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EU withheld a study that shows piracy doesn't hurt sales (2017) (engadget.com)
987 points by seesawtron 78 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 351 comments



As someone who grew up in Eastern Europe in the early 2000s, with a a taste for Western media, especially movies, and the Internet becoming a widespread thing, it was infuriating waiting for movies to come to theaters months behind the rest of the world. Not to mention the horrible country specific posters and advertising, limited availability and titles. Piracy was the only option.

It felt like the Internet would solve all these problems, like you'd be able to experience culture from any part of the world however you liked and at the same time as the rest of the world. Sadly that never happened. It's much better now but it still feels like the media is crippled by old local distributor deals. The fact that e.g. Netflix offers different movies for every country is something that honestly does not make any sense yet everyone accepts it.

When I got my first Kindle 12 years ago my Amazon account was registered with my local European address so the books available in store were all complete trash romance pulp novels. Once I simply changed my home address to some random location in New York I suddenly had access to hundreds of thousands more titles. The Internet never delivered on its promise.


As someone who grew up in the UK in the late 90s, with a taste for American media, especially scifi, and the Internet a widespread thing, it was infuriating waiting for TV shows to come to the screen months or even years behind the rest of the world.

I do remember one site that allowed me to do download SG1 episodes (about 128kbit, and this was probably cinepak or some form of mpeg1 compression) over a modem, and that was a lifeline.

When I got to Uni in Oct 2000, I could use BitchX/IRC on the lab irix machine to use a massive 10 MEGA bit connection to get voyager episodes. Compared with downloading on a 33.6kbit connection over a phone line that cost at least £2.40 (about $5-6 in today's money) that was an amazing experience.

Even recently they decided not to bother releasing Lower Decks internationally. Had to get a Bittorrent client to watch it. That's not the case with things like Discovery and Picard which were released pretty much simultaneously.

If a media company won't sell me what I want to watch, I'll go elsewhere. I paid $6 to my phone company to get a shocking quality copy of Voyager. For me, Piracy is not trying to avoid paying for it, it's about trying to get it.

They've mostly cottoned on to the fact it's a global market now at least.


> "For me, Piracy is not trying to avoid paying for it, it's about trying to get it."

Sad thing is it's not even always about location exclusive dealings, either. It wasn't terribly long ago that I was prevented from paying for access to content available on Amazon's streaming services because my "platform isn't supported".

(I use Linux, and whatever DRM they used at the time wasn't available on Linux, and before anyone tries to tell me "Just use Windows then", the answer is and always will be "NO!" Been there, done that, quit Windows for very valid reasons, ain't goin' back ever. Period, full stop, end of story.)

So, yeah… Their "anti-piracy measures" actually lost them a sale that would have likely turned into a repeat customer, and as a consequence, they're one of the streaming services I actively avoid even looking at.

Instead of focusing on punishing those who will never pay them, they should seriously think about not punishing those who would willingly pay (as DRM really only hurts the honest customer).


It's Gaben being proved right over and over and over again. Piracy is a service problem, not a pricing problem.


To be fair, I think it's both. They're over pricing pay per view content, which drives people to subscription services. The problem is that subscription services are filled with low quality content. They need to stop being tricky and just sell this stuff for what it's actually worth. Paying $4 to watch a single movie one time is absurd when you pay $10 to watch unlimited content in a month. Pricing is very out of proportion too.


The ”premiere” fee for streaming the new Avengers movie was over 20 dollars, supposedly due to ”exclusive” access.

And you don’t even get to keep a copy.


Well, you get the crappy channel subsidized with adverts, otherwise it would either be too pricey or server just utter cheap worthless unwatchable trash (mostly).

Would you like to pay say 1 dollar per movie and watch significant amount of ads during it?


If the ads appeared in-world instead of replacing the program material, I would have no problem with this.


Advertising in movies and tv series is huge. I hadn't really noticed smoking on screen much at all in a decade or so until I got Netflix.

Netflix has a massive cigarette addiction.

The other two things I notice a lot are cars and phones / computers.

It has been projected that 11.44 billion U.S. dollars would be spent on product placement in the United States in 2019, up from 4.75 billion in 2012 - https://www.statista.com/statistics/261454/global-product-pl...


> Would you like to pay say 1 dollar per movie and watch significant amount of ads during it?

No I wouldn't.


> So, yeah… Their "anti-piracy measures" actually lost them a sale that would have likely turned into a repeat customer

Yeah, and in the same vein, I skip buying games which have certain DRM systems in place (like the nefarious Denuvo). Again it's a lost sale for them, since often it's the only thing preventing me from buying an otherwise good game.


Not just a lost sale. Multiple lost sales, because in cases like that I'll not only avoid that game, but others from that publisher, and I'll steer other folks away from them, too.


Funny, I’m torrenting SG1 literally right now because Netflix took the episodes down for no reason.

A few months ago someone used one of those AI/ML based upscalers and now I have the torrents in 1080p resolution. Obviously it’s not magic but there is a very clear noticeable difference in quality and texture detail and of course the higher resolution compared to the older torrents and even Netflix.

Highly recommend!


> Funny, I’m torrenting SG1 literally right now because Netflix took the episodes down for no reason.

They had SG-1 on Netflix?! It never was available on mine Netflix (which I keep subscribed to only because, and for as long as, they have the golden-era Star Trek series, i.e. TNG-ENT).

Exclusive regional distribution rights are legacy bullshit for digital content. And the sad thing is, people responsible for maintaining those are going to make things worse, because they now figured streaming is hot, and everyone is racing to create their own exclusive streaming platform.


I have a sneaking suspicion Netflix dropped SG1 because people like me would watch it almost continuously and therefore it contributed disproportionately to their content delivery costs.

I lost count how many times I've watched DS9 and VOY, too.


> because people like me would watch it almost continuously

I would, too. Only this year I've completed another end-to-end rewatch of DS9, and continued with half of VOY (got interrupted by life) and then half of ENT. And I feel like the time to re-watch TNG is approaching again. Lord help me, if they had SG-1 on Netflix in Poland, I would have been watching it just as much.


Yeah they did in the UK!


It's a shame that the typical HN "thing" happened where people focussed on small details and argued strawman arguments instead of focussing on the main fact that some AI/ML upscalers can make older shows look much better.


> because Netflix took the episodes down for no reason.

Wow, what an entitled viewpoint. There was a very simple reason on why the episodes were removed: their license for those episodes expired. The content owner only allowed Netflix to display that content for a certain amount of time known as a licensing window. That window is now closed. Now that there are several other streaming vendors, the content owner of SG1 is more than likely to hoping to get more money from someone else.

So while you may be disappointed in you not getting what you want when you want it, you're ire is totally pointed at the wrong people. It is always the content owner, not the distributor. At least learn a little bit about what you are clearly passionate about.


Both are at fault. The content owner wants to make money through Netflix and other distributors, without it they are limited by DVD sales which are dwindling. It would be very, very easy for all of the content distributors to band together into some sort of... 'union', that would help them strong-arm the owners and push back the incoherent decisions made by them.

Also, who is this post aimed at? Netflix isn't going to care if someone badmouths them on some random corner of the internet. And anyone who works there isn't going to give a shit just because someone on hacker news couldn't get SG-1 available internationally. I'm struggling to figure out why you felt that this post was at all necessary.


> It would be very, very easy for all of the content distributors to band together into some sort of... 'union', that would help them strong-arm the owners and push back the incoherent decisions made by them.

I think when competing firms form a 'union' like this it's called collusion.


One person’s collusion is another person’s Motion Picture Association.

the MPA has advocated for the motion picture and television industry, with the goals of promoting effective copyright protection, reducing piracy, and expanding market access. It has long worked to curb copyright infringement, including recent attempts to limit the sharing of copyrighted works via peer-to-peer file sharing networks and by streaming from pirate sites.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motion_Picture_Association


This is kind of apples and oranges though. The MPAA is more of a lobbying organization, it isn't an agreement between firms about how they will compete (or not compete) in the marketplace


HDCP is absolutely a byproduct of abusing a quasi-natural monopoly.


Isn't it pretty much an agreement that they'll compete" (i.e. not compete) by all implementing basically the same shitty DRM?


A group of competitors agreeing on a standard isn't the same thing as collusion, though. There are all kinds of industry competitors that use common standards. Not defending the DRM, but that alone isn't collusion.


The European court of justice would like to have a word with you. See recent VW and BMW fine.


It seems closer to Refusal To Deal, but the wiki page on that is sparse: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refusal_to_deal

It doesn't seem to fit the FTC's definition of that, either: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-a...

Not to mention, there is already precendence


This is how I was interpreting the suggestion to "join" together as well.


Why would any of the platforms join together? If all of the streamers had the same content, there'd be no point in having more than one streaming platform.

Why would the content owners want to work with only one streaming platform? There'd be nobody to bid against each other.

I want to see a show on Broadway, but I don't live in New York so I guess I should just find it on the pirate bay? No? How is it any different? I should start complaining on the internet? I want to see a concert in my town, but no promoter decided to bring that show to my town. I should again start complaining on the internet? A TV show/Film is not available in my available ways of viewing is totally acceptable to complain on the internet? So I go to the internet and complain, and then someone else has the gall to call me out on it? Please children, dad has a headache from the banality.


> I want to see a show on Broadway, but I don't live in New York so I guess I should just find it on the pirate bay? No? How is it any different?

Yes. Is this meant to be some kind of gotcha? This is absolutely what you should do. There's no downside for anyone involved.

> I want to see a concert in my town, but no promoter decided to bring that show to my town. I should again start complaining on the internet?

Again, yes. If enough people complain the promoter will go "oh crap, we've got loads of fans over there, we're losing out on revenue by not including them on the tour".

> A TV show/Film is not available in my available ways of viewing is totally acceptable to complain on the internet?

Yep. Would you complain if you went to a cinema and were barred from entry because you looked like you were from the wrong side of the town? I sure as hell would, and geographic content restrictions online are exactly the same.


"I want to see a show on Broadway, but I don't live in New York so I guess I should just find it on the pirate bay? No?" I mean, honestly, why not. I will never drive to New york to see it. So they will never receive money from me. So they lose nothing by me watching it online. Victimless crime.


You seem to be the one complaining about other people's behavior.

Yes, if content is not available to someone else, any they wouldn't be able to see it otherwise, then their is little harm in piracy.

And you, not them, seem to be to most mad about other people doing things that doesn't really cause any harm.


This is actually where I've drawn the line.

I am willing to pay to watch your movie/show/series, but if there is no way to do that then I will pirate the show.

Only reason I got a month of Netflix was Inside

Only reason I got a month of Disney+ was to check out Loki

Neither will be renewed.

I tried to search platform where I could watch the new Rick & Morty, but I wasn't able to find one in EU. I'm sure it exists, but if Google can't get me the answer within resonable time (like this time it failed to) I just downloaded the episodes (actually I was able to watch the S5E1 from AdultSwim's website) [BTW if someone knows EU streaming site where I can watch these as they get released I'd like to know so I can pay for couple months]


Also, at least in my country (Australia), Rick and Morty was censored (bleeps every 15 seconds) on Netflix, so I pirated it for a better experience.


Rick and Morty is available on HBO. It's also on Netflix, but they don't have season 5 yet for some reason.


I need to check HBO out. Netflix I knew had the first 4, which I kind a assumet ment they had the exclusive deal and wouln't have the episodes until season finale airs


> Why would any of the platforms join together? If all of the streamers had the same content, there'd be no point in having more than one streaming platform.

I don't think you understand. A 'union' is simply a group of companies aligning and talking about common interests, one of which is exactly what I said -- the ability to strongarm content owners into making content available internationally, so that their bottom line can be stronger.

It is not the same meaning as 'merger' -- you seem to have conflated the two? For the union I just proposed, there is historical precendece -- the International Intellectual Property Association and similar organizations put pressure on the US Government via lobbying to specifically 'protect' international copyright law (NB: I can't condone this organization, but it does exist). This is simply a different group of companies with different interests. It doesn't mean they stop competing with each other, it just means that they all agree to do one specific thing. In this case it might harm them all in the short term, but would be beneficial in the long term.

