Culture

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
authorized, convenience, free, piracy



Convenience Matters: People Will Still 'Pirate' Content That Is Available For Free In Less Convenient Packages

from the stating-the-obvious dept

About a year ago, some commentators were positively shocked that tons of folks still got the latest Radiohead album via BitTorrent rather than the band's own pay-what-you-want site, which allowed people to get the music for free. However, the real point (which many seemed to miss) is that the reason people will often access the content via unauthorized sources isn't just because it's free, but because it's more convenient and doesn't require leaping over annoying hurdles. Plus, for many, it's a single interface and a single source for all the content they want.

So, it should come as no surprise at all that plenty of folks are still downloading unauthorized versions of TV shows that are available in authorized streams for free. First off, downloading the content lets users watch the content when and where they want -- and allows them to archive it or watch it on other devices. Second, it's just a lot more convenient for many users to get the content that way.

Once again, it looks like the entertainment industry got hung up on that whole "free" bit, when that's hardly all there is to the equation. Just because they put something up for free doesn't mean they've effectively competed with the alternatives. When the alternatives offer more and better "features" and much greater convenience, the "free" part is only one of multiple selling points. Simply putting content up for free without matching those other features means that plenty of folks are still going to get the content elsewhere. Rather than fighting it, it's about time companies learned ways to use this to their own advantage.

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  1. identicon
    LostSailor, 8 Sep 2008 @ 8:58am

    Not just free, but enhanced?

    Simply putting content up for free without matching those other features means that plenty of folks are still going to get the content elsewhere. Rather than fighting it, it's about time companies learned ways to use this to their own advantage.


    So, producers or music/tv/films should not just make their content available on the web for free, they should enhance it for internet copying and provide it all in one place to make free copying as convenient as possible to the folks who, if such copying in not convenient to them, will just take it anyway?

    In the comments here, it seems it's not just the convenience of being able to download via BitTorrent or other piracy service, but also the fact that piracy warnings are absent...wouldn't want to see those...but even short commercials are absent.

    I understand your argument about 'infinite goods' but there's still the issue that much of this music/tv/film is quite expensive to produce and the people involved with the production, including the artists, do still want to make a living--or maybe even get rich!-- from their work. If they're not getting paid for it, and, indeed, have to make enhancements to make free copying more convenient, their not going to be making it for much longer.

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