Heavy Hangs The Bandwidth That Torrents The Crown

The latest Oatmeal cartoon has been making the rounds of Twitter (largely thanks to John Gruber’s link). It makes two points about the problems of piracy exceptionally well.

The intentional point is that the content distributors often make it crazy-stupid hard for us to give them our money. Most of these industries have been frustratingly slow to adopt to the patterns of the modern consumer. News flash: we’re not heading to Blockbuster Video any more. Well, actually, yes, we are. But only because the Blockbuster went out of business and a Panera Bread is now leasing that space. We’ll probably get a Bacon Turkey Bravo for lunch and then watch some Netflix via the restaurant’s free WiFi while we eat.

Consumers couldn’t make their desires any more clear. We’ve got money to spend on TV and movies, but now we’re looking for it on iTunes and Netflix and through all other kinds of network-connected devices. If a distributor shows up in any of those places with a product we want, we’ll buy it.

[Added to clarify: and if they don’t show up in those places, they’re making torrenting that much more attractive. They’re just feeding the monster they’re trying to fight. That’s crystal-clear.

Remember the mistakes that the comic book industry made. Digital distribution made no sense to Marvel and DC, so they never really committed to it. Fine, but reading a comic book on a phone or a laptop made perfect sense to their audience, and they’re the people with the money. In the absence of a legal means of digital comics distribution, an illegal infrastructure of file standards, consumption tools, and distribution systems developed and flourished.]

The Oatmeal made an unintentional point that was just as important as the first, however:

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

Here’s my conversation with a hypothetical person who wants to check out “Game Of Thrones.” Not with Matthew Inman, author of The Oatmeal, I hasten to say. Just a conglomeration of the species of torrenters as a whole.

You want to see what the hubbub around “Game Of Thrones” is about? Cool. The show is produced by HBO and it’s available exclusively on that channel. It’s a premium channel and any cable provider can sell you a monthly subscription.

HBO’s awesome. They have a streaming app that will allow you to watch pretty much any original series or movie that they still have the rights to (including “Thrones”) and it works with almost everything that can play streaming video. HBO doesn’t even charge for the app or for the extra access.

You say you don’t want to subscribe to HBO, or even cable?

Ah. Well, no worries. The show will be released on DVD and Blu-ray later in the year.

You’re not into physical media? I’m with you. It’ll be on iTunes soon. See? The store page lists the release date. March 6. You can circle it on the calendar and everything.

You’re still frowning. What’s wrong, Scrumpkin?

Oh. You want it right now.

But — umm — the release date is only, like, two or three weeks away. Just hang on a bit. You’ll be fine.

Yes, I heard you (please, sir, there’s really no need to shout). I understand that you want it (and I hope I’m not misquoting you) right the ****ity-**** NOWWWWWWWW. But you can’t have it now. You can have it on March 6. It isn’t even as far away as you think. Remember? February is the super-short month?


You’re already torrenting it, aren’t you?

Annnnd now you’re also calling me a d*** because I expected you to wait two weeks, and you’re claiming that you’re “forced” to torrent it because the video industry is bunch of turds. How charming.

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 Johnny No Wanna Pay. Simple as that. Get off your high horse and don’t even try that “I’m making a stand and sending a message to content producers” stuff. It’s bunkum.

I’m reminded of a Louis CK joke. I’m going to clean up a little because I’m not Louis CK and this isn’t a live comedy stage. It really wouldn’t come across the same way otherwise.

“I’m totally opposed to stealing an Xbox. Unless Microsoft sets a price for them that I don’t want to pay, or there’s a new model in a warehouse somewhere and it won’t ship to stores for another few weeks. Because what else am I going to do? Not have that Xbox? That’s no solution!”

The world does not OWE you Season 1 of “Game Of Thrones” in the form you want it at the moment you want it at the price you want to pay for it. If it’s not available under 100% your terms, you have the free-and-clear option of not having it.

I sometimes wonder if this simple, grown-up fact gets ignored during all of these discussions about digital distribution.

It was still a funny strip, though.

