The Piracy Parade

Yo Ho Yo Ho, a Pirate’s Life For Me!

Online “piracy” is very commonplace and I’ll be the first one to admit that I do it all the time.  Yes, that’s right, I download lots of stuff off the Internet to watch and I have no problem admitting it.  Why?  Because virtually everything I download are things that are offered free-of-charge on broadcast TV or cable anyhow, or are simply not available for purchase in the country in which I reside.  In other words, it’s either already free, or I couldn’t buy it if I wanted to.

And if the RIAA and similar organizations don’t like that, they can shove it up their ass.

Granted, I don’t download things like theatrical movies.  Oh sure, I did at one time, but today, DVDs come out so soon after theatrical release, I’m happy to wait and purchase the DVD or Bluray legally.  I have thousands upon thousands of commercial DVDs and Blurays, including tons of TV series box sets.  I spend thousands every year on DVDs and that’s not an exaggeration.  I’m a patient person, I don’t mind waiting a month or two to see it.

On the other hand, I do download a ton of Japanese-language, usually fan-subtitled shows as well.  It’s not like I can run down to Best Buy and buy them, no matter how much I might want to.  Very  few of them ever make it to American shores and of those that do, I’ll be honest, most are either very badly done or only released dubbed.  I don’t do dubbed.  In fact, just keep your stupid dub off my DVDs please.  That said, I’m going to keep downloading those, like it or not.

One of the arguments I find the most absurd by the strident anti-piracy people is the “they have a right to control who gets what!”  Yeah, blow it out your ass.  For virtually all of the shows I’m talking about, they were offered free-for-all on television anyhow.  Once you put it out there for anyone to see, you’ve lost your control.

Yeah, but some people say “you owe it to the owners to see the commercials and therefore, pay them for their product”.  Nope, sorry, nowhere will you find a legal contract that I signed with these property owners promising them I’d sit through commercials or buy the products of  advertisers.  They might want me to, I have no legal or moral obligation to actually do so.

Or those who say “you watched it, you have to go out and buy the DVD box set!”  Well, no I don’t.  If it was a good show, if it’s something I’ll likely watch again, then sure, I’ll do that.  My wife and I keep up on Bones, Burn Notice, Castle, Fringe, The Mentalist, Psych, Walking Dead and probably a couple others I’m missing.  I buy older series all the time.  Just got the first season of Six Million Dollar Man for my birthday and yesterday, I picked up the complete series of Birds of Prey.  I have tons of shows, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Stargate: SG-1 complete on DVD.  The next person who tells me I’m not supporting the industry can go straight to hell.

I’m really sick and tired of people who bitch and whine like the industry has earned a lot of support.  From companies that put out bad,  bare-bones releases, then re-release the same material with a lot of extras a couple of months later, hoping people will buy their movie over again, to just putting out awful shows that nobody wants to watch in the first place, they don’t automatically get my support, they have to earn it and frankly, Hollywood isn’t doing a lot to earn my support lately.  I don’t owe Hollywood anything.  I don’t owe them commercial revenue, I don’t owe them box sales, I don’t owe them multiple purchases, I owe them nothing unless they earn my consumer dollar.

Until they improve, I will continue proudly pirating whatever I wish and will brook no whining about it.

17 thoughts on “The Piracy Parade

  1. The kind of piracy you're talking about is a big percentage of the piracy that goes on, and it is the same kind of piracy that mostly helps the industry in the long run, by helping spread shows around the world and build audiences. Many people will eventually buy DVDs of movies and series that they find by pirating, or go see new franchise movies that get made, or buy other licensed products…none of that would happen if they never got to see some for free.

    1. I think that in terms of lost sales, some people in the music industry lost a lot more than other media. A lot of possible sales of singles and single albums didn't happen because many people are content with a stripped down burned copy, and there is less accessory artwork and extras involved to begin with. It was already happening on a smaller scale for decades with concert bootlegs and copied tapes and burned discs- it had been happening since the advent of cheap recording technology.

      1. The internet made it a lot easier for many people to share super-cheap higher-quality copies, and some big-selling artists and their labels saw their anticipated future income go down. Even so, many new artists are now able to come along and get a lot bigger an audience than they ever would have before, just as concert bootlegs helped the popularity and longevity of bands that did great live shows. Anyone in the world who can get access to even semi-pro equipment can make a little money and get a potentially huge audience because of the same technology that is changing the old business models, whereas before they would have been limited to their local areas or competing against well-resourced power-players in an incredibly rough and tightly controlled market.

        1. I think the whole trend of cheaper recording and processing equipment in both audio and video combined with widespread internet access has helped increase access to the market, increase choices for consumers, and let a lot of very talented, creative people get involved in ways that can be profitable to them without having to sell their "souls" to companies that don't have any of their artistic interests at heart just to get a tiny chance at making a living. I think it is opening the market to new perspectives and possibilities. People who play niche or alternative music, or who want to make indy films, or who don't "look like" rock stars or movie stars, or from countries with less entertainment infrastructure, or who simply want greater control of their artistic direction, now have options that never existed before. A lot of people who were making huge sums of money off other people's time and talent and playing gatekeeper of the market don't like this, but that's just too damn bad, IMHO. PROGRESS!

          1. Serious apologies for going on so long- the intersection of cheaper tech and arts/entertainment/indy art is a facinating subject to me. I freaking love what the internet has accomplished and hope to do a little creating myself when I get the time.

