Copyright

by Timothy Geigner


Filed Under:
copyright, fans, pirates

Companies:
muso



MUSO, Of All Groups, Tells Copyright Holders To Get Their Shit Together And Treat Pirates Like The Customers They Are

from the about-time dept

While the copyright industries love to frame so-called "pirates" as nefarious freeloaders who simply want to consume content for free, it's been an open secret for some time now that these freeloaders are often outspending non-infringers on entertainment across the spectrum. Despite this clear indication that piracy is largely a problem of under-served customers, industry groups like the RIAA still prefer to play pretend with these obvious business metrics. The end result of this is that industry and anti-piracy groups essentially advocate for the attack of their constituents' best customers, which ought to be about as insane a thing as one can imagine.

But perhaps the tide is turning. An indication of that would be MUSO, the piracy-tracking group, essentially telling copyright industries to get their shit together and finally treat pirates like the great customers they tend to be. The report is based on a MUSO survey showing that 60% of UK citizens admit to engaging in copyright infringement, except the overwhelming majority of those "pirates" first tried, and failed, to get that content legally.

Of all the people surveyed the vast majority, 60 percent, admitted that they illegally streamed or downloaded music, film or TV-shows in the past. This could have been yesterday or even two years ago. Interestingly, the same pirates often try legal sources first. In fact, 83 percent say they usually try to find what they are looking for through official channels before trying anything else. This suggests that most pirates are also legal consumers.

“The entertainment industry tends to envisage piracy audiences as a criminal element, and writes them off as money lost – but they are wrong to do so,” says Paul Briley, CCO of MUSO, commenting on the findings. “The reality is that the majority of people who have gone through the effort of finding and accessing such unlicensed content are, first and foremost, fans – fans who are more often than not trying to get content legally if they can.”

First, a slow golf clap for MUSO finally getting what we've been saying for years. But a more sincere applause should be directed at MUSO, a piracy tracking outfit, turning the tables on the copyright holders that often use its reports to decry modernity, holding them accountable for what has always been a business model issue. Based on the same survey, the majority of pirates gave up on legit sourcing for content when they either could not find the content they wanted legally, or found that it was "siloed" in a service to which they do not subscribe. Barely a third indicated that cost or money had anything to do with it.

Sort of blows the whole "pirates just want stuff for free" thing out of the water, doesn't it? Not to mention that these "pirates", who supposedly want everything for free, spend a shit-ton of money on non-free entertainment.

MUSO’s survey reveals that 91% of all pirates already have a streaming subscription, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify or Apple Music. That’s more than their non-pirating counterparts, of which less than 80% subscribe to one of these services.

The problem is that people sometimes need over a dozen separate subscriptions to access all the content they want. There’s no single service that offers everything in one place. This is one of the main reasons why piracy is still very relevant.

If the copyright industries wanted to change the piracy landscape in an instant, they need only slay the monster that is delivery fragmentation. People are perfectly willing to pay for content, but the monetary and mental costs of incorporating five different streaming services, and then having to search across all of those services for a particular piece of content, falls prey to the ease of piracy. And that ease is exactly what the content industries should either be selling themselves, or partnering with others to sell, because that convenience is the product.

If nothing else, the mantra of piracy being about freeloaders should be dead.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2018 @ 2:14pm

    Pirates may not be freeloaders, but are they natural persons?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 7 Jun 2018 @ 2:16pm

    If facts mattered, sure

    If nothing else, the mantra of piracy being about freeloaders should be dead.

    Should be, however it's been crystal clear for years/decades that the 'copyright infringement is going to destroy movies/music/creativity' lot are very much in the 'facts-optional' crowd.

    Acknowledging that copyright infringers tend to spend more than non-infringers would undercut the whole 'there's no reasoning with those people, they just want things for free!' line, and admitting that for a good many of them the reason they went with the illegal option is because the legal option either didn't exist or was unnecessarily cumbersome and difficult would make it pretty clear that the ones whining are doing so based upon a self-inflicted wound that they could fix whenever they cared to.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 7 Jun 2018 @ 5:37pm

      Re: If facts mattered, sure

      They want ALL the control, ALL the time when it comes to their products. No other industry, of any kind, has that control and they're used to having it.

