back to article Congratulations, copyright infringers: You are the five per cent

Meet the most pampered group in the UK. Bankers? Farmers? Wind-farm operators? The depressed river mussel? Actually, none of the above. It's copyright infringers. New research from UK communications regulator Ofcom shows that filling your boots with pirate downloads remains risk free and a money saver, particularly if you …


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  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The customer defines value

    No one else.


    1. Great Bu

      Re: The customer defines value

      Absolutely. The truth is that in the modern world, an album or movie is simply not worth £10-20 a pop. The market needs to adjust to this reality and come to terms with it. Being a sucessful rock star or movie producer does not mean you should automatically be a millionaire (although as with most other similar industries, being an unsucessful one does mean you should be dirt poor).

      Yes, more freetards go down the free / illegal route because it's consequence free but I suspect that it would be significanlty reduced by having a service that only costs ~£10 a month and gave you access to everything you wanted.

      It needs to be easy, convenient and cheap otherwise the legal paid model will never outcompete the illegal one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The customer defines value

        re: The customer defines value:

        1) If you're pirating the content, you're not a customer.

        2) When the customer defined ever reducing costs for food, it turned out that the food was full of things they didn't want (horse meat) as a direct consequence of refusing to pay.

        The upshot is that, if you refuse to pay for an entertainment product and demand continuing price reductions for those that you are willing to pay for, you're gong to end up with lowest common denominator entertainment.

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: The customer defines value


        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The customer defines value

          To take your example of food. Food has gone up on price due to the rise of everything(*) related to it but in order to keep the price low or to keep the price rise to a level that won't cause consumer outrage resulting in consumer loyalty switching to other brands or suppliers (as in the correct model of competition), corners were cut in places.

          (*) Such as

          a) The spiralling cost of yet more fuel duty increases every 6 or 12 months - these are not one-shot increases despite how they are portrayed. These are cumulative massive burdens on transport and production costs.

          b) Minimum wage. While a good wage is fair, especially compared to spiralling housing costs, the minimum wage has added further costs and put another nail in the cost of the manufacturing backbone that should support an economy. Or at least does underpin most of the strong economies that are left in the world.

          c) Massive increases in the cost of essentials due to it being more important to provide a share holder return than provide good service or good value. It doesn't matter what happens, as long as the influential shareholders get their cash.

          Take these together with increases in red-tape and burocracy (in some places, well intentioned to curb the problems with low value supply chains) and there are massive problems.

        3. The BigYin

          Re: The customer defines value

          1) It's not piracy. It's not theft. It's copyright infringement.

          2) No, the consumer was lied to. They were sold beef that was actually horse. This is fraud. Nothing wrong with selling horse, just call it horse.

          So you are conflating a license infringement (which is civil) to bare-faced fraud (which is criminal) in order to make a point. The two are not comparable.

          "you're gong to end up with lowest common denominator entertainment."

          If that's what the market wants, then that's what the market wants. Thing is, it won't happen. If other sectors we have lowest common denominator products and services (e.g. Budweiser and chain-pubs); we also have other products and services for people who give a shit (e.g. real ale and non-tied pubs).

          It's not up to you to decree what the market wants, it's up to the market to decide.

        4. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: The customer defines value

          "2) When the customer defined ever reducing costs for food, it turned out that the food was full of things they didn't want (horse meat) as a direct consequence of refusing to pay."

          I think you'll find that the "customer" in that case wasn't actually consuming the content, so had no personal interest in the actual quality of it. (Ie, the downward plunge was mostly driven by prisons, mass caterers and school canteens, mostly operated by bureaucrats tasked with obtaining the minimum possible price with no eye to the quality)

          Horsemeat is actually quite tasty. The issue with it showing up where it shouldn't is that you don't know what else might be in there (The tests are for a particular item, they won't show up stuff like badger being added) and what quality it might be (I don't want to find tubucular cattle meat in my mince, thanks).

          In terms of the piracy vs customer argument, it's been generally shown that the most enthusiatic pirates are also the most likely to buy content if they like it. (There are some who will pirate regardless, of course) - and treating your best customers in a way guaranteed to seriously alienate them is also a fast way of making them ex-customers - and likely to take potshots at you for a while afterwards.

          The Internet has turned the entire distribution model for non-tangibles on its head and large chunks of the industry are still trying to get their heads around that idea - resulting in prices which were designed around shifting chunks of plastic from factory to warehouse to retailer are still being applied when most of the intermediate steps are gone.

          (FWIW, I produced and paid for CD runs in the 90s and as a result have a pretty good idea of what proportion of the final sale price is attributable to the manufacure and distribution chain - it's about 90% - Retailer markups alone were between 200 and 500% alone. On that basis, retailing new albums online at 3quid each would still be wildly profitable (plus it makes keeping the back-catalog available a profit centre, not a loss-maker). Similarly Movies would massively profit at 2-3quid each for online distribution)

        5. EGW

          Re: The customer defines value

          That's bull and you know it. What you are saying is that in order to get decent movies or music you have to pay through the nose at whatever price big content wants. The food example is just another attempt at trying to justify the huge cost of entertainment. It didn't work too well and I don't consider horse meat to be food. If you use that example then you are saying that big content is selling you bad entertainment and charging you for overpriced good entertainment. Let's just say that most entertainment is not worth the asking price.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The customer defines value

      If it's worth your time to watch, you should pay for it. The creator has given you something and it is only ethical that you give the creator back something.

      But you won't

      Because *you* believe that *you* are entitled to benefit of the work of others.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: The customer defines value

        If its worth your time to watch...???? So when you get ten minutes into it and realise its complete rubbish they'll just give you your money back. I think not.

        I dont pirate - because its really not worth the effort but their business model means I dont watch anything till it comes on terrestrial, or borrow it from the library for a £1 IF someone I know has seen it and recommends it. There's too much rubbish out there to consider wasting £15 on a DVD that 95% of the time will be better value as a coaster.

        There is very good evidence to show that the freetards spend most on media - they just choose to preview before coughing up.

        Once again a business completely fucks up and does an Iceland and blames the customer.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The customer defines value

          actually in Belgium it used to be that if you left the movie within the first 10 - 20 min you could get your money back. Not only because the movie was crap but also because you are in a theater full of cellphone wielding people. Don't know if that is still the case.

          I live in Japan now. They made downloading a criminal offense a few months back. The result is that I stopped downloading and because of that I don't go to a movie theater anymore. I have no idea what movies are playing now. My biggest reason for downloading was that movies were available on bit torrent in high quality before they showed here in the theater. Now I just read books and listen to youtube music instead.

      2. Steve 13

        Re: The customer defines value

        It's difficult to know in advance if it's actually going to be "worth your time to watch". If refunds were available for turning it off half way through due to being trash then maybe more people would take a chance and buy a film or music.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The customer defines value

        I would love to pay for it. In fact I pay a monthly subscription to a VPN provider, plus a monthly subscription to an ISP who I know will not come after me. My total fees being around £60.

        Considering the fact that I could get basic internet for £5.99 / month I'm actually paying around £54 / month to fuel my 'piracy'!

        Why you may ask? - Because I want to watch what I want, when I want it. I don't want to have to wait a year to watch a show that is currently playing out in the USA today, and if I find a TV series that I like, I want to watch multiple episodes at a time, not one episode per week.

        If the content providers delivered a service like that I would happily give them my £54 / month. But they won't, so I'll remain a dirty stinking pirate.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If it's worth your time to watch, you should pay for it

        So if it's a horrendous piece of garbage I find myself sitting through I should expect to be fully compensated for my time?


        The door swings both ways.

      5. jah627

        Re: The customer defines value

        Ah, the moral indignation!

        "The creator" is a government-cradled corporation that lives in a world devoid of ethical considerations: it is only in it for the money, and it will say, do, or purchase anything and anyone it feels stands in the way of the bottom line. That includes artists, writers, students, children, the entertainment-starved masses, and of course legislators.

        Theoretically, ol' Teddy Roosevelt busted the trusts at the turn of the 20th Century. Realistically, the playing field is no longer tilted, it has been dissolved.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The customer defines value

        "If it's worth your time to watch, you should pay for it."

        You know, I'd like to. Crunchyroll's selection is poor where I live. Licencing issues. So I use fansubs. The songs I'd like to download, good luck finding them on iTunes, Amazon, or Deezer. I have to put up with overcompressed YouTube audio. Movies. Well, for English subs it'll be a download from someplace, most often because the original creators didn't consider it was worth making an English subbed version available and/or they don't feel it is something to release to the international market.

        Sometimes, as in the latter example, there is no alternative. Other times, it should be so easy - they have an MP3 or streaming video, I have plastic, what's the problem? The problem, unfortunately, is the content distribution itself. Stuff is "licenced", stuff is regionalised, stuff is available here but not there for obscure reasons, stuff is protected to be played on certain types of device in certain ways. AAll the effort here being spent to make arbitrary controls over what I can do with my purchase, and to restrict my options of purchasing in the first place, sometimes the only idea that makes sense is to say "bugger it" and look for a download. If a bunch of kids giving their free time can make this work, why can't Big Media? Why can't I buy the MP3s I like from where I choose? I understand I am hardly a typical example of a freetard but I do believe that more access to content is something that might be required. Not less.

    3. JC_

      Re: The customer defines value

      The customer defines value

      No, it takes both a willing seller and a willing buyer. You might think my house is worth 20p; it doesn't mean I'm obliged to sell it to you for that.

      Absolutely. The truth is that in the modern world, an album or movie is simply not worth £10-20 a pop.

      In your opinion (and I happen to agree), but that doesn't mean you're entitled to get it for what you're willing to pay for it.

      1. Richard 81

        Re: The customer defines value

        JC_, you're right. We need some haggling here. Big content needs to accept that they're asking too much and need to come up with a better deal. Downloaders need to accept that they can't have everything their way.

        If the likes of Netflix got all content as soon as it was new, I would not only be willing to pay, I would be willing to pay quite a bit more that £6 a month. But it doesn't because the producers don't feel they get enough from it, so I won't pay more because it's a crap deal.

      2. The BigYin

        Re: The customer defines value

        "You might think my house is worth 20p; it doesn't mean I'm obliged to sell it to you for that."

        True. But if everyone (are a large enough majority) think your house is worth 20p; guess how much you house is worth? I like to think my house is worth £1Billion. Shame I can't sell it for that, isn't it?

        What the RIAA et al are engaged in, is restricting the free market to enforce a cartel. This is not a good idea at all. It prevents free-market economics from being able to set the price. It allows for exploitation of territories through pricing differentials. It prevents the market from exploiting/norming those differentials; which is exactly how lots of businesses operate and is (by-and-large) keeps the market honest (until the lobbyists get involved and block free-trade).

