but I refuse to acknowledge them since it makes me appear wrong in my assertion that morality will fight the problem of piracy.

If you don’t like the “crap”, then why the worry? If it’s not available online, who cares? It’s crap, right? Oh wait, you WANT the crap. So the crap isn’t crap anymore, you just don’t want to have to pay anything to get it.

Translation: Because I can’t think up any alternatives, piracy must be the only way that content is shared. I can’t acknowledge that alternatives exist because it deflates my argument even further. Also, I can’t acknowledge the world market where iTunes isn’t available in all countries. I also can’t understand why a person in Brazil would pay so little for games when the average game in Brazil is more than most people in the US pays.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Jay, you suck as a translator.

The points are valid, but meaningless because they only address one side of the issue: “I want, I want, I want”. The decision by the content producer not to make the content available at the given time and for the given price that this person wants to pay is being using not to prompt new business models or new entrants into the content world, but rather to justify why they pirated it.

“Because I can’t think up any alternatives, piracy must be the only way that content is shared. “

Would you care to enlighten us with legal ways that things are “shared”?

What you are suggesting is that the price in the US should be as cheap as the cheapest market, so that the people in those countries can’t justify piracy? What?

Lord Binky says:

The sellers owe it to themselves to make sales.

“The world does not OWE you Season 1 of ?Game Of Thrones? in the form you want it at the moment you want it at the price you want to pay for it. If it?s not available under 100% your terms, you have the free-and-clear option of not having it. “

I think the content owners OWE it to themselves to sell their product in the ways that make them the most profit. If you don’t make it available unless it is under 100% your terms, you have the free and clear option of not making a sale.

Anonymous Coward says:

Entitlement

“That’s true…but then sellers are entitled to approach other buyers and buyers are entitled to approach other sellers, if they think they can get better terms. That’s the way markets work and why markets are efficient.”

Exactly – but the buyers are not entitled to just take the product anyway and walk away. Further, it is entirely silly to think that they can use the “if you don’t sell it to me now, and cheap, I will pirate it” as a valid piece of negotiation.

What is happening here is there is (based on what is suggested) huge market that “instant content” people could come in and fill, producing content and selling it to people who want it now.

Wait, that isn’t true, because people don’t want THAT content. There is the rub, what people want isn’t what would be offered, and they are unwilling to accept the terms on what they do want, so they go out and obtain a copy illegally.

Seems like it is easy to see the problem, and it’s not the content people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Ihnatko seems to miss the point that the character tried multiple avenues to view the content, but the content is COMPLETELY unavailable. One of his points is you can’t have it WHEN you want it, but the counter point is; why not? There is no reason that the content can’t be made available very shortly after the series has finished airing. The only reason is the stupidity of the executives who want to artificially limit access to the content for no good reason. The content is available one way or the other. If you’re not willing to make it available in a legitimate manor, then to the torrent sites it is.

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Re:

No one is disputing that the production investment is significant or that it is not occurring before the fact. What we’re trying to point out is that there is a potential revenue stream that is is completely separate from the current revenue streams and that it is being left totally ignored.

You’re saying that if you release what people want at at the price that they want it for, some of the people who pay you more money for the traditional product will switch to the cheaper one. And because of this possibility you can’t serve that segment of the market. To be blunt… that is just stupid. Until you find out what the actual effects will be, you’re basing the argument off of fear and speculation. Sure you may lose a few higher paying subscribers to the cheaper alternative, but that doesn’t mean you won’t make more money overall, not to mention create the goodwill that turns new customers into lasting customers based on the convenience of the experience.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re:

gee, where did Big Content shill go ? ? ?
the poster has made an EXCELLENT point about how you don’t want to shell out major bucks oversubscribing to a service you don’t otherwise want, in order to get *ONE* thing you do…
(just like cable/satellite teevee providers: EVERYONE would like reasonable a la carte pricing to pick and CHOOSE the stuff we like/want; instead, we are given craftily designed ‘packages’ which include 10 channels we don’t want, for every one we do… um, if Big Content doesn’t think that pisses EVERYONE off and generates BAD WILL -thus causing MORE valid justification for piracy- then they are too obtuse to be believed…)
the Big Content shill will track *EVERY* single comment to reply to obvious stuff, but WHENEVER there are cogent, valid points made by the -you know- freetards, Big Content shill disappears…
funny that…
kinda, sorta just like how Big Content ignores their customer’s wants, and then claims they don’t know anything about that…
art guerrilla
aka ann archy
art guerrilla at windstream dot net
eof

