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back to article Congratulations, freetards: You are THE FIVE PER CENT

Meet the most pampered group in the UK. Bankers? Farmers? Wind-farm operators? The depressed river mussel? Actually, none of the above. It's copyright infringers. New research from UK communications regulator Ofcom shows that filling your boots with pirate downloads remains risk free and a money saver, particularly if you like …

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Anonymous Coward

The customer defines value

No one else.

Period.

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Bronze badge

Re: The customer defines value

Absolutely. The truth is that in the modern world, an album or movie is simply not worth £10-20 a pop. The market needs to adjust to this reality and come to terms with it. Being a sucessful rock star or movie producer does not mean you should automatically be a millionaire (although as with most other similar industries, being an unsucessful one does mean you should be dirt poor).

Yes, more freetards go down the free / illegal route because it's consequence free but I suspect that it would be significanlty reduced by having a service that only costs ~£10 a month and gave you access to everything you wanted.

It needs to be easy, convenient and cheap otherwise the legal paid model will never outcompete the illegal one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The customer defines value

If it's worth your time to watch, you should pay for it. The creator has given you something and it is only ethical that you give the creator back something.

But you won't

Because *you* believe that *you* are entitled to benefit of the work of others.

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JC_

Re: The customer defines value

The customer defines value

No, it takes both a willing seller and a willing buyer. You might think my house is worth 20p; it doesn't mean I'm obliged to sell it to you for that.

Absolutely. The truth is that in the modern world, an album or movie is simply not worth £10-20 a pop.

In your opinion (and I happen to agree), but that doesn't mean you're entitled to get it for what you're willing to pay for it.

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Thumb Up

Hollywood

As a friend and frequent downloader said to me: "while Hollywood can afford to pay the likes of Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, etc. $$$$$ millions for doing nothing but acting, they don't need my money."

That really made me think.

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Silver badge

Re: That really made me think.

Really? Care to share the pearls of wisdom that came forth or is your incredible "Movie stars are paid a lot so I shouldn't pay for films" revelation all you've got?

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Re: The customer defines value

JC_, you're right. We need some haggling here. Big content needs to accept that they're asking too much and need to come up with a better deal. Downloaders need to accept that they can't have everything their way.

If the likes of Netflix got all content as soon as it was new, I would not only be willing to pay, I would be willing to pay quite a bit more that £6 a month. But it doesn't because the producers don't feel they get enough from it, so I won't pay more because it's a crap deal.

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Silver badge

Re: The customer defines value

"You might think my house is worth 20p; it doesn't mean I'm obliged to sell it to you for that."

True. But if everyone (are a large enough majority) think your house is worth 20p; guess how much you house is worth? I like to think my house is worth £1Billion. Shame I can't sell it for that, isn't it?

What the RIAA et al are engaged in, is restricting the free market to enforce a cartel. This is not a good idea at all. It prevents free-market economics from being able to set the price. It allows for exploitation of territories through pricing differentials. It prevents the market from exploiting/norming those differentials; which is exactly how lots of businesses operate and is (by-and-large) keeps the market honest (until the lobbyists get involved and block free-trade).

Some infringement is because people are arseholes - true. Not going to argue that. Some infringement is because people are frustrated at the all the restrictions (OS and region locks, non-distribution ect) imposed on them that make it hard/impossible to get the media legitimately. I put it to you that the latter group is probably bigger then the former.

It is interesting that some companies (e.g. HBO) are trying a different tack. Rather than attack the pirates, they seem to be interested in offering a better service (specifically for "Game of Thrones", the most infringed TV series last year). A "build it and they will come" kind of thing. This IMHO is the way forward. Stop wasting the money on the lawyers and lobbying, use it provide a better service.

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Silver badge

Re: The customer defines value

If its worth your time to watch...???? So when you get ten minutes into it and realise its complete rubbish they'll just give you your money back. I think not.