        Some infringement is because people are arseholes - true. Not going to argue that. Some infringement is because people are frustrated at the all the restrictions (OS and region locks, non-distribution ect) imposed on them that make it hard/impossible to get the media legitimately. I put it to you that the latter group is probably bigger then the former.

        It is interesting that some companies (e.g. HBO) are trying a different tack. Rather than attack the pirates, they seem to be interested in offering a better service (specifically for "Game of Thrones", the most infringed TV series last year). A "build it and they will come" kind of thing. This IMHO is the way forward. Stop wasting the money on the lawyers and lobbying, use it provide a better service.

        1. Ru

          Re: The customer defines value

          HBO... are trying a different tack. Rather than attack the pirates, they seem to be interested in offering a better service (specifically for "Game of Thrones", the most infringed TV series last year).

          Oh? I'm reminded of this:

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The customer defines value

          "build it and they will come" kind of thing. "

          Please expand on this, what did they do differently exactly.. explain....?

          1. The BigYin

            Re: The customer defines value

            Why not read the story I linked to?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The customer defines value

        In a capitalist market, anyone is entitled to offer something at any price they like.

        But unless that price tallies with the customer's assessment of value, they won't be selling it. Which for a company, probably means they don't have a valid business model.

        You might not like that, but short of price fixing, why is that concept so hard to understand?

        Businesses ONLY exist because of their customers.

        1. PyLETS

          Re: The customer defines value

          The usual moral argument behind a capitalist market requires the existence of open competition. But copyright isn't competition, it's a monopoly by definition. In this case a legally created one, and with some justification, but in any monopoly market, especially a state created one as in this case, balances need to be struck between the conflicting interests of producers and consumers. Balances which havn't yet been successfully struck concern boundaries between:

          a.when the content goes into the public domain, where all economic analysis suggests terms are longer than needed in comparison with pure incentive requirements for content to be produced and

          b. where the business interests of the producers outweigh the reasonable privacy rights of the consumers.

          1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

            Re: Re: The customer defines value


            In ten years you've never had a single new idea, PyLETS. I am not surprised you dislike people who do have new ideas, and want don't want the ideas to be ripped off.

            "Intellectual property is a monopoly" is a child's logic. IP is in international treaties and national law, because it's the least-bad way we have come up with of encouraging new work. Property is property, and rights are rights: and activists who want to rob people of their rights (as the UK Coalition Government is doing) find that it's expensive and ends in defeat.

            Envy seems to be a motivation with you. You really seem to hate people who are more creative, I think.

            1. pixl97

              Re: The customer defines value

              Historical quite attributed to Andrew Orlowski-Antoinette: "Let them eat digital cake."

              ""Intellectual property is a monopoly" is a child's logic." Meaning that even a child can recognize it, whats the saying? From the mouth of babies.

              If this is the least-badderest way we can come up with then the whole system is screwed because it ignores human nature.

              1. People want stuff to work,

              2. they want it cheap,

              3. they want it now.

              What has the copyright cartel delivered them.

              1. DRM - Sorry, that expensive player doesn't work right because, HDCP, Region flags, some other bug, etc.

              2. Digital download, only $5 MORE then buying the disk! Whadda Bargain!

              3. Regional Availability - Please wait till next year you kangaroo eating fucks.

              Hey, let them keep their head in the sand making shitty products, worked well for American car manufactures in the 70's.

            2. Matt 21

              Re: The customer defines value

              '"Intellectual property is a monopoly" is a child's logic. IP is in international treaties and national law, because it's the least-bad way we have come up with of encouraging new work. "'

              I disagree and you certainly offer no evidence to support that claim (that it is the least-bad). It seem to me that it in law because big business in the US pushed for it and no other reason.

              I feel that the prices for films and music are artificially inflated with stupidly long copyright periods. This aggravates people who jump at the chance to download it for free.

              I personally am prepared to accept that new films shouldn't be downloaded but anything which has been on TV or I've already bought on other media seems fair game to me. I know the law says differently but it appears the law doesn't match the majority of people's moral values in this area. Everyone I've spoken to about this feels they're being ripped off and that the film and music industry are being given special treatment which is costing the rest of the population.

            3. PyLETS

              Re: The customer defines value

              "In ten years you've never had a single new idea, PyLETS. I am not surprised you dislike people who do have new ideas, and want don't want (sic) the ideas to be ripped off."

              That's called an Ad Hominem. When someone whose argument is exposed as weak attacks the messenger of the unwelcome news instead of addressing the issue.

              "Property is property, and rights are rights: and activists who want to rob people of their rights (as the UK Coalition Government is doing) find that it's expensive and ends in defeat."

              So you'll be telling us who to vote for next. Property and rights exist because lawful or unlawful coercion defend these. But you'd prefer to forget, as do most big media lobbyists, that we are living in a society where the means by which laws are made theoretically uphold the interests of those who don't own property as well as those who do. Clearly the coalition, post Levenson, isn't going to continue delivering the best laws the big media lobby can buy. So which party is big media going to be supporting at the next election, so we can all decide who not to vote for ?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: The customer defines value

                I also pirate stuff I actually own but it's just too much of a ball ache to go through all the boxes from when I moved two years ago, especially when I can download it in an hour. Case in points the Romance of the Three Kingdoms XI TBSG and Aliens Special edition.

                I've also bought digital copies of stuff when I can't be bothered when they're available online at a decent price. This is mostly in respect to games though.

              2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

                Re: Re: The customer defines value

                It's also true.

                You've posted the same argument over and over again, for as long as I can remember. Your handle changes, the tune doesn't.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The customer defines value

          TBH most things I've watched haven't been worth my time to watch.

          And most games haven't been worth the money I've paid for them (in the steam sales of course)

          In reality I expect at least an hours entertainment per £ As such I'd pay about £2 for a streamed movie. I almost never watch anything twice, and 95% of my music collection goes unused too.

          To buy physical music media - which I do on occasion - I need to get photocards, a nice booklet, additional shinnies (like you get when you buy an J-Idol album/dvd like Morning Musume or AKB or KPOP stuff.) Or it needs to be some weird indie shit.

          Bar that I hate physical copy, they take up room, they collect dust, they need to be moved from house to house, they're always just that bit to far away for me to be bothered to get them to play, and generally they're crap. This is the same issue for games, music and, video.

          Also the 5% comment is retarded as that's people who exclusively pirate as opposed to the far larger number of people who occasionally download a thing while at the same buying things.

          It also avoids other modes of online piracy, such as watching unauthorised videos on youtube and using ad blocking software for instance.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The customer defines value

        I may not be `entitled` to, but lots of people aren't `entitled` to lots of things they get. Doesn't stop them getting them. I can live with the burden of guilt, personally. If you can't, then you know what to do. Pay as much as you can for a film or album, and then you can sleep extra well knowing that you've really gone the extra mile, and in some, intangible way, made the world a better place... : /

      5. Chris007

        Re: The customer defines value

        Record labels need to be asking themselves:-

        "Should we continue to sell X copies of albums at £10, or sell XXX copies of albums at £3"

        Much better to sell 1 million copies at £3 than 100,000 at £10

        Plus it is a snowball effect - 1 million albums sold gets to a greater audience and more people could end up listening to it and then buying it themselves.

        Think of the numbers - 1 million people who share it with 5 people who in turn share it with 5 people or 100,000 people who do the same. The numbers are staggeringly different.

        icon: For large record label thinking

      6. streaky
        Big Brother

        Re: The customer defines value

        "You might think my house is worth 20p; it doesn't mean I'm obliged to sell it to you for that"

        Yeah but you can't download a house off the internet so the model doesn't actually work.

    4. Shagbag
      Thumb Up


      As a friend and frequent downloader said to me: "while Hollywood can afford to pay the likes of Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, etc. $$$$$ millions for doing nothing but acting, they don't need my money."

      That really made me think.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: That really made me think.

        Really? Care to share the pearls of wisdom that came forth or is your incredible "Movie stars are paid a lot so I shouldn't pay for films" revelation all you've got?

        1. JEDIDIAH

          Re: That really made me think.

          > Really? Care to share the pearls of wisdom that came forth or is your incredible "Movie stars are paid a lot so I shouldn't pay for films" revelation all you've got?

          Clearly there is some industrial engineering that can be done here. It just goes to show that you don't have to blow a million bucks just to produce 60 minutes of hair metal. Perhaps this industry should adjust and not pretend that it can burn money.

          I can certainly understand why people who can't burn money would resent those that act like they can.

      2. reno79

        Re: Hollywood

        I do partly agree, however I still feel obliged to pay a certain fee. I think going to the cinema to see a film and having to spend the best part of two hours wage (three or four if you want food) for 90 mins of "entertainment" is over the top though. And that's just for a single ticket.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hollywood

        The argument against that is that the industry is now risk aversive and polarised. So where as before you had big popcorn movies as well as lots of smaller independent films funded via smaller subsidiaries, they now won't take the risk.

        Same with music, all the money and effort it put into the crappy bieber pop rubbish and people with real talent struggle to get anywhere.

        That said, the real problem with downloads and DRM is that it is cumbersome and doesn't work well. I used EE's film store to rent Skyfall and it kept crapping out saying "You are watching a film elsewhere" when I wasn't. In the end I gave up.

      4. Senior Ugli

        Re: Hollywood

        This is a great point. Surely if everyone agreed in the industry to pay actors lower, then they could sell their product for cheaper, and more people would buy.

        Like you mentioned, acting isnt exactly a science, these people are not as clever as brain surgeons or rocket scientists so why get paid ridiculous amounts of money.

        Personally i wouldnt give a shit if I saw one of these actors. All they do is pretend to be someone else

    5. P Saunders

      Here's my question...

      Legitimate Music Download Service A offers a wide range of reasonably priced music to subscribers but restricted to a specific geographical area. Legitimate Music Download Service B offers the same range but at a higher price to everyone else. Why should everyone else have to pay a higher price to B for the same music offered by A. Clearly the RIAA and its friends are happy with A's model so why are they penalising the rest of the world by denying them the same access?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The customer defines value

      VALUE!!! I'll stop torrenting when :-

      Value = Quality...

      ...when Hollywood stops killing film with pointless remakes and Marvel comic reboots...

      ...when I can jump right into a video game without having to enjoy the infuriating hassle of EA Ubisoft DRM...

      Value = Privacy...

      ...when my details aren't sold to a growing list of valued partners who know where I live and everything I buy.

      ...when I have the right to be forgotten or anonymous and not have past purchases profiled & stored forever.

  3. K

    Presumably because it's risk-free and saves a ton of money

    You could put it like that.

    But I prefer

    a) Presumably because they realize they are not getting a good deal

    b) Presumably they are pissed off being treated as a cash-cow commodity

    Take your pick!

    All I can tell is that since I signed up for a Netflix account and got access to the US content, I've rare been tempted with extra-curricular downloads.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Presumably because it's risk-free and saves a ton of money

      I agree, the deals stink and what is worse, the artists usually gets nearly bugger all from every purchase you make!

