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back to article Web users: We've got NO IDEA if we're stealing content or not

An Ofcom survey, paid for by the UK's Intellectual Property Office, has found that almost half of internet users think they're stealing stuff, but they're far from certain. The survey polled 4,400 people, and concluded that half of them don't know if the content they're downloading is legitimate or not, while only one in six …

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Facepalm

39p ($0.97cdn @ 2.5% exchange)

I'd pay more than 39p, but most of the stuff I *like* is from the 60s and 70s, and is already available dirt cheap.

The problem is that many "record stores" give very little shelf-space to any one given genre.

The further problem is that a lot of the stuff I like has been out of print for a decade or more, with no plans to re-release.

Apple and iTunes confound the problem by having a crap platform, using lossy codecs, and using DRM to prevent me from using my media when and where I like.

Music publishers also confound the problem by cancelling much-anticipated releases (Well, I for one was looking forward to "The History of Iron Maiden Part 2", but evidently it's been cancelled).

KISS ruined any chance they had of selling me on their last DVD Box-Set when I discovered that all the footage had in fact been "liberated" from the bootleg traders - people who evidently gave more of a shit about sound and video quality the Gene Simons and KISS, Incorporated ... judging from a direct comparison of the official releases to the best available bootleg copy.

I have had more than one official DVD which was virtually unwatchable due to encoding or authoring errors, and the label refused to fix the problems or provide a replacement DVD/Refund.

Many will scream about the FREETARDS, who will, in turn, scream that the PAYTARDS are the ones who help perpetuate this B.S. That "Big Music" keep spouting about losing money.

What was I talking about again?

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Silver badge

Re: 39p ($0.97cdn @ 2.5% exchange)

You obviously don't think they are offering a good product. Unfortunately there is no practical way for you to show that to the "Big Music" BUSINESSTARDS because they don't see this a being a competitive business. Perhaps one day they will.

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FAIL

Re: 39p ($0.97cdn @ 2.5% exchange)

Amazon and iTunes don't have drm on their music so that shouldn't stop you.

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Anonymous Coward

Wording?

Now I haven't the time to look into the matter further, but if one does, one should keep an eye on the wording of questions.

For instance, the 44% wouldn't pay even if the price was 39p - with a bigger percentage being the older populace - might simply be because they don't buy music online or they don't want to buy music in track-format, which is how they interpreted the question? As in "well it doesn't matter how cheap it becomes, I want my music physically" or "Why would I buy a single track? I know who and what I like!"

But without reviewing the questions, I'm really just talking out of my ass.

Oh well, I suppose it would be interesting to review it further, and I might do so later today. (if I do, I shall be back)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wording?

Spot on.

For the record, 39p should be the cost of an ALBUM on a track.

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Megaphone

Convenience

I wonder if they factored in convenience. Look at eBooks for example, one of the least pirated items, it is generally very easy to purchase them legitimately... same as music... but then look at TV and Movies, both a massive PITA to access legally due to geolocking for example, with lots of hoops to jump through before you start watching.

When it is simply easier and quicker to go to a torrent site and download the latest episode of a TV show, then the content providers have failed somewhere along the line.

Cost and Convenience matter! Make it easier to pay for content then pirate it and watch the piracy rates drop.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Convenience

You've largely hit the nail on the head there.

It's practically impossible to BUY a movie to download legally in the UK, there are plenty of rental sites like LoveFilm, but whats actually needed is way to buy and download a movie at a reasonable price free of DRM.

The fact that the music online sale model has improved so much has resulted in a drop in piracy is a perfect example of that. I can buy almost any music I want, as a download which is DRM free and it's great.

The only thing that's tempted me to download music illegally in the last 12-18months is when it's released in another country before it is here, and even then I buy it once it's legally available.

The film industry is stuck because they don't like the amount of change they need to go through to get to the same position, and are stuck due to all the idiot lawyers and managers who believe the following to be true:

Online downloads, and DRM free content?

No way, it'll lead to an increase in file sharing if people can get hold of unprotected media!

Make it cheaper?

We can't do that we'd make a lot less money!

What do you mean more people would buy it if it was cheaper? That's ridiculous!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Convenience

This post echoes a lot of my thoughts. I haven't downloaded music in over a decade, (don't listen to the stuff) but I do download a lot of TV shows (american sci-fi, anime, kids cartoons) and the simple reason for it is, I can't get it here.

