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Hilarious but spot-on comic from The Oatmeal explains Hollywood's piracy problem: "I tried to watch 'Game of Thrones' and this is what happened"

Andy Ihnatko agreed with the main thrust of the comic, but wrote something of a rebuttal to what he calls an "unintended point" of the cartoon: "The single least-attractive attribute of many of the people who download content illegally is their smug sense of entitlement....


http://ihnatko.com/2012/02/20/heavy-hangs-the-bandwidth-that-torrents-the-crown/
Andy continues:

"Here’s the terms of use for commercial content: you have to pay for this stuff. This means either you need to wait for it to become commercially available, or if you torrent it today you need to buy it when it gets released. So long as you buy it as soon as it’s possible to do so, I can confidently reach for my “No Harm Done” rubber stamp. Some content is commercially unavailable because the publisher or distributor has no desire to ever release it. I’ll even go so far as to say that downloading it illegally is a positive thing; you’re helping to keep this creative work alive.
"If you avoid purchasing the media in some form, however…you’re just one of those people who prefer to steal things if they think they can get away with it. Simple as that. Get off your high horse."

This is an important point. If you want to have moral grounds for illegal downloading, you should a) have already paid for the content at least once (e.g. if you are an HBO subscriber, and could have time-shifted the content, but found downloading easier) or b) pay for it when it does become available.

Discuss.
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204 comments
 
Another thing to consider is trying to actually use content you have purchased. I had bought the Real Steel BluRay/DVD combo, and had to be out of town for a week, so I thought I would watch it on my Linux laptop. I have watched encrypted DVDs before, but this one wouldn't play. When you make your legitimate customers, who paid you money, unable to use that content while those who just pirate it have no problems, you have a problem. Suing potential customers isn't the solution, making it easier to use purchased content than to pirate it is.
 
I completely agree with Andy. It's wrong to download something illegally just because it's not available legally, but that's not the point.

The point is that HBO is competing with illegal downloads, whether it's morally tenable or not, so they'd better adjust their business model to make it easier to get content digitally. Give people what they want, when they want it, with minimal restrictions, and I believe they will pay for it.
 
All well and good but I'd like to see the content owners come in for some criticism, for making this more difficult and making criminals out of would-be paying customers.

I'm sure George R R Martin would love for everyone to have equal access to his work. I expect the books were available everywhere at the same time, and in one piece, not chapter by chapter. And you don't have to upgrade your shelving system to accommodate the purchase.

If the media companies wonder why they're loathed, after all this time, they're not paying attention.
 
I agree in principle, however doing that in reality may have unwanted consequences:
1. If something is only made available on physical media there's a environmental aspect to it. The energy and resources expended in making/discarding a Bluray disc is non-trivial and wasting it is bad.
2. By buying the content in the non-useful, late fashion it's made available commercially you are encouraging the behavior of content owners and taking any incentive they may have to change.

Additionally it may not be so easy to keep track of things like this, but that's just because I live in chaos.
 
Said it myself that the pitchforking of SOPA was about people wanting to make sure they could download movies for free. Check Pinterest for current attitudes regarding copyrights. They've taught their users that images just exist in the ether to grab and do whatever you want with. Sure queue the bits want to be free argument, but the freedom stops when it gets abused.
 
And if you do not live in the US, the problem is even bigger as even series you can find on all the sites mentioned in the comic you usually can not have access to outside the US. sigh
 
I don't see the point of the comic as being about moral grounds. Of course, no one has a right to this content. To me the comic is about pure economics: people WILL download it illegally if they are not given a reasonable option to download it legally.

Of course, no one has any right to the content, even if they paid for it in the past (e.g., through a subscription to HBO) or you promise to pay in the future. There's no moral grounds for downloading it. But it's going to happen, and HBO is spitting into the wind by not taking advantage of the market that's out there.
 
Piracy is a service problem. People demand a service and if legal options don't fulfill their demand, then they'll look to illegal means to serve their needs.

HBO could solve this issue quite easily. Offer a monthly subscription to view all their content online. Perhaps strike a deal so that if people get HBO through their cable then they can get HBO online, like ESPN does.
 
Another spot on example is when you're based in Europe and go to a US network web site for your favorite TV show. They show you the trailers.They tell you, you can buy the current episode.But once you click to buy: SORRY - CAN'T BUY IN YOUR COUNTRY! So, what do you do next?
 
+Doug Lance Piracy is a service problem reminds me of "Your failed business model is not my problem."
 
no problem with this.
i haven't tried to pirate online music in almost a decade: basically since it stopped being so freaking difficult to buy the music i want in the format i want.

i know there's free, illegally-distributed music that i would like out there, but i'm not interested: it's a hassle, it's messy, it's dangerous (to my computer) and it's time consuming. Oh, and it's illegal. iTunes, Amazon MP3 Store and Google Music make it easy, safe, affordable, and almost instantly available.

I think i (and the creator of The Oatmeal i guess) speak for a lot of people when I say that i would be totally happy with paying for exactly what i want. No, I'm not entitled to ownership of any media that i like. But if you (not you, specifically, but media corporations, etc) consider me a potential customer, i think I deserve the assumption that I know what I want and will not give you my money until it is available.

TL;DR: i'm not a thief. i'm not stupid. i just want media corps to realize how valuable my time is.
 
+John Tamplin makes a good point ... for someone who already has purchased the right to watch the content at home, but cannot due to broken media, copyright protections, etc., then downloading it is perfectly morally justified (and arguably legally too).

I have downloaded high-res torrents of films I purchased on Blu-Ray. I have only one Blu-Ray player (PlayStation 3), and want to watch the content in other ways.
 
Like +Bruno Albuquerque here says, outside of the US, the situation is pretty much absurd: pretty much all paid or free video services are US only, it takes incredible effort to setup VPNs and whatnot to just be able to watch something, if it's even possible then - usually not, as you'd still need a US credit card. I've pretty much given up hope of getting the Hulus and Netflixes and HBOgos of the world ever available here. There's hundreds of millions of people here in Europe, please please take our money, ok? Entertainment is global, like it or not - making people wait for years to see a show they read about online is just not realistic or smart business. Movies pretty much open the same day now here and in the US - why is it so difficult to offer the tv shows online to us at the same time too?
 
I agree in part but it's still up to the content producers to put out content. Especially if you're a corporate behemoth that everyone knows they have the content and are capable of making it available. The internet is a game changer and one change to the game is that information is practically infinitely available and big entertainment content must catch up to this reality just like everyone else.

Piracy is an important screw to tighten to put pressure on old business models. Going out and purchasing the content as soon as it is commercially available negates the entire effect of this screw and so I cannot fully agree with Andy.
 
I fully agree, and its an interesting point on tv subscriptions, as yup just about all content i stream (and yes i openly admit i do) i have either watched on my satellite subscription (which allows recording but not keeping them for long (capacity) and no allowance for transferring to other medium (no fun when you want to do a weekend of bab5 or a few big bang theorys back to back), or already own (like bab5 on vhs, but why ever would i want to go through the pain of vhs nowdays).

as most streaming sites as far as i can see do the one thing users want, allow them to catchup with a series they discover mid-season.

I do agree that content producers need income, but i think if you actually looked at the real numbers its a vanishingly small number of downloaders/streamers that do not already pay (via tv/cable/satellite etc. for the content they watch via stream)
If this was factored into the equation the 'damage' caused by downloading/streaming
 
While what Andy describes is a core part of my practice and intent, we have moved to a world where it is difficult to track the flow of media that we have or have not paid for. For instance if I have enjoyed watching the Game of Thrones series via other means, and then it is not released for another year, will I remember to purchase it? I need to make a website where people pledge/track what they have watched but not been able to pay for. It sounds lame but in this age of media overload it is a very real issue, and part of the core problem...media companies need to stop with the tiered release systems. I have not had Cable TV for years and never will again, so why can't I give HBO money directly for their great programming now instead of in a year when it shows up in iitunes?
 
+Risto Rossi I guess the problem is that, at some point in time, people would only hear about specific TV shows when they were available on their countries. This is obviously not the case anymore and distribution (and, lets face it, even using the term distribution in the sense it is used here is weird in the digital age) didn't really catch up with this new reality.

So I tend to agree that, given the option, anyone would pay a reasonable price to watch what they want and WHEN they want without having to resort to any workarounds.
 
+Doug Lance HBO already has that deal. I have HBO through Comcast and I watch HBO GO on the internet. The comic specifically states that user has all the different sites so they don't have to have Cable.
 
Sadly, the only thing publishers (Tim and a few others excepted) will take from the comics is "piracy is too easy". :-(

A common refrain on PC gaming forums is"I used to pirate games, but Steam is too convenient" with variants like "I thought I was too cheap to buy games, but Steam showed me I was simply too lazy to buy games".
 
I stopped buying CDs because they scratched up or came with a scratch. When Spotify came out though, no need to try pirating because I had easy access to my content.
 
If I may add, this guy is actually lucky, in some cases he can actually manage to do the "right" thing and get it in some of the legal sites - most of the world doesn't even have this
 
Love ALL his comics. I have 2 dissagree with u on the moral-grounds-4-downloading-stuff argument. That line has been repeated 2 death so every1 thinks it's the absolute truth, but it's like saying a street musician can have a cop pull u over and compell u 2 pay just bcuz u walked past him. The whole point of copyright is 2 REWARD artists. U have 2 have as much right 2 b an asshole as 2 b a saint.
 
