Mar 16 2011

Debate of the Day: Can Piracy Be Justified?

Published by at 11:30 am under Debate,Movies,Television,Video Games

I thought I’d address a particularly thorny issue today, as this column is meant to spark debate among you guys. Piracy is seen as either the scourge of the entertainment world, hacking through balance sheets like a copyright murdering serial killer, or it’s the saving grace of the industry, blowing the doors wide open off traditional distribution models, making content more accessible to all and making the higher-ups rethink their distribution and pricing models.

So my question is this, is it justifiable? I won’t comment on my own history with piracy, lest the FBI and the MPAA be watching, but I will at least present some arguments. I think it’s different across music, games, movies and TV shows, as each are accessible in different ways legally and illegally.

1. Gaming is the most straightforward one in my eyes. I think piracy of PC or console games is generally just flat out wrong. Games are too easy to get now via portals like Steam for you to rant about Gamestop ripping you off. Console hacking forces you to actually have to illegally mod your system, and the risk of getting thrown off Xbox Live or PSN is huge. Some may rally against restrictive DLC policies as a way to combat piracy, but I think companies have a right to try to protect their product, even if they do fail miserably and often alienate their paying customers. They need to change their tactics, but I don’t agree that piracy here is justified.

2. Music is the industry that started it all, and the entire industry has shifted because of the Napster revolution. The shutting down of Limewire has been a hit for pirates, but there are many, many other ways to find free music online. But one of the most reliable? YouTube. Almost every song you want to hear is available on the site, so how is it different to download that song rather than just play it through YouTube? Both methods are free, both have you listening to the same song, one is just less work for you. I believe you should buy albums of bands you like on places like iTunes to at least support them to make more music, but at that point, music becomes more of a charity than a business. I think we’ll see a shift away from labels and many more bands offering their music straight up online for free or cheap bypassing the label system entirely.

3. Movie piracy I don’t really think can by justified in this day and age of Netflix streaming. It’s just too easy to find movies either with Video on Demand or on Netflix, and they’re never more than a few bucks. Yes, it’s easy to find any movie you want online and download it and stream it through your Xbox, but I wouldn’t say that’s morally correct in this case. However, movies you already own? I think if you want to make yourself a digital copy, that’s fine, as you’ve already paid once for it, and you’re not STEALING another copy, just duplicating the one you bought for personal use.

4. Television is a bit trickier. While it’s probably not right to download 10 seasons of Smallville which normally cost $30-60 a pop, I don’t think it’s wrong to download last night’s episode of 30 Rock you missed because you forgot to set your DVR. In fact, any show currently airing on cable you have already paid for via Comcast or Uverse or whoever. Downloading these shows is the same as setting your DVR to pick them up. In both cases you watch commercials, and unless you’re a Nielsen household, you’re not even hurting their ratings. Therefore, I think it’s justifiable to download the last entire season of Burn Notice, because theoretically you could have done the same with your DVR had you the hard drive space.

I feel like I’m debating whether or not it’s right to kill someone in war or self-defense, but you get the idea. The entertainment world is changing, and the line between legal and illegal are sometimes pretty blurry, at least from a moral perspective. I’ll leave it to you guys to dissect what I’ve presented here.





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35 responses so far

  • matt

    yeah i think getting music is 100% ok i almost always stream shows like archer and supernatural cause i have a tendency to miss them. i think its kinda wrong to straight up ilegally mod ur ps3 or xbox.

  • John

    For me piracy has always come down to the exchange between producer and customer. If a group of people (everyone from actors to programmers, session musicians and the guy who gets the coffee) are putting their time and effort into the production of something which they then make available at a price and you circumvent that by acquiring it illegally from a 3rd party then it’s wrong. Piracy unjustly exploits the producers of entertainment. It’s like working a 9-5 job and then not getting paid because someone stole your work and gave it to your boss for free.

