The Stupidity Of The 'Just Go Without' Argument

from the do-you-even-listen-to-yourself-talk? dept

Every time a major player in the content industry does something obtuse or flat-out malevolent in an effort to preserve whatever “market share” or “positioning” it feels is more important than actually serving customers the way they prefer to be served, the discussion turns to the benefits of piracy. Pirated content is usually free of DRM, regional restrictions, limited installs, etc. Why is it free of this? Because piracy is efficient. Not needing to serve hundreds of masters with licensing/royalty fiefdoms, pirated goods are streamlined to deliver what potential customers actually want: content. The price is just icing on the cake.

Whenever this pro-piracy argument is broached, usually in the form of “This is why I pirate,” or “Pirated x doesn't have this problem,” it is responded to with shocked gasps of “I can't believe you feel entitled to just take something if it's not available/at the right price point/otherwise nonexistent.” The person pushing this take generally starts telling those talking up piracy that they could “just go without.” To do otherwise means the commenter (or post author) is nothing more than a child with an outsized sense of entitlement.

Here's a stellar example, as provided by TD resident sideshow, bob:

Let me get this straight. I can write an open letter asking the food companies to do better on calories/taste/freshness/whatever and until they do, I'll feel free to just shoplift whatever I want. They need to earn my money.

Maybe the editors of Maxim or Playboy could write an open letter asking the women to “do better” at satisfying them and until then, they'll act like rakes or cads.

Or maybe I can just write an open letter to cancer and ask cancer to do better or else I'll refuse to die. Yeah. That will work.

So I can just write my own open letter and ask Bobbi Smith to “do better” and cough up more cash for my work. After all, that's the mechanism that's supposed to work. It's like a magic wand, only with text.

What is fascinating is that there's little acknowledgement that there are living, breathing humans on the other side of the transaction. There's no acknowledgement that the creators need to eat, pay the rent, and purchase health insurance. Nope. It's all a focus on the consumer who is supposedly allowed to simply stamp his/her feet and if the hard working creators don't snap to it, the consumer will feel free to simply take it. Wow, that's a model of one spoiled brat.

Well, of course they could “go without.” Everyone has that option. Do without. That's the “honorable” way.

But let's look at this in a more realistic way. What exactly does “doing without” do for the content creator? How does “not purchasing” (or not having the option to purchase) the disputed content do anything for the creators? Because the bottom line in both scenarios is that $0 has made its way from the potential customers to the people desiring the income.

If everyone just “does without,” how does this improve the situation for either the content creator or the customers? Once you've taken the piracy out of it, all you've got left is a set of lousy options that do nothing for everyone involved. If rights holders are happier merely saddling up their high horse and riding to the nearest moral peak, so be it. Riding that horse won't make you any richer, though. All it does is further separate you from your potential income.

A bit of the old infringement, on the other hand, gets your work into the eyes, ears, brains, etc. of potential customers. Sure, not all of them would buy if they had the chance, but at least in this scenario, you're building a bit of a fanbase that may decide to reward you whenever the distributor finally pulls their head out of their legacy and starts meeting customers, at minimum, halfway.

Then there's the infringement itself. It takes many forms. Some of it is just watching uploads on YouTube. I've caught some BBC series I can't purchase here in the US via the 'Tube. Or there are shadier streaming sites that serve a ton of ads along with even rarer uploaded video or stuff YouTube has content-matched right off its servers.

Streaming video is infringement? (Or was, pre-Posner.) Or somehow morally wrong? That's a position I can't even fathom. I realize that ad revenue or DVD sales are “lost” when this happens but I have a hard time believing a temporary video stream represents a true loss to the creators. It's not as though it's residing on my hard drive and being transported to and fro by portable devices. It's not a replacement for an actual product I can use in a more versatile fashion.

To me, streaming video is about as “infringing” as going over to a friend's house to watch their TV. True, the internet gives me a bigger selection of “friends” and a bottomless DVD selection. Other than that, when I'm done with the stream I “leave my friend's house” and the “DVD” stays with “him.” If I want to watch it again, I can't do it from my TV. I have to visit him again.

Even if it does somehow do “irreparable damage” to the rights holders, what's stopping them from just erecting a streaming site of their own? Or at least something much better than what exists now in various crippled forms? The attempts to shut these sites down seem to indicate that massive amounts of potential earnings are being siphoned away. If so, why put up with it? Build your own and collect the ad revenue, just like the operators of these sites do.

Oh, now you say ad revenue is minimal and unsustainable? If the content industries do it, it has to be gated and pre-paid because no one can make a living on ad revenue. If the helpful pirates do it, they need to be shut down because they're profiting off the backs of the creative industry. Which is it? No money or plenty of money? My guess is: not enough money. Ad-supported streaming sites can't match the licensing fees these companies can extract from other services. So we're right back where we started: money being left on the table.

How about all these file lockers that are such a threat to the American Way of Life™ that we need to send the combined forces of the local SWAT team and FBI in order to show that We Are Indeed Serious About Pirates? Aren't they making a killing? Christ, look at Dotcom. Virtually swimming in opulence and personal tanks. He's a multi-millionaire. Do what he does. Throw all your stuff onto some servers, get the links passed around the internet, sell faster access for monthly rates and start re-living the life you always thought you'd be living.

Can't figure out how to do any of the above without dealing with a nightmarish tangle of royalties, licensing and release windows? Don't look at me. I never thought any of those things were good ideas. Here's a suggestion: create a blanket licensing group for this new venture a la ASCAP. Dump it all into a big pool and trickle the monies down on the usual suspects. Or, you know, go one better and use all this precise info you'll be gathering to actually pay the creators appropriately.

I don't know what's more annoying: the moral ground cowboys who would rather the creators made no money than fix their broken delivery systems or the industry “titans” who are constantly being outdone by any techie who can set up a decent file locker.

Bottom line: the real entitlement belongs to industries that feel the public should be grateful for whatever half-assed digital “services” they throw our way. Honestly, if you'd rather get piracy shut down completely (will never happen) just so the only other option is “do without,” you'll have accomplished nothing more than swapping out your high horseshoes for platform boots. $0 is still $0, no matter how “honestly” this big pile of nothing is “acquired.”

P.S. This argument also bugs me: “X is an asshole so I'm going to pirate the shit out him.” Really? I don't know how someone can argue “piracy's effect is overstated” or “piracy is a convenient scapegoat for the content industries” and then make a grand statement that you're going to punish someone by doing something ineffectual, only ANGRIER. Vindictive piracy makes absolutely no sense.

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Comments on “The Stupidity Of The 'Just Go Without' Argument”

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127 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I’ve seen commenting systems on other sites that allow you to edit comments – but only for 5 minutes after posting them. That’s long enough to allow you to go back and fix obvious typos that you missed before submitting, but prevents trolls from trying to change their post after they’ve been called out on something.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Perhaps this, with a history button, and some sort of visual way to indicate whether a comment may still be edited. Perhaps the background color can change once a comment is no longer editable or the background color of the name or the font color or there could be a star or Astrix next to the name that goes away once a post can no longer be changed, the Astrix indicates that this post is still subject to change.

