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back to article Ofcom grills pirates, loses report under fridge for two years

On Monday Ofcom published two studies it commissioned into digital piracy: one attempting to quantify the level of piracy, the other a smaller study collecting pirates' opinions. Oddly, the 'new' quantitative research is old - almost as old as the Norman Domesday Book. The field work was conducted by Kantar Media in March 2010, …

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Coat

It is not the price, it is the overall lack of quality.

How many times have you watched a trailer, then seen the film only to realize the best bits were all in the trailer?

I buy quality footwear, trousers and suits because they last and are value for money. Movies today are mostly forgettable.

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WTF?

HEAR HEAR!!!!!!

I so totally agree with your statements of fact.

What I miss the most about quality are the 1980's style polo shirts.

That is when they still had a tail to tuck in so nobody has to look at your cheeks and now today the tail of the shirt is just as long as the front! Then when you wash it the xtra large becomes a medium within 2 months of washing. So I stopped buying american stuff 100% just out of spite. The things they sell in USA are for short stubby people who have tow thumbs and wabble around the stores like ducks. I do not mind a shirt that is properly made then I do not mind spending an extra $10 for quality. My stores in my area used to sell nice high quality winter jackets costing $600. The type used to trek up Mt. Everest. But they stopped selling them and now nobody sells decent jackets that fit me and no I do not weigh 500 stones/pounds.

Clothing/car/video manufacturers no longer respect the vast varity people and sell only cookie cutter chinese size clothing. Funny enough I now only buy chinese videos the past 15 years. I just watch kungfu movies as they have more depth than todays movies besides that of the triology of JR TOLKIEN.

Cheers!

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah...

Who'd of thought that the best bits of the film were put into the trailer. Next you'll be telling me that they use models in underwear commercials.

And: If you object to the quality, don't consume it in any way. If you pirate it, the producers think you like it and are just tight.

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Anonymous Coward

"There was a feeling that if a file sharing application had offered paid-­for, high quality content at low prices at this time then legal file sharing would not have taken off ....."

Oh bollocks, that argument has always been complete and utter cods-wallop! There's only one reason people help themselves, because it's free and they can get away with it! As the other guy said, no one really ever gets caught or punished. You could say each album or movie will cost 5p and people would still avoid paying and simply rip off from a torrent! Add to that the convenience of being able to simply pull down a torrent rather than all that tedious setting up an account, registering your bank card, etc and torrents are piece of piss to get something for nothing.

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FAIL

Some yes, most no.

I agree with your statement to a limited extent. Yes, some people will download regardless of the cost and these you will never deal with. However, most people have some moral code and generally believe in paying for things provided the price is right and sensible. Lower down someone says how can an old album cost more than new material. Well, if purchased on CDs, the manufacturer might need to allow for a production run that either doesn't get fully sold or takes a long time. The beauty of downloads, is that this simply doesn't matter. You're talking about a few meg of disk space........nothing in terms of cost.

It would be a better service, with more available whenever the customer wants at a better price. Sheet music is an interesting area as well. Unpopular and old pieces are generally hard to get because they can't justify the print run. They either won't get sold or the price will be so high that people will photocopy it. Obviously answer? Downloads. Cost would reduce dramatically, all for the cost of a few meg of disk. Problem solved. Again, better customer experience, lower overheads, easier life for suppliers etc.etc.

However, all the industries have one thing in common................they have unrealistically high expectations of profit. Therefore, they can't support this model as they can't milk the customer. Eventually they will loose.......it might takes years, but they will. The genie is out the bottle and the first to offer a really good service might well take out all the others. If only the company execs had the brains to think beyond the next 12 months and into the medium/long term and see their companies fading away.

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Anonymous Coward

AC for obvious reasons

I have a niche taste (no, not porn, nothing like that) and more or less the only way I can obtain the stuff I like is mail order where the postage would triple the cost and take it to nearly three digits, or a download. If the stuff was available reasonably over on this side of the world, I'd buy. Maybe not all, but most. But it isn't. So I can't. Perhaps it might be time for distributors to look beyond their country's borders and consider monetizing the international market. That the stuff is downloaded at all internationally suggests that some people at least are interested.