  • http://tecnogamersduo.wordpress.com/ Schiapu

    That’s in case of the USA alright, but I live in Venezuela. We never got Farscape or Firefly, movies like The Expendables and Kick-Ass have been forfeit by the movie theather company (A monopoly by the way) and we have limitation in dollar spending, so services like netflix are out of the question. Is it justified then? I mean, out of the 10 oscar movies, only 3 were shown in theaters before the awards.

    And Videogames? With the offcial exchange rate, they are worth 150-170 $ per game. Go ahead and pay 170 bucks for a game, I’ll wait.

  • Bret

    Downloading music for free is not just a big deal in the United States but all over the world especially in countries that don’t have the liberties we do when it comes to purchasing music.
    For example, Heavy Metal music, where someone in say New York can go to their local record shop or Best Buy and purchase the most recent Megadeth album there is someone in Jerusalem, Israel that can’t because not only is the government involved but also religion. So even though considered “illegal” this is the only outlet for said person to be able to listen, or be exposed to the music. And the same can be said for TV’s, Movies, whatever it may be.

  • Rob J

    I regularly pirate and I nearly always use uTorrent to do it.

    1) I do feel bad about pirating games that are worth the price of admission but games that I want that I am against purchasing because they come with stupid DRM like AC2 for PC did then hell yeah I will pirate the crap out of it…other than those occassions it’s god bless steam sales.

    2) I pirate all my music and I have an awful lot of it. I really don’t feel bad and I will admit its wrong but I do buy my favourite artists albums to support them.

    3) I don’t download a lot of movies illegally but since the invention of the dvd burner my older brother use to rent movies from movie rental stores and then make a permanent copy for us. I kept up the tradition and I must have at least 50 ripped blu-ray discs I rented stored on my PC. I don’t know exactly how wrong that is because I don’t know exactly what way the film industry gets a profit from video rental stores but I still don’t much care either.

    4) I see TV as a morally grey area too but as far as I am concerned there is no problem downloading it. I know most American Networks put there shows on their websites with limited ads anyway plus there Hulu for you guys, my family pays for a TV cable subscription and that has a streaming service aswell but none of those methods suit me so that is why I download all my tv shows and again I don’t really care

    The movie, music and video game industry’s are seeing year after year record profits since around 2007 and I know piracy hurts them considerably but it benefits them quite a lot aswell but until a crack squad of commando’s lead by Charlie Sheen break down my door and convince me its wrong I won’t stop doing it :L

  • Micktrex

    I’ve always used the ‘youtube excuse’ when it came to music. It is true that you are legally allowed to listen to any song you want, whole albums if you wish, and its all free.
    How that is different from borrowing a friend’s CD album or downloading the album yourself I don’t know.

    With TV I tend to watch shows in America that haven’t reached the UK yet. They are shows I would happily watch on TV when they actually get here and I often stream instead of download.

    I think its wrong to download movies that have just been released in the cinema and usually the quality is terrible anyway, BUT the rising cost of cinema tickets and food has seriously put me off wanting to go to the cinema. It should NOT cost me and my girlfriend nearly £30 for both of us to enjoy a typical cinema experience.

    As for games, modding consoles has always seemed messy and unpredictable, I remember feeling dirty when asked if I wanted to ‘chip’ my old playstation for the trivial benefit of playing shitty pirated games. It’s true the stores rip you off but I just buy from online sources like play.com as they’re always cheaper.

    Right, opinions out, rant over.

  • Gadget

    I don’t engage in piracy, although I have no real idea why. On the one hand, it is stealing, but on the other I would have thought an artist primarily wants his work to be viewed and appreciated; the money making is an extra added bonus

    In any case, I think, at it’s core, the problems with media piracy has a lot to do with time and impatience. From a studio stand point, I’m not sure if they’d care if I, without, paying streamed the The Goonies? As an individual, I’m not entirely sure why I’d feel the need to stream a movie like the Goonies given how easily I could obtain it legally and for free.

    I think Part A of the industry’s business plan is use an given item of intellectual property to make as much cash out of the consumer market as they can before organic distribution can take place. Organic distribution? A term I just made up, I think! I figure organic distribution is public air play, borrowing from friends, that sort of thing. There’s probably a word for it already, so feel free to enlighten me.

