Shared publicly  - 
The inconvenience of current downloads and streams are not a technology problem, they're a business problem. And rights holders perpetuate the piracy
Mark Traphagen's profile photoRaja Mitra's profile photoBrandon “Innomen” Sergent's profile photoHermannus Stegeman's profile photo
In order to stop piracy, the record labels, or movies should be sold to an accesible price. We all know that an original cd costs only $1, but the companies never think of selling tons of it, they prefer to charge you $10, so the people turn their heads to other options. The labels could even generate employment for those who sell piracy and get wide distribution for it.
Complex copyright laws on a country by country basis make expansion even into first world countries challenging. Napster culture and shortsighted media interests combined to form a sticky morass that we find ourselves in now.
I agree with everything in this response.. except for one thing: they are not "lousy technical books", they are awesome technical books.
Tim, I agree with the reply 100%. Well done to you and your team.
Anyone who follows the evolution of e-books knows O'Reilly's have always been at the forefront of the movement. Others can only learn.
Kudos, +Tim O'Reilly. The ROFL hilarity of the recently announced "service" by one of the majors (forget which) to digitize your DVDs for you, after you've driven them across town to a brick-and-mortar location, for more money, takes the proverbial cake. It's like negotiating with a 2-year-old, who just keeps coming up with more and more 'creative' excuses for not doing something they just don't want to do, even though it's in their own best interest.
Ding! Convenience matters. If you make it hard to buy something or to use something that was purchased, then guess what? People won't buy it. Would you buy a shirt that had technological barriers in it that only allowed you to wear it in one place? Or that prevented you from letting your wife wear it as a nightie? No? Well, digital media needs to be like shirts. You buy it once, you use it wherever and however you want. O'Reilly gets this right, why doesn't Hollywood?
+Tim O'Reilly I believe that you are correct in this assumption. Some sites make it so frustrating to buy anything that piracy is much easier..
Copyright was to prevent mechanical copying for profit. What it has become is a reason for copyright lawyers to earn big bucks. Copyright: just say no.
This is a good article, but I don't think it captures the entire story. I think piracy is more of a value signal than an indicator of convenience or price. There is plenty of content I can't get (convenience), and plenty of content that I can get, but that costs way too much (price). What content providers haven't figured out yet is that value is a combination of conditions, and only if all those conditions are met will consumers buy in large quantities.

Content has to be easy to get, and it has to be priced realistically. There are too many alternatives out there for traditional content providers to keep playing this game.
+Shawn H Corey You are correct on that part
+Tim O'Reilly The industries are not keeping up with technology and are suffering and losing money , but not as much as they say those loses are projected for God knows how long maybe ten years and they are trying to make us believe that the loss is annual. And with their dysfunctional leadership they will remain this way for the foreseeable future
+Shawn H Corey Copyright (along with patents) was invented "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;" [Article I, Sec. 8 U.S. Constitution]. Nothing wrong with it from that perspective.
+Rob Shinn good point about the US copyright justification but how is the holder's lifetime + 70 years limited in any sense of the term limited? Consider that the original US Congress set the copyright limit at 7 years.
Are the majority of movies viewed, in the developing world, pirated? What is the worldwide %?
Every time I buy a new Bluray disk I am tempted to return to the days gone by of pirating. I paid a significant amount of money to purchase the disk then I return home and put it in my bluray drive in my media center. It starts up then complains because this is a new disk that was protected by the best new stuff out there.... To play it you must update your software/firmware. Then I spend the next 2 hours tracking down the latest update for my 1 year old copy of the DVD player software and the firmware for the drive. Reboot a couple times and then finally it is able to read the disk. Then what do I get? 15 minutes of previews for other movies and 5 minutes of trendy PSAs about how bad piracy is. Then finally I get to watch the movie. The other option would have been to not drive across town to buy the disk and just started up a bittorrent down load. Wait for it to finish an hour or 2 later and then hit play on the media center. Movie stars immediately. When the user experience for the illegal method is better than for the paying customer there is a problem with the situation.