      Although the only reason I now buy music digitally rather than on CD is the release of DRM free tracks... Now if they were to do that on movies/TV..... then we might be getting somewhere...

      Honestly I don't get why they bother with DRM.. I buy a Blu-Ray with digital copy... first thing I do is still RIP the Blu-Ray onto my HD for backup, then convert to a high quality DRM free but smaller copy that will play on all my Android/Windows/Linux/Mac devices... (and if its a kids thing, I'll convert to a format my sons ipad can play)

    2. Neil 8

      Re: Presumably because it's risk-free and saves a ton of money

      Well, therein lies a very interesting question: Would the author apply the Freetard label to paying Netflix subscribers who are sitting in the UK watching US content?

      I'm sure that commercially & probably legally, it's clear: Those people are viewing unlicensed content.

      But to Andrew, is this THE SAME as piracy, or a grey area?

      1. Richard 81

        Re: Presumably because it's risk-free and saves a ton of money

        Regional licensing and pricing needs to die now.

  4. tony2heads

    Any fule kno

    You need ninjas to fight the pirates

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's only lost revenue if it's download for free instead of paying.

    If it were not available for free, and no payment to download would be made, then there is no loss.

    You have to prove that said free loader would have paid in order to prove loss of revenue.

    Now I'd have though that the 5% with exclusively free loaded material and had never paid, would probably not pay, and instead would go without said content, and hence are not responsible for any losses to any industry anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I've heard this said a lot, but everyone I know who downloads music, movies and games does so instead of paying for them. The only minor exception is the occasional game that they play the start of before deciding it isn't good, which they consider a trial. That's fair enough, but most of the time they play the games to death, without paying for them, but still make your claim that "if I had to pay for it I wouldn't have played it".

      If you want to pirate, fine, but at least be honest about it. You are enjoying something for free that you should have paid for.

      I'd say the majority of gamers I know now pay only for games that they will play online a lot. When I pay for a single player game they are incredulous. "But it's single player only," they point out to me, as if I was unaware. The idea of paying for such a game is completely foreign to them. Sadly it's often the indie developers who they pirate most in this way, and the big publisher titles that they end up paying for so that they can enjoy it online.

    2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)


      There's a dozen studies on this. One says "no harm", the rest say a bit or quite a lot. You can look some of these u.

      Naturally, I'd expect someone who doesn't like the conclusion not to accept the evidence. Cf. fossils.

      1. Killraven

        Re: Well...

        Yes, lots of studies. Interestingly, the ones that say "no harm" generally have no funding from Big Media, but the ones that scream "harm, harm, harm!" are all funded by Big Media.

        Your second point is well proven.

    3. Psyx

      "Now I'd have though that the 5% with exclusively free loaded material and had never paid, would probably not pay, and instead would go without said content, and hence are not responsible for any losses to any industry anyway."

      What: So because they're freeloaders unwilling to pay for anything, there is no value when they steal it and they should carry on getting away with getting for free something that everyone else pays for?

      Just to clarify.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Yes exactly. Why else does the music industry put music singles on youtube? you can pay if you like everyone else can get it for free, legit.

        1. Psyx

          Re: clarification.

          "Yes exactly. Why else does the music industry put music singles on youtube? you can pay if you like everyone else can get it for free, legit."

          Because the singles advertise the albums and the Youtube videos are supported with advertising lead-ins.

          Shame the ad companies haven't got the hang of making adverts that snag us prior to the 5 second minimum on the 'skip' function runs out.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Its all about value

        Yes, I'm in the camp of people who wouldn't pay for it if it weren't available for free. I'm not unwilling, its just it holds no value for me. What people fail to realise is that rather than not spending my money, I fond far more things that I actually do see value in and want to own as a result of having access to free content. The upshot of this is that all my "freeloading" has actually cost me more money in the long run as I discover things I ordinarily wouldn't have known about, or known if I would enjoy. Being someone who only makes considered purchases rather than whimsical ones shouldn't be a crime. Free content should be seen as a form of advertising - I would be more than happy to see all the free channels flooded with sub-par content so that the stuff I download (and subsequently bin 90% of) is of little true value but I still can find the more obscure/niche products thatI want to spend my hard earned on.

      3. JEDIDIAH

        Mindless envy

        > and they should carry on getting away with getting for free

        Sure. The cost of enforcement is too high. You are too hell bent on some moral crusade to bother considering the cost of your crusade. It might not be worth it.

        This is reflected in the general unwillingess of law enforcement to persue the matter. They have better things to do. This is also reflected in the fact that the industry wants to avoid the costs of enforcement in civil courts. They don't view enforcement as worthwhile either really.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Just carry on being a paytard

        If you want to pay for stuff why are you getting so upset about other no wanting to pay?

    4. Parax

      all about values.

      I'm happy to watch F1 on the BBC but I'm not paying Murdoch for it. It's value to me is grater than free but less than sky subscription.

      Towie's value to me is negative you'd have to pay me to Watch.

      Where's the I'm a freeloader icon?

      (I know, I Pay BBC via tv licence, but If I paid sky for F1 I still would have to pay the TV licence, so it doesn't count)

      1. Psyx

        Re: all about values.

        "I'm happy to watch F1 on the BBC but I'm not paying Murdoch for it. It's value to me is grater than free but less than sky subscription."

        I'm with you on that... well... partially: I'd be happy to pay for it if I didn't also have to buy two other channels of sport that I have no interest in, and if Murdoch wasn't getting the cash!

    5. mmeier

      Actually I do not care wether "they would not buy it anyway" or not. For me the situation is simple:

      Producer P offers a product for x Euro

      Buyer B now can

      a) Buy it

      b) Not buy it

      c) Haggle with P

      What is NOT acceptable is solution

      d) Steal/Copy the product

      And that is what Freeloaders. And not only the "poor Harzi(1)" but quite well off people that could easily afford it. And not just from the "evil, money grubbing industrie" but from small self-publishers and small publishers. Had a bunch of legal ebooks recently and more than one person asked for a copy and when told "do the same what I did - buy it, it's only 40€ for 15+ books and directly from the author(s)" reacted quite pissed of for me "not sharing".

      (1) The most beloved freeloader of the german "Pirats" is the wellfare recipient that does d) because he/she has no money

      1. pixl97

        Re: mmeier

        Buyer B now can a)buy it.

        a.1) maybe depending on where they live, with widely ranging prices

        a.2) maybe depending on their operating system, player, method of connectivity

        a.3) be prompted to install all kinds of weird shit to make it work.

        a.4) still have it not work, or have it downgraded to low-def

        a.5) not be able to play it on 2 different devices because of strange producer whims.

        a.6) have the manufacture stop supporting whatever odd DRM after some amount of time


        d) Steal it for one price

        d.1) anywhere in the world

        d.2) use it on any operating system, player, or method of connectivity they transcode it to

        d.3) use their standard player of choice

        d.4) have it just work

        d.5) play it on 2 different devices

        d.6) never have to worry about DRM.

        Some people are always going to violate copyright on media, not much you can do about that. The rest of them want a cheap, easy, and fair way of getting your product. Itunes with all its bullshit DRM has shown that if you make it easy, people will buy. People are creatures of laziness, going out and pirating stuff is just hard enough that easy to use services like Netflix make it not worthwhile. Successful producers are going to have to realize the 20th century is gone, in the 21st century the world is globally connected. Putting up little 'content' walls is laughable.

        For me the situation is simple: Adapt or die.

        1. mmeier

          Re: mmeier

          My solution would be: Raise the penalties for stealing! Start with a few hundret hours of "social service" and by the third of fourth time jail him. Preferably "hard labor/chain gangs". That should take care of d) quite fast.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        e) listen to content on the radio for free.

        f) listen to the content on music TV free of charge.

        g) watch content on free to air TV sometime after release.

        h) pick up a copy of the content from a shop discount bin 6 months later.

        All of these earn the same income for P as your d option, and are well used options, by normal people, who are clearly all free loaders because they too think the over-inflated release price is too high.

        It's all on free-to-air in time, how much does time cost??

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Kantar estimates 297,000,000 unlicensed song downloads were completed between August and October 2012 in the UK, or 24 per cent of all digital tracks downloaded."

    But IF the piracy channel was not available, now many of those downloads would happen paid?

    I suspect a very small number of them would be done...

    Think of it this way, as a pirate, who does it because of cost, someone might download 4-5 albums a month... assuming they are into music.... BUT as that person has minimal disposable income, so would they spend £40-£50 extra a month on media? probably not, maybe they would buy the odd song they like..... so rather than loosing £40-£50 a month from this person, the media moguls have lost £2-£3 a month if that...

    Really the impact of piracy is overrated.. if someone is going to pay, they will pay, if they can't or don't want to, then they will download or record of the radio...

    I've brought maybe 3 songs this year, the rest of the time I use a radio... Amazing things radios, they let you listen to music for free!!! oh and there is this new thing called youtube....

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Bigger pic

      "Really the impact of piracy is overrated.. if someone is going to pay, they will pay"

      Maybe it's overrated, maybe it's underrated. I don't think there's anyone left (except the loony fringe) who thinks it causes no economic damage. The 1 in 20 get very little sympathy from the 19 in 20 who do the right thing.

      We know most people actually like buying stuff. The bigger issue for the (c) industries is getting more money into the system, and making it easier for us to pay for stuff. Until that happens movies and music that's made is going to fall short of its true value.

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: Bigger pic

        Record and movie companies don't like buying stuff. Record and movie companies will do anything - anything - to screw over artists.

        Your shining moral position would be a lot more shining if you spent as much time ranting at the businesses which make most of their cash by screwing over artists than by ranting at the everso naughty members of the public whose net effect on the income of said companies is far, far less than the profits they make by both legal and illegal acts of cultural piracy.

        Now - this is not to just content theft from torrents and file download sites and the like. There's no glory in being Pirate Bay when you make even more cash from artists and don't pay them anything at all.

        That's not something it's possible to sympathise with.

        But let's have some perspective here. The reality is that creators are getting screwed by everyone, and the evil 5% are doing much less damage to the culture industry and the people who work in it than the coke-snorting crazies who run it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bigger pic

        "I don't think there's anyone left (except the loony fringe) who thinks it causes no economic damage."

        The economy isn't some sacred cow you know. This isn't some fascist country (yet) where everything has to be for the "Glory of the State".

        People buying foreign products and holidays which are detrimental to the UK economy, but doing so isn't currently banned. Bank holidays cost the economy £19 billion a year apparently but no one ridicules people for taking them.

        And presumably your definition of "loony fringe" is everyone who disagrees with you.

        1. Psyx

          Re: Bigger pic

          "The economy isn't some sacred cow you know."

          I don't give a crap about 'the economy' as a whole.