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Molluscs

The only reason I download music for free, I don't bother with films, is because, I have already bought it on vinyl, then on cassette and then they wanted more money for cds...

I'll be damned if I'm paying for the same thing over and over again. All my new music is bought and paid for. I'm a punk so I buy band cds straight off those I like at gigs.

At least that way my money is not paying for some corporate turd at the likes of BGM, Universal, Sony, to buy himself another big fat bifter.

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Au contraire, mon capitaine

Actually, I beg to disagree. Allofmp3.com was doing very well by charging small amounts based upon the size of the files you were downloading. I took the opportunity to get mp3s of a load of albums I have on vinyl. From my point of view, it was far more convenient paying reasonable amounts than to go through the effort of creating the mp3s myself.

As far as the copyright infringement issue goes (it isn't theft), the artist has already been recompensed for the intellectual property rights, and I was paying for the convenience of someone else converting analogue to digital for me.

The problem with legal downloads is that the rights holders have inflated ideas about the value of the content. With content on plastic discs, the likes of Amazon will discount them when they wish to shift old stock. However, the download cost remains high. And you can't sell it on ebay when you are done with it.

Pricing at the Allofmp3 end of the scale might well get people to increase their legal downloads. It it was £1 for a downloaded album, rather than a track, we might well see a lot more sold. Me, I go for the physical disk anyway...

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Facepalm

Which laws have been broken

The issue here is who is prosecuted and for what. Yes, people who download illegal copies of whatever are guilty of copyright theft whether you think in a legal or moral sense. However, there are also laws against cartels and such like that the industries were undoubtedly in breach of and yet there were no prosecutions. From a moral stance (and should be legal), if you prosecute one, you should prosecute the other. Unfortunately, from a legal standpoint, the industries are rich enough to effectively buy the law.

So, the moral argument for prosecuting illegal file sharers is almost impossible to justify on the grounds that those calling for the prosecutions are guilty of crimes as well, and some might consider them more serious!! Nobody expects any person, company or industry to be whiter than white and never make a mistake, but the wholesale profiteering, cartels etc. in the music, film and software industries are so obvious and so large, you can hardly consider them a minor wobble in an otherwise decent life.

As the writer has said, if the companies had taken notice of what was obviously happening at the time, they would have created their own online sources, charging a reduced amount (no CD production etc. needed) and could have avoided all this. Instead they tried to carry on profiteering etc. and got what was coming to them. Morally, the companies don't have a leg to stand on, but as they own the law, legally they do.

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Exactly.

And it doesn't matter how you try and spin it Andrew, or how the survey questions were worded... Charging 'nearly the same', 'the same' or 'even more' for digital copies (with no physical product required) is morally wrong and totally unjustifiable. Anybody who does not agree with that clearly has more money than common sense or is a greedy c**t record company rep.

Thumbs up is for Mad Mike.

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Re: Morally wrong and totally unjustifiable

Is it wrong to charge the same for the same product? CDs are just a transport medium for me. If I buy one, it's going to end up encoded as a high quality MP3 on my hard drive just the same as if I buy a download. The difference being that the download I can get immediately, don't have to bother ripping and I don't end up with the clutter of a CD around the place. Other people for various might prefer the CD, but to most of us, they are actually the same product delivered in two separate ways. Maybe people stuck in the past get hung up on thinking that they have been cheated by missing out on the bits of plastic, but I don't.

I hear the same outrage about ebooks sometimes - how dare they charge the same for an ebook as a physical copy? Well, the eBook is infinitely lighter and more convenient to me, so if anything I'm lucky I'm not charged more. We all have our preferences, but it's not "morally wrong" and "totally unjustifiable" to charge the same or nearly the same cost for what is effectively the same product or, in the case of ebooks, where there are plusses and minuses on both sides that cancel each other out.

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Yes!