If I want to watch anime in the UK, my choices are a terrible selection of anime on Netflix with the god awful dubs (sorry that was meant to be funimation) or buying the DVD which has a very overinflated price tag (£20 for 2 20min episodes? no thanks)

OR I can go online, search for a minute or so, download a fansub, download the DVD release with official subs and the japanese voices.

that's another point actually, why is it I can watch an anime in japanese with subtitles on a fansub and believe the subs. And yet I'll watch the "official translation" and the character will say something in japanese which I understand, only to have the sub say something completely different?

There are shows that haven't been on TV for decades which never will again, but are still impossible to get through official channels.

If these media companies made their content available through more legal routes, in more territories for a better price point, I'd be far more inclined to get it legally.

I mean lets face it, one way the consumer gets what they want, and the owner of the material also gets what it wants. The other way the consumer has to act illegally to watch what they want, after which the media company gets hit two or three times by first losing out on profits, secondly wasting money on lawyers, and thirdly wasting money campaigning to stop piracy.

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FAIL

Re: Convenience

Exactly, Inman described it well:

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones

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Trollface

End Users: It's very simple. If you are enjoying yourself and you are not paying for it, then what you are doing is ILLEGAL!!!

Please contact the local branch of the MPAA or RIAA in your country to find out how they can realise your pleasure in cash. Movie execs need bonuses too.

Remember you wouldn't steal a car and this is a great analogy with no holes in it at all.

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Silver badge

Very true. However there is something of a grey area, especially with youtube. AFAIK youtube has licences for music and does remove stuff on youtube when requested to do so. So that means pretty much everything on youtube is legal to watch right? Nope, theres full movies on there (just to confuse things you can also rent full movies on youtube) and full albums from artists not to metion concerts etc. Now some level of common sense should help filter out whats legal and whats not, but often you cannot tell until after the clip has started playing. I can see how people could unwittingly infringe, given legal and illegal content is side by side.

Personally I pay a monthly sub to listen to pretty much whatever I want, plus I pay for netflix, and have a reasonable cd, vinyl and dvd \ bluray collection. I have no problems paying for decent content, it would be nice if things were a little simpler but if they start to play silly buggers (like with hulu) they don't get my money.

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Agree about Youtube - my kids watch episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine, Chip 'n Dale, and so on. Just because they're on Youtube that gives the impression that it's all legit, when I know they are most likely not and just haven't had a takedown request (yet).

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Stop

Building the necessary evidence base for online copyright infringement policy

Surely what they meant was that the review was commissioned with the objective of "building the evidence base for an unnecessary online copyright infringement policy" ?

Perhaps the government will tell us next that torrents are able to destroy the British film industry in 45 minutes...

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Unhappy

Re: Building the necessary evidence base for online copyright infringement policy

This is one that got my attention immediately. They have decided that there is already a serious law breaking problem and are now looking for ways to prove it. No attempt at proper investigate research at all.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Building the necessary evidence base for online copyright infringement policy

"Perhaps the government will tell us next that torrents are able to destroy the British film industry in 45 minutes..."

Only if they have a really slow connection...

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"The five per cent of users who only ever used unlicensed material spent much less than the average: £13.80 over three months, compared to £77.24."

Eh?

Shirley, given the phrasing, I'd have thought the amount would be £0.00, y'know, by definition.

"The survey demolishes the myth that devoted pirates are also high spenders."

I've not heard this. I have heard that those who pirate also spend the most, but this is not the same thing at all - the "myth" as you put it does not refer to the top few percent.

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I have the exact same concern with that sentence.

What they should be comparing is the spending of those who admit to a mix of licensed and unlicensed content vs the spending of those who only ever obtain licensed content. Putting the focus on the very small fraction at the absolute end of the freetard scale doesn't show there its a myth at all, its just lies, damned lies, and statistics.

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Alert

"infringement" != "stealing"

I know this sounds pedantic, but it's an important point. Copyright is not a natural right but a privilege granted by the state in order to get more art into the public domain in the long run.

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Silver badge

What is a "natural right"?

ALL rights are "granted by the state" or not; just ask a North Korean. Whether it's "infringement" or "theft" is ultimately irrelevant, since both are behaviours determined by the state to carry unpleasant consequences if you are caught.

