Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Greedy industry again ...

Okay, it's like buses, you wait for ages and three (or maybe more, I'm on a roll) blog posts come along at the same time!

The BBC has an article concerning the Call to disconnect 'file-sharers' made by the usual suspects in the music and film industries. I couldn't help comment on this as it really does wind me up, here is what I wrote, we'll see if the BBC "Have you say" team deem it publishable

"Fact: people will ALWAYS copy music/video. There is nothing that anybody can ever do to stop this.

If the music and film industry could just accept this, stop crying about lost revenue (there is no evidence that they would have made any money in the first place), and came up with services and products that people want at realistic prices then everyone would be much happier (them included).

For example, I refused to ever buy music from a legal, online store, where it had DRM attached because it simply wouldn't work on the devices I owned and restricted what I could do.

Now I happily pay around £4-5 of a digital download from Amazon safe in the knowledge that I can play this in my car, at home, cycling, on my PC, anywhere I want, with no restrictions.

I could, if I wanted to, download the same music illegally for free, but it's actually now more effort so I don't bother.

At the moment, it is more cost effective and easier to download (illegally) movies, particularly when there is very little that is really worth the cost of a DVD.

Why doesn't the film industry realise this and provide cheap downloads (reduced quality/functionality - who really wants all the special features on a DVD anyway). Surely they are also likely to win back customers and revenue as well as some much needed support and good will."

Personally I think I would feel pretty ashamed if I was one of the executives working for any of the music or film companies concerned; chasing down average people, dragging them through court, turning them into criminals and all really because I can't get a decent business model in place and I'm too greedy and think that everyone should pay for the rubbish that I'm producing at the price I want to charge.

The image of fat, lethargic, unimaginative, and above all greedy, executives sat around living off the efforts of others springs to mind. Okay, I know not everyone in the industry is going to be like this but that's what the rest of us are going to think.

A related point: I think there are two types of 'piracy':
  1. Where you copy/steal in order to make a direct profit, i.e. I make copies of a film and then try and sell them
  2. I copy/download something for my own use, making no actual money - only saving myself the cost of buying a legal version
Everyone has their own moral line and to me, point one is clearly 'wrong' but point two seems more like recording a program off the TV or those mix tapes people use to make of the top 40 music charts.

[ Aside: How do the film industry view my watching a film I've recorded from TV? Illegal? No, they might want it to be but it isn't! Lost revenue? Definitely! So stop whinging and setup someting that would have let me download it at a small cost BEFORE it got to TV! ]

For a second let me mention something else: Churches. I'm not a religious person BUT I have, on many occasions, wandered into catherdrals and churches because I appreciate the architecture (I was brain-washed as a child by my Dad who likes the same thing and is equally non-religious).

I will happily give a donation to any church/catherdral I visit, I think that's only right and it also, in my mind, helps to keep them there to be seen again. What I won't do is pay an entrance fee to get into such a building. I think that is going too far and is presumptuous on the part of the church/catherdral concerned - I also often suspect that what is inside is not worth seeing if they charge you on the way in!

There was a point to that little detour, and that was to illustrate that people will happily pay for things that they don't necassarily have to. There are lots of things you can do/have/see for free but people still pay, even when they maybe can't really afford to, they just feel it's right. I'm not necassarily suggesting the music/film industry setup a collection tin but I think they need to do some serious PR and sort out there image and services/products such that people are willing to pay, even when there is the free download option.

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