          Or indeed Sony.

          Or Bono.

          I give a crap about the artists who work hard and get next to nothing, partly because it's not seen in any way as morally wrong to steal from them and make them work for free. They aren't rolling around in limos, and a fiver for a CD actually makes a real difference to them.

          1. JEDIDIAH

            Re: Bigger pic

            > I give a crap about the artists who work hard and get next to nothing, partly because it's not seen in any way as morally wrong to steal from them

            If you want to shed crocodile tears for the artists, start with the gatekeepers.

            Direct your moral outrage at them first. Then focus your attention on the amateur thieves.

        2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: Bigger pic

          Was there a point to that?

          More Bank Holidays, maybe? I'm up for that. Or fewer Bank Holidays to compensate for economic damage caused by piracy?

          1. Psyx

            Re: Bigger pic

            "Was there a point to that? More Bank Holidays, maybe? I'm up for that. Or fewer Bank Holidays to compensate for economic damage caused by piracy?"

            Yes: You were saying that people enjoy paying for things and building a point from there. That's not really true though, is it?

            Or did you mean not caring about the economy/Bono/Sony but caring about not-so-rich creatives? That was to lay out the reason why I don't support piracy and illustrate my emotional attachment and position in the entire debate.

      3. Psyx

        Re: Bigger pic

        "We know most people actually like buying stuff. "

        That's a stretch, based on capitalist-centric perceptions. I would personally enjoy a Bentley more if someone gave it to me than if I had to starve myself for years saving up for it.

        I don't think many people seriously enjoy doing a boring job to earn money to spend it on stuff.

        We do it because that is the way in which our society works and because since we have been told from an early age that taking stuff for free is bad. Not because we specifically enjoy doing it.

    2. SkippyBing

      Disposable Income

      If you've got a disposable income problem and a computer you've got your priorities wrong.

      1. Psyx

        Re: Disposable Income

        "If you've got a disposable income problem and a computer you've got your priorities wrong."

        What century are you in? That's like saying that if you've got a 'fridge and no disposable income, you've got your priorities wrong.

    3. Ru

      if someone is going to pay, they will pay, if they can't or don't want to, then they will download or record of the radio...

      I'd qualify that statement... "if someone is going to pay, and someone is willing to sell them what they want, they will pay".

      Of all the film, TV, literature and music produced in, say, the last 25 years... how much of it is legally available for download in a high quality, DRM-unencumbered format? Now compare that with the proportion of that same content which is freely available as a high quality and free illegal download, or even the amount that can be purchased from some dubious Russian site.

  7. Piro Silver badge

    Honestly, it's not just to save money

    Most of the time it's watch shows that simply would be a headache to get here, would come here very late on TV from the US (who actually watches live TV anyway?) or would be impossible.

    Even when I had a Netflix sub, if I liked something that I watched, a couple of times I actually found the thing to buy, because I'm not trusting streaming services. My internet connection blows, and I want the actual item so I can freely re-watch or instantly skip to any point.. forever.

  8. Senior Ugli
    Big Brother

    one thing I do not moan about in the UK is that we are pretty behind on prosecuting pirates - compared to america anyway.

    Apart from their faffing about wanting to block certain torrent sites, having the government intelligence of an 80 old man whos only just got the internet helps in places.

    I feel I get shafted in alot of other places, so some stuff for free feels fair. Bankers lead by example of not giving a shit about other people and their jobs....

    You may moan that's bollocks, but I don't buy music by big labels anyway. There's a bunch of small independent labels rising up who thanks to social media and sharing online are starting to compete with the big boys minus the suits and ivory back scratchers

    I have bought quite a few CDs in the last 2 years direct form the artists. usually a signed copy with some free bits too.

  9. g e
    Thumb Up

    Maybe is actually being canny?

    While paying lip-service to their corporate paymasters they recognise that it's all a bunch of bullshit and the media industry actually needs to move its business into the third millennium which will only be done when it's less painful to do than not do.

    Hence they give the megacorps the semblance of what they demand while pulling all its teeth out.

    What are the chances they actually have the public's basic interests at heart? (Yeah, slim to nil, I know)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think theres a bit more to it than risk free and saves money.

    Plenty of reasons to Pirate that have nothing to do with your financial position. Examples below are my own personal experience.

    Release time - Happens less with films but still a problem with TV series. The US can get things way in advance of the UK in some cases up to a year. So I download the TV rips the day after they air. If it's something I then enjoy I buy the boxset once available over here. Have spent literally thousands on TV series I originally watched this way. With films I typically wait for the HD rips (generally at least a month before retail release) watch them and again if it's something I enjoy buy it once released. Don't overestimate the try before you buy factor, in my opinion the movie industry has themselves to blame for this everyone is naturally suspicous as there are too many films marketed as being great that turn out to be Turkeys. Movie trailers can be one of the most dishonest types of marketing available.

    Availability - Lots of US TV content is available over here but is often limited to Sky. I haven't let Murdoch dip in my pocket in a lot of years and wont start now just to legally get Sky Atlantic. If you lmit your content to only premium subscribers then don't be surprised when people seek it out via other means.

    Pricing - Generally for TV and Film I refuse to buy when first released, the days of me paying £30 a film or £60 for one series of TV (looking at you HBO) are gone. Will typically wait until a film is under £10 and However in more recent years I have been holding off buying series I have been enjoying (Breaking Bad, True Blood, Mad Men) until the series finishes airing and picking up the entire run for under £50. Only the shows I am really into are purchased on a series by series basis (GOT, SOA) the rest can wait. I would admit though since signing up for Netflix and Lovefilm the amount of movie piracy I do has taken a massive dive. Why bother when it's just as convenient to watch legally at a sensible price. Don't get me started though on the price of legal digital downloads, pricing seems to be utterly riddiculous. The amount of films I can see that for example BT vision would like me to pay £10 for that are available on DVD for £3-4 is stupid. TV series pricing whether by iTunes or one of the others are stupid I'm not going to pay more a DRM crippled download than it costs to buy the entire thing on Blu Ray,

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: I think theres a bit more to it than risk free and saves money.

      "Pricing - Generally for TV and Film I refuse to buy when first released"

      That's actually a very valid market decision, by you as a punter. New films are under a fiver on Virgin and you don't want to spend a fiver to see it. That's fine.

      It's not an ethical "reason to pirate", though, is it?

      "I would admit though since signing up for Netflix and Lovefilm the amount of movie piracy I do has taken a massive dive."


      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: I think theres a bit more to it than risk free and saves money.

        I use netflix and rhapsody. I view them as a decent deal. Prior to that I just bought an occasional dvd or cd. Just because you don't like the price doesn't mean it's ok to pirate it. You don't need music or film, you just want it, disagreeing over the price is not a justification for piracy. If it's too expensive do without it. You can come up with all the fancy assed justifications you want but it fools noone. You have the oppertunity to obtain it without paying so you will. Other people will just pay or do without but don't try and make out you are on a personal crusade against high wages for actors or the gross injustice of bluray pricing or DRM. Just don't buy it.

      2. Richard 81

        Re: I think theres a bit more to it than risk free and saves money.

        "I would admit though since signing up for Netflix and Lovefilm the amount of movie piracy I do has taken a massive dive."

        Then this is the way to go. New content on Netflix at release. If you have to wait, people will pirate it and will probably never pay for it (despite claiming otherwise).

        1. Rampant Spaniel

          Re: I think theres a bit more to it than risk free and saves money.


          If that were the way studios felt they could make the most money then that is what they would do. It may be the future, but it is their call. Not liking how they sell their product is not a justification for piracy. Given they are not releasing much straight to streaming it would seem their sums suggest the current model makes them the most money. Just because some people don't like the pricing doesn't mean everyone doesn't. I don't buy much by way of blurays due to their pricing, doesn't mean I can pirate the movies.

          1. Richard 81

            Re: I think theres a bit more to it than risk free and saves money.

            @Rampant Spaniel

            I wasn't suggesting that not putting new content on streaming services justified piracy. I was saying that it almost certainly increases it.

        2. rh587 Silver badge

          Re: I think theres a bit more to it than risk free and saves money.

          "Then this is the way to go. New content on Netflix at release. If you have to wait, people will pirate it and will probably never pay for it (despite claiming otherwise)."

          Absolutely. BBC America's broadcast partners couldn't work out why the Dr Who Christmas Special got such low ratings given the overall popularity of the brand. The realisation was that the stupid idiots (for reasons best known to themselves) were broadcasting it on Boxing Day. After Christmas Dinner, hardcore American fans would go and find a torrent that had popped up from the UK broadcast a couple of hours previous, and they'd be able to sit down by 6pm US time and watch the Special.

          Now they just find space in the schedules for Christmas Day. No one needs to download it because it's on when they actually want to watch it.

          Similarly HBO got bitten on the ass by not providing any semblance of a legal route for Game of Thrones fans outside the US. No DVDs, Blu-Ray, Lovefilm, NetFlix. Nadda. So everyone pirates it. This is 2013 after all. They seem to learning from their mistakes though, lets hope more big media follow suit.

          Piracy is wrong, but this is 2013, and big media need to get with the decade and realise if they dick about releasing a show months ahead in one region, or not making it available through legal channels in a prompt fashion then it WILL be pirated. Being impatient isn't a good reason for infringing copyright, but in the real world, it happens. In 1993 with the new-fangled intarwebz one could have some sympathy for them being caught out by new tech. But we're now in 2013. They've had 20 years to adapt their business model. No sympathy at all. Especially when big media are rampant infringers themselves. Even on their own patronising anti-piracy films!

      3. The BigYin

        Re: I think theres a bit more to it than risk free and saves money.

        " "I would admit though since signing up for Netflix and Lovefilm the amount of movie piracy I do has taken a massive dive."


        So....a service is provided, offering what the consumer wants, at a price the consumer feels is fair...and piracy drops? Well blow me down. If only more people could understand this.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I think theres a bit more to it than risk free and saves money.

        Define new - Are you talking current releases or films that were out last year? I don't have Virgin but a quick scan of the apps on my smart TV shows most films are 9-12 months old. For example the top new release on Samsungs own streaming service is Rango this is from 2011 not what I define new. Blinkbox is even worst checking new releases gives you things like Agent Cody Banks and A Fish Called Wanda. Blinkbox will allow you to buy relatively recent films for £11 but for me that's just too high for a digital download. I value actually owning the physical product far higher than something resting on a companies servers which can be shut down at any time and only played in ways they decide are allowed.

        If I could pick something up on Blu-Ray at the same time it hits the cinema or stream it legally in HD then I would do so. But the amount of films that have taken this route can be counted on one hand. Release windows should be dead as a concept but the entertainment industry seems not to have realised this yet.

        I wasn't talking about ethics I was talking about my reasons to pirate, you are free to feel what I do is unethical but that as an argument is not something that is likely to change my behaviour.

