"Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem... If a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24 x 7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate's service is more valuable."
So the next best thing is piracy. You can piss around with DNS settings or wait for the DVDs to be available, but piracy is just so much more convenient.
Also, where is the redbox clone? Quickflix is a joke as a netflix competitor, and there's no redbox clone that I know of. 40GB bandwidth caps? 80 for $100nzd/month? Even piracy is hard at that level.
There's much more competition here, I'm amazed that I can get unlimited internet on my phone for £12 per month (giffgaff).
Back in NZ my monthly home internet cost the equivalent of £25 with no phoneline (cable - which is rare in NZ), and was capped at 10GB per month. Compared to other services, this was really cheap!
So guess what's going to happen when you have such an amazing connection.
I have Netflix setup as well, super convenient but you never seem to get HD.
ctrl-alt-shift-S brings up a bandwidth selection in the Netflix player.
I don't solely have fibre just for netflix. I was assuming using a 3rd party dns server to unblock Netflix they are actually proxy'ing some of the content, so it's really their server that limits the download speed (I mostly watch on my Apple TV so not many options there).
I might try that on the desktop version even though I don't use it much.
I live in Ponsonby and we have had fibre available here for over a year now. I thought the plan was to have most of it done by the end of 2015?
I feel your pain, bro!
I remain amazed that no ad-hoc network solutions are available. Every wireless device & router should provide at least some off-official-network connectivity. It's not even a hardware problem. Over time, enough overlap should provide a pretty good alternate network service with no caps on bandwidth or content, giving incentive for providing bridges and "unapproved" services. Certainly would have its issues, but would provide more options with almost zero cost.
I blow part of my monthly 'real across-the-ocean internet' limit downloading Night of the Living Dead from archive.org, then provide access to it for other New Zealanders using the hypothetical local mesh network.
And we haven't even gotten to any of the other problems, like address assignment, routing, etc.
More realistically, ISPs could place far higher bandwidth limits on local (to NZ) traffic. That is, if it is just the undersea cables that are lacking, not the rest of the infrastructure as well...
I'm not saying either of these are realistic or easy. I'm just saying that the sarcastic quip "I'm sure ad-hoc mesh wifi is an excellent solution to limited across-the-ocean bandwidth." is not a real criticism of the proposal.
Bittorrent could be scoped to the country too, it doesn't have to seed or download across the ocean.
And speaking of across-the-ocean bandwidth: don't underestimate the bps of a freighter stuffed to the gills with MicroSD cards. https://xkcd.com/691/
I do not doubt the ability to solve technical and financial challenges associated with scaling up an ad-hoc network. Been there, done that, can do it again.
That is all.
It's even more apt when you look at the numbers and see that piracy isn't hurting the top or bottom line for the movie business to any appreciable degree. To some extent, that's because the movie business has been very good at stomping out piracy (at least among mainstream, non-tech-savvy consumers). But even at its peak, piracy wasn't hurting movies the way it was hurting music.
The problem for Hollywood is that "moving the trash can" is extremely hard. Primarily, because nobody has any idea where it needs to be moved to. Secondarily, because "Hollywood" isn't a single entity. It's an industry full of competing companies with conflicting agendas. When we say "Hollywood should just do X," we're talking about herding cats. (Extremely fat, lavishly well fed cats, who have no individual incentives to be herded.) The MPAA seems large and monolithic, but it's basically a lobbying organization. It doesn't set any grand, strategic agendas within the industry itself. The head of a movie studio doesn't answer to the MPAA; he rarely even interfaces with the MPAA (if at all). He answers to the C-level execs of the media conglomerate who owns the studio, and those guys answer to Wall Street.
In those cases I simply don't watch it. It's not that important to me. But I'm sure others at that point just say screw it I'm going to pirate it. Either way - the industry makes no money off the viewer when they easily could have.
I am not from USA but I also tried to use those services using a VPN, but when I use a VPN I do not get an effective speed that is stream-worthy so I say, "screw it, I am not paying twice - once to VPN and once for the service which I can't really stream anyway".
I'm not affiliated with 'em, I just use it.
There's a third option if you're using an iPad: the built-in PPTP/L2TP/IPSec client or the official OpenVPN client. Your point still stands for the Apple TV.
Paying the wrong amount, or one way or the other not following the terms of a licence (such as watching netflix outside of the US), is just as much piracy as bittorrent is.
That's basically what it boils down to you jump through a lot of hoops in an attempt to get it legally they take your money accuse you of piracy and sue you.