Copyright exists to protect revenue. If I offer my money for something in a reasonable form, e.g. CD, DVD or download, and they don't take it, there's no revenue to protect, so copyright simply doesn't apply.
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This guy forgot about ad-block. Which isn't too surprising since he's an SEO guy who makes his money from online advertising.

"The single least-attractive attribute of many of the people who download content illegally is their smug sense of entitlement"

On the other hand, simply telling someone who wants to buy your product that you're not even willing to take their money is also kind of smug. Lets be honest. So have the statements out of the Chris Dodd. Pretty smug, all around.

Really the problem with buying media is the fact that profits go to pay for lobbyists to try to buy laws like SOPA. To be honest, I spend most of my free time reading blogs and message boards. Random youtube videos provide a huge amount of mildly amusing content, certainly better then what's on basic cable, at least.
 
Why do so many people try to ignore the people who refuse to pay for files either encumbered with DRM or that required patented software in order to be able to read the file?

I don't pay for files with DRM. I avoid paying for files that require patented software to read them. That doesn't mean I don't pay for any digital files. It's a legitimate concern, and people who don't understand those objections too quickly lump those who do have the objections into the "freeloaders" camp. Stop it already.

Also, I demand lossless music files, and right now get them from places like Beatport and JunoDownload, and (shock!) I pay for them.
 
+Per Abrahamsen, you hit the nail on the head, succinctly. we're (surprisingly, especially to ourselves) not cheap. We're just lazy. Fortunately, at the end of the day, we hold the cash - things have to swing our way eventually, just as they have with music and with video games.
 
I can't agree with Andy on this - as +William Griffey notes, the content publishers need to feel commercial pressure to develop delivery and payment models the market will use.

I view piracy as a black market - huge demand for a product where supply is artificially restricted. The odd thing about content piracy vs the actual black market is that prices for products on a black market are massively inflated (supply and demand) however pirated content is free. This is because content is not physical and has frictionless delivery; there is no marginal cost to the creator.

Sure I understand the argument that it's the content owners property and they have the right to sell their property in whatever method they like. And I understand Andy's point that consumers are childish, demanding and completely impatient with a huge sense of entitlement. Unfortunately that doesn't help fix a broken business model; only the pressure that a thriving black market can bring to bear will change occur.

And please don't just consider availability in the US - this is now a global market place with global challenges that need global solutions.
 
This is utter bullshit. Since when is anyone entitled to anything that isn't sold? Since when is it considered acceptable to steal something that isn't sold to you for any reason? Yea, HBO is using this to sell its package. So?

I like the digital speedometer that Honda has in some of its cars. They won't sell it separately, the bastards, so does that make it OK for me to steal it then?

(And yea I'm unhappy with this too, I want to watch the show, but I can wait until it's released. And so can every half-way decent person.)
 
It's an interesting point, and I've done it myself (e.g. with Disney films that are intentionally made commercially unavailable - Wall-E, Tron - by copying then now & buying them later). But ultimately, quibbling about the morality of illegal downloading is, in my opinion, pointless.

The reason for this is, it ALWAYS comes back to the fact that copyright law as it stands today is horribly broken. It's been abused and rewritten to protect corporate interests rather than content creators. People, in general, WANT to give money to artists when they enjoy their work, to ensure that their work is rewarded and encouraged. If copyright was returned to what it was when it was originally envisioned (a 25 year term, not transferable, unable to be held by any corporation) then the problem of illegal downloads would VANISH because suddenly artists would have control over how they chose to distribute their work.

As long as copyright law is busted, illegal downloading will exist, despite any moral reservations to the contrary.
 
+Michael Nachtigal Grat point. I bought an Audible audio from Amazon a few weeks back. It was a pain to setup and I never fully understood the software. Too many hoops for a few minutes of mp3. It surely was not only the first but also the last I ever bought from Audible.
 
I pre-ordered Mass Effect 3 the day I could. I bought ME1, and 2. With the exception of ME1, I felt dirty for having given money to an organization that I knew was exploiting me and extorting my money. Paying for their lobbying, software development of DRM strategies, paying them to develop DLC for the sole purpose of generating still more profit.

I am more morally corrupt for having supported the business model than I will be when I download the cracked and 'open' versions of all three games once all the releases are out. I am extremely unhappy with this. I want to support the creators, but I'm tired of being exploited.

I would wet my pants of more of this discussion took place and some real movers and shakers worked to solve this dilemma to the satisfaction of most moral netizens. I haven't seen that happening.

Love your posts, O'Reilly.
 
What's more copyright was created (in America, the original british 1 was 4 control and censorship) in order 2 encurarge artist 2 produce more culture by giving them a limited monopoly. They can demand royalties from any1 who redistributes their works 4 a profit, and any1 who displays or reinterprets it by e.g. interpreting a song. But they can't stop any1 from loaning or exchanging their work with others, including selling a work of art you already posess. What is illegal is to replicate it and sell these copies, because royalties are not paid. Now if 1 is not charging 4 these copies, how is it wrong?
 
+Alaric Teplitsky Filesharing is neither piracy nor theft. Me watching a movie that you refused to make available as an attractive package to me in no way deprives you of that movie file. You're talking about copyright infringement, which is not theft.
 
Stealing just because you want something and are unable to get it legally is still stealing. Blaming the content owners is an attempt to excuse bad behavior. How is this any different from an under-aged person stealing booze or cigarettes because they're not legally allowed to purchase them?
 
+Chris Nandor I suggest you take a look at MakeMKV if you are so inclined. I do not have a BluRay player but I do buy them because MakeMKV does a wonderful job of ripping them (and DVDs) to my media center and then I stream it in full HD (over component video!) to my television. Not only does ripping it free me of the burden of owning a BluRay player but I also am not constrained to expensive HDCP cabling and components that support HDCP in order to watch my legally-purchased content.
 
Actually theft is the act of taking something. In the case of digital information its a copy...its not theft
 
Not only that but sometimes its nice to get a good look at something before you pay for it....just a thought
 
Bad service + high prices = piracy
Good service + affordable prices = happy customers, no privacy.

It's that simple. Smart companies get it.
 
+Chris stoni I don't have much hair left but I can lend you some if you still want to split them?
 
Somewhat bemused that paying (and having to pay) for something <1 time is immoral, but >1 is totally cool. Is it possible that Hollywood is just looking for money and doesn't really care about the ethical principles involved? (Say it's not so.)

For myself, I've split the middle--I just don't watch movies anymore, for the most part. This gives me more time, and allows me to be certain that I'm not somehow taking advantage. It's win all the way around.
 
Agree with the post. "I'm entitled to it for free because they don't make it easy for me" corrupts the whole system, hardens the lines, and prevents creatives from getting paid for their work. Why then pay when it is made easy? Plenty of blame on the other side also, but "get off your high horse" nails it.
 
+Alaric Teplitsky Your questions shows an inversion in values. For thousands of years until about the 16th century or so, it was the exact opposite: you were entitled to anything cultural, provided you had the materials and time to make a copy. It was the the nascent publishing lobby that fought and uphill battle against this basic piece of common sense until they managed to get their way in making this odd concept of "cultural restriction rights" as a the new common sense. The Internet is merely making things go back to the way they always were. Or, to put it another way: libraries existed for millennia before copyright was invented, and will continue existing for millenia after it ceases existing.
 
The day that Amazon started shipping non-DRMed MP3s was the day that it trumped searching for hours via file sharing or waiting for a piece of plastic to arrive in the post. When TV/Movies finally learn that lesson I shall be waiting with my credit card.
 
So if I had your credit card info but not the card itself and I used it to buy things for myself by your logic that would not be theft because I did have the actual card. Interesting.
 
+Chris stoni Exactly! Pirats r those who get merchandise that "fell off the truck" and re-sell it at an apparently lower price (though they take ALL of the money, so their profit margin is even greater than the artists). Ppl wh share r NOT pirates!

PS Fuck the RIAA and MPAA!
 
Agreed, +Dave Pentecost. i do fear, however, that that "plenty of blame on the other side" that I think we all agree about isn't taken the same way on, well, the "other side."

Piracy is not the answer, but I think as consumers we really wish media industry after media industry would wake up and realize that it is a symptom.
 
This isn't a bad case to make, though it does perhaps lead to some unintended consequences for "abandoned" works that have gone out of print. Happens a lot, especially in gaming, and it means that the implicit assumption here that something is going to be on sale at some point may not be accurate.

There's also the international element, too. What's the ethical angle on evading regional price arbitrage? Sure, it's available, but it's taking advantage of the fact that they're internationally mobile and you aren't, and doing so to charge you far more than you might otherwise be paying. Sure, it might be justifiable to make things cost what the market can bear in poorer countries, but it's also been used to cynically exploit currency value changes in places like Canada and Australia. Is it moral for a Canadian to go buy DVDs in the United States? And if not, why not?
 
so whats the lets make it easy, the creatives register with mega upload and the whole circle jerk goes away like instead of getting jacked by the mega cunthammer. The game changer is always the delivery system it isn't the creatives who need to be cut out of the system its parasitic distribution channel .
 