BTW, this idea is not subject to patent protection.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I love the troll-tastic vocabulary of this site.

You don’t say pirate, you say “infringe”.
You don’t say upload, you say “share”.
You don’t say rights holder, you say “gatekeeper”.
You don’t say copyright proponent, you say “industry shill”.
You don’t say thief, you say “pirate”. Oh wait, they don’t want to be known as pirates, what is the new word?

I purposely used an inflammatory term in the last one to show you exactly how moronic the vocabulary arguments are here.

Is Techdirt using psychological warfare, or is it cognitive dissonance? It’s hard for people in the middle to take this site seriously with all the adolescent name calling.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

It is not just the gatekeepers, producers and just about everyone involved in that field is doing it.

But even if they are being “guided” by the nose they are still supporters of that system.

The ones that are not make it public using clear open licenses.

Most big names creators are also gatekeepers today.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Watch or be Taxed

The problem with your argument is that there is a goal to have national health insurance. Everyone needs it. If you’re young, you need it less. Old, need it more. Young, you are going to get old, and much sooner than you think.

There is not a goal to have national entertainment. Everyone does NOT need it.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: Re: Watch or be Taxed

And everyone does not need health insurance. Most everyone needs health care, but what if you are rich enough to pay your own medical bills? What if you just want a high-deductible major medical to prevent catastrophic loss, buy you don’t need your annual physical covered? That’s no longer a “qualified” plan. The Pandora’s box comment is spot on.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Watch or be Taxed

It has nothing to do with Need, it has everything to do with bribed politicians creating Laws that will penalize you if you DON’T participate in something.

They can tax you if you don’t buy a product they pass a law requiring you to buy:
alternative energy products,
govt mandated food,
they could even require you to purchase vitamins or drugs,
so why not requiring you to buy 4 movie tickets a month. It will “help the economy” the future leaders will state.
Show proof you purchased or expect an IRS audit.

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Watch or be Taxed

The thing is, if you don’t have health insurance and become ill, you become a burden on society. If you don’t buy entertainment, you only become a ‘burden’ on the content controllers who feel hard-done-by.

Weirdly enough, all of Europe has ‘forced’ health insurance, and our governments aren’t generally needing to be stopped by armed hordes of concerned citizens from ‘forcing’ other stuff through in a non-democratic manner. Except maybe when they kow-tow to US interests…

Honestly, you guys see everything as a hostile Injun or Federal Tax Collector.

FuzzyDuck says:

Re: Re:

When you go to a club you’re paying the legacy content industry, when you go to a restaurant you’re paying the legacy content industry, when you shop you’re paying the legacy content industry, when you sleep in a hotel you’re paying the legacy content industry, when you buy blank media to backup the photos of your kids you’re paying the content industry, etc, etc…

In fact there are already many taxes on some of the normal things we do in our daily lives for the sole benefit of the legacy content industry.

In essence you’ve already unwillingly paid for everything that you might choose to pirate.

Chris Maresca (profile) says:

I've actively tried to give money

I’ve tried to pay for some of the content I download and was turned down because ‘Not a European credit card’.

I’m fine with paying for content if someone would actually accept the payment…

But geographic segmentation, which worked OK when all media was delivered physically (DVD or wire), now just blocks cross-geography revenue for everyone, including those that believe they benefit from it…

cjstg (profile) says:

a lesson learned

“If everyone just “does without,” how does this improve the situation for either the content creator or the customers? Once you’ve taken the piracy out of it, all you’ve got left is a set of lousy options that do nothing for everyone involved. If rights holders are happier merely saddling up their high horse and riding to the nearest moral peak, so be it. Riding that horse won’t make you any richer, though. All it does is further separate you from your potential income.”

maybe i’m a defeatist, but it seems clear that the lesson comes across loud and clear. you screw with the customers and they will go away. right now with all the pirating there is always that to blame. if people just ignore/boycott products that are priced wrong or come with unacceptable strings attache, the resulting lack of sales will send the message. right now they all can say, “but, but pirating!” the illusion of getting the pirates to pay up goes away and the legacy players might either learn or go away when they can’t adapt.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: a lesson learned

Let’s not be silly–they will learn no lesson.

I see only a couple likely futures for that scenario:
1) a new scapegoat will be found. (e.g. “Global warming to blame for falling DVD sales!” or perhaps “Fluoride in coffee found to lower interest in buying DVDs!”)
or
2) They’ll take the CIA/DEA approach and prop up the piracy thing so they can continue to ‘fight piracy’ with new laws/Gestapo tactics/federal hirelings…

Anonymous Coward says:

“How does “not purchasing” … the disputed content do anything for the creators?”

It’s entirely based on the unfounded belief that it would mean that people with funds to purchase would not be able to do without and therefore would buy.

“Even if it does somehow do “irreparable damage” to the rights holders, what’s stopping them from just erecting a streaming site of their own? Or at least something much better than what exists now in various crippled forms? The attempts to shut these sites down seem to indicate that massive amounts of potential earnings are being siphoned away.”

The argument here, is another digital to analogue comparison that actually doesn’t work but you can see how people get there. People who steal actual physical goods, often sell them on for vastly less than they are worth, or at least a lot less than they normally cost. For the person who has had a $1000 laptop stolen from them for example, the loss requires another $1000 to replace, but the criminal is relatively happy with the $50 or $100 he gets for same laptop. He’s happy because it cost him nothing at all, the actual owner would never be happy with that return as it represents a massive loss to him.
An owner would never sell his $1000 computer for $100 and replace it for another $1000. It would be a cost to him of nearly double the original price.
Obviously this does not translate to the digital world, but for those who don’t understand that; it seems a reasonable argument that pirate sites can be making money while getting far too little revenue for the actual creators to be making money and in doing so are costing the creators much more money.

Simple Mind (profile) says:

Re: Re:

based on the unfounded belief that it would mean that people with funds to purchase would not be able to do without

Good points. But it isn’t entirely unfounded. Before the internet these content creeps got away with doing anything they wanted. People are both ignorant and tolerant. They shelled out for whatever was offered. When I was young I paid for cable tv and liked it. What happened was, now there are options. People have been shown that there are other possibilities than the ones offered by the content creeps. And these creeps can’t seem to realize that the cat is out of the bag and there is no way to legislate it back in.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“content creeps”? I can see how impartial you are. No point in having a grown up conversation with you.

If the pirate asshats wouldn’t have started stealing the content we wouldn’t have DRM! You can blame the pirates for making your life harder.

See I can play your biased game as well, how about we stop trying to find points of division and find some middle ground?

Simple Mind (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I apologize for the inflamatory term. It was partially laziness, partially not knowing exactly what to call them, and they are acting creepy to me… “content middlemen” I guess? (so many syllables!)