I'm not so sure.
"Piracy" isn't a well defined legal term, so I'm guessing we're talking about copyright infringement here.
But US copyright primarily extends from US laws, which are hard to break if you're in a foreign jurisdiction.
Treaties like the TRIPS agreement extend copyright (and other IP) rules and enforcement to foreign jurisdictions, but it's not altogether clear that TRIPS would require every jurisdiction to prosecute someone who receives a stream from Netflix through an additional hop. (In fact, it obviously doesn't apply everywhere, as some jurisdictions give complete waivers to copyright infringement for personal use.)
More to the point, with streaming, it's not really clear the user has made any copy that would be required for the violation in most jurisdictions.
I don't know the situation in Italy, but it's at least not a foregone conclusion that using a VPN to watch Hulu or Netflix violates anything aside from a terms of service agreement. An unenforced TOS provision hardly has the same legal heft as copyright infringement (unless the CFAA is thrown at you, but that's a whole different animal...)
well. sometimes the US has strange notions of 'foreign jurisdiction'. for example if a US citizen were to order a drink at a bar overseas and that drink happens to contain rum from cuba. you've just violated US law. that will be $250,000 and 10 years in prison. 
see this bit from treasury.gov:
"Transactions Involving Cuban-Origin Goods in Third Countries
The question is often asked whether United States citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States may legally purchase Cuban origin goods, including tobacco and alcohol products, in a
third country for personal use outside the United States. The answer is no. The Regulations prohibit persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States from purchasing, transporting, importing,
or otherwise dealing in or engaging in any transactions with respect to any merchandise outside the United States if such merchandise (1) is of Cuban origin; or (2) is or has been located in or transported from or through Cuba; or (3) is made or derived in whole or in part of any article which is the growth, produce or manufacture of Cuba. Thus, in the case of cigars, the prohibition extends to cigars manufactured in Cuba and sold in a third country and to cigars manufactured in a third country from tobacco grown in Cuba."
London Film Productions Ltd. v. Intercontinental Communications, Inc. found jurisdiction for a US district court in a case with a British plaintiff, a US defendant, where the infringement took place in several Latin American jurisdictions.
However, the court only took the case because it was found there would be an enormous hardship to force the plaintiff to pursue relief in several foreign jurisdictions. And note, the US federal court still applied the laws of those countries, because the legal jurisdiction remains the place where the alleged infringement takes place.
Also note, "The Second Circuit has seemingly disavowed London Films Productions’ approach, rejecting plaintiff’s reliance on that opinion in Murray v. BBC, 82 F.3d 287, 293 (2d Cir. 1986). with the dismissive remark: “We are, quite frankly, at a loss to see how this lawsuit has any but the most attenuated American connection,” a comment that applies even more strongly to London Films."
Further critical analysis of London Films here:
Now given that contract you agreed to with netflix, I think is pretty safe to say that you're violating the law in every last jurisdiction on earth.
Sure they won't sue you for it, generally speaking. But you're definitely violating the law.
Some laws, tax laws, apply regardless of jurisdiction, because jurisdiction is found by some connection of yourself to the state. But if you commit murder in Canada, that's a violation of Canadian, not US law (unless you're a member of the US armed forces, in which case it's a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice).
But more importantly, it's not illegal to break a contract.
You can't even get punitive damages for a breach. One example illustrating this is US Naval Institute v. Charter Communications, 936 F. 2d 692 - Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit 1991.
Judge Posner explains why the law favors this in "Economic Analysis and the Law" as follows:
"Suppose I sign a contract to deliver 100,000 custom-ground widgets at $.10 apiece to A, for use in his boiler factory. After I have delivered 10,000, B comes to me, explains that he desperately needs 25,000 custom-ground widgets at once since otherwise he will be forced to close his pianola factory at great cost, and offers me $.15 apiece for 25,000 widgets. I sell him the widgets and as a result do not complete timely delivery to A, who sustains $1000 in damages from my breach. Having obtained an additional profit of $1250 on the sale to B, I am better off even after reimbursing A for his loss. Society is also better off. Since B was willing to pay me $.15 per widget, it must mean that each widget was worth at least $.15 to him. But it was worth only $.14 to A – $.10, what he paid, plus $.04 ($1000 divided by 25,000), his expected profit. Thus the breach resulted in a transfer of the 25,000 widgets from a lower valued to a higher valued use."
1) that action was illegal (violated law, contract provisions, ...)