And note also, it's the "greedy c**t record company reps." getting the money - not the creative artists!

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h4rm0ny

A download is just not the same as a CD. Yes I can encode it if I want and make it the same as the download (except for the DRM). BUT I can also:

play it as a CD.

encode it as many times as I want.

play it on as many different devices as I want.

re encode when my mac/ipod get nicked.

convert it later into some as yet uninvented format.

be sure that the rights owner will not be able to take away my ability to play it.

give it to someone else or sell it.

take it back to the shop if doesn't work on my player.

peruse the sleeve notes long years after the website has been shut down

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I would disagree. When you buy a CD in a shop, a significant part of that cost is associated with the physical object - artwork design, manufacture, transport, renting and staffing the shop, the risk that some of the CDs you mass produce won't sell etc.

All these costs disappear with a download. Most of the remaining costs (producing the music, marketing etc) are fixed costs rather than per unit costs.

Of course anything is worth what the market will bear, but if you take away a large chunk of the production costs and the price doesn't change it is surely an indication that the market isn't free and fair.

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Anonymous Coward

The internet is not free...

Running a service on the Internet is not free - especially a media and payment based service.

Storage, Bandwidth and payment processing are some of the most expensive things that you can do in modern IT.

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Pirate

Something to think about.

Libraries.

I looked up the definition, and to my amazement, they are real places, and the don't charge to let you watch movies on DVD, TV shows on DVD, and you can read books for free too.

Every comment on here keeps going on about freetards, so tomorrow I'm going down to my local library and call everyone one I see just that. Aren't they freetards too? I called my grandmother a freetard, and she just looked at me quixotically. I'm not sure about how far physically you need to be away from a library before one starts being a "freetard". Does anyone have any data on this?

I also found out that these "libraries" have been around for as long as people have been. How is that possible, should we get together and burn these places now? Don't they know people should only be allowed to enjoy books and media AFTER they pay, and if they can't pay, why should they get to see/read it. What I don't understand is how artists and writers have been able to eek out a existence all these years (3,000 years) with these houses of piracy in every town (some even have 2 or 3)?

/end of sarcasm/

Hopefully that was the equivalent of a "divide by zero" to your media company brainwashing.

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Quite! But it is never that simple...

CD and download are different but there are delivery/fulfilment costs associated with both. What they are per unit I have no idea but lets not pretend that it is free to provide downloads.

I notice that when I buy SW licenses from M$ the download is always cheaper than shipping a physical copy so I assume download is a saving.

What skews this argument slightly is the availability of FREE software that lets me generate my own digital copy from the CD and other flexibility that a download does not allow. If you had to pay for encoders then I could see a good argument for the cost of downloads.

Digi downloads were an opportunity for the biz to reduce price whilst maintaining margin. Instead they tried to use it to increase margin and people can see through that.

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"if you take away a large chunk of the production costs and the price doesn't change it is surely an indication that the market isn't free and fair."

As both products are available side by side (download and CD) and the price is similar, in this case it's an indication that most people didn't care much about the things that have changed. I personally can do without the clutter of the plastic. As people aren't flocking to buy CDs instead of MP3s (and in fact, the other way around), it's an indication that the convenience of instant gratification far trumps inlays and artwork. So as people's purchasing habits clearly demonstrate that they don't value the product less, and in fact seem to be preferring it, then why should seller's lower their prices? Keep in mind with inflation the way it is, any price staying where it is (and albums are slightly cheaper than they were I think), is actually a reduction in real terms.

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@MacGyver

Libraries are not free; I believe they're paid for by council tax, of which I and most others on here pay copious amounts.

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@h4rm0ny

It's a matter of opinion whether it is better to buy a CD or download a track, but I absolutely accept that some people find it more convenient to download music.

But it is also undoubtedly much cheaper to distribute music as downloads. There are costs, but they are much lower than distributing CDs.