        See my comments about Lovefilm and Netflix reducing my movie piracy, if there was a service available that gave me up to date TV content at a reasonable subscription then I would be on it. As things stand there is too much fragmentation and even if you subscribe to an insane quantity of services then some content will likely be missing for licensing reasons.

        I am happy to pay for my content when it's released on a timely basis and at a sensible price. If there is not a legal release that I feel is both then I get it from an illegal source.

        One other reason that I pirate some content I didn't mention above is the quality. I would rather not watch a UK program airing over freevview if I know tomorrow I can download a HD version (minus adverts). Have only recently got Freeview HD so doing less and less of this but previously was the main cause of downloading UK shows rather than watching them live or recording them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I think theres a bit more to it than risk free and saves money.

          New releases on Virgin Movies on Demand usually become available at the same time as the DVD release and are at most a fiver which is for the HD version.

          That delay isn't the fault of the providers (Virgin/Sky etc) it is the studios and distributors who only licence the films for 'release' as PPV when the DVD hits the shelves.

          The fact is this model works for me and I suspect a lot of others. I have a small child and limited childcare so mgmt and I dont get to the flicks very often so it works for us. Also a trip to the local multiplex would cost best part of £20 if not more for tickets and munchies whereas I can replicate the experience (without the f**kwit youths in the foyer) for less than a tenner at home albeit with the slight inconvenience of waiting 6 months for the film to be available.

          Also is my viewing devalued by waiting to see the film? No! Other than the LoTR trilogy I can't remember the last film I have seen a trailer for and thought 'I MUST GET TO THE CINEMA TO SEE THAT'.

      5. JEDIDIAH

        Re: I think theres a bit more to it than risk free and saves money.

        > New films are under a fiver on Virgin and you don't want to spend a fiver to see it. That's fine.

        5 pounds?

        What is that? A rental? If so then that's highway robbery.

        On this side of the pond, bargain bin movies go for $5 on spinny disk. If you don't want to wait that long you can just use the Netflix mail service. Plus there's Redbox.

        It sounds like you have a small number of really bad options.

  11. JohnG

    "The Digital Economy Act, passed three years ago..." the last few hours of the previous government's parliament. This ill-considered legislation was apparently prompted by a foreign media mogul over lunch with an unelected member of the last government and tacked onto the end of a debate on entirely different issues. It is hard to feel sorry for foreign media companies when they engage in such shameful manipulation of our democracy. The protection of intellectual property is a civil matter for all sectors of industry or business - except now for film and music. This is not right.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "The Digital Economy Act, passed three years ago..."

      One of the many failings of the last Labour Government, to often they would follow the Murdoch agenda, in the hope that his media organisations would show them in a great light and the proceeding election. On only has to look at the dogs breakfast of an extradition policy which allows America to what it likes towards British Citizens?

  12. Busby

    RE: Senior Ugli

    I think that's because our government isn't quite as corrupt as the one in the US. Don't get me wrong we are heading that way but pretty much all US legislation is written by lobbyists and the corporations who stand to profit from it. It's not either party either big business give massively to both sides and they both know exactly where the money comes from and who they have to please if they want a chance of having to money to run for reelection.

    Agree with buying direct from the artists where you can as well helps cut out the middle man and at least you know your cash is going to the creator. Not always an option with the big acts but the smaller and up and coming ones nearly always have their content for sale this way.

  13. Gordan


    I am not convinced of their research's validity and accuracy. How are they measuring file sharing exactly? By checking the number of people torrenting? What about those torrenting non-pirated material (e.g. Linux distro DVD ISOs)? Have those been identified and removed from the figures?

    What about the file sharing technologies used? Is this about torrenting? If so, how does it identify torrenting as torrenting over encrypted connections (which are now the default)? Are all of the encrypted connections excluded from the figures? That would reduce the numbers to a very small fraction of the actual traffic. What about all the other file sharing networks (Gnutella, edonkey/emule, etc.)?

    The important details about the data gathered remain unseen, and thus the findings should be taken with a bucket of salt.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Numbers?

      "The important details about the data gathered remain unseen"

      It's a survey: why would someone downloading Linux ISOs say they were pirating? The report and links to the methods are here:


      1. Gordan

        Re: Numbers?

        "It's a survey: why would someone downloading Linux ISOs say they were pirating?"

        Let me turn that around - there are a lot of reasons why a typical freetard might not publicly admit to pirating on a survey.

        1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: Re: Numbers?

          "there are a lot of reasons why a typical freetard might not publicly admit to pirating on a survey"

          Indeed - see Kantar's and Ofcom's handwringing over it. But at least they've written up their methods and the reasons why.


  14. Tom 11

    OK, case study....

    A 'Friend' of mine recently went away for a few days with work, he was reading Virtual light on his Kindle, saw he had 45% of the book left to go so didn't bother loading any more material on to the device. On the second night he hit 79% of the book and it ended, the remaining 21% was adrivel and nonsense interview with the author. So, he went on Amazon to purchase a digital copy of the sequel, Idoru, sure enough he found pages selling the paperback for around £4, the digital copy was an astounding £6.50!!!

    Not wanting to relinquish his upright stance, trousers around the waste nor lack of proximaty to a barrel, he found a torrent containing the novel he wanted and downloaded it over HSPDA using bittorrent for android in around 40 minutes, said torrent actually contained the complete works of Gibson.

    He then activated the hotspot on his phone, connected his Kindle and mailed a text copy to his Kindle address which auto converted it into a readable format.

    He would have gladly paid for a copy at a reasonable price, but due to lack of forsight and a generous helping of greed from the distributers, they have now lost out on any future purchases from this user of the autor in point.

    Who are the real pirates in this story?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OK, case study....

      So, £4 for a paper version that you would have to wait for (was p&p included or extra? I doubt that would be free), versus £6.50 for a digital version that you can read right now? At worst it sounds like a 'convenience premium'. How much was the first book?

      I really don't beleive that he 'would have gladly paid for a copy at a reasonable price', as his actions have already proven otherwise.

      I don't particularly care if people download stuff, just don't try and justify it as some kind of righteously valid consumer response.

      Your friend is an impatient cheapskate and he should have the honesty to own up to it.

      1. Tom 11

        Re: OK, case study....

        AC, In which case why did he even bother checking Amazon for availability? Sorry, not chomping. £6.50 for a digital copy of a 10 year old book is daylight robbery. I'm not advocating piracy but more illustrating what causes it and the ramifications involved.

        I believe the first book was 89 pence last year.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: OK, case study....

        Electronic copies should be cheaper. There's no dead trees, ink or distribution involved. Hosting and bandwidth aside; once you have the first electronic copy of a book you will have spent all the money you're going to. Copy No.2 and onwards are gravy.

        If you charge more for an electronic copy, people rightly assess that as taking the piss and may well be tempted to take the piss in return.

        "Convenience premium". No wonder you did that anonymously...

        1. Pooka

          Re: OK, case study....

          Moiety - the government doesn't help on this one... you pay VAT on an ebook, but not on a deadtree special...

        2. Busby

          Re: OK, case study....

          The problem is (in the UK at least) that dead tree versions don't have to pay VAT. But digital downloads do have VAT applied to them. Seems a little crazy to me if for no other reason than the enviornmental one. On top of this you do have some retailers doing serious price gouging. There should be no good reason for being able to pick up a hard back of a brand new release for less cost than the digital version. In some cases the digital version is £5 or more higher than the cost of the hard back with obviously far far lower production and distribution costs.

        3. Captain Underpants

          Re: OK, case study....


          In the specific context of DRM'd account-linked ebooks, I agree that they should be cheaper than dead-tree versions, but that's because you have fewer rights with those ebooks than the dead tree version.

          In general, though, the production process for pbooks and ebooks are mostly the same, and the costings aren't as different as one might assume. Have a read of Charles Stross's Common Misconceptions About Publishing posts, particularly #2 "How Books Are Made" -

          There's also the whole pbooks are VAT-free (for now) while ebooks are not to consider. That's a 20% difference right there.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: OK, case study....

            @Graham Marsden: Is this what you were thinking of?


            @Captain Underpants: I'd read that article before and it's a bit misleading in that process automatically assumes that there will be a dead tree version; and many of the steps outlined are not necessary for an electronic version. The assumption is a dual release; but you're lumping in a lot of dead-tree-specific costs to the "cost of production". The fact remains though, that once you have your electronic version, that's pretty well it for costs (except for hosting and bandwidth and that cost can be considered trivial). With the dead tree version there is an inescapable cost to make and distribute every single extra unit.

            1. Graham Marsden
              Thumb Up

              @Captain Underpants and moiety - Re: OK, case study....

              Thanks guys! It was the techfleece one I was thinking of, but the XKCD one is equally valid!

            2. Captain Underpants

              Re: OK, case study....

              @moiety 16:07

              I'm really not so sure what you say is valid. Only the printing and shipping stuff is physically-specific; everything else pertains to both dead-tree and no-tree versions. I've seen what you get when people try to skimp on the copy-editing, proofing or layout sections and it substantially devalues the end product.

              I'm wary of the assumption that the cost of providing hosting and bandwidth for ebook distribution (especially anything that might contain an abundance of high res images like tech manuals or education-oriented textbooks) would automatically be negligible compared to shipping, particularly since at this point the ebook sales model means that actually admitting you are charging your customer an "electronic delivery charge" of any kind is unacceptable. And with 200+ppi screens becoming more and more commonplace, larger filesizes and greater-resolution images will become the norm, so it's not something that'll go away.

              Consider the dead-tree equivalent of your argument re: " sunk costs). Most of the production process isn't in the printing or shipping side; it's in the author's advance, editing, proofing, scheduling and marketing the book. Once you get to the point where a second print run can be justified, the only sunk costs are printing and shipping - this is why paperback editions are feasible even though their profit margins are much lower than initial hardback runs. But not every book gets as far as a second print run, especially not in the "niche" genres like "not paranormal romance" or "stuff that Oprah Winfrey hasn't promoted" or "stuff that doesn't count amongst the 3 books WH Smiths customers buy per year".

              The sunk cost to produce an ebook version worth a damn is non-trivial (hence my reference to Stross' post, which I found eye-opening when I first read it) and has to be amortized against a given number of sales of that ebook before future sales are gravy with only distribution costs to offset. Even if the distribution costs are lower per book, they're still not zero, and I am willing to bet money that no profit-making publisher will view the return on the sale of a single copy of an ebook as, in itself, enough to cover the costs of producing it. That's simply not how breaking even works.

        4. mmeier

          Re: OK, case study....

          Back in the "old days" the people had a simply way of dealing with overpriced offerings - they did not buy them! That way the seller either reduced prices or went out of business. What the did NOT do was to steal them.

          If you do not like the price - walk away! We are not talking "essentials of living" here just amusement

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OK, case study....

