I think all of us have at some point in our lives, despite being willing to fork out the cash, have been unable to obtain content from legal sources. It isn’t a matter of price, it’s a matter of convenience and quality. The online retail platform Steam and ITunes has gone to prove that if you make legal downloads easy, people will buy.
Sure there will be those who will still pirate even when they can afford it but more often than not, a good proportion of these people are the sort who won’t spend much on things anyway unless absolutely forced to. Chances are, the applicaiton/game publishers aren’t losing that much money over this group of people.
As for me personally, although I am a supporter of P2P, I am also a huge supporter of legal downloads and software. As long as it’s affordably priced, available quickly, high quality and DRM free. I fall into a large group of people who are willing to pay if the content providers made it simple to do so. Unfortunately, especially living outside the US, such legal content in Malaysia is abysmal. You go to the local original DVD shop and the licensed copies are worse than the pirated versions and spammed with advertisements that you cannot skip. The cinemas at least in my town, often break down mid-way through a movie or have their sound/picture distorted. There’s hardly any digital content available online beyond the usual suspects such as Steam/Apple AppStore and this doesn’t address the shortage of digital content for movies and music. Chances are, if it’s not on Astro (our local satellite TV provider), you’re not going to be able to get it unless all you want are crappy on-demand movies of mostly obscure shows or drama laden Chinese drama.
Sometimes, even when it does arrive in Malaysia, it’s censored to the point it affects your enjoyment.
This comic from Oatmeal illustrates the many woes of getting legal content.
Please do check out the Oatmeal comic, (clicking on the image brings you to the original source).
However there’s also an excellent article on the converse view posted on Film School Rejects.
In brief the article comes to the following conclusions:
- Pirating is wrong.
- HBO is a subscription service. You either pay to see it now or you wait and see it later.
- HBO and Game of Thrones are particularly vulnerable to pirating because of their subscription service business model.
- Hurting Game of Thrones through piracy won’t change HBO’s business, it will just get the show cancelled.
- The Oatmeal, while pointing out the flaws in the subscription based business model, is wrong to condone the pirating of material, especially when it is available on DVD and Blu-ray in two weeks.
What are your thoughts on this? Should we deny ourselves entertainment if we can’t legally get it or simply be patient enough for the Blu-Ray and DVD versions to be released?