315 thoughts on “Heavy Hangs The Bandwidth That Torrents The Crown

  1. verlaine

    English is a great language it has lots of different words and terms for different things like “stealing” and “copying” or “theft” and “copyright infringement”. It’s really handy having different words so we can describe things in a accurate manner.

  2. chris

    I can’t believe the shear number of over-privileged egotistical douchebags commenting on this site. It’s fucking stealing. Plain and simple. You pay HBO for their programing, plain and simple.

    If you don’t like, that you have to pay for 200 other channels, that is the program providers issue and yours, NOT HBOs.

    All you douches are doing, is hurting the show you are obviously fans of. How is taking money away from HBO going to improve anything they produce? Stop being self absorbed ass clowns, and join civilized society and PURCHASE THINGS LIKE AN ADULT. If you have to wait a little longer, TOUGH NUGGETS. How the hell is waiting going to hurt? Why do you have to steal, to have it NOW? Do you not know self control? Do you not respect the hard work people do on a show like Game of Thrones? The sheer idiocy of you pirating assholes is baffling.

  3. chris

    I just want ONE level of Halo Reach, I don’t want the entire game. Fuck Mircosoft for not allowing me to buy that one level I want.

    Seriously, you guys need to step back and see how you sound. Little pathetic crybabies… acting like a TV show or a film is a RIGHT….

  4. Ben

    @Harried Guy That doesn’t seem to be far from the truth.

    Also they delay release onto DVD as they are busy wringing money out of cable providers worldwide, so while that is happening they are usually contractually obliged not to release DVD til cable runs have finished.

    Personally, I would happily pay for HBO itself – most of their shows are excellent. Unfortunately the only way I can do that is via foxtel…

    Oh wait, seems that HBO isn’t available via foxtel, or any other cable provider in Australia so the only option is to
    a) buy the ‘premium’ package and hope one of the networks broadcast it – which probably won’t happen for several weeks/months/years.
    b) wait for DVD
    c) digital services – hmm, most aren’t available to Australian users e.g. Hulu
    d) Hit up Bittorrent

    It’s really no wonder that Australia has such high digital piracy rates.

    It’s an insane business model for the digital age. Everyone knows it, even the networks but it’s easier, cheaper and less risk to use litigation and propaganda than it is to completely restructure their business model. I do understand their predicament from a business point of view.

    As for Nicks comparison with hospital services… wow. You think that’s just The Way It Is? You can have free health care or HBO? If another country has apples and you want apples, the only way to get them is theft? I think the concept of supply and demand (outside of the entertainment industry) is lost on some people!

  5. Tom

    Not everyone commenting here has stolen anything but I see that discussion here is not welcome. Instead its people just calling others “douchebags “, “pathethic crybabies” and interesting in proclaiming how superior they are to the rest of the world. Don’t hurt yourself when you stepping from your high horse there Chris.

    To others – some very good points have been made. Its clear many customers are frustrated with the current models of content delivery. Hopefully at some point a company will come along and address some of the consumer frustrations and wants.

  6. obo

    Torrented ‘Bored to Death’, bought five copies of Ames’ short story collections, donated them to my local library.

    There’s always a way to compensate content creators.

  7. renton

    I want to eat at Subway. But it’s 2 a.m. and the Subway where I live is closed.

    But that’s OK. I can break into the store and make my own sandwich. And it’s their fault for not giving me what I want when I want it.

    Same diff.

  8. Brandon

    Streaming quality is shit compared to Blu Ray. I will stick with physical media. Release the Blu Ray set the day after the season finale, instead of 9 months later. Problem mostly solved.

  9. Ricardo B

    What about people from other countries, we have to wait longer, have less content available legally and it is more dificult to pay.
    Up until last year reality shows like american idol or the amazing race aired 4 weeks after the season finale. It is not fun to wait 4 weeks without checking twitter, facebook or the newspapers because they are going to spoil the results
    Would be interesting to know what do you think about this.

    I think that we all agree that content providers have to innovate in their distribution and payment methods . People innovating in those areas are disrupting their industries and making a lot of money.

