I was thinking why Watchmen the movie isn’t available online. What happened to Demonoids and aXXos? Were these infamous pirates also sold out? I am a pirate. I have been accused of misusing my office scanner for scanning books for free distribution in the past! (I liked a story from an ancient Chinese Literature book so much that I wanted everybody to read it and relish it. You know only good stuff does that to you!) Here, I’m not only defending piracy, but also trying to rethink the development in terms of the endless possibilities that have come with it.
Way into future:
If p2p and torrents could be transformed into an organized distribution network, the business fraternity would surely benefit. Instead of fighting piracy, I would like to think how the mankind can use it to the advantage of our civilization.
Imagine a massive database like Wikipedia or Google that will catalog all products that could be sold online. These products would be linked to open bank/paypal accounts of individual products. All the pirates would use a link – ‘Donate, if you like’ — compulsorily on each page on the entire cyberspace allowing ‘free’ — eproduct — downloads. The money would go directly to the creator or the company which legally owns a product.
I believe the idea of openID — a free single online identity — will soon become a reality. Soon, there will be a need to shape a robust electronic culture of shared responsibility i.e. the business of loss and profit in a new cyber market.
If ‘eproduct’ network becomes a reality, then all p2p users would become e-retailers in an ever-expanding file-sharing network. However, you might ask: Are we willing to pay for any services or products that could be made available or accessible for free — irrespective of the legal aspect? Well, let’s leave that question for future. We won’t get the answer until the system is in the place. The world is like what it should be. If everyone had money, there would be no market for anything ‘free.’ Why not give a chance to people to buy when they can? And still ‘download,’ when they can’t? Piracy isn’t an isolated phenomenon. We’ve to appreciate its cultural and technological significance. [Refer to Steal This Film series.]
When every one of us starts using ‘internet cash,’ there will be a different management system in place to make it work. Seriously, I want to promote piracy and protect it. I want to harness its power because it has potential to change the world, for good. I’m an optimist when it comes to the mankind. But right now, we got to think how to put this system in place. There is a digital divide to bridge. There are other challenges. But there will be a day when a computer — or more than one — becomes a reality for each and every individual. We can’t stop films from being available for free and we can’t even complain about it because many of us here in Asia are learning cinema through the very medium.
We must have faith in our audience — the people — that they won’t let us die. We must find a way for piracy and professionals to mutually exist in a new world — e-world. You know about the anti-copyright movement, don’t you? As for my Watchmen, before I could catch it in theaters here, it’s already gone. The book’s just f**k*g awesome. I’ve decided to wait for whatever comes first — an original DVD or a good quality torrent.
[For those interested in my Chinese obsession, here are the download links:
‘Curlylocks’ is a cocky tale about a ‘regular’ guy by Chen Jiangong. It was translated from Chinese by Stephen Fleming and published in the 1988 issue of Chinese Literature.]
I respectfully disagree with your pro piracy stance. People don’t generally download (steal) because they can’t pay for something, they do it because they don’t want to. If one truly loves something, they’ll allocate money for it and stop wasting it elsewhere. If you were a lawyer, a baker or a contractor would you expect people to pay for your services when they could and ‘stiff you’ when they felt they didn’t have enough money to pay? As for voluntary donations for downloads, it’s up to the creator and owner of the content if they want to go that route. Radiohead did with their last album before they put it out in stores but that was their choice and it worked for their loyal fan base. That wouldn’t work for everyone and it shouldn’t be forced upon them. Jon Stewart announced recently on the Daily Show that now that real piracy exists again on the seas, people who illegally download movies and music will have to go back to their original title: “Thieves”
My roommate downloads when she can’t and buys when she can. I don’t agree with it, but she is in fact an example that that happens.
I think the iTunes e-market was pretty much the best and most logical response to that whole Napster fiasco as there could be. “Oh you want to download music, huh? Cool, do it legally here for a small price.” People still download illegally all the time, but the sheer convenience of the iTune network and its tie-ins allowed the process to be profitable and co-exist with what was previously considered the death of the music industry (where it, instead, actually seems to have increased diversity in the music industry if my perceptions aren’t incorrect—thoughts?).
