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 …

  1. WonkoTheSane
    Facepalm

    Think tank realises Whack-A-Mole site takedowns are not working

    Expect Gubmint to discount new theory in 3...2...1...

  2. sjaddy

    Am I the only one

    Who only ever finds out about these sites once they are closed down and announced in the news?

    1. Kevin Fairhurst

      Re: Am I the only one

      Ah, the Barbra Streisand effect... "We're shutting down/blocking access to site X" and everyone goes "ohh that sounds like it would have been awesome, I'll google a replacement or proxy service to access the site anyway"

      It happens with "conventional" piracy (ie downloading films & music) and it happens with "streaming" piracy (where people like my dad want to watch sports matches live but physically cannot buy a legal service that allows them to see the games in this country, due to restrictive licensing deals that favour the money men rather than the fans)

      1. Dabooka Silver badge

        Re: Am I the only one

        I assume you're on about 3pm kick off games? That's nothing to do with the moneymen really is it, that's the clubs themselves trying to protect their gate receipts. And that's always been the case, want to watch City v United 3pm on a Saturday? Go the game. Can't? MediumWave radio it is!

        I can't believe you mean he can't buy physically buy a legal services for the matches that ARE televised.

        For the record I'm in the same boat but bought a SpiderBox (IPTV is just awful for these things), so I'm not having a go, I'm simply explaining there is a difference between the 3pm and normal televised matches.

        1. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: Am I the only one

          "want to watch City v United 3pm on a Saturday? Go the game. Can't? MediumWave radio it is!"

          ALL Premier League matches are televised. Just not in the UK...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Am I the only one

      Try adding https://torrentfreak.com/ to your RSS reader....

      1. Amorous Cowherder
        Thumb Up

        Re: Am I the only one

        Thumbs up for TorrentFreak. I don't knock stuff off anymore but I do still love reading the news about the world of pirate sites!

    3. big_D Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Am I the only one

      Pretty much. I found out about it when the press in Germany were talking about visitors getting invoices from lawyers and threats of court action. I then did a bit of research and blacklisted all of the "well known" sites at home... The next day my daughter was complaining that she couldn't access the site any more.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Quick call in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

      Its looks like they've identified Hydra... removing 1 head, and 2 rise to replace it!

      Talking of S.H.I.E.L.D, click here for a great streaming website with lots of pirate content!

    5. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: Am I the only one

      Yes, mostly we find out about them in the news before they are shut down.

  3. h4rm0ny

    Awaiting posts from pro-piracy types who laud the implication that it's cost ineffective to try and shut down these sites, whilst disregarding the implication that piracy does reduce sales.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      I think all but the most hardened freetard will accept the piracy reduces sales, but many would argue that things like stupid geo-restrictions and flaky device-specific DRM have a much more negative effect on sales of legitimate content.

      But if you think El Reg's commentards are bad, just take a wander over to TorrentFreak. The articles there are very well written and often news-breaking, but the comments are often depressingly dumb and knuckle-dragging.

      1. dan1980

        @Paul

        Now, I am not a 'freetard'* by any stretch and am, in fact, quite taken aback at the amount of (what I deem) casual copyright infringement. But, even then, I would not say that I "accept" that privacy reduces sales.

        I don't necessarily disagree, I simply don't accept it - at least not without good, hard numbers that have been properly compiled by reputable, reliable third-parties free from vested interests. And even then, only so long as I am convinced that they have been gathered and assessed with sufficient consideration of the myriad factors that might skew them.

        What I am prepared to accept is the possibility that copyright infringement reduces sales, but one would have to quantify what is meant by 'reduce sales'. it really has to be a broad trend, measurable, repeatable and of some level of impact that is relevant.

        It would seem to me nearly impossible that 'piracy' doesn't decrease sales in some absolute measure, but if, for example, someone would, in the absence of illegal downloading, purchase just one DVD a year then that is rather too small an effect to bother with.

