The Content Industry Keeps Penalizing The People Who Actually Pay

from the i-know-the-feeling dept

I’ve pointed out before that, contrary to the smug insistence of many people who dislike this site, I don’t download any unauthorized content. At all. In 1999 I had Napster on my computer, but I was stuck on a dialup connection, so I never had a chance to test it out before it got shut down (and, at the time I had no real desire to listen to music via my computer). Since that time, I’ve always legally obtained the various content I consume, preferably directly from artists themselves, but otherwise through buying the CD or via Amazon or CD Baby (and now I use Spotify a lot too, though I still like to directly support artists when I can). Despite people insisting that I must be “pirate Mike,” as I’ve said repeatedly, I’m simply not comfortable with going against the wishes of copyright holders. My arguments concerning the economics of free and why I think many artists should embrace these markets has a lot to do with what I think would be best for them, but I’ve never tried to use that to justify copyright infringement (again, contrary to what some insist).

During the SOPA fight, I explained this to someone who was heavily involved on the other side of the debate, and he simply couldn’t believe it, and made comments to the effect that even he would download unauthorized content, even if he felt it was wrong and he felt morally obligated to pass an internet-harming law to try to prevent himself from continuing to do so. Of course, for what it’s worth, I’m sure that I accidentally and incidentally infringe all of the time. Someone sends me a YouTube video? Could be infringing. These days it’s impossible not to accidentally infringe all the time. But when it comes to actually getting copies of content, I feel a personal obligation to do so in an authorized manner.

So, I identify quite closely with Brian Barrett’s recent article at Gizmodo, where he basically explains that he’s just like me: he pays for all the content he consumes. And he follows it up by noting that, even as he knows this is the “right” thing to do, it makes him “feel like a sucker,” because the experience he gets is much worse than what those who download unauthorized copies get.

I waited nearly a full year to watch Game of Thrones, because that’s how long it took to get from HBO to iTunes. If I had any interest in purchasing a Avatar 3D Blu-ray, I would have either had to buy a Panasonic 3DTV or wait three years just for the right to spend thirty bucks on FernGully with giant blue cat-people having tail sex.

Even content that’s accessible doesn’t often make much financial sense. Amazon’s the most reasonably priced e-retailer in the world (seriously, it’s got 1,000 albums for five bucks each right now), but even it can be fraught with peril and annoyance. Ebooks that cost more than their paperback equivalents. The specter of DRM haunting every click. A layout so unnavigable you feel like you’re being punished.

Want to comparison shop? Forget about it. Ecosystems aren’t just apps and software anymore, they’re movies and TV shows and everything you’d ever want to watch, read, or listen to. On any given day the best price might be on Amazon or iTunes or Google Play or Xbox, but if you want the simple comfort of knowing everything you paid for with your own American dollars lives in one place? Expect to pay full freight for most of it.

This is why I’ve always been arguing from the position of copyright holders and the content creators for why they shouldn’t just scream about how awful piracy is, but rather learn from it, and note that many people who are infringing are getting a better user experience. When they don’t do that, the end result may not be “infringement,” but it may just be people dropping out of the market entirely. Lately, that’s what I’ve done with movies. Despite being a movie buff, the limitations and controls on movie efforts has just made the whole thing not worth it. Combined with less time than I used to have (yay, family life), it’s made me pretty much stop watching movies or TV shows over the past two years. These days, the market is so fragmented, and the offerings still all seem so half-baked, that I’d rather spend my time reading or writing or just spending time with friends and family. I don’t necessarily feel like a “sucker” as Brian does, but I find that it’s just not worth the hassle.

Eventually, I figure the market will catch up, and perhaps I’ll go back to it at that point. But if the industry has lost some of my spending dollars it’s not because of infringement — but because they’ve failed to deliver a compelling customer experience for me.

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Comments on “The Content Industry Keeps Penalizing The People Who Actually Pay”

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111 Comments
DannyB (profile) says:

You get what you pay for

When you pay, you get . . .

* DRM
* Your digital collection dies when you die
* Release Windows
* Region Restrictions
* 20 minutes of unskippable commercials
* Ridiculous FIB warnings
* Limits on how many devices you can play your content on
(Gee, nobody would own more than X number of devices)
* Weird restrictions on sharing with your immediate family members
(Gee, nobody else in my house would want to watch this digital copy)
* Inability to lend like real lending would work with a physical copy

Anonymous Coward says:

It still comes back to the same thing: No matter how bad they are, there is still no justification for piracy. If you don’t like what is on offer, just do without it.

