back to article Study finds piracy withering against legal alternatives

A study has found that people are perfectly prepared to pay for online content, provided that the alternatives aren’t too harsh. The data, from respected think-tank American Assembly, shows that illegal file sharing among family and friends is relatively common – but that people would prefer to use a legal alternative if one was …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

And notice how mysteriously, the argument of DRM fails to coerce people towards legal content - given adequate options, they'll happily pay rather than be cajoled into it.

10
0

DRM

actually tends to force people towards illegal content, IMO. There is always a chance that the DRM will cause the game to not work on your computer. Now, if they go onto the Net and see a cracked free copy, well, that's no competition, is it?

22
0

i agree

before i started using Steam i actually had to download dodgy cracks for some games i had purchased just to get them to work properly.

as for movies, i have given up with the often included digital copies on dvds and blurays i buy and rip a copy instead as the drm is just too cumbersome and restrictive to work.

6
0
Linux

bonus digital copies are borked anyway...

"as for movies, i have given up with the often included digital copies on dvds and blurays i buy and rip a copy instead as the drm is just too cumbersome and restrictive to work."

I don't run windows or IOS so they completely fail to cater for me... and I know of quite a few people these days who don't have DVD drives on their computers in the first place (Mac Mini's, Netbooks etc.)... so they don't work for them either...

3
0
Gold badge

Exactly right. When you can get a legal download of a movie in a standard format like MP4 that will play on all your device then video downloads will take off.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

"Digital Copies" are worthless DRMed crap? *That* was a surprise!

I've seen DVDs and Blu-Rays advertised with those additional "digital copies" (*). But does it say something that *despite never having actually tried using those particular examples*, I had already- and almost instinctively- pigeonholed them as "worthless" in my mind.

Mainly because I had already assumed they'd be reliant on some overly restrictive and flakey DRM that might or might not work on the intended (and studio-approved device), but only after installing some bloated and useless crapware that would clog up my PC, require me to register and set up an account, and require contacting some server that might work today but probably wouldn't be active in a few years' time, and that probably wouldn't work when I reinstalled Windows or moved to a new machine because I'd forgotten- or didn't care- how their shitty one-off DRM scheme would work anyway or lost my account details.

(And IIRC some of those "digital copies" only state that they'll work for a year. This might be a disclaimer to cover their ass when they feel like eventually turning the servers off, but who cares?)

And wouldn't work on any non-approved device, including those I might buy in the future anyway.

And even if it did work, it would be more hassle than it was worth. And going by what you've said, I was pretty much right.

But it's worth subjecting your paying customers to this inconvenience, because it's going to do *such* a good job at protecting your content. It's not as if it's the case that if only *one* person in the whole world manages to break the protection and create an unprotected copy, then everyone else will be able to pirate that, after all!

And it's not as if you're effectively punishing your paying customers at the expense of those trading pirate copies, is it? Got your priorities right there, guys!

(Disclaimer; no, this isn't justification for pirating Hollywood blockbusters. I neither buy nor pirate them, mainly because I'm not much into films in general, and in particular couldn't give a flying f**k about the latest American adolescent-targeted tossfest).

(*) Yeah, let's ignore the stupidity that both DVD and Blu-Ray are already "digital copies" by their very design, and it barely counts as nitpicking to say so!

1
0
Silver badge

Are you listening BBC?

I would much rather pay you for access to iPlayer from the colonies, or even a reasonable price per episode download, than pay for streambox.

But the current business model seems to be charge me $60 for half a series on DVD, 6months later, with a random bunch of edits of stuff that would confuse the natives. ( Pressumably the reason there is no legal way of watching Qi - if you cut out the bits that confuse foreigners there is nothing left. )

4
0
Silver badge

@Yet Another Anonymous coward

AIUI the thing about QI (especially the earlier series) is that at least some of the images they use on the big screens behind the panelists are not licenced for use outside the UK, consequently to distribute them in other countries would require paying expensive fees which would make the DVD not commercially viable, hence the edits.