It seems DRM is more a irrational reaction of fear of what might happen rather than what actually was or is happening. ie., “If we don’t put DRM, somebody might copy it.” Since DRM is clearly not able to stop copying, its continued use cannot be a reaction to infringement.

As I said, the cat is out of the bag. The days of DRM, release windows, region locking, unskippable ads, … is over. The middle ground is for the content middlemen to realize this and adapt. Give the customer the best product you can and the customer will pay instead of seeking the better product for free.

bshock (profile) says:

Let's talk "entitlements"

Copyright has existed forever, right?

Wrong. Dead wrong. Stupidly wrong.

Copyright is a half-ass idea created by middlemen for the sake of enriching middlemen. It’s a completely synthetic government-granted monopoly on a particular expression of an idea. Even at its worst, it was never meant to be as broad or as enduring as it is now.

But over the years, corporate players and their pitiful quisling artists have come to feel entitled to this legal scam, as though it were some sort of natural law.

pixelpusher220 (profile) says:

Re: Let's talk "entitlements"

Copyright is a useful and valid tool. It’s been massively perverted to the point of causing active harm, but that doesn’t mean the ‘idea’ of copyright is bad or somehow wrong.

As this site frequently points out, given the changes in technology, the digital world can let you ‘ignore’ copyright entirely and still make money.

That again doesn’t say copyright is bad or wrong, just that there are now other ways to ‘monetize’ your content…which is the point of copyright. To allow the creator to monetize their content so they’ll be inclined to create said content in the first place.

In the digital world it isn’t nearly as clear cut anymore but copyright is still a valid and useful concept.

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re: Let's talk "entitlements"

I have to completely disagree. Copyright has always been ineffective at stopping individuals from infringing. However, in another time when publishing was beyond the means of the common person and only prevented publishers from leeching off of each other. But today we are all content creators and we can all easily distribute our content through the internet. Copyright is obsolete because the internet is a two way conversation, unlike the 20th century’s read-only model.

What’s more, copyright’s origins began as a law to censor seditious books that spoke against the monarchy of England. When the privileged few sanctioned by the crown got accustomed to the perks of their position, they argued to keep the law in place, not for sedition, but to “protect” authors. The very core of copyright was never to help authors, but to block undesirables from printing texts that go against the desires of the ruling class.

Conversely, in Germany around the early industrial revolution, Germany had no enforced copyright laws and people were able to print any books they liked. This allowed German people to get cheap access to books on engineering and other sciences. It was this unfettered access to knowledge that gave Germany the lead in the engineering field. Just to drive the point further, Germany had about 10 times as many books being authored annually compared to England, which had a copyright law in effect.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/no-copyright-law-the-real-reason-for-germany-s-industrial-expansion-a-710976.html

Patrik (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Let's talk "entitlements"

Well, I’m going to copy and paste someone else’s comment from another discussion on that particular “study”:

The study referenced in Spiegel is hogwash ? it compares the UK to Germany, and they were obviously different in many ways. (Just for starters: The UK was much more united earlier on, and the simple fact that it industrialized first made progress in other nations quicker since they had a model to follow.) Most important, when you?re talking about ?scientific learning,? that wouldn?t have been covered by copyright anyway! Copyright covers a particular expression of information, not the underlying information itself. Scientific information in books can always be summarized or paraphrased; in this case, that would have been necessary, since it would have to be translated to German! With that in mind, I can?t understand how this study withstood any kind of peer review: Whether you favor copyright or not, it proves absolutely nothing.

Ironically, if you want to actually look at Hoffner’s study, you’ll have to pony up ?68. I won’t be doing that, of course. Does that prove his point?

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Let's talk "entitlements"

There are so many problems with that comment.

If England had a head start and copyright didn’t apply to scientific/engineering texts, why did Germany flourish in that field while England lagged behind? What was stopping people in England from doing the same as Germany?

How is it that Germany had such a large number of new works appearing compared to England if copyright didn’t apply? Regardless of where they got the new works, the people of Germany had access to ten times the number of new works annually. You can’t tell me that didn’t help.

What’s more, according to the copyright so-and-so’s, it is impossible for new works to proliferate without copyright. This proves that notion wrong. When more people have access to a greater number of useful works, it increases their knowledge, which they can then apply that to study and expansion of that knowledge later on, which obviously would snowball into what we see today: Germans are the most revered engineers in the world. Free access to knowledge creates a positive feedback to the supply of knowledge.

Nothing in that comment offers anything that can factually refute the study. It’s not even logical.

Nick Dynice (profile) says:

Re: Re: Let's talk "entitlements"

I think in the context of this discussion copyright was developed to protect middlemen’s investments. Creators were not in the business of printing and publishing (they just create), so they had to sell the rights to a third party who could do the printing and marketing. And to make it fair to that publisher, they restricted other publishers with copyright laws and the threat of punishment for violations.

It is the same mentality you have with things like the 2012 London Olympics brand police. Other parties are paying “good money” to to advertise their brands so they need to stop others from “free riding.” Or with licencing of music, films, TV. Licencees are paying money to monetize content so they and/or the licencor want to stop others from doing the same for free: YouTube takedowns, ICE domain seizures, etc.

But today creators can do it all just by hiring services (TuneCore, CDBaby, Amazon, fabrication in China, etc) that need to compete in the market for customers (it does not make sense financially for them to get exclusive deals, for example, they are just a service provider), so there is no middleman and his army of trolls.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Let's talk "entitlements"

“I think in the context of this discussion copyright was developed to protect middlemen’s investments.”

DING DING DING DING! We have a winner! Finally someone “get’s it”. If you sell the rights to your work, you are transferring ownership to someone else, that person/organization makes an investment in the hopes that he/she/it will make a profit.

“But today creators can do it all just by hiring services (TuneCore, CDBaby, Amazon, fabrication in China, etc) that need to compete in the market for customers (it does not make sense financially for them to get exclusive deals, for example, they are just a service provider), so there is no middleman and his army of trolls.”

I think you overestimate the effectiveness of these services, but I can respect your enthusiasm. I would prefer that you do not use inflammatory phrases like “army of trolls”, but at least it lets me know you have already picked your side and have a biased opinion.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re: Let's talk

No, it’s really fucking not. In around 1707, the Guilds of London started harrassing the Government of the time for “protections in law”. two years later,t he Statute of Anne became law, granting the first known “Intellectual property rights”.

IPR is an exercise in pure mecantilism. Know your history.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Let's talk

No, the creator’s wishes are bumpkin. It’s my wish that you’d send me $10 for the privilege of reading this post, but you won’t because you don’t care about my wishes and you really don’t believe that it’s the ethical thing to do. Just because someone asks you to pay them doesn’t suddenly make it the ethical thing to do. Your argument here is that just because the government has taken away your natural rights to copy that suddenly it’s an ethical thing to pay someone for that privilege. That’s wrong. It may be the legal thing to do, but legal and ethical do not always intersect.

So put your money where your mouth is, or rethink your statement. I’d be very happy if you’d give me $10 for having read this post. After all, it’s the ethical thing to do, and I need to be protected.

Matt says:

Re: Re: Re: Let's talk

How much time and effort did you put into that post? What steps have you taken to see you get paid? Have you checked the spelling and grammar? Did you spend years refining it, seeking input, searching for a publication method? Would anyone in the universe think $10 is a reasonable price? Have you risked anything by creating it? Do you have a reasonable expectation to be paid for your work? Is it known by anybody that you are a producer of quality content?

If you answer these questions honestly, I think you will find you must withdraw your fatuous argument.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Let's talk

–How much time and effort did you put into that post?

SCOTUS rejected sweat of the brow”. It does not matter one whit how much time and effort I put into it. I have the copyright on the post.

–What steps have you taken to see you get paid?

I’ve asked you to. Let me know when you’re going to do the ethical thing and we can arrange payment details.

–Have you checked the spelling and grammar?

I did (I’m no professional), though I fail to see what that has anything to do with copyrights. Are you proposing that bad spelling and grammar changes the ethics? Poor quality works can be pirated at will?

–Did you spend years refining it, seeking input, searching for a publication method?

No, why? What’s your point? You know who also didn’t spend years refining their work, seeking input or searching for a publication method? Dostoyevsky wrote The Gambler in 26 days. He found a publisher for Crime and Punishment in November 1865 and published the first portion in January 1866, without having written any of it before finding a publisher. And none of that has anything to do with copyright law, nor do I see how it relates to ethics. Are you suggesting it would have been fine to pirate The Gambler because he didn’t spend years to refine it?

–Would anyone in the universe think $10 is a reasonable price?

Do you catch the irony here? On an article discussing just going without if you don’t find the terms acceptable, you’re willing to say my terms are unacceptable and just read my stuff without paying me, even though you said that the creator’s wishes are the ethical thing.

–Have you risked anything by creating it?

I feel like a broken record, but since you like to keep asking questions that have nothing to do with the matter at hand, I’ll answer again: No, but neither does anyone else. Did U2 risk anything in writing With or Without You? Should their wishes be ignored because they didn’t?

–Do you have a reasonable expectation to be paid for your work?

Absolutely. I have the copyright on it, and you said my wishes to be paid means that paying me is the ethical thing to do. Where are your ethics now?

–Is it known by anybody that you are a producer of quality content?

Why is that important? Was it known that the Beatles were producers of quality content before they produced anything? Is everyone not worthy of payment until they become so? Are you arguing that Michael Bay is not worthy of ethical considerations? How many times have you downloaded Transformers without paying for it then?

Since you don’t seem to follow your own professed ethics, I’ll lower the price of reading my comments to only $5. That’s two whole posts for half the price of one!

Tim Griffiths (profile) says:

Re: Re: Let's talk

Nope, copyright law as it exists today is to benefit the public. It grants content creators a state monopoly to produce copies of their work for a given term as an incentive to increase the number of works that end up in the public domain. The original US term was 14 years (I think) and was set as that as another incentive to the production of new works as it meant that a creator could not simply live off the production of one great work.

The protection of the creator was the means not the intent and that has been utterly forgotten. The public interest that was the reason the public are asked to give up their rights for is now ignored. Copyright as it is is not ethical in the slightest and holds no resemblance to the intent in which these monopolies were first granted.

Anonymous Cowherd says:

Doing without is “better” because beyond the economic issue, which these people don’t really understand anyway, is the emotional issue: envy. It just sucks that other people are getting something for free!

The emotional argument is also what makes the “vindictive piracy” feel effective for those declaring it. It’s a way of sticking out their virtual tongues and declaring they’re getting stuff for free, with knowledge that their opposition hates that.

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re:

This is what I think is the biggest issue they have with infringement overall. They just can’t stand the idea of people getting something for free, even if they would go without it if they couldn’t pay for it.

These aren’t physical goods here. It doesn’t benefit anyone to block access to content just because don’t want them to have it for free. It doesn’t deprive an author anything to grant a few people access to free copies of digital works if they can’t pay. Greater accessibility to all kinds of content always results in uplifting society to greater progress. Knowledge is power, the power to explore the possibilities your knowledge grants you.

J A Konrath proves this point. He offers his entire library of ebooks to download for free, on his own website, they’re available on many torrent sites, and he’s still satisfied with what he makes from selling his books.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Re: Don't kid yourself.

It’s all about envy. That’s where this “unjust enrichment” idea comes from. It really has nothing to do with ethics. When there is no economic motive left, what you have is envy and spite. For non-commercial infringement, there is no real economic element. There is nothing that might be gained by preventing piracy.

Commercial bootlegging on the other hand is an entirely different matter. A customer that’s spending money is actually worth something. It’s loss is a real quantifiable harm.

This is why classic copyright law treated the two differently.

Tort reform for the rich, crime and punishment for the poor.

Anonymous Coward says:

Going Without

Sometimes going without isn’t all that bad. Since I ditched pay TV, I still watch TV I care about by other means (typically Netflix or Amazon Video), but I find I care a lot less about TV and a lot more about spending time with my son, reading, writing, and otherwise being something besides a couch potato. I also find that what I choose to watch is generally better quality (IMO). YMMV.

Milton Freewater says:

"Just do without" proves the speaker does not take the discussion seriously

100 percent of the people who say “just do without” do not want anyone to choose to do without. They’re being facetious.

Basically, it communicates that the speaker is contemptuous of even engaging in a discussion. They’re deliberatlely arguing for a position they hope you don’t take. What business that wants profit angrily insists that you not consume – under ANY circumstances?

That’s what bewilders me. Anti-piracy arguments have historically been hateful, and as a result they discourage people from buying. So why are we hearing them?

Unless, of course, the end game is not purchased movies, music and books, but something else, like privatized feudalism or a legally established right to profit.

Remember, in the past, studios and record labels were satisfied with getting percentages of blank cassette and CD sales, etc. A “tax” on Internet access would have been the end game for the players of the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, and we’d all be comfortable with that.

The harsher, angry responses were not advanced until large conglomerates and equity groups acquired the gatekeepers. These arguments speak for them, not studio and record label owners.

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I agree. I’ve made a similar argument to the effect: “If you don’t like people downloading your content for free, don’t publish any content because that’s the only way you can be sure to stop it.”

Every other measure just encourages people to find more clandestine ways to keep doing it. Start threatening people who torrent, they just use VPN’s to encrypt their activities. They stupidly attack the symptom, but not the cause. People want cheap, portable, and convenient content. They don’t want to be told they can only enjoy it on dictated terms (format locks, DRM, etc).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You do realize that a troll is someone who posts inflammatory comments but really doesn’t believe those comments? Believe it or not, most people in the world believe that piracy is wrong. So an argument could be made that pro-piracy comments are actually troll posts. But I digress, the point I was trying to make was that calling someone a troll simply because their opinion differs from your own or even the vast majority of the community is not only a form of censorship, it is factually inaccurate as well.

rubberpants says:

Duality

The industry is perfectly comfortable wearing the hat that suits them at any particular moment.