Without sales to Netflix and other content distributors the revenue of the content owners would dry up -- movie sales are dwindling due to increasing prices, DVD sales are drying up, therefore the content distributors hold the cards here which allows them to unilaterally negotiate better terms -- but that only works if they all do it at once. If one company decides to not participate, that leaves an opening for the content owners to go to them.

> I want to see a show on Broadway, but I don't live in New York so I guess I should just find it on the pirate bay? No? How is it any different? I should start complaining on the internet? I want to see a concert in my town, but no promoter decided to bring that show to my town. I should again start complaining on the internet? A TV show/Film is not available in my available ways of viewing is totally acceptable to complain on the internet? So I go to the internet and complain, and then someone else has the gall to call me out on it? Please children, dad has a headache from the banality.

Well this is the most jumbled wall of text I've seen today. You seem to be saying that someone complaining on the internet is bad? You seem to also be trying to insult me? It's highly immature and petty, whatever it is.

The original point was that the ire was directed at the wrong group of people, and I pointed out that it's not like the company is going to care that one single person is venting about them on the internet.

I'm still not sure why it matters that someone on the internet deigned to complain about Netflix as opposed to the content owners. Can you clear up why that distinction is necessary here?


>Well this is the most jumbled wall of text I've seen today. You seem to be saying that someone complaining on the internet is bad? You seem to also be trying to insult me? It's highly immature and petty, whatever it is.

If you feel insulted, then that's something you've read into that isn't there. My whole jumbled wall of text (no worries, I'm not insulted) was to show how ridiculous the concept of "I can't stream a show that I feel like I deserve to watch so I'll do whatever I want to see it". There will always be people that justify whatever they want to do whatever they want, but the rest of us can just roll our eyes at it. You want to complain about something as petty as not seeing a TV show, then you can expect some people to tell you how that logic just makes no sense.

>I'm still not sure why it matters that someone on the internet deigned to complain about Netflix as opposed to the content owners. Can you clear up why that distinction is necessary here?

Because it's okay to blame someone that's not at fault while not blaming the person that is at fault? How does it even come close to being acceptable? Netflix did not make the rules. They need content on their platform, so they make deals with the content owners. It confounds me that you are confused by this.


Why would it be an entitled viewpoint? He/she wants to watch a series on a service he/she pays for. It is entirely reasonable to expect said service to continue to serve previously available content - it was of course a legal way of operation that the owner didn’t extend their license and that Netflix removed episodes. But gp has every right to be upset that netflix due to any reason didn’t live up to expectations.


> But gp has every right to be upset that netflix due to any reason didn’t live up to expectations.

Those expectations are unrealistic, and quite frankly entitled. When did Netflix ever state that any content available now will be available for ever? It's the nature of the business that content is only made available for a set amount of time. What does complaining about it on the internet expect to do anyways?


"Those expectations ... entitled."

He is the customer, Netflix is asking for his money


Right, he's the customer, but he violates the customer-supplier social contract by pirating.


Well my grandma doesn't, and Netflix doesn't let her watch SG1 either, so how is this relevant?


What's wrong with being entitled?

We're entitled to our entertainment. If we don't get it, we torrent it.


You are not entitled to entertainment. If there is literally anything as petulant and first-world narcissistic it is the belief that one is entitled to entertainment.


But... we are, because we can pirate it if it's not available to us.

I suppose "entitled" isn't the correct word. Is there a word for "That's just the way it is"?

Basically, there exists a way to acquire entertainment. It's up to businesses to provide that entertainment to us at a reasonable market value. If the market value exceeds the threshold of reasonableness, then we downshift into torrenting the entertainment.

It's a business opportunity. The music industry learned this in 2008 or so.


>"That's just the way it is"?

How many sins of the past have used that as an excuse? It's just a very immature way of looking at life.

>It's up to businesses to provide that entertainment to us

And that doesn't sound entitled??? Wow. Not that we are lucky for someone providing us entertainment (within the confines of how they choose to share it)?

>The music industry learned this in 2008 or so.

Did they though? Really learned it? Seems like they got what the wanted where nobody actually owns anything and is only able to rent the content from them.


It’s an interesting question. I think I’ll meet you halfway and debate it.

The central question here seems to be ethics. Is it moral to download entertainment when someone doesn’t want you to?

My view is, nobody is harmed. You could argue that there was financial harm to the original show — in this case, Stargate SG-1. But I would say they’ve failed to give us a way to reasonably enjoy the show, when the best alternative is to simply torrent it.

Suppose the show was made available for $2,000. Would you still argue that it’s wrong to torrent it?

If so, we’ll have to agree to disagree; my view is that if nobody is harmed, then it’s usually fine.

If not, then there exists a price threshold beyond which it would become unreasonable to expect someone to pay. The person you were replying to was saying that they felt the show crossed that threshold.


An honest debate. I'm kind of shocked.

I still come back to the fact that there is no right/expectation of anyone to be able to view anything. The fact that something exists and someone says they should be able to watch it is the entitled bit in my opinion. There is no "god given right" to entertainment. There is no "pursuit of entertainment" set out in the US Constitution. If someone graciously allows you to watch/view their work, then that's great and we hope you were entertained. The expectation one should be able to watch/view anything at anytime is a bit petty. If someone asks to be paid to view that entertainment but in a very controlled/restricted manner (ex: buying a ticket to a limited capacity venu), this seems to be accepted. However, once it was allowed to be broadcast/streamed with certain restrictions (for a limited 3 month period), people feel like this is not acceptable.

At the end of the day, it is the content owner's discretion to allow/disallow as they see fit. People do not like calling it stealling because no physcial copy has been removed from the owner's possession, but the owner is still be wronged by not being allowed to control the thing they created. I do not know what to call that.


Sorry to jump in so late.

I am not trying to equivocally express that piracy is legal, or morally right, but to respond to "the fact that there is no right/expectation of anyone to be able to view anything" - to answer "Why" someone might do it.

While your sentence was meant in the more strict "human rights" sense I think people pirate because it comes down to "I want to be part of the social group" vs "barrier to experience".

As a society - IE larger overall social group - we have schools, museums, galleries and libraries for access to our culture. We WANT people to gain knowledge of our culture. It provides a social basis and cohesion.

Movie/TV shows clearly aren't fantastic high art but they still serve a social purpose. People make references - or memes - and connect with others over it. It is social lubrication largely associated with a time. For example, Game of Thrones was a social phenomenon but now it is passé.

To say that people can simply never watch any movies or TV shows ever - because there exists no "right/expectation" - is to deny a person being social on some level. You were not advocating this, but leave it up to the powerful vs the powerless and this is where things will tend to go for some of society.

Humans are social creatures.

You could raise your own children with zero experience of any movie or TV shows, and they won't drop dead. But you also know you are not doing them any favours regards socially "fitting in" - so it isn't most people's first choice.

So movies and TV shows are another social signal and people will go out of their way to be included - by simply paying. Or pirating, stealing Netflix DVDs from mailboxes or whatever else.

Fortunately, good libraries ease this social imbalance, but statistically you are always going to find people walking their own line for whatever reason.

But maybe like Jon Snow, I know nothing.

Edit: trying to be more concise. I fail.


Coming with the kids might feel out of place just doesn't carry much weight with me. To me, it's their spoiled selves that is the problem. Growing up, other kids were going to the movie theaters, but my parents wouldn't let me go. Other people had cable, but it wasn't available where I was. People came to school and talked about MTV this MTV that. So yes, I know how things get discussed around the water cooler. However, I would find myself at my friend's houses that had cable so I could see MTV. So I know all about kids finding ways. Today it's pirating. It is what it is. However, the entitlement that they should be able to see anything they want whenever they want is just spoiled to me.

BTW, I'm much more partial to Tyrion's "I drink, and I know things"


I agree that "anything anytime" is a bit much.

I grew up in a country town with 3 TV broadcast channels, that expanded to 5 by the time I left. No cinema. No cable. But two video rental shops at least. But because my social groups were all in the same boat, there was little in the way of being left out.

I recall going to two different friends houses to watch a video on two consecutive nights - Friday, Saturday. They both showed Groundhog Day... that morning clock radio still rings in my mind.

Usually, being part of a social group involves effort/cost expended. It has to cost you something or it doesn't demonstrate care for the social groups interests.

Most everyone agrees - even the pirates - that people who put effort into creation/distribution deserve reward. The problem is the details of who/how-much/how-long-for.

I like libraries. Not quite up to date and with the latest zeitgeist, but good enough for me.

But if you need the latest zeitgeist - for example, as marketing bombarded, self-image conscious teens trying to define their identities in society are wont to do - then as far as I can see Piracy is the easy "I disagree" button to the corporate answer. Unless you can hang at a friends place.

I don't like piracy. But I also don't want to see a war on piracy ruining the lives of those who are just trying to fit in. Not for extra $ in MPAA coffers.

I kind of wish there was a single low cost streaming site using bittorrent, that hosted everything. But while it may be good for consumers, it wouldn't be good for distribution corporations and content creators would lose regional pricing.

Aside: I loved Tyrion and Bronn together.


Netflix is a rental platform. Like the old DVD and VHS rental shops. And regularly some content gets pull off the shelves because they don't have the licensing fees. It's a pretty well known fact some movies and TV shows come and go on Netflix.

And for what ? Pirating "culture" that is not available on Netflix ? Star Trek Voyager ? I am huge Trek fan but come on.

This is entertainment we are talking about.

> He/she wants to watch a series on a service he/she pays for.

It's like complaining a vegan restaurant doesn't serve meat.

Netflix has very few of the shows, movies and documentaries I can watch on ARTe. Do people complain that ARTe doesn't stream every Netflix shows and vice versa ?

There are a lot of comments on HN when this topic comes up that feel like people want their cake and eat it too "or else I'll just pirate, there's a gun to my head, they give me no choice".


> "It's like complaining a vegan restaurant doesn't serve meat."

No, it's like complaining that a chain of restaurant randomly takes dishes off the menu, and it's different in every country. Eventually you get fed up with unpredictable menu and stop going there.


> No, it's like complaining that a chain of restaurant randomly takes dishes off the menu, and it's different in every country.

Which is still ridiculous. Even McDonald's don't have the same menu everywhere.

All restaurants I know have dishes that are taken off (because if's off season, because a new chef, because they try something else, etc.).

Plus, the analogy is distorted, you can't complain about a different menu in another country, it's not like you can hop from countries to countries 20 times per evening to get your Mc Bulgogi Burger.

> Eventually you get fed up with unpredictable menu and stop going there.

Good, that's what competition is about between services.


The food analogy is shitty because you know what I do when McDonalds takes burgers off of their menu? I go to the grill next door to get my burger.

With movies/shows the problem is that there is no alternative. If I want to watch Startrek I can't just put on the Simpsons as an alternative and if I've purchaced a streaming service explicitly because of Startrek then I'm going to feel like I was cheated.

You can argue until heat death of the universe whose fault it is, but in the mean time if there is no way of legaly watching the content piracy is the only way. (and importing expensive DVDs in an erra where literally none of my devices have optical bays is not actual option)


> The food analogy is shitty because you know what I do when McDonalds takes burgers off of their menu? I go to the grill next door to get my burger.

You don't pull a tantrum on an Internet forum about how you are now forced to hire an anon crew to get into a McDonald's warehouse to get your Mac Something ? Indeed you just go to another service provider to see if they have the Mac Something or something else to satisfy your palates. (sorry I kept the food analogy going).

> and if I've purchaced a streaming service explicitly because of Startrek then I'm going to feel like I was cheated.

Read the lines on the contract. No one is cheated. Especially for the price you are paying by the way. Netflix is still a rental service. (fun fact: Netflix doesn't even have full international rights on its own productions, see: orange is the new black, arrested development).

> You can argue until heat death of the universe whose fault it is, but in the mean time if there is no way of legaly watching the content piracy is the only way.

I will argue until heat death that SG1 content owners are not forcing people to pirate their content. It's just hard cold facts. You may not like it because you feel like you are entitled to it or that it doesn't matter much that no one gets hurt or it's stupid or whatever, that's not really the point. The point is that they are not forcing you. It's on you when you decide to go torrent hunting, launch a DCC+, get popcorn, whatever.