+Jody Payne, possessing my credit card number and using it to deplete my funds (which are scarce) are two different issues. In fact, you could write a quick script that would generate all the credit card numbers in the world for you. Numbers aren't scarce. Information isn't scarce. Money is scarce (although you might have a hard time believing that if you live with a government like that of the USA which believes it can print money whenever it likes). See the difference?

Sharing information is exactly that, and theft doesn't apply to it. We have setup copyright laws that shoehorns an artificial scarcity onto ideas and expressions, but stealing is stealing and sharing is sharing. You might personally oppose certain kinds of sharing, but calling it stealing because you don't like it doesn't mean I have to agree with your terrible metaphor. Sharing is never stealing and neither is copying.
 
+Brion Swanson I would still need to read the Blu-ray disc on my computer. While I do have an old Blu-ray reader from a broken PS3, I don't currently have a computer that it will connect to (not that I have a Windows box for running MakeMKV, but there are other non-Windows solutions ... but they all require a Blu-ray reader, which I don't have).
 
Sorry, +Chris Nandor, you're correct. I did buy a BD drive which was actually quite cheap (from Newegg.com I believe). It works like a charm and it's a hell of a lot cheaper than a PS3 or a BluRay standalone player.
 
One point that this response kind of skips over is that, in the original comic, it's shown that it was very unclear when exactly the show would become available. If The Oatmeal had seen a specific date in Netflix, for example, then you have a clear price being paid, in the form of waiting for the release date. However, the big "Date Unknown" reads more like "until we feel like it", leaving the consumer frustrated and more likely to turn to pirating, rather than wait for it to show up at the whim of the corporation.

The companies need to be more up-front about their release schedule, which leaves those wanting to use legal options a specific price they can pay, in the form of their time. Being able to put a date in the calendar makes a huge difference, IMO
 
It's really not an illegal download, it's simply undocumented. Put a cash machine on every place where it can be downloaded from and vuala - all documented now.
How can download be illegal? You just click the button and it downloads. Is there a law that outlwas button clicking? Never heard of it.
If you left your cash out on a street is it illegal for someone to pick it up? If you don't like it don't leave it there. Put it in your pocket, safe, bank, matress, whatever. No one is taking it out of their servers. They put it out there one way of another. Are homeless people picking up leftovers in the trash breaking the law? Well, they didn't pay for it.
Anyway, if they are so concerned with squizing out every single penny, then figure out how to make it bullet proof protected instead of chasing sites and B.M.W. It is not our fault that they don't know how to make it locked.
They use every possible loophole to avoid taxes. To me that is more illegal than downloding some crap quality movie copy from the internet. They make billions and cheat the rest of us. With the margin they make they should be to paying 90% tax, so our kids can get decent education and reverse all that BS they show our kids in their movies. They chase us and we will vote agaist them. Taxes, more taxes on those superrich.
 
I'm a cord-cutter. Beyond the 15-20 channels I get OTA, I don't watch TV "live" or even DVR'd. It means I have to wait for new seasons of the few shows I enjoy (e.g. Dexter, Breaking Bad) to become available, but so what--either I'll see it when it's available or I won't. I can't justify paying $150 per month for a cable subscription plus premium package to watch what might be eight hours of television. Oh, and either pay $25 more to rent a DVR or risk missing the show I was paying for in the first place.

For the same amount of money, I could go to the movie theatre about 18 times. Or go to Gameworks with my wife every Thursday, with money left over for snacks. Or sit in the all-you-can-eat section at six D-backs games. Each month.

Doesn't $150-175 a month for cable TV seem pretty ridiculous when you think about it? I don't think I'm acting "entitled" for not wanting to pay so much money for access to watch so very few shows that interest me. I think the entertainment industry has the sense of entitlement--they expect us to pay these amounts, and get indignant when we ask for alternative business models.

If I could pay $30 per season, or $4 per episode or something, for day-one streaming access to a show, I would. I would be willing to pay $10 for an "unlocking fee" of premium content for a service I already pay for (e.g. Netflix). I would also gladly sit through gobs of commercials to watch it for free online the next day.

But I probably won't wait a year for it to become available on Netflix or Amazon or whatever, because I'm probably not going to remember it or care about it by then.

There is no real reason to limit and delay alternative forms of distribution. Sure, there are artificial reasons--a network wants 180-day exclusivity, a cable provider wants to sell 400 channels for $150 with no a-la-carte option, a distributor thinks they can build--and charge for--a better streaming service than Netflix/Amazon/Apple/Google provides. Call me entitled, if you must--but I'm not interested in helping to sustain broken business models.
 
You would think the content owners would be going crazy about the options opened up by the internet. Their per-copy cost goes from dollars to pennies, and they don't have to share their profit with distributors and retailers. Even if the Internet enables some piracy, the extra money made on lower costs and easier access to customers will more than make up for it.

I haven't bought a physical CD in years (and don't download them either), and basically just stopped bothering for a while before Amazon MP3s and Google Music came on to the scene. It makes it much easier than going to the store to buy something I am not going to even use once I rip MP3s from it, and it should be even easier still. Instead of trying to kill the golden goose, they should be looking at ways to make it so you hear a song on your radio and you press "buy it now" (or at least save for future consideration), etc.

The same should be true of movies, but it isn't. Louis C.K. should be an example for them of how you can make more money by making it easier and cheaper for customers to get, but I think the only way that will actually happen is when more content creators bypass the media companies and go straight to the customers - great to see Google Artist Hub and similar services making that possible.
 
+Michael Pate To clarify, my point is that Hollywood double- and triple-charges us for the same movie all day long, and yet they don't seem to be the least bit disturbed by this behavior. (To be explicit, if your kid ruins a DVD, to continue to play your movie, you're supposed to buy a second one, at full price. Why full price? Hollywood has already made the point that it's the data that counts, not the media. Except, of course, when there's money to be made by assuming the contrary.)
 
+Brion Swanson Yes, an external is an option, but my PS3 is broken. The logic board is dead. So the Blu-ray drive is just sitting there. :-)
 
+Ary Stocrat You're wrong. It is illegal. You may wish it weren't, but it is.

Your argument is nonsense: "Is there a law that outlwas button clicking? Never heard of it." If that button were designed to pull a trigger on a gun that would murder someone, then you're saying that wouldn't be illegal, because all you're doing is pressing a button? It's not the button press that is illegal, it is the taking of copyrighted content you don't have permission for. It's illegal.
 
"To be explicit, if your kid ruins a DVD, you continue to play your movie, you're supposed to buy a second one, at full price."

So if you bought an axe at the hardware store and broke the handle while chopping up zombies, would you expect to be able to go back to the hardware store, and have them give you another axe handle for free because you bought an axe at full-price earlier?

Sure, there's a missed market opportunity where you could buy a slightly more expensive axe, but get replacement handles for life, but if you didn't buy that axe, or it wasn't something the vendor offered, then pretty much, you're going to need to buy a new axe. The axe company isn't oppressing you or trying to prove some stupid point about the cost of axe handles, they're just making a product available that's effective at clearing zombies from your yard.
 
Also, re: smug sense of entitlement... If I torrent a show, but I feel bad about doing so, is that okay?
 
When I read Game of Thrones I got it from the library. Didn't cost me anything. Poor George Martin must be starving on the streets because I didn't pay him for the pleasure of his incredible storytelling!

If you like to feel smug about paying artificially inflated prices for DRM plagued, environmentally harmful physical copies of your entertainment (copies that force you to watch ads!) Please consider the fact that most research shows pirates spend twice as much on legitimately purchased entertainment than non-pirates.

How does that work, you ask? I get all my own books from the library our the second hand book store but I do all my Christmas shopping at Chapters. All of it. For everyone.
 
Locks only keep the honest people out. There was a small production company that made millions by putting their movie online for 5 dollars to watch. Then made it cheap and easy to download. People will pay fair prices....Companies just need to make their products available for everyone. Its called customer service...dont get mad because you get shown up by a company that understands the concept of availability.
 
+Cliff Hall False comparison. When you buy a DVD, you are buying certain use rights to the content. When you buy an axe, you're just buying an axe. If the media is destroyed, you can continue to watch the content, because you still have the rights to it. It is perfectly legal to rip a DVD or CD (breaking the copy protections is another story, but the very fact that there are copy protections does not imply you can't break them, or that if you have, that you can't use that content).
 
Chris Nandor,,
the nonsense is to compare shooting a gun with a button clicking on internet. It's a desparate comparison and just proves my point - there are no normal arguments to what I said that's why people go to the extreme comparisons.
 
+Cliff Hall If you download a movie, Hollywood won't be complaining about the penny for the DVD blank you might have bought. Their story is that it's the data that's worth the $17.99. Which is fine. Until they want to charge you $17.99 again, for the same data. At which point they start looking like hypocrites. (Anyway, as I said, this is now moot for me...)
 
I am normally quite against piracy, but in situations like this where there really isn't a means of buying the product, there's not actually a lost sale because they weren't really selling in the first place.
 
