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The Cost of Piracy

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A humorous video is doing the rounds, in which Rob Reid takes a sarcastic look at the losses claimed by the entertainment industry as a result of piracy.

Just to be clear, our official position at MediaCollege.com is that piracy is bad. We actively police our forums to remove any links to pirated content.

Regarding the way piracy is being confronted by the entertainment industry, our opinion is that it could hardly being doing a worse job. For starters, anti-piracy lobbyists are outright lying about the losses incurred. The figures they quote are patently absurd, as Rob Reid illustrates. One obvious flaw in their figures: They assume that every illegal download (and share between friends) replaces a legitimate purchase. This makes no sense - if I copy a hard drive containing 1000 albums, has that stopped me from purchasing those 1000 albums? No, I was never going to be a purchaser in the first place. From what I've observed, the vast majority of all pirated music is never even listened to, and it's certainly not replacing purchases.

More importantly, the entertainment industry itself is the worst cause of piracy. For example, I love to buy music, movies and TV programs. I have disposable income and I want to spend some of it on digital entertainment. Unfortunately I can't.

I can't download Blu-ray movies. If I buy a Blu-ray disk I have a nightmare trying to play it on my computers due to licensing issues with playback software and region compatibility problems with hardware. In fact I recently gave up on Blu-ray altogether for these reasons. Dear Sony, what was the point of winning the HD war if you refuse to provide a usable product?

I want to rent or buy movies online, but I can't. "Not available in your country" say all the legal websites I visit. Well actually it is available in my country but only from pirates! Why won't you sell it to me legally? I'd rather pay for it but you won't let me.

I want to buy music online so I tried it through iTunes. What a disaster. Nothing is easy with iTunes - I can't transfer music to other devices, I can't play it on my stereo and everything about it is difficult. The only way I can put my music on my electronic drums' headphones is to rip it. I don't have any of these problems with a simple wav or mp3 file.

And how about Hollywood's movie release schedule? What do you think will happen if you advertise a film in Europe but don't make it legally available for another six months? If you guessed "You'll encourage piracy", congratulations, you have more brains than Hollywood's distributors.

The list of incredibly stupid self-sabotaging decisions coming from the entertainment industry goes on. They are their own worst enemies. My message to them is: "Shut up, provide me with a usable product and take my money! I want to support you. I want to stop piracy. I want a legitimate trading system for my entertainment. But you make it too difficult and then blame pirates."

Anyway, Rob's video is below. You can also find many infographics on the web showing the idiocy of the anti-piracy lobbyists (here's one example: http://bit.ly/AubyxD).

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Tags: piracy, sopa
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  1. Guest's Avatar
    Piracy is been a big problem in the Philippines. The government had to put up a department to deal with this alone. The Optical Media Board is what it came about and fortunately they have been doing good. Less pirated movies and records can be seen on the street. Lately they focused on illegal use of software and found out that even some companies practices such. An instance which happened last week where a call center company Garrett & Talon which has an in house account - JUSTFLOWERS was raided by the authority because of illegal use of operating system (windows). When OMB raided the company they found out that only 1 OS was legally bought and was used to run 100 or more PC's. The case is now on going. Kudos to OMB!
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