2) that damages were incurred
3) that there was a causal connection between the action and the damages
It is pretty obvious what happens in most situations. For example if you damage someone without violating the law, you cannot be punished for that (well, not legally).
It is also pretty obvious that if you violate a contract, but it has no consequences for anyone, you can't be punished for this (this is a major difference between our -mostly- canon law and judaic or sharia law, where the state/everyone is responsible to punish you even if no one was bothered by your actions (the state in judaic law, everyone in sharia law, although muslim states are in the process of changing this, because despite allah's "wisdom" the part of sharia where everybody should attack everyone they believe to have broken the law turns out to be massively counterproductive and destructive. There are many such changes, the one I like to remind muslim nutcases of is that sharia specifies the death penalty to any muslim not living under an islamic state (something they thoroughly implemented during the crusades for example), and there's plenty of fatwas of this)
What the judge illustrated is that he judged that condition 2 was not satisfied in this case. There are lots of qualifications though. First, anyone who was damaged was reimbursed (A), not just for the price he would have paid, but on top of that for the resulting damages. I doubt you'd want to use this very often, as it does mean paying damages. Also : this is a very "American" judgement, and on the extreme side even for America. I would expect this not to work on most judges.
Well sure, except that won't apply here since there is ample precedent of courts finding copyright breaches do damage the copyright holder.
Pirating content != Ignoring region restrictions, otherwise buying a film on holiday and then watching it on a region unlocked dvd player would be piracy and it clearly isn't.
It is breach of contract, but that does not by itself constitute piracy just because it is to do with media.
For example, when Adobe CS used to come in boxes, it was literally cheaper to fly return to the US and buy it there. They weren't providing local support or anything - just phone and online support from the same offshore call centres they use for other markets.
That doesn't talk about the address where you established your account, it's clearly about where you are doing the viewing.
It sounds like they offer their service anywhere if you use the right VPN.
GoG is doing good work in making a lot of these things available, it solved the big System Shock 2 hole in game retail.
What do you recommend? Grim Fandango is a brilliant game. I bought mine on ebay :-)
Probably the worst example being Cinema Paradiso. The original cut had nostalgia with a mixture of regret and acceptance of what is past. Then, the new cut concludes with the disappointment of trying to confront past missed opportunities. Whether it's meant to be hyperrealistic, I also liked the original movie, which was a different movie, but can't be found anymore.
I think the same goes for the earlier releases of Star Wars. I know that the special effects of the era weren't "better", but the modern CGI makes them different movies, and I'd like to have the original version available, too.
IIUC, only the 2008 release set has them. But you can still buy those. Just check the reviews etc carefully to be sure it's the correct release.
Seems to agree with everything in this thread, unfortunately.
The PC industry is in a way better shape. Steam, GOG, ps3 and xbox store. There are way less restrictions based on countries and delays, and almost all games have multilanguage pre-installed so you can play in any language you like.
Downloading/Streaming movies in other countries other than the USA have huge delays, very limited choice, high prices, and most of the time you can't even choose in what language you can see them.
Later, when I knew what piracy vs legal was, it was definitely a convenience thing. Until very recently, legal games were painful and very inconvenient in comparison to pirated games. Pirated games offer many advantages: no DRM is the most frequently mentioned "feature", but also pirated games often were the only way to get the games in their original language (especially for those of us in countries whose primary language is not English). Keep in mind translations are usually awful, and were even worse back then. A bad translation could completely destroy a point & click adventure game!
Then came the joys of indie games, Humble Bundle, Steam, GOG, and easily purchasable and downloadable legal games. But you may still wonder: what can they offer against the price of zero from downloaded warez? Well, they offer the huge satisfaction of letting me help the developers. For me, that's very valuable. I won't cheat the devs of their hard-earned money, and I get to play games without DRM in their original language. The best of both worlds, and pirates can't compete with that!
This is not necessarily true. There are people who spend more on a seedbox or VPN each month than a Netflix + Rdio/Spotify subscription cost.
Furthermore, private trackers have restrictions on them (ratio limits, etc.). Depending on what kind of content you're looking for, it's not exactly "free" either in money or time to be an active Bittorrent user.
It just so happens that that cost is still less than the "legal" alternative - if a legal alternative even exists (look at pippy's comment about accessing content in New Zealand).
You know, I've never understood the point of private "community" trackers. Anything mainstream will be on TPB. Anything extremely fresh will be on the release group's own (almost-always-public) tracker. And for the really long-tail stuff--unpopular nonfiction books from the 80s, for example--they've just never been digitized at all. What's an example of the sort of thing people find private trackers uniquely valuable for?