        I think one of the biggest problems with this situation is that the content owners or, more accurately, the big lobby groups representing them, spew vastly inflated figures that would be humourous were it not for the fact that our politicians believe them and then regurgitate them, usually verbatim.

        If they actually spent some time and money investigating things honestly and with a goal of getting at the truth and understanding the causes then they would make for themselves a far more compelling argument. There will always, of course, we those who won't pay unless they 100% have to, but they are a small group and should not significantly affect the industry.

        Be honest about things and make a genuine attempt to understand the issues and address them with your consumers rather than leaning on politicians with ridiculous numbers. That's how you change people's thinking and behaviour - be on their side and understand the reasons and try to find a 'win-win'.

        Make and end run around consumers by trying to get laws changed and you will never get them on side.

        * - I dislike the term anyway as it can be used to essentially discount a whole slew of often rather relevant and well-considered arguments and close-off an avenue of discussion that might otherwise be productive.

        1. WalterAlter
          Flame

          Popcorn

          $4.00 bag of popcorn in US. I'm gonna pirate the hell out of that monopolist fascist pricing schematic.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Holmes

          Every independent study done by economists finds that the "freetards" have several times the legitimate, paid for content of the average consumer, time after time after time. What they seem to do is screen content, then purchase that what they like given the opportunity. Opportunity costs are extremely significant. Make it difficult to "consume" [hate that term] in an easy manner and the likelihood of a sale increases significantly based upon their purchase patterns.

          When you have what seems to be a contraintintuitive results, it's time to go examine your assumptions especially in light of game theory. Ronald Coates theorem also is applicable. You shit on me and expect me to pay you for the privilege? That's my summary.

      2. h4rm0ny

        >>"I think all but the most hardened freetard will accept the piracy reduces sales"

        I have frequently heard it argued by piracy-proponents online that piracy does not affect sales. In contradiction to your optimism, we have two posters on here already stating that it doesn't affect sales and at least two variants that it only affects sales of things they don't enjoy or that it only affects sales because content producers "don't do enough". As suspected, the parts of the report they like are held up as an opportunity to wave the piracy flag, and the parts inconvenient simply ignored.

      3. Vic

        I think all but the most hardened freetard will accept the piracy reduces sales

        You might want to be careful about such assumptions...

        Vic.

    2. Tomato42 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      well, how about the distributors providing a site with half as much of content in a single place that I can watch on demand on any device of my choosing, without problems with stupid DRM

      most of Europe doesn't even get Netflix, yet alone Netflix with the same content as in US

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ h4rm0ny

      Regards to copyright:

      Us science types who slaved hard at Uni and had to attend more than 3 hours of lectures a week get a sensible 20 years on our work. Contrast this with Cliff's law where 60s sound recordings suddenly had their life extended under heavy lobbying by the Music Monopolies from 50 to 70 years absolute

      I can invent a cure for cancer and get a maximum of 20 years (usually 10 years after clinical trials etc) earnings but if I write a song about my discovery then I get death plus 70 years which ironically will be longer thanks to my cancer cure discovery.

      I have no sympathy.

      1. lnLog

        3 hours/week != slaving

        I hope you meant 30 or more hours per week.... 3 hours per week sounds like online homoeopathy students or some such.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 3 hours/week != slaving

          @ inlog

          Learn to read !

          I hope you meant 30 or more hours per week.... 3 hours per week sounds like online homoeopathy students or some such.

          "attend more than 3 hours" - note the use of the word more which means greater than.

          Handy thesaurus link:

          more.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Aye but we had it tough

        3 hours a day, plus practicals and tutorials and pay permission to attend!

      3. Rimpel
        Coat

        I can invent a cure for cancer and get a maximum of 20 years

        Wow I didn't realise that was a criminal offence now?

      4. Jedit

        "... but if I write a song about my discovery ...."

        It amazes me that scientists and engineers have not yet hit upon the wizard wheeze of setting their discoveries and inventions to music. Kleinfeld's Symphony No.1 (A Method For Destroying Melanoma Through Non-Aggressive Microwave Radiation Therapy) would be a big hit I'm sure.