In other industries, competition ensures that digital technology benefits the consumer in terms of price *and* convenience. I have just bought some leaflets, banners and printed CDRs for a trade show - really easy to submit the artwork online, quick turnaround, good quality ... and a really good price too. I didn't have to pay extra for the convenience, I actually paid a lot less than it would have been 20 years ago because technology has made the process cheaper.

So yes, some people will pay the same for a download as a CD because they want the song on their phone and they want it now. But a lot of people see the download price as a blatant rip off and feel perfectly justified in downloading it for free.

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"They felt that when sites like Napster and Kazaa had begun, the industry had had a chance to develop high quality, legal file sharing"

If the music indusrty had got their shit together in time...

It wouldnt need to be done by dirty , virus ridden peer to peer sharing , if people were paying for the music, the sellers would just host it on their servers.

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<pedantic rant mode>

I really wish people wouldn't keep using inaccurate terms like 'Piracy' and 'Theft' when referring to un-authorised downloading of digital material. Yep, it's probably some form of offence, but it is NOT Theft or Piracy.

Theft is clearly defined in English law:

"A person is guilty of theft, if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and "thief" and "steal" shall be construed accordingly." Clearly the owner of the original downloaded material is still in possession, so no theft. Money may be owed to them, or contract terms may have been breached, but theft has not occurred.

Similarly Piracy specifically refers to acts of robbery or violence on the high seas, or outside the jurisdiction of any state. Again, nothing to do with copyright violations.

</pedantic rant mode>

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Anonymous Coward

Abso-bloody-exactly

Unauthorised duplication or infringement of copyright.

Theft is walking into a record store and walking out with the product.

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Record store?

What's a record store?

Indeed, what's a record?

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Anonymous Coward

@Pen-y-gors

I don't know which dictionary you have but my OED makes the following definitions (paraphrased):

Theft - to steal

Stealing - ... take (another person's property) without permission or *legal right*... Dishonestly pass off *someone else's ideas* as their own...

(My emphasis)

I also notice that you don't quote a dictionary for the definition of Piracy. Is that because it gives two definitions, one for the thing done on the high seas with the stealing of ships, etc, and the other bing the thing with taking copies of copyrighted material without payment. At least, that's what my OED says.

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Headmaster

I've done some research into this, and use of "piracy" to describe copyright infringement goes back at least to Charles Dickens. Take a look at his 'Proclamation' regarding Nicholas Nickleby:

http://dickensprints.co.uk/book-titles/nicholas-nickleby/proclamation.html

That was published in 1838. So if you think use of the word "piracy" to describe copyright infringment is some hideous probably-transatlantic coinage, you couldn't be much further from the mark.

Just FYI.

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Hey AC

And the definition of theft you thoughtfully provided absolutely doesn't apply - unless you abstract theft to potential earnings in which case anyone who is preferred for a job over you is also stealing your money.

Also under most countries laws prior to now copyright violation was about 'making available' - that is, the providers - now uploaders, selling or giving out works that they did not have the right to, usually for profit. Now they've moved to demonising the recipients, much the same as the war on drugs (another resounding success story). Hell, they've even created an industry ot of enforcement.

As a composer/writer I'm strongly for protection of creative rights. I would argue that what the various 'rights organisations', their lobby-groups and the politicians they buy are not interested in artist rights at all, merely protecting their established business model.

The current model is broken, protects neither consumer nor creator and only really benefits the parasitic businesses that have grown up around it.

And Andrew, it's nice finding myself agreeing with much of what you wrote for a change.

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Anonymous Coward

@Stephen 10

In what way does stealing an idea not apply to copyright?

A classic argument for copying copyright material without paying for it is that the producer of the material doesn't loose anything - ie: You have only taken the idea, not the physical object.

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Don't trust dictionaries...

Definition of theft is from Section 1(1) of the Theft Act 1968, which beats the OED definition as far as UK law is concerned.

Definition of Piracy is a slight editing of Article 101 of the UN Convention on the law of the sea.

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@Pen-y-gors

If I want to know what a word means, I'll go to the OED. I am not a lawyer, neither are any other people here, AFAICT. The law may well have specific need to use particular words in different ways to those which are used and understood by the general public. I am an IT expert, I would not argue that a mouse is a tool for moving a pointer and not a small rodent, just because that's the definition my industry uses of that word,.