It's so impressive that I think some of these private trackers could reasonably argue in court that they are engaging in fair use for academic study. It's archival work at a scale that would be unimaginable if restricted to recognized institutions.
also, release groups usually dont have their own trackers, their releases are generally ftp'd to a few topsites and distributed from there (some private trackers get directly from the source thus having a slightly faster pre time and are more desirable/exclusive, others get it further down the chain of distribution)
So the main reason to do it is high download speeds on old unpopular torrents.
I haven't used public torrent sites in years - the private option is so much more attractive.
The other is, well, you're wrong about the long-tail stuff. TPB, for example, has lots of audiobooks but is very short on printed material. A dedicated book tracker may have a much better selection of fiction, textbooks, and other sorts of specialty books (tabletop RPGs, for example).
It's true, private trackers generally are "obscure" if you consider every person in the world (just like the majority of the world doesn't read HN). But if you niche down to your basic interests, then there are good private torrent trackers that will generally have almost everything worth having in that area.
Aside from that, this is a difficult to prove assertion. I'm not sure there's actually been a paid legitimate service that's actually better than the free pirate one overall, when you take out the morality equation.
Netflix, rdio, etc. do seem to be doing quite well at proving that people are still willing to pay for a good service with legitimate content, though. Imagine if they were actually as good as the alternative.
(Note that one person's gem is often another person's crap...)
Yet, vodo.net, even being free -- still has higher friction than The Pirate Bay, less choice in [encoding] quality -- but at least supports offline usage (unlike Netflix).
I don't pirate stuff very often now. Spotify and Netflix usually ensure I have something to watch and listen to. There are a few exceptions. Once every 6 months or so I subscribe to a proxy to catch up on a bunch of TV shows which aren't on Netflix, LoveFilm etc. Realistically I would pay for the things I download if there was a reasonably priced option. I rarely want to own a film or TV show, I just want to watch it once. $30 for a season of something is too expensive..
The three most important reasons, for me, are:
- immediacy/ease of use: It just works and I can find what I want easily. I value my time at roughly $200/hr, so it's easy to justify ~$10/mo if it saves me even 3 minutes of my time.
- availability: I don't need to have terabytes of local storage because I can just stream whatever I want, whenever I want.
- patronage: This is the most important thing for me...I want to pay for content. I think the industry has, by and large, behaved like spoiled toddlers for the better part of 2 decades now, but that doesn't make it right to not pay them for their work. And I think I'll get better content if I pay for the things I like.
In all seriousness unless you're stupendously rich surely that's an overestimate by roughly an order of magnitude? You'd pay me a hundred bucks to drive you home in half an hour instead of taking the hour-long bus?
I, too, am curious where GP works.
In retrospect, I wish I'd chosen a number that others would relate to a little better. At $50/hr, an $8.99 Netflix subscription is still paid for in just over 10 minutes of free time, which is just as illustrative of the point I was trying to make.
You're aware artists get ~$0 from streaming services right? Huge names like Radiohead make maybe $100/month from Spotify and the like. Unless you're huge, you're probably getting pennies, if that.
Buy the album, go to a show, get a t-shirt. That's patronage. Don't hand your money over to a record company exec, filtered through a middle man, and pretend you're helping the artist.
But even if those numbers were true, the fact remains that's how the artists have chosen to make their music available to you. You have no right whatsoever to work around that.
The pirate's service will be more valuable to me when he offers more that I value than the legal provider does. How much either charges for the service has no bearing on that. Now, the legal provider may actually offer something more valuable, but some people will still choose to pirate because the cost is free. But that is clearly not always the case, since people still often pay for content. Otherwise, Steam wouldn't be a business. That's what Gabe is getting at.
I could pirate games for free, but it's a pain compared to Steam, and I value my time. Since the service provided by Steam is superior to pirating the software, and because paying on Steam is less hassle than attempting to pirate a thing, I use Steam. (There are other reasons, but from pure rational self-interest or whatever, that's how it works for me.)
So legal providers that offer more than pirates do will still face issues of piracy, however legal providers that offer an inferior service to even pirates might expect that their product will have near-100% piracy rates, and they will be forced out of business.
This is just dodging the subject; I'm talking about net value. How valuable would Steam be to you if it cost $100 a month to be a member?