      So their customers want to be able to watch what they want, when they want to? INCONCEIVABLE! That would mean giving up some control! Their customers are willing to pay lots of money for it? IRRELEVANT! It's control that matters to them, not making tons of money.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Andy, 7 Jun 2018 @ 8:04pm

        Re: Re: If facts mattered, sure

        Things are changing as more and more the industry is being divided and losing trillions of dollars, yet they choose to ignore this and keep there content locked down as much as they can.

        I am amazed that shareholders have not demanded they start waking up to the future as shareholders are the ones that are loosing trillions in income.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), 8 Jun 2018 @ 5:11am

          Re: Re: Re: If facts mattered, sure

          I am amazed that shareholders have not demanded they start waking up to the future as shareholders are the ones that are loosing trillions in income.

          Because, despite the putative losses, the companies keep posting record profits year-on-year and presumably paying big, fat dividends almost as large as the amount spent buying lawmakers?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Dave, 9 Jun 2018 @ 6:32pm

      Re: If facts mattered, sure

      Of course. These companies are in the entertainment business, not the news business. And entertainment is mostly fiction.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael Whitetail, 7 Jun 2018 @ 2:45pm

    I have both Netflix and Spotify subs, which I have been paying every month for longer than I care to remember. I love the services, but wish they had access to more content. I would happily pay more each month if, for example, Netflix incorporated Hulu's catalog into their own or Spotify had more selection.

    I really want to give my money to faceless corporations, but they tend to make it very difficult to do so. Whats a nerd to do?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2018 @ 4:39pm

      Re:

      Join the space nation Asgardia and ignore the stupid protectionist restrictions. Humanity will come to its senses in a few more decades and outlaw the MPIAA and similar organizations.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2018 @ 2:53pm

    I still cant believe they haven't figured out how valuable it would be to people if they could spend some amount of money, I would pay at least $50 a month, if I could watch anything I wanted. If I could look up some random show I watched as a kid and get the nostalgia kick from watching it again, and well, ummm, then the low from see how bad it was, I would be happy to pay for that service. As it is now, even if I subscribe to all the services out the I don't think you could get everything. It is such shortsightedness and probably greed to not see how one streaming service can pay the creators/owners of media for each item watched just as well as individual services.

    I think the best thing to do would be for all creators to open up their catalogs to anyone who wants to stream it, for a reasonable price, and let the services fight out who will provide the best interface, search and recommendation algorithms for individual consumers. In that case the creators get paid no matter what happens and all they have to do is create.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2018 @ 3:03pm

      Re:

      You keep on using creators, when you mean publishers like TV and film studios. All those publishers use Hollywood accounting to minimize what the pay creators in royalties.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2018 @ 3:38pm

    I wonder if there are any meta-search engines for subscription streaming services? Meta-search emerged for Bittorrent sites over a dozen years ago, so the idea would not be new.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Annonymouse, 7 Jun 2018 @ 4:26pm

    Just doing some napkin calculations here fir a viable sibscription model.
    How many minutes on average does someone watch per month.
    How much does the vontent cost per minute
    Multiply
    Add overhead and margin
    There you have it

    Alternatively just charge for the minutes at real cost and charge a tiny subscription fee
    Popular new stuff is at a premium and older material much less and ancient stuff the cost of the bandwidth used.

    Everybody but the hollywood corps would be happy.

    Me - I would love to access local community programming from Europe.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 8 Jun 2018 @ 10:33am

      Re:

      Alternatively just charge for the minutes at real cost and charge a tiny subscription fee

      Nobody wants to sit there binging a TV show and thinking "geez I'm paying for every minute of this." That would be a good way to get people to read more books (which would be great, but not in the interest of streaming video companies). Monthly subscription fee is the way to go.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    SirWired, 7 Jun 2018 @ 4:51pm

    It's not a given that people would pay for the content

    If the unlimited streaming services had pretty much everything available, it's not a given that this could be offered at a price people would be willing to pay. It's certainly not free to acquire streaming rights. (They are expensive enough that Netflix is shifting over to more of an HBO model vs, the original model of licensing as much content as they could get their hands on.) And Spotify, despite paying a pittance per stream, still can't make money, even without the music from sources that want to be paid better.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2018 @ 5:02pm

      Re: It's not a given that people would pay for the content

      And Spotify, despite paying a pittance per stream, still can't make money, even without the music from sources that want to be paid better.