    In short, piracy is a crime of impatience. Not really that big a deal, just something might ruin your appetite before dinner.

    Personally, I won’t be pirating any time soon, but should I ever happen to be knowingly nearing my death-bed – when time becomes an issue – I’ll be streaming like a maniac.

  • Josh

    What crappy TV shows do you download? Every show out today on torrent sites has the commercials cut out. Every single one.

  • jaromir

    I want to write an opinion on this it’s just it’s such a broad topic that in the end I may end up writing at least 3-4 long paragraphs. In hindsight “No” I don’t think there is anything wrong with downloading books, movies or music (especially more so for those who have already made their millions).

    But I do wish more artist would take the approach that Radiohead and NIN has.

  • Velcro

    To me it seems it’s an issue of entitlement. A large number of people feel that if they can find it for free, they’re entitled to have it for free.

    I don’t download anything without paying for it anymore (I used to), and I’m in the process of replacing music I downloaded when I was younger with the albums I avoided paying for.

    I aggree when it comes to tv we’ve already paid for, and I even aggree in cases where it simply isn’t available for you to buy, but if you can pay for it, you should. It doesn’t matter if you disagree with the policies of companies like the MPAA or RIAA (and believe me, I do).

    The artists aren’t the only ones who put effort into making an album that get paid by the studios. There are producers, sound techs, advertisers, session musicians who are brought in to add a unique sound to a song, and all the people who work for a record company. Should artists make more money from their albums than they do? Absolutely! But this is the system, and we can’t just decide that because we don’t like it, we deserve to have the music and not give our money to anyone.

    Similar arguments can be applied to pretty much every genre of entertainment that get’s pirated. And let’s not forget, in most cases, profits that go to the companies tend to get used to pay for the next movie/album/game that they put out. People aren’t going to feel like creating anymore if they aren’t getting anything back.

  • Guy Incognito

    1) The option to download a pirated game is great as a demo before you buy. It’s a better gauge of how good a game is then the usual demos. I’ve done that several times. Give me a way to try out your game for free and if I like it I’ll buy it. If you don’t give me that option I’m going to pirate it first and decide if it’s worth my money. What it comes down to is this: make a good product and I’ll buy it.

    2) The funny thing about music is that most artists don’t care about song or album sales anymore. The real money is in live shows. By buying a song, you are supporting the label and distribution company, not the artist. On average artists get 10 cents out of a 99 cent song. So 4 million song sales (which would likely put you in the top 5 for the year) would get the artist $400k across the entire year. Justin Bieber (using as an example only because the numbers came up first on my Google search) makes $300k per concert. Bon Jovi was the highest earning tour last year, raking in $146.5 million. I bet they didn’t even make 2% of that number in song sales for the year.

    Pirating actually helps smaller bands, giving them a wider audience, and thus drawing larger crowds to shows.

  • Velcro

    Without those labels, who provide and pay for the studio, the producers, and the sound techs, a lot of the best albums in history would never have been made. It’s not just about the artists.

  • http://tyhuze.wordpress.com Tyler

    I don’t pirate. I take no issue with paying a reasonable price for good entertainment. If the price is unreasonable, or the content not quality, then I just don’t buy it.

    It seems silly to me that someone wants to pirate because they are angry at a company/label for making it difficult to pirate a game.

    I also think it’s odd that some people act like there IS NO WAY to determine the quality of something without stealing it first. Read a damn review – like on this site, for instance.

  • Harry

    The best way to judge piracy is by compare it with a normal theft.

    Hardware thief:
    If you steal a can of coce (lets say 80$) from a shop, you are damaging the owned in two ways.

    1. The owner lost a physical product he was supposed to sell to customers. The owner bought that can for 60$ and the remaining 20$ were supposed to be his profit.
    2. The owner lost 80$ he didn’t get form a thirsty client that was supposed to buy a Coce but he is not thirsty any-more. You!

    So in the long run the total damage the owner received from a normal hardware theft was 160$ (and not 80$) that some people might think.