Steve R. (profile) says:

Entitlement enshmitlement

“Is it really entitlement when were being sold our own culture, repackaged? I understand that everybody needs to get paid, I really do get that. The problem that I think most people have is that the media companies are deliberately making it as difficult as possible for people to consume their goods, and then cry foul when they take the path of least resistance. The content industry makes the rules that benefit them and then screams foul when the consumer does not play by their rules. The consumer, seems to have any rights.

Furthermore, in terms of “entitlement”; why do many sellers believe that they are entitled to defraud the consumer with misleading adds or to even allow refunds?

If the consumer is viewed as having no rights and the law is designed to only protect the content industry; it is not surprising that civil disobedience, in the form of piracy, exists.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I am terribly confused by this statement:
“…. say “I support piracy”, yet without it, his business models would not work out very well at all.”

I do not understand the disconnect here.

Even if piracy didn’t exist, new business models would still be created. It’s just what happens in life. There is no ‘this business model will work until the end of time’. (see Kodak).

People are always going to want things better, faster, cheaper.

I’m still waiting on a CD sized dried food that doesn’t require being frozen or cooked from scratch that I can pop in a device for 10 seconds and have a full sized fresh pizza already sliced and ready to go.

I don’t think we will get there in my lifetime, but someday, pizza cutters and pizza pans won’t exist….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

When you go to a doctors office, there are generally magazines on the tables in the waiting room.

I have yet to ever hear of a story of a doctors office that was sued by a magazine publisher because the Dr has the magazines out on a table for each of the people to read while they are waiting.

The DR pays for the subscription. The DR is providing that content that he gets to his patient FOR FREE. The DR is not a ‘non profit’ or ‘educational’ business.

So why don’t magazine publishers sue the doctors?

Because more people will look at the content in the magazines. They recognize that the more people that see their content that means that the person may go and buy a mag, if they want to take something home with them…or the person may leave the DR office and buy something from and advertisement in the mag…

In the MPAA world, all of that would be piracy……

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re:

They encourage buyers to turn into non-buyers (see, you can get it for free, why are you paying?).

I know of no studies that address this question, so we’re both speculating here. But I seriously doubt that this is a significant factor at all.

You seem to be assuming that price is the only factor involved here. It is not. The people who can be turned into non-buyers solely because they can get it for free are probably already getting it for free right now. It’s not like the knowledge of how & where to pirate is a big secret or anything. The “erosion” you’re talking about has already happened. There is little, if anything, left to erode.

mischab1 says:

Entitlement

In thinking about this more, I wonder if part of the problem is actually cultural differences. The entertainment industry is used to the cultural interaction between them and retail companies. The producer offers only the products they want to offer at the time they want & at the price they want to sell at. Since we are talking about entertainment, the retailer’s only choice is to buynot buy. They can’t get that storysongbook from another producer.

Consumers on the other hand are used to the cultural interaction between themselves and retail companies. Unlike the prior interaction, consumers are not limited to a buynot buy choice. If they don’t like the prices offered by one retailer, they can go to another retailer and buy the exact same thing for less. If they don’t like the selectionservice offered by one retailer, they can go to another retailer to get what they want. If a retailer wants consumers to shop with them, they have to give the consumers what they want. There is a reason “the customer is always right” is a common phrase in retail.

With digital goods, the retailer is fading away leaving the producer facing the consumer directly. Each side looks at the other; sees them behave as they always have; and is amazed at the hubris and sense of entitlement the other side has.

You can argue the moral correctness of one over the other all day long:
One side says “If you consume my product and nobody has paid me, that is morally wrong.”
The other side says “I have not deprived you of something you already had. What I do is not morally wrong.”
“Is Too!”
“Is Not!”

