French Pirates Are Increasingly Buying Through Legal Options

from the c'est-la-vie dept

Do you guys remember Hadopi? This French version of a law designed to kick copyright infringers off of the internet essentially ended in 2016, after all kinds of reports showed the program to be an inefficient, unreasonably harsh failure that actually resulted in more infringement rather than less. Well, this travesty probably seems altogether silly here in 2018, given that Hadopi largely targeted filesharing infringement, while the majority of "piracy" these days takes the form of streaming content online rather than downloading it. Those enforcing Hadopi have no real way to track that kind of "piracy", making the whole thing useless.

But the French government appears to want to see if it can repeat its mistakes all over again, with reports that it will institute a streaming site blacklist, which will be every bit as effective as Hadopi. Making all of this especially odd is that it comes at a time when so-called pirates in France are increasingly turning to legal offerings and spending gobs of money on them.

A new report published by consultancy firm EY reveals that the number of French pirates has dropped by 8%, from 11.6 million in 2016, to 10.6 million last year. The remaining pirates also downloaded and streamed less infringing content than the year before, with consumption dipping 4%.

In fact, it appears that pirates are increasingly “going legal.” This doesn’t mean that they have quit their copyright infringing habits completely, but they are more likely to pay for access too. In the span of a year, the number of pirates without a video on demand subscription dropped by nearly 30%. The result is that more than half of all pirates also pay for a legal movie streaming service now.

The reasons why someone might simultaneously pirate content and pay for it through legit services have been covered here many times in the past. It ends up coming down to some combination of content-availability, not wanting to work through the silos content-providers have erected around what customers want, and reasonable pricing models for that content. What data like this ultimately shows is that so-called pirates are perfectly willing to pay for content if its offered to them in a convenient and reasonable way with few mental transactions needed. You know, how all of commerce works.

And, yet, for some reason the French government has decided to try to censor streaming sites -- which it is guaranteed to do badly -- in the face of this optimistic data. Instead, it should be working with content producers and streaming providers alike to make that content as widely available as possible.

“Netflix has managed to reel in pirate consumers who weren’t signed up with a legal service before. In 2017, there were 20% more pirate consumers paying for a Netflix subscription than the year before,” EY’s report states.

This suggests that the main goal of movie studios and other content providers is to make sure that their work is widely available on legal streaming platforms. Ideally, without any delays and at a reasonable price.

Giving the customer what they want, how they want it, at reasonable prices. What a completely novel and hard to grasp idea.


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jul 2018 @ 1:42pm

    Oh, that’s not gonna please the anti-corporations-yet-also-anti-piracy contingent here.

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

  • icon
    Gary (profile), 18 Jul 2018 @ 1:53pm

    Praise for Netflix

    Kinda odd that some of the ACs here seem so rabid about opposing Netflix.
    I'd like to think it is because they prefer torrents - but I guess it's because Netflix isn't doing things the way they would do it? (I don't expect an explanation however.)
    Once again, a golden opportunity for AC to start their own Streaming/News/Search Service and put Netflix/TD/Google to shame.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jul 2018 @ 4:45am

      Re: Praise for Netflix

      I oppose Netflix because I oppose EME. That should have never been allowed into HTML5. That was the incident that made me lose all respect I had for Tim Berners-Lee, the corrupt bastard that he is now. I hope those hookers and that bag of blow was worth it.

      Anyway, I prefer to have the option to keep a local, unencrypted copy of the movies and shows that I watch. If Netflix offered that option I wouldn't need torrents. I'm not just being stubborn on my principles either, this is a matter of practicality.

      I live in an area that suffers constant power outages. When the power is on, my budget Internet subscription can only deliver content at ~500KBps. Streaming isn't always the best option for me. Even when it comes to watching YouTube, I usually just youtube-dl the URL and play it in mpv so that I don't have to keep pausing the video to let the rest of it buffer, and so that I can more freely rewind and fast forward through it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jul 2018 @ 2:13pm

    But Timothy, making a good service and actually competing and being successful commercial enterprises is hard! Computers and network bandwidth and physics and all the things that make digital content convenient, reliable, and accessible can't be bribed like politicians can!