> if there is no way of legaly watching the content piracy is the only way

Doesn't mean you are entitled to it or that you are forced to do it. No one is forcing you to pirate SG1 or Star Trek Voyager. It's entirely on you, own up your actions.

I am not saying you should or shouldn't, I am not questioning the morality of it. All I am saying is "nobody forced you".

> (and importing expensive DVDs in an erra where literally none of my devices have optical bays is not actual option)

Again, that's on you. Not content owner's fault that you don't have a DVD player.

Now let's take a step forward. Imagine you pirated off those SG1 episodes. But then you get a letter from copyright holders and a fine from whatever judicial instances in your country manages these kind of things.

You don't want to pay the fine, you go to courts.

Do you believe for an instant arguments like "I pirated those episodes because they were not available anymore on Netflix, they basically forced my hand ; promised, once they are back up I'll subscribe again to Netflix" will fly ?


"Especially for the price you are paying by the way."

Customer - Sir, there is cow shit in my burger instead of meat

Chef - you should be happy for the price!

Its their job to set the price, and they dont offer a premium subscribtion for $50 or whatever. I don't want a burger with shit even if it's free.

"Read the lines on the contract. No one is cheated."

Thats a really bad argument, any lawyer can write a ccontract that will let you cheat or scam laymen. In UK we have been selling apartments with 'ground rent' fees that grow exponentially, pyramid schemes have contracts, people pressed into debt bondage have contracts.


> "Especially for the price you are paying by the way."

> Customer - Sir, there is cow shit in my burger instead of meat

> Chef - you should be happy for the price!

> Its their job to set the price, and they dont offer a premium subscribtion for $50 or whatever. I don't want a burger with shit even if it's free.

Did the chef force you to eat it ? No. The shit burger is on the menu and you decided to take one anyway. It's on you.

Are you complaining because there are shows you don't like on Netflix ? Aka the the shit in a burger ? What could you reasonably expect Netflix to do about that O_o ? Remove content you don't like ?

It's getting ridiculous but this takes the cake:

> I don't want a burger with shit even if it's free.

You are literally whining about a metaphorical free burger that no one is forcing you to touch.


> Which is still ridiculous. Even McDonald's don't have the same menu everywhere.

That's why analogies never work.

Here, it's simple:

- that person is already paying Netflix, legally

- SG1 was available on Netflix, so the money was going to whoever owns the right to SG1, too

- Then SG1 was not made available (for whichever reason, in 99% of the cases blame the rights owner, and you'll be right)

So now the rights owner earns exactly zero dollars for SG1 from people who are paying for Netflix.

If those people chose to pirate SG1, literally nothing in the equation will change: the owners will keep not getting the money.

And the only fault lies with the people who decided to pull SG1 (and other content) from Netflix.


>So now the rights owner earns exactly zero dollars for SG1 from people who are paying for Netflix.

That's not how it works. Netflix pays the licensing fees to the content owners, and then hope to recover that money from subscribers. Maybe there's a clause that says they get extra money based on number of viewers, but very doubtful for some catalog title. The fees have to be paid upfront, and it's not a monthly pay as you go where if you miss a payment you get the license reposessed.


> If those people chose to pirate SG1, literally nothing in the equation will change: the owners will keep not getting the money.

Wrong. The owners won't get money from people who pirated content once they make their content available again.

> And the only fault lies with the people who decided to pull SG1 (and other content) from Netflix.

No. The only people responsible for pirating SG1 are the pirates. The owners of SG1 don't owe anything to Netflix viewers and they certainly didn't force the hands of anybody to pirate their content.


> The owners won't get money from people who pirated content once they make their content available again.

1. Their own fault

2. It has been proven, time and again, that piracy goes down, significantly, once content is available.

So they will get their money even from people who pirated this content previously. Why? Because it's much easier to just pay Netflix and watch or re-watch.

> The only people responsible for pirating SG1 are the pirates. The owners of SG1 don't owe anything to Netflix viewers and they certainly didn't force the hands of anybody to pirate their content.

Ah yes. The poor owners who didn't anything at all and now are suffering. Except they did: they made their own content unavailable.

The person was willingly giving them money, legally. The owners made their content unavailable. Guess they didn't want money after all.

Edit. Oatmeal's evergreen take on this: https://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones


> > The owners won't get money from people who pirated content once they make their content available again.

> 1. Their own fault

Owners have made a bad commercial move but it doesn't force people to pirate their content. Nothing does. There are no pressure from SG1 owners to pirate their content, no incentives. On the contrary they will use digital rights laws to protect their assets. It's entirely their rights to do so and nothing in the commonwealth, US or European laws give the right to people to pirate SG1 content when it's not available on a streaming platform.

> 2. It has been proven, time and again, that piracy goes down, significantly, once content is available.

So ? It doesn't make piracy of SG1 content legal in any way.

> So they will get their money even from people who pirated this content previously. Why? Because it's much easier to just pay Netflix and watch or re-watch.

> > The only people responsible for pirating SG1 are the pirates. The owners of SG1 don't owe anything to Netflix viewers and they certainly didn't force the hands of anybody to pirate their content.

> Ah yes. The poor owners who didn't anything at all and now are suffering. Except they did: they made their own content unavailable.

Which is their entire freaking right to do so. Just like maintainers of open source projects don't owe their users anything the SG1 content owners don't owe anything to Netflix users.

> The person was willingly giving them money, legally. The owners made their content unavailable. Guess they didn't want money after all.

No, the person was willingly giving money to a third-party, Netflix.

> Guess they didn't want money after all.

Or maybe Netflix got greedy or maybe the contract between them had limit in time and Netflix agreed to that time limit or maybe SG1 content owners have another contract with another platform and then the person is free to subscribe to it. Whatever it is, it's up to them to manage their content however they see fit.

Whatever it is, the sole responsibility in pirating SG1 content is on the pirates. There are no way around it, at no point were they forced to pirate it. They are free agents of this world, they decided to obtain something from someone and that someone clearly didn't want to sell it.

I am pirating a lot of stuff but I am not hiding behind entitled justifications which don't make sense.

Edit. Oatmeal's evergreen take on this: https://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones

I read it, I don't see new arguments in the comic ?


> It's entirely their rights to do so and nothing in the commonwealth

Literally no one said it wasn't their right to do so

> Which is their entire freaking right to do so. Just like maintainers of open source projects don't owe their users anything the SG1 content owners don't owe anything to Netflix users.

Literally no one said it wasn't their right to do so

> Whatever it is, it's up to them to manage their content however they see fit.

Literally no one said it wasn't up to them

> It doesn't make piracy of SG1 content legal in any way.

Literally no one said that.

Now. When you're ready to argue with what I'm saying, I will gladly continue this discussion. However, so far you're debating some points literally no one said.


> Literally no one said that.

I am not saying people said that. All those sentences you dismiss are arguments I make to explain why the idea that content owners forced anybody to steal their content is wrong (and dishonest).

> Now. When you're ready to argue with what I'm saying, I will gladly continue this discussion. However, so far you're debating some points literally no one said.

On the contrary, I am debating a point you literally made.

Reminder, this is what you wrote and what I disagree with:

> And the only fault lies with the people who decided to pull SG1 (and other content) from Netflix.

So it is my understanding you are the one not arguing with what I am saying.

With that being said:

You don't say much besides "I am entitled to pirate any content I want if it's not available legally, content owners are forcing me to do it and it's their fault". And that is simply not true, they are not forcing you to do anything.

edit: I'll play that card too:

> Ah yes. The poor owners who didn't anything at all and now are suffering.

Literaly no one said that.

edit 2:

> > Whatever it is, it's up to them to manage their content however they see fit.

> Literally no one said it wasn't up to them

Then stop fucking complaining about how they don't give you access to their content for god's sake.


> You don't say much besides "I am entitled to pirate any content I want if it's not available legally

I'm not saying "I'm entitled".

Once again, come back when you're ready to debate what I'm saying, not what you imagine I'm saying.


You literally posted as an argument a comic (theoatmeal) about a guy who ends up pirating Game of Thrones because he can't find a subscription to watch it.

> Once again, come back when you're ready to debate what I'm saying, not what you imagine I'm saying.

You can keep on playing the "you are imagining what I am saying" the fact remains you also posted this:

> If those people chose to pirate SG1, literally nothing in the equation will change: the owners will keep not getting the money.

> And the only fault lies with the people who decided to pull SG1 (and other content) from Netflix.

And I have yet to see any arguments from you against my statement that no content owners are forcing anybody to go on the hunt for pirated content. It's entirely in the pirate's camp that lies the decision to download pirated content.

I can understand that people used to pirating are in full dissonance cognitive mode regarding their justifications but it remains and will likely always remain that they are not forced to pirate content. It's simply not true.

Downloading pirated content might be the only option but no one is forced to.

> Once again, come back when you're ready to debate what I'm saying,

Frankly, the same to you too.


Let me go to your original argument: "The owners won't get money from people who pirated content once they make their content available again.".

Reread the article we're commenting on.

The rest is literally moot.


Then let's get back to my answer:

> > 1. Their own fault

> Owners have made a bad commercial move but it doesn't force people to pirate their content. [..]

And this piece, as-is:

> > And the only fault lies with the people who decided to pull SG1 (and other content) from Netflix.

> No. The only people responsible for pirating SG1 are the pirates. The owners of SG1 don't owe anything to Netflix viewers and they certainly didn't force the hands of anybody to pirate their content.

And then to my original argument (summarized) (and please note it's not about whether piracy harms sales or not):

> Netflix is a rental platform. Like the old DVD and VHS rental shops. And regularly some content gets pull off the shelves because they don't have the licensing fees. It's a pretty well known fact some movies and TV shows come and go on Netflix.

> > He/she wants to watch a series on a service he/she pays for.

> It's like complaining a vegan restaurant doesn't serve meat.

> There are a lot of comments on HN when this topic comes up that feel like people want their cake and eat it too "or else I'll just pirate, there's a gun to my head, they give me no choice".

I am still waiting for a valid example from you that proves people are/were forced to pirate SG1 content when content owners pulls them off Netflix.

Can you actually give one or do you simply refuse to admit you were wrong about that specific point and this ping pong thread will never end ?


> All restaurants I know have dishes that are taken off (because if's off season, because a new chef, because they try something else, etc.).

And it is perfectly okay to not spend money at that restaurant in the future when your favorite dish disappears.

Except that the analogy breaks down since it is a subscription model, where you are not really “constantly evaluate” whether this other month is worth it.


Of course the analogy is weak (like all analogies), especially if you believe its purpose is to represent the whole of the Netflix responsibilities, flaws and success.

Doesn't mean you are entitled or forced by the content owners to pirate content that is not available on streaming platforms.

Netflix deals in TV shows and movies, not in access to drinking water.


> Good, that's what competition is about between services.

Except the competition isn't between services but between streaming services and local TV channels. It's between artificially maintained "content regions" that have no basis in technological reality. The choice to host content isn't up to consumers. The period of availability is hardly ever displayed. There are platform and operating system constraints.

Finally, the pricing model doesn't allow you to say you want to watch one series and that's it, either - you'd have to sign up for a month of services, a cable package, etc. In fact, it can't reflect the price of individual content at all given that everything is a package.

You have the right to disagree, but calling a dissenting opinion ridiculous is uncalled for, given that there are actual service and distribution failings in the sector.


> Which is still ridiculous. Even McDonald's don't have the same menu everywhere.

Except they mostly have. That's one of their huge selling points: wherever you go in the world, whatever weird cuisine they have going on there, if you can find a McDonald's, you can feel comfort in knowing you have a fallback - a place where you can find good food you already know.


> > Which is still ridiculous. Even McDonald's don't have the same menu everywhere.

> Except they mostly have.

Which means they don't

So my point still stands.

You know, the point.

The one I made to demonstrate that even McDonald's don't have the same menu everywhere. Despite one of their huge selling points: wherever you go in the world, whatever weird cuisine they have going on there, if you can find a McDonald's, you can feel comfort in knowing you have a fallback - a place where you can find good food you already know.


