Why Internet Piracy is a Service Issue

The “instant access” attitude of the Internet has inspired successful businesses like iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Music, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Streaming, and more. We buy Kindles and Nooks and smartphones and iPads and Galaxy Tabs and carry little media delivery systems around in our pockets all day. We fully expect that glut of content to be immediately available to us, at a reasonable price (if not free, depending on the kind of content).

It is perfectly possible to supply us with instant access to all the movies, music, TV, books and news we can stand instantly, anywhere, anytime, for a fairly petty fee. So why isn’t the content industry doing that? Why, instead, are they constantly throwing roadblocks in our way?

Why is there such a thing as restrictive DRM on video games that makes it easier to get and play the game illegally than it is to do it legally? Why are people making rules about which devices I can play my music files on? Why do I have to pay $15 or more for the digital version of a new book? Why aren’t movie makers lining up to license their products to Netflix and Hulu and Amazon and whoever else? Why do I have to buy an entire $80+ cable package to watch three TV shows on their original air dates?

Seriously, Content Industry. Why do I have to fight to get you to take my money?

Spending money and getting products from the content industry ought to be so easy I don’t even think about it. It should be just like the money I spend on morning coffee. I had no idea how much I was spending on that a month until I stopped and added it up the other day. It’s just so damn easy to drive through the booth every morning and throw a few bucks to the folks running the place that I didn’t even know I was spending $150 a month on it.

I ought to be able to buy and download and/or stream whatever I want, whenever I want, for a couple of bucks per piece of content. If it turns out I like a lot of content from some company, I ought to be able to sign up with them like I do with Netflix. I should be able to buy a graduated subscription to that company. If I only want to watch three of their shows, say, I could pay them $5 or $7 a month for all three shows for the season. If I want to watch more shows, I could buy a bigger subscription. If I only want to watch one show, I could pay $1.50 each, or buy the whole season, like Amazon does.

It shouldn’t matter if I want to watch or listen or read on a Nook or a Kindle or a PC or a Mac or whatever. Content providers shouldn’t give any damns whatsoever what device I’m using to consume their content, as long as I’m paying them to do so, right?

Don’t tell me you can’t make money like this. If you make it easy and thoughtless, we will throw our money at you. Hell, we’ll throw money at you and probably still watch commercials, if you market it at us the right way. And then we’ll pay you extra to skip the commercials!

The majority of us want to pay for content. We want to support the artists we love. We just aren’t willing to pay outrageous amounts of money so we can jump through hoops to receive our product, then be told how and when and where we can use it, all while some soulless corporation is keeping the bulk of our cash and stiffing the artist we wanted to support. Why on Earth would I put up with all that garbage when I can just hit the Pirate Bay and then go buy some shirts or posters from my favorite musician’s CafePress store or toss a few bucks in my favorite author’s PayPal tip jar?

(Money by Tracy O. [Creative Commons])

Marci Sischo

After watching her parents murdered by a mugger in a back alley, Marci Sischo grew up vowing to become the world's greatest detec -- wait, that's Batman. Theorizing that one could time travel within her own lifetime, Marci Sischo stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator -- no, no. That's Dr. Sam Beckett. Drat. Marci Sischo grew up in northern Michigan, and moved to Oregon in 2009. Yes! She's the Commuter's webmaster, pursuing a journalism degree at LBCC, and in her dwindling spare time, she's co-authoring an urban fantasy novel.

2 Responses

  1. Pontus says:

    Couldn't agree more with your conclusion.

    Which leads me to the question: do you have a tip jar? I absolutely loved Black Alice.

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