Piracy has been an issue for both consumers and producers alike over the past few years. Everything on the internet is a copy of itself. The argument that downloading content for free online from a file sharing website is illegal is simply not true. You are not removing the file from the site, it is being copied. Thus the name file sharing websites.
Now in comparison for the morally righteous there are sites such as Netflix which allow users to pay each month for content. Netflix is successful for several reasons. Firstly it allows users in Australia for example legal access to television shows mostly that aren’t aired on free to air television. Secondly it keeps producers of content happy as they are making a profit. And thirdly it allows content to be shared freely. If you count having to pay for something you can download for free as file sharing.
Imagine the internet is a piece of land in the 1600s. The creators of content are the lords of the manor, and the peasants are us. Regular people. But we’re free peasants. Not slaves. And the crops we plant are files shared on the internet. Now we do so within the fields (the internet) that the lord (content creators) owns. This all sounds pretty good. The catch? We can’t do any of that without having to pay, they control the land (the internet) that we are using. So basically producers of content want it to work like this; we’re allowed to access all of the entertainment to our hearts content, we just have to be willinging to follow all of their rules. And pay for it.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told Empire Magazine in an interview this year just after their launch in Australia that the reason he created the company was after a $40 fine he got for a late fee on a video 20 years ago.
It’s interesting to note that one this supposedly ‘free’ model you are still paying a fee for your internet usage…
But the most interesting point in relation to the internet and Netflix is that it does not provide the service that the internet is is supposedly meant to do. The old term ‘Everything is free’ is replaced by ‘Information wants to be free, but it also wants to be expensive’.
Until 2015 Netflix was not available within Australia. Legally the only ways to access a television series or a movie prior to it being released in Australia was very limited. In most cases you’d either have to subscribe Foxtel or wait for it to come out on DVD. So in reality the internet of being this huge and free field is in fact a corned off field with very high fences protected by barbed wire. But the information is still available. You just have to be in the right section and willing to pay.
So although it has been a long wait for Netflix in Australia, it is here. Which may help reduce the act of piracy. Although probably will not. The only real guarantee that there will be a reduction in piracy is that content is delivered free to consumers and on the world wide release date. Because let’s be real, there’s nothing worse that getting ‘This is not available in your country’. Don’t be selfish.