Taking a definition of piracy from the law of the sea would suggest that you're deliberately cherry picking where you get your definitions from in order that they fit your worldview.

The OED is a official definition of (UK) English, these semantic arguments people make to justify their actions are, frankly, tedious. Either way, you don't change the moral implications that because you have taken someone's intellectual property and not paid for it, they have less money that if you had paid for it. Dress it up how you like, it's not right and you know it, otherwise you wouldn't make such arguments to try to justify it.

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Devil

@AC 09:42

So I take an idea, if I don't act upon it to make money, how is it relevant that I "have it".

Where do you think we would be as a society if we horded knowledge like you suggest? We live in a world, built on the knowledge of those that came before us.

So if I download an e-book for free because I can't find a DRM-free version for my Sony device, and they only sell a Kindle version, I'm a douche freetard? But if I go to the library and check it out for free, then read it, I am not a douche freetard? Where is the money transfer with either? There isn't any, they are the same. You judge one of those two scenarios differently, even though the end-result to all parties is the exact same. And you are defensive about it, because deep-down you know it's irrational.

The music studios have managed to subvert the one thing that has made us humans great, sharing. Digital media is a infinite quantity object, until recently we called those types of things stories or folk-songs, and we shared them.

It's great that people can make money from writing, singing, and painting, but they have been able to make money doing it long before the idea of recordings came about.

The problem seems to be that they expect to be millionaires and to be paid for the rest of their lives for a performance or two. That's swell, but don't for one second think that anyone that has to wake up everyday and work 40+ hours a week for the rest of our lives is going to shed a tear when you don't get your wish.

Artist of all types would make plenty of money from the people willing to pay (previously called benefactors), if you got rid of the parasites between the two. It's not the artists suing people, it's the parasites, and the artists should be furious because the amount of money being spent is insane, and could be paying the artists, but instead is going to lawyers, to keep their niche positions they have made for themselves, as parasites.

If you want to be an artist, and don't want people to download your stuff, then don't record it. Perform at venues, and charge at the door. You might have to work more than once, but then so do we.

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@Mcgyver

Libraries pay rights holders to lend books.

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Trollface

Oh, so they pay $49 per DVD for everyone, everytime? Right.

I wonder how they kept track in the year 30 AD, did they send out checks, or was it gold, and did they pay out yearly? What about 1960, was it weekly then?

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Anonymous Coward

The question they should ask is

"If all media companies got together, made a portal like the piratebay and stuck all their media on there for either an all-you-can-eat or pay-by-download basis, would you subscribe?"

I'd bet that nearly everyone would say yes, but the fact is to consume media legally you need 50 million accounts to a thousand different companies, all of whom want your credit card details (who'll then lose them obviously) and it's too much effort.

Why can't the MAFIAs see this? Piracy offers simplicity and a complete, unrestricted catalogue. Build that and they will come.

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Anonymous Coward

The Aug 2011 report is based on interviews of 36 people!!!!! What did they do pass it around the ofcom office, FFS, I could get more than that just by asking my son’s school friends.

“Kantar also tried to mitigate against the "leading question".”

It would seem to me that if the conclusion of the report is that that downloaders are "Self-serving consumers" downloading what they can because they can, or were "collectors" and "cyber-techies" then there leading questions asked. I have asked my son’s school friends why they download and they will say the same thing, they can't afford to buy music and videos. And having just handed over over 60 notes for what I consider stocking fillers for Christmas, I think they have a point.

My own son wanted to buy me the remastered DSOM as a Christmas present but was shocked when he found out that the remastered 38 year old record cost 40% more that the current chart offerings.

Out of the mouth of babes……

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Obvious answer (in my oppinion)

"Well, chaps, here's an idea. Why not choose a representative sample of 2,000 broadband users, grant them immunity for a couple of months, and do a silent double-blind test? Perhaps with some of the sample you could experiment with new ideas. The ISP knows exactly what's going on, so speculating on speculation should become superfluous."