When they signed up for said service, was there an implicit agreement in place that said they would show whatever show he/she wanted, when they wanted? While I agree that the GP has the right to be upset that their expectations weren’t met, it doesn’t make the unreasonable expectations right. I’d argue that Netflix, or whoever, not carrying a show or file for whatever reason, save them explicitly stating that they would do and failing to do so, is unreasonable.

That would be, to me, entitled.


Did I ever say that I expected them to show X whenever I wanted? No, I simply eaid "for no reason". If I was entitled I'd have said "I demand to watch it".

Stop being an idiot.


It frankly, doesn’t really matter whether it is a reasonable or an “entitled” reason a customer is upset. What matters is he/she is not happy with a service and thus will terminate his subscription.


That's how commerce works...


It's tragically my experience of HN - someone posts an interesting fact or discusses something they've done and someone comes up and picks up the smallest irrelevant detail to argue about.


Put a sock in it and grow up


in india, piracy is not seen as bad unless its some bigshot movie star who calls it a "heinous crime" that a user enjoys their movies and they arent getting paid. anyways, i have never paid for a windows license. maybe back in 98 days but never after that. we use cracks and it used to be sold for a dollar or less. get an iso, copy iso, copy crack and thats it.

people here have a problem accepting foss because they see windows as free so what benefit is switching to ubuntu?

about media. until few years ago, you could only watch movies in theaters or on cable tv. shops would resell torrented movies for few cents a pop because that is at most what people were willing to pay. i am not going to buy an original DVD 6 months after launch for $ 30 if i get screener for $0.2 dollars next day of launch.

its not about "robbing" the company, often purchasing parity means $10 is a days manual labour wages. paying $99 for a windows license used to make no sense when they already paid not more than $200-300 for an entire setup or a laptop.


In those days Microsoft had a "curious" business strategy. They wanted Windows to be the dominant standard whilst trying to avoid monopoly litigation. So they'd charge everyone a license fee knowing that standard businesses would pay up, and those that wouldn't or couldn't were allowed to crack the software and use it. That portion of the market, the "piracy" sector wasn't in their view part of their market share numbers (they would say they weren't a monopoly). But having this in place meant it was harder for competitors to sub-divide the market into other Operating Systems and Enterprise productivity software. So it would end up as either Open Source or Windows. This is why they didn't reduce their prices for purchasing power parity purposes (to make it equally affordable in each market). The rich countries could drive their profits, and everyone else had a "free" ride just to shut the door on a competitor.

Of course, the history of Microsoft and Anti-trust litigation is well documented. Things didn't entirely work out for them.


Every computer I bought had a windies license fee tacked on wether I used their operating system, or not.

To this day, I try not to give Microsoft any money.

I have never really cared for Gates, nor his nonprofit that gives less than 1 percent back to the country that allowed him to flourish.


> nor his nonprofit that gives less than 1 percent back to the country that allowed him to flourish.

Do I understand you correctly, that your objection to the Gates foundation is, that they don‘t spend on projects in the US?


Im gonna go out on a limb and say that, yes, that is their objection. Does that surprise you, or do you find it objectionable? Why? Im legitimately curious.


The Gates Foundation has done a lot to save lives and reduce suffering in developing countries. It's a bit tone-deaf to knock him on that point, and also pretty myopic. The US does not exist in a vacuum, and having third world countries develop faster because they're not getting hammered by easily preventable diseases actually can benefit the US. The people who are alive today (or maybe their descendants) might be buying products and services from the US down the road.


A lot, as long as it respects Western intellectual property "rights."

Like persuading Oxford University to NOT give away the rights to its COVID-19 vaccine: https://khn.org/news/rather-than-give-away-its-covid-vaccine...


I've heard that argument, but IP rights are really a red herring - the bottlenecks on production are in material inputs and manufacturing. Waivers on IP rights could actually have the opposite effect we want by creating pointless competition when what is needed is centralization and economies of scale to maximize output.


This is what I really don't understand and must assume ulterior motives. His altruistic intentions of trying to eradicate horrible diseases in 3rd world countries is highly commendable, yet this type of move will only allow new Covid-* variants to gain traction, therefore requiring new vaccines sooner than later. I definitely am not looking forward to a never-ending pandemic.

Does anyone know if he holds shares in vaccine producing companies?


> Does anyone know if he holds shares in vaccine producing companies?

What would the angle be here? Gates is in the process of trying to give away all least half of his money to charity. His net worth is ~125 billion, is making another billion or two really going to motivate him at this stage in his life?


That's a good question, hence my confusion. Perhaps it's merely a political move and he's doesn't want to upset the wrong people?

On the other hand, I've heard that anyone with that much wealth is operating on a completely different mental model than the rest of us. I can only assume he has a very high-level overview of any global aspects that he is interested in and therefore has completely different goals. I suppose that I can't even begin to fathom his thought process and perhaps my confusion is completely unfounded, I just wish I knew the reasoning for his recent Covid-vaccine decisions, which seemingly are detrimental to all human beings on a global scale.


I honestly think that centralizing the production is the best way to produce the most vaccine in the shortest amount of time. Giving out the IP around the vaccine wouldn't just immediately bring more production online, and the IP alone isn't a sufficient recipe for producing more vaccines in bulk. What could instead happen is a bunch of players across the globe try to jump-start production and start bidding up the prices of the inputs, making production more costly and thus reducing production. Beyond that, quality control could suffer in the hands of inexperienced producers, and so more vaccine could be wasted.

It's been a weird thing for people to turn on Gates and assume he has some diabolical angle. He was an absolute savage in business, and people rightfully feared/hated him when he was at the helm of Microsoft (I was in college during the MS antitrust trial, and a lot of the CS department was rooting for them to be taken down). What I think motivates him now is straightforward self-actualization, trying to undo some of the fairly justified animosity he earned in business for the sake of his legacy. All the money in the world can't buy you a legacy, only accomplishments can do that, and that's what I think he's chasing now.


Why would you choose to save lives and reduce suffering in a far off land when you could save lives and reduce suffering for your own country? That is what I have never understood about foreign aid charities.


Range of possible reasons -

Maybe because issues in poor nations are straightforward to solve: if you resolve the issue with clean water for a village, that improves lives of hundreds. Issues that plague 'The west' don't have a known solution.

Maybe because of most issues in poorest nations is lack of funs / tech, which he can provide, but cause of suffering in western world is usually political or mismanagement, which he cannot 'provide'

Maybe because for the same resources deployed the choice is between saving 100 kids from disease in Africa vs helping social mobility of 1 kids in US

Maybe you do not believe that from Alaska to Hawaii is 5,000 miles of "we", but 500 miles South from Texas it's "they". Nation-centric worldview is a relatively new idea that only existed for a couple hundred years, even today many people associate by faith, by town/province, by ethnicity or other things over nationality


Simple: The US is the wealthiest country in the history of the world and we don't have a lot of low hanging fruit in terms of easily preventable/treatable diseases.


$4 in burkina faso will protect a family of 4 from malaria

$4 in america will buy a latte.


Because there are more lives to save and suffering to reduce in that far off land than in your own country, perhaps?

Are you, say, a man? Then why would you give anything to a charity that helps women? (Or vice versa.) Or are you perhaps white? Then why would you give anything to a charity that helps people of colour? (Or vice versa.) Etc, etc... Get the point yet? If not, I'll spell it out for you: "Charity" that only benefits copies of yourself isn't really charity.


Most fundamentally, a lot of us are humanists, not nationalists.

But more narrowly: Gates Foundation focuses on straightforwardly preventable diseases. These are diseases of extreme poverty that are nearly or entirely absent in the US. The US's problems are of a different nature, largely stemming from inequality in access to healthcare which is a political problem.

It seems rather ghoulish to look at one of the most effective charities in the world, that has no doubt had an impact on millions of people, and say "I want those $$ to stay in the US instead" when we are the most wealthy and powerful nation in history. We need to fix our own political issues, not shame Gates for doing truly good things elsewhere. You want to help the US? Vote for people who want to help the most vulnerable among us vs the most powerful. Our government and society has the resources, they are simply being directed with deliberate inequities.


Is there any reason to think the money he made and is now giving away came mainly from the US? AFAICT there are a lot more users of Microsoft software outside the USA than within them. With that in mind: Yes, it seems rather ludicrous to demand that he use it for charity exclusively there.

Another reason being that the US is one of the richest countries in the world -- and therefore, logically, among the least in need of charity. (BTW, this shows the objection is ridiculous even if his fortune came mainly from the USA: If he had made his money from selling some luxury article, say Rolls-Royce cars or something, and then decided to spend the money so earned on charity -- should he have been expected to spend it only on helping the kind of people who buy Rolls-Royces?)

Both screamingly obvious reasons IMO, so I find it somewhat surprising that anyone needed to be curious about this.


In the 90s and early 00s, the pirated software was like weed. If police didn't find anything on you, they'll get your computer and charge you with piracy. That time everyone had something, Windows or Norton Commander etc. I read about people having counted each file as a separate charge, to make them look like big fish. There were instances they counted expired trials too...


In those days?

Right now it's even easier. You don't even have to crack it, just select "I'll do this later" when you have to fill in your license code.


€3 keys off eBay work perfectly fine and are legal since reselling OEM software has been explicitly ruled to be legal several times in EU courts now.


I've read that these cheap OEM licenses could be cancelled after some time. Dunno if true or not. Could you give a link for EU courts' rulings?


I believe it’s this ruling in a case involving Oracle: https://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?docid=12...

The ruling was appeal and a 2016 ruling in a higher court just confirmed that you can in fact resell software licenses.


But isn't it a different license like consumer vs business? I mean when OEMs are used for pre-built PCs or when it's activated by end user.


I know of a case where payment got cancelled: eBay found the seller fraudulent and refunded either out of pocket or from insurance, probably the latter.

That said, sometimes the licenses can indeed get cancelled. I’ve seen a really sketchy looking photocopied label that a guy “got” that didn’t work. Depends on the channel perhaps.


It's interesting how Windows went from "worth pirating" to "don't want even if the upgrade is free" for me --- the user- hostile attitude MS has started to adopt has been a huge turn-off.


> "people here have a problem accepting foss because they see windows as free so what benefit is switching to ubuntu?"

Because even if they gave you Windows free of cost, Windows has never been free as in freedom, and probably never will be. That's the thing people seem unable to wrap their brains around about FOSS is that it's about freedom, not cost. The fact that it's also cost-free is just added bonus that nobody in their right mind should complain about.


How many times have you altered Firefox, though? Or Chromium? Or GIMP? Or any other large software project?

Free as in freedom doesn't mean shit when codebases are so large as to be inscrutable and induplicable.


While I myself have only modified smaller codebases, modified forks of Firefox, Chromium, and GIMP (among many others) do in fact exist. Some of those forks have even gone on to become quite popular (although none yet as popular as their parent codebases).


Meanwhile, people have been patching and modding Windows despite the lack of source code.


LPT: go to ebay, search for windows license. You can get one for 3-4$ or so. You can even find dedicated sites that sells cheap licenses of Windows or Office.


>>> I do remember one site that allowed me to do download SG1 episodes (about 128kbit, and this was probably cinepak or some form of mpeg1 compression) over a modem, and that was a lifeline.

sg1archive.com


Lower decks is on Amazon prime here in Spain. I have the service but I still download it because I hate all the restrictions. Also prime shows annoying trailers before every episode.


> When I got to Uni in Oct 2000, I could use BitchX/IRC on the lab irix machine to use a massive 10 MEGA bit connection to get voyager episodes. Compared with downloading on a 33.6kbit connection over a phone line that cost at least £2.40 (about $5-6 in today's money) that was an amazing experience.

There was some way cheaper ISP offerings about in that time/era. Most ISP's used a local 0845 call charge number, so wasn't that bad, however there was also some 0800 ones.

Was one that in the late 90's offered an 0800 to share holders and could get shares for sub £20 mark, unsure how they did it and indeed didn't last long, was also able to use two accounts to do a bonded line (ISDN). Only downside was it would drop the line every 2 hours, but with me OpenBSD firewall/gateway I setup, easy scripted around. That was my favourite of the dialup era as paid total of sub £40 for unlimited 128kbit internet and oh did I abuse that.

Then in 2000 the cable companies arrived and the start of what I would call real internet, no dialup messing about or charges - if you was lucky to be in the catchment area that is and inside the M25 helped there, though even today there are parts of London inside the M25 that the cable companies don't cover (I know as I found such an address not in there coverage due to cost of laying a cable across the road).

> I do remember one site that allowed me to do download SG1 episodes (about 128kbit, and this was probably cinepak or some form of mpeg1 compression) over a modem, and that was a lifeline.

I know exactly what you mean about TV shows back then and delays. For me southpark was the one that got that ball rolling, initially was realmedia encoded and ironically I watched every single episode almost religiously within an hour of it premiaring in America. Ironic as in 2003 I was in America when a new episode was out and fell asleep just before it came on and with that the first southpark episode I didn't watch within an hour or so of it airing was the only time I could of watched it live.

These days, it's mostly dip into some streaming subscription for a month or two every now and then, flitting around the offerings, munching thru their offerings in that period and comming back to subbing them a year or so later once new things are there to make it worthwhile.

But I'm not sure if it's age or my tastes, the enthusiasm and offerings just don't have me eagerly sitting in anticipation for the next episode or series these days as they did back then. Sure there are the odd gems that do that, but far less so than in the early days and a bit of choice/saturation overload perhaps, though mostly it's a case of many offerings just install a sense of ennui. With that, I would say the only TV show that has had me at the same enthusiasm level, would be the Mandalorian. beyond that, nothing jumps out at me really today and even South Park, I've become apathetic and not seen the last season (or maybe two).

One change though, that I do approve of that many streaming serious releases do. Which is, they release the entire season at once, and that I love as you can keep your momentum going. Albeit you shift you wait from weekly episode releases towards yearly season releases, though that was always been the case.


about 97ish the best you could do was local call rates (either 0845, or just a local dial in number). At the weekend that was 1p per minute. Downloading a 40 minute episodes would take 4 hours, so £2.40. That's £4.50 today, or $6.25.


Reminded me of late 80's when I had an Amstrad PPC640DD which had a built in 2400 baud modem. Was in an Hotel and spent a couple of hours on a BBS...£50 charges for phone when checking out for those two hours usage.

Soon learned some tricks and list of outdials (ICL had some nice ones as did IBM, if you had the number, that was all you needed). Though doubt anybody wardials thesedays.


> The Internet never delivered on its promise.

The commercial internet never did. Don't forget about Torrents and lib gen rus. They're part of the internet too.

> The fact that e.g. Netflix offers different movies for every country is something that honestly does not make any sense yet everyone accepts it.

People "accept" it because it's convenient and they are not aware that there are other options. How would you suggest people reject it?


I got so many searches which said old film was on Netflix which turned into "not here mate" I unsubscribed. That's how.


> The commercial internet never did. Don't forget about Torrents [...]

When you see the internet's "promise" as providing unlimited free content, it's a bit hard for the commercial internet to meet that expectation.


The promise isn't for the content to be free, but for access to be unrestricted. I want to pay money and get a DRM-free file. Bandcamp delivers on that promise, so that's the only place I buy music from. Media you get via torrent is of higher quality and more useful than the DRM-encumbered media you get by paying. If you are even allowed to pay for it in the first place, that is.


Purchased (not streaming) music has been DRM-free for ages even on iTunes and other major platforms. But most other content like movies and TV shows isn't.


What other major platforms still sell music though? Since Google Play Music's demise, I haven't been able to find a single one selling music in my region (Czech Republic).


People said the same thing about open source software. And yet here we are.


In Russia, piracy is still the default option for most people. It's literally easier to torrent something than to bother with Netflix or other streaming services. Like, you pay money and get a worse result, because there's DRM and other licensing-related restrictions — why in your right mind would you even consider that? Some people do use Netflix though because they tell themselves "law is law" or "the creators need to be paid" or something similar.

And all those news of people's "bought" content disappearing, or accounts getting banned without a way to appeal, aren't exactly doing any good to the "legal" entertainment services either.


Not just Russia. With every content owner building their own walled gardens piracy will be on the rise again everywhere.


In hindsight, it seems like the fight against piracy, was really an effort to make it harder to access certain types of information and have people funneled to certain sources.

The fact that it used to be easy to access all kinds of useful data, and now you can't isn't an accident, The Internet is still the same, the governance around it isn't.

People believe they have access to free thought, speech and completely objective information. Really though, your world view became limited, bias, censored, crafted and curated.

People who truly hold alternative views are often banned from the few places left Joe Sixpack would try find important, unbiased, real (sometimes controversial) information.

The Internet was real freedom for a brief while, and it was fucking great!


> People believe they have access to free thought, speech and completely objective information. Really though, your world view became limited, bias, censored, crafted and curated.

Objective information is still there (google scholar, etc.) but what the last two decades have shown is that people do not have the training or the time in the day to read it. So you get people reading websites like Natural News (which while it sources scientific material, the actual article about it does not represent anything that's stated in the paper, and often states the exact opposite of what the paper claims), and getting drawn into it. Next thing you know, they're anti-vaxxers who believe that Bill Gates himself is putting microchips in their body as some kind of obscure cartoon-villain hive-mind scheme (I have literally seen this happen to multiple people around me, and it is just utterly depressing).

> People who truly hold alternative views are often banned from the few places left Joe Sixpack would try find important, unbiased, real (sometimes controversial) information.

IDK man, Alex Jones is raking in millions and he's said some downright ludicrous bullshit. Naziism and racism as a whole seems to be 'in-vogue' (Look at Joe Cox's killer and the whole UKIP thing). Alternative views seem to suck-ass aside from some transhumanism ones -- but even they are all "Torturing a guy for 60 years is ok if it stops dust specks getting into an impossibly large number of human eyes".

Probably the best thing I ever did was find out I was trans -- since then I've met a lot of absolute geniuses. People like Micah Elizabeth Scott who have several contributions to "Proof of Concept or GTFO" that make people say "woah what the fuck!!!", one woman who made an antenna cane (A mobility aid that can also pick up WiFi from a distance), people taking photography and music to whole new places -- bona fide synthesizer witches and code sorcerers who perform stunning feats of artistry, and thousands of people biohacking their endocrine system based off the latest available scientific information, simply to get boobs and cure themselves of gender dysphoria.

Now that's a REAL alternative movement / counterculture.


Reminds me of something similar. My local library loans out ebooks, which are loaned out, reserved, and returned just like physical books. An ebook someone wanted had all its "copies" checked out, and there was a long wait list. But the physical book was available, so they just went with that instead.

We have the means to sidestep these physical impediments, yet we just recreate them digitally. And in the case above, the physical actually turned out to be the solution to the digital impediment. It's just too funny. The greatest barriers in this world aren't technological - they're social, economic, and political; always have been.

Just another reminder that we're living in clown world.


So much truth to your entire comment!


At least you get them eventually! Imagine never getting them.

I've been studying Japanese for about 15 years. Japanese media almost never comes to the US, and if it does, it's usually dubbed. Anything that isn't dubbed is forced subtitled. The one exception is anime, but even that has no JP subs. The best you can do is JP audio and no subs.

But if I buy media from Japan (at a huge markup over their already-insane media prices) I can get JP audio and subs.

And this is pretty much true for all foreign video, except certain British shows like Doctor Who. Even a lot of Canada-specific shows don't make it here (Canada's Worst Driver), though there are a lot of shows/movies produced in Canada with the US in mind from the start.

It's ridiculous. Sell digital goods to anyone willing to buy them. Period.


Japan and Japanese media is actually a very interesting example, because even pre-internet there were people xeroxing translated manga scripts and trading fansub tapes samizdat-style to spread Japanese popular culture to the US. Of course, manga/anime/JPTV have vastly greater presences in the Western world today (both legal and illegal, like scanlations). The internet was just a new and particularly effective conduit for pre-existing curiosity in a culture beyond the borders of the West.


At least there is now a dedicated japanese media torrent tracker and a lot of anime and tokusatsu have JP subtitles


Netflix is pretty great for this. Most of the Japanese stuff they have has both Japanese audio and subtitles even outside Japan. It's pretty anime heavy though. Rakuten Viki has some too but it's done by fans and not always complete!


I watch anime in Netflix Japan. I can confirm that there are many new anime without any sub/dub except Japanese, maybe because those anime won't get enough enjoyable foreign watchers (except weebs).


As someone that follows seasonal anime, I'm surprised how little isn't subbed. I haven't found a single thing yet which didn't have subs. Every popular show is subbed by crunchyroll/funimation, and less popular things (like Godzilla S.P. in the last season, stuck in Netflix jail) had fansubs.


I wanted to watch Downtown Rocket with my family, but it's just not available anywhere outside Japan. So I actually ordered the DVDs from Japan, but they don't have English subtitles so my family can't understand them. There are plenty of pirate sites that have the show subtitled, but I don't want to use them. So my family just never watched it.


Why not use them? There is nothing immoral about them.


If you want to avoid pirated videos but subbed video exists, maybe just subtitle file is downloadable in somewhere.


Buying raw JP Blu-rays is just ludicrously expensive. A recent show, Vivy, is 13 episodes on 6 Blu-rays. Each Blu-ray costs ¥8800. Including shipping and duties, that is around £500 for me to order.

No wonder people pirate.


Growing up in Italy around the same time my experience was very similar, movies would come out weeks or months later, and access to english media wasn't great until fairly recently.

Piracy and torrents were amazing though. We could find any movie no matter how obscure, as well as books, comics and all kinds of stuff (my uncle gifted me a kobo e-reader many years ago, it was amazing and I loved it).

I basically learned English that way, and I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that that's the most important skill I have. So much access to information, travel, and relationships to other people just would not have been possible if I didn't speak English well.

In a way piracy has improved my life tremendously, while not really hurting anybody (as if a kid in Italy without any money would have been able to buy all those movies even at a 90% discount).


The internet is only a medium. It's just used by businesses and businesses are all about profit. Businesses want to be able to choose where they produce and where they pay taxes, but customers should be able to choose where they buy their goods. If you hear the term "free market" it's always about the companies not about the customer.


I have Netflix and Amazon prime in Sweden, but still need to get pirate content if I want to watch it in Italian (my mother language).

It's not the Internet, it's copyright that has failed us.


And then even if you do pay, and the show you want is available on one of the services you're subscribed to, you often get a worse experience than with a torrent.

I have a 4k screen, but Netflix's DRM only allows 4K in Microsoft Edge, on Linux I'm stuck with 720p which looks awful on that screen. Amazon Prime Video has ads (for their other shows, but still) and an awful user interface, and so on.

I find it incomprehensible why Netflix still does that since clearly it does nothing to prevent piracy: Every new Netflix show is instantly available as 4K torrent.


>I find it incomprehensible why Netflix still does that since clearly it does nothing to prevent piracy: Every new Netflix show is instantly available as 4K torrent.

I assume they are appeasing technically illiterate movie execs or something similar.


Think of entertainment as a hard drug (most of it actually is). And the distribuitors are the dealers. Some will be friendly or make deals with each other, others will keep everyone else off their turf or go to war.


> The Internet never delivered on its promise.

The internet is what brought you piracy.


Where I live piracy is people on the street selling media with pirated content (currently, DVD-R and all... but there was a time when it was diskette or even tape too).

Sometimes they sell it for MORE than the original, so why people buy the pirated one?

Because the pirated one is often:

  easier to pay (just hand over the cash instead of international wire).
  better support (often the piracy dealers double as tech support!)
  better patches (often pirated content is patched  with fan patches, DRM removal, and whatnot)
  better translation (often pirated content include fan translation).


> The internet is what brought you piracy.

Piracy was brought by microsoft and MPAA. Microsoft had a lot to win and they used piracy to consolidate market share. They never went after people except in some rare cases for publicity. MPAA made sure that you cannot buy movies. In eastern europe they did not even had distributors but they were screaming bloody murder.


>> The Internet never delivered on its promise.

>The internet is what brought you piracy.

The BBS's I visited in 1986 might disagree with you.


The guy with a suitcase of tapes would also disagree, but the Internet enabled a huge increase in scale.