    Won't anyone think of the poor middlemen negotiators who would be out of work if these corporations had to actually compete?

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

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 18 Jul 2018 @ 3:08pm

      Re:

      Can you imagine if all those middlemen negotiators were actually employed in contributing to the economy rather than sucking off significant parts of it to support non creators? Would burgeoning be too strong?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Jul 2018 @ 3:22pm

        Re: Re:

        I will not pretend to have any understanding of how it would affect the economy.

        I will say I would take personal satisfaction in knowing that none of my money was ending up in their avaricious hands due to their reprehensible and morally bankrupt methods.

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

        • icon
          Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 18 Jul 2018 @ 3:31pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Right, now think about putting those folks (there seems to be an awful lot of them) to work at an occupation that enhances the economy rather than drain it.

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

      • identicon
        John Smith, 19 Jul 2018 @ 1:31pm

        Re: Re:

        Except you have it backwards. Allowing piracy harms small producers who ensure diversity of content. All you're doing is killing off the little guys while the big guys have marketing and distribution networks that allow them to thrive.

        The audience is the one who deamnds the gatekeepers. Een websites that practice censorship extend that censorship to marketing, which cuts off revenue for creators who would otherwise be able to compete on the open market.

        Why do we still care who has record and publishing deals when it's easier to eliminate the middlemen? The public wants its credentialism.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Jul 2018 @ 4:00pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Here is something for you to ponder, if nobody knows about an artist or other creator, nobody will buy what they create, or provide patronage to allow them to continue to create. Those unknowns are the one that benefit most from their creation being circulated, as it bring their creativity to the attention of more people.

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

          • identicon
            John Smith, 19 Jul 2018 @ 8:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Creators don't need help circulating their work or getting their names out there on the internet. What they need is protection from THEFT. A little free speech wouldn't hurt either but that's asking too much.

            You essentially want content producers to give away the store on spec, on some vague promise of payment down the road (for delivery of quality NOW, for FREE), but all that happens is the work continues to be pirated, or it's co-opted by the big corporations the anti-copyright people claim to dislike, yet whose policies help.

            What you wind up with is hard-sell marketing, bogus free content that is actually marketing content in disguise, nad whales funding everything.

            Pssst: here are four stock picks to "prove myself." Then when they go up, okay there's he proof. Want more winning stock picks? That'll be $100,000. Don't want to pay? Fine. Go lose your money. Now I wait for the inevitable market downturn, then tell people "you get what you pay for," and the desperate whales send millions to the con artists while the public thinks it's getting good free information.

            This has already played out many times online and with horrendous results. The old system works fine. People are against copyright protection because people are freeloading thieves with an entitlement complex.

            Ask songwriters about how well they're doing. One guy had a music video with 178 million views that made him all of $5,000 for a number one song. Why doyou think Patreon took off? Loosening copyright protection results in a patronage model for those who aren't able to stomach being con artists.

            Lawyers don't mind goving out content because it's sponsored by their law practice, which can't be pirated. Musicians can make money touring but some might rather not be on the road all the time, and all the other creative people involved in production wind up left out.

            the term is "cheap culture." That which costs little or nothing to produce, like YouTube videos, or that which is subsidized by income for which the free content is marketing, dominates.

            Let's apply the same thing to law. I want six hours of free legal work from an attorney, and if I like it, I'll pay, IF it's not too expensive.

            People are so quick to give away the hard work and money of others it's amazing.

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

            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 24 Jul 2018 @ 7:18am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Put up or shut up, John. For every single comment I've had with views like yours there's a failed creative project, usually a band. What happens is, they're only known locally because they're paranoid about having their work covered by other bands so in their over-protectiveness they lock their recordings away behind a paywall. Result: nobody outside their immediate circle has ever heard of them.