      Market forces at work. This just illustrates what people are willing to pay for music. That's what it's worth no matter how much the publishers want for it. You can't charge $1M for a Kia, nobody would buy it. Something is only worth what people will pay for it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2018 @ 5:38pm

      Re: It's not a given that people would pay for the content

      I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. If people aren't willing to pay a price because the streaming rights are too expensive...the streaming rights are too expensive.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 8 Jun 2018 @ 2:02am

        Re: Re: It's not a given that people would pay for the content

        The recording industry is still coming to terms with the idea that most people have only ever wished to rent their music via radio, and now that people have a real choice they're not always going to choose whoever the current muppet the major labels are trying to sell. They would also rather listen to the song 20-30 times and not buy the song, as most people have always done with most songs, it's just that now they have the choice of which songs those are.

        The labels have apparently only just come to terms with the fact that, given the choice, people would rather just buy the one songs they actually want rather than buy an overpriced album package, something that's been blindingly obvious to most of the general public for decades. So, we may be waiting for a while.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 8 Jun 2018 @ 1:54am

      Re: It's not a given that people would pay for the content

      "If the unlimited streaming services had pretty much everything available, it's not a given that this could be offered at a price people would be willing to pay"

      True, but they would probably be split into different packages - new vs. catalogue, perhaps, Netflix originals vs licenced content, TV vs movies, specific genres, major studio vs independent, etc. Giving the customer the choice is what matters, you don't have to pay for everything at once. In fact, that's the reason behind cord cutting in the first play - if you don't like sports, for example, you move to places where you're not forced to pay for ESPN whether you watch it or not.

      "They are expensive enough that Netflix is shifting over to more of an HBO model vs, the original model of licensing as much content as they could get their hands on"

      Yes. You know why? The studios were demanding unsustainable licencing fees, so Netflix decided that money would be better spent on other things. They were fine dropping entire distributors because they were not making reasonable deals. If they made reasonable demands, they would still be getting Netflix money, now they get nothing, as is their choice.

      "And Spotify, despite paying a pittance per stream"

      They pay more per listen per listener than radio ever did. It's not their fault that, when given the choice, people don't necessarily listen to whatever crap the major labels are trying to sell at that given moment. If you're depending on radio revenue and can't be arsed to tour, create new music or whatever, that's on you, not because Spotify won't overcharge their paying customers.

      They only pay a pittance if you're stupid enough to think that Spotify can or will pay the same for a single listen as others did for a purchase. If you look at facts, they're actually paying over the odds compared to prior radio models.

      "still can't make money"

      Yeah, having to pay nearly all of your revenue to suppliers who demand more and more money will do that to a business.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 7 Jun 2018 @ 5:58pm

    YouTube Is Legal, Isn’t It?

    And youtube-dl hasn’t been shut down yet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2018 @ 5:59pm

    Problem is, copyright holders aren't exactly known for following advice or data that they don't like. The MPAA eventually admitted that they'd intentionally exaggerated their statistics on student piracy, and the RIAA ordered Megaupload's takedown even when by their own stats, Filesonic was their number one offender.

    Odds are the RIAA will simply turn up their noses and switch to another piracy-tracking group who cooks the books in their favor.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), 8 Jun 2018 @ 12:49am

    Careful what you wish for.

    Next up: Industry creates ad-laden, DRM-ridden, slow, badly built platform that enables access to all content "for your region" for only £500 a month if you can find it in the appalling, proprietary search engine.

    Industry later quoted as saying, "We gave you exactly what you said you wanted and you're all STILL criminals! We need new, harsher laws!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 8 Jun 2018 @ 1:44am

      Re: "We gave you exactly what you said you wanted and you're all

      We don’t have to care. The world doesn’t owe them (or us) a living. It is our money they want; we are under no obligation to hand it over to them, they have to make it worth our while.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Jun 2018 @ 2:31am

      Re: Careful what you wish for.