This is like a weekly tradition here at Techdirt, coming up with some other way of excusing piracy.

If you don’t like it, don’t buy it – and don’t pirate it.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Remember the bottom line.

Yes, some time ago I realised that for the actual creator of content the priorities usually work this way around:

1) That the work should be widely seen/read/heard/used/played.

2) That the creator should be identified.

3) That the creator should derive some income from the work.

However for a publisher who merely buys sells and holds the rights to content these priorities tend to be reversed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Remember the bottom line.

“If you’re really worried about the money, a pirate and a lost customer “doing without” look exactly the same.

Being sanctimonious gains you nothing.”

Holy fuck, this is like the biggest lie on Techdirt this month. It’s so full of crap, it’s beyond understanding.

When you choose to get your entertainment for free (instead of paying what really is a nominal price to enjoy million dollar movies), you don’t choose another entertainment source and pay for that – you don’t pay at all. You just sit on your ass and enjoy free stuff.

Directly or indirectly, you have hurt the entertainment economy. Doubly so if you turn around and spend the money on non-entertainment things – or worse, that you consumer well beyond your ability to pay, so your sale really is lost.

Moreover, piracy teaches you not to pay again in the future. It teaches other people to do the same. You don’t look forward to going to see the latest movie in a theater or renting the DVD, you just look for the free option.

You are now a drag, a liability, and one that constantly is teaching their friends that piracy is okay, that you can give them movies for nothing, and why should they pay?

Your actions are like dropping stones in pond. The little slash is nothing compared to the ripples.

It’s not about your money. If you don’t want to pay, that’s fine and that’s your choice. Stop trying to covert others.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Remember the bottom line.

“If you don’t want to pay, that’s fine and that’s your choice.”

Yet, when we do exactly that, and find something else to do or just enjoy things for free legally, you still accuse us of piracy.

How about not lying and maybe listen when we tell you how we wish to give you money? If you want to see some lies, look no further than your own assertions.

“You don’t look forward to going to see the latest movie in a theater or renting the DVD, you just look for the free option.”

The free option currently includes radio, TV, free eBooks, YouTube (yes legal, high quality content does exist), streaming services such as Spotify, Hulu, iPlayer and the like as well as library rentals, borrowing from friends and all the other PERFECTLY LEGAL things that people can do as well. It also involves going into my 200+ game library, 800+ CD library and 1500+ DVD/Blu Ray library to consume content that I own. I don’t have to buy whatever newly polished turd you’re trying to push if I don’t want to.

Perhaps if you finally grasped that your “pay us money or you’re a pirate” stance is a lie, and that there’s a great many ways that customers can be convinced to pay either directly or indirectly without legal action (such as making the damn content available for purchase), you might be able to grasp the more nuanced conversation that’s actually happening.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Remember the bottom line.

Holy fuck, this is like the biggest lie on Techdirt this month. It’s so full of crap, it’s beyond understanding.

That is a really good title for the rest of your comment.

Don’t you understand anything?

When you choose to get your entertainment for free (instead of paying what really is a nominal price to enjoy million dollar movies), you don’t choose another entertainment source and pay for that – you don’t pay at all. You just sit on your ass and enjoy free stuff.

Directly or indirectly, you have hurt the entertainment economy.

No you haven’t. They have exactly the same number of dollars as if you had simply gone without or made your own entertainment.

“A difference that makes no difference is no difference”

Moreover, piracy teaches you not to pay again in the future. It teaches other people to do the same. You don’t look forward to going to see the latest movie in a theater or renting the DVD, you just look for the free option.

Ah so this is what you’re about – the “moral degeneracy argument”.

Well firstly I’d like to say that the free market is founded on looking for the cheapest option – so you can’t attack that without attacking the free market.

Secondly it works the other way around too. If you’ve been used to monopoly rents then you keep looking for them and don’t bother to get off your backside and create something new.

You are now a drag, a liability, and one that constantly is teaching their friends that piracy is okay, that you can give them movies for nothing, and why should they pay?