              Meanwhile, the sharing is caring brigade are raking it in because they engage with their fans instead of treating them as potential thieves intent on robbing them of pay-per-play revenue.

              Learn something, know something. Or languish in obscurity — your choice.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jul 2018 @ 3:10pm

    This recent decrease in French pirates has got to be due to global warming.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jul 2018 @ 4:36am

    Too bad we still haven't convinced the Somalians to go legit.

    Do their ships even have Internet access?

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 19 Jul 2018 @ 5:07am

    It struck me these days: anti-piracy is like anti-vaxxers. They will promptly ignore factual data because reasons. They are less harmful than anti-vaxcers as in you won't have outbreaks of previously eradicated illnesses but in the end everybody loses because of them.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jul 2018 @ 5:26am

      Re:

      Are they less harmful than anti-vaxers? Increasing the power of corporations will lead to a more violent society, because it will leave more people in poverty and ignorance.

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

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 19 Jul 2018 @ 6:19am

        Re: Re:

        That's why I specified. Anti-vaxxers will lead to a pretty palpable outcome while anti-piracy idiocy doesn't have a clear outcome (ie: one that's as easy to understand as "no vaccine = deadly diseases").

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

        • identicon
          John Smith, 19 Jul 2018 @ 1:27pm

          The anti-piracy movement's "endgame" is to prevent theft and reward those who produce good content with income from people who aren't freeloaders.

          Don't like it? Don't watch or read it, but don't steal it. The Xerox machine and VCR did not abolish copyright law, and neither should the internet.

          The only legitimate point the pro-piracy people make is that Big Media fears independent distribution, but stop acting like indies don't suffere. The loss of $4,000 in sales is nothing to them, but it's enough to starve an indie, which actually HELPS Big Media stay in power.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Jul 2018 @ 4:14pm

            Re:

            The anti-piracy movement's "endgame" is to prevent theft and reward those who produce good content with income from people who aren't freeloaders.

            Wrong, their end game is to restore their control over what gets published, so that they can select the few artists who who will be published, so that they can control the market and maximize their income. If they succeed, very few if any independents will be able to make a living, as opposed to the very much larger number that do so today.

            By the way, I do not steal content, but rather obtain only that which people willingly give away for free, most of whom have been doing so for years, as that are passionate about their content, and want to share that passion.

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

            • identicon
              John Smith, 19 Jul 2018 @ 8:22pm

              Re: Re:

              Creators don't need help circulating their work or getting their names out there on the internet. What they need is protection from THEFT. A little free speech wouldn't hurt either but that's asking too much.

              You essentially want content producers to give away the store on spec, on some vague promise of payment down the road (for delivery of quality NOW, for FREE), but all that happens is the work continues to be pirated, or it's co-
              opted by the big corporations the anti-copyright people claim to dislike, yet whose policies help.

              What you wind up with is hard-sell marketing, bogus free content that is actually marketing content in disguise, nad whales funding everything.

              Pssst: here are four stock picks to "prove myself." Then when they go up, okay there's he proof. Want more winning stock picks? That'll be $100,000. Don't want to pay? Fine. Go lose your money. Now I wait for the inevitable market downturn, then tell people "you get what you pay for," and the desperate whales send millions to the con artists while the public thinks it's getting good free information.

              This has already played out many times online and with horrendous results. The old system works fine. People are against copyright protection because people are freeloading thieves with an entitlement complex.

              Ask songwriters about how well they're doing. One guy had a music video with 178 million views that made him all of $5,000 for a number one song. Why doyou think Patreon took off? Loosening copyright protection results in a patronage model for those who aren't able to stomach being con artists.

              Lawyers don't mind goving out content because it's sponsored by their law practice, which can't be pirated. Musicians can make money touring but some might rather not be on the road all the time, and all the other creative people involved in production wind up left out.

              the term is "cheap culture." That which costs little or nothing to produce, like YouTube videos, or that which is subsidized by income for which the free content is marketing, dominates.