When all is said and done, that doesn’t get you anywhere. Pragmatically speaking, there are a lot more consumers than there are producers. Between the retailer fading away and the advent of file sharing as a new distributor, the producer has become the new retailer. If the producer wants money from the consumers, they have to act like a retailer and offer products in a way the consumer wants. Creating new laws to force consumers to change didn’t work with prohibition, and won’t work now.

DC (profile) says:

Re:

You, sir, are an idiot.

1) If you actually read the comments here, there are several posters who seem to hate Mike.

2) Copying is real and you can not stop it. Mike talks about business models accepting that reality.

3) If you think the commenters here are sheep, then you are clearly not reading with any capability of comprehension. If Mike was herding this crowd, he would be herding cats.

Jay (profile) says:

Re:

Ever heard of a recognition that different markets have different price tags?

I wrote in this very thread how Brazil’s pricing on games means more people buy less games since it’s based on paying $100 USD. So there is now a black market for video games where people are more willing to pirate the games.

Further, there’s a day in Brazil where the games come down to US prices! Now you can buy the most recent console games for $60 USD!

But then you get a shortage because the game industry (note, not the gamers) decides to hold back their games on that one day.

So piracy is a sign of a market failure. Gamers want games at realistic prices. The industry wants people to pay for content at higher prices than what the market will allow. Let’s translate this really quickly… Would you pay $136 for Tron Legacy?

What you are suggesting is that the price in the US should be as cheap as the cheapest market, so that the people in those countries can’t justify piracy?

Next time, stop the speed reading. The point that you’ve glaring skipped over, was that all of the legal alternatives for things don’t exist outside of the US. Odds are, if you looked at the global markets, you’d find that the piracy you want to fight so badly happens in areas where the number of legal alternatives are limited. Brazil is an example. IIRC, Germany also has the same problem to content. The more legal alternatives, the less piracy. It’s really that simple.

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Re:

I don’t think any of the alternatives I’ve mentioned are on par with Toddlers and Tiaras.

The point is HBO programming is only desirable if you compare it to what has has been created in the last 6 months, but when it’s less accessible than 100 years of film and television history, there is always something else to watch (and in many cases, something better)

Why would I pay even more for content when I’m already swimming in so much content I can’t watch it all? Why even bother paying or pirating something that’s going to be available in a few weeks/months/years for nothing.

I just watched HBO’s John Adams. It’s not on Netflix. I got it free from the library. Do I really care that it’s a few years old. Absolutely not. Would I pay extra to see it sooner. Never!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“HBO has about 28 million subscribers in the US, and plenty more in their various worldwide ventures that they provide content to.”

Thats bad facts sir. That is the old number of foreign subscribers.

“While the network’s number of paying U.S. subscribers has remained virtually flat at 40 million, its international users have increased to more than 42 million this year from about 28 million in 2007, the Journal said.”

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/hbo-top-1-billion-international-176907

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I found the real reason they are scared to open up the product. It is not because it will effect HBOs ability to make money but it will effect the parent companies ability to have HBO prop up its other businesses.

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/feb/02/business/la-fi-0203-time-warner-earns-20110202

I think this is really the crux of the issue. All of these companies are tied together in a giant web. Some strands would do better moving into new markets but the old center of the web would just crumble without the restrictions that keep these products tied to them.

Anonymous Coward says:

entitlement culture

If you want to complain about so called entitlement culture, complain about the richest corporations and people who feel entitled to pay less taxes than most of the population while earning more money per day than most people earn in a decade. Why don’t you complain about that disgusting smug sense of entitlement that makes the GOP candidates constantly insult poor people and the middle class while sitting on a metric crapton of money? Why don’t you complain about the sense of entitlement that drives multi billion dollar businesses to hire hoards of lobbyists to write favorable laws for them? You don’t want to complain about that? Then shut your trap and leave me alone so I can watch my pirated Game of Thrones season in peace.