While I see what you mean, a BBS was an inherently local thing, unless you fancied paying long-distance fees even if a distant BBS would accept LD calls at all. That might be acceptable for important texts and other very compact formats (small pictures, MIDI tracks), but for pirating music, let alone video, it was out of question.


The problem there is just technological: the problem with movies and video was the unavailability of good enough codecs/large enough media+bandwidth. Otherwise BBS would have been a hell of a party for those too.

For software my local BBSs, very very far from any rich country, somehow managed to get every major software release a few days before launch day. Yes, before. It was all one huge global network already, just a bit asynchronous.


people selling pirate movies and music on the street (pretty common in Italy at least) may disagree


The BBB's from 1986 didn't bring piracy to this person in the 2000's. Internet did.


Pfffff!! In Argentina you could go to brick and mortar computer stores with your box of blank floppies and ask them to copy whatever game you wanted from a long dot-matrix printed list in a binder.

Years later, with CD writers, there was a website called “Ed Sullivan and his Cambodian slaves” [sic] with a long list of movies and TV shows you could have delivered home in a couple of days. Or just stroll to the park in the center of town where several stalls offered copies of all types of computer software, MP3 collections, games, movies, etc.

… There were also guys on trains, carrying a portable CD player, speakers and a battery, who sold music and movies.


Not quite, CD Projekt (the witcher company) is named like this because they were selling pirated CDs in Warsaw.


the naivete.

Piracy was widespread over here before internet was a thing.

Copied audio tapes(prior to cassettes!), or movies etc.


My first 'piracy' would have been the copy of windows + office that my dad had at work and brought home to install on the home computer, well before I'd ever heard of the internet.


Not quite, but it's sure vastly more efficient than swapping floppy disks.


Netflix offering different movies to different countries is going to be inevitable with the protectionist legal landscape that's shoring up. Even if they own 100% of their content, it won't be tenable.

The EU is requiring 30% of the content from streaming services to be from Europe. France requires 60%. They're discussing not counting UK films as part of this. It's certainly easier to geolock content than to produce extra content, but even if Netflix et al. produce more content, what happens if/when other countries follow suit? The Canadian senate may have killed Bill C-10 for now, but Trudeau still seems likely to win in the fall, so there's a good chance it still passes in the next couple of years. So France requires 60% in the EU, Canada requires 30% in Canada, and what happens if other countries get in the game? If those percentages add up to over 100%, there is no possible way to make all your content available in all countries, no matter how much content you produce in these countries. Geolocking is the only possibility.


I would easily pay 50eur/month if it meant I could easily select any movie or tv show I wanted as it's released.

Right now there doesn't seem to be such experience provided anywhere and my Netflix subscription is basically running without me using it, because I rarely find anything worth watching where I live.

So if I want to watch something I really want to watch I have no choice, but to select the piracy approach.


Agree. The movie industry hasn't been disrupted in the same way that Spotify disrupted music distribution. The same balkanization used to happen with music licenses. Spotify disrupted that by simply pirating and offering the record companies a piece of the cake after the fact.

Someone would need to pull something similar with the movie industry.


> When I got my first Kindle 12 years ago my Amazon account was registered with my local European address so the books available in store were all complete trash romance pulp novels. Once I simply changed my home address to some random location in New York I suddenly had access to hundreds of thousands more titles. The Internet never delivered on its promise.

Sometimes I’ll gift a kindle book to someone and then they’ll message me back saying that Amazon won’t let them claim the book, giving them an error message about it not being available in their country. They can’t redeem it for anything else, so then I have to go talk to support and ask for a refund of the gift.


Why do you bother in the first place? Books are the easiest to pirate. Email the author to open a Patreon or sth, and pay them directly.


"Once I simply changed my home address to some random location in New York I suddenly had access to hundreds of thousands more titles. The Internet never delivered on its promise."

You hate the market, not the internet.


Piracy allows us to live in the year 2100.


Nothing has been solved because of corporational. Things are more complicated, Netflix made it more complicated, then HBO/Sky, Disney+, Amazon came and it's all nightmare again.

Geolocking, lack of standardised translation service, very different pricing models per country. From all services I use or hear about, Steam is still the best value per money. Steam is 18 years old this year.


>The fact that e.g. Netflix offers different movies for every country is something that honestly does not make any sense yet everyone accepts it.

Do they accept it?


Like with most things related to technology, they have no choice :). People can only choose from what's available on the market.


You know that's not true.


I do. It makes sense. Sell rights regionally so you get the highest price available in each location. The US will pay billions more for the olympics than Malta but they both watch the same events.

That allows Netflix India to sell netflix for a dollar and charge 15 for Americans.


And that is why pretty much any American movie you want to watch is not available on Netflix India :P


I'm sure there's a diversity of opinion. But for many people if it's not on the streaming service(s) they decided to pay for, they will just pirate it. Especially HBO Max which has top tier content but don't exist in most locations.

>The US will pay billions more for the olympics than Malta but they both watch the same events.

I can't let this tangent go even if it's not either of our points... The Olympic coverage in the US is infamous worldwide for being absolutely terrible. And being a live event it's harder to pirate using magnet links.


I'm a big fan of piracy. The more taking part the better the torrent strength.

My comment was in terms of rights holders. I could see why they would want that. Netflix is caught in the middle.


> grew up in Eastern Europe in the early 2000s ... it was infuriating waiting for movies to come to theaters months behind the rest of the world.

"Months"... Muahahaha! Sheesh, kids nowadays: Spoiled rotten, but don't even know it, so think they have something to whine about.

In my youth -- in a Western European country -- it was years.


> The Internet never delivered on its promise.

Only if you look at the commercial offering.


> The fact that e.g. Netflix offers different movies for every country is something that honestly does not make any sense yet everyone accepts it.

It does make sense when you know distributors still have to strike deals with cable TV operators.

> When I got my first Kindle 12 years ago my Amazon account was registered with my local European address so the books available in store were all complete trash romance pulp novels. Once I simply changed my home address to some random location in New York I suddenly had access to hundreds of thousands more titles. The Internet never delivered on its promise.

At least it did since you have access to the books you want.


I was born and raised in an African country. My father had a salary of 500$ a month. I could never afford a 50$ book about resiliency engineering or about Java Concurrency when I was 17 years old, neither could my father.

The reason I love computer science and tech and excel at some parts of it, is simply because I could access any book, pirated. I have a huge will to learn, and piracy was quite literally the only means to learn. Once I worked and got on my feet, I started buying a lot of the books that marked my learning (because nostalgia and also great resources), and if and when I can, I always buys the books.

Let's not talk about movies. My town STILL has no cinema. Nearest one is 100Km away, and costs about 15$ for a ticket. So if it wasn't for piracy, I would've probably never watched Iron Man, and never dreamed of having my own Jarvis, and hence never taking up speech recognition and deep learning. Again, now that I can, I had periods where I watched 3 to 5 movies a week in the cinema, because I have the means to.

I believe people are more likely to buy books/movies when they can. But for those who can't, I believe it's almost always a net positive to society to give them access to those resources.


I think the state of software and media piracy have been in somewhat of a sweet spot. It’s technically illegal and not just every random person can easily find what they want. But those who are motivated enough to find the content and skirt the laws are able to do it.

This way the industry is still able to monetize and those without the resources can still get access with some effort.

I pirated like crazy growing up poor but internet savvy, but now that I’m a well paid professional it isn’t necessary and isn’t even worth the effort when I can just rent/buy.


> It’s technically illegal and not just every random person can easily find what they want. But those who are motivated enough to find the content and skirt the laws are able to do it.

«I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.» Robert A. Heinlein


Seems like a code smell, when breaking the rules is the most beneficial to society.


I grew up poor in Eastern Europe. Very poor, in fact. Without piracy I probably wouldn’t ever have been able to learn English, find my passion and make it in life. And not just for monetary reasons but due to access as well. Ironically enough the Internet never mattered too much because we were able to get what we wanted hand to hand. The 56k modem was completely useless when your friend had a zip drive with the games you drooled over. But it taught me to appreciate things. Even today I love physical copies of things, it is like a little trophy to the thing I love.

My biggest problem nowadays is not that I can’t afford the things I love but that there is hardly anything I actually want. But when I do I often get multiple copies, whether it is on different platforms or to share the joy with friends.

That being said the effects of piracy are both severe and negligible due to the quality. While it probably doesn’t affect big corporations at all, the small indie people sometimes suffer catastrophically from it.


From eastern europe: piracy cannot hurt sells when: 1. The title is not available in your country and 2. When the title is too expensive for the people to buy it. Piracy however helps sells. When i like some movie or music that i pirated, chances are big that i will buy it. When i don't know about it, the MPAA can keep it. Marketing failure all the way.


From western Europe: I pay for Netflix and Amazon. Getting titles on them seems easy until you run into localization, while Netflix seems to support dozens of languages with its own titles I still run into too many videos that only offer a subtitle instead of having the English language dub to fall back to.

Can we please throw all copyright lawyers into an active volcano and try to set up a system that doesn't make it intentionally impossible to legally watch the English language version of a video hosted by Amazon while in a non English speaking country? Also throw the Amazon execs who signed those licensing agreements after them.


Yeah, this seems to be an Amazon problem. Every time I rent a movie on Amazon, I triple check whether they have the original audio. Some have English audio but no English subs which really doesn't make any sense.


The UI to determine these details is also frustrating.

My friend had never seen Something About Mary so we decided to pay 3.99€ to watch it. It ended up being 480p and dubbed horribly in German.

Never again.


3. Quality of service in your country is so bad that you wouldn't watch it legally for free.

If I remember correctly, in some EU countries GoT was available only with reader - no native English and subtitles, all episodes destroyed by a reader. In another country GoT was available in max resolution 480p, in another... you had to be subscribed to one particular ISP AND have HBO subscription. GoT was the most pirated content on torrents for quite some time.


I played pirated games when I was a kid (actually I didn't know it was pirated, I bought them off CD shops).

Growing up with more money to spend, I bought legit copies of those games (and more) from GOG just feeling nostalgic. Heck I don't even play them.

Now I don't play pirated games, simply because the potential problems (virus etc) outweighs the cost (I usually wait for Steam/GOG/Epic sale anyway).

Same thing for software.

For books.. during uni time I usually borrow books from uni library, and make a copy for personal use (so I can highlight the pages). I guess that's piracy.


I have a bit of a stupid question related to the topic. I'm self-publishing German sci fi and fantasy novels, nothing special, just some good entertainment (if you like my writing style). Since you cannot have a readership without Amazon and do appreciate the pocket money, I sell them on Amazon. At the same time Amazon does not allow me to give them away for free.

Is there a way I can give away my novels as "pirated ebooks" to a German audience without having to seed a torrent and without making this easily traceable back to me as the author?

It would probably even boost sales and also help people with less money, I just don't know how to do it. :(


> Is there a way I can give away my novels as "pirated ebooks" to a German audience without having to seed a torrent and without making this easily traceable back to me as the author?

The big torrent alternative in the German warez scene are direct downloads from filehosters. Which means there is no real "central place" where you can just put it for widespread exposure because it's a whole bunch of different portals/forums with individual uploads.

There's a couple of well known bigger forums, like Gulli, Boerse or Bloodsuckerz, and countless "blog style" ones often specialized on certain media, those can be found on the Raidrush Toplist.

So in practice you would need to sign up to a whole lot of places and post the links to your filehosted books there.


> Is there a way I can give away my novels as "pirated ebooks" to a German audience without having to seed a torrent and without making this easily traceable back to me as the author?

A few well regarded authors (Charlie Stross, Cory Doctrow and Peter Watts spring to mind, I'm sure there are others) have been commercially successful despite (or because of) releasing some of their work for free download. Might be worth looking into how they approached it?


They allow you to give it away but you can't be signed up to the kdp program.


There are other websites that allow you to do a static upload, under a pseudonym. Just have a look on somewhere like reddit for a name of such a site. Another option would be getting in touch with a popular uploader on one of these sites or a torrent tracker and have them upload and seed. If they are a member of a private tracker they may get some sort of reward for seeding, as an incentive.