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  11. Laura S

    Ignoring the trolls; I generally don’t torrent because I just can’t be arsed. When providers don’t release things I’m interested in, in a timely fashion, at a decent price: it’s a lost sale, period. I move on. I find other things to do and watch.

    The entertainment world is a lot bigger than one studio (or one city: Hollywood, I’m looking at you). I think that the ones who come to us, the customers, are the ones who will reap the rewards in the end.

  12. Zacqary Adam Green

    Whether piracy is “right” or “wrong” is a matter of opinion; its inevitability is a matter of fact. While we’re wasting time having ethical debates, everything that has ever been digitized is irreversibly being made available for free, regardless of its creator’s wishes. The world is round, the sky is blue, and piracy happens. This is not a question of morals; it’s a question of physics.

    Where we ought to be focusing our intellectual effort is on how to sustain creativity within this reality in which everything will be available for free. Because that’s the world in which we live now.

  13. Pingback: Piracy roundup | Screenagers.me

  14. Not when I've admitted to piracy

    Well yes – I torrented that show. I intend to continue doing so until the end.

    I Iive in Denmark and ALL our commercial TV networks are lame, narrow minded, behind the times ignorant fools with no idea of what’s going on overseas. It’s not available ANYWHERE as far as I know, with the possible exception of buying a satellite dish, decoder, and a really expensive TV-package, which also dumps 16 unwanted foreign language/sports channels into the package, as an excuse for the price.

    So what’s my angle here? Well I intend to buy the show when it becomes legally available. And I’m going to wait until the WHOLE series is available, because I’m not going to miss out on extended cuts and extra behind the scenes stuff, which they always add when they release the “deluxe collector’s edition” which screws all the fans over who loved it so much they bought it in season-by-season increments.

    So there!

  15. Jim Christian

    I think a bigger issue that content providers seem to be ignorant of is that of the shared experience.

    If friends of mine in America are shouting to the rooftops that [insert popular TV show here] is just so darned good, well, I want to be able to watch it “with” them. Comment on it with them, raise its profile with them if I also think it’s good. Surely that’s beneficial to the created content. Sure, it doesn’t create a staggered source of revenue through multi-region DVD sales, airing deals with foreign networks…, but surely it can’t hurt.

    It reminds me of the issues that Matt and Trey are having just getting the rights to stream their own creation across the internet, legitimately from the South Park sites. It reminds me that NBC/Hulu doesn’t want anyone to know SNL exists outside of the US. I would gladly purchase an “International Pass” if I could watch the best of Belushi and Ackroyd online.

    But you’ve raised some interesting points here, Andy – the most important being the sense of entitlement that is embraced by the stereotypical Torrenter. With great power comes great responsibility, I suppose.

  16. Pingback: “The single least-attractive attribute of many of the people who download content illegally is their smug sense of entitlement.” « Movie City News

  17. Anigel

    There is no doubt about it, piracy is wrong and this comic strip was in no way saying it was ok to pirate content. There will always be some freetards who will pirate regardless, but for most people the easiest way to stamp out the majority of piracy is to make it as easy if not easier to buy the content than it is to nick it. The mistake the author makes is their belief that this is somehow condoning or justifying piracy. It is not, it is just a fact of life that people will take the easiest route to what they want to achieve. What comes as a shock to me is that so many people just don’t see that making it impossible for people to legally obtain content causes a large part of the piracy that does occur. Whilst in this particular example the content may be available on media in 2 weeks time in a tiny percentage of the world, that is very different from the norm where the content may not be legally available in other countries ever.

  18. Al

    I certainly agree with the sentiment here. However, I do download torrents fairly regularly and this is my justification:

    I have a media centre PC (actually running XBMC, but that’s not that important). I like to be able to watch films on demand without having to go and dig through my DVD collection to find the disc (I don’t have much shelf-storage, so finding a disc can take a while). So I _BUY_ DVDs and rip them to the hard disk and watch them from there (I never share my ripped DVDs: they are for my use only). The DVDs can then get put in a box in the attic for safe-keeping without taking up shelf-space.

