***Spoilers in the Comments***

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.

Like srsly, can you not

Like srsly, can you not

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…

The small print at the bottom on Netflix

The small print at the bottom on Netflix

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. 

Yeah how about no. It's hard enough living on an island

Yeah how about no. It’s hard enough living on an island

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2 thoughts on “***Spoilers in the Comments***

  1. The arrival of Netflix and other similar services is certainly going to help with Australia and piracy – and like you said, work at keeping everyone happy. However it’s taken FOREVER for Netflix to make its way across the ocean and its till not up to scratch! According to a recent article from the Sydney Morning Herald (http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/hometech/how-the-australian-netflix-differs-from-the-us-service-20150324-1m60g8.html), we are still getting the raw end of the deal. Not only is Australian Netflix lacking around 7000 less titles than is available in the US, but our less than average internet speed is not allowing for Netflix to be the legal easy solution everyone was hoping for.

    I agree with you 110% – “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”. It is a simple solution, however the ‘Lords’ seem to think this is going to hurt their bank accounts. To me it seems like having hundreds of thousands of people illegally downloading your content is going to make far less money than keeping control of your content and allowing people to see it on time (http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/game-of-thrones-season-5-downloads-aussies-dont-seem-scared-of-dallas-buyers-club-case-20150414-1mkgcf.html)
    .
    Your gifs perfectly sum up my feelings towards being addicted to television while living in Australia! Great article!

  2. You guys make some great points! And YES, living on an island is hard enough haha! I think the same goes for music piracy- I feel we are on the cusp of the music-streaming revolution, a wave so potent that even Apple haven’t managed to get their heads around it yet. In the past year or so, we’ve gained access to an abundance of streaming services nowadays, so many that it isn’t yet clear who the dominant player will be. Spotify, Rdio, MOG (which also has ‘Jump’), Deezer, Pandora and others besides – all of them are legal, and all of them are an extraordinary musical cornucopia.

    I keep hearing that Spotify (which is probably the dominant player, thanks to its tight integration with Facebook) doesn’t pay artists very well, but I suspect the licensers have correctly calculated it’s better than nothing – which is the realistic alternative. Plus, imagine a world where just about everybody pays over $100 a year to Spotify or its equivalent, and you’ve got a fairly healthy revenue stream.

    The music industry has finally managed to offer what consumers want – all of the music, all of the time. And once you’re used to the constant availability of just about every song or album you’ve ever heard of, it’s unthinkable to do without it. And so, I’m a streaming service customer for life, or at least until something even better comes along, and I’m sure most of their customers feel the same way.

    The music industry tried shaming people into not pirating, and it didn’t work. But now even though I know how to pirate music, there’s simply no point, even if I had no moral concerns. I have no interest in Bittorrenting an album when I can just stream it. It’s not worth the extra mouse clicks, and I don’t care about having the album files on my hard drive. Plus, I can access Spotify or Rdio or MOG (which has free bandwidth on Telstra, incidentally) on my phone when I’m out and about, or in a car, and my illegal download is far less portable, having to be converted and copied and more besides.

    As far as I can see, everyone wins from these streaming music services. Even the artist wins compared to how things were before streaming existed. (And perhaps the business model can be tweaked to improve royalties.) As far as I’m concerned, the legal-music debate is over. You know, like vaccination.

    When it comes to television, though, we’re still a decade behind. One thing, though, is clear: Aussie TV and movie viewers want the same instant gratification we now get from streaming music. That’s why we’re one of the world’s piracy hotspots. I think the television world needs to take advice from the music world! Yes, we do have Netflix, which is similar, but why can’t they understand that we want all the shows and we want them now! I don’t want it 3 months later, I don’t want to pay a gazillion dollars for it, I don’t care about channels and schedules. I would like to know why companies are having trouble understanding this when people are willing to pay!

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