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Journal: Piracy Saves the Consumer with No Better Alternatives

Journal by ShimmyShimmy
Recently, an article was posted on Slashdot regarding online video piracy. Unsurprisingly enough, the numbers showed huge growth in illegitimate content, particularly in comparison to legally purchased media.
Specifically, "compared to legal video sales. The largest target continues to be adult oriented content and TV shows" I posted my opinion as a comment to the article, but I decided to add this to my journal as well. Read on.

Pirated TV shows, eh? Anyone surprised? It's the content provider's fault, and its their problem. No sympathy here. The reason it's pirated so much is that there's no viable alternative. VERY few shows, except a few tokens available on iTunes (The Office, etc), can't be bought legally until the season finishes and the DVD comes out. If it comes out. Months later.
So let's say the DVDs come out. Most shows are $40 a season!! The few episodes available for download cost a whopping $1.99. So however I buy it, chances are, I'm looking at $2 per episode, for something I'm probably only going to watch once. What a ripoff! I mean, I really like Lost, but once you find out what happens in the end, there really isn't much value in rewatching it (IMO). Therefore, it's not quite comparable in value to me purchasing one of my favorite movies on DVD that I'll likely watch over and over again. Sure I could rent it, but that's kind of a pain in the ass. And that doesn't even address technical issues.
I buy my favorite music online, I can buy it in a format that doesn't suck. With mp3, it Plays for Sure (tm) on my iPod, or God forbid off-brand mp3 player. Let's say I decide to buck up for a DVD of one of my favorite TV Shows. Now I have to deal with DVD player region crap. Can I just put it on my PSP/iPod Video, etc? Apparently not. That seems to be illegal under the DMCA. Well, maybe if I pay extra money for it at the time of purchase. Sounds like a crappy deal to me. Personally, I don't think the Darknets took off and exploded in popularity because they're free. They succeed because they're convenient.

So let's recap. I'm a (relatively) honest consumer looking to watch my favorite show because I missed it on TV. Or maybe I want to get a song I heard on the radio that my local record store doesn't have. What options to I have to get my media? It's overpriced, I have to wait as long as months to get it, it's overpriced, I'm probably only going to watch it once, it's overpriced, it comes in a crappy format, and I can't copy it (legally), I might be able to burn it once or twice, and I may or may not be able to play it on my favorite mobile device. screwed consumers? Piracy to the rescue! Any questions?

The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets. -- L. Zadeh