    Software thief:
    If we take a look a software piracy, things are a little different. The thief does not directly stealing the product, but rather making a copy of it.

    The owner is getting damaged only the second way because he doesn’t loose the product he was supposed to sell. But he Did loose you as a client!

    Result:
    In software thievery the owner receive only half the damage he would normally receive from hardware thievery. But he DOES GET DAMAGED. If you pirate a game or movie, you might excuse your self saying that you only committed half the thievery and you are just an asshole (and not a thief), but if you do it again you are beyond doubt a complete thief (and a double asshole).

    The Pirates may try to excuse them selfs by saying that the product is buggy, has horrible DRM, or is very expensive. But by going all the trouble Pirating the product, the prove that they acknowledge the product despite its flaws, and no “to expensive” product stay in that price forever.

    IMO the only legitimate excuses for Piracy are:

    1. When you have no other way to access the product. The owner never released it on your region so he never expected to make money from you.

    2. The owner didn’t release a demo of any short, so there was no other way for you to know/test the quality of the product. That excuse apply only if you delete the pirated product after testing it.

  • Guy Incognito

    @Tyler,

    Critics and reviewers aren’t me. They don’t know what I like and just because they like or don’t like something, doesn’t mean I’ll share the same opinion.

  • J

    @Tyler – it’s not just about making it “Difficult” to pirate a game – Specifically with AC2, you *couldn’t play the game* without an active internet connection. That’s the pinnacle of dickery, especially considering that there was *NO* multi-player element to that game.

    Here’s my logic for game piracy:
    Studios hype these games, rush them out the door without fully testing them, make them look really fucking great and overload in advertising, but then you get in and they suck, and I feel like that’s happened to me too many times in my life.

    Ever buy a game, start to play it, think it’s awesome, then realize all the shortcomings and start to hate it? Don’t you feel cheated out of your money? I genuinely feel like I’ve been cheaterd and lied to. Unless I can play through a game more than once and takes way more then 10 hours. As for reading reviews, a lot of the “reputable” gaming publications are in the pockets of huge developers such as EA. Paul usually gives pretty fair reviews but I feel like he’s an exception to the rule.

    As for movies, the primary reason people pirate (at least I believe) is availability. My logic follows that once it’s been shown on my local tv (or cable) station, it’s fair game to have recorded it myself on my DVR, or any other method I use to capture. And once it’s out there it’s out there, so this also applies to TV shows. It’s a slightly different story with say PPV or Pay to access services (like HBO) except that I’m comfortable with download the episodes of shows on those channels if I’m also paying for the access charge through my cable company. This is the old VCR conundrum, if studios could they would have banished those too.

    Paul, i’m going to disagree with you regarding Netflix. Yes, there’s loads of stuff, but Netflix is going with quantity over quality (at least for now) while trying to beef up their live streaming options. Also, if I want to watch a season of a show (without spending $60 on a boxed set) I need to have them deliver a disk with 1-3 episodes on it, and even if I’ve got the 2 disk plan it’ll still take me a month (what with mailing to/fro) to watch a whole season of a show.

    I could go on but I’m at work and short on time, any ripostes?

  • Skeebo

    What about Applications and OS’s? How many on here have pirated a copy of Office, Windows, Photoshop, etc?

    Most things that I have pirated have been b/c the means to get them were out of my reach at the time, like getting the original airings of TV shows b/c the American broadcasts cut the shit out of them for whatever reason.

    Not saying it is right or wrong, but it is an avenue for consumers to get your product in their hands and maybe generate a future sale.

    Then there are those who just abuse the shit out of it, and typically their reasoning for doing so is just f’d up.

  • Diva D

    I’m with Velcro.

    Piracy is stealing.

  • brazilian

    I DO agree, piracy is stealing.

    I live in Brazil, taxes here for foregin products are really high. And the delay for the products to hit our shelves is huge.

    Check this: a game for xbox or ps3 can reach the amount of 250 dollars. a vinyl record can cost 80/90 dollars. a dvd can cost 30/40 dollars. a movie theater ticket can cost up to 30 dollars.

