until you made clear that they're downloading it from you, presumably the authorized distributor.
No, we are the people who create the content in question, and who run the library site providing access to it. No-one else is involved here or taking a cut as a distributor.
So...they downloaded exactly as much as they're allowed to, and then once allowed again, started again? Didn't hack your system, didn't go off to torrent it instead? And they're doing...what wrong again? How do you know how they're using it and if such use is "normally"?
It's a subscription model for online browsing of the library. (Think Netflix, Spotify, and so on.) Downloading for permanent storage and offline viewing is not allowed. This is all clearly and explicitly stated in our terms, and I suppose that real-time element is our version of an "all you can eat" restaurant bringing you your eighth course on request, but politely refusing you a doggy back to take leftovers home with you.
A small number of people join the library, and then right before the end of their first billing period, they start going down the index and grabbing everything they can, in order, until they're blocked, at a rate many times faster than any normal user navigates. The outlier here is very, very obvious -- we're talking orders of magnitude. And -- here's the kicker -- at that rate, they would have to be consuming the audio/video content at several times its normal speed just to keep up. And they're doing this for extended periods, and trying again after each time they get blocked, for say the last week in the quarter. Now, if you still think those people are accessing the content of the library online, I know a Nigerian price with a great deal to offer you.
As for why we allow people to do that, well, the alternatives to the limits we do impose would mostly use some sort of heuristic to identify suspicious behaviour more aggressively and throttle it earlier and/or supply the content via some sort of DRM scheme. Obviously either of those might screw genuine users if something went wrong, and put simply, we don't want to risk doing that.
Why on Earth does your system let people do that, if you don't want them to do that? ... (Whoever made the statement to you about DRM is a moron, it's not effective anyway and would drive away your users.)
The person who made the statement about DRM to us may have been a moron, as you put it, and DRM may or may not be effective, but this is the reality that a small content provider faces on the web today. So if someone like the original AC I replied to here wants to come along and claim that they'll start respecting copyrights when the quid pro quo is honoured, I'd like to know what they think about a situation like ours or how they think what we do justifies what other people try to do to us. Or, y'know, it could just be that some people say that because they want to claim anyone with a business model involving copyright deserves to be abused, as apparently a small but noticeable number of people who join our library do.
When it comes down to it, you can't know why anyone downloaded such and such thing.
See, that's the thing. In cases like this, the rip-off behaviour is so obvious that we really can.
As a final point, please consider that the position you've taken and the incorrect assumptions you've made in your post here and in particular casually dismissive comments like "just be glad you're being paid" are exactly why larger content providers routinely use obnoxious DRM schemes and file aggressive legal actions and lobby for punitive copyright laws.
I think it's fair to say that we're about as reasonable and transparent as you could possibly be for a site that provides content and charges for it. We do a lot of work because it's something we care about. The money coming in basically covers the operating expenses and it's a fraction of what it would cost to get material of the quality we produce from other sources. Typically we only act against the most blatant and egregious violations of our terms. And yet, just like the original AC, it seems you still assumed the worst of us and made us out to be the bad guys.
You seem like you're genuinely trying to be reasonable here, which is more than some people are where copyright is concerned, so what lesson should people like us learn from your reaction? Should we explicitly impose hard limits on how much of our library a user can enjoy, and risk spoiling it for a legitimate user who happens to cross over whatever arbitrary threshold we impose? Should we adopt DRM anyway, and just hope that it doesn't interfere too often with legitimate users?
It's easy to stand at the back and look for loopholes where the evil rightsholders are screwing the entirely honest and always considerate user base, but the reality is that if we didn't charge something for the library we make, we couldn't afford to run it at our scale, and the overwhelming majority of our members would miss out on content they enjoy, a loss for everyone. So, what precisely would you have us do when someone is flagrantly ripping us off?