I dont pirate - because its really not worth the effort but their business model means I dont watch anything till it comes on terrestrial, or borrow it from the library for a £1 IF someone I know has seen it and recommends it. There's too much rubbish out there to consider wasting £15 on a DVD that 95% of the time will be better value as a coaster.

There is very good evidence to show that the freetards spend most on media - they just choose to preview before coughing up.

Once again a business completely fucks up and does an Iceland and blames the customer.

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Re: The customer defines value

It's difficult to know in advance if it's actually going to be "worth your time to watch". If refunds were available for turning it off half way through due to being trash then maybe more people would take a chance and buy a film or music.

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Unhappy

Here's my question...

Legitimate Music Download Service A offers a wide range of reasonably priced music to subscribers but restricted to a specific geographical area. Legitimate Music Download Service B offers the same range but at a higher price to everyone else. Why should everyone else have to pay a higher price to B for the same music offered by A. Clearly the RIAA and its friends are happy with A's model so why are they penalising the rest of the world by denying them the same access?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The customer defines value

I would love to pay for it. In fact I pay a monthly subscription to a VPN provider, plus a monthly subscription to an ISP who I know will not come after me. My total fees being around £60.

Considering the fact that I could get basic internet for £5.99 / month I'm actually paying around £54 / month to fuel my 'piracy'!

Why you may ask? - Because I want to watch what I want, when I want it. I don't want to have to wait a year to watch a show that is currently playing out in the USA today, and if I find a TV series that I like, I want to watch multiple episodes at a time, not one episode per week.

If the content providers delivered a service like that I would happily give them my £54 / month. But they won't, so I'll remain a dirty stinking pirate.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The customer defines value

In a capitalist market, anyone is entitled to offer something at any price they like.

But unless that price tallies with the customer's assessment of value, they won't be selling it. Which for a company, probably means they don't have a valid business model.

You might not like that, but short of price fixing, why is that concept so hard to understand?

Businesses ONLY exist because of their customers.

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Pirate

Re: The customer defines value

The usual moral argument behind a capitalist market requires the existence of open competition. But copyright isn't competition, it's a monopoly by definition. In this case a legally created one, and with some justification, but in any monopoly market, especially a state created one as in this case, balances need to be struck between the conflicting interests of producers and consumers. Balances which havn't yet been successfully struck concern boundaries between:

a.when the content goes into the public domain, where all economic analysis suggests terms are longer than needed in comparison with pure incentive requirements for content to be produced and

b. where the business interests of the producers outweigh the reasonable privacy rights of the consumers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The customer defines value

re: The customer defines value:

1) If you're pirating the content, you're not a customer.

2) When the customer defined ever reducing costs for food, it turned out that the food was full of things they didn't want (horse meat) as a direct consequence of refusing to pay.

The upshot is that, if you refuse to pay for an entertainment product and demand continuing price reductions for those that you are willing to pay for, you're gong to end up with lowest common denominator entertainment.

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Anonymous Coward

If it's worth your time to watch, you should pay for it

So if it's a horrendous piece of garbage I find myself sitting through I should expect to be fully compensated for my time?

No??

The door swings both ways.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The customer defines value

TBH most things I've watched haven't been worth my time to watch.

And most games haven't been worth the money I've paid for them (in the steam sales of course)

In reality I expect at least an hours entertainment per £ As such I'd pay about £2 for a streamed movie. I almost never watch anything twice, and 95% of my music collection goes unused too.

To buy physical music media - which I do on occasion - I need to get photocards, a nice booklet, additional shinnies (like you get when you buy an J-Idol album/dvd like Morning Musume or AKB or KPOP stuff.) Or it needs to be some weird indie shit.

Bar that I hate physical copy, they take up room, they collect dust, they need to be moved from house to house, they're always just that bit to far away for me to be bothered to get them to play, and generally they're crap. This is the same issue for games, music and, video.

Also the 5% comment is retarded as that's people who exclusively pirate as opposed to the far larger number of people who occasionally download a thing while at the same buying things.