    AND it usually takes one month or more for theses things to reach my country.

    Why pay and wait if I can have it now and free?

    If the prices would match the world average and there was no delay I wouldn’t go rogue. As I mentioned before piracy is stealing.

    Sorry I used a fake email. Best regards to you all.

  • http://tyhuze.wordpress.com Tyler

    @Guy and J

    I get it that reviews don’t always reflect how you will like the game, but critics can at least point you to things that help you decide if the game is worth it. Not everything they write about is subjective.

    What I’m saying is you can use reviews as a tool along with common sense, a realization of your own tastes in games/genre, and flat out experience with previous purchases. A little bit of research goes a long way. Of course if you don’t care about piracy then the point is moot, but if your sole justification for piracy is because you got duped into buying a crappy game then it’s a pretty weak one.

    Yes, if you feel slighted you probably would want to either exact revenge on those distribution companies or at least safeguard yourself so it doesn’t happen again, but there are legal ways to do it.

    In the end it’s just my opinion, but I like the debate. :) (and I apologize for my first post. I think it was slightly condescending and I didn’t mean to assume you all had never seen a review before)

  • Guy Incognito

    @Skeebo,

    With OS’s and Office, etc… there are still legitimate reasons someone would pirate them. For example, when you buy a new computer it comes preloaded with Windows and Office but a year down the line you get a virus and need to reformat completely. Oftentimes you don’t get a disk for Windows and Office with that computer purchase but you did pay for it to be loaded on your computer. There’s no way you’re going to pay for them again if there’s an alternative method of getting them.

  • Skrolnik

    Here’s a slightly different question. Is it justifiable for large corporate interests to rob the general public of cultural heritage that should have passed into the public domain under the terms that copyright was originally instituted under, by buying off legislators to keep re-writing the law to move the goalposts for when material is supposed to pass out of copyright?

    What’s especially lothesome is the fact that one of the prime forces behind extending copyright so that material doesn’t pass back into the public domain, Disney, made their early fortune on movies based on public domain fairy tales.

  • gimpmonster

    let’s cut to the chase and look at who is really to blame here: the movie studios and the record companies

    I go to the movies often, usually about once a week. However, depending on the quality of what’s out, that number can take a dramatic dip. I think the real problem resides around a lot of the lousy movies put out – OR, when they do put out quality product it’s often in a glut at the end of the year so they are at the forefront for awards consideration. In this case, they often don’t come to small markets until a month or more later, so if you reside outside of a major city…tough luck.

    I find it funny that first-run awards bait movies are so easily accessible on torrent sites before they even comes to most people’s town, as some crafty Judas (who’s a member of the Academy, natch) will have a great quality copy posted. Sorry, but to beat the pirates graduated release schedules don’t just work anymore…this isn’t 1976.

    As far as record companies go – screw them! Isn’t it funny how a brand new CD now costs less than it did 20 years ago???

    Let’s see, the cost of production hasn’t dramatically decreased, nor has inflation started to work in reverse – they just had to snap to their senses and realized people simply weren’t hip to the price gouging that’s going on as the advent of Napster so aptly proved.

    I had a selection of over 300 CDs, many which had perhaps 1-2 good songs on them and cost anywhere from $16-20 a pop. Ugh.

    Furthermore, good catalog stuff (I’m thinking the Beatles, Pink Floyd) was often considerably more than buying a current CD. So while Nirvana’s Nevermind was $16.99, Sgt. Pepper’s was $24.99.

    Ridiculous.

    Why pay for music?

  • Velcro

    The price of CDs (the price for any new media) goes down over time as more and more people are buying them. When more people are buying something, a company can mass produce, reducing the cost-per-unit.

    As for why older music costs more, same reason. New music has a massive first print (when they expect it to sell well), which is sold at an initially low price. Eventually demand drops off, record stores drop the price further to clear out remaining stock. Any further units brought in after are from later, smaller print runs, which cost more, both for the producer, the middleman, and the consumer.

    As for the tendency for only a few songs on an album to be good, that’s what iTunes and other similar sites are for.