$99 for High speed internet
$15 for NNTP access
$1000 for external Hard drives

Trust me, it ain't about the money.
 
+Ary Stocrat You're completely wrong, about everything: it is illegal; and what matters is not pressing burrons, but the intent and effect of pressing the button. You don't have to like it, but those are the facts.

Further, an "extreme comparison" is perfectly valid way of proving that a premise, stated absolutely, is incorrect.
 
I will generally buy it on DVD when it (finally) comes out. My general problem is that few of the outlet sites offer their stuff in subtitles (that's on top of the problems Matt Inman listed in his strip) so I consider my own case to fall under ADA anyway (being deaf).

I also have huge issues with the DRM aspect. I should be able to watch or read (or for the rest of you, listen) to something I purchased on the device of my choosing. Just like I can open a book any time, etc.
 
One word I learnt from this is - convenience. Ty for the share.
 
nah.. you're certainly not completely right, Chris, yourself, if they made content easier to purchase fairly there wouldn't be an argument for the need for torrents
 
A lot of people ask why the customer feels entitled to this content. Well, maybe it's because it's being created for them, the customers. Without them, there is absolutely no reason to create Game of Thrones or any other movie, TV show, book, or song. If the customer says they are willing to pay for the content in any given model (broadcast, cable, on DVD, download, stream, etc) then that's where these content providers should be releasing the content!
 
I really take issue with ihnatko's claim that the smug sense of entitlement lies primarily with the customer here. If content providers want to leave money on the table and try to gin up artificial scarcity as some kind of legitimate business model when there are various distribution networks ready and willing to work with them for any kind of digital content, that's their smug sense of entitlement at work, not the customer's.

I'm perfectly willing to engage in a good faith, fair value business transaction for your content but by and large this stuff is luxury product, not necessity, and I've got absolutely no reason to wait around forever for you to decide when the time is ripe to sell your precious content. If you've got a piece of content that I'm willing to pay for but you're unwilling to distribute a copy of, even when the distribution mechanism is already provided for you, then you've declared you don't want my money so what's it to you if I were to obtain a copy by alternate means?

This isn't my smug sense of entitlement, it's my smug sense of I've-got- better-things-to-do-than-waiting-on-your-antiquated-business-model.
 
+Jake Hall Still not a reason to steal. And no matter how widely content is released there will always be those who steal and make up lame justifications for it.
 
+Karel Jack The word is "infringe", not "steal". Copyright isn't property; it's a bargain. They have to hold up their end for them to expect us to hold up our end.
 
Stealing is wrong.

Content providers have a screwed up system. They make stealing a more sane and substantially easier option because they refuse to simplify their business thereby making their product more easily available.

Stealing is wrong, but they could prevent a ton of it by not being eedjits.
 
Andy is telling us that we should be above human nature.

Let's say that I want an apple. There is a pile of apples next to me with a sign that says "free apples, pick through the bad ones". There's also a man in front of an apple tree that is surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by attack dogs two miles down the road with a sign in front that says "$10 for one bite of apple". Which should I choose?

Do I walk two miles, climb over the barb wire, avoid the attack dogs, then give the man $10 so that I can have a bite of apple, for the sole "moral" reason of the fact that he's the one that's guarding the apple tree?

Or do I root through the bad apples to find one that I can eat and wonder why that guy down the road doesn't come around with fresh apples on a cart every now and again so that I can buy one?
 
That was absolutely hilarious. Not that it justifies stealing (it's an entertainment product, not a necessity so going without it isn't the end of the world) but I can see why many people fall to it. When a producer and or marketing crew make it that hard to find a product, if at all, then they should understand that shortcuts will be made. Lesson? The big boys up top need to start making better decisions.
 
BTW apparently the second season of Game of Thrones will air soon. I caught part of a promo for it accidentally the other day.
 
+Leo Laporte +Tim O'Reilly I think a subtlety that Andy may have deliberately stepped over, is the fact is that the media was available in the illustrated case (the show is broadcast on a network). So there is little excuse for the example of "the author doesn't want the media released". It's on freeking cable (HBO, but still).

Andy missed another point: the delivery system is so convoluted and the content is packaged in such a way you must make a much larger commitment to a bunch of garbage you cannot opt out of:

I used to pay 13$ a month for cable delivery service. That gave me about 35 channels at the time. Content: not too diluted and yes, ads. I watched my shows.Today you need to spend around 100$ for the same channels. They are spread in bundles and the content is diluted in some 300 channels. I struggle to find my shows. And yes, there are ads.

Even freaking DVDs at 35$ a pop have goddarn ads. Not to metion all the legal garbage I have to watch.

And lets talk about the shows: most I wouldn't watch twice. So they are pretty much disposable to me. I would not buy it even if it was a bargain. I don't need any more clutter in my house? Do you? So what, wait for it to come out on DVD and then use the show for 117$ coasters?

For crying out loud in the 80's we would have taped the show and lent it to our friends. Not that it makes it right, but it proves we were already moving in a different direction 30 years ago and TV and the media industry is refusing to change.

"We have the media, consume what we tell you when and how we tell you or we'll lawyer you to death."

Now does that sound any more right? Don't think so. Sounds almost Orwellian, ironically.

A lot of the stuff that is out there is broadcast freely over the airwaves in HD digital content. Just because you don't want an antennae on your roof or can't get a decent reception, what, tough noogies? What in an age where I can download a printable 3d model of a coffee table I can't download a show because it may offend the great networks' exclusive rights? Gee, feels like a nicklodeon epoch all over again.So we're going to get in the argument that if I invite my friends whom don't have cable to watch the show at my place that I'm illegally distributing content too, not to mention they are criminals because they won't have paid for it? Must be a lot of criminals gathering on Superbowl Sunday.
Point was that protectionism doesn't really serve anyone in the long run. It cripples the art, limits the technology and alienates the customer. It's a fight for a balance between fair and ludicrous as it is. If you can beat them why join them?
Evolve or die. It's not like there are no means to do so (cough, Netflix, cough)

I respect your technical expertise and must acknowledge your contributions to the field, however the day you refuse to play ball and decide that you want to "share" that knowledge by a single outdated "channel" then you emperil your career. There's a balancing act that you perform in order to maintain your worth and it seems to be paying off. (Keep up the good work BTW)

We all just wish the rest of the media industries were "getting with the program" as well, pun intended.
 
+Russell Nelson Bullshit!!! That is just another example of trying to justify stealing. It's their property to distribute how they see fit. Just because an individual does not like that method it does not justify stealing.
 
She coined CuntHammer? I have heard that for years... LOL @ people who think they came up with shit
 
"Read this cartoon which basically says if stuff was available NOW for a reasonable price, people would pay gladly so as not to cheat the authors. " - Jacqueline Lichtenberg

That is the argument that Steve Jobs used to convince the music industry to sell songs for less than $1 each on iTunes in the early 2000s. It saved the industry from pirates and made lots of people rich.

* * *

Copyright laws were written to protect the original creator from competitors stealing their ideas and publishing them - to allow the creative mind to be rewarded for innovation and as a tool to punish competitors who try to steal customers.

Corporations - in recent years - have convinced Congress that copyright actually means monopoly power used to punish the customers by wringing more money out of them than is reasonable.

It is so bad that the digital millennium copyright act has removed "ownership" from digital content and outlawed lending without approval of the corporate owner.

If you buy a paper book - it is yours. You can do anything with that book you want: keep it, sell it to a used bookstore, loan it to a friend, cut it up into pieces and make art out of it, photocopy it for personal use, etc. You own it. Forever.

Digital books, upon purchase, you do not own them. You license the use of them. This means if, once you are done, you try to sell it to someone else (so that you have no copy of it and the buy gets it instead of you) - or try to print out a hard copy for your own use - you are breaking the law. Current punishment: up to $500 thousand in fines and 5 years in prison for first offense. You are a felon for trying to sell off a used book that you paid for but you no longer want.

Publishers have hated used bookstores and the secondary market for years - and now they have a way to shut them down. No secondary market for e-books.

I discovered some of my favorite authors at used book stores as a kid. Too bad there will never be an electronic equivalent for today's kids.

* * *

This license you pay for use of e-books is not necessarily in perpetuity, either. The end-user agreement at Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), and Apple (iBooks) all allow for the company to revoke access without warning and without reimbursement to you of the licensing fees.

The analogy in print world: Imagine you buy a book, take it home and put it on your shelf of your home library. The book store reserves the right to break into your house unannounced at any time 24/7 to go in and take the book off your self with no reimbursement to you.

If this happened in real life, there would be open revolt.

* * *

I know we are at the beginning of digital content distribution - but I believe we are starting off with the wrong focus.

Currently, the companies selling digital content treat the customer as the enemy. This is not good for business in the long run. Customers will get tired of the abuse and go elsewhere.

The digital equivalent of the Gutenberg press will eventually come to being. The content producers can help it along and reap the benefits - or continue to punish the customers - who will adopt bittorrent as the path of least resistance and all hell will break loose
 
Certainly in the music sphere it's why so much of my spend now goes to CC artists. They are happy for you to listen to and sample albums and when your ready to buy they make the process easy. If I ever want to introduce a friend to a given artist I can without a problem.