Artists getting screwed out of royalties? Time to put on the business hat. “They should have gotten better contracts. It’s not like its a moral issue if creators aren’t compensated fairly. It’s just business.”

Someone watched Game of Thrones without paying for it? Time to remove the business hat and put on the moral hat. “Not compensating creators fairly is just wrong. This is a moral issue not a business issue.”

Talking about the fact that someone not consuming the media or pirating it is exactly the same (or worse) from a business perspective is totally lost on them because if we’re talking about piracy they want to have a a moral discussion, not a business discussion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Duality

It really is all about business. Arguments could be made that without a record label no one would know who Elvis Pressley was. It is a symbiotic relationship, in many cases the rights holder (studio) has an unfair advantage in the contract, but that is because the artist agreed to the terms of the contract. Studios used to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into acts (vocal trainers, image consultants, assistants, acting coaches, plastic surgery, studio musicians, etc…) Now they wont take the risk, so you can thank piracy for fewer studio releases. Now all we get are copies of existing success stories. You guys complain about the fact that the same things keep coming out, Transformers IX, or whatever, but the reason is risk aversion on the part of the studios. Why invest the money when the risk involved is so great?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Duality

Are you sure about that?

You think Internet Piracy is responsible for the copying of existing success stories?

So Internet Piracy was rampant, like now, in 1980’s?

Maybe you should watch the interview with Billy Corgan on The Hour (CBC show) where he explains how bands were given the option – sign and sound like we want you to sound or beat it.

How about the Cure, before being picked up by Fiction Records, they won a contract with Hansa records who wanted them (in 1978) to play covers of I Fought The Law? No repeat of success there.

And hair bands? How many 80’s hair bands sounded like one another?

How about the 90’s, once grunge hit, how many bands were pushed to sound like Pearl Jam?

This “copies of success” process has been around for a LONG time. Before the 80’s, even back in the 50’s and 60’s, the only difference was that you had songwriters being pushed to write songs like the other hits and you had performers who were told “sing this like that” and they did it.

Yes, the Beatles inspired bands to write their own, but they still had to copy success in many cases.

That “copy success” process only increased from the 60’s but instead of pushing songwriters and performers, they pushed bands who did the writing and performing.

Unless they liked your sound, and only if *your* sound sold were you allowed to keep it.

Fucking Def Leppard’s Joe Elliot changed his singing style to scream like AC/DC and get more sales. I suppose that could not be related to having the same producer huh, Mutt Lange?

Nah, only due to Internet Piracy, since Napster, have studios started pushing bands to mimic success stores. Riiiight.

And they stopped investing in bands in the 80’s, once grunge came out they didn’t have to give them money for looks or singing lessons, if they couldn’t already sing.

I think you’re confusing the old movie studios where they trained the likes of Ginger Rogers or Bing Crosby. Those people, those old black and white movies, required actors to be able to sing and dance as well as act. They were trained.

That’s not the case for music labels today and has not been the case for a very long time. If you can’t already sing, you don’t get a chance, unless you’re super hot, now they just autoTune you, put you in provocative clothing, and market your ass to sell, sell, sell, then when you’re no longer a cash cow, you’re thrown out with the garbage.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Duality

And they stopped investing in bands in the 80’s, once grunge came out they didn’t have to give them money for looks or singing lessons, if they couldn’t already sing.

Clarification:
They stopped investing in the 80’s, AND once grunge came out (in the 90’s) they didn’t bother investing….

I know grunge wasn’t in the 80’s.

Overcast (profile) says:

Fine – I’ll go without, I don’t care. Radio’s free – and you ‘content creators’ are the ones paying for it to boot! lol

How’s that dynamic work? And Radio is the driving force (free music) behind these ‘content creators making any money at all – isn’t it?

So I guess whenever I listen to the radio, I’m “stealing too” Bob?

Well?

Ninja (profile) says:

Pretty on spot this article. “Let them eat brioche” won’t stop the people from cutting your head if they are hungry and you are living in wealth. Sure the phrase attribute to Maria Antonieta is more of a legend than truth but it speaks volumes about what’s happening now. The legacy players are simply being replaced by the younger generation. They can yell “Let them eat brioche” as much as they want but all they’ll get for this behavior is the guillotine.

What I’m starting to see is people moving away from mainstream content (the content produced by the legacy players) into new stuff. Sometimes part of that content come from legacy artists that actually grasp what’s happening and left the “legacy” to join the vanguard.

As for ‘vengeance piracy’ if I know the artist gets furious with piracy and he/she is an arsehole towards their fans in piracy I admit I get pretty tempted to download just for the heck of it. And I’ve done that more than once just to delete afterwards. Childish? Maybe. But provides some ‘forever alone’ laughs 😉

ChrisB (profile) says:

Infringement worth a few cents

Copyright maximalist should be careful how much they clamp down. The 2 hour DVD sitting on my shelf, gathering dust, can be LEGALLY lent to other people (due to the First Sale doctrine). In a year, over 4000 people could LEGALLY watch my copy of that movie. Assuming a $20 initial cost, that is about half a cent per person per year. It is only due to physical restrictions (e.g., mailing the DVD), not legal restriction, that we can’t do this. This is why people think this clamp down on piracy is bullsh!t. A downloader is depriving a content creator of a few cents, not $20, because he could just have easily borrowed it from a friend, neighbor, etc. We just don’t, right now, because the police aren’t knocking at our door. If they start, then community collectives, libraries, online personal streaming and mail swapping services will spring up which will accomplish the exact same level of “file lending”, but all legal.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Infringement worth a few cents

ChrisB, stop with the “I could send it to my friend” bullshit. You know as well as I do that you don’t have 4,000 friends. So you are defending bit torrent sites because you could share your DVD? They are completely different, you don’t know the 4,000 people who download the pieces of code from your computer. And some of those people actually WOULD buy if it weren’t available on BT. There is actual money lost because of illegal downloads, obviously not as much as some people think, but still some none the less.

ChrisB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Infringement worth a few cents

> you don’t know the 4,000 people

Since when has the 1st sale doctrine required I know who I lend to? Does a library “know” everyone they lend to?

> defending bit torrent

I’m not saying they aren’t illegal, but I’m saying is the losses are minimal, and certainly don’t deserve the penalties meted out.

> some of those people actually WOULD buy

… but many more could be convinced NOT to buy if everyone lent out their movies. Right now, the content creators earn from our laziness. If I stood at a RedBox with a bag of movies to share, I don’t think Hollywood would be happy, but they couldn’t do a thing about it.

MRK says:

The good part about “Just Go Without” is that it is effectively a boycott.

Rather than getting angry about DRM and pirating a video game, why not put your time and money into supporting a content creator that isn’t hostile to consumers?

IP companies see a pirated copy as a lost sale (as erroneous as that is, it is what they think) so pirating something just encourages this mentality.

If you really care, and want to effect REAL change, you have to be willing to make sacrifices.

