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Mac Hart

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Embrace Piracy

Posted: 02/ 5/2012 12:11 am

Embrace piracy, I say. I know this is controversial but just hear me out. There is no fighting piracy in this world. Even Rovio (maker of Angry Birds) CEO Mikael Hed said, "Piracy may not be a bad thing: it can get us more business at the end of the day."

When there is a way to download something for free than rather pay for it, people will almost always never pay for that item and will fight to continue doing it. The reason why so many people pirate is not only a monetary issue, but a service issue. For example, when you download music from iTunes, you don't really own that music. Apple restricts your usage of the music you bought by limiting how many computers you can transfer it to. That is like a car dealership limiting who can and cannot drive your car. It just does not make sense. Furthermore, when you buy a game from certain companies, such as Ubisoft, there DRM (Digital Rights Management) allows players to only play the game if they are online. Even single-player games like Assassin's Creed, with no multilayer, require you to be online! This DRM is a pitiful excuse for piracy prevention by making sure that only people who bought the game can log in online to play.

I said this was a service issue because politicians and lobbyists need to realize that piracy has become a legitimate means for media distribution. Laws like SOPA and ACTA are not going to end piracy by shutting down the websites. Hackers can get around these barriers or they can just change their website. For example, The Pirate Bay, a leading pirate website, recently changed their domain name from .ORG to .SE. This prevented U.S. authorities from seizing their domain. The industry needs to realize they cannot beat the pirates.

My plan is for media distributing companies to offer better service as an alternative to piracy. Instead of selling music, movies, or games that the user really doesn't own, have a store that has a wide variety of items that are sold for pennies on the dollar. These companies need to do anything to make deals with record companies, movie industries, and game studios so that their library of items is vast and numerous, and can be suited to every buyer.

By allowing these items to actually be owned, the user buys what they want and then instead of getting some excuse for ownership, the user gets a file that they can do whatever they want with. This raises the question, couldn't they just copy it and give it to their friends? Then why doesn't that company offer services that exceed the pros of piracy? The following quotes come from Reddit user solidwhetstone in his post "How Hollywood could kill movie piracy (if they wanted to)." First the industries need to "give us a [media] application like Steam (similar to iTunes but for PC games) that lets us buy movies for cheap." For example, companies could "sell the movies for less than it costs to buy a bluray, have daily/weekly/seasonal sales on movies, NO DRM. Allow users to download the movies to their hard drives in various formats, include special features that would come on a bluray, include box art and other included art as [high quality] jpgs, give us this application on gaming consoles, PC, and other media devices (mobile, tablets, etc.), allow users to gift movies to friends, integrate with all major social networks and show a news feed of purchases, buying [an item] means you ALWAYS own it. Even if you switch computers or devices, give users access to new movies before they hit store shelves... Give pirates some competition by providing something better."

I know that was a whole lot of information I threw at you, but wouldn't you pay for these awesome features? Once our government and the media industry realize that they need to compete with piracy rather than destroy it, they will overcome it. This metaphor is going to sound corny but here I go; piracy is a wave, it cannot be stopped by any means. Rather than fight against it why not ride it, go with the flow, embrace it.