In the end, the Universe grants you only one absolute right: the right of might. If you have the bigger muscles, the bigger spear, the bigger gun, the bigger bomb, the bigger army, you get to make the rules. Of course, the other side of that same right is the ability to evade that might. What we think of as law only exists because people with guns try to force you to obey it, and will use those guns against you if your refusal extends to the point of requiring their use to ensure your obedience. And laws are only able to be broken because people are able to exploit perceptive weaknesses in the people with guns to get away with it.

So in the end, all these arguments about theft and infringement are moot. You have a right to do both - a right granted by either your ability to evade detection or to fight back if you are caught. And, of course, your own sense of right and wrong as well.

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Joke

Re: What is a "natural right"?

You are Robert Heinlein and I claim my £5.

Phil.

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Pint

Re: What is a "natural right"?

Putting me in Robert Heinlein's shoes is a signal honour, for which I thank you, sir. Have a beer!

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Coat

That question reads like legalese

"How confident are you that you know what is legal and what isn’t in terms of downloading, streaming/accessing and sharing content through the internet?"

Thanks to the IWF, all illegal content is already blocked. So internet users have nothing to fear.

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Anonymous Coward

DRM changed my attitude to Piracy.

I bought a DVD player with DVI out. I plugged it into my DVI monitor. A few seconds after the start of the DVD the screen blanked. I tried a VCD, fine, CDROM with Video, fine. Cheap DVD from market fine. All full priced DVDs blanked. I borrowed a pirate (of one of the DVDs I owned, ironically) It played fine.

(I discovered the when the player detected CSS on the DVD, it required an HDCP display)

The player was returned to the shop for a refund.

I got a 1080p screen, and borrowed a bluray player. (With a mix of disks, both legit and pirate.) The pirate disks all played instantly and reliably. The legit disks all took a long time to start (then made me watch a don't pirate video) and then had a menu to navigate. Some of them crashed, I had to restart Wall-E about 4 times, taking well over 5 minutes.

I got a media player. It can play DVDs and BDs, providing they have no DRM. So again I can use pirate disks, but not legitimate ones. (I also have an upscaling DVD player, so CSS itself is no longer an issue.)

I used to be very strict about only getting legitimate disks (the same as I am about legitimate software.)

I've given up worrying now, solely due to DRM, though I do have a rule that if I find a DVD at a bootfair for £1 of something I only have a copy of, I either buy it, or delete the copy.

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Silver badge

Re: DRM changed my attitude to Piracy.

So because you don't like drm it is ok to use pirated disks? Personally if I don't like something like that I don't buy it, movies are a want, not a need.

I'm curious why you don't buy the retail disks with drm and make drm free copies? Depending where you live this can be legal and achieve what you wanted, drm free content, however you would have actually paid for it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: DRM changed my attitude to Piracy.

While it is true you could buy them to be legit and then waste your time and life to fix the DRM problem, why should you?

Pay for something and it should "just work", if not why pay?

Yes, I know that artists should be compensated, etc, by my view is that the industry won't change unless they are put in a position where DRM is a big deal and they know folk are pirating for revenge, if nothing else.

Look how the music industry learned and now offers legitimate DRM-free downloads from iTunes, Amazon, etc. I can buy stuff from them (OK, not iTunes as the software sucks on Windows and is not available for Linux) and do so if it is available.

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Silver badge

Re: DRM changed my attitude to Piracy.

So just don't have it? If you disagree with the drm thats fine, I understand where you are coming from. I just don't see how that makes piracy ok. You don't need a movie, you won't die without it, making a stand against drm would be not buying it, going on to buy pirated copies puts you in the wrong.

Not agreeing with a technology or a law behind it does not entitle you to break the law. I'm pretty sure Socrates didn't have anything but contempt for the court that convicted him and he had ample chance to flee, but he remained and drank the hemlock.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: DRM changed my attitude to Piracy.

It is all about "competition" which is the life blood of capitalism. But with copyright material there is no legal competition, only piracy. Only through competition will business seek to improve the quality and reduce the price of what they offer.

If I buy a DRM-encrusted movie I am supporting those shackles.

If I don't buy it then it just looks like the film is not popular.

If I pirate it and make a point of posting that the reason is DRM sucks and gets in my way, then they have competition and might start looking at providing what I want - a film that can be played anywhere and on any device *I* want.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: DRM changed my attitude to Piracy.

Incidental, most films I really want to see I do so in the cinema - better scale than at home.

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Silver badge

Re: DRM changed my attitude to Piracy.