Anyways, my point was meant to be in the context of movies, which is what's offered by the linked service. Steam works because they sell games, not movies. Games aren't hard to pirate (a game's bits aren't any harder to get than a movie's), but pirated copies are hard to use compared to legal copies because it's easy to build games that require Internet connectivity to verify authenticity. No one minds this because they probably need the Internet to play the game in the first place (Google "World of Goo piracy" for an example of what can happen when just this one point doesn't hold true, and tell me again that piracy is just a service problem). People like to say Steam is "DRM done right" but it's not, it's just that it happens to be the case that the DRM doesn't require anything you don't already need to enjoy the content.
Movies are obviously different. How would one offer a service that can beat piracy on convenience, when piracy offers un-DRMed files that you can use anywhere? It's conceivable, but how much would they be willing to charge for this service? Therein lies the rub.
The root of the problem is that the movie industry does not agree with people's valuation of their content. They don't want to sell you a just-released movie, unDRMed, for a buck, or anything approaching the $0 that piracy charges. They'd rather keep their existing business model and try to raise the perceived risk of piracy.
It's disingenuous to say that it's a service problem and not a pricing problem merely because the service doesn't exist, when the primary reason that the service doesn't exist is pricing. The movie industry isn't going to invest in building a service if they can't sell their content at the price point they want.
The most important thing to note about Steam isn't the DRM, it's the prices. The content producers have conceded to the fact that they have to adjust their prices to match the public's perception of the value of their content. The movie industry hasn't made that concession. Yet.
But very rarely does it have properly synced well-written subtitles, multiple audio tracks, and a quality encoding. Find a combination of those that works together without 30 minutes of fiddling with the subtitles and you've probably just wasted your weekend even if you frequent high quality private trackers.
It's also generally harder (not impossible, mind--same as the above) to find extras like cast/crew commentary, blooper reels, etc. These wouldn't be hard for studios to provide in some theoretical Movie-Steam.
Even in the case of games that don't use an internet connection to verify themselves, though, Steam is still more convenient--automatic patching without needing to try and find a new crack every time, no need to hunt down files or patches every time you want to reinstall, less concerns about malware, etc. If Steam had a monthly fee, I'd probably still see it as worth it up to a certain point--definitely not the 100$ you mention, but considering how much use I get out of it it isn't completely off the table.
I do not care about extras. I do care about ability to jump where I want in the movie and about seeing movie I brought without warnings and ads.
My experience is diametraly different. Legal sources like netflix, TV or some DVD's are usualy low quality, cenzored and cropped versions, terribly dubbed with no original audio or subtitles. On the other hand, i have usually no problem finding pirated copy which has none of these issues.
I do know that subtitles haven't been an issue for me when downloading from private trackers. 30 minutes is a gross exaggeration.
But I don't agree he's being disingenuous. He's just speaking about the service problem in that particular quote. Gabe has also addressed the pricing issue in the past, talking mainly about how the sweet spot for maximizing profit on Steam is much lower than most people would have thought (the blog post is old, and it's been a while since I read it, but that's the gist).
It's mostly a service problem IMO and also to a lesser extent a pricing problem, and if you asked Gabe he might say the same. Unfortunately that quote makes it seem like he thinks it can be one or the other, but that's not likely really true.
Currently I'm more satisfied with the illegal offerings, I've tried a subscription service: Lovefilm (which isn't amphibious), and look at many of my DVD boxsets, that have no value added content whatsoever.
I have three seasons of very poor quality Star Trek episodes on DVD. Now I think the studios owe me a better quality version. Which I don't think I should pay for. In my mind you should just pay for the license to watch, listen, read... and it doesn't really matter about the medium of delivery.
I used torrents and music blogs a lot to discover new music (and napster/kazaa back then), but nowadays I have a Rdio subscription which is much more convenient.
The point is, Rdio is one of the few streaming providers working in my country. If Spotify / iTunes worked, I would subscribe too, since their catalogues are complementary. If the labels don't want to stream into the 7th world economy for whatever stupid reason, too bad... they are the ones losing money.
I haven't pirated a song in about 5 or 6 years with the exception of a leaked album (Random Access Memories). NetFlix meets a lot of my movie needs, and ironically reignited my movie pirating when they removed "2001: A Space Odyssey".
If you give the consume an easy and convenient means to access your content, most users will consume it via that method. Most people don't "get" torrents, or care to learn how to use them. My Mom still pays $.99/mp3 on iTunes... I can't get her to switch to spotify.
Here's a comparison. You could buy a new album off of Amazon or iTunes every month for $10. These would be DRM free copies that you would own.
So for $10 a month you could have 1 album that you own, or you could pay $10 a month and have access to I don't know, 4 million that you are renting?
