As we all know, the Internet is being shut down if the SOPA bill goes all the way through in the US. This bill made my friend ask Why does piracy exist? Because people want some things free, I answered. Why would they want a film free that they could buy less than ten euros? he continued. To this I replied that for some films even three euros is far to high price. Then what could the film industry do to stop piracy other than SOPA? Give their films more value and do less films like Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon.
I’m not defending piracy. It’s illegal and mostly does harm to the producing industry. Piracy has existed pretty much always, and here I also mean bootlegging and so on. Even in the ancient Greece there were people producing fake pots in order to get higher price. However, nowadays Internet piracy can bee seen as a statement as well. There is a slew of people not willing to pay on a product that has very little to no value. The forementioned Transformers 3 was the most downloaded movie in the history of piracy, and for a good reason: nobody really wanted to pay money for it. I haven’t seen Transformers 3, thou I’d like to see how bad it really is. I saw the first live action movie in the theatres at least twice, and looking back at, it’s the best in the trilogy. It’s a perfect brainless smash, but if you happen to think even a little, it all falls down.
The question how we could stop piracy without resorting into these drastic actions like censoring the Internet or banning websites etc. is a tricky one. One way that would benefit everybody would be to give the products more value. People will go watch a movie in theatres that they find value in, and will buy the said film on DVD/BD if the film has a proper transition to said medium with all the extras. Have a proper inside booklet included, have some neat extras like Making of and so on and plaster that 20€ price tag there. When there’s enough value in a product with correct price, it’ll sell.
Let’s take an example on a product you can’t pirate; the Wii Remote. The price of a Wiimote is about 60€ in the local stores here. That’s far too high price for a controller, something that’s essential for one to play games. Naturally they can rack up the price because of that, right? They’re partially right if the cheaper alternatives wouldn’t exist. You can a buy third party Wiimote next to the official one around 20€ without a hitch. Would the customer give their money for this 20€ controller than for the 60€ one? With the Internet we can find the exact same official controller around 25€ if we’re looking hard. With postage it’s about 30€. It’s half the price you’d find from the local store.
We can apply the similar mindset with piracy. You’d look for cheaper alternatives, and piracy is by far the cheapest option. People are willing shelling their hard earned money only for products that they see value in, and that’s why I’ve shelled about $330 on MuvLuv during these past few months.
While many people do find the same value in MuvLuv as I do, they have no access to the same products. It is, in the end, Japan only franchise. Piracy is an easy way to get your hands on some rare stuff. I’m getting off course here.
Take a look at your DVD collection. How many of those films are in your shelf simply because you think they’re actually good, and how many of them are there just for laughs? Then think of the movies you’ve seen in the past, but you wouldn’t pay any money for them. You might be surprised to know that I do now own The Dark Knight, and I have no intention of purchasing it. I saw it in the theatres when it came out, but I have no wishes to support this kind of Batman stories.
The word support is important here. There exist a vast number of people pirating videogames, films, music and literature simply because they do not wish to support the industries. A modern game industry is a filled with these life-style game designers that do not do any real work, film industry is filled with similar kind of directors who only do films that they want to disregarding the audience, and the same can be said of both music and literature industries. There are exceptions in every industry, but enough people are just too full of products that simply have no real value.
The best thing these industries could do is to start producing products that people do find value in. There will always be people who are unsatisfied with the current trends and products, and with these people piracy will exist.
However, the industries will refuse to change for the simple reason that it would take some effort on their parts to change what they’re doing and these creative minds and artists never would step down from their high place to serve the commoner below them. For the industry it would be easier to have a legislation that prevents the customer from using drastic and illegal measures to get their voice out, a voice which goes ignored.
Adding DRM or the like to the discs, region coding all that is just throwing oil into fire rather than water. There was some talks that DVD players should have an ethernet port for Internet connection, so that the DVD discs could have a form of confirmation that the disc was legit and the customer could play it.
Rather than keeping the customer at bay and watching his every motion by limiting what he can get and how, shouldn’t the industry give the customer more and allow him freedom to work his own ways with the product he has purchased?