              Let's apply the same thing to law. I want six hours of free legal work from an attorney, and if I like it, I'll pay, IF it's not too expensive.

              People are so quick to give away the hard work and money of others it's amazing.



              Srong copyright protection is what funds people with small audiences. If someone else wants to work for free or do stuff as a HO(BBY that used to be a profession (one that generated a lot of jobs and tax revenues), that's fine, but something has to pay their bills, so it's subsidized content.

              Either you'll get the work of amateurs (like today's music), or disguised marketing copy to lure people in to pay ridiculously high prices for premium content (some will). Like I said, welcome back to the patronage model, with a side order of marketing scams designed as free content.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2018 @ 2:31am

                Re: Re: Re:

                One guy had a music video with 178 million views that made him all of $5,000 for a number one song.

                The question is how long did it take him to write that song, as because if it was a few hours spread over a week, that is pretty good pay. Indeed making that point makes it seem that you are one of those people who thing that a few hours work entitles them and their descendent's to the fifth generation a handsome income.

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

                • identicon
                  John Smith, 20 Jul 2018 @ 6:59am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  That's like saying a lawyer who does an hour of work did an hour of work and didn't have to go through seven years of law school, or take the risks inherent in setting up a business. It's also like saying that the work of all the paralegals and support staff is included in that "good rate of pay."

                  Let's cap all legal, accounting, and medical services at say $25 an hour, a "good rate of pay." If they complain, tell them the world has changed and if they can't adapt, too bad. This is de facto price fixing under threat of having the work stolen.

                  It's naïve to think the artists won't adapt to this by first withholding the content and then figuring out how to get paid in ways that will restrict access only to the wealthy. This is already happening with financial advice and other areas in the self-help genre where an author used to be able to make very good money selling to the masses.

                  Once upon a time if someone had a useful idea for the masses, they could price the book at $25 a copy ad make very good money while the masses get access. now the masses just steal the work so the work is kept from them, "free" books that are marketing copy take their place, and those "books" just market seminars that cost $5,000 a weekend instead. Doesn't matter if only five or ten people pay the whale price, because there's a lot more money in marketing to them.

                  If you don't cut off the pirates on the internet, the artists will cut them off at the source because it simply won't be worth it to produce for the masses. That leads to a patronage model and the low-quality content that is flooding the internet.

                  Like I said, the only exception to this rule is YouTube, and that's why smart creators are getting rich there. Some do it with IG and Snapchat as well. If you want a marketplace full of viral videos shot on cellphones, congratulations, you have your anti-copyright utopia.

                  The best works -- the GREAT works -- like the '80s music even today's kids say was incredible (because musicians actually got paid and that money funded the unprofitable talented artists with limited markets), are simply never produced, and the public doesn't know what it's missing.

                  You're asking professionals to do their job as a hobby or accept wage fixing by force of threat of piracy. Let's apply this to lawyers by capping their hourly rate at a "good rate of pay."

                  BTW, the songs that don't hit number one make almost nothing now. Not a "good rate of pay" (or good tax revenue) for those who used to be able to pay their bills as indies.

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

    • identicon
      John Smith, 19 Jul 2018 @ 1:29pm

      Except you have it backwards. Allowing piracy harms small producers who ensure diversity of content. All you're doing is killing off the little guys while the big guys have marketing and distribution networks that allow them to thrive.

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

  • identicon
    John Smith, 19 Jul 2018 @ 1:23pm

    Oh I'm sure people are buying more stuff, and paying less than they ever have for it.

    The problem is this involuntary discounting is destroying the revenue of content creators. The public suffers through inferior content, but doesn't know what it's missing, so they think they're getting a great deal.

    Look for YouTube to become the dominant content platform, even for books that are now more profitable to display on a video by filming the pages than to publish. YouTube pays 68 percent of the revenue to creators, the pirates can't steal ads, and alternative platforms are in Siberia for most people. Problem solved on that end.