Only those who pay have a say in what is produced – so if you never pay then the odds are that movies you like won’t be made in future. If you understand that then you will choose to pay, although you may not wish to pay in a way that advances the moral degeneracy of copyright.

sehlat (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Ever notice how copyright maximalists always think “it’s all about piracy” even when it’s not? Mike’s screed is clearly about “not worth the hassle so I’m dropping out.”

I know exactly how he feels.

Movies: With the sole exceptions of “Avengers” (which was recommended by world+dog) and “Cars 2” (which destroyed my faith in Pixar), I haven’t been to a movie in the past few years. (Noisy theaters, expensive tickets, snack prices in the Oort Cloud, no subtitles for my progressively deteriorating hearing.) Sooo… netflix for me and my family.

Music: Subscription to sky.fm, DRM-free paid downloads from CD-baby and other legal sites. Don’t do it often because I’ve already got gigs of music.

Books: Pretty much quit buying anything but Baen after the Great Amazon-Publisher War when the publishers jacked prices to the moon and took total control of “their” market, as if they were the only people who mattered. Screw ’em.

Mike’s right.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Movies: With the sole exceptions of “Avengers” (which was recommended by world+dog) and “Cars 2” (which destroyed my faith in Pixar), I haven’t been to a movie in the past few years. (Noisy theaters, expensive tickets, snack prices in the Oort Cloud, no subtitles for my progressively deteriorating hearing.) Sooo… netflix for me and my family.

Can’t do anything about ticket or snack prices, but the theater I attend isn’t noisy or crowded, and there is subtitling available using the Rear Window Captioning System. More theaters should make use of the technology.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

End result of an unwilling customer “doing without”:
No sale.

End result of an unwilling customer pirating:
No sale.
++size_of_audience;

That extra person may do several things, including tell others how good the thing he pirated is, or be swayed enough by the thing that he will be willing to pay for other things later. Or, he may not; but he certainly won’t if he does without.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Actually, I would say it’s worse. From the article and personal experience, the person that actually does purchase a digital copy is so severely restricted, that they would rather tell people to pirate or not purchase, than have another person go through the same issues. (P.S. Never purchase anything from PSN or Sony’s MediaGo)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“It still comes back to the same thing: No matter how bad they are, there is still no justification for piracy. If you don’t like what is on offer, just do without it.”

In case you didn’t notice, that’s what Mike said. The paid offerings mostly suck, so he is dropping out and “doing without it”. How that’s supposed to help content creators is beyond me though.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Did you even read the article?

There was no justifying piracy at all in it. Mike said he doesn’t pirate. He said he wishes IP owners would make things easier and better. And he said he and his friend don’t like it that pirate get a better product than people who obey the law get. And because the offerings are so terrible, he DOES WITHOUT IT, exactly like you redundantly and sanctimoniously ordered him to.

Crawl back in your troll hole and stay in there until you learn to read.

Despite what you and your blathering ilk seem to claim, there is nothing illegal about deriding bad laws and poor systems, and working toward changing attitudes about them is the best way to encourage bad laws and poor systems to change.

ComputerAddict (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Give him a break, it’s just his ContentID system failing.

It saw an article by Mike that contained the word “Pirate” and it automatically started spewing the canned “Pirate Mike” response. Its not like there is a human behind these content identification systems that are actually reading for context.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Your comment shows how absurd it is to think of intellectual works in the same way as physical goods.

“just doing without” is only the more moral choice when dealing with a situation where the choice is between going without cars and TV sets or stealing them.

But if it’s between piracy and “just doing without” then you’re not doing the copyright holder any favors by refusing to pirate since the whole reason we’re told we should think of copying as wrong is lost sales. “just doing without” won’t get anyone paid for their creative endevors

Milton Freewater says:

Re: Re:

“If you don’t like it, don’t buy it – and don’t pirate it.”

In the spirit of this article, which you did not read but I did, please tell me which works you are speaking for. I will give you my word that once you identify them, I will do without them and not buy or file-share them.

I’m not being snarky here – I want to be a good citizen. I won’t tell you how “crappy” your work is like some do. For all I know, you’re Martin Scorcese.

Just say the word and I promise I will never file-share or purchase your work.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The best part is that he’ll promptly refuse to answer you here, so he can reuse the same tired argument in another thread regardless of relevance.

Really, though, if he’s here complaining that no one is buying one wonders why he doesn’t simply list his works. The way he’s going about it now, it’s not like anyone will be interested in buying.

Archeo says:

You've turned 30!