  • Gia

    I do think Skrolnik has a valid point. The copywrite/ public domain laws are insane at this point and it’s very difficult to get to upset at the poor recording/ music industry for being a bunch of greedy d-bags.

    With that said, I refuse to pirate video games. If a game has an absurd level of DRM (Spore anyone?) I refuse to buy it OR play it. But I do love the gaming industry and want to support it. All I have to say is thank goodness for Steam. I love getting my games that way and am happy to pay for them through Steam. I honestly view it as a win/ win… I win as a consumer because I get games without having to worry about CD’s being lost or scratched, bothering to actually go to a store, and the sales they have are fantastic. They win because they get to take my hard earned cash for games that are usually old and not available in most stores.

  • http://www.markdallen.com Mark

    There is a cost to produce media. Music is clearly the least expensive, but to make the kinds of products that people actually want with Games, Movies, and TV – there has to be some type of recoupment. A movie might employ 200 to a thousand people for a year to make.

    If admissions and sales income were to go away, these media would need to find some other way to support the cost of creating the product (not to mention offset the ones that don’t go well or people don’t like). Sadly, the solutions for that generally lead to lower quality end products. You wonder why every movie today is based on a franchise? It’s because every movie is turning into a commercial for another product because people are still buying physical products. Product placements will become distracting. Advertising will have to be included integral and as part of the film (which will be hard for sci-fi fantasy). But mostly the offerings will all be based on the ability to monetize a secondary market. I think we’ll all miss the times where movies were just cool experiences worth paying for.

    Games are fortunate in that they could go subscription which is going to be a little easier for them. Movies I’m worried about.

  • Alex

    Television is a bit trickier.
    I wouldn’t say really. You could in theory argue for HBO and stuff but as far I am concerned as long as I can see it for free on TV I don’t see why I should pay for it. Especially the hideously overpriced and pathetic DVD sets they sell. If they want me to buy them they better bring the price way down and stuff it chock full of special stuff

    Now ripping off their DVD’s with their special features and stuff yes this I can see as being wrong.

    I don’t really think can by justified in this day and age of Netflix streaming
    God no. I hate watching stuff on my computer. Whenever I download a movie or a tv show I burn it on a rewritable DVD and use my DVD player and my nice big tv

    However, movies you already own?
    I am curious . What is your opinion then on movie that are currently aired in TV. if you use them same logic as you did with TV shows then a pretty big chunk of movies should also be free game

  • Andy

    I was actually thinking of this topic the other day. I’m glad that you posted it, because I’d like some feedback on my opinion on the whole deal.

    Games: I don’t make a habit of pirating them. Once in a while, if I feel like playing some old Snes games, I’ll download an emulator and some roms, because I feel like the companies already made their money on them. I don’t pirate new games.

    Music: I do pirate music. I don’t feel that it is right. I do pay for albums if I really feel like supporting the artist, but like you said, that makes it more of a charity than a business. However, if MTV Cribs is any indication, artists are doing just fine regardless. If anything, piracy will only let them afford 3 ivory backscratchers instead of 6.

    Movies: I have a Netflix subscription. I’m not sure how their business model works, but I’m under the assumption that they pay a flat rate for their dvds. If that is the case, then if I download a movie online, how is it any different than just renting it from Netflix? (If any one knows if studios get a commision every time someone rents one of their movies, please let me know. That would change everything.)

    TV: My internet and cable are a package deal. How is pirating tv any different than watching it when it airs or recording it on my DVR?

  • Hans

    Accessing previously uploaded content is NOT stealing. I personally (and most piraters I’m sure) did not take the program/game/movie/music disc, rip it and upload it onto the internet. That is pretty much stealing developers profits, I will agree. But if I didn’t upload it then I haven’t stolen it. I will buy products I really enjoy (eg Mass Effect series), but the product has to be stellar for me to spend the money.

    Even Markus Persson (Minecraft) commented on my above point, and he charges money for his game just like any other developer.

