Wednesday, 26 March 2008

The Sky's the limit

Over the Easter weekend Sky was showing a two part adaptation of Terry Pratchett's "The Colour
of Magic" (for the picky among you I believe this also merged in the second book "The light fantastic"). I presume at some point in the not too distance future this will, as with the Hogfather, be available on DVD as well.

I don't really want to wait that long, I'd really like to see this now! As I'm sure will a great many Pratchett fans. However, I'm not willing to pay £16/month for a Sky subscription as my TV viewing is minimal at best so it would be rather a waste.

Of course the internet comes to the rescue, about 24hours after part 1 was shown the AVI files appears on The Pirate Bay and after the same delay part 2 was available for download as well!

So what should I do? Should I download these copies? Is this *really* illegal as I could, potentially, be watching the same content at a friends house if they had recorded it on Sky+ or similar device. It almost certainly *is* illegal I would guess since it's an unauthorised copy, Sky didn't approve it in any way and they hold the copyright.

You can argue about the moral and legal arguments all day but when it comes down to it, one important fact remains: I want to see this show NOW. The advertising/marketing/promotion of this has been successful, I want to see it. As do a great many other people and there can be no argument about this fact.

So I think there are two possibilities in this case:
1) People use illegal means to access a copy of the show - Sky (or whoever else) could track these people down and prosecute them or copyright infringement.

2) Sky could, instead, provide a way for me to access this content legally and in a way that was easy to use and comparable to the illegal process.

Why would Sky do this? Well, here's a few ideas:
1) Could be a source of revenue - charge a reasonable fee for the service, say something as low as £1 to stream and maybe £3 for an AVI file with no restrictions but at a low resolution.
2) Advertising - obvious really
3) Demographic information and more potential advertising opportunities
4) Brand loyalty - if they provide such a useful and fair service wouldn't you want to buy other things off them as well?

I'm sure there are many possibilities all of which would bring in revenue where currently people simply take the free alternative.

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