You perfectly described my experience of turning thirty. Once you prove yourself reliable and capable, you get more and more responsibility: home, work, payments. If your heavily cantilevered collarbones don’t crack in the meantime, things start unloading between ages 45 and 60, by which time you can even find time and money to go to movies again. Truly golden.

Zos (profile) says:

Here’s an example i came up with recently.

I tend to source a lot of my new books via torrent sites. I’m not going to apologize for it. I don’t buy books new, at a book a day habit i haunted used book stores, and used the library.

Now here’s the problem, i’ve moved over to reading mostly on my kindle. I can’t open up the library website and get a copy of a new book. I can reserve it, make the drive down there, and be forced to read it on dead tree, but i can’t have it on my preffered platform.
I try to feel bad about it, but from my end the consumer experience is about the same, except via my computer i don’t have to go to the library, or haul around some rented property fearing constantly that the kids will spill orange juice on it.
I love authors, i love supporting authors, but i’m not going to pay more than new paperback price for a file i’ll likely delete the moment i’m done with it. I’ll pirate that shit, read it how and where i like, then buy them a drink when i meet them at a con sometime.

So why not use dead tree? I’ve spent my entire life, when i go somewhere, having to plan ahead how many books the trip was likely to be, hell for vacations i tended to need a seperate bag. That’s gone. I can carry my entire library and have room for a few thousand more, why would i ever choose dead tree over that?

I’d be happy in most cases to kick in a buck or two for a digital download, if i knew it was going directly to the author. But i’m not paying more to keep gatekeepers on life support.

Zos (profile) says:

Re: Re:

moral of the story is that i’ve got no issue with paying authors who’s work i enjoy, when they figure out how to get it to me in a way i want at a price i can live with.

i was never a sale before, authors get nothing from used book sales. figure out how to monetize MY needs, and i’d be happy to sign on. I’m happy to pay for netflix for example. Even bought stock last year when quickster dropped their price down cheap enough that i could get in.

They Can't Handle The Truth says:

Re: Response to: Zos on Sep 6th, 2012 @ 10:32am

I feel you… I kicked my comic buying habit last year. I torrent every new issue for free and read them on my tablet. The price of comics has shot up to $4 each! It isn’t cost effective! I pay $4 to be entertained for 10 minutes. For $12 I can go see a film and be entertained for an hour and a half to two hours. I can’t even re-sell the comics for what I paid! They immediately drop to 50% -75% of what their worth!

If the comic companies would charge a fair price for their new digital downloads I would be on board, but charging $3 – $4 for them as well is ridiculous!

Chris ODonnell (profile) says:

I haven’t touched my Kindle in a couple of months, and I don’t expect to use again anytime soon. I’ve gotten into reading the Travis McGee novels from the 60s and 70s. They aren’t available on the Kindle, and even if they were, I’m sure they would be $9.99 each. I’m quite happy to give my money to a used book store via Abebooks.com and pay about $3 each after shipping for used copies of the books.

I might pay a little more for the convenience of an immediate digital download for the Kindle, but there is no way I’m paying 300% more over the cost of a used paperback.

Not an Electronic Rodent says:

Re: Re:

I’ve gotten into reading the Travis McGee novels from the 60s and 70s. They aren’t available on the Kindle,

Which is pretty ludicrous if you think about it, given;
A/ How expensive it isn’t to produce a reasonable e-copy (hell, a paper copy, a scanner with a hopper, a decent OCR package and a couple of hours effort would do the job).
B/ How infinitesimal the amount of disk storage is in modern terms that a book requires.
C/ How easily available they are through illegitimate means

You have to wonder why publishers don’t do something like create a service where you can request an e-book from their back catalogue and once it reaches a threshold of interest just knock up an e-edition and sell it at a couple of pounds/dollars a time – almost pure profit on books they’re unlikely to ever release another dead-tree edition of and image the customer good will it would generate!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: E-copies of older books

@Not an Electronic Rodent: I’ve read ebooks from established publishers which were clearly done by scanning a paper copy? Why? Because many words were consistently incorrectly rendered. While it’s relatively easy to do the scan, it requires a proof reader (not a spell checker) to go over the resulting document, and that takes time. It’s an expense which publishers skip on for new books, so they’re not likely to do it for out of print books.