      Who are the real pirates in this story?

      Your "friend" ... end of story

    3. illiad

      Re: OK, case study....

      Damned right!!!!! If you pay *good money* for a product, it should not be laden down with adverts!!

      The same is true with DVDs - ten years ago, you rented a film, and it went straight to the main feature -

      Today, you buy a DVD, to find there are adverts for other stuff, including other films, that you CANNOT skip over!!!

      If that is not a reason to download or buy a pirated disc **without** ads, what isn't ???

      1. Graham Marsden

        Re: OK, case study....

        "Today, you buy a DVD, to find there are adverts for other stuff, including other films, that you CANNOT skip over!!!"

        I'm sure there was an XKCD or similar which made exactly this point, but I can't find it.

        Can anyone point me to a link?

        1. Captain Underpants

          Re: OK, case study....


          Here you go: It talks about audiobooks, but the principle applies across all media that can be digitized, really.

    4. mmeier

      Re: OK, case study....

      You <<<< your friend. Buy, do not buy or haggle over the price - all three are valid options. Illegal copys are not!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "But Whitehall officials moved heaven and earth to stop punishments"

    I think that the reason why Whitehall pushed back had nothing to do with protecting copyright infringement. Current government thinking is that there is a lot of money to be saved by delivering government services to the population via the internet. Things like tax returns, benefit administration, job-seekers tracking, basic health advice and a ton of other things.

    What they realised that this would make the Internet an essential service, like water, electricity etc.

    Any penalty that resulted in a users Internet feed being turned off would be like shooting themselves in the foot, in that they would have to keep real offices and call centres staffed in case people really had no access to the Internet. And they also realised that there was a real possibility that people could be incorrectly fingered because the controls were not tight enough.

    I can imagine that there would be a major challenge if the following were to happen.

    Job Centre: We're going to have to stop your benefit because you've not updated your account on our web site.

    Job Seeker: I cannot login to your site.

    Job Centre: Why not?

    Job Seeker: I've been incorrectly banned from using the Internet and I can't afford to appeal.

    Job Centre: Why not use the Library?

    Job Seeker: It got shutdown to save money.

    Job Centre: Use an Internet cafe

    Job Seeker: I have no money.

    Job Centre: Use a free WiFi hotspot, then.

    Job Seeker: You think I can afford a laptop?

    Job Centre: Come in to our office and update it there.

    Job Seeker: My local Job Centre got shut down, and I can't afford the bus fare to the next nearest because the allowance is not large enough, and you're threatening to stop it anyway!

    Job Centre:.........

    What then follows is a judicial review started by someone like Shelter or one of the other charities that would have to pick up the pieces.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most pampered individuals?


  17. jubtastic1

    Lies, Damn LIes etc

    Freetards want stiffer sentences? Can pay, but won't pay? have you read any of the comments on torrent sites? do they look like they came from ABC1? Goodness gracious, what stuff and nonsense,[B. please replace this with something appropriately colloquial -J] Thats all bollox innit guv.

    A:3 V:6 M:10 poor copy, BR rip is better.

    1. Prof Denzil Dexter

      Re: Lies, Damn LIes etc

      you, sir, shall have an upvote.

  18. Gavin McMenemy


    "This contrasts with the public, which consistently calls for stiffer penalties for digital rights infringement when it's asked."

    This particular line really struck me.

    The public doesn't know what it wants.

    Ask someone who the pirate is and they will tell you it's someone else ... then turn back to their torrent site and download MP3s because... After all they only do it occasionally so where's the harm in that?

    This attitude - which is perfectly normal - effectively undermines your statement. The vast majority of people are incapable of seeing the wider picture.

    Is widespread copyright infringement an issue? Without a doubt yes especially if you are a small time (yet popular) writer/musician or whatever.

    Although the entertainment industry has upped it's game it is STILL lagging behind what the consumer wants. Why is my selection on Netflix different to the US subscriber? Why is it that we still see geographically staggered film distribution? It's all facepalming stuff. Remove those barriers, do the job properly and people will pirate less.

    The problem isn't sticks it's carrots. Like it or not.


      Re: Hm.

      > Is widespread copyright infringement an issue? Without a doubt yes especially if you are a small time (yet popular) writer/musician or whatever.

      If you a a small time producer, piracy is really the least of your worries. If you are fixating on it, then you are distracting yourself from what you really need to be doing. You need to be making up for the fact that your publisher isn't doing squat for you in the way of the advertising and marketing department.

      It's not really productive for you to waste your time fixating on "thieves".

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am I in the 5% ?

    I buy approx 50 CDs a year. I don't think there is a single band that I've bought stuff from in the last year that I didn't first download some of their stuff via bit torrent. I've even downloaded stuff I've already bought as it's now quicker to download it than it is to rip it to good quality. Most of the bands I would never have heard of without people pirating stuff. So did the bands I downloaded lose sales or make extra ones from me?

  20. Law

    Am I the 5 percent?

    I generally just grab TV off the dodgy net these days... reasons are:

    - because (Virgins) TiVo regularly screws up the recordings of shows they do show here in the UK. I pay a big chunk for a crappy service... sky are not really any better (though their box is less dodgy)

    - because they don't have any legal online alternatives in the UK. I've looked at Netflix and Lovefilm and they have next to no decent US shows that have been aired in the last year here in the UK.

    I have money to throw at these networks... they just won't take it.. their attempts at legal services are piss poor and years behind the US services.


    On the flip side... music has moved on a great deal - I'll happily buy tracks from Google Play and Amazon, or independent publisher websites - DRM free, I get a file I can backup (rather than subscription based), and it'll work on all my devices. I buy less music now because my tastes arn't as catered for these days, but I still buy an album or two a year plus random tracks.


    I've given up on legal alternatives for downloading or subscription models like lovefilm... I rarely watch films now anyway. I go cinema for the big ones I want to watch, though only because I usually get a bogof deal with work. I buy the cheap blurays or dvd (for my kids films) mainly because they like the physical medium... they like looking on the shelf to see what film they want to watch rather than have advertising pushed on them via xbox live.

    Am I a pampered 5 percenter? Probably for TV... but not because I don't want to pay... and not for everything... I pay for TV one way or another through Virgin and my TV license, always pay for music now legal routes are decent enough, and good movies are hard to find now so I buy for my kids, not for me.

  21. Prof Denzil Dexter

    Speed up UK release schedules and avoid the exclusive licences and i’m a rehabilitated freetarder

    I’ve been known to dabble. I must say generally I buy the dvd when its on offer, rip it and never open it again. However, some stuff the release schedules are awful.

    Game of Thrones as an example, probably the best show (in my eyes) to come out of the US in a few years. Season 3 is a few weeks away from transmission, but Season 2 is only just out this week on DVD in the UK. HBO don’t licence to Netflix or Lovefilm so there was no other way to watch it.

    I’d happily just got a netflix style subscription if only there was a greater range. It feels to me like i need netflix and lovefilm just to get about half the market.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DRM free is just so much more convenient

    A reason why some use pirated stuff is that it's DRM-free and thus convenient.

    Say I download a xvid movie from nzb land. I can view it on my PC (using either Windows Media Player or an alternative), I can quickly copy it onto my Android tablet and watch it there. I can also put it on a memory stick and stick it into my flat screen TV, that will play xvid AVIs, but does not have access to the likes of Netflix.

    With the legal route you have to worry about where you are getting your stuff, as that will limit where you can see it. Plus you may need to join more than one service, as there are so many stupid exclusive deals out there.

    finally, many require you to stream instead of store. Not great for a person travelling with a WIFI only tablet.

    And don't get me started on DVDs/CDs. Friends often give me DVDs and I don't watch them, as I don't have a DVD player any more. Plus using the PC to convert them onto a format you can play on your tablet takes time.

    I think many of these 5% will go legal, if the costs were fare, they could get all from a selection of services. These services made it easy to move your content around and view it on various devices.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: DRM free is just so much more convenient


      The customer's definition of value isn't only about price.

  23. Pavlov's obedient mutt
    Thumb Down

    Give me real choices

    When my choices are limited to the 20 movies in the iTunes store; cable-based services that don't work properly or piracy (and I already pay "piracy taxes" on my internet connection) then, well, it's not a complex decision right? (I'm in the Netherlands)

    that said, since spotify came into the house, we've not downloaded any music illegally.

    if the completely artificial barriers to me having access to Netflix/lovefilm etc are removed, my own experience would suggest that movie/tv-series downloading would also stop.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Customer's want the best service

    I read a comment on a similar story a while back that sticks with me. It was simply "The best SERVICE currently available is TPB."

    You can say to yourself "ooh, I haven't seen that movie, lets watch that", or "I haven't listened to them for ages, I'll grab that album" and in under 30mins you can be listening to / watching the media you wanted. I have never been unable to find what I want, at the quality/size that I want.

    I'd pay a decent chunk of money for that kind of service, no doubt.

    The alternative is trawling through half a dozen legal services which *might* have what you want, each of which is hampered by exclusive deals with content providers and/or network instability. I tried netflix and lovefilm and am a subscriber to spotify. The latter works fine (though there are always things I want to listen to that aren't available), the others were distinctly unimpressive.

    When it comes to books, forget legal. Ridiculous pricing coupled with exclusive releases that lock you to specific hardware (Amazon, anyone?) make it a joke.

  25. Jediben

    Thanks Andrew...

    As a single white 30-something male with no dependants, kids or disabilities, paying my private rent without Government handouts, tax breaks or benefit allowance and working in an industry without any significant subsidies, it's about time I got recognised for being SOMETHING significant other than a tax cow, milked to support every minority group going.

    1. Uncle Slacky

      Re: Thanks Andrew...

      Taxes are the price you pay for living in a civilised society.

      Alternatively, Somalia is that way --v

      1. Aaron Em

        Re: Thanks Andrew...

        Taxes are indeed the price of civilization, not to mention garbage pickup &c. They are also the price of living in a society saddled with federal welfare programs for the hapless, the hopeless, and the outright criminal, which I think is where the commenter to whom you reply sees a problem. That problem lies not with the idea of charity in its own right, which is a fine thing and morally sound; enforcing it as an obligation with criminal penalties for failure to comply, not to mention making it impossible to uphold the philanthropist's duty of ensuring that the limited resource of charity is not wasted on those whom it will do no good, degrades the very concept of charity along with everyone involved.

        1. Uncle Slacky

          Re: Thanks Andrew...

          Sounds a lot like the Victorian idea of the "deserving" and "undeserving" poor you're talking about there. Are you in the Cabinet, by any chance?

          There will always be some small amount of fraud in any such system, the only way to avoid it would be to have NO welfare system at all.

          In any case, the actual amount of benefit fraud is tiny, around 2% of the total, whereas public perception is that 1 in 5 people believe a majority of claims are false, while 14% believe a majority of claims are fraudulent. (All stats sourced from links here: ).

