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Anti-piracy people often say that the mentality of pirates is “free is candy”. For some, this is true, but I think that’s just one of the many reasons why people download pirated music, videos, games, and so on. One of the main reasons, I think, is the broad amount of options that piracy offer. In the legal stores, you can usually find only the newest stuff – the stuff which publishers have put a lot of money in marketing to try to make us want. Try to find something outside of that main stream, and it’s almost impossible, unless you pirate it. And that brings us to the other big reasons – accessibility and simplicity. Consumers just want to get things – easily – without having to import a CD (that if done legally, you might have just heard ABOUT, and never had the chance to actually hear yourself) from a far off country (if you could even find one). Is that a sure investment if you aren’t rich? You will by no chance have found the small artist or developer that cannot afford any beyond-local-area marketing, unless they are clever enough to have a website with samples – but that site needs some form of marketing in order to spread as well. Pirating, however, can spread that music far and beyond to and from people that like that sort of music (or game, or movies, or whatever). And yes – a lot of people do tend to like to support the creators of art, even though they might have found the artist using piracy. I’m one of them, as are most of my friends.

However, some companies do GET this, luckily. Steam (PC games), iTunes (music), XBox Live Arcade (console games) and the list slowly grows. They offer a wider variety of options than old traditional “stores”. They offer accessibility, as you can often try the game or listen to a snippet of music before you buy it. And they offer simplicity. You pay (it still has to be a reasonable price, naturally, which realistically MUST be lower than buying a hard-copy in the store) and then you can simply download and listen/play/whatever. It’s yours. Ask people – the common view on piracy is not that it is stealing, because it’s copying, not stealing. People don’t think “I’m stealing now”, they are thinking “I want this and this method is the most reasonable way considering all factors” (ok, not literally, but more or less).

So, what grinds my gears is that some just don’t GET it. They flail around accusing people of theft (and compare piracy with arson) and fail to see that instead of adapting reality to fit their needs, they can adapt themselves to reality. Which way do you think will win in the end?

I will quote a site here, which says quite a lot (I made some of it bold). The article discusses the trial against The Pirate Bay’s founders:

According to IFPI’s Peter Danowsky, the damages claimed from The Pirate Bay are the same as if the site had ‘legally’ obtained licenses to distribute the music world-wide, regardless of whether all the downloaders had later decided to buy the music or not. Effectively, they are trying to say that one download=one lost sale. They are talking about imposing the costs of a “global distribution license” on TPB.

For the song “Let it Be” by The Beatles, IFPI is asking for 10 times the damages, since the band’s music isn’t officially available online. Interesting logic here – perhaps if The Beatles music was made officially available, people wouldn’t even need to pirate it. The same 10X multiplier is used for all material ‘made available’ before official release, referring to this charge as a special “preview license.”

TorrentFreak, Day 3. The Pirate Bay’s ‘King Kong’ Defense

Realistic? Do they expect to win in a court with this?

One download = one lost sale. What a naive point of view. No, if it was possible to turn off piracy, the people who download will NOT all buy what they otherwise would download. They mention numbers themselves from time to time, that some people download hundreds of albums and movies each month… that would translate into tens of thousands of US dollars for one consumer. No, the investment of downloading an album is no the same as the investment as going to the store (trip that might cost money and certainly cost time) and then purchasing something for 2-3 hours salary that you haven’t had the chance to listen to (except perhaps one or two songs on the radio, if you listen to radio).

It doesn’t matter to the consumer how much work it was for the developer/publisher in getting this product to the store, seriously. The investment for the consumer is still the same, and whether the product is worth the investment is based on the actual end use of the product – not the production of it!

No one wants to invest more into something than it is worth (to THEM). You cannot be a businessman if you believe otherwise, so… WHY don’t some businessmen GET this?

Argh!

A final note. Have you ever heard a phrase like “for every honest person buying a CD there are a 100 people downloading it”? If you have heard the rantings of anti-piracy activists, you surely have. And maybe it is true. However, flip that coin. For every 100 people downloading a CD, one person buys it. If a lot of people download your CD, that is a very good thing. That’s free publicity – something that is extremely valuable for the small artists. But, ironically, not so much for the giants who put lots of money into marketing. They want to create their own publicity, they want to be in control, but today that method is starting to fail. The internet provides not only piracy, but a global network of reviews and opinions and discussions about products. In many different ways – whether it’s by trying-before-buying through piracy, hearing about and discussing products through forums, or reading reviews on various sites – people have started to bypass the marketing campaigns of a product and started to find out what other like-minded (and honest, non-biased) people think of it instead. A marketer will always say that his product is awesome and mindblowing, even if it is a turd. Honest opinions though, will make those products fail, and the dollars spent on marketing will blow away with the wind. The internet does through a true Darwinian system filter away that which sucks and lifts up that which is awesome, more or less regardless of controlled marketing. Who will lose most on this? The giants (I’m not saying all) that make money selling lukewarm turds by relying on clever and usually expensive marketing, as the veil of marketing can now be lifted to show that turd to the consumer, even before the consumer have spent one cent on the product. Who will win on this? The ones that put time and heart on making products with the hope that they will sell because they are good, and I dare say that when it comes to music and art, this is usually the smaller ones. If you haven’t got a big wallet to pay for marketing your product, you better make the product good enough to spread by word-of-mouth (or… keyboard, as is usually the case on the interwebs).

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