In support of "illegal" downloads.
Back in my early days of computing and playing games, we had Shareware and Duke Nukem (thank you Todd Replogle) was one of the first, if not THE first game I purchased. I would probably not have purchased the game for my 268/12, 1MB RAM, 1MB SVGA and 85MB HDD with 640 x 480 14" Monitor if it had not been for that shareware option to play the game first on a trial basis.
Fast forward a crap load of year and my young daughter wanted to play (insert dum dum duuuum background drum sounds) .......The Sims. I obtained an illegal/pirate copy and installed it on her computer (not bad when a 7 year old has her own PC I the late 90s). She loved that game. As a result of my illegal/pirate act we spent about $280 on more Sims games and addons. If I hadn't committed that initial heinous crime of allegedly stealing a copy of The Sims then I would sure as hell have not forked out $280 for the program then Maxis would never have gotten that $280 in the first place. How many other have a similar experience?
The music industry has gone through a similar process. Many downloaded an MP3 file (remember when RIAA blamed MP3 downloaders for the demise of the music industry instead of blaming the way RIAA manipulated their shipping figures) to listen to and see if they liked it. As we all, well a great many of us know, an MP3 is a "cut down" version of an audio file and as such the audio quality when compared to the original file is fairly hollow. While RIAA was lamenting about the MP3 downloads destroying their massive profits, the actual sales of music CDs was increasing. Ergo, pirate versions were fuelling the increased sales. Like my experience with Todd Replogle's excellent game, music lovers found the songs they liked via an MP3 and then went out and purchased the high fidelity version and didn't waste their hard earned $$$ on the sounds they didn't like.
Movies are the same. I may allegedly download a 600 - 700MB movie of reasonable quality to see if I will actually like it (after all, the trailer only shows the good parts. The movie Lucy looked real good in the trailer but I thought it was a dog) and I will purchase a Blue-ray disc to play on my nice 55" widescreen LED TV. A 700MB trial version is so much easier to download than a 7 or 8GB high quality copy. This also ensures that I can watch a movie that is released in Region 1 while I wait for the Region 3, 4 or 5 version to be released.
Game of Thrones is supposedly the biggest torrent downloaded program in Australia. Why? Simple. To view it in Australia you have to purchase a $75 per month subscription from a local rip-off cable company. Funny now that Netflix is opening in Australia in March 2015 the rip-off cable company is now offering the subscription for $25.
Oh poo. My apologies for the length of this post. I kinda got carried away.