    You get what you pay for. If you want Netflix to be the new Westinghouse that's great. If you want 500 shows on 40 different streaming services all with the same "cutting edge" features, that's great too. If you want useful advice, or unique work, break out your checkbook.

    That book on how to make 100 percent a year in the stock market? No reason to publish. The one on how to save money? Gone. Petcare? Gone. Replaced by marketing copy posing as books that are half the time designed to be pirated to promote seminars at "whale" prices.

    It didn't have to be this way, but the anti-copyright brigade has clearly won this battle. Smart content producers will simply adapt but mostly through a patronage model that duplicates what we had in the Eighteenth Century in Europe. Want that great book? One copy is for sale, $150,000, because the second it's released there won't be any revenue.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jul 2018 @ 11:42pm

      Re:

      You done spewing bullshit there champ, or you need a couple more posts replying to yourself to get it out of your system?

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

      • identicon
        John Smith, 20 Jul 2018 @ 7:00am

        Re: Re:

        That's like saying a lawyer who does an hour of work did an hour of work and didn't have to go through seven years of law school, or take the risks inherent in setting up a business. It's also like saying that the work of all the paralegals and support staff is included in that "good rate of pay."

        Let's cap all legal, accounting, and medical services at say $25 an hour, a "good rate of pay." If they complain, tell them the world has changed and if they can't adapt, too bad. This is de facto price fixing under threat of having the work stolen.

        It's naïve to think the artists won't adapt to this by first withholding the content and then figuring out how to get paid in ways that will restrict access only to the wealthy. This is already happening with financial advice and other areas in the self-help genre where an author used to be able to make very good money selling to the masses.

        Once upon a time if someone had a useful idea for the masses, they could price the book at $25 a copy ad make very good money while the masses get access. now the masses just steal the work so the work is kept from them, "free" books that are marketing copy take their place, and those "books" just market seminars that cost $5,000 a weekend instead. Doesn't matter if only five or ten people pay the whale price, because there's a lot more money in marketing to them.

        If you don't cut off the pirates on the internet, the artists will cut them off at the source because it simply won't be worth it to produce for the masses. That leads to a patronage model and the low-quality content that is flooding the internet.

        Like I said, the only exception to this rule is YouTube, and that's why smart creators are getting rich there. Some do it with IG and Snapchat as well. If you want a marketplace full of viral videos shot on cellphones, congratulations, you have your anti-copyright utopia.

        The best works -- the GREAT works -- like the '80s music even today's kids say was incredible (because musicians actually got paid and that money funded the unprofitable talented artists with limited markets), are simply never produced, and the public doesn't know what it's missing.

        You're asking professionals to do their job as a hobby or accept wage fixing by force of threat of piracy. Let's apply this to lawyers by capping their hourly rate at a "good rate of pay."

        BTW, the songs that don't hit number one make almost nothing now. Not a "good rate of pay" (or good tax revenue) for those who used to be able to pay their bills as indies.

        Slanted language is "bullshit" in academic debate scoring.

        You done whining about having your points refuted or do you need to sling a few more insults?

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

  • identicon
    John Smith, 20 Jul 2018 @ 11:03am

    Lawyers are clinging to an obsolete monopoly o9n the practice of law, when online legal assistance from extremely competent paralegals can be given for as low as $20 an hour! Nurse practitioners can give online medical advice for basic things for a similar rate. Rather han adapt to this new reality ($20 an hour is still a "great rate of pay"), they have resisted this change.

    Let the MLARKET decide if someone really needs an expensive attorney...this discussion reminds me of the cabbie who told me it was stupid to complain about the internet ten years ago, who is now protesting Lyft and Uber.

    People who defend a system that destroys others have no right to complain when that system comes for them. NFL owners should realize their franchises are going to be worthless once the IFL (Internet Football League) gets going.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2018 @ 7:02pm

    It won't do any good. Converting the so-called "pirates" into "paying slaves" won't stop the attack on the Internet, freedom, and free speech.

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


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