This research would have to be conducted by (or with the express consent of) the industry (music/film/software producers working together) to allow them to offer immunity. However, these are the exact same people who do not want this research conducted: they want to be able to maintain their archaic business models, and this research would likely (IMHO) force them into doing something new.

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yes and don't choose Kantar.

and be scrupulous with the questions!

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Go

The original survey was evaluating research methods NOT piracy itself

Having taken a look (at the Kantar survey at least)...

The primary brief of the Kantar Survey was to evaluate different methods of questioning individuals about file sharing NOT to evaluate file sharing issues themselves.

This was a pilot survey for the purpose of understanding differences between Online, Face to Face and Telephone interviews for this area of research (yes, even more boring than the original topic).

Whilst "I find music and video files that you pay for on the internet expensive" is somewhat leading, it is the difference in response that was of interest not the responses themselves. Often there are reasons for leading questions.

Take a look at the survey (@Ellie) and see if you're really appreciating what it's purpose was.

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If those most likely to download are cash poor..

Then it just simply proves that DRM is nothing but snake oil. DRM exists supposedly to encourage them to buy (by presumably slowing down the release of pirated copies). Since these folk won't buy anyway spending money to dissuade piracy just results in lower overall profit thanks to the cost of DRM in the first place.

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Logical theory

In reality, though, the cash-strapped are less guilty of thieving than one would think, and if they do start stealing, it will be to acquire things they actually need, not useless stuff they can do without.

I think that the people most guilty of copyright infringement are people who could very well pay for it, but choose not to for various reasons (some that can actually be valid from their point of view).

After all, we're not talking about survival here, but about entertainment. When you've reached that level of preoccupation, you've most likely done away with more basic issues like where do you sleep and do you have enough to eat.

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DRM puts off legit customers

We got rid of our DVD players when new format disks wrecked both of them. We also stopped playing DVD's on our living room PC when they also started trying to infect our systems and damaged the drives.

We used to buy a DVD a week - we have not bought any DVD's for well over 18 months, since the very last one we bought cost us a new drive and a system reformat.

Instead we wait until films appear on freesat(HD) and download to the portable hard drive attached to this - better quality than DVD and we can prune the advs :-) Also no stupid forced-to-watch trailers or threats etc and the files can be ffmpeg'd down to fit on a phone if anything was actually worth watching more than once. IMHO most stuff today is not even worth watching - if you have seen the trailer you ave probably seen the best bits - the rest is padding.

I would be very happy to buy boxed sets etc and buy mpeg audio books etc but DVD's no longer play on anything I own.

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Damn true that !

I am sick to death of being forced to watch that stupid FBI warning.

HEY MORONS ! IF I SEE YOUR WARNING, IT'S BECAUSE I PAID FOR THE DISK !!

Do they really think that their bloody warning will be kept by pirates ?

Not counting the idiots that make film trailers mandatory before being able to watch the film. Yeah, as if six years after the DVD has been sold I'll still be interested in trailers for films that I either have the DVD for, or have decided that I am totally not interested.

Still, could be good for some laughs (hey, remember that turkey ? Man was that film stupid !).

But no. These days I buy my DVDs when I'm interested, and rip the film to keep only the film. That way I can watch what I want, when I want, which is something I find perfectly normal to do in my own house.

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Lies, damned lies and more lies

Surely last weeks "sexual partners" survey proved once and for all that asking the public in order to ascertain the truth is entirely pointless. For those that missed it that survey published results last week in which the average man claimed to have had 15 sexual partners and the average woman claimed to have had just six. Which proved that either the vast majority of men are homosexual or everyone lies in surveys, particularly on moral issues.

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ISP's

If downloading copyrighted material requires a payment to the owner of the copyright (which all reasonable standards of logic would suggest is true). Why are you coming after me for the payment ?