We could also imagine that after a year Spotify goes out of business. You've spent $120 on Spotify and don't have anything in return. In the same amount of time you would have spent $120 on iTunes or another service and own 12 albums.
There's a convenience factor here and I think it is obvious that especially in the short term (which is what most people are weighing), it just makes sense to use Spotify or another service, even if you don't actually own your music.
Has anyone tried the Google musicy thing? I seem to be stuck on the "owning" the physical disc and music bit still.
I wonder how much data it'll burn through. At work there is an NT-based proxy and I haven't found a good Android one to work with it, so I will probably burn through my monthly limits on my cheapskate data plan.
Did you mean "DRM free"?
Movies would be a little harder, but I'm pretty sure iTunes and Netflix aren't going away any time soon.
"What the hell man, are we in 1999 mode?!"
If Spotify goes away, then I find another provider or start building my library again... in the mean time I literally have ALL of the music... which I'm okay with.
I lead a fairly contented life in my small corner of the world and there are probably two things that angers me equally. One is the way affluent countries treat me when I want a visa to visit or transit through them and second is the message on Amazon that a particular ebook is not available to me because of my geographical region. I only resort to searching online for a pirated ebook or converting youtube music to mp3 after I have exhausted all options of finding the content on a legit online store.
Some movies were not released in all regions. The user can import the DVD from a differet region. Some OSs impose restrictions on how many times the SVD drive can change its region. Piratig the content solves that.
It didn't play on my DVD player. The copy protection upset it and the DVD player refused to play my legitimate DVD that I had purchased. I could watch the introduction video showing me the deep joy from purchasing the DVD (why do that on the DVD that I had bought???) but not the actual film.
It made me angry. But not angry enough to pirate films. I have never pirated a film. If I can't afford the cinema, I'll just wait until it appears on Lovefilm or ordinary TV. I don't need to rush to see a film. It's not like they're going to go out of circulation or will not be in the bargain DVD bin in 3 years time.
So I wouldn't say there is no user cost for piracy. For me, occasions I have been tempted to pirate something it is more about convenience or lack of access.
As for tv shows I don't own, I find it too troublesome to pay two services so I'm not gonna buy a Hulu membership.
Worse: if the purpose of the VPN is explicitly to lie about fulfilling your end of the contract (and you state here that you do use it for that), it could in the worst case be considered fraud. If you enable the VPN outside of the country because you can't watch netflix otherwise, that's definitely fraud (whether or not you actually read the contract with netflix).
Also note that neither of these facts need to be proven beyond reasonable doubt, as this is not criminal law, the judge merely needs to believe it to be true.
The upside is that we are getting closer to what piracy actually is (taking a boat by means violence) as opposed to the over-dramatised and legally void attempt by the MPAA to call unlicensed use of media something else; the downside is that you fail to notice that the idea of jurisdiction isn’t really nearly as plain as what most “hurr-Heer-Merica!” lawyers and military hawks like to thing.
Both contracts stipulate that you won't look at the content outside of a given service area. You then proceed to
a) violate the actual provision (contract violation / copyright violation)
b) use technical means to fool the other contracting party into thinking you haven't violated the contract (fraud)
Not following the terms of a licence, that's exactly what piracy is (gets more complex if there are multiple licences for the same content, but ...). Just like fraud is nothing more or less than deceiving parties you've contracted with into believing you're respecting the contract, with intent to violate said contract.
I have bought kindle dollar books just because I was lazy to find "drm free" version and convert it with calible.
But my price for IP crashed way down - 5-10 Euro is the top I am paying for something.
The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that if you go straight to TPB you could have it already downloaded and ready to watch in less time than it takes to try and find a way to pay them. They've set the barrier to entry too high.
It doesn't cost any money, but that doesn't mean it has no costs.
In a similar vein, sometimes the pirate provides you with malware. Free malware isn't exactly a bargain over cheap content.
Even Origin is easier.
Netflix is easier.
Well, I thought so. But for older games Steam is harder and worse than torrenting. Say, old Gothic, Thief, TES, Fallout or, say, VtM: Bloodlines all either explicitly require or just really need some manual patching to properly work on modern OSes and hardware.
GOG's nice in this aspect (pre-bundled unofficial patches, emulators and whatever), but it has US/EU-level pricing, which feels quite large in poorer countries like Russia.
So, if the game's older than 2-3 years and it's not multiplayer one, it's probably better to set a sail for The Pirate Bay. If it's recent, then Steam's probably easier.
