back to article Blocking pirate sites doesn't weaken pirates say Euroboffins

In June 2011, authorities in Germany, Spain, France and the Netherlands raided premises suspected of having something to do with kino.to, a site that offered links to a Megaupload-style file lockers containing unlicensed copies of movies, music and TV shows. Not long after the raids, the site shut up shop. Folks associated …

Re: "You mean Amazon?" @h4rm0ny

No, the point I was making was that the service being offered by torrent sites was considerably superior to the experience of using "legitimate" means of obtaining music/films/whatever. My narrow example was a neat illustration of why an otherwise thoroughly law-abiding citizen would go poking around the less salubrious corners of the internet - and once said citizen has gone down that road, he/she/it might as well stay there, as they'll often find it a more pleasant experience than using the legal means of obtaining their chosen content.

The whole waah waah, you're stealing from people approach that you are taking, appears to be the same line of reasoning that leads the music/film studios into the endless hunt for pirates, when they would be better served by putting their own house in order by providing an attractive service to their potential customers.

"It's people's work that you refused to pay for"? No, people's work that I attempted to pay for, but wasn't permitted to.

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Anonymous Coward

I used to torrent TV shows, I admit

Now I just watch them in HD on YouTube.

What's up with that?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I used to torrent TV shows, I admit

So you moved to legal means when one became available to you.

I believe most people (admittedly not all) would do this too.

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Stop

I would suggest that for the cast majority of pirates

it's a case of "can't" (as in there is no mechanism to) pay, won't pay.

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Re: I would suggest that for the cast majority of pirates

Not wanting to be pro-corporation here, but an advocate of honesty, I would hope that this is the case.

If I think something is too expensive I won't buy it and 99% of the time will forget it.

If it's not (and/or never will be) available in my area and I really want to watch it then I will look at alternative means and get officially listed as 'pirate', or even take the drastic step of getting a wrong-region disc. I suspect I may also be 'pirate' for using an unofficial video player to get around the fckd-up brain-dead wtf pointless 'wifi only' restrictions to watch a TV show (already broadcast here and freely available on catch-up), here in the UK over *gasp* a physical piece of wire.

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Re: I would suggest that for the cast majority of pirates

>>"it's a case of "can't" (as in there is no mechanism to) pay, won't pay."

I would think if you have access to torrents, you also have access to Amazon.

EDIT: Oh wait, I've already guessed the responses. They're going to be some variant on either someone not having a DVD drive and therefore having to pirate, or that waiting 1-3 days for something / planning ahead is so monstrous that the only alternative left is to steal it.

To both those points, I'd point people at paid streaming services of which there are several, but I know that despite the overwhelming majority of piracy being current and popular media, people will insist it's no good because pirates want obscure titles that these providers don't have.

Of course there's the difference in regional release dates, but that is already on its way to becoming a thing of the past with differences getting smaller all the time.

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Re: I would suggest that for the cast majority of pirates

@h4rm0ny

Let me counter. And let me further disappoint you by providing an argument that you have not 'guessed'.

And, the reason you have not guessed at it is that you are stuck in a way of thinking and have - either through ignorance or arrogance - blindly assumed that you understand the situation that others are in.

As we are discussing 'piracy', let us discuss the most pirated content of the current day - Game of Thrones.

Personally, I am abivalent but I understand that it is something of a phenomenom. I have heard it discussed at work and on the train and in the street and I have seen more 'Which Game of Thrones character are you?' questionnaires thancould possibly be useful.

From this, and from trying (in vain) to prevent people blabbing details about Breaking Bad, I understand that discussion of the latest plot developments is an apparently enjoyable past-time for many people.

SO, I accept that seeing episodes in a timely fashion is important for fans. Doing so allows them to participate in the 'community' that seemingly all content trys to cultivate these days. (It is no longer enough to simply enjoy, apparently - one must discuss and 'share' and tweet and so on.)

Back on point, GoT season 4 was available in Australia on subscription pay TV and only on subscription pay Tv. At least as it was aired. One could get it after the fact, of course, but if you wanted to 'keep up' then you have one and only one option - fork out for Foxtel. At the time, the minimum cost to see the entire 4th season of GoT - as it aired - was three figures.

