Re: 2015: Close that barn door!
I agree with you on the whole mindset with downloading media. I work at a university and just about everyone I talk to downloads moves and TV shows via torrenting. These are uni students, academics and professional staff. The 'convenience' and 'but it's not available any other way' arguments just don't wash with me for most of them. If they can work out how to torrent a file, they can work out how to get around georestrictions for services like Netflix US, Amazon Prime or even iTunes US.
Even GoT is available as a legit download here in Oz (if you want to pay for a craptapulous cable TV bundle at about $50 per month).
At the end of the day, it's less about 'convenience' and more about price. I think a lot of people also rationalise illegal downloads by saying to themselves "well, the production has already been paid for, they've made their money from cinema/TV/cable sales, so what I'm doing doesn't really effect the bottom line - it's a victim-less crime"
However, there are still many issues with the availability of media and the actions of media companies that are compounding the problem. Even with ITunes US, Netflix US and HBO NOW (the combined cost of which is about $30 per month including a smart DNS service), I do find myself not being able to access certain movies, TV shows that I want to watch - but it's not a common occurrence given the wealth of other options available on those services.
One annoyance is that (particularly with ITunes), sometimes a movie is available to buy, but not to rent. I rarely watch movies more than once, just let me pay a reasonable rental fee (reasonable for me being about $5, what I would have paid a few years back for a new release rental DVD).
tl;dr. The arguments supporting 'illegal' downloads such as torrenting are becoming less relevant, but the big media companies still have a way to go, and work to do, before all those arguments become specious.