It is easy to have principles when they don’t matter. The real measure of a person is what they are willing to give up in support of those principles.

Anonymous Coward says:

How long before the new TV's with built in Cameras start 'charging' for public performances when 'non family' members are present?

Just like the insurance company getting license plate info, media companies getting ‘more control’ over their customers is a bad thing.

The tech may seem ‘cool’ now, but when the TV stops watching your moves in video games, and starts reporting that you are showing movies to 10 people at a time and charging you for a public performance, it won’t be so ‘cool’ anymore ;(

So much amazing technology, and we continue to insist on living in the past (probably with good reason)…

Just because I might be a paranoid conspiracy theorist, doesn’t mean someone isn’t out to get me…

Bill Reid says:

Not the same

I get so sick of analogies where piracy is compared to theft.

“I can write an open letter asking the food companies to do better on calories/taste/freshness/whatever and until they do, I’ll feel free to just shoplift whatever I want…”

That’s not a fair comparison. When you shoplift, you’ve taken physical goods from a manufacturer who can no longer profit from those goods. If the MPAA only allowed 1000 copies of a movie to be disseminated, and pirates subtracted from that amount when they copied it, then it might be a fair analogy. But no one is downloading physical DVDs with packaging from a store, nor preventing the manufacturer from profiting from the sale of that object.

drew (profile) says:

Re: Not the same

I finally found a decent analogue / digital analogy the other week.
Our work place provides free coffee from vending machines – it’s not very nice but it’s hot and caffienated and that’s what important.
But they also have vending machines that sell cold drinks and you can pay for coffee in the shop downstairs (but you can’t compete with free! sorry, I’ll move on).
The analogy comes into play on this story because the vending machines don’t accept ?2 coins. These have been in use for about 15 years. The other day I wanted a coke and the only cash I had with me was a ?2 coin.
But because the vending machine company hadn’t updated the machine to take ?2 coins they didn’t get their money and I went and got a free coffee instead.
I wanted to pay for something but their decision not to update their transaction system meant that I went and got a free alternative. I wasn’t happy, they weren’t happy.
Doesn’t that sound familiar?

DannyB (profile) says:

I wish piracy really could be done away with. Completely. Totally.

That way, people would pay, or do without. Yes. Really. That would force the “do without” option.

Content creators would adapt. In the process, gatekeepers would probably disappear. Much like independent authors can go straight to Amazon and their eBook could be much cheaper than if it came from a “publisher” (gatekeeper, middleman).

But mostly, I wish piracy could disappear because it would put an end to the excuses why the gatekeepers want to completely and utterly destroy our freedoms and have arbitrary and absolute power to put down anything they happen to not like, just to be malevolent. There would be no excuse for travesties like DMCA, SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, TPP, etc.

People might also just choose to “do without” just because they are sick of reruns upon reruns, lack of creativity, endless ads, bugs in the corner of the tv, animated distractions during the show, or for DVDs, endless unskippable previews, moronic warnings, etc.

Of course, the gatekeepers will deny that anyone is taking the “do without” option. Eg, nobody is really cutting the cable cord. They’ll also denounce or simply ignore the fact that cord cutters might have a growing number of actual alternatives.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“I wish piracy really could be done away with. Completely. Totally.”

Think logically, please. Imagine if tomorrow, piracy became impossible. Now, how would that have occurred?
Through a massive change in society, where all materials and equipment capable of copying are locked down (from pencils and paper to computers) and people are satisfied with having their every move monitored.

Anonymous Coward says:

I very frequently do ‘go without’ and the number one reason I do is lack of the content on the pirate sites. If I see a game, movie or book I like and the price is right, I start to get out my credit card. I then begin researching what restrictions there are. The restrictions are often not easy to confirm until after purchase and I’m not about to give up my consumer rights just because the seller says so.

If I want to buy the content, but the restrictions violate my rights, the next thing I do is try to find it on the pirate sites. If it’s there, I’ll continue with my purchase because I know I can fall back on the pirate version when I need to. It’s usually the independent content that I have to check on since all the big name stuff is nearly always available through piracy.

If it’s not available on the pirate sites, I go without.

anon says:

Why!!!

Those who use nefarious means to keep there control over there content so as to attempt to make it scarce in the market are not listening to the message, they will continue to believe they have the moral high ground, and say that if you cannot afford it you should not steal it, how i wish i could bash that word steal into there faces over and over until they understood that there is a very big difference between sharing and theft, theft is what they do when they steal ideas from people without compensation, when they create content that is not worth the money to watch it but they con people with fancy trailers making the movies look great. They are the thieves, we are sharing entertainment with each other and we do not charge each other, we share files that are copies of others, there is no content until we have reconstituted the 1’s and 0’s on our equipment with programs designed to do that job that they have no input into. Nothing about watching a shared file is wrong, paying those that steal and con people is wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Let me get this straight. I can write an open letter asking the food companies to do better on calories/taste/freshness/whatever and until they do, I’ll feel free to just shoplift whatever I want. They need to earn my money.”

If a store with the same products opened right next door to you and sold it at a higher quality for a lower price, would you still go to the first store out of a moral obligation to pay more money?

ECA (profile) says:

i WONDER

Can I make a wild assertion??

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120821/16141120116/how-random-lawsuit-about-telco-policy-probably-resulted-broad-secret-law-enabling-nsa-to-spy-you.shtml

LETS USE THE NSA logic..

A product with DRM isnt the SAME product as one WITHOUT DRM.(is strawberry ice cream WITHOUT strawberry still strawberry ice cream)
A product in a Different format then the ORIGINAL, so that it will play on Many devices, is not the same as the original..(linen paper, wood paper, Starch paper, rice paper is it ALL JUST PAPER?)
The one in that the corp has in Storage is the original, and everything ELSE is a copy. So making a COPY of a COPY shouldnt be against the law.(you can build your OWN Cobra Shelby car, and NOT be taken to court)
If I augment something to Change it, even in a SMALL way to fit/adjust/adapt it to my needs..Isnt this a NEW item? Wouldnt it be nice if the Originators of the product HAD MADE this distinction so that I could have it WORK in a way that would FIT my needs?

Anonymous Coward says:

?Pirated content is usually free of DRM, regional restrictions, limited installs, etc. Why is it free of this? Because piracy is efficient. Not needing to serve hundreds of masters with licensing/royalty fiefdoms, pirated goods are streamlined to deliver what potential customers actually want: content. The price is just icing on the cake.?

