Piracy, piracy, piracy! It seems everyone’s on about digital piracy and the evil people who are stealing the food from the mouths of creators.
Of course people should be fairly remunerated for their work. Heck, I’m a writer and I need to pay for my mortgage and groceries too.
Here’s an actor:
Spanish actor Javier Bardem and film-makers urged internet users to support creative industries struggling to survive …
Yes! I’m on board with that. In fact, I buy books — more so now that many are available as Kindle editions. I try not to buy paper books any more. I also often want to buy a movie or a TV series online so I can watch it on my Mac.
…in an age of digital piracy by shunning illegal downloading of free films and music.
…The Oscar-winning Bardem, now starring in Biutiful, said of the movie industry: “More than 90% of people have serious problems to pay the rent, the bills and even eat.
“Remuneration is crucial, not for me but for the 90% who have serious problems in making a living.”
…Bardem, referring to non-paying downloaders on the internet, said: “People think they harm the producer that flies around in a private jet or has five swimming pools or the Hollywood actor with three mansions in every town.
“They are wrong. They are harming people who are hardly making a living.”
There have been many articles debating how much harm is done when people download items without paying the creators. I’m not going to enter into that one.
No, my gripe is with this part of what he said:
Digital technology has made it easy and cheap to download new cultural works around the world instantaneously. [My emphasis]
It has. It has made it easy. And cheap. And convenient.
The Internet is a superb distribution channel — the thriving activity of many people downloading movies and other files is proof of that.
The infuriating thing is that if I were to download a movie or TV series from such a source I could get it quickly, easily, and without having to suffer through the prolonged and unskippable ‘anti-piracy’ propaganda on the DVDs I pay good money for.
See Movies — with added carrots? that I wrote way back in September 2009.
And all those DVDs I bought with good money from official distribution sources? Not only are they loaded up with anti-piracy measures and warnings and propaganda, but it turned out I was later unable to sell most of them on to others when I no longer wanted them.
Why? because many of the DVDs I bought were Region 1 (US) or 2 (UK). You can’t list those ones on TradeMe because they don’t have a
New Zealand classification rating. The same movies or TV series we watch on TV. The same ones we could (later) buy as region 4 DVDs.
I won’t buy DVDs any more because of this.
The creators implore us not to download stuff without paying them for it. Fair enough!
The US movie studios buy legislation to potentially disconnect us from the Internet if they accuse us of downloading their stuff without paying for it.
But those same creators refuse to sell us the stuff we want!
Can I say that again and any more clearly? Have the images in this post made my point?
It’s all well and good to complain about people downloading material without paying the rights holders their fair share. But if the rights holders refuse to acknowledge the market, if they refuse to offer potential buyers what they want and in the way they want it then they must accept that some people will find other ways to obtain the material.
Bardem says it himself: the channels exist. They’re being used. They work. What’s not working is the creators who won’t see that a market exists and who refuse to participate in it.
Instead of spending all their time and energy beating us with ‘piracy’ sticks they need to devote their energy to meeting a market demand.
As we face new legislation to turn us into criminals I’m becoming increasingly frustrated. Give us legitimate channels and we’ll buy your stuff.
My plea to the studios, the artists, the actors, the creators: please allow us to buy your stuff! We want it. We’ll pay a fair price. Please give us iTunes TV shows and all the movies others have access to, Netflix-style services, iPlayer-type services, Hulu-type services, Kindle books that aren’t denied us because we’re in the ‘wrong’ region.
The market’s easy: you have, we want; you sell, we buy.
Go on: I dare you!