      How is that different from what they already provide, with the exception of "access to all content"? Never mind the fact that DRM is something that no consumer wanted, ever, especially after the Sony rootkit fiasco.

      Also, the industry regularly says that quote in variations, so you pointing that out is hardly groundbreaking. The industry will demand new, harsher laws even after the government mandates that the citizenry gives them a daily blowjob without protection.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), 8 Jun 2018 @ 4:57am

        Re: Re: Careful what you wish for.

        How is that different from what they already provide, with the exception of "access to all content"?

        That was kinda my point, they'd role out such a service, trumpet it as the answer to all consumer needs, when anyone challenges the premise or the price will say something like, "Well that's what you said customers wanted but they're still pirating", or, "Well that's what [we arbitrarily decide] it costs to provide" and when it fails hard, use it to push for more law.

        Once I wondered if they were really that dumb, but repetition suggests it's actually a genius business plan that allows them to reap massive profits for minimal actual work. Laws are cheaper to buy than a platform that works it seems and far easier to run than providing an actual service.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Jun 2018 @ 8:31am

          Re: Re: Re: Careful what you wish for.

          Once I wondered if they were really that dumb, but repetition suggests it's actually a genius business plan that allows them to reap massive profits for minimal actual work.

          Pretty much. They will demand for money and laws from the government no matter how much money they're making or losing. If they're losing money they'll claim they need the support to stay afloat. If they're making money they'll claim they need to invest further in the current system because it's obviously working favorably.

          I'd wish for them to implode and feed on themselves like maggots on a dying animal. Sadly until more people in law wise up like Otis Wright that's not happening any time soon.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jun 2018 @ 3:52am

    limits

    Most people only have a certain amount of disposable cash to spend on entertainment and digital music / video content has to fight for its share with competing leisure activities.
    So, for (not massively wealthy) people they will be subscribed to no or very few streaming sites.
    Even a quite wealthy person might not want to spend cash to sign up to all the different providers.
    You also get into the issue of time spent - to get value from streaming you need to spend fair amount of time using that service, else each piece of content is, pro rata, very expensive - plenty of people do not have the free time to make streaming financially viable for them (what a user thinks content is "worth" is very different to what many copyright holders believe)
    Without the mentioned "one stop shop" for all content (and sensible prices) piracy is inevitable
    Its not beyond the skills of the competing companies to provide APIs so their content can (at a fee) be served by another provider. That way from their provider of choice, e.g. netflix,a person could also access e.g. Amazon content (albeit possibly facing some extra surcharge or being limited to a certain number of "non provider" content items per month)
    But the silo model is sadly still pointlessly popular

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jun 2018 @ 4:47am

    'If nothing else, the mantra of piracy being about freeloaders should be dead'

    i dont think it has ever been about price, although, having said that, execs greed in the entertainment industries is second to none! i believe it has always been about controlling who can get what, when and how. the problem the industries had was they couldn't sell control to politicians so changed their problem to cost, just to convince the introduction of new laws that punished people for doing what has always been a human trait, SHARING STUFF!

    getting the entertainment industries to admit that they have fucked up for years is an impossibility, starting with Valenti and the Boston strangler comparison over home video recorders! they will never do that, as long as bribing politicians, law enforcement, courts and of course collection agencies to keep the money rolling in, while locking people up is available. everything these industries have done has been to keep control of media. even changing the format of something you already own is illegal. how fucking ridiculous is that? even worse, how fucking stupid are those who made it illegal in the first place? they sure as hell didn't do it for nothing, so why has there never been any truths published as to how this happened and what the pay off was?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 8 Jun 2018 @ 6:18am

    I dont want things for free. Some things you couldn't pay me to take... like the meat hoodie in the ad right there. WTF?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jun 2018 @ 7:39am

    "MUSO, Of All Groups, Tells Copyright Holders To Get Their Shit Together And Treat Pirates Like The Customers They Are"

    That would be refreshing from their current plan of being shits and treating their customers like pirates

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jun 2018 @ 9:39am

    A survey of those incarcerated in US prisons found that 100% of inmates were actually innocent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.