    Unfortunately, some of the DVDs that I have bought have very ‘effective’ copy protection on them (especially Disney ones). This makes it very hard to rip to the hard disk: it often fails. I try to get _my_ copy onto _my_ computer but in the end I give up and download a torrent. The copy protection doesn’t seem to prevent serious criminals from piracy, but it makes it very hard for paying customers to watch films in the way they want to watch them.

    I only download torrents of films that I’ve bought. I really wish I didn’t have to.

  19. Stavros

    What really is true about torrenting and the like is that the pirates provide a far superior service to the consumer than do the legitimate distributors, end of story. Whatever you want to say about stealing, the fact remains that illegal sites have universal and immediate access to content, and people want that.

    It’s not enough to stamp your feet and demand people wait. People have never wanted to wait, and now there’s no reason for them to wait, so you’re just going to have to get over it and let them pay you now rather than next week.

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  21. Ronald

    @renton, breakng into a subway with attached damages to property and loss of physical inventory IS NOT the “same diff” as making another copy of a bunch of bits floating on the internet at my own cost of cable subscription/electricity/computer equipment.

    Im sorry, it just isn’t. Morally wrong, yes, but tell that to the retiree on a fixed income who gts nickel and dimed to death by everyone who wants to get paid for real stuff like rent, food, etc. Or to the guy who has those outlets like HBO but hates the incessant commercials running with them even after he pays for the channel. You see the SAME EXACT COMMERCIALS 6 times during he same show.

  22. Miranda

    There are some facts that media distribution companies are going to have to start facing:

    1. More and more people are ditching cable/satellite providers in favor of Netflix/Hulu subscriptions. This means television/movies are being consumed through a computer and not a cable box.

    2. Most of these people are in a younger age bracket, meaning this is your next generation of consumers and beyond.

    3. Media consumption is a social/community driven event.

    4. Our communities are no longer restricted by geography.

    * Every show that is not on Hulu
    * Every DVD release that is held back for months for no reason
    * Every DVD release that is not offered in a streaming format on Netflix or otherwise

    …all of those are LOST REVENUE STREAMS for the media company. The smart company lets their shows stream on Hulu and takes the ad REVENUE. They package their DVD/Streaming of the show ASAP for consumers to purchase and download = REVENUE.

    I agree that we’re not entitled to what we want when we want it. But the truly smart media conglomerate is going to realize NOW that the landscape is changing. Old watching/consuming habits are rapidly dying off and a new generation of consumers requires a new approach.

    Soon Blu-Ray will go the way of the BetaMax and DVDs will be dusty relics stacked in boxes in people’s attics. Streaming digital content is the future. It’s already here.

    So while I’m not ENTITLED to content, the media company who doesn’t meet the demand of their audience definitely DESERVES to be left behind (which, in this case, means lost revenue).

  23. George

    I don’t agree that people feel entitled. What I do think is that people dislike things being restricted in the name of profit. Because it makes them feel stupid. It reminds them that they’re mere customers who will pay whatever they’re asked to.

    HBO wants you to buy a subscription purely because it forces you to pay for things you do not want. That is the subscription model – it’s why a magazine that costs a fiver is only two pounds a copy on subscription. Because the amount of copies you’ll pay for that you never would have bought in the first place makes up the difference several times over.

    In the digital sphere, methods are direct. You don’t need indirect sales or other methods to get 0s and 1s from tape to laptop. People understand that when a picture’s shot and put on some sort of media to be distributed, the main thing that blocks those distributional channels, and increases prices, are methods to squeeze more revenue.

    Release in the cinema earlier…so people will watch it there _and_ buy the DVD. Release a box set – so people buy more DVDs which they wouldn’t have bought otherwise. Sell albums, not singles. Encourage people to buy credits, instead of using micropayments. And in this case, release it on TV first to gain from advertising revenue and get people to buy the same thing on DVD later – because they can’t buy individual episodes on DVD.

