I think there are a lot of fine lines in this debate.
I agree that anyone who generates income from anyone else’s intellectual properly should be at the mercy of the law. The flip side of this argument is that distributing things freely (usually via torrent) to the masses is not in the clear either. You could also argue that anyone who seeks out these torrents to download the content themselves are just as guilty.
The other issue is TV vs Movies vs Music. What’s the difference between downloading a tv show and the recording it from free to air to watch later? (debates about advertising is a separate issue) Certain channels do a very respectable job about getting an episode from the US on to Australian tv’s within a few days of its original release, there’s no doubt that the technology is available, it then becomes a question of what the station has to gain or lose from changing air times? Peak vs off-peak, ratings season, vs filling in holiday periods all affects the schedule. Ironically in our household, tv shows do get downloaded after release in the US, and are then followed up by buying the season on DVD when it is released in Australia.
Movies are similar, but the situation changes when the quality of the content can be controlled (at least through cinema and up to dvd release, and not counting cams from cinemas) by the production houses. The older the title is, the more susceptible it is to piracy (or should that be how easy it is to pirate). Accordingly, how much difference is there to buying it from the cheapy bin at the local electronics store or rental shop against buying it when it first comes out? We will see the movies we really want to see at the cinema (big screen, surround sound, the works), and the movies we like to see will be bought on dvd.
As simon says (pun partially intended), the two issues (legit vs piracy) do seem to partially support each other. I have no answer as to whether piracy is ‘right’, but I do believe that it is partially responsible for pushing technology forward.
It was a tough field to choose from – almost every comment on that particular post was well argued, logical and added to the discussion, but in the end I could only pick one. So congrats go to Cam – a double pass to The Treasure Hunter will be heading your way. And if you didn’t win, just make sure you take the time to add some really interesting and insightful comments over the next week.