Piracy and why big business needs to change


We get told all the time that piracy is wrong.  It funds bad things and we should not do it.  We get told this on unskippable adverts at the start of dvds that we have paid money for!

Yeah….thats the way to get people onside!

See piracy happens for a number of reasons.  I dont agree with the idea of piracy but I am not niave enough to expect that it can ever be stopped completely.  Personally I want the people who have created something I have enjoyed to be paid for it.  However even if everything was reduced in price, there would be some people who will continue to pirate because that is just the way they are.

So how do I think big business needs to change its strategy?

Well for a start, they have to lower their prices at retail level and encourage shops to do the same.  Like I have said earlier, that wont stop everyone from pirating content but it will encourage more actual purchases. 

An example.  I was in a large high street music retailer on tuesday.  The dvd of Oblivion starring Tom Cruise was on sale for £9.99.  I was tempted.  I did not see it at the cinema but a lot of friends told me that it was worth a watch.  I went home and thought about it and decided that I would buy it the next time i was in town.  Two days later, I went in and it was now £12.99.  I did not buy it.  The price was just too high to justify an impulse (ish) purchase.  I could get it online for £10 but the nature of ordering it, removed the impulse nature of my purchase and since I do not know if the film will be my cup of tea, I will wait and get it either from a charity shop or when it is in a sale.  The shop and the makers of the dvd lost a sale because it was priced too high.  DVDs should all be a maximum of £10 and come down in price over the course of the titles life on dvd.  Blu Ray is not something I care about, despite owning a PS3, but lets stick at £15 for that format.  Simple pricing that is not out of the reach of most people and as a result, more sales, impulse or planned.

Now lets look at release dates.  Is there any reason why a film is not released on DVD 2 months after the film has been at the cinema?  I assume there is but why do they not put out basic dvd versions as soon as possible (film only) and then release the version with all the extras 6 months down the line.  You know like Lord of the rings kinda did.  People just  want to see the film and if you give them a legal way to do it at a cost that is not high, then far more people will purchase a product rather than pirate it.

Also this goes for TV shows.  I recently started watching Game of thrones.  I do not have satellite tv, so have not seen it before and so watched the first two series on dvd.  Loved it and looked forward to watching series 3.  When does it come out on dvd I wonder……Feb 2014!!!!!  Really?  Why?  As far as I know it is off the tv now, so why not just release it on dvd and let people like me buy it, giving them the money?

Now I am sure the various video rental / streaming companies could provide me with the 3rd series sooner but I do not have a good internet signal and cannot afford to upgrade it.  So that is not an option for me.

I really like Japanese video games and movies.  Yet a lot of these are not officially released over in Scotland.  So I either have to import them and hope they have an english subtitle option, or miss out.  Release dates for everything should be worldwide on the same day ideally.  However for the majority of movies etc, I do not mind waiting a wee while.  Unless it is something I really want to see / play.  When the Dark Knight was released in America a full week before anywhere else, if I could have got a pirate copy, I would have.  I was so angry that I thought the film company would have deserved it.  A movie that big and with the amount of fans that it was likely to bring to the cinema, should have been released worldwide on the same day.  The marketingg campaign for it on its own must have cost millions, so why take the chance that piracy would harm the potential box office.  As it turns out, I was made aware that there was a copy out there, two days before I went to see it and declined.

The film, TV and Music companies have to realise that with the advances in technology, piracy is easy.  Indeed there are a lot of articles over the internet that say that if official channels offered the choice, convenience and ease of use that the various pirate channels do, then there would be little or no need for people to pirate content.  Yet they dont.  There are the various rights that stops certain things getting released in certain countries.  Why something is not done about rights in different territories, I do not understand.  Surely companies could stop that side and cut piracy in one move.  Makes me wonder why they dont?  If I want to watch tv show A and they are not releasing it for months over here (either for broadcast or on DVD) then in this internet age that we live in, I should be able to pay a small fee to watch it legally.  Now while I do not have a decent internet connection, there are plenty that do.  Since the option to pay for viewing programme A legally is not there, many consumers go down the piracy road.  They want to watch it.  The legal option is not there, so a few clicks later, they have the programme and the makers have missed out on money.  Once they have done it once, they are likely to do it again and again. 

Piracy will always exist and the current system that is used to fight it just is not working.  The unskippable trailers for FACT and such like on the beginning of paid for DVDs is just one example of the system hampering the people who have paid.  Yet instead of changing things in favour of the consumer and allowing them access to the content they want, when they want it and at a price that is sensible, they just seem to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that it is not happening.  Trying to push digital downloads of products (especially in terms of video games) is the latest way they have of offering choice.  You do not own a physical copy of the item, yet you pay just as much and cannot then lend it out to your friends, donate to a charity shop or even sell to recoup some of your money back.  This is wrong surely?  You have paid money for something and yet, you do not own it completely.

Dont believe me? Have a read of this, this and then do this.

(while that refers to Kindles, I think we can safely assume that all digital content will have the same back doors built in)

To be honest I am not sure what I am trying to accomplish with this post.  It has just been an annoyance that has sat on my mind for a while now.   I wrote this a couple of weeks ago and then left it sitting in my drafts because I was not sure it said all I wanted to say.  Then I read this post on Mightygodking.com  and I just had to post this.  My favourite comment is the one from Noah Brand on Sept 5th 2013 as it sums up my feelings pretty much exactly.

I would be interested in what you think.

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One thought on “Piracy and why big business needs to change

  1. […] have spoken about this before.  The easiest way for Big Business to reduce the amount of piracy is to make shows available […]

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