It also avoids other modes of online piracy, such as watching unauthorised videos on youtube and using ad blocking software for instance.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Re: The customer defines value

This.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The customer defines value

actually in Belgium it used to be that if you left the movie within the first 10 - 20 min you could get your money back. Not only because the movie was crap but also because you are in a theater full of cellphone wielding people. Don't know if that is still the case.

I live in Japan now. They made downloading a criminal offense a few months back. The result is that I stopped downloading and because of that I don't go to a movie theater anymore. I have no idea what movies are playing now. My biggest reason for downloading was that movies were available on bit torrent in high quality before they showed here in the theater. Now I just read books and listen to youtube music instead.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Re: The customer defines value

Yawn.

In ten years you've never had a single new idea, PyLETS. I am not surprised you dislike people who do have new ideas, and want don't want the ideas to be ripped off.

"Intellectual property is a monopoly" is a child's logic. IP is in international treaties and national law, because it's the least-bad way we have come up with of encouraging new work. Property is property, and rights are rights: and activists who want to rob people of their rights (as the UK Coalition Government is doing) find that it's expensive and ends in defeat.

Envy seems to be a motivation with you. You really seem to hate people who are more creative, I think.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The customer defines value

To take your example of food. Food has gone up on price due to the rise of everything(*) related to it but in order to keep the price low or to keep the price rise to a level that won't cause consumer outrage resulting in consumer loyalty switching to other brands or suppliers (as in the correct model of competition), corners were cut in places.

(*) Such as

a) The spiralling cost of yet more fuel duty increases every 6 or 12 months - these are not one-shot increases despite how they are portrayed. These are cumulative massive burdens on transport and production costs.

b) Minimum wage. While a good wage is fair, especially compared to spiralling housing costs, the minimum wage has added further costs and put another nail in the cost of the manufacturing backbone that should support an economy. Or at least does underpin most of the strong economies that are left in the world.

c) Massive increases in the cost of essentials due to it being more important to provide a share holder return than provide good service or good value. It doesn't matter what happens, as long as the influential shareholders get their cash.

Take these together with increases in red-tape and burocracy (in some places, well intentioned to curb the problems with low value supply chains) and there are massive problems.

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Ru
Devil

Re: The customer defines value

HBO... are trying a different tack. Rather than attack the pirates, they seem to be interested in offering a better service (specifically for "Game of Thrones", the most infringed TV series last year).

Oh? I'm reminded of this: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones

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Silver badge

Re: The customer defines value

1) It's not piracy. It's not theft. It's copyright infringement.

2) No, the consumer was lied to. They were sold beef that was actually horse. This is fraud. Nothing wrong with selling horse, just call it horse.

So you are conflating a license infringement (which is civil) to bare-faced fraud (which is criminal) in order to make a point. The two are not comparable.

"you're gong to end up with lowest common denominator entertainment."

If that's what the market wants, then that's what the market wants. Thing is, it won't happen. If other sectors we have lowest common denominator products and services (e.g. Budweiser and chain-pubs); we also have other products and services for people who give a shit (e.g. real ale and non-tied pubs).

It's not up to you to decree what the market wants, it's up to the market to decide.

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Mushroom

Re: The customer defines value

Historical quite attributed to Andrew Orlowski-Antoinette: "Let them eat digital cake."

""Intellectual property is a monopoly" is a child's logic." Meaning that even a child can recognize it, whats the saying? From the mouth of babies.

If this is the least-badderest way we can come up with then the whole system is screwed because it ignores human nature.

1. People want stuff to work,

2. they want it cheap,

3. they want it now.

What has the copyright cartel delivered them.

1. DRM - Sorry, that expensive player doesn't work right because, HDCP, Region flags, some other bug, etc.

2. Digital download, only $5 MORE then buying the disk! Whadda Bargain!

3. Regional Availability - Please wait till next year you kangaroo eating fucks.

Hey, let them keep their head in the sand making shitty products, worked well for American car manufactures in the 70's.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The customer defines value

VALUE!!! I'll stop torrenting when :-

Value = Quality...