    It would be foolish to say that vendors aren’t allowed to use tactics to eke as much money out of people as possible. But when industry’s feeble pandering to the consumer is all about having exactly what you want, when you want, *your way*, you can hardly blame consumers who then get used to this.

  24. Pingback: Politics of Piracy « human daddy

  25. Mike B

    I would have no problem paying $10-20 a month for HBO streaming service. The problem is that HBO is the only thing worth watching on a $60-$100 cable package provided by one of the worst companies ever created, a company so bad that they had to change their name, and a company I’ve already sworn I’ll give another penny to for the rest of my life. For the record I’ve not torrented any HBO shows, but they’re definitely missing out on my money.

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  27. Julian

    You’re all missing the point.
    First of all Copyright Infringement is not theft, and is not piracy. Pirates kill people and steal things. Illegal copies are just duplicates.

    Once you get over that, you must realise that copyright infringement on the internet cannot be stopped, without censorship and suspension of other civil liberties.

    There are other ways to compensate content creators.
    Crowdsourcing for instance.

  28. Stacy Jones

    I would happily pay an 8$ monthly fee to stream whatever I want from HBO as the shows air. In fact, I would HAPPILY pay the full price for a DVD box set in order to be able to buy a season pass that allows me to download the episodes the day after they air on iTunes, as I do now with Castle, Once Upon a Time and several other of my favorite TV shows.

    I don’t understand why HBO thinks they would lose out on any cash by using the season pass feature on iTunes and they would not be losing any of that extra exclusivity that full time subscribers pay for by doing that either.

    For the record, I do not torrent shows myself, but my HBO and Showtime shows are the ones that tempt me because I have to wait almost a full year after the episodes air to see them and that long of a lag between air date and physical media release is ridiculous in today’s day and age…

    But clearly, it works for them. I have only to look at my DVD storage to see the results… Seasons 1-3 of TrueBlood? Check. Seasons 1-5 of Dexter? Check. Is there a spot carved out for A Game of Thrones when it releases? Well… no, but it will be taking up space on the hard drive of my Macbook… so I’m safe.

    Why should HBO change what they’re doing? I can’t be the only person lining up to buy these shows, so they must be doing *something* right.

  29. Timber Jack

    Disclaimer: Stealing is *still* stealing. Your justification to steal and not get caught doesn’t mean it isn’t wrong. You just aren’t caught. Yet.

    My 0.02:
    I will admit, I torrent’d a cartoon. That was it. Ever. One flick. Why? Because N-tflix had me down for Very Long Wait on Disc 1 of 2..sent me Disc 2 first! still waiting on Disc 1… for 2 freaking months. Fine. Guess what I did next? Got Transmission. Started a seed. Found Disc 1, got it watched it deleted it. (yes, I proxied my connection along with using some schmoe’s open wifi). Took all of 75 mins to get 1hour of silliness that I deleted when done.
    Never did it again, but I can see:
    Someone is putting this sh-t up.
    Some are d/l this sh-t.
    Some are sharing it.
    And someone is watching.

  30. BillB

    Wrong, wrong, and wrong. It’s not about being too impatient to wait until March 6th for the DVD. It’s about having to wait an entire year from their original air dates.

    I’ve already seen Season 1. Now you’re telling me I need to wait until March 2013 to see the FIRST EPISODE of season 2? What a load of nonsense. Oatmeal’s comic was right on the mark. I’ll be sitting there, ready to purchase on an episode by episode basis – but I won’t be able to. And sorry, I’m not going to wait a year. Old media needs to wake up.

  31. DarCK

    You’re all missing the point.
    First of all Copyright Infringement is not theft, and is not piracy. Pirates kill people and steal things. Illegal copies are just duplicates.

    Once you get over that, you must realise that copyright infringement on the internet cannot be stopped, without censorship and suspension of other civil liberties.

    There are other ways to compensate content creators.
    Crowdsourcing for instance.

    Rather than was time righting my own I copied a comment that already made the points I would I hope you’re all richer for me sharing it with you.

  32. hxa7241

    This whole ‘entitlement’ spiel is just wrong. It shows a failure to break out of the standard frame ‘content owners’ want everyone to think in. It is completely upside-down.