1
0
Pirate

I am a Doctor Who fan and until my Cable Company added BBCA (and the US broadcasts of the series were no longer embargoed for from 6 months to over a year by whoever had the US rights - SciFi and now BBCA) I watched the show in real time via Bit Torrent and then bought the DVDs once they finally got released. I also watched the companion Doctor Who Confidential (ie: The "Making Of" show about that week's episode) the same way (no longer since the BBC has canceled the show). While the DVDs have the Confidential episodes as extra material, they are trimmed down to 15 minutes from their BBC3 versions of 45 minutes. I think this applies not only to the US Region 1 DVDs but also the UK Region 2 DVDs. Thus the only way to see the show is to pirate it (although the iPlayer versions might be uncut). I wonder why they supply the trimmed as opposed to full length versions.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

perhaps foxyproxy would help

comment here

0
0

Hey now

I'm a "foreigner" and I enjoy QI on a regular basis, despite a complete lack of editing. The only thing I find confusing is the scoring, which even the show's host doesn't seem to understand.

0
0
Silver badge

Very Simple

"The only thing I find confusing is the scoring, which even the show's host doesn't seem to understand."

The scores don't matter. Simples.

2
1

Geo- and media-specific licensing of other media ancillary to the production of the main media (as with the "pictures behind the panel not licensed for outside UK above") is something that was excusable a decade and a half ago, but for contemporary productions, it's just short-sightedness. Any contract over the matter can be be worded to specify additional payment at a later date in the event of overseas use of the primary programme.

0
0

Another Yank QI fan

And what's more, I think I understand the scoring system: it's merely a prop for more jabs and jokes, a la I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.

Although I do have one complaint with QI, my family all got sore throats trying to do Rob Brydon's man-trapped-in-a-box voice.

5
0
DN4

Two thirds

"Over two thirds of those questioned would share music within family or friends."

So what about the remaining one third? Do they hate their families or have been brainwashed so thoroughly that they think sharing with their family is wrong? Not sure which one would make me more sad.

11
0
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Two thirds

"So what about the remaining one third? "

They would share music with family AND friends!

0
0
Silver badge

Please! My children need music!

It makes me sad [1] that you believe brainwashing is the only reason why someone would decide against an activity which is illegal, arguably unethical, and of minimal benefit to anyone. It's *entertainment* (and often mediocre or worse at that), for fuck's sake. If my family and friends want to enjoy some piece of entertainment media I own, they can either borrow it - on physical media, and I'll go without it until it's returned - or they can buy their own damn copy.

If my family and friends needed me to steal IP for them in order to like me, then I'd be better off without them. (As it happens, no one's ever asked.) Is stolen property really the currency of familial love where you come from?

[1] That is, it *would* make me sad, if I weren't protected by an impenetrable shield of cynicism.

0
2
Facepalm

@Michael W.

When one of your family comes over for the holidays and asks for an aspirin do you also slap the bottle out of their hands and scream "Buy your own god-damned aspirin!, this is mine and I paid for it?"

I don't normally attack individuals, but really, you're going to go with the "no sharing" argument?

They were talking about "IP" that the person already had in their possession, either by legal or illegal means. You "renting them your DVD (hereto known as IP) for $0 (hereto known as FREE)", is also considered IP theft by the media companies. Did they open the new package, thereby agreeing to all T&C? Are you licensed like Blockbuster? Then you too are a thief.

"As it happens, no one's ever asked"

No kidding, they already know and understand that you are a programmed shill for big media companies. I already know it, and I've only read a few sentences from you.

The whole world is where it is from humans helping and sharing with others, and you come along after the initial buildup, and declare that "all sharing is bad", and people should only enjoy something if they have paid some piper somewhere, and you think you're not programmed?

(by the by, people aren't even taking about simply not wanting to pay, they are talking about not being offered something worth paying for (DRM'd), or something not even available to be paid for (region locked))

I may not be morally spotless, but you are just wrong, maybe one day you will understand why, but I doubt it.

1
0
Childcatcher

Games is a tricky one, 'specially PC games. I think Steam as a form of DRM is one I can live with happily because it supplies many advantageous features to me as a user (centralized and well stored game keys! auto patching! best of all: legacy games adapted to work on newer systems without spending two hours looking up advice!)

Here's the kicker; very few PC games have demos nowadays, and I don't blame people for pirating a game on the basis that they want to try the product before paying the full price*. The problem is obviously that by the time people have pirated the game in order to try it out, the principle of buying it if they like it often drops by the wayside.

*Consumer rights for gamers, what a novel idea.