It drives me crazy when the licensing drops out for a show while you're in the middle of watching through the series!
The majority of revenue comes from rich regions such as USA and Western Europe. Many regions, such as Russia and Eastern Europe, will buy software but only at a significantly reduced price. Look at average income by country and it makes total sense.
If you sell your game for $50 in the US and $5 in Russia then everyone will just change their region to Russia and buy your game for $5. Or Russian keys will be resold to Americans for $10.
You could sell your game for $50 in Russia but then no one would buy it so it's a waste of time. You could also sell your game for $5 in the US but then you won't make your dev costs back.
If you're doing those things at arms length, it's really difficult to keep those costs down. Your only option is basically an internationally known Tier 1 law firm. They are _not cheap_. Not only will they bill you plenty per hour, they will take a heck of a lot of time making absolutely certain before they provide an opinion as they don't want to expose themselves to liability.
Whether or not it justifies every price hike out there is in the wind. There are still non-trivial costs associated with doing business in another market even in the digital age, though.
Source: have done digital business in many, many countries from Australia as a base. Have had legal docs localised into AU, US and UK law. Paid staggering amounts of money to lawyers for same.
In any case, there are zero tariffs on digital goods between the US (where most games are made) and Australia, due to the free trade agreement. 
So, you have an environment where there is less tax on the goods than in the UK, yet the prices are higher. The answer is not "government has its finger in the pie". In fact, the GST at 10% isn't that far off sales tax across the US, which is generally 7-9%, so seriously, the answer really, really isn't "taxes".
Imagine a law that says, "The price of Photoshop in Australia cannot be more than the price in the US". Wouldn't that law be economically similar to one which says, "The price of Photoshop in Australia cannot be more than $400"?
You sure about that? I have a strong suspicion that taxes/tariffs make up a significant portion of that.
However, the price difference is often larger than what taxes alone would suggest, but surely localization plays a part here. Still, many European countries would need a reduced price just like the developing countries (to a lesser extent) to have an equal purchasing power compared to the US.
How is that fair?
I bet some people would even spend five, perhaps as much as ten, dollars per month for infinite access to all movies ever created ever. With generosity like that they're practically god damned saints.
P.S.: Btw - I don't usually download movies and wait until they are released on GooglePlay/iTunes/Amazon. But you know what? From all of those back in Germany only iTunes was available and even then you had to be lucky to get good quality and original language instead of the German dub. There are countries outside of the US.
Bring back sane copyright laws (Life + 70 years?) and we'll talk about what is and isn't reasonable. Copyright and laws are in a race against storage, bandwidth, and technology. I'm pretty confident technology is always going to win.
Now, you may believe that this moral justification is nothing more than an argument and the real justification for pirating a show is "because I am greedy, screw the authors"; however, this applies almost exactly to media conglomerates and their pro-copyright lobbying and protectionist activities. So, all in all, this is a small but perfectly valid piece of the debate.
Copyright is an artificial construct, as antiquated as the buggy whip. Those who make their living around it should investigate other plans.
I'm quite happy with my career, but thanks for the suggestion.
I am willing to pay, nay I would love to pay, for Rick and Morty, but from my research I have found no way, short of VPN + US credit card, to buy a season pass. So you have potential customers who have to resort to piracy because the industry has no interest in distributing to their region. Am I going to buy Rick and Morty when it eventually comes out in Sweden? Not very likely as I will already have watched all episodes.
The same holds true for The Walking Dead, thankfully HBO has started releasing episodes of Game of Thrones the same day in Sweden as in the US and I can and am paying for that.
Anyway 'movies from internet' just provide better services. And in most countries in Europe it is actually legal.
No you don't. You know the time when you go in and you know how long the movie is so you have a good idea of when it ends. Why does the time matter while you're watching it? Put the phone away and enjoy the movie.
15 years ago, when games were sold mostly in stores, you had to go through a publisher to get your product in front of customers. And there was a limited amount of physical space in stores -- so games had to compete with all the other physical goods that store might offer.
With digital distribution, both development and publishing are closer to perfectly competitive. It'd be pretty easy to build all the technical functionality of a basic online game store -- although building relationships with gamers and developers is harder.
What bothers me is that Steam is starting to get lock-in -- many developers feel pressured to be on Steam, that a significant fraction of their market will be inaccessible if they don't. And as Steam builds more features into their client libraries, it's getting more tempting for developers to use those features, making non-Steam versions of things harder to keep feature parity (or even maintain two different builds of the code).