...when Hollywood stops killing film with pointless remakes and Marvel comic reboots...

...when I can jump right into a video game without having to enjoy the infuriating hassle of EA Ubisoft DRM...

Value = Privacy...

...when my details aren't sold to a growing list of valued partners who know where I live and everything I buy.

...when I have the right to be forgotten or anonymous and not have past purchases profiled & stored forever.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The customer defines value

"build it and they will come" kind of thing. "

Please expand on this, what did they do differently exactly.. explain....?

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Re: The customer defines value

Ah, the moral indignation!

"The creator" is a government-cradled corporation that lives in a world devoid of ethical considerations: it is only in it for the money, and it will say, do, or purchase anything and anyone it feels stands in the way of the bottom line. That includes artists, writers, students, children, the entertainment-starved masses, and of course legislators.

Theoretically, ol' Teddy Roosevelt busted the trusts at the turn of the 20th Century. Realistically, the playing field is no longer tilted, it has been dissolved.

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Silver badge

Re: The customer defines value

Why not read the story I linked to?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The customer defines value

I may not be `entitled` to, but lots of people aren't `entitled` to lots of things they get. Doesn't stop them getting them. I can live with the burden of guilt, personally. If you can't, then you know what to do. Pay as much as you can for a film or album, and then you can sleep extra well knowing that you've really gone the extra mile, and in some, intangible way, made the world a better place... : /

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Re: Hollywood

I do partly agree, however I still feel obliged to pay a certain fee. I think going to the cinema to see a film and having to spend the best part of two hours wage (three or four if you want food) for 90 mins of "entertainment" is over the top though. And that's just for a single ticket.

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FAIL

Re: The customer defines value

Record labels need to be asking themselves:-

"Should we continue to sell X copies of albums at £10, or sell XXX copies of albums at £3"

Much better to sell 1 million copies at £3 than 100,000 at £10

Plus it is a snowball effect - 1 million albums sold gets to a greater audience and more people could end up listening to it and then buying it themselves.

Think of the numbers - 1 million people who share it with 5 people who in turn share it with 5 people or 100,000 people who do the same. The numbers are staggeringly different.

icon: For large record label thinking

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Bronze badge

Re: The customer defines value

'"Intellectual property is a monopoly" is a child's logic. IP is in international treaties and national law, because it's the least-bad way we have come up with of encouraging new work. "'

I disagree and you certainly offer no evidence to support that claim (that it is the least-bad). It seem to me that it in law because big business in the US pushed for it and no other reason.

I feel that the prices for films and music are artificially inflated with stupidly long copyright periods. This aggravates people who jump at the chance to download it for free.

I personally am prepared to accept that new films shouldn't be downloaded but anything which has been on TV or I've already bought on other media seems fair game to me. I know the law says differently but it appears the law doesn't match the majority of people's moral values in this area. Everyone I've spoken to about this feels they're being ripped off and that the film and music industry are being given special treatment which is costing the rest of the population.

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Pirate

Re: The customer defines value

"In ten years you've never had a single new idea, PyLETS. I am not surprised you dislike people who do have new ideas, and want don't want (sic) the ideas to be ripped off."

That's called an Ad Hominem. When someone whose argument is exposed as weak attacks the messenger of the unwelcome news instead of addressing the issue.

"Property is property, and rights are rights: and activists who want to rob people of their rights (as the UK Coalition Government is doing) find that it's expensive and ends in defeat."

So you'll be telling us who to vote for next. Property and rights exist because lawful or unlawful coercion defend these. But you'd prefer to forget, as do most big media lobbyists, that we are living in a society where the means by which laws are made theoretically uphold the interests of those who don't own property as well as those who do. Clearly the coalition, post Levenson, isn't going to continue delivering the best laws the big media lobby can buy. So which party is big media going to be supporting at the next election, so we can all decide who not to vote for ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The customer defines value

I also pirate stuff I actually own but it's just too much of a ball ache to go through all the boxes from when I moved two years ago, especially when I can download it in an hour. Case in points the Romance of the Three Kingdoms XI TBSG and Aliens Special edition.