8
0

Problems with demos

I was driven to "pirating" games to try them out when demos started to include the same DRM as the final game, and games started shipping with so many changes from the demo that they didn't work the same anymore. Demos became a thoroughly pointless, and often dangerous, means of trying out a game. Downloading a copy with the DRM stripped out was totally safe. My rule of thumb was that if I still played the game after two weeks, then I'd buy it.

The final straw for me with demos was when StarForce completely ruined two CD burners and caused me at least three complete reinstalls of the OS.

2
1
Thumb Up

Works for me

I think this method is appropriate. I would not want to buy a game (considering what they cost these days, and the amount of bad games that have come out) without trying it out first. Thankfully, the structure of modern (PC) games is perfect for this model. The pirated copy usually only allows you to play the single player part anyway, because getting on a server to play MP involves some kind of key checking or otherwise phoning home. In this way, if the game is good the person will likely buy it to be able to access multiplayer (which with today's games is 80% of the gameplay anyway), and if it is rubbish they will get rid of it and that will be that. The latest FPS games only have a campaign mode that lasts the weekend, then it is on to multiplayer for months, if not years. Seems like a fair deal to me.

0
0

You may find that rather more games have demos than you previously expected. But those are on Steam as well. Chalk that one up for having a parallel delivery system for both demo and game. For non-Steam games, it's not easy to build a game that has DRM and is written to be delivered on a disc that is always accessible, then can trivially be adapted to run without that DRM off of data downloaded and saved, and that CANNOT be extended to the full game by adding in the missing content copied off the disc by others and downloaded to a hard drive.

0
0
Silver badge

My movies come from the DVD bargain bin...

...or recorded off the TV. If I can see a film on the big screen for €6,50, there's no reason why it shouldn't cost similar for the little screen...

And quit with those anti piracy adverts and promos you can't skip and fecking macrovision - those are the reasons I rip my DVDs to XviD first. I want to watch the film, okay? The. Film.

23
0

Indeed.

One DVD I owned briefly before it was cast into the bin had (I counted) 6 unskipable trailers for other films, 4 of which I already had. 3 "you wouldn't steal a..." clips. 2 minutes of the text. Then a 1 minute into into the menu.

So after watching the disc once I threw it away and went and pirated a copy.

Overall - I think piracy is something you just have to live with. Taking Avatar and CoD MW. Both set world records for sales while at the same time respective industries are claiming that piracy is killing them. Sorry, something doesn't add up there.

7
0

Having recently set up an xbmc installation for my TV on an old shuttle pc, one of my favourite features about it is that the DVD player automatically skips all the crap before the menu. Super!

0
0
MJI
Silver badge

Stopped with DVDs due to this

Unskippable warnings, annying promos.

Needed to rip to PC and burn a copy with the protection removed.

Dual layer blanks not that cheap.

When it is easier to download a rip and watch that than a legitimate copy - you know things are wrong.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

> the DVD player automatically skips all the crap

VLC does this too, as does myth.

I suspect the not-allowed-to-skip-this-shit nonsense in most players comes from clauses in the license for the copy protection.

The open source peeps had DVD Jon so never needed the license. Consequently they don't enforce the bullshit clauses.

In fact, if you have the right DVD drive, the open source players don't enforce region locks either.

2
0
Boffin

easy to skip

The next time just hit the stop button twice, then hit play. This launches straight into the movie and skips all that nonsense. Works a treat!

0
0
MJI
Silver badge

Asked Pioneer about this

DVD player stil obeys the crap, but plays copies perfectly

Tried with PS3 - the same, but the same virus is now being found on _SOME_ BluRays, but the blanks cost a LOT more than DVDs, and I haven't yet been able to rip one, burning though is fine, got my last three holiday videos on BluRay.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

"And quit with those anti piracy adverts and promos you can't skip and fecking macrovision - those are the reasons I rip my DVDs to XviD first. I want to watch the film, okay? The. Film."

The phrase preaching to the converted spings to mind. A bit like EA and Spore where the pirated version was more accessible on multiple installs than people who actually shelled out for the game.