To use the car analogy... under the same system that the media companies use if you bought a car from them you would go in to the dealership where they wouldn't sell you the car they would lease you the privilege of using the car. You would have to spend 5 minutes every time you wanted to get into the car fiddling with the locks and then trying to get your key into the ignition as the ignition may have changed the encryption so you may need a new key. Once you do get the car started you have to sit through a video about all the other cars that the company released that year and then sit through another one about how bad pirating cars was and how you are the devil for even thinking about pirating a car.
On the other hand you could go with the illegal pirated car by looking up the directory on the internet for where to find other people who have already pirated a car. Contact one of them and start copying that car. Wait a bit for your car to finish being copied. The only cost for your copy is a little bit of time and some electrons passing by. Once your pirate car is done you walk up to it there are no keys so you just get in and the car is started and you get to go. No video to make you feel bad about pirating your car you just get to go whereever you are going.

Make the experience of purchasing content easy for the user and make it so that the person doesn't have to jump through hoops to get your protected content and they won't go looking for a way to pirate it.
The problem, as I see it, is that the business model of music and movie industries has been made obsolete by current technology. Back in the day, it cost money to produce VHS and later DVDs. Factories had to be built, people hired, and large distribution systems developed. Nowadays it cost virtually nothing to produce practically infinite copies of a single digital file. Likewise, it costs next to nothing to transport that file across the world over the Internet. Basically the laws of supply and demand don't apply anymore, and if the music and movie industries want to continue making money, they need to find a new way to do it.

As Issac Asimov said, "If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance we can solve them." Adapt and survive.
+Rob Shinn That's a nice myth but it's not reality. In reality, only the rich can benefit from copyright (or patents) since only the rich can afford to enforce them. Take Walt Disney, for example. At first, he couldn't afford to enforce his copyrights. It's only after he had some success could he afford the lawyers. Nowadays, copyrights are bought by large corporations for a pittance. And no, they're not going to pay more if there are stronger copyright laws; all corporations are required by law to maximize their profits, which, of course, means to minimize their costs.
"Piracy" isn't piracy. There is no threat of force.

If I saw a picnic table in a public park, bought my own lumber, used the picnic table as a template, and built my own identical to it - then hauled it away, the police would think you were insane you reported the table "stolen".
+Mark Noble Copyright infringement isn't piracy; there are no naval vessels involved. But everyone uses it to mean copyright infringement, so what can you do?
I download copies of animated movies even for the ones I already own. Every time I put an original DVD i get 15 minutes of ads, even for those with "fast play", do you know how hard is to explain a 3 year old to wait for the movie to start?
Because movies are about $20usd in my country ($5 usd to rent) I can't afford to buy/rent lots of them. That is; if i don't download/stream the movie I will never ever watch it. So I'm not sure why movie companies count my movie stream as a lost?
The picnic table is good but to put it more in line it would be running up to someone's house with a camera taking a picture of a painting they had then going home and using photoshop to clean it up and printing it back out at full size and hanging it framed on your wall. And then having that resulting cleaned up image file ditributed as a pirated version of the painting. That is very similar to the amount of effort/time and the marginal cost of copying that is found in movie piracy. what if instead of going to someone's house you personally purchased the print of that painting and made you photo replication from it. I agree it is not really piracy (that just sounds good in a news bite) but there is a reduction in the income to the artist or atleast the distributor of the prints.
Yesterday, on the way back from a meeting, I tried to buy a four track Metallica album a friend told me about.

1. Went to Rdio. Album was there. Not available for streaming.
2. Went to Google Music. Not there at all.
3. Went to Amazon MP3. Not there at all.
4. Talked to friend, "Hey, I tried to get that Metallica, but it's not available on any of my services. Could you bring that CD tomorrow so I can rip it?"