          1. Aaron Em

            Re: Thanks Andrew...

            Your stats impress me little; of course a welfare agency is going to say that most welfare claims are legitimate and fraud is negligible, because to say anything else is to admit they're not correctly doing what is commonly perceived to be their jobs, and even to produce research showing anything else is to risk later exposure and scandal.

            "Deserving" and "undeserving" are the terms in which you choose to regard what I said, and of course it sounds that way to you, because no one's ever suggested to you that it might be permissible to consider that charity can be wasted. (Same goes for the idea that charity is not best provided by a government, which is why the only alternative you see to a massively defrauded, extremely top-heavy welfare system operated incompetently by a government which has no business wasting its valuable time and effort on such matters, is no charity at all.) For some, charity is an opportunity to make a better life, not to mention becoming self-sufficient so that further charity is not required. For others, it's a crutch which enables them to continue in a lifestyle which makes them a liability to the society in which they exist. Charity given to the former is a good investment; charity given to the latter is a sinful waste. It's not terribly complicated unless you're progressive, in which case everything I've just said is completely unthinkable and you should probably just go ahead and decide I'm an evil bastard so you don't have to worry about anything I say any more.

        2. Psyx

          Re: Thanks Andrew...

          "They are also the price of living in a society saddled with federal welfare programs for the hapless, the hopeless, and the outright criminal, which I think is where the commenter to whom you reply sees a problem. "

          And there haven't been people at the *top* freeloading off taxes since the dawn of time?

          Unfortunately, tolerating the wankers is the price of a supporting society. I know it sucks balls that for every twenty grannies not dying due to the NHS and social services we've got a couple of scum-buckets sitting playing X-Box and masturbating all day and some rich bastard skimming off the top, but the price of doing away with those three bad apples is the twenty grannies. And to me I'd rather not cut off a gran's nose to spite a chavscum's face.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. Juillen 1

    The elephant in the room..

    That seems to always be forgotten is the concept of copyright, and what it was all about.

    The origins had about a 12 year span of protection for a work. This is back in the days when it would take years for a work to saturate the market. So, in that 12 years, it was a fair deal that you really do respect the creator's work, let them make a name for themselves out of it, and then, at the end of that protection, they will need to have worked on something else to provide for themselves in the next 12 years (or be hired for shows for that work, or make some other use of it in a free market).

    This pretty much seemed to work. It's also a fair deal. An artificial constraint on copying (not stealing) something for a very limited term, after which it enriches the world by entering the public domain. 12 years is enough that you know if you hold your end of the bargain, in a few years, you'll be able to watch it guilt free or do whatever you want with it. Entirely legally.

    However, now copyright is at an insane level of life of the author plus 70 years, that is no deal at all. The media cartels have literally stolen the public domain (used the legal system to remove access to what used to be a public resource) for their own profit. What was once a deal that you could actually understand and could be understood to have a semblance of fairness to it is now more a "we own this in perpetuity, you will never have any participation in it, and you will only do with it what we want". Yes, it makes for a great corporate cash cow for the big productions, but causes the loss of many smaller ones that would survive without those restrictions.

    Personally, I don't pirate. I choose not to buy if the deal doesn't feel right to me, under the understanding that copyright sets out in the deal today. There are a LOT of things I don't buy, because they just aren't worth the money, or perversely because the content producer is trying to enforce copy protection to the point it actually makes things difficult for me to get what I want from what I've paid for (which is one reason things like Diablo3 etc. will always be sat in my "wish I could have bought it, just for kicks and reminiscing, but they screwed the pooch with the ridiculous constraints. Deal breaker.".

    Getting back to basics with copyright, and actually making a fair and balanced deal with the public would be the first step in helping prevent piracy. When it's a one sided dictat, rather than a deal, are you surprised that people rebel against the unfair conditions?

    1. Busby

      Re: The elephant in the room..

      There's something to be said for that. Current coypright laws rob us all of our shared cultural heritage. Of course an artist should be able to make a living but at some point doesn't the content then become part of something wider that we all share? If anyone does think the current copyright terms are fair and balanced just take a look at when most music and films from the 60's onwards will enter the public domain.

      1. Psyx

        Re: The elephant in the room..

        "There's something to be said for that. Current coypright laws rob us all of our shared cultural heritage. Of course an artist should be able to make a living but at some point doesn't the content then become part of something wider that we all share?"

        How about when they're dead, and are their kids?

        I honestly don't see it as particularly fair that there is an expiry date on their professional profitability that is shorter than their lives. Imagine owning a shop, and after thirty years everything has to be sold at cost price, or is free.

        1. JEDIDIAH

          Re: The elephant in the room..

          > I honestly don't see it as particularly fair that there is an expiry date on their professional profitability that is shorter than their lives. Imagine owning a shop, and after thirty years everything has to be sold at cost price, or is free.

          That sounds about what the real world is like. If you have a small shop then YOU ARE the small shop. As soon as you go, so does the shop. Your worthless next of kin can't leech off of your success. They have to go fend for themselves (as it should be).

          Why is anyone even arguing for this kind leech anyways?

          The value of my labor ENDS as soon as the hour is up. Why should anyone else be any different. Why should "artists" be special?

          Got kids? F*cking plan ahead and don't stick it all up your nose.

  27. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    So all that fuss is about 5%?

    So am I to believe that not capturing 5% of the internet users, which is probably as little as 2-3% of the total pool of potential customers, is going to ruin an industry (or even 2 - music and film)?

    They should apply for an injunction to keep this report secret, otherwise people will be laughing at them.

  28. HamsterNet

    Movies need to compete with the pirated copy.

    The pirated product is currently vastly superior to the purchase one. Take the Hobbit in 1080p 3D. Its available now to download as a 14GB MKV file. It has no stupid warnings not to copy it , no adverts, no trailers or any other junk. Just the film in full glorious quality that I can watch whenever I like.

    Nobody is offing this film (or any film) in 3D for streaming in the UK and I cant even purchase a horrid disc copy in any UK shop or on-line store until the 8th of April.

    I'm a fan of subscriptions, have spotify premium for all my music as its better than the pirated way of getting music. Offer me some added value to the content, make my life easier than downloading and I will pay, until then I will pirate.

    I do love the UK.

    1. Psyx

      Re: Movies need to compete with the pirated copy.

      "It has no stupid warnings not to copy it , no adverts, no trailers or any other junk. Just the film in full glorious quality that I can watch whenever I like."

      I don't honestly see 5 minutes of adverts to be a legitimate reason to pirate. Put the kettle on, or something.

      I have to queue for 5 minutes to pay for my shopping, and get handed a plastic bag advertising their brand when I pay AND have to trade banal politeness with the person on the till, but those mild inconveniences don't legitimise shoplifting to my mind.

      1. JEDIDIAH

        Re: Movies need to compete with the pirated copy.

        > I don't honestly see 5 minutes of adverts to be a legitimate reason to pirate.

        You don't have control over your own property.

        That's a pretty compelling reason to engage in remedies that reside in a legal grey area.

        > I have to queue for 5 minutes to pay for my shopping,

        ...or you could just shop online. It's great for avoiding nonsense that exists only because not enough people have sufficiently demanding expectations.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "New research from UK communications regulator Ofcom shows that filling your boots with pirate downloads remains risk free and a money saver"

    It also remains the only way to get certain content, legally or otherwise.

    Netflix in the UK has a very limited catalog. People change their DNS settings to pretend they're in the US so they get the much richer US catalog instead. Is this legal? Technically not, yet it remains the only way for _paying_ customers to get the content that they want. Who is restricting content availabiity per region? It certainly isn't Netflix.

    Likewise, most content found on 'pirate' sites is actually _not_ available by any other digital legal means and the paying public is not inclined to pay well over value for a physical copy of said content. Unless this changes, pirating won't change either, no matter how much you moan about it or how many letters the government sends.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    perhaps not the typical situation

    ... but anyways, my 2 rappen...

    Yes, I pirate. Movies and TV shows. Both of which I view as warranted for the following reasons:

    I live in <foreign country>. I like some BBC/C4 shows (Africa and Black Mirror to think of recent examples). My local cable provider retains said shows, when recorded tivo style, from the channels i pay extra to access, for 7 days. Great after a month of frenetic work, no time to view, auto-deleted from box. I've paid for the reception of said programs. The BBC / C4 don't appear to want my money to let me review them (should i circumvent geo-location measures with VPNs in UK? is this any less dubious? no). Sod them, TPB ftw.

    Not speaking the local language (just the other 2 national languages, a nice quirk here) cinemas are a no-go. I've been to see V.O. subbed. At insane markup (25GBP after conversion), normally only available for 3D variants of said film. 3D films are hard enough to sit through on 3 hour explosion filled / "artistically dark" , but throw in floating subs and it becomes a nightmare. Or in what passes for "good French dubbing" (which incidentally introduces some interesting extra lines, the Brown Wizard in The Hobbit is accused by Sauromon as "abusing the forests mushrooms"). I want to see the original, english, cannot, pay to see the foreign variant and get English version from TPB.

  31. Winkypop Silver badge

    Just 5%

    In the retail industry that would be a reasonably low "shrinkage" rate.

    Some people want stuff for free, it's always been this way.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just 5%

      Spot on.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About as surprising that eating processed meat is bad for you, really.

    Those 5 percent would have been using cassette copies of albums or VHS duplicates or whatever in the past and, if torrents were stopped they'd be using direct rips of disks.

    What about those people who have a huge collection of copied material, and a little legitimate material? They aren't in the 5 percent.

    I know lots of people who download lots of movies, of those I'm pretty all buy some legitimate material, so I'm pretty sure that the number of people who pirate much more than they buy is much higher than 5%.

    I used to be pretty strict on not having copies myself, until hdcp came along. I purchased a DVD player with digital out. VCDs, CDs, CD-ROMS and cheap DVDs from the market worked fine. Full price ones blanked the screen after a few seconds of play. I was returned to the shop as faulty/not fit for the purpose. (My monitor didn't have an HDCP chip in it.)

    A while later (when I had a new screen) I borrowed a BD player from a friend. It came with a mix of original and copied BDs. The originals took sometimes over a minute to load to the antipiracy commercial, followed by a menu to select the movie. Several f the disks crashed randomly. (I had to restart WallE about 3 times, which given the loading time, followed by the advert, followed by the menu, was really disruptive to the movie.)

    The ripped disks, however played instantly and flawlessly, with picture every bit as good, and possibly tiny bit smoother.

