Companies should combat piracy with common sense
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 07:09
The recent arrest of Gottfrid Svartholm, co-founder of The Pirate Bay, in Cambodia adds more fuel to the fire of the fight against Internet piracy. Svartholm, who disappeared while facing a jail sentence and hefty fines, was arrested two weeks ago by Cambodian police. He fled to Sweden after legal action was taken against the website he co-founded.
The Pirate Bay has been the center of Internet piracy for the last several years. Millions of people around the world download terabytes of data every week from The Pirate Bay alone. By RIAA and MPAA standards, a significant portion of content offered on the website is deemed illegal to download.
Corporations around the world that generate revenue from content that is downloaded illegally have been made numerous pushes to stop piracy in the past year.
Many of these corporations have poured money in support of numerous Internet privacy bills like SOPA, which would significantly limit the availability of any copyrighted content on the Internet.
The Internet community responded to those actions heavily by contacting government officials and getting websites like Wikipedia to "blackout." The bills would have damaged the integrity of the Internet and would have taken freedoms away from honest Internet users.
For years the battle between corporations and pirates has been a seemingly endless loop of taking down sites, arresting site owners and poor attempts at government regulation.
There are better solutions to fight piracy and stop those who illegally download. Colleges like West Virginia University that prevent students from accessing torrent websites is a step in the right direction.
The best way to find a solution to a problem is to figure out what the problem is and why it is happening. Thus, the best action the corporations could take is to figure out exactly why people download things illegally.
The popular HBO series "Game of Thrones" fittingly illustrates the problem and offers an insight into possible solutions. After the series debuted, it performed very well, and its success prompted HBO to lock it in for a second season. The problem started when many people around the world, including in the United States, could not access HBO. Within weeks the show became the most pirated television show in history, and even today, thousands are downloading it illegally.
HBO can blame no one but itself for this. Many people who illegally download "Game of Thrones" have stated that they would be more than happy to buy every episode if they had the ability to do it for a reasonable price. Getting a cable provider and paying for the extra package just to get access to HBO is out of the price range for many, especially people outside of the U.S.
A simple fix would be to create a season pass to allow consumers to get episodes live as everyone else does. This would surely result in fewer illegal downloads and more money for HBO, if they simply respond to why people are doing it.
In the piracy world, there are three groups of people. The first group is composed of those who illegally download and will never purchase the content they download. The second group is those who lack the funds to buy any content and download the content illegally. The final group includes people who are unable to purchase products because of restrictions or because the content is unreasonably priced.
The first step that needs to be taken is to sort out the issues with the final group, as the first two won’t pay either way. Simpler means must be created for the users of the Internet to access the content they want at a reasonable price.
Providers must give the consumers more options and not overprice bad content. Only after that should the MPAA and RIAA go after those who refuse to pay any money.
Internet piracy is a huge issue in today’s world; however, business leaders are looking at it in the wrong way and are taking advice from the wrong people.