You can just upload them on Library Genesis


You can just upload them on Library Genesis, though seeding a torrent is also not that hard. Buy a VPS with crypto, and seed the torrent there. Besides, I doubt they would come after you anyway; The PR will hurt them more than stopping you.


Amazon doesn't let you give it away for free? Even as a promotional thing?

You could upload it to the Internet Archive. Maybe ping Jason Scott @textfiles on Twitter and he'll make sure it gets sorted into the right categories so people can find it.


What the article doesn't mention: Julia Reda, who "unearthed" the report, was an MEP for the Pirate Party at the time. She left the party in 2019 to protest against the nomination of a candidate who was under investigation for sexual harassment (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Reda).


Why the scare quotes? She did unearth it, through an FOI request. It was buried. Tiny parts were cherry-picked by commissioners, to support a conclusion diametrically opposed to the researchers' conclusions.


Not all quotes are scare quotes.


But these sure seemed to be.


It's not literal unearthing. So the quotes are to set off the figure of speech. Style guides say not to do it but it's a matter of style, not correctness. I guess that's as strong as you're going to get in colloquial English though :)


Literal unearthing is a fairly rare usage, compared to "to discover through the expenditure of effort". The more-common usage doesn't need quotes; they imply either that it's reported speech, or that the author is sceptical.


> She left the party in 2019 to protest against the nomination of a candidate who was under investigation for sexual harassment

She tried to fire him before the investigation was even done, investigations based on two complaints, one of which was already rejected at that point.

As much as I like hear work, I really do not understand what happened there and why she would do what she did there, like she did it.

Her expertise and what the PP stands for are as relevant as ever, and its getting more relevant each day. Why would she just throw all that away for herself, but alongside that try to sabotage a whole political movement?


Saying that a member of a party leaving is "throwing it all away" is ridiculous. She tried to address the problems internally, didn't get her way, so she left. Why would one have to continue being a member of a party that one disagrees with? Whether you agree with her reasons or not, people are and should be free to leave and join a political party as they want. Trying to cast people who leave as some sort of traitor to the cause is cult-like thinking.


She gave a good interview explaining why she left:

https://www.euractiv.com/section/digital/news/german-parliam...


That doesn't have anything to do with the subject: a uncomfortable report was buried.


Of course, they don't want to get in trouble with powerful American lobbyist groups. Same reason local authorities went after the Pirate Bay guys despite them not having broken any laws in Sweden.


But they did brake laws. And even when they could not find anything they could have found somebody who was "raped". /s


Sweden has such a bad reputation as a place where the is corrupt. I wonder if the public feels that?


High praise for Sweden:

> a place where the <<nothing>> is corrupt.


The thing is: people have a budget, whether they want it or not. So, when they spend $50 to buy a video game, that's $50 less for theaters. It is all connected, so I think that in the end, free piracy (like torrenting) doesn't change much on the global scale.


I just can't believe this.

Almost every single person I knew back in the day who installed Limewire/Kazaa/Bearshare, bought an R4 cartridge or modded their Wii went from buying at least a couple of pieces of genuine media each year to never buying one again.

That being said, perhaps a more useful metric for calculating lost sales would be how many people acquired the technology used for piracy, rather than how many times they used it.


How many people stopped pirating when Apple made it extremely easy to buy music for $1? Remember when you were forced the buy the whole album for just one song?

The biggest issue is and always will be accessibility and ease of access and these two are hindered by outdated global licensing agreements.

If you sell be a DVD with DRM that takes longer to start playing than a copy I downloaded. I will download it. If you force me to watch unskipable 10 year old ads before I can play my purchased DVD I will pirate that movie.


> How many people stopped pirating when Apple made it extremely easy to buy music for $1?

I can't think of any that stopped honestly or even owned an Apple product. Apple products are expensive.


That's not really relevant to the question asked there: You don't need to own an Apple product to buy music trough iTunes.

If you wanted just that one song then iTunes was very much the most affordable, and accessible, way to legally buy digital music back then because it only charged you $1 for a song.

The only other alternatives where, often legally rather obscure, flatrate subscription models or buying the physical full album, which would usually have cost you at least $20+

Valve did something very similar with Steam: Very easy to use and it actually passed on the savings from digital distribution to the consumers by heavily discounting the prices of games.


Yep exactly! I personally don't find Apple products useful but man I love iTunes just because I can buy DRM-free music.

I wish buying movies was this easy.


> That's not really relevant to the question asked there: You don't need to own an Apple product to buy music trough iTunes.

I wasn't aware that iTunes offered downloads via a website back then, because iTunes certainly does not run on the OS which the people that I'm thinking of used at the time (and still doesn't).


I tried iTunes on Windows once. Horrendously clunky UI, not at all what one would have expected from the vaunted "intuitive" Apple.


Nowadays at least in my country is difficult to find music legally to download and burn on a CD. My car stereo only has CD, and I don't want to change a very good stereo (it sounds far better than the built in stereo of most new cars) just to put one with bluetooth so I can play Spotify, and I don't want even to use the AUX input, since the quality is not that great (it picks up a lot of noise) and most importantly I have to use the phone to change track (and that introduces a distraction, I prefer not to use my phone when I'm driving).

Nowadays it's impossible to find mp3. I have a Spotify premium account, so I can download music, but not in a format that lets me burn it on a CD. So basically I pay 10 euro a month and I don't even have the freedom to listen to the music on whatever device I prefer.

I miss the old days where you could find everything to pirate. These days thanks god there is Telegram that lets me download some mp3 in decent quality, otherwise I have to download YouTube videos and the audio quality is awful (but probably most people will not notice since they have crappy stereos in the first place).


> Nowadays at least in my country is difficult to find music legally to download and burn on a CD.

It's weird how at the same time the lack of option to legally download and burn CD and the lack of optical players "if there is no way of legaly watching the content piracy is the only way. (and importing expensive DVDs in an erra where literally none of my devices have optical bays is not actual option)" lead to the same conclusion: pirating.

> I miss the old days where you could find everything to pirate. These days thanks god there is Telegram that lets me download some mp3 in decent quality, otherwise I have to download YouTube videos and the audio quality is awful (but probably most people will not notice since they have crappy stereos in the first place).

Amen to that. Just yesterday I bought two tracks from https://christophertin.com/projects/civilizationvi.html (it's not the link I used, that one led to gumstore something which allows me to download FLAC tracks) and today I can't even find the store link.

I tried to buy in the same way the whole album but there are no "download" options.

Every albums/EPs has different streaming options but there are no download options for everything.

I ended up using youtube-dl on the music.youtube.com and I can clearly hear the differences. I suspect these tracks are amputated from some instruments or settings.


What country is that? While the focus for sure has shifted to streaming, here in Germany e.g. Amazon will sell you files if you want.


I think the number of countries where Amazon sells MP3s is nor very high. They've never sold them in Canada for example.

Seems like there's a lot of countries where Apple doesn't even operate the iTunes Music Store too which is surprising to me. Like Albania and Iceland.


> How many people stopped pirating when Apple made it extremely easy to buy music for $1?

Apple does not allow you to "buy" music, only to rent it.


Why am I being downvoted for stating an undisputed fact? Do you feel good about yourself for promoting misinformation and downvoting factual corrections?


It's easy to use web search and see that iTunes let you buy music. The point of the statement you're reacting to stands even if buying music from iTunes isn't possible anymore.


"Back in the day" you did purchase music from Apple. This changed to a subscription now from what I understand similar to Spotify and Google.


Please provide source for your claim.


There is a wikipedia page for the iTunes Store which details the history of various ways the licensed/sold things over the years.


Yes, I have looked at the Wikipedia page for the iTunes Store. It does not claim that, at any point in time, iTunes terms would have allowed you to buy a copy of a song. They only sold you the right to listen to a song for undetermined amount of time. If you have a source that claims the contrary, please link.


So they sold you a pure audio file with no DRM, but that somehow was only intended to be a totally unenforced "right to listen to a song" they had no mechanism to terminate?


I checked and it turns out that I was wrong. You are correct that iTunes did at one point in time offer the ability to download copies of songs without DRM and without (significant) contractual limitations regarding the usage of those copies.

https://web.archive.org/web/20090106080722/http://www.apple....

> (xii) iTunes Plus Products do not contain security technology that limits your usage of such Products, and Usage Rules (iii) – (vi) do not apply to iTunes Plus Products. You may copy, store and burn iTunes Plus Products as reasonably necessary for personal, noncommercial use.


The same limits apply to a CD or DVD purchased. You own the song.


You can still buy DRM free songs from iTunes...


There's several factors at play here. Some people view piracy as the opportunity to "try something out" before buying. This means they only buy the thing they actually liked. On the other hand, services such as Steam—which has made getting games both cheaper and easier—is probably capturing a lot of those guys who would previously do piracy, simply because it's a lot less hassle to just buy it on there. And also the price isn't horrible either, unless the game is brand new (though the matter of ownership is still an issue, though not very relevant to this discussion). Also, I know more than one person who resorted to piracy, simply because the thing wasn't available in their country yet, or because the site that sells the authorized thing either has a prohibitively expensive price, or because the service is just prohibitively bad, thus making it comparably more easy to simply pirate the thing.


>Some people view piracy as the opportunity to "try something out" before buying.

I have met precisely one person in real life who does this, and he was far enough on the Autism spectrum to receive a government-funded integration aide for the first 6 years of school.

Every other person I know pirates because it's easier than acquiring the real product, they can get a pirated version before the official version is released, or they just simply want to save money.

I personally pirate because I can't be bothered looking through 6 different streaming apps to see which one has Terminator 2 on it. Apparently I'm not alone in this regard; piracy has started to rise again since everybody pulled their content from Netflix.

Yes, it's just anecdata, but I would be shocked if more than 5% of pirates intended to purchase genuine copies of the media they actually liked.


> I would be shocked if more than 5% of pirates intended to purchase genuine copies of the media they actually liked

I agree, but I think this actually depends on the media. I do buy my technical books ($50-$150/a piece), but I want to take a look at them first before purchasing.


I pay for Letterboxd to filter my “watchlist” based on the streaming services I have (it uses the JustWatch API and supports several countries and obscure streaming services).

I personally prefer paying because I can decide what to watch on a whim, on 4k, without keeping a stash with several TB of movies I might never end up watching (like I did before Netflix) which I then have to copy or stream from another computer to my Apple TV to watch. Not even talking about the PITA of having to keep up with working tracker sites, mirrors, etc.

I understand pirating because of the price, or availability, but in terms of comfort streaming has won me over some years ago.


Just adding my own anecdote here, so that you can add one more "person I know" (even though you don't know me, you might, after this post, know of me as a person) to the list of those who have pirated specifically as a "try before you buy" method.

I have been burned too many times by games that simply do not run on my hardware despite meeting the minimum specs for the game. Modern platforms like Steam may allow for refunds, but this is a relatively new thing. Shareware and demos are a fantastic thing for someone like me, but these mostly seem to have gone away in favor of Let's Play and other videos of gameplay, which does nothing to help me determine if I can actually play the game.



So it is 9% and not 5%. "Justifying Infringers" as they were called in your link.


That 9% of people also included a group that believed they were justified but didn't actually buy a genuine product.


Yes. It is not truly 1:1, as in they probably don't necessarily buy everything they try for free and like, but at the same time were considered a group that spent enough money on the kinda of stuff they get for free... Thinking about the definition, I knew people like that, they were reading 10-20-40 manga per week, some just to see if they liked the content and some regularly, they mostly spent money buying Collector's edition of the stuff they loved but sometimes bought regular prints because the price was deemed good.


> I can't be bothered looking through 6 different streaming apps to see which one has Terminator 2 on it.

justwatch.com will solve that for you, and covers quite a few countries. Between Netflix, Hulu, and "Rent for $4 on Amazon" I can almost always find an option unless it's a Disney+ / Showtime / whatever exclusive.

$25-40/mo (depending on how often I have to invoke the "rent" option) seems pretty reasonable compared to cable.


I’m in Germany. I’ve got Disney+, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video.

And yet, a significant proportion of shows isn’t available for me on either of these, and requires maxdome, sky, whatever other bullshit which I’ll never subscribe to. I’m spending enough money each month on streaming that, if something isn’t on there, I’ll just pirate it.