          2. The people who are really bitching about things aren't usually the artists, although you get a couple of RIAA sellouts like Metallica. The ones who really whine are the studios because, as the Internet gets bigger, as bandwidth becomes faster and more accessible, the artists just don't need the distribution channels that the studios offered. The studios may very well become extinct in the next decade or so, I view that as a good thing.

      2. Now I don't give a damn about music, I almost never listen to it and therefore, don't bother downloading it, but I think what hurt the music industry more than anything is the fact that, on most albums (the term dates me, I know), most musicians put out 1-2 good songs people liked and the rest, decent or forgettable songs. Most of it just wasn't that good. Today, instead of having to pay a lot of money for 1-2 worthwhile songs, people can buy just the songs they want off iTunes or whatever, something that was fought for a long time by the music industry because they knew it would hurt album sales. Why buy songs you don't want if you can just get the ones you do much cheaper? The solution to this is easy, but not something the music industry wants to do. Just produce better music. Make every song something people want to own. Then you'll get more people buying entire albums instead of the few decent songs. And for those people who just download it for free? They weren't going to buy your CD anyhow, there was no money in them to begin with, there is no "lost revenue" to complain about.

        1. No offense, but I can tell from your comment how little you like music without you needing to say so directly. It happens a lot more often than studio execs would like to admit, that an artist's core fans will love (and buy) a lot of songs that won't necessarily make profitable radio fodder. Look at the huge variety of different kinds of even just crappy pop music that can be found online….tastes vary widely, at least as widely as anything in the movie or television worlds. I'm all for letting artists do what they want, and running it all up the flag pole to see how many people like it….and that is precisely what the internet has started to allow, that studios couldn't achieve.

          1. You do have a point when it comes to the higher levels of big studio music, of course…most of it IS complete crap, and they DO try to sell you 8 crap songs for every hit….but that only really applies to the top few percent, the mega-stars eating up all the resources and becoming horribly over-produced in the process. When a committed artist makes a dedicated effort, their organic fanbase will generally like a much higher percentage of their work….but those aren't the ones selling 30 million albums worldwide. I see bypassing the studios as a definite bonus for fans and artists.

          2. To be honest, I think it applies to all music everywhere. Indie artists aren't any better than big label artists. In fact, indy artists who just release electronically online or via iTunes or Amazon or whatever ought to do quite well for themselves because they make 100% of the profits instead of a few dollars here and there with the lion's share being absorbed by the multimedia conglomerate. But like I said, I don't listen to music at all, so it really doesn't much matter to me.

  2. As far as "lost sales", even though I'm no big fan of the big studios, I think you're only seeing the side you want to see. While copying tapes and cd's was an issue for decades, there was always at least one album sold per small group of friends, often several. The internet put a big dent in that, bigger by absolute numbers of downloads than any of the other entertainment industries. Friends borrowing and lending movies among themselves instead of buying was always more common than borrowing music, since music was cheaper and people wanted to be able to listen anytime. They either copied it or bought it, so there was always at least one sale involved. People still borrow favorite movies from friends instead of buying, but nobody really had a favorite album that they didn't want a permanent copy of, at least not in huge numbers. I'm still in favor of the modern internet sales system, but it was a hard change for some.

    1. The problem is, "lost sales" is an oxymoron. No sale is guaranteed, it must be earned. If someone is not willing to put down money to purchase a CD, they are not a lost sale, they were never a sale to begin with. Certainly, if they stole a CD from a store, that would be a crime because there is an inherent financial value to the physical CD, it cost someone some money to press the CD, produce the packaging and transport it to the store. However, with a digital copy, the cost is virtually non-existent. I suppose there is some minuscule electrical cost to duplicating the bits, but beyond that, the studio lost absolutely nothing when someone made a copy of someone else's bits. The idea that somehow, people owe the studio their money is absurd. It is an exchange of one thing for another and the consumer gets to decide if the value of the object for sale is worth the cost being asked. If not, they don't have to buy it. Whether or not they come by the product in another fashion is irrelevant. It doesn't matter if they download the song or buy a used copy from someone else or copy their friend's. The studio gets no money from any of those transactions.

  3. I was pretty much on your side up untill the last two paragraphs. Really? You’re sounding a little “enitled” there.

    I’ve been known to dabble in the alternative media sources too, but you do realize that you’re just rationalizing, right?

    1. No entitlement involved. I do what I want to do. I'm not making money off anyone else's stuff, but neither am I paying for something just because the producer feels entitled. I pay for things that are worth the money. If they're not, I don't. Quite simple, really. The simple fact is, I probably buy 3-5 DVD/Blurays per month on average, depending on the time of year. Clearly, such as around Christmas, there are a ton of DVDs scheduled to come out there so I get more. That doesn't include DVD boxsets which I get throughout the year depending on when they are released, since I'm up to date on most of the shows I buy DVDs for. I really don't have to buy boxsets at all, I tend to download entire seasons and burn them to DVD, I could easily just keep the downloaded copies and never pay for anything, but if the show is good enough for me to do that and watch over and over, it's good enough to get commercial copies with DVD extras that look good on my shelf. I may have a couple thousand commercial DVDs but I have tends of thousands of burned DVDs, things that either have never been released on commercial DVD or just weren't worth the money IMO. I'm a consumer. I get to make those decisions. The people who put out their work over the free airwaves really don't have a damn thing to say if I take those free programs and archive them for as long as I want to do so.

      'nuff said.

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