I've also bought digital copies of stuff when I can't be bothered when they're available online at a decent price. This is mostly in respect to games though.

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Mushroom

Re: That really made me think.

> Really? Care to share the pearls of wisdom that came forth or is your incredible "Movie stars are paid a lot so I shouldn't pay for films" revelation all you've got?

Clearly there is some industrial engineering that can be done here. It just goes to show that you don't have to blow a million bucks just to produce 60 minutes of hair metal. Perhaps this industry should adjust and not pretend that it can burn money.

I can certainly understand why people who can't burn money would resent those that act like they can.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The customer defines value

"If it's worth your time to watch, you should pay for it."

You know, I'd like to. Crunchyroll's selection is poor where I live. Licencing issues. So I use fansubs. The songs I'd like to download, good luck finding them on iTunes, Amazon, or Deezer. I have to put up with overcompressed YouTube audio. Movies. Well, for English subs it'll be a download from someplace, most often because the original creators didn't consider it was worth making an English subbed version available and/or they don't feel it is something to release to the international market.

Sometimes, as in the latter example, there is no alternative. Other times, it should be so easy - they have an MP3 or streaming video, I have plastic, what's the problem? The problem, unfortunately, is the content distribution itself. Stuff is "licenced", stuff is regionalised, stuff is available here but not there for obscure reasons, stuff is protected to be played on certain types of device in certain ways. AAll the effort here being spent to make arbitrary controls over what I can do with my purchase, and to restrict my options of purchasing in the first place, sometimes the only idea that makes sense is to say "bugger it" and look for a download. If a bunch of kids giving their free time can make this work, why can't Big Media? Why can't I buy the MP3s I like from where I choose? I understand I am hardly a typical example of a freetard but I do believe that more access to content is something that might be required. Not less.

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Silver badge

Re: The customer defines value

"2) When the customer defined ever reducing costs for food, it turned out that the food was full of things they didn't want (horse meat) as a direct consequence of refusing to pay."

I think you'll find that the "customer" in that case wasn't actually consuming the content, so had no personal interest in the actual quality of it. (Ie, the downward plunge was mostly driven by prisons, mass caterers and school canteens, mostly operated by bureaucrats tasked with obtaining the minimum possible price with no eye to the quality)

Horsemeat is actually quite tasty. The issue with it showing up where it shouldn't is that you don't know what else might be in there (The tests are for a particular item, they won't show up stuff like badger being added) and what quality it might be (I don't want to find tubucular cattle meat in my mince, thanks).

In terms of the piracy vs customer argument, it's been generally shown that the most enthusiatic pirates are also the most likely to buy content if they like it. (There are some who will pirate regardless, of course) - and treating your best customers in a way guaranteed to seriously alienate them is also a fast way of making them ex-customers - and likely to take potshots at you for a while afterwards.

The Internet has turned the entire distribution model for non-tangibles on its head and large chunks of the industry are still trying to get their heads around that idea - resulting in prices which were designed around shifting chunks of plastic from factory to warehouse to retailer are still being applied when most of the intermediate steps are gone.

(FWIW, I produced and paid for CD runs in the 90s and as a result have a pretty good idea of what proportion of the final sale price is attributable to the manufacure and distribution chain - it's about 90% - Retailer markups alone were between 200 and 500% alone. On that basis, retailing new albums online at 3quid each would still be wildly profitable (plus it makes keeping the back-catalog available a profit centre, not a loss-maker). Similarly Movies would massively profit at 2-3quid each for online distribution)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hollywood

The argument against that is that the industry is now risk aversive and polarised. So where as before you had big popcorn movies as well as lots of smaller independent films funded via smaller subsidiaries, they now won't take the risk.