      5. h4rm0ny

        >>"Contrast this with Cliff's law where 60s sound recordings suddenly had their life extended under heavy lobbying by the Music Monopolies from 50 to 70 years absolute"

        Then I take it the most popular titles on torrent sites are all old movies and 60's sound recordings as part of a deliberate rejection of overly-longed copyright terms. And not, as I had foolishly thought, all but entirely recent and current movies released over the last few years that this argument would not apply to in the least.

        Who would have thought!

      6. No, I will not fix your computer

        Good point, bad example

        >>I can invent a cure for cancer and get a maximum of 20 years (usually 10 years after clinical trials etc) earnings but if I write a song about my discovery then I get death plus 70 years which ironically will be longer thanks to my cancer cure discovery.

        I would hope that if you invent a cure for cancer that the social responsibility and recognition (plus 20 years of generous income, speakers fees, being written into history etc.) would outweigh the desire to hold cancer sufferers to some kind of financial hostage (i.e. why not be more like Salk and Jenner?).

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      The costs of piracy

      It's long been established that digital piracy doesn't reduce direct sales. What it does tend to do is drive money away from possible alternatives: people download more US TV and films and watch less local stuff.

      The increasing popularity of legal streaming services shows how much people value convenience.

    5. Wommit
      Flame

      Don't forget that it doesn't cost the content producers, as always the tax payers have to foot the bill.

      Once upon a time copyright was a civil matter, now we tax payers have to pay to protect other peoples IP.

      Note,

      I think INTELLECTUAL property is a breach of the advertising laws. After all have you seen some of the tripe that comes out of Hol/Bol-iwood now-adays?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      at two minds

      I appreciate the thought troll-baiting, etc), but truly disappointed at the terrible underperformance. I'd expect, if not finesse, at least some... effort :(

    7. fruitoftheloon
      FAIL

      @h4rm0ny

      H4rm0ny,

      It is not that we are are pro-piracy (I am not btw).

      Just that we are pro-counting, i.e. it is rarely worth spending (actual) £10 to save a (hypothetical) £5....

      It ain't rocket surgery!

      Regards,

      Jay

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I disagree with the theory that piracy reduces sales....

      Piracy exists because of the movie/tv industries policies.

      With their heavy handed DRM and slow release to DVD/Blu-Ray/Streaming and disjointed global releases. Get rid of DRM & release on the same day, then many downloaders would switch to legal services.

      I probably buy 2-3 BluRays a month, I use free streaming services (iPlayer, 4OD)..

      BUT for a lot of TV content, its much faster, more reliable and better quality to download using torrents than using the legal services!

      Even for BluRays I rip them to my HDD after buying, because UV is a joke and my laptop doesn't have an optical drive...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Piracy exists because of the movie/tv industries policies."

        +1. I stopped buying any media after the DeCSS fuss, and after several Disney DVDs that forced me to watch previews and adverts that couldn't be skipped before the film.

        1. h4rm0ny

          >>"+1. I stopped buying any media after the DeCSS fuss"

          DeCSS was the decryption tool. CSS was the protection-measure. And assuming that it really was your inability to install libdvdcss that prevented you watching things, you realize that it's entirely possible for you to still pay for it even if you watched a ripped version? You could have still bought the DVD anyway. But of course you didn't do that so we can conclude that not paying for the content was something you wanted to do, rather than it being a technical difficulty that stopped you.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      One of the reasons piracy is so popular is the pirated product is superior to the real thing.

      I used to buy movies from Canada (reg 1) on a regulars basis. I had a muli-region player to watch them on. When this broke I had a tough time getting another one. All my legally purchased films were useless. I paid real money for them and now they were unwatchable. Downloaded stuff is free from trailers, region locks and piracy notices and it works on everything. When the content makers master a DVD that is region free, where the film just plays without the bollocks then I might buy again. Why not put the trailers as extras and give people the choice to watch them or not? Why insult paying customer with piracy notices?