Granted TV and Movies cost more to make and produce but I've seen a lot of good stuff made by ProAms on shoe-string budgets using alternative funding models. Sure I'm interested in watching Season 2 of Game of Thrones. Who knows when it's finally available over this side of the pond I might get round to buying the DVDs. Until then there is plenty of interesting content that producers would like me to watch available.
 
I was impressed that PBS put "Downton Abbey" up for streaming basically as soon as the last episode aired this season, in case you missed it.
 
Ever notice how no one can haggle for a TV show's "worth"? Hey you want me to pay fair price? Where's the negotiation? You want to throw ads in there? Ok price went down... and so on
 
Piracy is not the same as copyright infringement and the U.S. Supreme Court clearly states...

Copyright infringement does NOT equate to theft

Dowling v. U.S. ( http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=3901205964610715556 )

It follows that interference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud. The Copyright Act even employs a separate term of art to define one who misappropriates a copyright: " `Anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner,' that is, anyone who trespasses into his exclusive domain by using or authorizing the use of the copyrighted work in one of the five ways set forth in the statute, `is an infringer of the copyright.' [17 U. S. C.] § 501(a)." Sony Corp., supra, at 433. There is no dispute in this case that Dowling's unauthorized inclusion on his bootleg albums of performances of copyrighted compositions constituted infringement of those copyrights. It is less clear, however, that the taking that occurs when an infringer arrogates the use of another's protected work comfortably fits the terms associated with physical removal employed by § 2314. The infringer invades a statutorily defined province guaranteed to the copyright holder alone. But he does not assume physical control over the copyright; nor does he wholly deprive its owner of its use. While one may colloquially link infringement with some general notion of wrongful 218*218 appropriation, infringement plainly implicates a more complex set of property interests than does run-of-the-mill theft, conversion, or fraud. As a result, it fits but awkwardly with the language Congress chose — "stolen, converted or taken by fraud" — to describe the sorts of goods whose interstate shipment § 2314 makes criminal.[8] "And, when interpreting a criminal statute that does not explicitly reach the conduct in question, we are reluctant to base an expansive reading on inferences drawn from subjective and variable `understandings.' " Williams v. United States, 458 U. S., at 286.
 
+David Speakman US copyright laws most definitely were not created to protect authors or their interests. The copyright section in the Constitution makes it clear that copyright is an agreement that the government can make (it is not obligated to do so) in order to try to further progress in useful arts and science by giving incentive to authors to work. The ultimate goal of copyright should be to further the interest of the general public, not to grant monopolies.

By the way, when people say "copyright protects <whatever>," that's usually not what they mean. The best protection of a work is duplication and widespread distribution. Copyright isn't about protection; it's about control.
 
+Jake Hall Most content is being created for consumers to buy. It is not created to be stolen. The idea of entitlement needs revision.
 
+Eric Souza spot on. Never meet a pirate who felt "entitled" as much as intolerant of DRM, advertising, the inability to transfer content between devices or share it with friends, and deeply skeptical of the assigned "value" of the non-physical product in question.
 
At least Barnes and Noble allows you to download your epubs separately so you can back them up even if they decide to raid your Nook (and you can turn off the wifi on the Nook, too). As for Kindle, I haven't discovered a good way to sepraately download the amz files for backup. (I'm sure it's possible, but my combo of iphone and linux computer is an unholy mix with Amazon o.O )

+Alex Bennée has it absolutely right with respect to the absurdity of the licensing. That's another reason I prefer to ultimately get DVDs of the stuff I really like. I don't trust my virtual library, kept on some cloud by a third party, won't be subject to similar raiding or future fees.
 
The real point that content providers are missing is that the content is DIGITAL, meaning that waiting a month or so for it to be released DIGITALLY is ridiculous - for shit's sake, they just streamed it to you digitally via your cable provider.

Hey, I know I just took this photo of you with my iPhone camera and here have a look at it on my screen - but oh I'm sorry you'll have to wait two months until I decide it's time for me to attach it to an email and hit send.

I don't feel entitled to the content, per se. I simply refuse to play the ludicrous waiting game while providers work to lessen the butthurt of whatever red tape they are wading through to gain access to this digital copy gathering digital dust.
 
I go through that whole process at least 3 times a week. I still don't pirate it though, I just rage for a minute that people won't let me give them money for something I want, then do something else.
 
i know the feeling.. can't get cable as we're "outside the area", and trees (70ft tall, protected by law) means no satellite signal...
 
iTunes and other similar services has shown us that people will pay for content if it is offered at a reasonable price. But when the content is not available to purchase legally other than one venue (as in the case of the comic), there will be people unwilling to use that sole venue for whatever reason. The content provider is in this way hurting themselves by sticking to old models of content delivery, models that frankly no longer work in this digital age. So some will look to other measures to obtain that content.

I'm not saying piracy is good, it clearly isn't, but I am saying that content providers like HBO (as in the comic example) need to adapt their content delivery models to match the way the world is now. Make each episode of GoT available to purchase on iTunes and other similar services the day after it airs, for example. That alone would greatly reduce piracy, as people would have options available to them to get said content without resorting to piracy.

Of course, there will always be some who steal the content, because they are cheap losers. Just like there have always been shoplifters, it is a sad truth of human nature that some folks will steal rather than buy something legally. But those folks are the minority, most of us are willing to buy the content we want, if only content providers would give us the chance to do so.

What I took from the comic is this: The old models need to die off, if the movie, television and music industries wish to survive and thrive. Adapt or die.
 
I want the ability not to buy a movie on blu-ray or dvd or through netflix, but to buy the rights to view this movie for the rest of my natural life on the device that I want, in the format I want.

If I pay $30 for a license to watch "Game of Thrones Season 1" from any source on any format (from HBO or from bittorrent), they suddenly save the cost of production, manufacturing, and shipping of the media. They also would have had $30 from someone who would not have bought HBO as an option from cable companies.
 
Absolutely agree - I've /possibly/ seen Game of Thrones, the day after each episode came out. But I've no inclination or desire to subscribe to Sky in order to get Sky Atlantic (European HBO partner) - my current cable provider not only gives me decent TV channels but also cheap and fast internet, Sky doesn't/can't - and I simply don't want to watch that much TV.

But I'll be buying the boxed set the week it comes out.
 
I'm inclined to agree. I really want to see Game of Thrones, but it's simply not on Dutch TV (despite the fact that a famous Dutch actress got a role in season 2), and we don't get HBO here. Actually, there is one Dutch cable provider that apparently offers HBO now, and it is a strong incentive to switch, but will HBO rebroadcast season one when I switch?

The same is true for many other series and films that are simply not made available in Netherland.

I really do not mind paying money for things, but they really do have to offer it for money if they want my money. As it is, the only way to see it is illegally.
 
Agree and disagree. Consumers have spoken that we want our content and we want it a certain way. The new streaming (or even the DVD) services are great and have a broad appeal. People pay for them. Speaking specifically about television shows, I agree with Andy in that no one has the right to watch Game of Thrones. It's HBO's property and if they don't want people seeing it unless they pay them in a very specific manner, then that is their business.

I disagree on several points. I think the best point of this comic is that HBO has chosen to punish those who dared to "cut the cable". It goes directly against the shifting trend. As far as other companies, they are not doing much better. Hulu plus offers TV shows as they are aired, but not nearly enough. From what I can tell, it seems like half of what is on Hulu plus in terms of current airing shows are things I could get over the air with a good antenna anyway. If you go to amazon, who has a bit more in the way of Cable TV content, it costs you somewhere around $7 per month for SD and $11 per month for HD in order to watch most shows. That is per TV show. If you keep up with multiple TV shows, you need to add in for each one. So if you keep up with 4 or 5 shows, you might as well get cable back, right? It seems like a lot, though I understand you are not getting bombarded with advertisements in this route. With a general push from content producers against streaming (they're getting better, but slowly), the fact that, with the MPAA/RIAA being what they are, content producers seem like one big monopoly to the average joe, and that TV can be a social thing (who wants to say "no I didn't see that episode as I am waiting for the DVD/Streaming release, so please don't talk about it around me"), I can see where people get irritated like this.

So while I think HBO can do whatever they want with their show, I think it is also unfair and irresponsible of them to complain about piracy and not take any responsibility. Maybe instead of "responsibility", it would be better to say that HBO should acknowledge that their chosen practice will cause some collateral damage in the form of piracy. If cable subscription fees make up for that piracy loss and then some, then it is a business decision they must have considered carefully... and I will go as far as to say, in that case, they shouldn't complain at all.

So should the consumer that pirated Game of Thrones a month or two ago be good, and make sure to buy the DVDs when they come out as Andy says? Yes. However, if money is a bit tight, and the consumer says "I've seen GoT now, and with the money I have I can get the DVDs to GoT, or I can put that money to a season pass of Walking Dead on Amazon and pay for something I want to see, delivered the way I want to have it made available to me. Hmmm?" In that case I don't think I will think less of that consumer or feel too bad for HBO if the latter option is chosen.
 
+John Fitzmaurice, +Karel Jack As many other have said, piracy is not theft.

Regardless, no, the customer has the right to demand content when and where they want it. The content providers also have the right to ignore those demands, it's just stupid of them to do so.

