Well, this is a big one, not just in the anime/roleplayers’/video games’ cycle, but for all of us who live in the modern world with internet and fast connections. Piracy. Illegal downloading of goods through the internet. This was somewhat brought to my mind again due to the recent issues between Amazon and MacMillian regarding the pricing of eBooks.
Let’s begin with a couple of statements, from which everything follows:
- Piracy is theft*.
- People don’t want to think of themselves as thieves.
- (Well, a third: People would rather not pirate.)
Blog update: I’m currently in my tests’ season, well, mostly home-tests and assignments, so for the next two weeks expect posting to be a bit less timely, and be patient with awaiting comments. Thanks :)
Companies had tried to fight piracy, and companies had mostly failed fighting piracy. The draconic measures did alienate people, but those alienated were usually those who were already downloading things. But this alienation was still relevant, because those people, they’d have rather paid the companies.
In the end, all those reasons people give, such as: I have no money; it costs too much (so why not send them cash after downloading the file?); but no one is losing any money (“Victim-less crime”); it takes so long for the series/book/music to come to where I live, etc. These are attempts at self-justification. These all prove the points that serve as the center of this post.
If people had thought that what they were doing is alright, then they wouldn’t have had to explain (to themselves) why it is. Of course, it seems the same holds in case there is nothing wrong, but others claim that there is. Well, look at the reasons people give. Many of them amount to “I want to give you my money, but there are things that stop me.” Things such as the time it takes to become available, price point, and such. These are reasons where people say, “I am not stealing because I want to, I’m stealing because it seems to me you don’t want me to pay you.”
But companies, well, some companies, had been growing wiser. I’ve seen a Princeton research mentioned (and yes, researches are worth nearly-nothing at times), where they state the reason they tink only 10% of what is torrented being music is that music can be had easily online, legally. The music companies, the TV companies, they are slowly getting wise. iTunes, Amazon music store, Hulu, Steam?
This is only the beginning though, and sometimes they still turn around and sue people (or perhaps the lawsuits just take exceedingly long to come to fruitation?), and you can’t use Amazon’s virtual music store or Hulu if you live in the wrong place. I actually wired an American friend of mine money for the soundtrack of The Secret of Kells (which costs a crazy amount of money in physical form). I mean, I logged to the store and tried to give Amazon my money, but they didn’t want to.
And then you have eBooks. It seems like instead of each industry using the knowledge of the ones that came before, instead of falling into the same pits, that these people don’t want to learn, and almost seem to insist on falling into the same pits. High prices, DRM (Digital Rights Management), what are you thinking?
If people would want to share your book, they’d scan it. It’s been done with RPGs for many years. If people would want to share your movie, they’d do so well before the DVD or your movie they paid to download was available. If they want to share it, they will share it. But read the second and third points… they don’t want to pirate. They want to pay you for a non-gimped copy and have it easy to use and enjoy.
Yes, if the PDF format dies all those PDFs we’ve purchased will be dead. For DRM, it only takes your site. Here’s a story, I used to download the free PDF from DriveThruRPG (once a week, once a month, not sure). Couple years later, it told me I don’t have the right to open them, using Adobe Reader (I think it may have been “Adobe Digital Editions“?). So I didn’t pay for it, but what if I had? I would have had to go and re-download them, in their current Watermark but no-DRM forms. Annoying, but this would have only worked because the place where the files come from is still standing.
Companies have been going in the right direction, with CrunchyRoll getting episodes to us the same week (even if you need to pay for them to not wait a week), Hulu and iTunes, Steam for video games. People want to give you their money, or they’d at least rather do it than feel bad. And heck, even some people who would give you money sometimes don’t have a way. Help people give you money, don’t make it hard for them, don’t give them reasons to not trust you.
And don’t price eBooks at $15 for a new book. Not because that “makes” people pirate (it doesn’t, they have a choice), but because it’s stupid, and while people want to give you their money, they’d rather not throw it at you at all costs.
Another point that I want to make in short, and would rather not argue at length over: People who are not only torrentors, but are proud about it? They have taken an element that is seen as negative, and as an act of subversion had incorporated it into their personalities. They know it’s negative, or they did, but they turned it into an aspect that they display proudly. They somewhat fall outside the scope of this post.
- Whether theft is wrong is something I’m going to leave to the individual reader.