6
0
Anonymous Coward

In the 60's, nobody cared if you tape recorded a new song on the radio. When VCR's came out, people regularly recorded their favorite movie. Again, nobody cared. The recording industry said that these copies were low quality and they didn't care. When DVD's and CD's came out, the recording industry squawked that copies were perfect and perfect copies were unfair (even though I can argue that early tape recordings were close to what the original media offered). Now they claim foul even if you make low quality copies, make copies of your media for your own use or the use of your family. With the Sunny Bono copyright extension act, copyrights on movies are essentially forever.

Yes people are glad to buy content if the price is right. I use Netflix and I think it is a great alternative to both Cable and downloading. But the DRM people don't really like the idea of me paying a low fee for Netflix and they desire a lot more money. Thats where the rub will come from. IF the entertainment industry is interested in providing low cost alternatives to downloading, but I don't think that will happen. They are too greedy. The RIAA suing 7 year old children makes sense to them. Just a thought

3
2

"In the 60's, nobody cared if you tape recorded a new song on the radio. When VCR's came out, people regularly recorded their favorite movie. Again, nobody cared. The recording industry said that these copies were low quality and they didn't care. "

Not entirely true, see "Home Taping is Killing Music".

3
0

See also "Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc." a.k.a. the Betamax Case.

0
0

Yep, they cried that if home taping was allowed, everyone would record and share, and the movie industry would die.

They lost the court cases, home taping was allowed, and it set the scene for the lion's share of the movie industry income these days.

Now, they're doing exactly the same "Oooo.. Copying anything will mean we'll all go bankrupt. Copying is killing the industry.".

Basically, this story just says "No it's not. Do something people want at a price that's a fair deal and you've nothing to worry about. Try extortion, and people get unhappy with you.".

3
1
Silver badge

XKCD got it right...

http://xkcd.com/488/

6
0
Thumb Up

Yep

I buy plenty of ebooks and audiobooks; but before doing so, I make sure that they're either DRM-free or use a DRM format that I can remove (I suspect that if Adobe finally updates ADEPT, ebook sales are going to plummet).

0
0
Pirate

If 46 percent are doing it

I suppose it is too late to reclaim the word Piracy to mean hijacking ships and their cargo? Arrrr!

4
0
Headmaster

Opportunity costs

In economics we talk about opportunity cost and while many people conflate it with monetary price; the two are not the same. Opportunity cost also includes time (which has a very real price in terms of income passed by), knowledge required, actual work (physical effort, travel distance to see the neighborhood duplicator, monetary price of travel, etc.) and, of course, financial price.

The problem here is that while the opportunity costs of duplicating, distributing, and 'consuming' media content has fallen dramatically due to the digital information revolution, the financial price has not similarly (dramatically) fallen. And the media organizations resist any further change in the status quo, resorting to lawsuits, unjust laws, and other enforcement actions, in an attempt to return to the markets of old.

If you look at the survey findings, you will readily find that where an _individual's_ opportunity costs are high in comparison to monetary prices, legal methods tend to predominate. Where low to actual prices (the teens and twenties), so-called piracy dominates.

Yet the media id10ts, including far too many of the press analyses, reject such a simple explanation and continue their insanity. Albert Einstein had a rather famous quote (directed at those deny the then new physics. And so it goes. I do hope the id10ts will have a chance to look back at their error as they are strung up, one by one, come the revolution.

[I won't live to see said revolution. You also have my apologies for such turgid writing.... Academic by birth, statistician/economist by inclination.]

5
1
Headmaster

Non-obvious

A better perspective can be found in Wikipedia for this is indeed yet another example of the Prisoner's Dilemma (as are most things difficult to strategize). https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Prisoner's_dilemma

0
0

And 2k people showing a fair representation of the us population?

0
3

Actually, yes, a sample size of 2000 is very good. If you want to criticize statistics, perhaps you should learn statistics first.

3
0
zb

Possibly

Actually, possibly, a sample size of 2000 is very good.

Provided that it is a carefully selected representative sample. The typical "survey" quoted in press releases consists a PR junior assistant asking a couple of people in the pub a loaded question.

There is a pretty good short description here

http://www.osra.org/itlpj/bartlettkotrlikhiggins.pdf

0
0

This post has been deleted by its author

MJI
Silver badge

My CD collection - all except one marked as CD-DA

And that one kept being returned as unplayable - 3 copies returned to shop - eventually ripped it to CD-R.

Will check the broken DVDs now - well the ones I have not sold.

Never buy a DVD with Fox on the case.

0
0
Silver badge

And these people are... uh...