Even as someone who didn't care, my response was unreapeatable in polite company.

Understand, too, that in Australia we only JUST got Netflix. As in a month ago.

Honestly, our online, streaming option were largely limited to 'catch-up' TV and that is not only also a recent arrival but also an incomplete one as quite a few shows are not licensed for access so we can't watch them on 'catch-up'. For example, while both 'Dexter' and 'Supernatural' (whatever) are watchable on free-to-air here, Dexter is available on 'catch-up' while 'Supernatural' is not.

What?

And this is the kind of thing that leads to 'piracy'. You miss an episode of 'Supernatural' on free-to-air so you go to 'Ten-Play' to view it the next day, only to find that, while every reality TV show you despise is watchable, the one show you want isn't.

So you end up finding an OS site that does not use geoblocking and you watch it online. You are now a 'pirate' - at least so far as the content owners will count.

You missed a show that was free to watch but, due to ridiculous 'profit-maximising' deals, you had to choose between waiting for the box-set or 'pirating'.

Sure, some people are just scabs and with take whatever they want wherever they can. BUT, the far larger portion of those the lobby groups label 'pirates' are really just ordinary people who have only become acquainted with illegal downloading/streaming through the ridiculous, anti-consumer decisions of the providers.

And this is the story.

Once people have experienced how easy it is to download content 'illegally', they are more likely to do it again.

Any that is the way of it - for the sake of trying to wring a more lucrative licensing deal out of one TV station in one (small) market, people have been driven to search for a way to watch content and that has led then to learn how to download content illegally where they previously didn't know how.

Is it 'right'?

No.

But this is what happens and it is important to understand the factors that can turn a normal, every-day person into a 'criminal'. (So far as the lobby groups - and therefore the politicians they have bought - are concerned.)

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Re: I would suggest that for the cast majority of pirates

>>"Let me counter. And let me further disappoint you by providing an argument that you have not 'guessed'."

Actually, last line of my post - I did reference different broadcast times between regions. These are getting less and less, happily, and all signs point toward releases being pretty much simultaneous around the world. Computer games do it, and movies are quickly converging. Age of Ultron, (if you ignore a premiere event which you should), released across Western Europe, Australia and North and South America at the same time. Some parts of Eastern Europe and Asia got it one or two weeks later. This is not isolated.

TV is starting to converge as well with differences typically down to a few weeks. There's a reason for that - TV is still typically sold to broadcasters who need to fit it into the schedules at an appropriate time. And oddly enough, your flagship example that you wrote multiple paragraphs about, received a single world-wide release day for the latest season.

Your problem isn't differences in release schedule (which are slowly going away as direct sales start to become financially equal to broadcasters buying them for TV), but that you were outbid by Fox who wanted it to be a selling point for their cable service. That truly sucks, but when I'm writing about mass piracy of movies, you finding some odd sub-set where something is only sold as part of a bundle by Fox, doesn't refute what I wrote. At best it makes a case for why it might be okay to pirate this TV series, assuming that one buys the copies when they're available for sale later on.

But even then, the ethics are exceedingly grey. HBO sold the rights in Australia to Fox because that is what made best business sense to them. Are you really entitled to steal it just because you really, really want it? Perhaps if there were less piracy and more people willing to buy it directly, the balance would shift to Fox [b]not[/b] being the best deal for HBO, anymore. Regardless of how you feel on this last argument, you must recognize your response doesn't apply to the vast majority of piracy that takes place.

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Re: I would suggest that for the cast majority of pirates

@ h4rm0ny

Different broadcast times have nothing to do with it. Well, at least not with my argument, which was that when people can't access the content they want legally, easily and at a reasonable price, they may end up illegally downloading/streaming it and this then opens their eyes to how easy it is, making them more likely to do so again, even when there are legal options available.

Again, it's not 'right' but it is an one of the causes of 'piracy', which is what I am talking about. I am not trying to justify piracy, just trying to illuminate some of the causes.