Now that there are iPods with video capacities, companies are selling “digital copies” with their DVDs. Netflix renters can stream certain titles for “free” (cost of membership applies). The Auteurs have free movies and costing movies. Pretty much trying to get people to stop going to the Internet to acquire their entertainment is a Sisyphean effort and I wouldn’t even try if I were a business manager. Best to make the products widely and commonly available in online stores for downloading so that most people will pay for the “convenience”.
Piracy is indefensible.
I agree with the posters who point out that downloading anything that is not in the public domain, is current, or copyrighted is piracy. This was covered quite well in an old thread:
Is buying pirated DVDs justified – due to state censorship? cost of original DVDs? love of films? http://www.theauteurs.com/topics/529/comments
Saying this, I believe in the future that a fair and equitable price for doing downloads legally would benefit all. The pay-as-you-wish model won’t work, as no one will pay. Think of the excellent example on our own site – the auteurs – where films are available for a low price or even free. This is the right and ethical approach. Film distributors have to embrace this model for it to work effectively. If costs are low – and payment easy and secure – why wouldn’t people pay to download good quality prints of a film they want to see? Save the DVD option for those demanding the best product (like Blu-ray), special features, commentaries – whatever. Also, for films not currently available, this would be an excellent method of providing them at a low cost – through the low-priced download option.
I don’t think we should ever encourage illegal downloads, but a low-priced option should suit everyone and stop the illegal downloads in their tracks. This means enforcing restrictions on illegal sites that justify themselves by offering a ‘free’ product because the cost of the legitimate product might be prohibitive to some. Take the rationale away by giving a low-cost option – equivalent to the cost of renting the film – then it begs the question of why you would ‘steal’ something that it ‘cheap’? Also, it is silly to download films currently being shown at the theatre, way before their legitimate DVD or potential legitimate download release. This is just dumb and obviously the equivalent of sneaking into the back exit of a theatre – except the qualtiy is much poorer.
Of course, the legalities of film distribution in each individual country are the real reasons this option doesn’t currently exist. There must be a good solution to the problem of distribution, as well. I’d say get the lawyers trying to protect copyright everywhere out of it, or this model will never work. This will be the most difficult hurdle to cross, as the technical aspect of digital copying is obviously here in the torrent model. I would like to envision a world where legal copying is universal in any country and the proceeds go back to the film producers, artists, and copyright owner – who owns the copyright world-wide. The whole copyright issue for each country or region is so tangled now, that it is the gordian knot that needs to be broken to allow for a more effective method of legal downloading on the internet.
This will all be coming soon anyway, so let’s embrace the legal downloading of films, just like the iTunes example.
“This means enforcing restrictions on illegal sites that justify themselves by offering a ‘free’ product because the cost of the legitimate product might be prohibitive to some. Take the rationale away by giving a low-cost option – equivalent to the cost of renting the film – then it begs the question of why you would ‘steal’ something that it ‘cheap’?”
Just an aside point that people steal hard-copy rentals from my store all the time—at the rate of ~5-6 a day, ~8-10 or even more when we get a particularly scrappy asshole (usually who we eventually catch and kick out with threats and strong words—but are effectively unable to do fuck-all about because the company regulations around catching thieves are so draconian that the only way for it to work is if the person walks right up to us and yells in our face, “I’M GONNA STEAL THIS NOW OKAY WATCH ME!” and then steals it in front of us, on camera, with witnesses, and while the police are already at our store pre-called to expect the event—then we can arrest them). The cost of a rental? $2-4. People just steal shit. There’s no stoppin’ em, even making the prices cheap(er).
But there is lowering the incentive for theft with low prices mixed with increasing security, a tight line to walk really. Just as spammers are always one step ahead of spam bots, finding a decent arena with which to sell movies while cutting piracy is going to be tough.
Ok, sure, piracy is stealing. And while some people steal films because they have no other alternative (China, where I am), or because they can’t afford to buy, there are of course those who just don’t want to pay. But all these people, regardless of motive, are interested in seeing the films that they steal. So if the studios released content for free, they would have an instant advertising base. Its just time to rethink the business model here.
check it and let me know what you think: