Australia’s Example Says Abundance of Choice Should Scupper Piracyon August 8, 2014 at 5:06 pm
When it comes to copyright infringement in Australia, “lack of availability is no longer an excuse,” says Simon Bush, CEO of the country’s Home Entertainment Distributors Association.
In reality, of course, it has never been a valid excuse for piracy, but his wider point is well taken in this global example of creative content access. In the major entertainment markets consumers now have access to more legal than ever before, making it more a case of which one or two will I choose, as opposed to will I choose the legal or illegal option?
It’s an important distinction, because the case is often made that consumers lack choice and are driven into the waiting arms of piracy sites. The reality – and examples like this one – show that simply isn’t the case.
Recall just a few short months ago, in the wake of Popcorn Time’s first brief incarnation, a high-profile writer at the New York Times suggesting illegal services are justifiable, even “innovative,” to quote the original article on an overused and often misrepresented excuse for sites that aid and abet content theft.
Innovation in this case seems to apply because the service cleverly (and completely illegally) navigates around the need to pay for the content the viewer wants to enjoy. It certainly isn’t because of some great technological leap, as almost all the content offered up by these illegal access points is available via legal channels. Pay a small fee for rental, subscription, or a download and you can watch a full quality version on demand, in the comfort of your own home.
As a starting point, consider that almost 20% of IMDB’s top 250 movies are available as part of a Netflix subscription. Granted there’s room for improvement, but that’s plenty of classics old and new to be getting on with, and you can throw in the service’s investment in exclusive breakthrough series like ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Orange is the New Black’ to keep even binge viewers occupied for months. What you won’t find so much of on Netflix and Hulu are newer releases, but almost two-thirds of us now carry a smartphone, making the iTunes and Google Play stores, which do carry most new releases, just a few quick clicks away.
Access is everywhere, the only reason that remains to take content without paying is a lack of moral requirement to compensate creators for their time and effort. Contrary to popular rhetoric, as technology advances the excuses for stealing content actually become fewer and fewer.
In almost every case, entertainment is accessible, affordable, and available at the quality and time viewers want it. As long as we maintain a respect for those who create the music, movies, and television we love, abundance of choice should turn most reasonable consumers away from piracy.