So in an "all or nothing" world, you would advocate doing without any safeguards. If you did that, then content creators would be paid for nothing ever.
There has to be a happier medium, where piracy is made difficult enough that the average joe out there won't bother. Just like going to a Xerox machine to copy an entire book was just too laborious.
Free advertizing is of course a good thing, but it has to be the content creator that decides whether the advertizing is free. If a musician makes most of his income at live events, that musician might well decide that Internet distribution is a loss leader. Not all businesses can afford to use the Internet as the loss leader, however.
@Bert22306: "So, what mechanism do you put in place to prevent this illegal copying from happening?"
You don't and you can't. Once the content is in digital form, the genie is out of the bottle. I know of no effective way to prevent illegal copying.
The content producers (in this case, primarily the movie studios) are making a flawed assumption. They are assuming that if they can just get $DIETY to work a miracle, all of those folks pirating DVDs will buy instead. They *won't.* If they can't get a pirated copy, they'll *do without.* The content simply isn't valuable enough to them to pay for. If it was, they'd buy it.
The market will pay for value. The trick is *providing* value, pricing appropriately, and making it as easy as possible for the customer to give you money. (Hollywood in particular is struggling with providing value, as it seems to have little idea of what *will* be valuable to the customer.)
I deal with this fairly often with ebooks, and writers who say "How do I prevent my ebboks from being pirated?" The short answer is "You can't, and you shouldn't waste time worrying about it. You should spend your efforts writing the best stuff you can, and working on reaching the market that *is* willing to pay for your work."
Similar noises can be made about other media. In an interview not long back with rock musician Neil Young, Neil said "Piracy is the new advertising." He's quite right. If the audience likes your music well enough, they'll buy it, but first they have to be aware it exists. These days, pirated copies passed along by friends are a principal way they become aware.
Not a good analogy. Because, just like you can loan a book to someone else, as you postulate, you can also loan a DVD to someone else. That's legal.
At issue here is only whether your friend should be able to copy your DVD to his hard drive, or to burn a copy on a blank DVD.
So, what mechanism do you put in place to prevent this illegal copying from happening? Unless you have an answer, the content creators have a point.
"The behavior that should be illegal -- stealing and/or re-distributing content without payment or permission -- is what the law should address -- not whether or not a paying customer used a computer program to crack an encryption system."
Agreed. The problem is, in order to protect the rights of the content creator in a credible, workable way, you can't help but affect the lawful owner of the medium too.
For example, law abiding people do not steal cars. Therefore, you might argue, law abiding people should not have to pay for, and deal with the quirks of, keys and locks and fobs. The auto companies are charging and otherwise punishing law abiding people, who wouldn't dream of stealing cars.
But those measures are the only ones that can help. That's the problem.
This copyright debate is precisely the same as the gun control debate.
In short, one side of both debates wants to prevent bad guys from stealing content or from acquiring and shooting guns at innocent people. The other side of the debate only worries about the "rights" of those who don't break the law, and pretty much ignores the other points entirely.
In both cases, I find it very hard to take sides.
The technology issue that makes stealing or unauthorized distribution possible is completely separate from the issue of the rights of paying customers.
When you pay for content, how much are you paying for the content and how much are you paying for the media on which it is delivered? What rights does a paying customer have to consume that content on other media, or to make a backup to protect his investment?
The trend toward providing a "digital copy" disc with purchased Blu-ray or DVD titles is a step in the right direction, but it doesn't go far enough. The "digital copy" is standard def only and the activation code is good for only one use -- so if your hard drive dies and your only digital copy disappears, you're out of luck. Likewise if your master Blu-ray or DVD disc gets scratched, lost, etc.
We've all accepted the business model of re-purchasing the same content over and over when it is re-released in a higher quality format -- replacing our vinyl records with CDs, replacing our VHS movies with DVDs and then again with Blu-ray discs.
But most of us have also experienced re-purchasing the same content in the same format only because the physical media was damaged or lost. As tech savvy consumers, we are well aware of the technology that allows us to protect our content investment -- technology that also gives us much more flexibility in how we consume that content and on which devices. But if we choose to use that technology, the law makes us criminals. The behavior that should be illegal -- stealing and/or re-distributing content without payment or permission -- is what the law should address -- not whether or not a paying customer used a computer program to crack an encryption system.
Following the book analogy, if you read a book that you borrowed from a friend, and never payed for it is it stealing as well? Or by that matter going to the library and reading a book for free? In these cases aren't you also illegally downloading the IP from the books into your head since you never payed for it? Where does one draw the line? Calling a stealer everyone who consumes IP without paying for it is oversimplistic and hides the many shades of this complex issue...
While I think there will always be people who are happy stealing, I think many people would like to live within the law and reward the content creators. At least that is how I feel. However when totally stupid restrictions are placed on me, I not only will find ways around it, but if they irk me enough that I feel like not paying them at times. The problem is the artist and the distributor are often not the same person and so the wrong person basically feels the pain.
As you also say, the book companies have basically given up trying to stop illegally copying. One of my books was available for free download before it had even been officially released. When I informed the publisher, they never did anything about it even though it was clear it came from the backdoor of their editing house!
Difficult topic, I think. Because the Internet makes it so easy to to steal and/or to distribute illegal copies of copyright material.
Before the Internet, if you wanted multiple copies of a book, you pretty much had to buy them. Or go to the library. No one would have expected to be able to legally make copies of the book on a Xerox machine, even for their own use. Short excerpts for school papers maybe.
If technology now makes it easy to copy entire works, it doesn't automatically follow that the content owners should be happy about it.
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists Dan Armbrust (investment firm Silicon Catalyst), Andrew Kau (venture capital firm Walden International), and Stan Boland (successful serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Neul, Icera) join in the live debate.