Firstly, Pirated content is USUALLY free of DRM? Are you telling me that some pirates actually put their own DRM in place of the rights holder?s DRM? I find that highly unlikely. Then you go on to proclaim that this is because piracy is efficient. So adding their own ?pirate? DRM makes them efficient? Yes, I am being snarky, your writing style is filled with snark so let?s snark it up. I am glad that you understand that what people actually want is CONTENT. It doesn?t matter what your distribution method is (even if you could magically compress an entire season?s worth of 1080p content into a file the size of a 16px X 16px GIF file) without content (whether that is USER generated or produced by a professional crew) no service will flourish. I think that the point you are trying to make is that people pirate ?becuz of the DRMz?, which is oversimplifying to the point that it is absurd. The content industry could argue that people pirate because they don?t want to spend any money. Everyone knows that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Some people will NEVER pay for content. Some people WOULD pay for content if they couldn?t find it on a pirate site. Some people WOULD pay for content if they could get it. Some people are frustrated with DRM and use that as an excuse to pirate. Some people will NEVER pirate even if it means they cannot access content.

?Whenever this pro-piracy argument is broached, usually in the form of “This is why I pirate,” or “Pirated x doesn’t have this problem,” it is responded to with shocked gasps of “I can’t believe you feel entitled to just take something if it’s not available/at the right price point/otherwise nonexistent.” The person pushing this take generally starts telling those talking up piracy that they could “just go without.” To do otherwise means the commenter (or post author) is nothing more than a child with an outsized sense of entitlement.?

It IS childish to expect the entire world to supply you with entertainment without compensation. The rights holders are people just like you and I, they have the right to market their creative works as they see fit. The free market (free as in free of controls, not as in free as in free of cost) will dictate their level of success. Piracy circumvents the free market, it introduces artificial competition because you aren?t competing against another creative work or another form of entertainment, you are competing against your own content (I am using the word ?you? ambiguously to mean any and all rights holders). You will notice that I used the words ?rights holder? in lieu of content creator, this is because the content creator in many cases sells the rights to someone else. In many cases the content creator is paid by the distributor, which might be the big bad wolf (BIG HOLLYWOOD).

?But let’s look at this in a more realistic way. What exactly does “doing without” do for the content creator? How does “not purchasing” (or not having the option to purchase) the disputed content do anything for the creators? Because the bottom line in both scenarios is that $0 has made its way from the potential customers to the people desiring the income.?

Why is YOUR way more realistic than simply doing without? The reality distortion field is strong with this one! In opposition to your ?reality? I present the following: If the content creator doesn?t create something, the consumer will be doing without, right? You know how to make sure a content creator doesn?t create something new, simply pirate their work and ensure that they don?t make any money. You seem to think that FANS = SUCCESS but I can show you countless cases where that simply isn?t true. So arguments that ?piracy HELPS? are anecdotal at best and almost always cognitive dissonance (people are rationalizing their unethical behavior because it makes them feel better about themselves).

?A bit of the old infringement? Ahhh, the use to casual colloquialisms to endear readers to your side. Not that anyone reading this fluff piece on the virtues of piracy would have any problem discerning pro-piracy stance, but still, it is somewhat tired.

?Then there’s the infringement itself. It takes many forms. Some of it is just watching uploads on YouTube. I’ve caught some BBC series I can’t purchase here in the US via the ‘Tube. Or there are shadier streaming sites that serve a ton of ads along with even rarer uploaded video or stuff YouTube has content-matched right off its servers.?

?..just watching uploads on YouTube?, as if watching pirated content that someone else uploaded is any better than BT downloads. The end result is the same, the person doing this is accessing content to which they are NOT entitled.

?Streaming video is infringement? (Or was, pre-Posner.) Or somehow morally wrong? That’s a position I can’t even fathom.?

Stealing cars is illegal? But I want Chevy to lease me a 2013 Camaro for $1/day. I refuse to pay more. I?m willing to pay but they won?t meet my demands. Plus I want one that gets 100MPG, so until they can provide that should I be allowed to infringe on their rights and just borrow one, RIGHT?

?I realize that ad revenue or DVD sales are “lost” when this happens but I have a hard time believing a temporary video stream represents a true loss to the creators. It’s not as though it’s residing on my hard drive and being transported to and fro by portable devices. It’s not a replacement for an actual product I can use in a more versatile fashion.?

If I just borrow the car, I don?t retain permanent ownership so it isn?t theft, RIGHT? People who stream illegally distributed content instead of purchasing a legitimate stream are taking something. They are taking the experience of watching the content and doing so without providing compensation to the rights holder.

To me, streaming video is about as “infringing” as going over to a friend’s house to watch their TV. True, the internet gives me a bigger selection of “friends” and a bottomless DVD selection. Other than that, when I’m done with the stream I “leave my friend’s house” and the “DVD” stays with “him.” If I want to watch it again, I can’t do it from my TV. I have to visit him again.

Let me be clear on this, the 700 people on your Facebook account are not really your ?friends?. The thousands of people using BT to get the latest Batman installment are not even acquainted. Your comparison of going to your friends? house with downloading movies from BT shows how strong your reality distortion field really is. Watching a movie at a friend?s house actually is providing a service to the rights holders, you are exposing that person to something he or she might purchase. Providing an always available, easily accessible, free, pirated copy of a movie to millions of people simply abets infringers. (I firmly believe that Judge Posner?s opinions will be overturned or simply ignored when considerations of precedent occur)

?Even if it does somehow do “irreparable damage” to the rights holders, what’s stopping them from just erecting a streaming site of their own? Or at least something much better than what exists now in various crippled forms? The attempts to shut these sites down seem to indicate that massive amounts of potential earnings are being siphoned away. If so, why put up with it? Build your own and collect the ad revenue, just like the operators of these sites do.?

I agree in principle that part of the responsibility for some of the infringement lies with rights holders? neglecting the digital marketplace. I would much rather purchase content directly from the rights holder, that way I know I am reimbursing the appropriate person or organization. Ideally I could see a wholesale marketplace so that competitors can choose to lower their prices. Unfortunately, I can?t see that ever happening, there are too many power players pushing for exclusive distribution rights. You can actually blame part of the problem on Apple, Amazon, Vudu, etc?

My guess is: not enough money. Ad-supported streaming sites can’t match the licensing fees these companies can extract from other services. So we’re right back where we started: money being left on the table.

Absolutely, RIGHT! The first thing you have said that I have no argument against.

How about all these file lockers that are such a threat to the American Way of Life? that we need to send the combined forces of the local SWAT team and FBI in order to show that We Are Indeed Serious About Pirates? Aren’t they making a killing? Christ, look at Dotcom. Virtually swimming in opulence and personal tanks. He’s a multi-millionaire. Do what he does. Throw all your stuff onto some servers, get the links passed around the internet, sell faster access for monthly rates and start re-living the life you always thought you’d be living.

I don?t think shoehorning everyone into an ad sponsored business model is the thing to do, and I know I am not alone in this. Many people are tired of seeing ads on almost everything around us. It?s advertising overload, I would rather pay a reasonable fee to free myself from advertising than pay nothing and be forced to watch ads. Yes I know about ad blockers, I chose not to use them because I do try to provide the content creators, Techdirt included, with a revenue stream.