I'm not saying that everyone has the right to pirate content if it isn't made available, but I do think people turning to an illegal distribution chain is a natural and logical consequence of ignoring what the market wants.
 
+Cindy Brown you also won't see me buying Blu-Ray's until the DRM is comprehensibly broken. The first thing I do with a new box set when it arrives at home is rip all the episodes to our media server. Who wants to wade through all that tedious DVD navigation to get to the next episode if your having fun!
 
+Mark Hoenig Theft is someone stealing your car out of your driveway.

Piracy is someone making an exact duplicate of your car while leaving yours untouched.

Both can be, and I would argue are, illegal and at least slightly immoral but they are not the same thing.

When you steal you are directly taking money out of the pocket of a business. When you steal a DVD or a CD or even a car that item has to be replaced, at a cost.

When you pirate a work, you aren't taking anything away from a business. In an unknown fraction of cases, this leads to a lost sale. The important distinction is that the business loses no money, they just stand to make less.
 
+Mark Hoenig I don't think I've ever seen a response use so many fallacies at once: Ad hominem, circularity, and inaccurate metaphors?! I applaud you.
 
i think majority of the people in this discussion are americans. non americans cannot even fathom getting popular media legitimately. i have paid for nondrm music, i pay more than average for humble bundle games. perhaps with the exception of a few sitcoms like #conan (bless him) it is not possible for me to see the same serials as americans in the same timeframe. i do not pirate media or software, and thats one of the reasons why i use linux and foss; unfortunately there are limited alternatives for entertainment. i just feel let down for trying to be honest.
 
Chris Nador,
man, you sound more and more desperate. I see you screaming, but in your psychotic rage you missed the sarcasm in the post comparing illegal downloading with illegal immigration. I played you well.
Too bad you got hung up on the button there when there are several other major points.
Sure some people use extremes for the argument it’s just normal people ignore those arguments as being stupid. That’s all. Just as an FYI. I doubt that people enjoy conversations with you. You are too hyper.
 
+Mark Hoenig if you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples, we both have one apple. If I have an idea and you have an idea and we exchange ideas, we both have two ideas. You can't "steal" a story.
 
This perfectly describes what actually happens when people go to get this series. No Joke. HBO, whats up? Make it easier to subscribe to your streaming service! You would have my money right now! DERP :p
 
EXACTLY ... if they really want to stamp out piracy, let people legitimately buy stuff they want at a fair price without holding this crap over their heads like "available soon" for months for absolutely no reason. Now, what was that torrent link again?
 
+Jake Hall the industry had not demonstrated that they are losing ANY sales due to piracy. As I said earlier, pirates spend twice as much on legitimate entertainment as non-pirates.
 
The exact complaint shifts over time but the underlying reason for the complaints remain the same: I want to watch what I want when I want to.

I've been complaining about this for about 5 years (since I dropped cable tv) within the digital realm. I actually only canceled cable tv after going through 2 DVRs rented from the cable company that were losing my recorded shows even when it wasn't out of hard drive space. The cable company didn't know how to do basic hardware maintenance on them and I was tempted to void their warranty to fix the devices but instead canceled my cable and beta'd hulu and signed up for netflix for the DVDs.

Now I complain when something available on DVD isn't available for streaming. This is how the exact complaint just slowly changes over time.

Trying to force me into a schedule isn't a good thing either - I'm noticing some show will only be on hulu for a very brief time because some network wants to create urgency in watching it.

Before that, I was complaining about it back in 1996 when I was a teenager and the only way I could get a copy of a particular movie I liked was to rent it on VHS and set up two VCRs so I could make a copy (I had researched in the internet and it was an "out of print" movie that has since come back and I owned a DVD copy for awhile that I had purchased but later sold. I think it's available on Netflix instant anyway now.)
 
I like pirates. Ninjas are better though.
 
+Kerri Brown Splitting hairs here. I'm in your camp, pirates are the biggest consumers of media and at worst "lost sales" are actually "shifted sales." The music industry being the best example - as CD sales plummeted there was an equal rise in concert ticket sales.
 
Tail is wagging dog here. Of course the media corps know what the problem is, and how to solve it. The whole piracy 'cause' is just used to sponsor and sign laws that allow your government agencies to snoop on you and control the internet. That is the purpose all along, and if this excuse doesn't work they will find new terrorists to blame.
 
Isn't that like robbing a store, because you don't want to wait for it to open?
 
If the store opens in 6-? months...
 
Well since Lebanon is the online wasteland for businesses(no paypal), I think it's better for the show/movie/book is pirated. I do buy books since most online bookstores do accept Lebanese credit cards but as shown in the comic, it's almost impossible to access other forms of media otherwise.

Now piracy does help build an awareness of the show, and even if people don't buy your stuff when it does get released, there's really no harm done since they wouldn't have bought your media anyway since, well, they would have never heard of it.

I was extremely surprised when I purchased a game programming book from +O'Reilly and they offered it DRM free, and kudos for that. It makes our life easier, and it doesn't really affect piracy much.
 
I used torrent to download GOT and loved it so much I preordered it on Blu-Ray. So...there's that.
 
+Per Abrahamsen Another common refrain is: "I used to pirate games, but then I took an arrow in the knee."

FUS RO DAH!!!
 
The problem with torrents is that, even if you can legally justify downloading it (which you can't always do), what's really going to get you is UPLOADING it, which you are usually doing- to multiple people- every time you download. A legal way to stream or download directly is the best solution.
 
In the digital age, I don't see how digital media can be released in one part of the world where someone who has all the same capabilities (internet, software) is denied it due to their geographical position. The internet doesn't have the physical borders which is why acts like SOPA could cause havoc when one country can police something that essentially international.

The people holding back of material that can otherwise be published are one of the main causes of piracy, if a release isn't that insular it not only serves the customer base while minimising piracy but also gathers a lot of revenue for the people running the business due to the expanded amount of consumers.
 
+Jake Hall Yeah, I'm not arguing with you - I know we're on the same side - I just saw an opportunity to beat on my favourite drum in this debate and jumped on it. :D It is an increasingly well-evidenced fact that file sharers spend more (over twice as much) on conventional entertainment than those who never share files. I think that fact should always feature prominently in this discussion. People are getting way too comfortable calling us cheapskates and thieves when in fact we are the entertainment industry's bread and butter. The industry alienates, demonizes and persecutes us at their peril.
 
Andy makes a good point. They do push consumers to pirate, but are we using that fact as a cop out excuse for pirating excessively. The comic talks about things not being released fast enough on the mediums we want, but another big excuse is that legally acquired goods have DRM and thus people pirate so they can view this media as they choose. But is that just an excuse too? Would people put their money where their mouth is? Would you limit yourself to downloading only things that you already purchased but are limited in their current form? I've never really thought about that part of it. Very good point!
 
+Kevin McDowell It's more like crossing the street to the store where all the stuff in the closed store is being given away for free 24/7.
 
+Melissa Bryan I don't need an excuse because I don't believe anything I am doing is ethically wrong. Before I decide I need an "excuse" for piracy I will need to see a compelling, rational, coherent, evidence-based argument as to why file sharing is morally wrong. So far nobody has come up with one.
 
Crowdfunding to eliminate the piracy problem and have creators remunerated. If all content was financed through sites like kickstarter, and then released as creative commons on youtube, then creators get paid, consumers are happy and get exactly what they pay for, and also a huge benefit is that creators can freely build on the work of others.
 
What I most loved was seeing a notice on a Sony (I think) DVD about how easy it is now to copy the content to watch on your computer or smartphone, followed immediately by the legal page warning you that copying is a federal offense, and if you do it the FBI will come after you.
 
+Kerri Brown, just because you don't know the meaning of ignorance doesn't mean there isn't one.
 
It's how the rest of the world watched the Game of Thrones
 
I think there are two points that Andy is missing. First of, it is really unlikely people will ever pay later for something that they already gotten for free. It wouldn't even remember the way I watched Game of Thrones if it wasn't for the whole discussion that is now on our hands. How are they going to get me to pay for it, if they even don't offer it in any way I consider watchable (No, no iTunes, no Netflix etc.)? Second: I don't think the "wait until it is available in the version you want it"-argument holds. There is advertisement, teasers and all the other brainwashing goodness. And it works. I want that series now and I know a way to get it, so I will. They create demand, fail to satisfy it and really wonder why there is a "black-market"? I don't feel I'm entitled to anything, there is just a simple market reality that the publishers can't cope with.
 
HBO does not release nor GoT nor Dexter in Russia, does not translate it and provides no legal way to buy it. Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!

Want more money? Improve your distribution channels.
 
Yes, that sense of entitlement that some people have when they pirate things is worthy of criticism but also, not all the content that people pirate is worthy of a purchase (I wouldn't pay for crap like Arthur)
I live outside USA and movies that I love took quite some time to reach theaters here, like Kick-ass. I downloaded it to be able to watch it, watched it in the theater when it was out and now I have the bluray version. Other movies like Scott Pilgrim vs The world never made it here. Same story with that one.
The theaters don't release many of the slow dramas that win oscars so they can release them after the awards with the taglines of how many oscars they won.
It sucks! I pay a lot to the industry for the content I want and still, it's a pain in the ass to get it, much of the time. It feels really outdated in this internet age.
I can only talk about myself, though I'm not alone in this. There are truly a lot of smug jackasses out there who won't pay for anything if they can help it.
 