Anonymous Coward says:

“he simply couldn’t believe it, and made comments to the effect that even he would download unauthorized content, even if he felt it was wrong and he felt morally obligated to pass an internet-harming law to try to prevent himself from continuing to do so”

In other words, he’s just like all the secretly gay politicians, who secretly have gay sex, while railing against the evils of gays and gay sex in public in order to win elections?

Aliasundercover says:

especially true of computer software

I have good money I would be willing to spend on software but I rarely ever buy any. If I do I can expect it will:

Demand I agree to many pages of harsh legalese.
Make that demand after money has changed hands.
Make new demands later on.
Phone home possibly reporting what it finds on my computer.
Run all the time in the background.
Update automatically even if I tell it not to.
Require activation.
Refuse to work on more than one computer I own.
Refuse to work on the new computer I get later on.
Display advertising.
Refuse to work for the person I sell or give it to.
Call me a dirty pirate despite having paid.

They will take my money but give me nothing I can own in return. The only people who will actually give me something I can treat as mine don’t actually demand my money and that is the free and open source software community.

There is a lot of money I don’t spend because no one will let me keep and own my copy of what they purport to sell me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: especially true of computer software

The solution?!?!

Open Source. It’s…

Free (as in free puppies)
Free (as in Freedom of Speech)
No Lock-in
Encouraged to be Shared
Many times it’s better than the commercial alternatives (VLC, anybody?!)
More scalable (super-computers to watches)
Some capabilities that commercial software doesn’t have…

Anonymous Coward says:

“It still comes back to the same thing: No matter how bad they are, there is still no justification for piracy. If you don’t like what is on offer, just do without it.”

Done. I’ll take my mounds of disposable income (DINK) and NOT spend it on their crappy offerings. Wait, I’ve been doing that for a couple years already.

If I was a CEO, I’d be terrified of people like me. People with the cash, means, and desire for my products, but I’ve failed so miserably to offer them anything even remotely appealing that they’re willing to completely do without my products. My offerings suck so bad, even pirating my stuff isn’t worth it anymore to these people so now not only have I lost an actual customer, I’ve lost a POTENTIAL customer because they won’t even bother to see if the new stuff I’m offering is worth their money.

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

I won’t say I’m innocent of piracy, but it’s not the first option, and generally represents a failure of the market to provide a good option.

Movies: First, I see if it’s on Netflix. If not, I see if it’s at my local library. If not, I will probably just watch something else. If it’s a rare must-see movie, I’ll but it – USED – from Amazon. If it’s not for sale, I pirate. If it costs way too much (often because it’s out of print) I pirate.

Music: First, I see if it’s at my local library. If not, I still pay for eMusic, so I’ll see if it’s there. I’ll price check that with a USED CD from Amazon. If it’s not for sale, I pirate. If it costs way too much (often because it’s out of print), I pirate, or just buy something else. If they’re indie, I’m likely to buy. If they’re a member of the RIAA, they don’t get my money. I would rather pirate.

But truthfully, I don’t need any more music or movies. I have hundreds of hours of legally free or nearly free content at my fingertips. I’m drowning in it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Well Mike you’re not missing much lol I used Napster on my blazing fast 26.6k with awesome download speeds reaching sometimes high as 3kbs.

1995 to 2005 on dial up was almost enough to drive me insane. I fucking despise callwave kicking me off the net every time someone was calling.

It took me 3 weeks to download WC3 on mIRC to turn around and not even like it within 30 minuets of playing.

gorehound (profile) says:

If you spend your money on Big Content then you are only feeding their greed.Best to spend your money on Indie & Local Art.
I also dislike buying any Non-Physical Art as I want a physical copy which I will have the Right to either Sell some day or at the very least put my Collection in my Will so it can go to my Heir.
I do have a book collection of over 1500 physical pieces.If they were all digital I would get ZERO BACK for them and my Heir would get NOTHING.
Call me a Dinosaur as I do not care.Point One is I truly own every item I have in my home.To do with as I see fit.I could even make a big fire and burn my Library if I felt like it.Point Two my Boycott of all things MAFIAA Continues and will continue as they are Censored from my Wallet.

PopeRatzo (profile) says:

specifically

I’m simply not comfortable with going against the wishes of copyright holders

I don’t really care about the “copyright holders”. I don’t want to go against the wishes of the artists.

I’m not sure I’m prepared to recognize “copyright holders” as a valid category. I don’t believe that “all rights” to a work should be transferable.