    The real question is: why are *these organisations* entitled to tell people what information they are allowed to copy or not? Why should they tell you what you can do with your own person, your own computer, and with your friends or others who freely choose to share with you?

    There is only one rational answer possible: these organisations are granted copyright as a special trade monopoly for particular pragmatic economic reasons. Copyright is *not* some kind of intrinsic moral right — it does not make sense as such. Quite the opposite: the real intrinsic right is everyone’s freedom to copy.

    We, in general, grant copyrights because we expect a general benefit. We give up some freedom of use of informational-goods in order to gain increased production of such goods — and expect the overall balance to be better than without such an arrangement.

    Ultimately, copyright is justified by its actual efficacy. And so if we look at how it is working and see it working badly we certainly should be questioning it. If modern information technology gives us new capabilities to share information, yet copyright obstructs this, something is going wrong. If it is possible to get whatever informational-goods you want right now, you really ought to be able to. Why are old corporations and old law standing in the way?

    Where is the economic evidence to show the current restrictions imposed by copyright — or those wished for by ‘content’ industries — are beneficial overall? There is none. In fact, where is the solid evidence to show copyright at all is good? Surprisingly perhaps, there is none there either. The content industries seek to gain the advantages of these monopolies and impose the costs on everyone else, yet they have no proof everyone else gets a net benefit from it.

    The ‘entitlement’ problem is really on the copyright ‘owners’ side. ‘Piracy’ is the *right* thing to do here.

  33. Stu

    Copyright infringement is not stealing. It is illegal but it doesn’t have the moral equivalent of stealing because it is *not* the same.

    In economic terms, things like videos are not rival goods, an infringer is not depriving someone of consuming that video as they would deprive someone of an XBox by stealing one.

    Video are also what we refer to as partially excludable good, in that the provider of that video can put up mechanisms to prevent access to it from those who haven’t paid. These barriers are entirely artificial, protected by law, but not physics — tormenting a file works around access protection, but doesn’t cause physical damage the way breaking a window does to steal that XBox.

    This is not about entitlement, it’s about false moral equivalence and the basic economics of intellectual property. A portion of the populace will infringe on copyright because they don’t equate it with theft, and shouldn’t. But they do need to understand that illegal actions should have consequences — there needs to be a penalty if you’re caught infringing. Unfortunately this has been the subject of ridiculous overreach on the part of lawmakers (see SOPA) and content providers (with $100k+ lawsuits against families and college students).

    There is no easy answer here.

  34. ij

    I guess the 20th century is too comfortable for some of you to leave.

    A recent report asked what was the main reasons for downloading content – timeliness was the overwhelming answer. Give people what they want, in a timely manner. It’s not rocket science.

  35. Michael Castello

    So-called “piracy” is not only not wrong, it is exactly what should be taking place with things that are infinitely available and sharable at zero cost.

    This moral high ground posturing has been going on for a decade now, but when you actually think about it, “morality” is on the side of the people sharing anyway, not the content creators and their gargantuan senses of entitlement.

    Clearly, filesharing is not going away, so the way forward is to build business models that work in this environment, rather than attempting to create an environment more convenient for physical-era distribution and sales models.

  36. mcph666

    reply to obo: It’s great that, to make up for tormenting “Bored to Death”, you bought those copies of Ames’s books. Truly great! But there was a whole team of talented folks (actors, set & costume designers, writers, camera people, carpenters) involved in making the TV series you enjoyed who didn’t & couldn’t benefit from you buying the book, except in the most tenuous of ways. If you torrent a work, you should set things right by purchasing the very thing you tormented.

  37. Ash

    Oh come on, Andy, this isn’t a moral issue. People like The Oatmeal just want to watch a video, and yes they want to watch it now. It’s consumer culture, the same culture in which people wait in huge lines for new-release iPhones and movie premiers. People want to be a part of the conversation, they want to watch a show at the same time as everyone else.