I'm in the UK and i have a similar issue with services, like NowTV, not being available via Android TV for some reason.

At one point i dumped Amazon Fire because all the services didnt support it and only seemed to support Google. Now its switched, I'm not buying all new hardware again.


> I’m in Germany. I’ve got Disney+, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video.

Damn. Let me know if you ever host movie nights, I'll come over :3


I've also got a full Dolby Atmos setup, so I'm already the one in our friend circle responsible for movie nights c:

But often enough, I still need to rip blu rays to get proper, high quality versions of movies that otherwise aren't available at all, so movie night can end up with glitches from my custom setup


Weird smiley. What's it supposed to depict, "eyes directly above scrotum"? Or "...above buttocks"?



Also weird. What's the picture supposed to show; someone with two wads of chewing tobacco under their upper lip?

If anything, that picture seems to be a desperate attempt at retrofitting something, no matter what exactly, onto the smiley -- just look at the name: "3smile".

(So I think I'll stick to "ballsack with eyes".)



Aha, OK, kittycat. But also: Looks perhaps even more like a pinniped (eine Robbe). So I propose to use this as a marker for pointing out sealioning.

EDIT - Also: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27849412


To me it looks like either "cleft palate wide smile" or "twirly moustache grin".


They generally don't help as I'll get a referral to a service which then isn't actually available in my country, like Hulu.


Justwatch.com is pretty good at that in my experience. I'm often looking for something I can watch with a friend in Canada or Australia so I'm often using the site to check the same title in multiple countries


True story, I just recently bought a DVD box set for a old TV Show from my teen years, that was not found on any streaming service, or on any unoffical download source....

I had forgotten what a pain in the ass it is to transfer a DVD to something usable in modern times like Plex or Emby, it is something like a 8 dvd box set I think I have gotten like 2 of the DVD ripped at this point


I do this and I haven't received any aid.


>I haven't received any aid

Maybe because Greece is broke? :P

But seriously, I wasn't trying to imply that everybody who uses piracy to demo things need help - it's just extremely uncommon/unusual to buy a piece of genuine media when you already having a working pirate copy.


> Maybe because Greece is broke? :P

I cannot help but laugh at this original and non-facile joke I have definitely not heard a million times before.

> it's just extremely uncommon/unusual to buy a piece of genuine media when you already having a working pirate copy.

Probably, but in my case I don't play games often, so if I buy something I'll end up ignoring it after a few minutes 99% of the time. Pirating and buying after I finish is a good way to tell for sure if I'll like it before I buy.


>I cannot help but laugh at this original and non-facile joke I have definitely not heard a million times before.

Well, shit. There's another comment to recall at random intervals for the next 10 years and blush with embarrassment even though nobody else is around.


Hahah, I can't say that wasn't my intention :P


Convenient "return" policies also make buying easier. I have frequently bought things both on Steam and for my Kindle only to try them out. Fifteen minutes later I know whether to keep or "return" them.

I would never have made many of my purchases without that option.


When I was a teenager I pirated every single song and PC video game. And yet, I haven’t pirated one ever since I got my own bank account, Steam, and Spotify.

It’s really a convenience and accessibility issue.


At some point you get old enough to not want to bother with piracy because of the hassle if you have a decent first world income.


As an adult, I tend to pirate or buy knockoff goods precisely when it becomes more of a hassle than buying the real thing.

For example, having to go through every streaming app to work out which one has the show you want, or buying a piece of hardware sold by an American that hasn't even thought about logistics to any country that isn't the USA.


Side note: in case you didn't know, Google TV kind of solves the problem of having to go through every streaming app to find which one has the desired programme with a universal search. I just got it and find it useful.


But then multiple services, like NowTV for example, don't support Google TV but do support Amazom Fire for some reason.

Piracy for convenience happens again.


That's handy. Hopefully it stays universal - if they started charging a fee to streaming services to be included in the search we'd be back to square one.


As far as I'm aware, it's just Google Search underneath but with telly included. I doubt they'll charge for inclusion but do expect ads.


That's my experience too.

As a student, I didn't really buy the "piracy increases sales" studies, since I went from buying one thing a year to zero. Clearly, sales were lost.

As an adult, I can casually swipe my credit card and buy similar things on a whim. How much less I bought as a student is a rounding error.

Most people or organizations are either rich enough to not bother with piracy, or poor enough not to buy especially much in the first place.

I'll mention this is doubly true with industrial software. Ain't no way an individual will drop $5k on a CAD program. On the other hand, ain't no way a serious business will pirate a $5k CAD program. Having people know how to use your tools, though, drives sales.


> At some point you get old enough to not want to bother with piracy because of the hassle if you have a decent first world income.

Partially disagree. For things like music and tv series, there's more hassle when acquiring the product via "official" channels. For example, when I want to download a music video, I can just go on youtube and I can download the video with one click (using "unofficial" software). If I wanted to use "official" channels to purchase a copy of the music video, I would have to spend a lot of time just finding out which service sells it, then figure out if they actually sell this piece of music or merely rent it out, then figure out a method to register and pay, etc. In the end I have no idea if I will even acquire a mp4 file or some kind of DRM time bomb.

I can't fathom why anybody would feel like buying music is less of a hassle than downloading music without buying it.


Nearly everyone I know doesn't usually bother with music piracy because of Spotify and their competitors, which offer listening to nearly every song imaginable in a format that's IMO far more convenient than the MP3 days, piracy or otherwise.


I'm not talking about the convenience of "the MP3 days", I'm talking about the convenience today. The example I provided was one-click downloading a music video. You countered this with the ability to... stream audio temporarily from Spotify? Not sure how that's relevant. Does Spotify allow you to download mp4 music videos?


Your point seemed to be about "music" before veering into an example with music videos, in which I have no experience.

> For things like music and tv series, there's more hassle when acquiring the product via "official" channels.

> I can't fathom why anybody would feel like buying music is less of a hassle than downloading music without buying it.


> Your point seemed to be about "music" before veering into an example with music videos

True. Note that the text you quoted referred to "acquiring the product". Streaming audio from Spotify temporarily is different from "acquiring" the audio file. Do you think acquiring audio files via official channels is somehow less of a hassle than acquiring them via unofficial channels, like youtube-dl?


This is my experience. As a teenager I pirated about half the media I consumed. Now that I have a modest income I legally consume almost all my media (books, music and games), except for uni text books and scientific articles that aren't available through any of my libraries.

I tried following my linear algebra course using freely available materials and/or 2nd hand text books, but constant "new" editions and access to online study portals made 2nd hand books impractical.


And my experience is 100% contrary. All my schoolmates were playing pirated games (there were no others in Russia, even if it's difficult for you to imagine that). But as soon as Steam appeared, we've switched to Steam and started buying games legally. I own 292 purchased games in Steam (I've just launched Steam to check this number), around 15 in Origin, 5 in GOG and around 10 bought in Epic.


I bought a DS flashcard to play Pokémon Black with a translation patch early and then bought it day 1, don't remember using it for much more. I modded my Wii but still bought games like Skyward sword.

How old were the people back in the day? In high school I pirated a lot more because I literally had no money.


I used to buy a few CDs a year, $20 for one good song?? Then Napster came along, and I found all sorts of good stuff, and I started buying a few CDs/week because I knew they had good songs on them, and were better quality audio that the stuff on Napster. I bought a few hundred CDs at full Best Buy Retail prices!, then the record companies started suing their customers, and I've never bought a new CD since.

I've given up on music in general. I'll listen to the radio in the car, but that's it. If I really want to here a song, its on Youtube somewhere.


And then came Spotify and they recognized people are willing to pay.


Spotify barely pays musicians anything. It's basically legalized piracy for music.

This was even laid out explicitly in a recent leak from a former Spotify boss: https://www.businessinsider.com/taylor-swift-doesnt-need-str...

> The problem was this: piracy and music distribution. The problem was to get artists' music out there. The problem was not to pay people money.


There are people who are willing to pay for spotify. The problem with Spotify and other streaming services is that they don't offer quality ( they offer opus). Want to hear a song ? If you're lucky you get mp3 (or opus) quality. Want to stream a movie ? Depends on your ISP, weather and other factors. All streaming services offer "up to". Nothing is guaranteed. I also have " gigabit " internet. If I'm lucky i get a couple (2-3) of hundred MB/s. Usually is 7-800 kB/s.


Opus with good settings is fine. I seriously doubt you could tell the difference between lossless and Opus with a blind ABX test. Do it (you can do it at home!) and get back to me.

What's often far more noticeable is all the ways that the music is altered during production. How it's recorded, mixed and mastered. You'd be surprised what kinds of sources still get used as part of the mix today. Someone using an unshielded quarter inch cable to record a guitar amp is far more likely to contribute noise than Opus. Or a producer using Abbey Road Vinyl or iZotope. Or whoever uses some "free sample pack" that originated from an MP3 re-encoding of a poor rip of Best Service Gigapack. It's all out there.


The problem might be that you have a 7-8 mbit connection and the content providers use bandwidth scaling. I have an actual gigabit connection and Spotify is indistinguishable from uncompressed audio. Of course there's Tidal and probably some others that have lossless compression if you think you can hear the difference. Some sources claim that everyone else than Spotify pays the artists better, which might be also a reason use other services (unless you believe that the artists' work should be free).


> unless you believe that the artists' work should be free

Interesting, “work” is kind of ambiguous in that sentence. Either it means the labor or it means the artistic creation.

Anyways I want to think that there are a multitude of ways to allow global unfettered reach of the latter while ensuring the former has adequate funding.

I mean everyone is free to buy practically any pizza, in practically any form, from practically anyone, and still people get paid to come up with novel recipes.

For digital media I think YouTube and GitHub are the type of space to focus on. Compared to Spotify they are almost the kind of free services one could imagine a copyright free Netflix and Spotify could look like.

You don’t find many multi million dollar productions on the ad-financed YouTube. (You do on the completely free GitHub though). It would be interesting to find out if there are other models for YouTube-like media to get access to that kind of funds, pretty sure ads aren’t it, and copyright seems to lead to the Netflix problem.

Patreon and selling merch does it share to finance the channels I watch. But also seems limited in what can be expected.

LWN has this interesting freemium model of keeping the latest edition for subscribers only (unless they share a link), it’s kind of what Kickstarter things do too no? Some extra perks for those is provide t he funding.

Personally I would be happy to pay for “premium” YouTube subscriptions for channels doing a LWN like thing. Would probably prefer to do that through a meta-subscription service (like patreon?) built into the consumption experience to lower the barrier.

For music I see no reason these models shouldn’t be adequate. Film could be a bit mor problematic, seems like those are being replaced with series anyways though, so perhaps a good pilot is enough to secure funding for subsequent episodes.


> Interesting, “work” is kind of ambiguous in that sentence. Either it means the labor or it means the artistic creation.

It is both. Just recording music involves lots of non-creative setup and editing work, and filming typically involves a lot of logistics, set building and other non-creative labor. Equipment isn't free either even if it's not as exclusive as it used to be.

Soundcloud and Bandcamp kind of work for music, but somehow it seems that most of the artists who can get a traditional recording or distribution deal prefer going that way. I've understood that before copyright a rich patron was common way of funding art. I'm just not sure if I'd enjoy watching tech billionaires' pet projects.


That's changing. Apple Music offers Lossless and 24 bit as part of the normal subscription price now which caused Amazon Music to do the same. I personally find the quality of the AACs/MP3s fine. It's not like they are serving up 128kps files or something.

Yeah, streaming Netflix doesn't look as good as a Bluray but it looks better than a DVD or cable TV which most people are still happy with.


I do not know about apple lossless but amazon has "up to". "Up to" is not lossles. It only _could_ be. There is no indication what codec they use. So paying more for something "up to" makes no sense.


It's not more. It's the same price as a normal sub. It's "up to" because not every song is available lossless. They indicate which are.


In addition to the commenters noting that Amazon/Apple Music offer lossless, Spotify is also planning to bring out Spotify HiFi soonish. Audio quality is finally catching up…


Spotify's innovation and differentiator is that it offers music legally for free. Yes, they have a paid plan, but it's the free plan that is the bigger competition to piracy.


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