Just because I like an artist does not mean I want to give my money to a music conglomerate. When I can buy music directly from the artist, I do. When I cannot buy music directly from the artist, I do not.

Sharkey says:

Access to culture.

It is a fundamental right of all citizens that they have free access to culture. This is the founding principle of public libraries, and the reason that we are allowed to take out books/cd’s/movies/games etc without paying for them. By allowing the borrowing of these items, it allows people to try before they buy, and ensures that those with lower incomes still have access.

The internet is the biggest library the world has ever known, and can provide free access to all the worlds culture in one place. Citizens are entitled to download anything they like from this library with the same restrictions that they would have in a bricks and mortar library (i.e. you can’t keep it forever).

THIS IS A HUMAN RIGHT THAT CANNOT BE TAKEN AWAY FROM YOU!

In other words, download what you like, watch/read/enjoy it, then if you like it, buy it. Simples.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Access to culture.

The only (not so minor) difference is that this world’s-biggest-library is also a Star Trek replicator. You’re not borrowing from the library a distinct physical copy that someone else can’t simultaneously borrow, which changes the dynamic quite a lot.

I love to support authors of digital goods (and that’s authors, not rightsholders), but unless I really, really like them, I’m not likely to find much value in paying just for files.

Ninja (profile) says:

I pirate. Then whenever I stumble upon a title I feel it’s worth buying and does not have any tie with the MAFIAA I buy it. I also avoid some software companies and other digital goods producers including an arsehole in Android that could have my $5 but since he’s an asshole I refuse to buy his application and instead use a not so good but free app.

/rant

Jim B. says:

Hits home here

I bought some books years ago in hardback. Over the years I lost them. When the Nook Color came out I repurchased those same e-books. You quickly find out that it is damn hard holding those devices for extended periods, as I am now older. So, I bought a Kindle touch which weights a bit less than a paperback book.

The problem? The DRM penalizes me as I can’t transfer those books to my Kindle. So, another legitimate user screwed by the publishers.

Those books cost a lot and I find that most of these online e-book sales are not protecting my investment as apparently I don’t own the e-books. Where does that leave me and what direction would it force me to take?

BigKeithO says:

Re: Hits home here

You could do the work yourself and transfer the files to your Kindle?

1. Download Nook DRM Removal Tool, strip out the DRM.
2. Download Caliber and to manage your books on your PC, convert to MOBI format and load on the Kindle.
3. ???
4. Profit!

Or just go to The Pirate Bay and download your books again DRM free…

bob (profile) says:

Well duh....

It’s much easier to ship something if you don’t have to pay salaries or health care or pensions of the people working on the project.

Heck, I could run a better Sam’s Club by just getting rid of the cashiers or that annoying person at the door checking receipts.

I could run a better doctor’s office if I didn’t have to have people fill out those dumb forms.

But in all of those cases and in all other parts of commerce, we have headaches because they’re the only way we can keep things fair. The doctors need to check for insurance because that’s the only way to be fair to the people who pay for insurance. The folks at Sam’s Club have to check receipts because otherwise people will steal them blind.

And before you go off on your bogus claims that digital goods can withstand infinite sharing, that’s wrong. We need the DRM and the other stuff to make sure that everyone pays their fair share of the development costs. And believe you me, the costs for developing the Game of Thrones are huge. It’s all about fairness and making sure that the people who enjoy a project are kicking in their fair share. The broader we spread the costs, the lower we can make them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Well duh....

There’s no issue (among reasonable people) with paying for content. The issue is price and convenience versus the economies of the delivery method. The internet makes reproduction and delivery cost close to zero… much lower than physical delivery. Yet publishers want to push product at the higher physical copy price point and pocket tge difference… all after removing fair use terms and restricitng viewing options and limiting the duration of viewing rights.

How can your point stand against a format shiftin argument, for example? Why is it OK for a publisher to lower his costs while restricting options of the purchaser to relocate it to a disk or transfer it to a portable device? Lets forget about illegal copying for a second and focus on legit consumers… How do you reconcile the economics versus the addditional restrictions?

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Re: Well duh....

So when does HBO go “We can’t make Game of Thrones because there isn’t enough money.”

Where is anyone in Hollywood saying “this movie will cost too much. We can’t make it.”

When did James Cameron say “I’d like to make Avatar, but I don’t how it will ever turn a profit with all this piracy.”