Machin Shin (profile) says:

Re:

I think you missed the point of the comic that was being referenced. A LOT of piracy is because people CAN’T PAY for it but can get it FREE.

I’m sorry but it is stupid for you to not sell your product because you are trying to crate an artificial demand. If the product is worth having then demand is there. A lot of people will choose to pay instead of pirate but when given option of pirate or nothing then well….

Richard (profile) says:

Re:

What is the most funny is that when piracy becomes completely successful, there will be nothing new left to pirate.

Wrong – there will be kickstarter and other similar platforms.

There will be material funded by those (like me) who are prepared to pay upfront for the creation of material on the understanding that it will then be freely released.

Those who aren’t prepared to pay disenfranchise themselves from the choices about what is created. My prediction is that the quality will go up!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Nah, been through it all before, and I don’t really want to go all through it again, but hey…

Without piracy, there would be no “infinite distribution”. Look at the Mega case, 90% of the people were “download only”. The mega site was up and existed because these people would pay a small amount for speedy downloads, without having to pay for the actual product. So the few music and movie people who may have used the site for distribution where effectively using a business model built on piracy. No piracy, no free hosting.

The movie and music industries don’t have the best business models in the world. They are arrogant, they are pricks, and they charge up the ass for their product. But guess what: Even with that HUGE market gap, that seemingly yawning opening for others to move into and set up a more efficient system, with fresh hot new content and stuff, we don’t have it – because the business models don’t add up. If they actually had to pay for hosting / distribution (instead of riding the piracy maintained systems) their infinite distribution would be, well, less than infinite.

You could also look how piracy is being used to hobble the music and movie industries, cutting into sales of recorded product, and so on.

There are no new business models, and that is the problem – certainly none that can stand alone and work properly on a regular basis.

JMT says:

Re:

“He is unable to come out and say “I support piracy”, yet without it, his business models would not work out very well at all.”

It?s amusing that you accuse Mike of being “painfully wrong”, and then make this painfully wrong statement.

One of the key points of the new business models espoused here is that you give away the non-scarce in order to leverage sales of the scarce. If someone takes something that?s being offered for free, that?s not piracy! Mike?s business model have nothing to do with piracy at all.

Richard (profile) says:

Re:

et me repeat again: marginal cost is not the main issue for content related industries – the up front costs are. Marginal pricing is not relevant in a business where 95% of the costs occur before the first widget is produced.

Your lack of economic understanding is showing. In the old days marginal cost dominated (not least because physical products required physical distribution).

This took the pressure off the upfront costs – allowing the associated processes to become inefficient.

The reason you have a problem now is because you allowed this inefficiency to grow.

Now the upfront processes are no longer immune from market forces – and these costs will have to come down.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I’d have to agree with Marcus AC. That post makes you sound like a egotistical douchebag who “knows” that he is right and will reshape the world around him before he changes his opinion and everyone who disagrees with you is a deluded fool who just needs a helping hand to see the light of the “real world”.

Maybe if you were a little more humble and thought about whose koolaid you have been drinking you might learn a thing or two yourself. There is no fool as foolish as the fool who knows he is right.

David Muir (profile) says:

Re:

The question is always the same: If you make the shows available online for, say, $1 download (or put them on Hulu… or whatever the idea may be), how many people drop your higher price product to go for the cheaper download / DVD / streaming option?

This is a very legitimate question. And the sad answer, in my opinion, for the content industry is: a lot and more as time goes on. However, it is always better to cannibalize from your own business than to allow competitors to eat it alive.

Also, the outmoded business model will eventually die anyway, so why not hasten its demise and become kings of the new business model? It may be too late of course, but if you sold to every person willing to pay the lower amount, you’d certainly have a very robust and profitable business on your hands.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Entitlement

What is happening here is there is (based on what is suggested) huge market that “instant content” people could come in and fill, producing content and selling it to people who want it now.

Yeah, that’s happening – big time. Obviously not at the scale of the “legacy” entertainment industry, yet – but that’s just a matter of time and momentum.

If you think the industry can just rest on its laurels – “people still like our content best, and that will never ever change” – then you’re in for a surprise.