I'm currently paying my ISP circa 20 quid a month for somthing that, on the face of it, should be a low or no-charge add-on to my already extortionate phone rental contract....Surely if Mistra Performing Rights wants his pound of flesh he should be looking at the man making the money out of providing me with the means, motive and opportunity ?

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private and public performances

Musicians have rights in respect of music played in public perfomances, but not in private ones. As an Internet user I also don't consider my private use of content readily available any of the business of the music industry for the same kind of reason they don't get to know what is played and sung around the piano in my home. But given the ISPs claim my Internet connection is capable of downloading 100 movies and 2000 songs/month etc. as part of their advertising and selling my connection, I wouldn't mind the content providers getting a sales commission, as the ISP's business is carried out within the public domain.

This is not a tax as has sometimes been claimed - it's as legitimate a sales commission as the rights payments work in broadcasting, as without the content the means of transforming or transporting it would not be bought and sold. This could be done without intimidation or interfering with listener/viewer privacy, and in much the same way as with broadcasting.

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Anonymous Coward

What if I connect a recorder to a radio or tv or computer and record the output?

It's happened for years and years and will continue to happen regardless of what DRM etc.. systems "they" try to impose.

The whole industry needs to change or utlimately die!

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FAIL

HDCP was intended to stop this happening

In my experience, the primary effect of HDCP and similar has been to piss off business CEOs who want to show their home videos at conferences, but can't because it won't show on the secondary monitor. We had to set up some rather convoluted video paths to get around it.

- Amusingly, the biggest effect Windows Genuine Advantage has had on my life was to delay the launch of Intel Centrino/Windows XP Media Centre edition, forcing Microsoft to pay up for a satellite broadband link just to verify the computers they provided!

(They would not log on without WGA sorting itself out, and we couldn't use the manual method or even connect to WiFi without logging in. Well done!)

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Stop

This is somewhat disingenuous; research completed in May 2010 is not regarded as 'old' in the research industry, indeed anything under 2 years old is generally seen as quite fresh. I wouldn't be surprised if the report had taken until December of that year to be released, as it would have had to wend its way from vendor to client, then from client to client's boss, and onwards and upwards. Something as politically sensitive as this would take longer to release.

That said, that still leaves 12 months unaccounted for by Ofcom, and the suspicion has to be that they were waiting for an opportune moment to release it.

Oh, and qual research is NEVER representative, that's the point. As a professional research nerd, this is one of those incredibly difficult - yet remarkably intriguing - subject areas for which there isn't a perfect research methodology. The idea of granting 2,000 people immunity is interesting, but would quickly be ruled out for a) logistical (could it even be done legally?!) and b) behavioural (it's going to affect behaviour) reasons.

</research geekery> Still an interesting read, though; I'd like to see this not being brushed over in future policy decisions on piracy.

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"could it even be done legally?"

If there is a written agreement between the media cartel and the subjects of the research specifying that nothing the subjects can do will be the subject of a lawsuit during the length of the study, then the law will not be brought into the equation.

Simple as that.

As long as murder is not involved, of course.

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Prices

"And digital prices are typically lower than physical prices."

Maybe in lalaland. 'Round here in the real world, the per-song price usually makes the digital album a tad more expensive than the physical one. And then you add the data transfer costs, and then the storage. And most of the time it comes with idiotic "anti-piracy" systems that do nothing to deter pirates but do hinder legitimate use -a lot.

So, quite a bit more expensive, and less convenient to use.

That doesn't excuse anything, of course, and it's not relevant really. Joe Bloggs has a fixed budget for that kind of things usually. Piracy or not, Ms and Mr 50 quids WILL spend their 50 quids. The amount of music/movies/etc they will have access to is what varies.

The "an illegal download is a lost sale" argument assumes that

1. households have an unlimited budget.

2. People don't buy what they like if they already have a crappy version of it.

Both assumptions are stupid; the first one for obvious reasons, and as for the second one, would you please look at the Star Wars fans, for example? The ones who own 5 physical copies of every movie, and went to see each at least twice in a theatre? (and probably have a few ripped copies around for convenience, too).

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