This constant argument of yours doesn’t hold water.

And you know what, plenty of totally awesome movies have been made for less than 20 million dollars.

sehlat (profile) says:

Re: Re: Well duh....

Tell me all about it. “The Man from Earth” was a small-budget picture that had good story, good acting and I bought a copy plus several others as gifts for friends. And the original movie version of “Tuck Everlasting” beats out the sucky Disney remake six days out of the week and twice on Sunday.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Well duh....

Look, bob, we need to have a brief chat about the sunk costs fallacy, and your continual tendency to fall prey to it.

Everyone wants content creators to recoup their development costs. If no one could ever do that, then no one would be in the business of creating content (though there would still be content made by people who aren’t in the business), and those people are pretty good at making content that people like.
If a creator is having trouble recouping, then he must either monetize his output more effectively or he must lower his costs. I’ll avoid digressing further into things this very blog has already said in innumerable locations; suffice it to say that DRM will not help, and sunk costs do not drive price in free markets.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Well duh....

You’re still not answering – why should the consumer have to put up with feeling like a loser for doing exactly what you want him to do? Because that’s the exact thing that stuff like DRM, unreasonable release windows and region locking does. It ruins the consumer experience and either pushes them to piracy or going without. Neither of which helps put money in the pockets of copyright holders, let alone artists.

Why should I allow you to place software in my legitimately purchased content that could lock my legitimately purchased devices, i.e. Sony rootkits? That is unfair no matter how you cut it, and Sony was slapped on the wrist for it. Are you advocating consumer harm?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Well duh....

“Heck, I could run a better Sam’s Club by just getting rid of the cashiers or that annoying person at the door checking receipts.”

No, you couldn’t run a better Sam’s club that way. Because who is going to cash out the customers? Sure, you can have them self check-out, but then you run the risk of increased shrink (which is what most stores call it for items that are stolen, damaged, unsellable, etc.) So you’d either have to accept more losses and deal with customers scanning things incorrectly (thus requiring more people in management positions) or whatnot. You basically lose.

“I could run a better doctor’s office if I didn’t have to have people fill out those dumb forms.”

No, you couldn’t. Because then YOU personally would have to fill out those forms that the patients are unable to. Thus taking up more of your time, meaning less time for you to see patients, meaning less billable hours.

“But in all of those cases and in all other parts of commerce, we have headaches because they’re the only way we can keep things fair.”

I don’t see how having cashiers check people out or administrative staff help file and fill out forms are headaches or keep things fair. At all. Your “logic” here does not even remotely compute in a logical way.

“The doctors need to check for insurance because that’s the only way to be fair to the people who pay for insurance.”

What? So what about the people who don’t have insurance? You are aware they have to pay out of pocket, right? I don’t get how having some fill out a form would make things fair. Here’s how it works, “Do you have an insurance card or are you paying out of pocket?” And in that case, I still don’t get how fairness comes into play. Really grasping there bob.

“The folks at Sam’s Club have to check receipts because otherwise people will steal them blind.”

No, that would only be door greeters. But what about cashiers? They also scan items to keep track of what is going through the store, for inventory and ordering purposes. Again, has nothing to do with fairness but ensuring they are able to meet consumer’s needs.

“And before you go off on your bogus claims that digital goods can withstand infinite sharing, that’s wrong.”

No, it’s not. It’s correct. However, it’s worth noting that no one has said that. What has been said is the DISTRIBUTION of digital goods is so low as to be a non-issue/irrelevant.

“We need the DRM and the other stuff to make sure that everyone pays their fair share of the development costs.”

You are aware the cost of DRM, implementation and upkeep and whatnot, are not low enough to scoff at, right? And it has nothing to do with being fair. It’s a means of control.

“And believe you me, the costs for developing the Game of Thrones are huge.”

This isn’t news bob. How it pertains to penalizing paying customers I haven’t the foggiest. You make points that have no bearing on the conversation at hand.

“It’s all about fairness and making sure that the people who enjoy a project are kicking in their fair share.”

DRM is about fairness? Wtf are you smoking/snorting/shooting/drinking? Because I’d like some.

“The broader we spread the costs, the lower we can make them.”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Hold on. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! No way would that ever happen. We have distribution cost at almost nil, yet digital goods WHICH HAVE ALREADY BEEN PRODUCED AND DIGITIZED cost more than traditional physical versions in a vast majority of cases. Yeah, there’s some exceptions but the cost difference are so minor as to say, “Why not f*cking just charge the full DVD price? Oh my, I saved $2 for a DRM-ed version! Can I get a heck yeah?” That makes no sense to the customers.