    The point of the comic is that there are people who want the show right now, they are willing to pay a reasonable amount of money for it, but these companies are not meeting that demand. Maybe piracy is wrong, but that doesn’t change the fact that these companies are leaving money on the table. Consumer demand isn’t entitlement.

  38. Nilay Patel

    The Constitution grants artists a limited time to benefit from their creations before said creations become public domain. Hollywood has turned “limited” into “unlimited” by continually asking Congress to extend the protection.

    So yes, Andy… we the public are entitled to “Game of Thrones” because it is our tax dollars that are used in the protection of their copyright.

    The system was designed a quid pro quo. We the people agree to protect copyright *IF AND ONLY IF* the copyright holder releases their content into the public domain. During the 20th century, this grand bargain was pulled and completely forgotten.

  39. El Aura

    Ok, instead of breaking into Subway what about breaking into a museum or an exhibition (assuming you can do without doing any damage). Why would it be ok to do that?

    And please spare me the the profit argument. The vast majority of people don’t donate their work, they work for a profit. And everybody with the technical means to torrent likely earns more than half the population of world does. I’d say focus your social activism on those in most need.

  40. Bleep Bloop

    I used to think you were smart, Andy. If the content providers want to survive for the next 100 years, Soochikins, getting shit out there right now, in as many formats as possible, at decent prices, is the only way it’s going to happen. They’ll probably make more money then ever, to boot, but apparently they take the same ass-backwards view of the people who want the content that you do.

  41. El Aura

    Often enough in (civil) wars when soldiers where hungry, they did not pay for it. It is a ‘consumer’ culture. To be even more drastic, if soldiers wanted to have sex, they did not pay for it either. Or if people in corrupt countries did not want to pay taxes they bribed the officials. Or people can print their own money that looks good, they do it.

    Just because people want something and can get away with it, does not make it acceptable. Sure, there are vastly different levels of harm done, but surely printing a little bit of money on my own will only harm all those people with money (by devaluing their money a tiny little bit).

  42. Cinnamon267

    I don’t feel entitled I just get pi**ed off when I have to wait 13 months to watch Boardwalk Empire on Blu-ray. 13… freaking… months. THAT is excessive. I can wait 2 weeks. But, when I would like to watch season 1 in preparation for season 2, I kind of can’t. I now have to wait, who knows how long, for season 2 to come out :(

  43. Christian Peel

    In the American West in the 1800s people squated on land that did not belong to them. After more people arrived, one of the big things that pushed the economy forward was to enable these people to gain title to this land. The Peruvian economist Hernado de Soto says that the biggest thing that third world countries can do to improve their economies is to ease the red tape to enable indigent squaters to gain legal title to the land they live on.

    This seems to be the route that Apple took with iTunes Match. They recognized the piracy had happened and that people were not giving up their music, but just found a way to monetize it anyway.

  44. Jim H

    Andy, in a world were perfect, instantaneous copies are easy, yes, people want the immediate rather than being programmed to by a bunch of suits. And they’re perfectly right (if you have to use that word) to want that. If I was a big producer, I’d flood the pirate channels immediately with 720p copies of my first show, and then make it available to everybody in 1080p the very same day for a small price. No Blu-ray until the end of production.

    Oh, and the hell with Comcast or any tiered system of pretend “channels” that really should be a series of websites. Progamming “channels?” Stupid, 20th century idea. Give me bandwidth and let me worry about “programming.” I’m the network executive in my house.

  45. Jake

    Once the risk of defaults on the financing used to fund content creation becomes too high, the financing will dry up and the creation — at the scale that requires financing — will end.

    No more waiting! We will be flush with back catalog.

  46. Don't own a TV, or torrenting software

    Andy, if you are an intellectually honest person, you will go back and change all occurrences of the phrase “two weeks” in your article to “one year” – that’s how long us simple-minded honjust folks who just want to pay a fair price for a nice piece of TV entertainment have been forced to wait until we are allowed to legally buy this TV show. Just make this change to your article, then read it again and let us know if you think your “entitlement” theory still rings true. You may or may not think this makes any difference, but until you make this change your entire argument is a disingenuous non-starter.

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