+Phillip Petty Ad hominem is not a "rational, coherent, evidence-based argument" as to why sharing files is wrong. Thanks for trying though. :)
 
Actually this ties in perfectly with what Gabe Newel (from Valve) says about Piracy all along. It's not a pricing issue; it's a service issue.

The pirated version: fast download, no hassle, no ads, etc.
 
You don't always have to wait for things to get commercially released, sometimes they get leaked early. The main reason people torrent is because they have more important things to spend their money on. what's the point of spending $60 on something if you're only going to use a couple times and get rid of? I know that companies want their money but, the way I see it is that they don't give two damns about their customers. they just want to see their money, and will add whatever features to whatever they're trying to sell to make it sell. if you take a look at Game Stop, and what they do. Then you'll realize that they're doing a form of piracy too. The companies that put out games don't see a penny from their products being sold at Game Stop. Jusrt like used books, have you ever heard of someone fighting against an author because their friend sold it to them? Plus if you're going to get on pirates asses you should think again and take a good look at reality, their is no way piracy will ever be shut down. especially when different countries don't have laws against piracy. It all depends on the person and their morals, But from a large wealthy company, I think It's fine. The people who put out games are making more than they can live off of, why is it so bad to have free stuff, especially when no ones getting hurt?
 
Bottom line: I watched Sherlock Season 2 and the season was complete before I even realized it was not available here in the US.
Not available here? What? Seriously?
 
If you live outside of the states its even worse, forget netflix or anything like that. You simple just cant get it. Most iTunes movies are for buy not rent( at least the interesting ones) . The other video rentals are a joke with movie titles you never heard of. The sad truth is that, torrent is much easier to get than the legit versions for ordinary people, best quality, no ads,plays on any device e.t.c
 
+Clark Stacer - I like pirates. Ninjas are better though
This is awesome! I propose we ALL substitute "Ninja" for "Pirate" and promote this meme.
"I Ninja TV shows but not movies. That makes me a Ninja." :D
 
I only download things I've purchased. That doesn't say much though, because I no longer watch movies or TV shows, and tend to only purchase music directly from the artists. I've decided I'd rather be making stuff than consuming mass media. I hope that this choice is one that more and more people are making, and suspect that the big content companies dread this movement far more than piracy.
 
Steams overwhelming success has shown that people will pay money to companies who appreciate their customers. I've been supporting more music then ever since discovering bandcamp which has quick payments, occasionally pay what you want, great streaming, and FLAC.... I will continue to pirate from bad businesses and support the true artists.
 
The day all content, such as Game of Thrones (which I am a fan) becomes IP distributed, without a subscription to HBO, is the day HBO earns more than $20 a month out of my wallet.
 
technology is advancing so fast, it is hard for content creators and distributors to catch up. specially when they don't even try to.
 
Ok, so according to the comic, the season was already over and out on disc. He was at Amazon.com with credit card in hand. Why didn't he just order the discs!? With Amazon Prime he could've had them the next day for an extra $4! The longest he would've had to wait was two days if he went for the free Amazon Prime 2 day delivery.
 
+Paul Christopher According to the comic, they aren't on Amazon to stream or on DVD... In fact, this is true, they will not be released until March 6th.
 
+Paul Christopher who orders physical DVDs? That's crazy talk. I don't even want it on my hard drive. I just want to watch it.
 
+Paul Christopher Game of thrones doesn't come out till March 6, 2012. Amazon prime shipping is fast, but it can't time travel to the past. BTW it is $35 right now for the blu-ray version.
 
The downloading I most often see is of TV programs shown in one country to millions of people that may not be shown in another country for days / weeks / months / years.....and maybe never. The viewer doesn't know which may apply.

Or perhaps the programme was shown years ago and is now only available via download (old BBC docos, cancelled TV shows....and so on.)

In past decades, these people would have had a friend or relative videotape the program and physically send the tape. I did this through the 1980s and 1990s....both sending and receiving. We used to gather in the an IBM Theatrette and play video tapes of programmes on the BIG screen via an overhead projector for local fans of a TV series not available here. It has been going on since recording became possible. All the Internet did was make it easier.

Trying to prevent downloading is analogous to trying to prevent people tapiing programmes and sharing them. That didn't work....

Now people are returning to online streaming and sneaker Nets. One person risks the download...and then physically moves the file around off-net via USB thumb drives between LANs.

You can make sharing culture more inconvenient....but you can't stop it. I can see people returning to analog modems as gateways for sharing content. You only need to import one copy and person-to-person distribution handles the rest.

The answer is to make it available everywhere at he same (reasonable) price. Do that and the problem of illegal access to content becomes MUCH more clearly defined.
 
The fact of the matter is people are missing the forest for the trees. The RIAA, MPAA and all the rest, their BASIC business model is completely obsolete. 50 years ago, how did you release a song? You had to go to a recording studio, and then have them handle the marketing, sales and distribution. Now how do you release a song? You buy a laptop. Same is largely true for the MPAA, or getting there, look at YouTube. They are completely unnecessary anymore. Not that there wouldn’t be a niche for them, but they can’t have that, they need to make all the money.
This is why they are moving from producing content in an affordable and easily distributable model, to trying to completely control what you are allowed to watch. Their goal is to force you to pay them a royalty to watch your own home videos. Eventually, they will have standard viewing and listening equipment so locked down, you will have to license your headphones before plugging them into a friends device to listen to his MP3s.
 
+James Bohan not only that, but most of the technology we buy that has the capability of copying content already includes a surcharge that is handed over to the entertainment industry (excluding indies, as usual) to compensate them for their imaginary "lost sales". As far as I'm concerned, that should be the end of it. But they don't want to be paid just once - they want to be paid over and over and over again. Enough already!
 
+Leo Laporte I have an issue with Andy, it is copyright infringement, not stealing. He should look up what 'to steal things' means in the dictionary. Stop the fear mongering, and the spread of ignorance I say!
 
next point: read the post and it stated that Game of Thrones will be released on March 6th and we just can't wait. Who wants to bet the date will be pushed back for some reason.
 
We should not really be talking about piracy and whether it is good or bad. We should take a step back and see what the game is really all about for most of the media corporations - it is not about fairness or justice but about control and squeezing, in an unprecedented way, as much as possible from the consumer using a combination of technology and law: http://limesinferior.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-to-achieve-anything-you-want.html
 
+Ary Stocrat man, you sound more and more desperate

It's bizarre that you think stating facts makes me sound "desperate."

I see you screaming

It's bizarre that you think stating facts is "screaming."

I played you well.

It's bizarre that you think me proving you are wrong is you "playing" me.
 
The foxes are clearly circling the henhouse. Whoever figures this one out stands to make a metric fuck-ton of money.
 
+George Cohn Big media has figured it out -- buy Congress and get the legislation you want. They won't stop until they get it so we have to keep fighting SOPA-like legislation.
 
This is really spot on for what I ran into, though I did end up with the HBO Go solution.
 
Consider one more point - that you wouldn't have paid for it even if downloads were not available...
 
Is the issue really about the future of work? Are we seeing the early days of how workers protect and transfer their intellectual property rights rather than leaving them to the busines where they happen to be working? If that is the case, then we need to have something like ACTA, or PIPA, or SOPA so that workers can be paid. Yes, they may be flawed and these versions may benefit the monopolies within Hollywood and Silicon Valley, but they represent a crude first attempt to resolve the fundamental problem: how to reward intellectual property rights.

I explore these points in more detail at this post. I would welcome your comments.
http://postdesk.com/blog/acta-sopa-pipa-support-defence
 
+John Tamplin I agree wholeheartedly, and I think the measures will get increasingly more draconian, which will cause even more resistance and workarounds.
 
+Lawrence Serewicz law that sounds like a non-problem to me. We already go out of our way to reward creators in a huge number of ways for their work. We also go out if our way to avoid rewarding lawyers, investors, fat cat executives and lobbyists for the work of the artists we love.
 
I disagree with Andy.
As I see it, once you've promoted your product and broadcast it, there are no more rules.
If the entertainment industry is not happy with the current state of affairs, they only have themselves to blame. Through marketing and what not, they take their works and push them in our face, creating a desire, a need for their products that previously did not exist. If their "products" prove to be popular, well, is this a situation where we should be blaming anybody? If your product is being downloaded by tons of people, that's a win. Now it's the content industry's responsibility to monetize the product, not the taxpayers.
And that's what wrong with ACTA, PIPA, SOPA, and so on. Everybody (well, the ones that pay taxes) is paying to create and enforce laws to support a very profitable, and very lazy, industry. If the $40 asking price for a TV series is not generating enough sales, they could lower the price. Instead, they choose to lower the hammer, and pay politicians to criminalize their fans.
HEY, LISTEN UP, BIG CONTENT. You've created a voracious audience. When we consume as much media as we do, expecting us to pay for everything is insane. I pay two different ISPs, one hardwired, the other is my wireless phone with data. I pay for Netflix, but not YouTube, Crackle, or TED Talks. I buy Blu-Rays, but only if I really, really like the show (I think I paid about $140 for the BSG Blu-Ray box set). I buy books from Amazon, but also use the library. And I may, on occasion, borrow from a friend.
My point is: once books, movies, music and so on, are released in the open, assume they will be shared. That's what humans do. Instead of denying the reality of our current technological state, acknowledge what is going on. If you want to move some product, make it value proposition. It has to be accessible, and at a price point where people will flock to the product. It has been proven over and over that consumers will pay for content, if it's worth it. Here's a good example
http://www.techdirt.com/blog/casestudies/articles/20111214/00162117076/louis-cks-experiment-brings-110k-sales-550k-gross-over-200k-net-four-days.shtml
Crying, screaming, and generally wasting everybody's time with lies about how badly your industry is suffering is not generating any sympathy. Time to grow up.
 