What kind of idiot businessperson sees emerging models like Kickstarter and Bandcamp and thinks “whatever – we can just ignore those”?

Watchit (profile) says:

Re:

“pay a small amount for speedy downloads” notice the word PAY you just used in you argument there, piracy is when you download something without PAYING. Therefore by paying it’s not really piracy, it’s just another form of distribution, except in this case MegaUpload was the distributor, and they were doing it much much more efficiently then Hollywood.

Anonymous Coward says:

Fact:

One season of any series today is about 22-24 episodes spread in 10-12 DVD’s occupying half the space on the DVD which adds up to 40-50 gigabytes necessary to store them all in a hard drive.

The four seasons of Battlestar Galactica fit inside a 200 GB HDD.

🙂

The pirate bluray version for it is better quality than a DVD and half the size, so you only would need a 100 GB HDD, here is the thing you can buy another HDD and use it as a backup.

Watchit (profile) says:

Re:

let’s see how thin we can make our posts.

To the AC who said “What is the most funny is that when piracy becomes completely successful, there will be nothing new left to pirate.”

This is completely false, for example an artist who knows what to do: from LapFox Trax Q&A

Q: I PIRATED YOUR MUSIC!
A: great! piracy rules. piracy and filesharing are great promotional tools, and help spread the word of artists. people that love the music they pirate generally do end up supporting the artists, and the only people that think otherwise are the RIAA and the labels under its umbrella. if you buy some music from me and want to send it to your friends, go ahead! i don’t care what you do with it as long as you aren’t directly reselling or bootlegging it as a whole. use it in your YouTube videos, post it on your website, whatever!

http://www.lapfoxtrax.com/

This is from an artist who understands that not everyone will want to buy something that they may or may not enjoy right off the bat.

Anonymous Coward says:

Entitlement

I do believe is the content people, I don’t care what they think, nobody have the right to have a monopoly on anything, unless it was earned with hard work and not a government mandate.

YKK sells zippers they have the whole market in the whole world if you look at your zipper right now chances are it is a YKK zipper and everyone can copy a zipper, but somehow YKK is able to keep a monopoly on that market.

Red Hat doesn’t have a monopoly you can get their “product” for free and still many chose to pay them for something and they are a multi-million dollar company.

Anyone can copy a Big Mac and call it something else in that sense people can steal McDonalds and there is nothing they can do about it, so they work hard to offer something that people want.

In general people want the original thing, how is that suddenly so many people are turning to others sources to find what they want?

That is a business failure.

Watchit (profile) says:

Off topic

I don’t see what you mean “They don’t want THAT content, the want the good stuff, the HBO stuff, the network stuff.”? I think you on the right track that it justifies a new content industry, but I don’t see how a “new content” industry will in anyway affect the actual content being made. Unless you think anything created by a “new content” type industry is automatically inferior to that of the old, which is completely absurd!

Anonymous Coward says:

Off topic

Of course people want the good stuff they also don’t want to be ripped off at every corner by unscrupulous people, they don’t want to pay for more than they have to.

People pay for content when they watch it on the TV, they pay for content when they rent it, they even pay more for content with the promise of being able to “own it” but they get ripped off, ads get more annoying every year, they get longer, when you go rent it you have to pay more because the content owners realized they could fill just half the DVD and spread the show over more DVD’s/Bluray’s forcing people to pay more, when they buy something they don’t expect to have unskipable ads that will make no sense in 2 years and will be forced to watch those creepy ads again and again and again, that is being ripped off and you wonder why people do anything to find alternatives?

They also don’t want to protect the business of others at the cost of their own freedoms and rights.

Can you enforce that monopoly of yours without having people have to give up their own rights or rights are just for some and not others?

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re:

If you don’t money pay for it, it’s free. Simple fact.

And don’t give us any blah, blah about the advertising. Watching ads is no cost to me; I can mute them, skip them or leave the room any time I want, so if I choose to stare at the screen instead I lose nothing.

