David Jack Wange Olrik

Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

ACTA, SOPA and Piracy

I just read a very long rant by Asger Leth in the danish paper Politiken about Film Making and Piracy.

The gist of the rant is this: Download is stealing, We should make more laws that prevent this and “It is not a human right to have a particular movie exactly when it suits you.” 1

I find this to be a very selfish, narcissistic and uneducated view of the problem at hand. You think that the content industry suffers because of illegal downloads and each download is a lost sale.

If people couldn't download your movie for free,
chances are they would just watch something else instead...

The content industry suffers because the market is full. There is so much great content out there that when people are given the choice between paying a huge amount for new content and a small amount for older content, people generally chose the cheeper one. To make matters worse the content industry has continuously degraded the user experience by adding more and more crap to prevent us from copying their precious content or consuming it in any other way than the one they had envisioned many many years ago.

Just this last weekend, I had to waste 30 minutes stripping out the DRM on a DVD I bought legally in the US. I had to do so because it was region restricted to region 1, and I live in region 2. Region codes and trailers2 you can’t skip are just some of the annoyances you have to endure when buying DVDs legally.

Most people want to be honest, but the content industry continuously makes it harder to be so. Matt Gemmel said it best in this piece where he describes what he calls The Piracy Threshold.

I know it is illegal to download content you haven’t paid for, but there comes a time when you have to be pragmatic even though you know your are right.

SOPA and ACTA have nasty side effects that will push us back into the digital dark ages. One of the more notable side effects is that site owners and internet providers can be held accountable for actions performed by its users.

I can post a link to some illegal content on your website
...and you will have to pay the consequences for my actions.

Each website or service provider will have to police the use of their service vigorously or suffer the consequences. More likely they will just stop providing their service… Say goodbye to WiFi in your favorite cafe, say goodbye to free internet at the public library, say goodbye to things like the Wikipedia… and welcome to the digital dark ages curtesy of the content industry trying to combat a perceived3 problem.

  1. “Hvornår er det blevet din menneskeret, at du skal have en bestemt film, præcis når det passer dig?”
    – Asger Leth

  2. Why is it I am forced to watch an un-skippable “Please don’t steal” promo on DVDs I paid for?

  3. Look at companies like Pragmatic Programmers and O’Reilly they provide books at a reasonable price without encumbering DRM and they thrive!

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