    He says: “Piracy is not theft. A lot of big companies try to make piracy like theft; I wouldn’t steal a car, but I would steal a good design. If I liked another person’s apartment, I would try to make mine look like someone else’s… but that’s not stealing. If a lost sale is so bad, should bad reviews be illegal? What about missed release dates?”

    Keep in mind Minecraft has a 70% piracy rate (I did pay for my copy, due to the reason I gave above) and he still says anti-piracy stuff is ridiculous. And really, the movie/game/music industries are FAR from dying out due to uncontrolled pirating.

    TLDNR: Piracy isn’t stealing, if anything uploading the product so that it can be pirated is.

  • Dexter Morgan

    The industry often only has itself to blame. I live in Australia and you only need to do a quick search on price differences for games between the US of A and here. Despite the Australian dollar reaching parity with the US dollar, we can pay up to 90% for the same product.

    Add to that the ridiculous parameters that the classification board has to work within when deciding on a games classification. Australia does not have an R18+ rating for games, so if it is deemed unsuitable for an MA15+ classification, it is refused classification. This means we end up with the debacle that is Left 4 Dead 2, which sold poorly in Australia because of the amount of content that was stripped out (despite the first game passing without any change to content).

    More recently, Mortal Kombat has been refused classification and as such is banned in Australia. Strange for a country that is liberal in many other regards.

    Customs laws prohibit the import of any material that has been refused classification, and doing so has the potential of attracting a hefty fine.

    These factors all add up and encourage consumers to look to piracy as a viable means to an end. Doesn’t make it right necessarily, but if you are going to hinder adults from making their own choices legally…

  • Snorkle

    I used to pirate a lot of stuff before I had a proper income (during high school and uni). Now that i’ve moved into some proper money I pirate almost nothing.
    The biggest problem I personally had is that I’m in Australia and everything over here has really exorbidant pricing. Even factoring in bulk shipping and exchange rate (or lack ther of these days with the U.S.) a new game title will still cost around $110-$120. Now that’s not so bad for those of us using a PC and downliading games via a platform like steam, but that’s a huge hurdle for someone wants to play a console game legitimately.
    I download the latest episodes of a tv show that I’m into, but I also make a point to go out and buy it when its finally released in AUS.

  • Dexter Morgan

    @Snorkle

    You make the same valid points that I have. The prices we pay are inexcusable.

    Something I failed to mention is that the exorbitant pricing is not just limited to bricks and mortar retailers. For example, XBOX Live Marketplace has Red Dead Redemption listed at A$99.00. That’s for a download! The same game can be purchased from most retail outlets for around A$75.00.

    How is this even feasible. Anyone from elsewhere around the world able to comment on how these prices compare to where they are from?

    If it weren’t for stores like JB HI FI, I fear that most retailers would still be trying it on with consumers. Any other Australian readers noticed that since JB HI FI hit the scene with relatively cheap prices, other stores that don’t follow suit with pricing have been closing down. When was the last time anyone went in to an Ezy DVD store instead of JB HI FI?

  • John

    In regards to music being free on youtube, I would also suggest blip.fm. This website checks youtube and other sites for free streams of whatever song you pick, stripping out the audio and sending it to you (streaming, not for download). Pretty handy, although sometimes if you search for a popular song, you’ll get people doing their own shitty covers.

  • Johannes P Anderson

    The fundamental mistake these anti-piracy groups always make is thinking every piece of downloaded material = dollars that the creators will never receive. This is often not the case.

    I admit to frequently pirating materials, but rarely do I pirate something that I would pay money for. For example, I might DL a CD to check out a bands sound, but I’d never pay $30 on something I might hate.

    If there was a crackdown on piracy here, I’d simply stop accessing content, rather than start paying for it. And that only harms the artists.

  • JD

    I think pirating is also something people must be selective about. While I would disagree to pirating a new-release movie, while it is in its prime time period of sale (such as when it first comes out on DVD), but when a movie has made its money, and it was released in 1970, i don’t see an issue with pirating a movie when its already made 99.99% of its money. Sam goes for music. Games, the same thing EXCEPT, i am totally against piracy of any kind against individual developers who really need the money.

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