To be fair, I think both definitions are acceptable. It’s okay to acknowledge that something is “free” in the sense of “pay no money” – and also to acknowledge that it’s “not free” in the sense that you pay in other ways (kind of like Zach’s look at the different currencies of piracy last week, with people paying in Time and Integrity and so on)

The problem is that this AC wants to swap the definition whenever it suits his argument. Pirates are just getting everything for free – but somehow broadcast television is not free. Cognitive dissonance at work.

Anonymous Coward says:

Entitlement

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/kodak_eulogy.shtml

Still, one has to wonder why the company never took seriously the threat of digital imaging. In the mid-1990?s, I was involved in a consulting project with Kodak, having to do with some digital imaging initiatives. A group of us, including a high-level Kodak product manager, sat in an executive conference room high above Rochester at their corporate headquarters. Clocks labelled with the location of Kodak?s many international locations, lined the walls, each showing the correct time in that time zone. At a certain point in the discussion, the product manager made this observation about digital imaging: ?How do we stop this thing??

Anonymous Coward says:

The US savings rate is still hovering around 0% right?

Apparently when the consumer is looking to buy something and they can’t, they’re not circling their calendar and putting the money in the piggy bank. They spend it on something and still can track down the content they want anyway.

Either content producers want our money or they don’t.

Amazing how an industry that refuses to take our money screams bloody murder all the time.

JMT says:

Re:

“Without piracy, those who wanted to see the show (but didn’t want to pay for cable) would instead pay or rent the product when it is released on DVD or for download.”

In your fantasy world we’re all so addicted to content we would simply have to rush out and buy it if there were no free source. This is BS of the stinkiest kind. There are plenty of things in this world I would like but don’t buy because either I can’t afford it or I the price is higher they I think it should be (i.e. I value my money more than the thing I want). In both a piracy-free fantasy land and the real world, simply not watching/listening to something is a perfectly valid option.

“What is the most funny is that when piracy becomes completely successful, there will be nothing new left to pirate.”

Actually what’s most funny is that this statement completely ignores thousands of years of human cultural history, and assumes the only reason people create is to get rich. There will always be new content. Always.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

You might be missing the point though. If you completely abandon the morality issue, then you can’t complain when the other side does as well. If you say ‘who cares if you’re right?’ on the issue of piracy, then can you really get mad at them when they ‘who cares if you’re right?’ on the free speech or privacy issue.

Yeah, I’ll no problem getting mad at that. Their rights to a 150 year monopoly and their right to game the system in their favor are not equal to the free speech and privacy rights.

Anonymous Coward says:

Entitlement

though it may be a real-life response, is not a legitimate response.

In my opinion it is a legitimate response, we have a difference of opinion on moral values. Most people use the: infringement is illegal because it is wrong, infringement is wrong because it is illegal loop. Do you have an actual moral argument against infringement?

Also, what part of the discussion are you missing? Would you rather be right (i.e. infringement is wrong) or would you rather be pragmatic (i.e. infringement is wrong, but i can probably make more money embracing it).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Yeah but then they claim all our cheap distribution methods only exist because pirates hold them up. Because of course no one ever wanted to share and trade things before Napster and the current file sharing methods are not the natural extension of physical trading. This is a NEW EVIL that plagues the land and has corrupted a generation not human nature.

bdhoro (profile) says:

Restraint of Trade

Not making it available in the way the consumer wants could be viewed very similarly to restraint of trade. In business, if I want to buy a product, and I can’t get it directly from the manufacturer, it’s perfectly reasonable to find another source.

This reminds me of the Costco lawsuit:
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111117/03284416803/court-tells-omega-copyright-is-not-sword-rejects-attempt-to-control-grey-market-as-copyright-misuse.shtml
with that watch company that “copyrighted” a logo on the back of the watch, which they sold way cheaper abroad than they would sell it here. So Costco bought it overseas from a divert-er cheaper than they could get it direct from the manufacturer. The watch company sued to try to stop Costco from buying and selling their product (by abusing copyright) but I believe the courts responded by saying your copyright claim is actually restraint of trade, don’t try it again.