?Can’t figure out how to do any of the above without dealing with a nightmarish tangle of royalties, licensing and release windows? Don’t look at me. I never thought any of those things were good ideas. Here’s a suggestion: create a blanket licensing group for this new venture a la ASCAP. Dump it all into a big pool and trickle the monies down on the usual suspects. Or, you know, go one better and use all this precise info you’ll be gathering to actually pay the creators appropriately.?

As I said earlier, it?s the YouTube?s, the Netflix?s, the Vudu?s that are causing part of the problem. You seem to want to put all the blame on the content industry, but it?s the distributors that have caused this mess. Everyone wants exclusive content to draw people to their business.

I don’t know what’s more annoying: the moral ground cowboys who would rather the creators made no money than fix their broken delivery systems or the industry “titans” who are constantly being outdone by any techie who can set up a decent file locker.

I am not a ?moral ground cowboy?, nor am I a pro-piracy shill sent by the Pirate Party, I am a pragmatist. Ultimately what needs to happen is that content needs to made available digitally, in diverse formats, at reasonable prices and consumers should be forced to go through legitimate channels to obtain that content. If you take away all of the DRM arguments: ease of use, availability, file size, time-shifting, place-shifting, etc. There would still be people who would choose to pirate. Nothing will ever prevent piracy but more can be done to limit piracy. Just like more can be done by the industry to provide access to the content.

P.S. This argument also bugs me: “X is an asshole so I’m going to pirate the shit out him.” Really? I don’t know how someone can argue “piracy’s effect is overstated” or “piracy is a convenient scapegoat for the content industries” and then make a grand statement that you’re going to punish someone by doing something ineffectual, only ANGRIER. Vindictive piracy makes absolutely no sense.

Whole-heartedly Agree! If you pirate content just to spite them, it provides ammunition for them. They can point to the levels of piracy as being a cause of action on the part of the legal system. If there is very little piracy there is little reason for the industry to be reactionary.

Devils Advocate says:

The answer to it all is simple, folks, and I’m surprised the media companies haven’t done it before now. All they have to do is force everyone in the world back onto Dialup Internet Access, and that will stop _ALL_ the behaviors they whine about to the US Government. The media companies own ALL the Cable/DSL/Satellite internet connections directly or via a subsidiary, so they don’t even have to ask for permission to discontinue the services. Just be willing to cut off that revenue stream, and piracy will end IMMEDIATLY.

Jesse (profile) says:

Streaming

It’s not as though it’s residing on my hard drive and being transported to and fro by portable devices. It’s not a replacement for an actual product I can use in a more versatile fashion.

One thing I’ll note is that I use stream sites like Youtube to get all my content. Using realplayer downloader plugin and a format converter I get all my music, and there is a low risk of being sued by studios. Even if I were sued, I think there is a good defense as all that content is saved to a temp folder on your hard drive anyways. It would be a big step to outlaw using content that is automatically downloaded to a temp folder.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Streaming

Keep telling yourself that. Justify your piracy by using loopholes. It’s like using a tax loophole that your really aren’t entitled to use, claim head of household even though you only have your child every other weekend and every Tuesday and Thursday. No one knows except you, right? Character is how you act when no one is looking. How do you feel about yourself when you take a song? Probably pretty good, how would you feel about yourself if everyone did exactly what you are going and no more songs were made because musicians had to get “real” jobs? It all seems so harmless until you realize that if everyone did the same thing you are doing that the entire entertainment industry would cease to exist, and in this case I am not talking about the MPAA or the RIAA members, I am talking about the entire entertainment industry. If everyone pirated content there would be no more content to be had, it would be all homemade video clips of dancing fat kids and boring documentaries.

Anonymous Coward says:

“What exactly does “doing without” do for the content creator? How does “not purchasing” (or not having the option to purchase) the disputed content do anything for the creators? Because the bottom line in both scenarios is that $0 has made its way from the potential customers to the people desiring the income.”

Here’s the true bullshit mentality that says “Mike Masnick supports piracy”. I know, I know, you claim you don’t support piracy. But this paragraph alone is the build up to why you think piracy (or unpaid enjoyment of other people’s stuff) is acceptable. If the maker is going to get 0 either way, why not just enjoy it?

The truth is Mike that when you do without X, you often then enjoy Y. When you do without a movie, you don’t just sit still, turning your brain off and doing nothing for 108 minutes. You do something else. If that something else is legal (like watching a movie you paid for or have the rights to watch) you have done something. So X got nothing, but Y got something.

Life doesn’t operate like an economics calculation, done seperately for each transaction. Humans operate fluidly from one thing to another. There is always another transaction or another thing happening in absence of something.

So your justification for piracy, while amusing, is weak. But it does show you for the piracy supporter that you truly are.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Actually Mike’s point is flawless

Thing is the whole reason piracy was claimed to be wrong in the first place is “lost sales”.

Since both “piracy” and “doing without” have the exact same results for the copyright holder just “doing without” instead of pirating is meaningless morality wise

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Nope, doing without X doesn’t mean that the consumer stops dead for 90 minutes and does nothing. Doing without X means doing Y. It’s never the same results.

if they pirate, we know what they will be doing for the next 90 minutes. If they don’t pirate, who knows?

It’s just a simplistic way to justify piracy, and it doesn’t fly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Not quite.

If you do without X, X is deprived of any possible and potential income that could have arrived in the form of purchasing the next release.

So someone spends the money they would have spent on X on Y, only Y isn’t a movie or CD, it’s a video game. The movie and music studios will still bitch and complain. The content rights holder, and obviously the creator, still get $0.

However, they lose even more, because now they have 0 potential for FUTURE income.

You sound like an investment banker, economically short-sighted.

If we actually could stop all filesharing of copyrighted works, I guarantee you’d see even lower sales. But that’s what you want isn’t it. Then you could claim the indie movies and music are really copies of corporate owned material, but it’s so well hidden like the samples in Vogue.

So then you can destroy the Internet’s filesharing ability completely. Won’t that be nice, kill off the obvious competition who’d actually benefit by the lack of corporate content on the filesharing networks?

Only then would the people who bitch and complain, MAYBE, see more income from the complete destruction of competition. That’s really the goal isn’t it?

Considering how piracy helped Battlestar Galactica become the highest watched Sci-Fi in the US months after coming out in the UK.

What if they didn’t see it, what would the viewership/ad revenue and DVD sales be like? No confirmed good promotion (we all know the studios think their shit is good regardless), so what would that result in? Less sales!

It’s not a justification, it’s a “stop the bullshit” with the “do without” argument, because that’s all it is; bullshit.

Anonymous Coward says:

People who tout the “Just Go Without” argument pretty much acknowledge there’s no interest to treat the rest of the world (with paying customers, even!) as existent. They think it’s not worth the time to make the investment. “Sucks to be you to be born in the wrong country. Now go do without, you non-American loser!”

As if that’s not enough, I have to sit here and watch copytard sycophants insist that we’re all pirates. Seriously? You decide that we should “just go without” – we decide that you’re going to “just go without” our money. Why are you entitled to the money if you didn’t make the investment to make that profit? Why is that logic alright for you but not paying customers?

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