      Once you've tasted a pirate product the official one looks like a joke. Give the people what they want and sales will increase.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Wade Burchette

        You will appreciate this then:

        https://www.flickr.com/photos/42696116@N00/4368652757

      3. Vic

        One of the reasons piracy is so popular is the pirated product is superior to the real thing.

        This image pretty much sums it up...

        Vic.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @h4rm0ny

      Here's a thought....

      Big media companies : provide a method that people can get quality media, at a time of their choosing, in a convenient way, paying for it once.

      Piracy all but vanishes overnight.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: @h4rm0ny

        >>"Big media companies : provide a method that people can get quality media, at a time of their choosing, in a convenient way, paying for it once."

        You mean Amazon? Or is the logic - I will have to wait a couple of days for this / plan ahead, therefore I must steal it.

        1. King Jack
          Childcatcher

          Re: @h4rm0ny

          Surely the message here to all media providers is that the people who no longer buy infected stuff are protesting. If they were to pirate then buy, those idiots in charge would never get the message. Why insist that people watch adverts on a film they purchase? Why must they control everything even after you have paid your money. I never watch film trailers as they spoil the movie for me, so I will never buy a DVD or Blu ray. But by all means block all the sites, I'll still never buy the official product.

        2. Wade Burchette

          Re: @h4rm0ny

          How much is the MPAA paying you? Seriously?

          (1) IT IS NOT STEALING! You can only steal something that physically exists. If I take someone's wallet without permission, that is stealing. If I walk out of a store with a DVD without paying, I stole that DVD. Data does not physically exist. Downloading files without permission is copyright infringement.

          (2) Who is advocating that copyright infringement is acceptable? Not me.

          (3) Why can't you understand that it is the heavy-handed, myopic, outmoded way of thinking of Big Media that is causing so much copyright infringement? They make it next to impossible to enjoy their product in a way the customer wants. Yet you are blaming the customer for the way we being kicked hard in the groin.

          Here is what I want: A movie free of DRM so that I can rip to a hard drive so that I can watch on my computer, my TV, my tablet, whatever anytime I want. I want a movie that goes straight to the movie or straight to the menu without exception. I want a menu that goes away immediately when I press play. And when I press play, I want the movie to begin immediately, without any anti-piracy warnings or company logos or anything else. In short, I want to be able to do what I want, except illegally share my movie, with my legally purchased movie and I don't want to spend 5 minutes trying to watch my legally purchased movie.

          1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: @h4rm0ny

            "How much is the MPAA paying you? Seriously?"

            FFS, just because you disagree with someone doesn't make them a shill. Check h4rm0ny's post history and you'll see they're a regular.

          2. h4rm0ny

            Re: @h4rm0ny

            >>"How much is the MPAA paying you? Seriously?"

            I'm not recompensed by anyone in any form for making these posts. They're just what I believe. Ad hominem, much?

            >>"(1) IT IS NOT STEALING! You can only steal something that physically exists"

            People call taking something without permission stealing. And so do I. It's not the legal thing you would be charged with in court, but then law has specialized and explicitly defined terminology for a reason. You can steal information, have you really never heard anyone say that? If you want to correct someone who says a person was charged with theft and say the sentence was actually for larceny, be my guest. But you're not going to re-define common usage just because you don't want something you like to sound bad. The insistence on trying to get other people not to use words like theft and stealing is just PR / marketing. And I've never much been a fan of PR people. If you don't like your taking something without permission to be called stealing, tough, it's going to keep happening.

            >>(2) Who is advocating that copyright infringement is acceptable? Not me.

            Yet you respond with disagreements to someone who says it is and write extensively on the reasons why content producers are "kicking customers in the groin" and "make it impossible to enjoy their product" and begin your reply to me by accusing me of being a shill. It certainly sounds like you are justifying piracy.