1) Who are these people that I, or anyone really, should care about their opinions or the study that they have commissioned? Let me answer that for you! Looking at http://piracy.ssrc.org/partners/ we see their work commended by highly laudatory statements from, among others, William Patry, senior copyright counsel, Google, and Michael Geist, favorite academic authority of the anti-copyright bureaucrats in Canadian government (and for more about whom go to http://www.musictechpolicy.com/ and use search to find many articles about this well-paid shill.)

And would I, or anyone else, be surprised to learn that Google is funneling money to either Columbia University, the American Assembly, or both, rather like they funnel money into the Berkman Center at Harvard?

In spite of how often The American Assembly likes to say that their organization was founded by Dwight Eisenhower, this organization seems to have no real existence other than a few guys sitting around doing, well, doing not much other than thinking of schemes to get grant money. At any rate, looking at some of their previous work and the people who support them (see the MPEE Support Group on Facebook, for example) the contents of this latest "empirical study" were easily predictable. (On the MPEE Facebook page find the following: "The reliably obnoxious Andrew Orlowski...")

"The data, from respected think-tank American Assembly..." Respected by whom, for heaven's sake"? Google, Michael Geist, and others who profit from piracy?

2) "When it comes to the penalties for piracy the American public is a lot more forgiving than the courts." What the courts say is one thing, but *juries* have awarded copyright holders enormous sums for damages. Is there any reason to think that those juries were more representative of the American public than the sample in this survey?

I understand that there are people who want to justify content theft but they need to do better than this "highly-respected" "American Assembly".

2
18
Anonymous Coward

Argh, Jim Lad

"Is there any reason to think that those juries were more representative of the American public than the sample in this survey?"

Well sort of.

In the court the information is presented in a very different manner, frequently making the copyright infringer out to be Satan's catamite.

When surveyed people think about their own behaviour and that of their families, making them more tolerant.

This is why there is frequently a disconnect between what a survey says people think and how they act when it comes to votes, juries etc. Both are representative of what people think though - its all about the framing and the context.

"I understand that there are people who want to justify content theft "

I understand that there are people who want to criminalise copyright infringement but they need to do better than try to correlate it to other crimes to gain traction.

7
1
Silver badge

"What the courts say is one thing, but *juries* have awarded copyright holders enormous sums for damages. Is there any reason to think that those juries were more representative of the American public than the sample in this survey?"

Disclaimer: IANAL

AFAIK the damages are not assigned by a jury, but by the judge. The jury only decides guilty/not guilty of each charge.

Even if it is the jury who award the damages, they will be directed in what they are allowed to do by the judge. Many may feel the damages are disproportionate, but a jury is not allowed to flout the law: If they find the defendant guilty of x, they must award damages of y. I have been on a jury, and their remit is severely limitted.

Similarly if it is a judge who makes the descision, the both he and the jury are constrained by the law. If the case is proven that someone is guilty, the jury must find them guilty. They cannot use their sympathies to decide that, althopugh they committed a crime, they should be let off. The judge must then use this verdict to determine the punishment within the constraints of the law. There may be a small amount of wiggle room allowed in the legal framework, but things must remain within that framework.

2
1
Vic
Silver badge

> I have been on a jury, and their remit is severely limitted.

Not a limited as you might imply. If a judge misleads a jury into thinking they have less leeway than they do, that is of itself grounds for appeal.

> If the case is proven that someone is guilty, the jury must find them guilty.

Go and read up on "jury nullification".

Vic.

1
1

Juries aren't there to make the law. They're there to determine whether a law has been broken or not. Not whether the law is actually just or even ethical (or even enforceable or workable).

You could have a law written to say you had to, say, euthanise every third born child. In a court, even though the law was unethical and mostrous, a jury would still have to convict if someone was shown to not have euthanised a third born.

But hey, nice straw man.

1
2
Vic
Silver badge

> a jury would still have to convict

No, they wouldn't.

A jury is within its rights to decide that someone is not guilty, even if the facts are extraordinarily blatant. It's called Jury Nullification, and it is real.

One of the things I like about the UK justice system is that no-one can ask the jury *why* they decided the way they did; if a jury decides to acquit a defendant even in the face of overwhelming evidence, that is their right (although the prosecution now has certain appeal rights).

Vic.

2
1

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums