Stupid White Boy Blabble

Pirate: No Longer One with the Sea | April 12, 2011

Growing up, a pirate was someone on the open see, eye patch over one eye, probably a peg leg and a parrot that would speak nonsense. They would say things like “ahoy matey” and “booty.” It was entertaining and every boy wanted to grow up to be one.

Now in 2011, pirate means far more. No longer does it mean people with a skull and bones tattoo. Now it’s someone who sits behind a computer and “steals” movies, music and anything else that is downloadable. And I would be willing to bet that most of these people don’t look like pirates of yesteryear. Though a pirate today is viewed in disdain by the public much like those of the past. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) would want you to believe that downloading their media is harming their industry. The profit lost from each illegal download not only hurts the artists but the engineers and other employees who worked on the album.

But what if that wasn’t the case. In fact, theĀ International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, the RIAA’s global partner, claimed in 2009 that only 10 percent of music piracy accounts for a lose of sale. That is a a stark contrast to what the RIAA would want you to believe. And the IFPI is right. Not all illegal downloads would have been a sale. I would even say most wouldn’t have been a sale. Simple thinking says that if something is free, most people will take the free item regardless of want. I admit that I have illegally downloaded music before. I had no intent to go out and buy the CD either (of course this doesn’t mean I should get it for free, but that’s another argument). That CD I illegally downloaded, I only listened to once. It sits on my computer having not been played for a couple of years. So was that a lost of profit from stealing that? Nope, I wouldn’t have paid for it in the first place. And that is the biggest factor that the RIAA doesn’t want you to know.

Additionally, the RIAA says they are combating piracy for the artists. But a recent survey of 4,000 artists show that most don’t think that piracy hurts them financially and that piracy offers them more exposure.

As for the movie industry and the MPAA, their claims are even more ridiculous. In the past 30 years, they have only seen a drop in box office revenue six times. Three of those times, the drop was less than one percent in lost revenue. In 2009, we had the biggest grossing movie ever too. So their claims are getting pretty old. Yes, they claim that the decline in DVD sales is what is really hurting the industry, but when grossed over $21 billion dollars in movie theater ticket sales alone from the past two years, it is clear that piracy isn’t hurting you.

For a moment, lets agree with the MPAA and RIAA that piracy is hurting them. What could they do to make more people interested in actually buying their media?

  • Allow consumers to buy the media in the format they want. iTunes offers their music in 256kbps and most streaming services only offer up to 720p. We all have these great devices that allow us to play music and movies to their full potential, yet we are limited by the quality we are offered. The record companies and movies studios need to work with these services to provide the consumer the best possible experience.
  • Reasonably priced. I remember when iTunes was offering all songs for 99 cents and albums were $10. Now it’s $1.29 a song and albums can be $15. Wasn’t digital distribution supposed to make things cheaper? I was paying $15 for physical CDs back in the day. No way would I want to spend that now when all you are doing is transferring me songs. And I can rent a movie on AppleTV for $5. Could I at least spend $10 and buy the copy? Nope, that’s somewhere around the $15 range. $10 is the magical number for consumers.
  • Same release dates across the globe. We here in the USA have it nice. We get a lot of music and movies first before the rest of the world does. This used to not be a problem because it was harder to find information about what was being released and when. Now with the internet, the whole world knows about upcoming music and movies, well in advance. So instead of only allowing American consumers to buy something, why not let our friends all over the world do the same. Because once someone buys it and illegally uploads it, you can bet the people in countries where the media hasn’t been officially released, will pirate it.

These are just a few things the RIAA and MPAA can do to help combat piracy. But they have to remember that just because someone illegally downloads something, does not mean they lost money on that consumer. The likelihood is that it would have never seen that money anyways.

For more information about all of this, I highly recommend Torrent Freak. They have great information about what piracy really is and the issues that occur.

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About author

I'm Jeff. I like PR, sports, politics and traveling. Not in that order. Oh and I also like cats and sharks. Go Cougs!

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