With GoT, the release date was irrelevant to my argument, which was that if you wanted to watch it 'as it happened', you had only two choices in Australia - sign up for a Foxtel subscription.

At the time, this was minimum 12 months with a setup fee of $129 (with the box) and then $40/month for the base package and $20 add-on for the 'drama' package (whatever it was called) that included HBO and therefore Game of Throne. Total price over 12 months: $849.

Foxtel was also the only way to watch things like the Comedy Chanel, which can be watched on catch-up for free if you're in the US.

This is the kind of thing I am talking about. If you are in the US and someone at work said to you: "did you see the Colbert Report lat night?" then, if you hadn't, you could watch it in your lunch break. In Australia, you have no such ability - at least not without access the content in such a manner that you will be deemed a 'pirate' by the lobby groups. (Which, again, is what I have been talking about.)

Years ago, this business model was fine because most people were not only largely oblivious to the way it worked overseas, but also without a connection suitable for lots of streaming and downloading. Now, that has changed. We know what's available overseas. We have seen that people can watch unlimited movies for pocket change on Netflix and we have seen that much content is available for free via 'catch-up' services or able to be bought direct from the producer - like HBO and GoT - without having to get pay TV installed and sign up for a yearly contract just to watch one show.

As another poster said, our new found knowledge of this and annoyance at it is one reason why release dates are moving closer together - piracy has been a major cause of the this!

If you don't believe that then do some searches and you will see stories and reports about how content producers are now releasing content much sooner in markets like China and India and Russia, where piracy is rampant.

Again, however, my argument is not that piracy is justified by any of this, just that these annoyances are a major reason why ordinary people turn to illegal downloading and streaming in the first place and this opens the door.

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Re: I would suggest that for the cast majority of pirates

>>"Again, however, my argument is not that piracy is justified by any of this, just that these annoyances are a major reason why ordinary people turn to illegal downloading and streaming in the first place and this opens the door"

And I don't dispute that. What I am doing is critiquing justifications of piracy. You keep responding to me doing so with explanations why people pirate in ways that suggest you are disputing what I say.

I am perfectly aware of WHY people pirate. Including the cases you list which whilst they exist are not representative of most piracy and you can check the most common pirated movies if you doubt it. There's also the question of whether it is ethical to take something without paying just because you want it now or because someone else bid higher than you for it (e.g. Fox buying the Australian rights). What I take issue with are things like people arguing that they have a right to the content, that people should be able to put ultimatums to sellers that they give the content at a price the consumer wants (which for many people is "free") or else the consumer will simply steal it, that piracy doesn't impact sales and other such unsupportable positions.

Unless you are arguing that piracy is justified, then your replies that keep quoting me are not arguing with anything I have said and shouldn't be presented as such. But surely you see that they are presented as such.

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Anonymous Coward

I stream sports I can't get on the TV that I can watch a few hours later. I download movies I wouldn't pay for however if I enjoy said movie I'll go out and buy it otherwise I'm just watching it early. I download TV shows early that I pay for anyway. I like to have the choice to watch when and where I want.

Is this wrong?

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The way markets are supposed to work is that if there's a demand for something, then there is a price associated with it. Clearly you have a wish to see movies or sports events early, but you are unwilling to pay the asking price for this. In that circumstance I think the 'right' thing to do is to wait until the asking price falls to a level you feel is reasonable, then pay it. Wait long enough, the price might even drop to zero. If it doesn't drop to an acceptable level then watch something else.

"I like to have the choice to watch when and where I want" - well, don't we all? But sometimes that option isn't offered to us for free. Wanting something doesn't mean we are entitled to take it.

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A rational argument until one brings up 'geo-blocking'.

If someone in the next country over can watch something for free online then why am I, in my country, required to sign up for a yearly subscription (min cost: $849) to view that content?

Something, something VPN, something something credit card. Whatever. Most people will TRY to access content legally, but when they either cant or find that the conditions are unreasonable - compared to easily visible foreign markets - they will type some words in to their search engine of choice and many will be watching the content they want in a matter of minutes.