            >>"Here is what I want: A movie free of DRM so that I can rip to a hard drive so that I can watch on my computer, my TV, my tablet, whatever anytime I want. I want a movie that goes straight to the movie or straight to the menu without exception. I want a menu that goes away immediately when I press play. And when I press play, I want the movie to begin immediately, without any anti-piracy warnings or company logos or anything else. In short, I want to be able to do what I want, except illegally share my movie, with my legally purchased movie and I don't want to spend 5 minutes trying to watch my legally purchased movie."

            I want those things too. I find commercials on a disc I have bought extremely annoying. But I will continue to maintain that piracy is wrong in the huge majority of cases. And if a content producer makes a product so bad that it is no longer of interest to me, then I will not buy it, rather than rip them off.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @h4rm0ny

              "And if a content producer makes a product so bad that it is no longer of interest to me, then I will not buy it, rather than rip them off."

              The problem is you often only find if something is worth buying having paid for it and tried to consume it. You can't take back software or a movie for being completely pants or being incompatible with your player in some way.

              Its often easier to pirate something, and if you like it buy it later on. I have some boxed sets of things I liked when I viewed the torrented version, and we have some software we bought proper licenses once we had tried a dodgy version out to make sure it lived up to the claims and was useable as the free trial version was extremely crippled in functionality. And I imagine everyone here has bought some commercial software at some point and been EXTREMELY disatisified with the product not meeting its claims. Once bitten and all that.

        3. Lamont Cranston
          FAIL

          Re: "You mean Amazon?" @h4rm0ny

          Have you ever tried to buy a CD/DVD and found that it's no longer available, or not available in the appropriate region for your player? I have.

          Ever tried to get around the above problem buy purchasing the album/film as a digital download, instead of physical media, only to find that it's not available as a digital download? I have.

          Ever purchased a DVD with the intent to use the UltraViolet digital copy, only to find that the code inside the case has expired? I have.

          Mind you, I have been know to borrow CDs and DVDs from other people and then make copies for my own use before returning the originals! I should probably go to jail.

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: "You mean Amazon?" @h4rm0ny

            >>"Have you ever tried to buy a CD/DVD and found that it's no longer available, or not available in the appropriate region for your player? I have."

            Yep. Are you attempting to use this as a counter-argument to piracy when the huge, huge majority of it IS available for purchase? Or are you just randomly trying to argue for this case even though it has little to do with what I wrote?

            >>"Ever tried to get around the above problem buy purchasing the album/film as a digital download, instead of physical media, only to find that it's not available as a digital download? I have."

            Not that I recall, see previous point.

            >>"Ever purchased a DVD with the intent to use the UltraViolet digital copy, only to find that the code inside the case has expired? I have."

            No. Maybe you bought a second-hand one? Did you take it back and ask for a refund or a copy that is correct. Or is the correct response to a faulty product now to steal it.

            >>"Mind you, I have been know to borrow CDs and DVDs from other people and then make copies for my own use before returning the originals! I should probably go to jail."

            Well, if poor logic and argument in bad faith were a crime, perhaps...

            1. Lamont Cranston

              Re: "You mean Amazon?" @h4rm0ny

              the huge, huge majority of it IS available for purchase?

              The bit I wanted to purchase wasn't. Do you want a list?

              Not that I recall, see previous point.

              Nice that you're so well catered for - anybody with different tastes can whistle, eh?

              Maybe you bought a second-hand one?

              No, bought it new, but the expiry times on those codes is surprisingly short. Happened on more than one occassion, too. Taking it back's no good - the staff at Asda won't be able to offer anything but a refund - and getting on to the distributor might eventually get me a code, but who has time for that? (I tried, the first time, with a 20th Century Fox DVD and was rewarded, after much to-ing and fro-ing, with a low-res copy of my film - totally worth it!). Making my own digital copy (playable in every device that I own) is by far the simpler option. UltraViolet is a pretty good idea (you buy the DVD, you get the digital copy - exactly what I want) but it's implementation is somewhat lacking (I can watch some of what I buy, on some of my screens). I haven't quite got the point where I'm thinking "sod all this effort, I'll just torrent it", but I can certainly see why other people have (and I wouldn't condemn them for doing so - and this brings me back to my earlier point about the "illegal" service being far superior to the "legal" service, and why won't the content providers learn?).

              poor logic and argument in bad faith

              Ooh, you got me! I'd better rush home and put a drill through that hard-drive full of ill-gotten gains.