Very similarly, Red Box said to the movie studios something like “We don’t care if you won’t sell us movies at the same time you sell it to stores, because we’ll just buy it from them (who wouldn’t be willing to sell massive amounts of DVD’s besides the movie studios?) and you can’t stop us.” Legally the studios don’t have to sell the product to anyone they don’t want to have it, but they cannot stop them from getting it somewhere else, that’s restraint of trade.

This Game of Thrones discussion is very similar, the product is available in all different ways, but the manufacturer won’t sell it to me in the way I want, so, I’ll find it somewhere else, and it just so happens that its free! and in a more convenient format – just the way I like it! And if the manufacturer wants to stop that, it sounds like that should be considered restraint of trade.

JMT says:

Off topic

“People do have unjustified feelings of being owed content in the manner that they want it, and they feel justified to take whatever action they want to get it.”

It’s not a justification, it’s simply a reason. You don’t need to justify doing something that you don’t really believe is wrong. A large and growing proportion of the population no longer believe in the old-fashioned copyright model, so they simply go around it when it gets in their way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Entitlement

“What kind of idiot businessperson sees emerging models like Kickstarter and Bandcamp and thinks “whatever – we can just ignore those”?”

Two words (or not): Paywall Bob

Of course, Paywall Bob would ignore it, because it’s a paywall. But by “ignore” I mean, say it’s a gimmick and dumb, then continue to bring up Kickstarter and Paywalls for the rest of his and our natural lives. Because to PB, anything that you put any money towards can ONLY be a paywall.

DC (profile) says:

Re:

ok moron …

I pay for cable … I pay for netflix. I pay … got it?

Why do I have to wait until “unknown” to see season 5 of Burn Notice, which has already been produced and broadcast?

Yes, of course I want to watch it in order, and when I can actually watch it (got that moron .. I pay so trying to tie me to a broad cast schedule is an insult).

Adding HBO won’t give me that.

The market you talk about is not imaginary, but it is supported by not one by actually multiple government granted monopolies, so tread lightly among us plebes asshole.

You know nothing about running a real business.

Anonymous Coward says:

Entitlement

>Is the customer right when they choose to break the law?

Is the corporation right when it chooses to go after individuals with hordes of lawyers, or demands extensions on how long copyright lasts, or removes works from the public domain? You don’t have to break the law to be wrong.

>There is a point where it’s not about the content producers doing the right thing, it’s about the consumers choosing the wrong thing, and being told it’s right.

You’re making it sound like consumers are dumb pipes with no ability to choose between the better of two offers. What TheOatmeal pointed out is that people are choosing piracy not because it’s the right thing, but because it’s the only thing. There are other factors such as negative experiences with DRM but I’m sure you’d like to pretend they don’t exist.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re:

Of course this could have nothing to do with declining audiences for network tv and the accompanying decline in what networks and local stations can charge for advertising.

This trend was occurring long before wide spread “piracy”. Where you are right is that “reality” shows are the cheapest to produce and many seem to attract larger audiences than drama or comedy does.

None of this means that the actual quality what comedy and drama is produced need decline just because there are fewer choices. If networks were actually interested in attracting an audience, even with a shorter season, they would do their best to ensure what makes it on air is the highest quality possible.

Also that if there is a demand for past season DVDs then get them out there as fast as possible. That doesn’t have to mean before season 2 for season 1 begins or is well underway but while demand for season 1 is still there.

Given the short shelf life of many programs it only seems wise to strike while the iron’s hot and not hold off in the hope of beging the next “Lost”

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re:

And you, again, neglect the uncomfortable (for you) fact that humans have always come up with “content”. And the equally uncomfortable detail that a subscription to HBO doesn’t begin to cover production costs which are covered in other ways including advertising as well as the export and after markets.

Most piracy is about the after market. If there is a demand HBO is far better off serving it while they can charge a price that seems fair to both HBO and the potential customer.

You keep stating that if the “content” is too widely available then in short order there will be no “content” because it would be cannibalized. With respect I disagree. And I have some 6000 years of human creativity that we at least know about once writing was developed to prove that point.

