One of the biggest reasons given for piracy over the past decade, has been convenience. It’s simply easier to download a movie than drive to a theatre, pay outrageous prices for tickets before being told you can’ t bring your own food and being forced to pay more exuberant prices for sugary polystyrene (even if it is delicious). Funnily enough though, this convenience argument is now being thrown back in the face of pirates by those that say it’s all easier now, so stop pirating.
Case in point, Mr Roy Billing, “award winning” actor from down under who wrote a piece in the HeraldSun, complaining that the idea of convenience with piracy is a fallacy and people should no longer use it as an excuse for downloading movies and TV shows illegally. Along with several unlinked to studies which he cites, Billing also points out to the concessions given by HBO over worldwide release times of the latest Game of Thrones episodes. While the first season had a big delay, season 3 is sent out the world over merely an hour after its US debut.
To him, this is the height of convenience and downloading has nothing to do with it. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s looking at the big picture.
It’s just not that simple. If I miss the show’s allotted time, I want to be able to watch it later on. Navigating to the HBO website right now, I can head to the season 3 page and… I can’t watch it. No episodes from season 3 are watchable as of now. Ok, well maybe I can catch up on season 2, that I can do. But I need a blinkbox account and I have to pay for it. If I’m already paying for an HBO subscription, surely I don’t need to pay for it twice?
After all, I’m already paying for the HBO channel, which is full of content I have no interest in. Can’t I just give HBO $20 for the Game of Thrones season? Is it really that much to ask that I can watch these episodes on demand, like every other service is championing?
That’s how Netflix works. I give them $10 a month and I can watch thousands of shows and films. HBO though, I need to watch at the precise time, or set a recording in which case, you might as well just let me watch on demand, so what’s the point?
But of course as Billows points out, every pirate just wants something for free right? It’s not like the biggest pirates are the biggest consumers of legally purchased media or anything. Here’s a study I’ll actually link to, that shows the top downloaders have several hundred percent more store bought media than non-downloaders. I’d challenge Billows to show us his DVD collection. Mine is several hundred strong and I pay for several on demand services. I guarantee many pirates’ collections are the same.
Some people ok, yes, they just want stuff for free. These are the same people than spend a penny on Humble Bundles, but they’re in the minority. Billows is making the same mistake movie studios make and thinking pirates aren’t good people, simply because they download media illegally. They’re fans. Fans that know how to get hold of the films they love in an easier way than is being offered to them. This is the 21st century. Tv schedules and long cinema times are a thing of the past. We want our films and we want them now and if you don’t let us pay you for them, who’s fault is that really?
I’ll let a smarter man than me explain it succinctly. Over to you Mr Fry.