To address the debate (Way up there) about how the movie industry wants your DVD to be considered "Licensed" when you buy it, but "owned" when you break it.
This is the crux of it, isn't it? They take great pains to say that when you buy a movie on DVD you do not own it. You are only licensing it and are only allowed to use it under that license. But, if you damage it, or need it in a different format they are quick to point out that you owned it, you broke it, you must replace it. Which is it?
In the software world if your DVD breaks you can usually re-download or pay a small fee for a replacement DVD. That's because you bought a "License". WTF is wrong with the media industry that they think they can have it both ways.

What it all comes down to is that all of the issues discussed here add up to a complete disgust of the media industry. They are screwing the world every chance they get. That's why the moral argument falls on deaf ears. Call me a thief and I'll point out how the media industry has screwed me from day one. Who is really the thief? The guy who watches Game of Thrones without paying $120 a month for a cable subscription, and $30 a month more for constant repeats of movies on HBO?

All of that being said, I must say that this conversation is very enlightening. Sit back and read a couple dozen posts and try to see where people are coming from. People are fed up and so have created a way to get what they want quite easily. Now the media industry has to compete with this monster called "file sharing" that they, themselves helped to build.
Frankly, I have no sympathy for them, whatsoever.

PS: Someone PLEASE archive this thread!
 
Some of the comments in this thread are exactly why the media companies feel they need SOPA and Congress is inclined to give it to them, and it gives credence to those saying that anybody who opposes SOPA is just a pirate.

Really, because they market it to you, you are entitled to steal it? Since car companies market their cars to you, I suppose it is ok to just go pick one off the lot and not pay for it?

The media companies have screwed me from the beginning so I am entitled to steal from them? How about just not do business with them if you don't like the way they do business (BTW, check out the +Black March boycott). If they are providing some content you want, then either pony up for it and put up with the horrible practices or don't get it at all.
 
I think people need to revolt against media companies and downloading content is one way to do so.

Just look at the immoral and anti-democratic lobbying over decades lead to. The copyright laws are not reasonable any more in terms of their length etc. They are now mainly to support insane profits.

Here is a great article about this:
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/02/acta-is-part-of-a-multi-decade-worldwide-copyright-campaign.ars

"US has increasingly engaged in forum-shopping, bypassing WIPO and pushing for stronger copyright protection in a wide variety of other venues. For example, the United States has negotiated a series of bilateral trade agreements with nations such as South Korea, Australia, and Chile. While they're branded as free-trade deals, they also require the other country to adopt the more punitive copyright regime favored by the United States.

The negotiations over the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement were part of this trend. In contrast to the relatively open WIPO process, ACTA was negotiated in secret by a relatively small number of mostly wealthy countries. The developing nations who would be the most likely to object weren't invited to participate. The plan was to present the finished treaty to the world on a "take it or leave it" basis"

And it terms of the idea of "you don't have the right to watch the content when it is not available in your country" I say stop campaigning heavily your content everywhere to me.

cheers
 
The comic touches on an important issue. Old media profits more from control than actual sales, which seems counterintuitive but not really. HBOS profits through subscriptions but their series only last a couple months or so. They can't have people pay for 2 month then leave for a cheaper download service. They want you to keep paying for on demand, etc. Until HBO thinks they will make more streaming, they won't.

The same is true in all areas. Hulu, doesn't work outside us, but many use it for their show clips. And many other content providers are trying to set up their own pay sites or netflix. And modern competition seems TP say that instead of fair prices, they will all strike exclusive deals further splitting consumers and driving people to just download.
 
Yep, DRM only stops customers, not pirates. It's completely stupid.
 
My take - as a Norwegian and thus barred from a lot of distribution channels - is: If you (entertainment company) do not want to take my money then do not complain that I am not giving it to you. I started reading some e-book series I bought from a company that Barnes & Noble bought, after that they refused to sell me any more books in that series. Why is market segmentation like that legal in the entertainment industries?

Anyway, I love giving money to the creators for their works, it's the intermediary industry companies for whom the works turn into "assets" that I loathe. Especially when they act in ways that e.g. cause Elvis Costello and Motörhead to publicly warn their fans against buying expensive box sets as they are just money grabs from the companies in question, not benefiting the artists much.
 
+John Tamplin To understand, and ultimately resolve these issues, we have to move past the big lie; that someone, or something, can own content. That's a biggie. Yup, a big fat lie. Here's a little read on the subject, may help to pry open some closed minds:
http://harpers.org/archive/2007/02/0081387
Basically, we are all influenced by content, and we all create content. George R. R. Martin did not invent the English language, he simply borrowed on it, and our experiences, to craft a compelling story. That's right. He used our experiences, our words, our songs, our architecture, our movements, our passion, our EVERYTHING.....to become the person he is, and write the way he does. I doubt he's made a point of compensating everyone for the content he used, as that would be quite impossible. After all, he borrowed from life, which is huge.

So why do we have laws against consuming content. The easiest way to understand this would be to find a greedy, lazy, egotistical ass, and look into their soul. That's where you'll find the truth.
But if you'd rather read, I've taken the time to put forward a theory, bits of which I've culled from this thread.
Once opportunists discovered that an experience can be stamped onto a physical medium, they realized that it could be traded for gold. That's gold, Jerry! Gold! Realizing their fortunes were capable of scaling to dizzying heights, they took measures to protect this income. They surrounded themselves with the right people, and had laws fashioned that protected this new "industry". Time passed, and most everybody just accepted these laws as truth.
Now, the physical medium is evaporating, so content "owners" are pushing for more laws, more enforcement to protect their revenue stream. As people start taking pause to observe the machinations of Big Business, they're beginning to question all of these laws, and what their true purposes are. Content owners are getting nervous; given their high expectations, huge egos and enormous appetites, do not expect them to back down.

I could go on and on, but I'll leave you with this. There is a very popular photographer on Google+ who has a realistic and common sense approach to content ownership. He's embraced the Internet, it's users, and he's making money. Take that, ACTA.
https://plus.google.com/105237212888595777019/posts/Da1wjfvrLxq
 
I so wanted to plus1 this comic... and dang they didnt have a plus 1... so i plussed this post 1 instead and ofcourse the comment
 
cøme &$¡t w!th me at Dªrk N!ght.
 
+Alex Bennée I don't know what "comprehensively broken" means to you, but if you have a BD drive and MakeMKV (costs $50 but it works) then you can rip any BD you have. I stayed away from BDs myself for that reason but once I got a BD in a combo pack for the price of a normal DVD I figured I'd get a BD drive and see if I could rip it and sure enough MakeMKV rips both DVDs and BDs without much of any hassle. In fact I can't even watch BDs on my TV without ripping them because it doesn't have an HDMI input and I don't have a BD player of any sort (besides the drive on my computer elsewhere in the house).
 
Give me a service that offers 1080p streaming of all films/TV ever made (not just US) & all music ever recorded & I'd probably pay £50-100 a month quite happily, just so I don't have the hassle of maintaining a collection myself.

Until you do that, you're not competing on a level playing field, so how can you expect to win?

The only other answer is the death of big media & the rise of YouTube..

A wise man once said: The Internet may be the Death of the Music Industry, but it'll never be the death of Music.
 
In the hundreds of comments, few have remembered to mention the most important point. Game of Thrones is a modern daring ambitious work of art. We should all commend and celebrate HBO for producing it. In an era a wash with "The Real Housewives of Where ever", and "Cat Playing Piano", HBO towers above the others. This discussion isn't about "megabytes, and networks, and DRM, and money". It's about how we encourage others to pursue HBO's path.

I've watched season 1 of Games of Thrones from the opening of the wall gate to the awakening of Daenerys at least six times. More is at stake than just entertainment.
 
+Donald Lee, that is an excellent point. I'd like to definitively know if there is a link between HBO's (or Showtime's) ability to create and maintain such works of art and their notions regarding distribution.
 
I have a lot of sympathy for the protagonist of this cartoon (as I guess we're supposed to), but I can't help but remember a time before the internets (yes kids, back when we all rode dinosaurs to school 10 miles in the snow uphill both ways) when everything wasn't available instantly to everyone.
I can't help but think we're all a little spoiled...
 
+Dainis Kaulenas, that's true, but that was more of a question of the technology not existing. When the technology not only exists to provide what we are looking for but is also being used to actively keep us from what we want...that's when it gets annoying.
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