We are creatures that like to tell each other stories for whatever reason. There are lots of them, by the way. “Content” will not vanish not will quality vanish.

What may vanish would be the gatekeeper culture that has risen up in the last couple of centuries and the control freak culture around it. Until now the producers have never had to satisfy a demand for stories at a reasonable price, in a reasonable time frame. Like you, they can’t get it through there head that that kind of thing works.

In the end, of course, the customer is always supposed to be right. Those who will pay or the small number who won’t though, are both forced into what you call piracy by the paranoia of gatekeepers that this will somehow lessen the value of their “content” rather than create more demand and enhance it.

Who knows, one day you and they may realize that. Until then we’ll have long discussions about file sharing, piracy and the need for newer and ever more draconian laws. You enhance the value of “content” not one little bit by restricting access to it and increase it’s value by making it widely and simply available.

I’ll close by beating you over the head with the ghost of Henry Ford who proved that point. Even if you refuse to see it.

Shatterlight says:

The thing that has long since confused me about the entertainment industry’s obsession with locking down and restricting content is this:

‘Why are you making it so hard for me to give you my money?’

I happen to live in the UK. If I want to watch, say, the Daily Show legally online, I can’t. If I was to buy the ReBoot special edition boxset, I might be able to do that with a lot of hassle, but then I can’t watch it, since it’s region one only.
If I want to buy a console game that is only available in Japan or the US, I can’t, since they are region locked. I’d have to make difficult and potentially damaging console modifications if I wanted to play them.

I would gladly – gleefully even – pay them money if this stuff was available and watchable. But it isn’t. So I watch and play the games anyway, but they don’t get a penny from me.

Under what kind of moon logic does this make sense?

RadialSkid (profile) says:

If it?s not available under 100% your terms, you have the free-and-clear option of not having it.

Okay, then, I’ll take that option. And who is it, precisely, that loses out when I do?

This is the purpose of my own mantra of “Don’t pirate, don’t purchase.” Piracy only keeps them relevant…shut them off completely, and they’ll freaking LONG for these days.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I’m pretty sure the Constitution does indeed have something to say about the unlawful taking of other people’s property. Although I’m reasonably sure that it’s in regards to actual physical property (a home and land, etc). Not about “intellectual property”.

Also, no one is saying that if you don’t like the price you have the right to obtain it illegally.

What people have been saying, but you overlook/ignore for whatever reason, is that people are either going to pay what you want them too, they’re going to never pay what you want (and pirate an item or do without), etc.

But NOT wanting to meet demand for some reason or other (that makes no sense in the current times/marketplace) is going to cost you and drive customers away entirely. Which is indeed more of a lost sale (the people who did want to give you their money but because of your foolish business sense now are not going to) than a download.

Oh, and to state yet again, because it’ll eventually get into that head of yours, NO ONE IS SAYING IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE PRICE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO OBTAIN IT ILLEGALLY. (There. Let’s see which of that entire bit you completely ignore just to restate your already evident and abundantly clear position/personal opinion.

toyotabedzrock (profile) says:

LOGIC ERROR

Your libertarian instincts have run amok when you compare cannabis to this problem.

Cannabis creates problems that have not been addressed by your solution of stopping enforcement.

Your solution to copyright does address the problem of payment to the artists.

Which means that it is the right and pragmatic solution!

Single track minded libertarians think they have the perfect solution to everything.

The problem is they think the same logic used to reach the solution can be applied with minimal modification to every problem.

Anonymous Coward says:

there are no new business models ?
Really,
apart from patreon, kickstarter ,streaming music ,
bands giving away music on the web.I could go on.New
Business models are constanty appearing on the web,
See youtube ,twitch, companys are paying people to play games ,
twitch streamers get paid 5 per cent if someone clicks on a twitch link and buy the game on amazon.
unlike nintendo they realise content is advertising.
People see a game on youtube and buy it .
Youtube is now streaming tv channels ,nbc,abc etc
this could be seen as a new business model.Almost any phone or digital device has a youtube app.
And it has unlimited cloud dvr storage.

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