              1. h4rm0ny

                Re: "You mean Amazon?" @h4rm0ny

                >>"The bit I wanted to purchase wasn't. Do you want a list?"

                Whether what YOU wanted is available or not is immaterial to this argument. The question is whether the overwhelming majority of what is pirated is available - which it is because most piracy is current and popular media. YOU not being able to find a particular piece you wanted is not a justification of the overwhelming majority of piracy. And yet you present your personal minority case as a counter-argument to the far larger general case. That is where your logic is flawed. As already explained, but apparently not understood.

                >>"Nice that you're so well catered for - anybody with different tastes can whistle, eh?"

                Not remotely what I said. "See previous point" refers you to the fact that again, you are making a counter-argument to a vast majority case based on a personal, minority case.

                >>"Ooh, you got me! I'd better rush home and put a drill through that hard-drive full of ill-gotten gains."

                Why shouldn't you? It's people's work that you refused to pay for.

                1. Lamont Cranston

                  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.

            2. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

              Re: "You mean Amazon?" @h4rm0ny

              I used to pirate a lot of content: music, software, films... I did so for 2 reasons:

              1) Money. I could not afford to buy them. There was no lost sale for the content producers, as without I would have gone without.

              2) Convenience. When there was something I wanted to watch/listen to (which I could afford), it was a hell of a lot more convenient to download it illegally. Buying music meant going to a shop, finding the CD, queuing up, paying for it, and bringing it home. Then, I had to rip it to put it in my music library. Downloading meant a quick search, click a button, wait a few minutes and it was there.

              Films were even worse. Watching the DVD meant unskipable bits before you even got to the menu. Ripping it took an age. Alternatively, a few clicks, leave it downloading while I do something else, and it was available in the format I wanted it in.

              Now, I don't pirate any more. I can afford to buy what I want, which negates #1. As for #2, for music I have a streaming service to use, plus I can click, pay for and download what I want even more easily than pirating.

              Films & TV shows still have a way to go. Because of legal agreements around their release to specific stations/sites etc. there is no one place I can go to get everything I want. But then again, I now have a TV package which gives me almost everything I want... I am at a different stage of life.

              Just briefly coming back to point 1, my dad has told me that, when he was a kid, he and his mates used to club together to buy a copy of the latest music. They would then copy it to tapes so everyone got a copy. This was, again, because they couldn't afford it. The world hasn't changed since then, but the technology used has.

    11. Lamont Cranston

      @h4rm0ny

      This cartoon is getting old, however it is still true.

      The pirates are giving consumers the content that they want, in a timely and convenient fashion. Rather than endlessly chasing the pirates (an exercise in futility, I'm sure we can all agree), maybe the content producers should look at what the pirates are offering, and make sure that their own product more attractive?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I used to torrent TV shows, I admit

    Now I just watch them in HD on YouTube.

    What's up with that?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  5. JimmyPage Silver badge
    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.

    1. Doctor_Wibble

      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.

    2. h4rm0ny

      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.

      1. dan1980

        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.)

        1. h4rm0ny

          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.

          1. dan1980

            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.

            1. h4rm0ny

              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.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    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?

    1. kryptonaut

      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.

      1. dan1980

        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.)

        1. h4rm0ny

          >>"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.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    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).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't this an example of insanity?

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

  9. Britt
    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.

  10. Drefsab_UK

    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.

    1. h4rm0ny

      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.

  11. Amorous Cowherder
    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."

  12. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    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

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cinemas and smart phones

    Gah!

    Never going again.

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