Do people pirate things because they’re cheap and want to get whatever they can for free? Or is the practice less sinister and more about getting hold of things that aren’t available in the format they favor? These are important questions, and ones which new research is hoping to answer.
A new website called Piracy Data has been set up to build a dataset connecting the dots between the content that is pirated in vast numbers and the availability of that content. It’s doing this using a combination of TorrentFreak and Can I Stream It?
The 10 most-pirated movies are listed alongside their availability online: to stream, to rent a digital copy, and to buy a digital copy. The results so far aren’t all that surprising, showing how the newer titles on the list aren’t available anywhere, while the older titles are available in one form or another.
The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) immediately railed against this attempt to connect the dots. Spokesperson Kate Bedingfield stated that a lack of legal options “does not justify stealing it from the creators and makers who worked hard to make it.” No, but it may go some way to explaining why piracy is so rampant.
Rather than merely trot out the same tired old lines about piracy being illegal and wrong, shouldn’t the MPAA and others be welcoming the opportunity to see this data and perhaps use it to try and fix the problem?
The MPAA and movie industry is never going to be OK with piracy, and that’s completely understandable. The discussion points are whether piracy is as harmful as these entities suggest it is, and whether a proactive approach would be better than a reactive approach.
There will always be a certain number of people who pirate movies and TV shows. So the effort should be applied to reducing this number rather than eradicating it altogether. One way to do this would be to offer consumers more choice when it comes to renting and buying movies online.
Which is surely something we can all get behind, whichever side of the piracy debate we may stand on.
[Via The Washington Post]
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