Same with music, all the money and effort it put into the crappy bieber pop rubbish and people with real talent struggle to get anywhere.

That said, the real problem with downloads and DRM is that it is cumbersome and doesn't work well. I used EE's film store to rent Skyfall and it kept crapping out saying "You are watching a film elsewhere" when I wasn't. In the end I gave up.

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Big Brother

Re: The customer defines value

"You might think my house is worth 20p; it doesn't mean I'm obliged to sell it to you for that"

Yeah but you can't download a house off the internet so the model doesn't actually work.

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Re: Hollywood

This is a great point. Surely if everyone agreed in the industry to pay actors lower, then they could sell their product for cheaper, and more people would buy.

Like you mentioned, acting isnt exactly a science, these people are not as clever as brain surgeons or rocket scientists so why get paid ridiculous amounts of money.

Personally i wouldnt give a shit if I saw one of these actors. All they do is pretend to be someone else

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EGW

Re: The customer defines value

That's bull and you know it. What you are saying is that in order to get decent movies or music you have to pay through the nose at whatever price big content wants. The food example is just another attempt at trying to justify the huge cost of entertainment. It didn't work too well and I don't consider horse meat to be food. If you use that example then you are saying that big content is selling you bad entertainment and charging you for overpriced good entertainment. Let's just say that most entertainment is not worth the asking price.

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K
Bronze badge
Trollface

Presumably because it's risk-free and saves a ton of money

You could put it like that.

But I prefer

a) Presumably because they realize they are not getting a good deal

b) Presumably they are pissed off being treated as a cash-cow commodity

Take your pick!

All I can tell is that since I signed up for a Netflix account and got access to the US content, I've rare been tempted with extra-curricular downloads.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Presumably because it's risk-free and saves a ton of money

I agree, the deals stink and what is worse, the artists usually gets nearly bugger all from every purchase you make!

Although the only reason I now buy music digitally rather than on CD is the release of DRM free tracks... Now if they were to do that on movies/TV..... then we might be getting somewhere...

Honestly I don't get why they bother with DRM.. I buy a Blu-Ray with digital copy... first thing I do is still RIP the Blu-Ray onto my HD for backup, then convert to a high quality DRM free but smaller copy that will play on all my Android/Windows/Linux/Mac devices... (and if its a kids thing, I'll convert to a format my sons ipad can play)

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Re: Presumably because it's risk-free and saves a ton of money

Well, therein lies a very interesting question: Would the author apply the Freetard label to paying Netflix subscribers who are sitting in the UK watching US content?

I'm sure that commercially & probably legally, it's clear: Those people are viewing unlicensed content.

But to Andrew, is this THE SAME as piracy, or a grey area?

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Re: Presumably because it's risk-free and saves a ton of money

Regional licensing and pricing needs to die now.

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Trollface

Any fule kno

You need ninjas to fight the pirates

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Anonymous Coward

It's only lost revenue if it's download for free instead of paying.

If it were not available for free, and no payment to download would be made, then there is no loss.

You have to prove that said free loader would have paid in order to prove loss of revenue.

Now I'd have though that the 5% with exclusively free loaded material and had never paid, would probably not pay, and instead would go without said content, and hence are not responsible for any losses to any industry anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

I've heard this said a lot, but everyone I know who downloads music, movies and games does so instead of paying for them. The only minor exception is the occasional game that they play the start of before deciding it isn't good, which they consider a trial. That's fair enough, but most of the time they play the games to death, without paying for them, but still make your claim that "if I had to pay for it I wouldn't have played it".

If you want to pirate, fine, but at least be honest about it. You are enjoying something for free that you should have paid for.

I'd say the majority of gamers I know now pay only for games that they will play online a lot. When I pay for a single player game they are incredulous. "But it's single player only," they point out to me, as if I was unaware. The idea of paying for such a game is completely foreign to them. Sadly it's often the indie developers who they pirate most in this way, and the big publisher titles that they end up paying for so that they can enjoy it online.

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