The same could be said the opposite way round, that drm isn't the reason, just an excuse to get free movies. Sure they might be able to write off a few movies as flops but if drm affected that many people (yes I hate the ****ing forced anti piracy clips) they couldn't say all movies were flops.

They obviously did the maths and figured out how far they could push people with drm, money saved from casual copying vs money lost from sales.

By going a step further and pirating the movies you discredit yourself. I'm not saying I don't believe your motives or even disagree with you re drm, but by breaking the law you are aiding their cause by discrediting yourself. Does I pirated this movie to avoid drm really have more of an impact than I didn't buy this movie because of drm? Pirating doesn't hurt the industry much more than not purchasing in the first place, it could hurt you a lot if you get caught. Shit sales figures are by far the best way to hurt the industry, even pushing for a change in the law, criminalising yourself just hurts you.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: DRM changed my attitude to Piracy.

Not in my case. I have a lot of DVDs bought without too much complaint as with de-css I can use them on Linux and rip them for use on my laptop without carrying a box of DVDs around. Both illegal things to do, but what most would regard as "fair use". Except under UK law it is not fair use and the simple act of using de-css is a crime under the USA's DMCA.

But I am not buying in to blueray at all because of its far more invasive DRM. Steam, onb the other hand, is a tolerable option because they don't get in your way - any PC, any monitor, etc.

The thing about DRM is it pisses of paying customers far more than pirates. Has any DRM system stopped any significant degree of piracy?

So while I accept your point of view, I don't believe those in the industry really know what they are doing as you think. I believe they are used to having complete control over the distribution & sale and are loathed to give that up, even if it pains their customers. It is the view of a lawyer, that we have the right to impose this, and not of a more rational business that looks at the overall picture and asks "what makes for the best overall deal for us and our customers?"

At least the UK anti-piracy adverts are less accusative and more realistic about what is lost due to piracy. Hopefully all of the user-prohibited crap and so on will eventually fall as well, and let folk get on with enjoying what they buy.

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Silver badge

Re: DRM changed my attitude to Piracy.

I do apologise if I gave the impression that I think hollywood or the music industry has a clue. They work on the basis of throwing excrement at a wall and seeing what sticks.

Drm free music is a good example, piracy didn't drive drm free music, powerful middlemen such as amazon and apple (itunes) were able to force the issue. I would love for this to work for movies but I don't hold out much hope.

Your summary of how they work is pretty spot on, they will push things because they can. I don't think piracy will help remove anti piracy measures, it smells like the whole bombing for peace thing, but if you manage to do it the I'll be the first to buy you a pint. I detest all the junk they show at the start of dvd's and blurays.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: DRM changed my attitude to Piracy.

> piracy didn't drive drm free music, powerful middlemen such as amazon and apple (itunes) were able to force the issue

Nonsense. I'd argue that piracy was a very strong (as in: the only) motivator for the industry to give in the Steve Jobs' pressure.

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Anonymous Coward

I bought a DVD player with DVI out - typo

I bought a DVD player with HDMI out

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FAIL

What is infringement?

Going by the amount of images, quotes, newspaper articles that circulate Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, 4Chan, Google+ and other social media sites I'd say that online infringement is very close to 100% of people doing it, 99% of people not realising they're doing it.

After all the law states that any work created is automatically protected by copyright (which is not how it worked in the past). Everyone who creates an original popular meme is, in effect, a creator and rightsholder. So every time a picture or meme is copied then uploaded to RedFaceTwit+, infringement has occurred.

Perhaps a better study would be conducted into how much actual infringement occurs and then how many 'rightsholders' actually intend to sue for each and every infringement and how many rightsholders feel they have been deprived of some kind of income by sharing of their 'work'.

An even better idea for study - how many 'creators' have ever gone into a dark room, purged their memories and then created something that has not been inspired or borrowed from something that already exists?

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Headmaster

Demolishes the myth that devoted pirates are also high spenders?

"The survey demolishes the myth that devoted pirates are also high spenders. The five per cent of users who only ever used unlicensed material spent much less than the average: £13.80 over three months, compared to £77.24."

Not with that quote, it doesn't. Obviously people who use unlicensed content exclusively don't pay much. Duh. The interesting question is how much people who pirate some spend compared to people who don't.

For instance the earlier "impenetrable " quote regarding TV programs says people who watch both legally and illegally spend the most. (I.e. more than non-pirates.)

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Bronze badge

"That's like military intelligence"

You mean, contradiction in terms?

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