I tried THREE TIMES to use legitimate services. Now none of them are getting money from me for this. Yes, I could buy the album. But I already pay for Rdio and Pandora, and then buy from Google Music and Amazon when those services don't have it. They lost their chance!
rodrigo makes a good point, i listen to music from my radio, for free :)
On facebook I encountered downloads that might not be the real deal used to install data mining aps that were known to Ad-Aware as hight security thtreats - Piracy is more than copyright enfringement it is a prelude to identity theft and bank fraud. I report what I find to everyone I can. Beware of any download outside of a protected secure server domain. Just do not accept anything from people you can not be certain of even if it is offered for free.
irish d
i don't want to pay for cable. i just want to watch the finals of the tennis US open. going to the US open website, you can't just pay for a day/season pass. you still need a cable subscription! note i was gonna PAY but there was no option available for me that i find reasonable.
A service I would be willing to pay for doesn't seem to exist outside of torrent community. Ad free, DRM free, one gateway to access every type of content or software, nobody tracking you and trading in your private information. I'd pay buckets for that. Sadly, it's only available for free.
I can cite multiple examples of myself trying to guide less tech savvy friends to legally downloading things. In one case we spent multiple sessions over about 3 days before I finally suggested piracy. The barriers were software being incompatible with the OS, being in Canada instead of the US, examining subscription services and determining that the selection wasn't worth paying a monthly fee for. After a quick tutorial in bittorrent she had the items she was looking for within the hour.
Bittorrent isn't that user friendly, it's unintuitive for average people and a mess to explain. Usually explaining it is enough to chase people off piracy. For you to make something frustrating enough for average people to seek it out as an alternative is an accomplishment in itself.
Relating to being an international user, seeing "content not available in your country" warnings creates a lot of resentment. I know they're due to licensing agreements, but I also am savvy enough to know that all I need is a proxy and I'm on my way. For average people they know neither of these things. What they do know is that the content is there, they can almost have it, but someone is holding it outside of their reach based on national borders.
So in my experience +Tim O'Reilly is really getting to the root of it.
+Shawn H Corey said "Copyright infringement isn't piracy; there are no naval vessels involved. But everyone uses it to mean copyright infringement, so what can you do?"

Copyright infringement is a protectionist construct intended to protect small enterprises from larger ones that might be able to beat the smaller to market.

It has outlasted it's usefulness.

Now it is used to prosecute consumers who had no intention of ever buying a product (so it's not a lost sale) and were not selling copies.

It is also used to stifle innovation through patent trolling.

The sooner we kill it, the sooner we open the throttle on innovation.
Missed one of my favorite TV shows due to travel, bought the single episode on Amazon. If it wasn't there to purchase legally, would have pirated it.
I very much agree with the original post. All the video stores in the city I live in have closed. The local cable company has terrible On demand that erases your movie when you pause it so you have to order it again, and then argue with them that you didnt just watch it twice. Even though one rental gives it to you for 48 hours.....

All the online services want my credit card # which I do not want to use on the internet, except for Netflix, which has limited current content and no same day as DVD when I demo'd it. Oh, and the On-demand, at $5 a movie is not even in HD.

Downloads are out same day or next day and are wide screen if not HD. There needs to be a better model for this now that the video stores are gone, as the "pirate" sites have the far better option at the moment.
+Mark Noble I don't agree, the concept of the copyright is still relevant, but the actual legal instrument has been perverted to the point that it's harmful to everyone.
+irish d: Likewise, why should I subsidize someone's SportsCenter addiction when sports channels cost carriers shitloads and I don't watch it? That's just money down the drain for me. If I want to watch a game, I'll save up, pull some cash together and go to the game...
+Kris Vosper A lady at a restaurant was wanting to watch a certain movie from the early 90s. As you've said, all the rental places here have pretty much closed. Most retail stores don't carry old movies. She just wanted to watch the movie with her husband that night. She called a half dozen places to see if they had it. I tried to explain bittorrent, but she had trouble following it. A brief demonstration set her straight and by the time she left the restaurant she had a movie to take home. Piracy is fantastic for preserving older content that would otherwise be forgotten.
+Mark Noble I agree with you except for one small point: copyright law never benefited anyone but the rich. It was never useful to society.
+Mark Noble They exist to protect the efforts of those that produce original content. So long as they do that they are relevant. The problem is the discussion on their reform is entirely one sided resulting in things being take out of public domain and being back under copyright and other odd abuses. The consumer side of the copyright discussion ranges from teachers that have to jump through hoops to excercise fair use, to people like you who want to watch it burn.
+Eric Muller Patents and copyright should not exist to "protect people". The sole possible justification is that it increases innovation But I doubt this justification. The fashion industry is highly innovative and it does not rely on copyright. Back in the early XXth century, guess who saw the most innovation in chemistry and pharmaceuticals? Precisely the countries that had weak patent laws (Germany, Switzerland...). The effect of copyright and patents is to favor large corporations (and thus lessen competition): that's what we see in practice when a country goes from weak to strong IP laws. And let us not forget who benefits the most: legal teams. IP is an entire industry for lawyers. But it creates no value, it just sucks it up. Further reading:
Patents and copyrights aren't to promote innovation, they're to allow the person who came up with the work to have a reasonable period to have exclusivity on a property and the ability to enjoy the fruits of that labour. In America both patents and copyrights are abused, it's set up in a way that seems to encourage and reward abuse by the rights holder. It is flawed, other systems are a better model no doubt. I'm not pretending that the system is even good. I'm just saying it's not an all or nothing situation. Abolishing them altogether removes important protections for content creators. Those aren't just large entities like record companies, they're small time creators as well. Should you take the time to create something and add to the culture instead of just consuming it you'll appreciate the protection.
+Eric Muller said "They exist to protect the efforts of those that produce original content."

Do these laws protect everybody?

What about my friend Mark Gunderson of The Evolution Control Committee who was sued by CBS for his single "Rocked by Rape"?

Isn't it really a protectionist scheme that protects the RIAA and MPAA a lot but offers zero protection to the vast majority of people who "produce original content"?
+Eric Muller said "Should you take the time to create something and add to the culture instead of just consuming it you'll appreciate the protection."

I am a software developer. I do not benefit from this "protection".

None of my artisan friends benefit either. As mentioned above - one was sued and forced to stop enjoying the fruits of his labor because of such laws.

I know many entrepreneurs - they rely on secrecy, not patent law to protect their ideas - in fact, if they use IP laws they expose their ideas to the very people most likely to steal them.

As +Daniel Lemire explained, these protections only benefit large powerful interests. Not you. Not me. Not any person you or I know.
+Eric Muller That's a theory: strong IP laws protect the little guy from the big corporation. But it is empirically false. Anyhow, fashion is a great counter-example. Lots of very creative people making a good living. You can start your own brand of clothes tomorrow. You don't have to worry about the big brands suing you. Sure, people will copy you if you are successful, but by then, you'll be a success. Copies are a tax on success: the more you succeed, the more people copy you. Sure, you may lose money that you could theoretically have made, but you also earn status. If you are an author and 1 million people copy your book on, well you are doing extremely well. I'm not worried for your financial future. You should worry though if you write a book and cannot find it on It says something about your status.
I also said that in the US in particular patent and copyright law are both incredibly flawed and the system is rigged in favour of people that will abuse it. There's cases of DMCA takedowns issued by people that don't own the material in question etc. I'm aware of these things.
I'm not aware of the details of your friends case so I can't really say anything about it. As I said, abuses do occur, flaws are evident everywhere, I can come up with an endless string of examples as well. I don't disagree that things are broken. I just disagree that no protection is better than proper reform.
As a software developer, assuming you're in the US, you are protected under the DMCA. I have several friends who have used the DMCA to aggressively defend their work. I don't entirely agree with them in all cases, but that's their business , not mine. You also have the ability to file software patents, which I think is an incredibly flawed idea, but it exists for you if you choose. You also as you mention are protected by trade secrets, which are fragile but protected by law as well.
Your artisan friends as well are protected. I mentioned cases where there were abuses, there also are cases of triumphs. The ones that readily come to mind are songwriters taking to court blatent plagerism. Generally if they are able to back their case up with evidence they win.
I also mentioned that the fashion industry isn't a great example. Sure you can start up a witty t-shirt business tomorrow (though I've had some friends sent cease and desist orders, but they were also blatently violating a trademark). In high fashion copying is an invitation for nastiness to come knocking.
I'm not defending American copyright law as it stands, I think it's dreadful, and the average person, from consumer, to small time content producer doesn't have a seat at the table to reform it. I am in favour of creative licensing like creative commons or similar. I don't think ending the copyright entirely is a wise idea though. I'll say it really does feel odd to be defending it.
+James Kohler Although I know that in a way you're disagreeing with me, that was beautiful.
+Eric Muller Your profile picture is that of the former Canadian prime minister Jean Chrétien. Pretty sure you are using a copyrighted picture without permission. You are stealing the bread of some poor news agency somewhere.
My profile picture is of that incident. The image is so common I'd have a hard time finding the owner. If I were to guess, it's likely the CBC, in which case I payed for it with my taxes.
I know you're going for the irony of the man quasi-standing up for copyrights using a copyrighted image. You're right, and it's funny. I don't know if it proves anything or not, or is just amusing.
+Eric Muller Ok. Now, you insisted that copyright was necessary and meant to protect creative people, even as you admitted that it wasn't the net effect in America. But how on Earth can you justify the Canadian government (e.g., the CBC) holding a copyright? They use your taxes to produce something... shouldn't you own it too? You do know that the Canadian NRC holds a lot of patents (paid by your taxes) which it will then license back to you, for a fee? The Canadian law is also copyrighted... Can we at least agree that governments should hold not patents and copyright? Or do you also wish to protect the government's creativity? While you are thinking this through, I'll go back to grab something to watch.
It's now, you clever pirate.
If the government creates something, who else would hold the rights/patents.
I'm not sure what points you're stretching for anymore, I'm also not sure you really understand what I'm saying.
I generally don't like piracy, I generally do like the idea of copyrights. I don't like current copyright law, I do like content creators to have control of their work while also allowing an agreeable amount of freedom for the end user. I think that copyrights should be reformed to bring it closer to that ideal, and perhaps adopting some of the values of popular creative licenses like creative commons would be a a good start.
Very well said. I definitely fall into that middle class demographic who would rather pay for something as long as I can get it conveniently. For example, I think it's ludicrous that the only way I can legally see HBO shows online is to have a full premium cable package which includes it, instead of a stand-along subscription to just HBO content online. I'd certainly subscribe to such a service if I didn't otherwise want to have cable.
It is also not a copyright problem. Neither ACTA, SOPA nor PIPA will save the business model but only increase the collateral damage.
+Eric Muller "Patents and copyrights aren't to promote innovation..."

The authors of the Constitution would disagree. Yes, patents and copyrights are monopolies to their originators, but they exist only in order to help progress. They are not welfare for creators.

U.S. Constitution I.8.8: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"
What is interesting to me is that at a fundamental level, copyright directly conflicts with free speech. In the United States, copyright law was brought into existence with a very conscious understanding that some universal rights were being diminished for the sake of increasing the incentive to create. It was only cautiously adopted, with an understanding that it may be better for the greater good (not the good of any one individual or corporation).

Fast forward to today, most Americans are ignorant of the history of the law and its gradual perversion over the decades. Powerful lobbies have created a runaway train, and the most disturbing part, to me, is how readily the top brass will serve the highest bidder to the detriment of 'we the people'.

For me, and surely many others, torrents are poetic justice. It is the internet, turning the free speech knob back up to 10. What is troublesome, though, is that the only real way to prevent sharing is through either the invasion of privacy, or by attempting to change the very structure of the internet. Neither of these things seem to be for the greater good, nor do they seem to matter in terms of creating incentive.

This is good reading:
OK! I can accept criticism when it is on target and I apologize if my earlier posts seemed inconsistent and misleading. Let me clarify my position this way!

While I deplore priracy because it is contenptuous of the effort that individuals and groups put into the production of a quality product and think that there is good reason to prosecute any malicious misappropriates legitimate production rights to block development of useful comodities I ALSO agree that U.S. copyright laws do not protect production rights as much as they further limit production rights.

If there is a middle ground between producers and manufactureres and the consumers who might compromise the ecconomics of production then we need to redefine how production rights are awarded not by restricting who may produce but rather by restricting the price that producers pay for the privelage of contributing. Because the technology of piracy allows more people to be productive it is useful but because it is too often abused to cripple the productive efforts of others the problem is not with the technology but rather with the unreasonable restriction of production rights. That said there is still the problem of regulating illicit productions.

Case in point! When Microsoft came out with Vista the Chinese responded with production of a pirated version of XP with most of the useful features of Vista and it was a stable OS that could be used off-line even in the US without being challenged by Microsoft. Without a doubt the Chinese knock off worked very well indeed where it's use was not restricted by law. One could argue that the competetion with Microsoft was fair enough because both Microsoft and the Chinese Republic had every resonable right to meet market demand as competitors, and that copyright laws did nothing to popularize or diminish the use of these respective systems in their exclusive domains. The question of how their competition influenced either's the ability to produce their products is arguable in more than one legal system.

If cybrenetic piracy did not appeal to a large number deprived individuals only seeking to compete with larger firms by use of techniques that are cost effective for the scale of thier opperations we would not need to question the validity of laws restricting production rights. One could also make a case that piracy was only a mechanism of production used to produce another entirely different system and that the only real issue was trade mark infringement!
Add a comment...