I seriously wonder about you sometimes.

Milton Freewater says:

Re: Well duh....

“We need the DRM and the other stuff to make sure that everyone pays their fair share of the development costs. And believe you me, the costs for developing the Game of Thrones are huge. It’s all about fairness and making sure that the people who enjoy a project are kicking in their fair share. The broader we spread the costs, the lower we can make them.”

Bob, I can just do without, if it comes to that. I have seen Game of Thrones, and it’s fine, but it would not have been worth a miserable access experience.

If you want me to pay my fair share, offer any DRM-free option and I will seriously consider it.

RD says:

Re: Well duh....

” We need the DRM and the other stuff to make sure that everyone pays their fair share of the development costs.”

Except DRM doesnt do any of those things, and thats provable and demonstrable, in every single case. Piracy is not stopped. Sales are not increased. The only thing it does is punish paying customers with a poorer product (and in some cases, a non-functional product) and a crappy experience.

Beech says:

Re: Well duh....

DRM doesn’t make anything more fair, and I am shocked you think it does. DRM isn’t like having a receipt checker at Sam’s to stop theivery. It’s like having an unguarded backdoor that says “Thieves Only,” where those who want to steal are perfectly able to (Of course the door was locked at one time, but one guy picked the lock and left it propped open for everyone else). The rest of the customers who, in spite of the fact they could easily get their 50 pack of toilet paper for free, decide to go pay at the register get strip searched. That’s DRM. The ones you are trying to stop barely even notice a problem after one basement dweller breaks it, and everyone who gets it legit is punished.

Richard (profile) says:

Proper use of morality

Despite people insisting that I must be “pirate Mike,” as I’ve said repeatedly, I’m simply not comfortable with going against the wishes of copyright holders.

Note the correct application of morality here – apply moral principles to yourself but don’t build your world on the assumption that others can be made to follow suit.

Morality in the first person “I should do X” – fine.

Morality in the second person “You should do X” – be careful not to ask others to do anything you don’t do yourself.

Morality in the third person he/they should do X.
Now you are just whingeing – total fail!

N. Mailer says:

I have five problems with your philosophy here, Mike

1. You are assuming that content you find on, say, The Pirate Bay is there against the wishes of its creator. You don’t know that.
2. You have the same reason to trust TPB as you do to trust YouTube. Why would you assume consent on YouTube but not on TPB? Why the artificial line?
3. David Lowery says Spotify is theft and it means nothing to you, but when he says TPB is theft, it does?
4. The contract that forbids downloading also applies to mixtapes, taping songs off the radio and lending VCR copies to friends … on top of that, if you put the copyright holder’s wishes ahead of the law, you will not make any VCR copy ever and you will never listen to the radio. Again, what makes file-sharing different from every other format shift or third-party distribution opposed by copyright holders, that this time we let them boss us around?
5. A copyright holder has no place or say regarding property they’ve created that’s owned by somebody else, with exceptions established by third parties that prove the rule. That’s the law and it’s also morally correct. Simply saying “I do not authorize it” does not legally or morally require me to change my behavior – SOMEONE else must agree.

silverscarcat says:

Re: simple Math

The correct question to ask is this…

“100 things for 10000 dollars each”

or

1 million things for 1 dollar each.

You get the same amount of money each, but…

Here’s the difference…

You turn a profit faster with the lower dollar value.

One thing to remember is this…

The longer something sits on your shelves and isn’t sold, is less money you have on hand for other things.

Anonymous Coward says:

Another thing is that after you stop caring about the **AA’s products, their antics get even more annoying.

“Shut down random websites in case they might eat into the profits of album #18 by pop star #23!”

“Make ISPs spy on their users because we think it’ll increase the profits of the next Alvin and the Chipmunks remake sequel!”

It’s bad enough for most people watching those idiots clumsily try to ruin the internet. For me, it’s infuriating.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What makes your rant so stupid is you are the fuckwad lining up to download album #18 and the latest Alvin and the Chipmunks movies because you like it so much.

If nobody pirated hollywood’s content, you might have a point. But this is all that people pirate. Perhaps you might want to think about that and re-try your rant.

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