Apparently it is fine to shuffle profits through Ireland, Holland and Bermuda but streaming from the USA to Australia should be a criminal act. (Not yet - but give them time to pass the TPP.)

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>>"If someone in the next country over can watch something for free online then why am I, in my country, required to sign up for a yearly subscription (min cost: $849) to view that content?"

Where is this specific example that the producers give their content for free to the people of one country but charge you $849 for it? For example, the BBC charge for their content in America, but the British public pay for it through licence fees. A show may air on TV in one country because advertisers pay for it in return for the commercials they air, whilst in another country it might be sold through a cable package. I'm most curious to know where content producers wilfully give it without recompense to some people but not others. And then I'd be even more curious to know how that case goes on to justify more widespread piracy of popular and current movies.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm pleased

that my tax money is well-spent on a truly remarkable discovery by the experts from the European Union's Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, the Copenhagen Business School and the University of Zürich.

p.s. no, I'm not a Theresa May & Co voter (in the light of the latest developments from the bunch that would have been extremist anyway, as they, usually, operate within the law).

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Anonymous Coward

Isn't this an example of insanity?

Repeating the exact same process hoping that it will achieve different results?

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Facepalm

Flarblegarble.

One of the reasons TV shows get pirated is because after they are shown on US tv, the plot is smeared across the web for a few weeks before it appears on foreign telly. People don't like spoilers and people don't like to wait.

Also, an example of a film the deserves to be seen in the cinema is John Wick. Yet, months and months later, is yet to leave US shores. But there sure as hell is a DVD rip of it online.

Alas, the lost sales argument can boil down to "would they have watched it if it wasn't free"? Most likely it would have remained unwatched. People grab stuff because its there to be grabbed, like free samples of food. No intention of buying it, but hey, free taster. That's humanity for you.

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freetard apprently

I'm one of those supposed freetards in that I do not think a download = 1 lost sale. I know people who download everything they can movies tv music you name it, if you took away all the downloads the simply would not have enough disposable income to buy even a fraction of all the content they download. So take away all the downloads will not give you an equivolent boost in sales.

Then theres people like me, I pay for the top teir Virgin media (cable tv) package with all the movies and sports etc. I pay for google music, I pay for netflix. I also torrent/grab from news groups all of the content I want automatically (Sonarr etc) and watch on my media center how I want when I want on what ever device I want. So Im paying for the damned content anyways but the ease of access sucks (yes Im looking at you virgin and sky who say I cant use your apps if my device has a custom rom, kernel or rooted).

While I am sure there are people out there who if they couldnt get a certain media item via downloading would go and buy it I certainly think its a far smaller percentage as some people would have you belive.

Sure I get taking down the sites that do this but im hardly going to worry for the few seconds its going to take me to find an alternitive method to get the content I want.

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Re: freetard apprently

>>"I'm one of those supposed freetards in that I do not think a download = 1 lost sale. I know people who download everything they can movies tv music you name it, if you took away all the downloads the simply would not have enough disposable income to buy even a fraction of all the content they download. So take away all the downloads will not give you an equivolent boost in sales."

Indeed not. But that doesn't mean you can argue as if some portion of the downloaded content would not have been paid for.

>>"While I am sure there are people out there who if they couldnt get a certain media item via downloading would go and buy it I certainly think its a far smaller percentage as some people would have you belive."

And what percentage is it that some people believe? And what percentage is it that you believe is accurate? And what makes you believe that people who are accustomed to downloading anything they want for free are not inclined to do that in lieu of payment? Everyone I know who torrents has done it in preference to paying. It's only online that I find people with this bizarre desire to justify what they do as a good thing or their right to do so.

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Facepalm

Bears/shite/woods

"...closing the site had little effect on copyright breaches. Indeed, it may have spawned a new generation of stronger piracy services."

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Unhappy

They won't learn

I got so sick of all these trailers and brain-dead adverts, interspersed with stupid copyright warnings that I don't even go to the cinema any more (25 minutes was what broke it for me). I've found more interesting things to do with my life.

Hi fellow comentards :P

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Anonymous Coward

Cinemas and smart phones

Gah!

Never going again.

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