Once Steam has lock-in, I think they'll try to take control of pricing from developers, and we'll see prices for Steam games rise.
I try to vote with my wallet and avoid buying games on Steam, but it's getting harder and harder to do that.
If you look (like I just did) you'll find that Steam isn't region locking games, the publisher is. And yes, Valve is acquiescing, but we don't know what kind of agreements exist between Valve and the publisher.
In that particular case Steam itself was not disclosing this to users in those countries. So on release day in the US, when the countdown timer reached 0, those in region locked countries had the surprise of not being able to play their pre-ordered game.
It's simply another frustration that made customers wonder what they had paid for, with some trying to use a workaround like a proxy (not always successful), or even considering pirating the game in the meantime.
Given the choice between spending time or spending money, people usually spend money. It's one reason Steam is so profitable. So it can't be true that most people inherently want to steal.
It seems like people want convenience. When faced with a choice, people usually choose whichever option is least bothersome. That implies a goal for content creators: be the least bothersome option, and users will pay you.
Unfortunately for the movie industry, Popcorn Time is currently the least bothersome service. It's free, decentralized, and tastefully designed. The industry should clone Popcorn Time, because that would put them in a better position than they're currently in.
Have you considered how difficult it is to obtain media legally nowadays? Even Netflix is a pain in the butt, what with ISPs purposely throttling it in addition to an incomplete library due to licensing and incompatibility due to silverlight.
It has in fact never been easier in the history of time to legally acquire media. It takes approximately 4 mouse clicks in iTunes to purchase and start downloading any movie, TV show, or music. You can start streaming it in after about 30 seconds, or you could let the whole thing download. The quality is also higher than pirated content because they have a fantastic encoding off of source material.
If I gave you an iTunes account with free access to to everything on iTunes it would be far faster and easier to use than even Pirate Bay. Toss in a cheap $99 AppleTV and you can get it in your living room hassle free. The only downside, of course, is that it costs money. Of course renting a movie on iTunes is faster, easier, and cheaper than renting a VHS from the store 15 years ago but when you can pirate it for free who gives a shit?
<insert snarky comment about not all media being available on iTunes or in all countries>
No, the only downside is that iTunes Movies are DRMed BS. I have to buy an Apple TV to watch it on my TV. I have to use an iPhone and copy the movie to the phone, wasting my precious flash space.
With the .mkv files I get from a .torrent, I can stream them to my TiVO with pyTivo , or I can host them on a server  and use StreamToMe  to stream them to my phone, ipad, computer across the cell network or local wifi with no restrictions. I can stream to non Apple devices with Subsonic .
It means when I'm visiting friends or family house we have access to all my movies without me having to plan ahead. It means when I accidentally arrive 40 minutes early to a meeting I can kill time in my car by streaming an episode of a TV show.
To me that is the reason to pirate. I'm happy to buy stuff. I just want to actually be able to use the stuff that I buy. There is no service out there that does everything I can currently do.
Oooh, I like this new feature where poorly-thought-out comments include their own rebuttal. Can't wait 'til it rolls out to the rest of HN.
Personally, I just stick to local content instead. Much easier.
This couldn't be further from the truth. x264 .mkv encodes look significantly better than the iTunes versions.
For example, from Pacific Rim;
x264 - http://imgbox.com/abwySllC
iTunes - http://imgbox.com/adgle3KK
x264 - http://imgbox.com/abm2Jr9l
iTunes - http://imgbox.com/acpmeiCt
The difference is night and day, in my opinion. The homebrew encodes usually come with higher quality audio, too.
Funnily enough, I have a Netflix account, an Amazon Prime account, and a Lovefilm account (UK based DVD/Blu-Ray rental service). Despite having all these services, I still prefer to pirate movies because it's simply more convenient and the quality is better.
Google shows the US release date as May 1 2013 in cinemas, with the DVD release on August 27 2013 - nearly 4 months after it's first out. By this time people will have been downloading a version of the film for at least a couple of months.
Very few cinemas will still be screening the film after 3 months, so where does one go to see it in that period? The easy answer is to the internet.
I believe that people will pay, and Spotify has huge success in releasing albums either early, at the same time or very shortly after physical release. Whilst this wouldn't be possible with films due to the fact that there isn't much of a secondary market (bands now taking the attitude that albums are a support to merch/shows), there is a need to rethink how quickly people can get access to films. If an HD rip is available after 2 months then perhaps iTunes should be ready to release the film at a higher price point (as they already do for some early digital releases) for those who are willing to pay the extra.