    Further more, the originals would only play on the bluray player plugged into the new monitor. The rips played quite happily on a PC with a BDROM and a media player, with any screen. (This also applies to the Raspberry Pi and the Asus O-Play)

    So we are in the ridiculous situation that a ripped disk (and therefore potentially pirate, in some places even if you own the original AND the rip) is a superior product to an original. (Unlike mp3s or cassette copies)

    DRM thus achieves the opposite to what is intended. Because if you have to defeat the DRM and make a copy for it to be any use in anything other than an end to end authorized system, the temptation is there to skip the purchasing part.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not in the 5%

    I download illegally, but my favourites I also buy on CD.

  34. Graham Marsden
    Big Brother

    Remember, Kids: Home Taping is Killing Music...!

    Ah, I recall those warnings from when I was at school in the 1970s and the Music Industry was decrying the creation of the compact cassette and the tape-to-tape recorder which let you get a copy of the album your mate bought.

    So if all *that* piracy was "Killing Music", how come the same people and the same industry were whining about the same thing when the CD burner came along and then the DVD burner and now Torrent sites?

    Frankly if this alleged 5% is such a threat to the profitability of their industry (and not just their bonuses), they really need to look at their business models a bit more closely.

    Or they could just stop gouging their customers for stupidly (and unjustifiably) high prices for crap content laden with DRM and piracy warnings and offer a decent product at a reasonable price.

  35. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Its all

    stupid anyway

    Take Sony, DRM in the game console, part of the anti-piracy league, manufactures and sell DVD burners..........

    Dump the regioning, and if you're worried about TV shows being pirated.. release them on the same day in the US and elsewhere!

  36. SirDigalot

    I don't want physical media

    I got rid of most of my dvd library moving across country, I am sure the local goodwill store was very happy to receive them when I dumped the ones I did not give to family/friends. I had ripped them all and took the digital copies, which is illegal.

    I pay for slacker radio premium, which is ok, I buy most all my music on iTunes, not because I really want to because it is convenient, it does not have all the songs I want, and certainly not any of the older stuff I used to listen too or more geographic centric indy or smaller bands I fondly remember from my youth, I still do not want physical media! I have in the past gone to a secondhand music store to buy cd's to rip then get rid of the cd, either sell it back to the store or give it away or play Frisbee with it, at one point the music was bought, after that, the record company or artists gets nothing from the second hand market.

    I copy my entire iTunes library to my file server and allow anyone on my network to access the songs, which is usually my kid, luckily they are drm free now, so we do not have to buy the same songs twice or three times.

    I also buy music from HD tracks.

    we pay for Netflix, most of the content is crap, I do not stream through a console or roku I use a media pc, my home theatre amp does not support dolby digital plus, (but does support dolby didgital - all the blu rays and dvd's play fine in surround) Netflix is in stereo, I pay for a uk proxy to watch BBC shows that are not available in the US I would gladly pay the BBC directly to see their content (sans BBCA constant adverts on TV) so whatever we miss on the iplayer I download to watch at our leisure or to catch up on a series we may have got interested in half way through, we also use the uk Netflix to make the subscription slightly better then just plain old American vanilla. I am not upgrading my home theatre to stream in a newer version of dolby just because it is the new thing, I am sure there is a way to fix it I am just not faffing about with it anymore, I want to watch a movie without having to arse around with converters and filters and special settings or having to buy new equipment all the time.

    Pretty much all of that is illegal at some point something is paid for, because I doubt the original content provider allowed some dud to stand their in the recording studio and record his own version to put up on torrent sites. (coincidentally I had a similar discussion with a bunch of blues musicians when I was a sound man in a night club and was recording the nights music for my own reference, they thought they were going to be poor forever because I could upload it to the internet and they would not be paid, they hated it when I told them no one wanted their crap anyway, later on I was approached by a musician in a wheelchair (he had been in a motorbike accident and been severely disabled and could no longer play) he asked if I still had any of the recordings from when I was working there, I laughed and told him that not only were the recordings deleted after I had reviewed them, but I stopped doing it because you and your buddies were all paranoid I was going to give your crap away, strangely he did not like that answer either.)

    for me bringing 400 movies on a raid array is a lot easier then bringing 400 physical discs with me when I move or want to rearrange the house, not to mention the previous comments made by people about adverts warnings previews and such.

    yes piracy hurts the industry to a certain extent, It can also, when used correctly benefit the industry by means of exposure, most of the artists who have been extensively vocal about piracy, have already made their money, the poor ones trying to break into the industry, need the backing of a major label or exposure, and, if they are not the right stuff they are not going to get anywhere anyway, I knew some local artists who would sell their songs in a digital version for a $1 or $2 or press their own cd's for sale, piracy was not hurting them because they were too small to be noticed outside their local market and the big companies did not want none mainstream acts to promote (where is the money in that? they want marketable commodities like beibers and cyruses.

    does it justify pirating, not really, do I care? not really, I buy more than I have ever pirated, I know people who never buy stuff, I will say, if the industry as a whole is hurting that much, other than natural austerity for luxury goods in the current climate, we would see massive drops in all sales digital included, they would not be still posting profits, and the current generation of noise makers and actors would not be earning the 6 and 7 figure incomes they do.

    We are also to blame for allowing the industry to churn out boilerplate crap for our 'entertainment,' then charge us a lot for it, they are focusing on pirates (rather like the governments focus on welfare recipients for ruining the economy) when as a whole we are the consumers demanding and allowing them to do this. We accept the crap then complain we have to pay for it.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: I don't want physical media


      Your honesty is reefreshing, at least you aren't trying to convince everyone you are trying to save the free world from the tyranny of overpriced dvd's etc!

      You are right re the whole physical media, media shifting. At least there are now legal physical to digital routes!

  37. Nosher

    Petulant Freeloading Children

    There's a lot of noise here, and much of it is the sound of petulant tantrums and the stamping of feet. "Oh, but America has got some program so I WANT IT TOO!!". It might be frustrating (and I'm not suggesting that there aren't much better business models), but where does it say there's some kind of Fundamental Universal Right to get hold of something someone else decides to create on any terms other than theirs, regardless of how much they decide to charge or where they decide to release it first? If you find those terms annoying, you're free to reject their offer and go out and create your own album's worth of music or $1million-per-episode TV program. Oh, what's that? You can't because you're not creative or talented enough??

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Petulant Freeloading Children

      In every market, if there is a demand that is not being met, someone is bound to pop up specifically to meet that demand.

      The market leaders cannot complain about "losing" revenue while as the same time not meeting the demand that would generate said revenue.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      It's all in the name isn't it.

  38. Don Jefe


    I don't understand why freetards feel the need for such huge media collections.

    For example my parents had probably 30 or 40 vinyl albums and as I got older that had maybe a dozen VHS movies. My Dad had a few 8 tracks in his car. At present I have about 75 CD's and 30 or so Blue-rays. If something new comes out that I really want to own, I buy it. Otherwise I'm happy to rent or stream it. It is not a financial issue. I can buy what I want, its just I feel the need to own things I may not use more than once. I'm not sure why some people have such huge collections of stolen media. Either they are just addicted to theivery or they have no lives, there's no way they can enjoy all that stuff if they have jobs and do anything other than sit in front of a PC.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Volume

      Non-freetards have collections too. If you're a film or music buff or video games buff you might like to build a collection. Downvoted for lacking emotional intelligence or empathy!

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: Volume

        I wasn't trying to knock collections. Just the freetards collections that are downloaded just for the sake of doing it. Sorry if I came across as offending paying film/music buffs.

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Re: Volume

          Well, some people are happy to read just 1 book over their entire lives, time and time again and think it's alright...

          I take somewhat vain comfort from the fact that I'm not one of them. I also feel in a similar way about my music requirements - to each his own.

      2. JEDIDIAH

        Re: Volume

        Collectively we all squander a lot of money on entertainment. Cable is one big culprit here (at least in the US). At least over here, if you take what you're spending on your subscription service and apply that kind of money to something you get to own, then you will end up with a nice media hoard in short order.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Volume

      Re: Volume's `thievery`.... and no... you're stupid and wrong, in almost every way. People download and keep it all just BECAUSE THEY CAN.

      I lack both the time and inclination to explain anything to you, so I won't.

      Carry on buying shit and feeling righteous, brother, and don't let this stuff keep you up at night, it clearly concerns you a great deal ;)

      1. Psyx

        Re: Volume

        "I lack both the time and inclination to explain anything to you, so I won't."

        Yet you did.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Provide a good service at a fair price and piracy will mostly disappear

    I don't pirate mateial on principle. I am quite happy with the idea that content producers should be fairly remunerated. I buy plenty of content when I think the terms are fair. However, I am not prepared to be conned and if I think that the restrictions (eg DRM, regional encoding etc) or price aren't fair, I shall continue to pirate material and not feel the slightest twinge of guilt.

    Whether Mr Orlowski or the content providers think that is right or not is no concern of mine. Provde a fair service and I shall use it. Don't and I'll have your stuff for nothing whether you like it or not.

    Content providers have had the whip hand for a long time but now the boot's on the other foot. Adapt or die dinosaurs.

  40. Avatar of They

    Industry is to blame.

    The industry is to blame, as has been said. Most is not worth the value it is being sold for.

    Case in point, films are crap so people down load rather than paying £20. And as they want to watch it on a PC, tablet or phone they download, it not only gets rid of the force 20 minutes of adverts and trailers but also reallllllly annoying thankyou or warning messages about pirating (which is just stupid) So the industry adapts and you can buy digital copies as well as the blu ray, DVD etc.

    But hollywood lost out, didn't make the money so changed again.

    Now you can get an unlock code, that downloads the movies in ultravoilet, which isn't ultraviolet. It is flixster, but it isn't, flixters links to ultracviolet, but won't play all of them and ultravoilet doesn't have a player in android, and so is useless as it only let yous play on the PC, not even my sony blu ray player can links to it, and you download GB's of movie onto your phone but the codecs for pirates rip it to 100's of MB so it is still better in space usage.

    Confused, well that is what the industry is trying to fight the pirates with. They make it so annoyingly complex or bloated to do it legitimately that people continue to pirate. All because they can't afford losing a couple of quid bundling the digital copy anymore.

    Silly industry.

    1. Psyx

      Re: Industry is to blame.

      "Case in point, films are crap so people down load rather than paying £20."

      Except they're about a fiver these days, and Netflix et al make them a pittance.

      Piracy when they WERE 20 quid a pop seemed a lot more fair.

  41. David Simpson 1

    Why not just let the entertainment industry tax us all - they obviously deserve our money - It's not like technology has made them obsolete !

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I was recently given a box set of a kids series. For much greater convenience of presentation to my young daughter, I wanted to play it on my laptop. #DRMfail: it wouldn't work at all. 3 months' later I've got round to cracking the DRM on 2 of 7 DVDs. Would've been a damned sight easier to torrent them!

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DRM is to blame

    You know what? If there was a service out there, that offered a non-DRM-encumbered mp4 version of a movie, that I could click, pay a few quid, download it within 30 minutes, and have it available to copy between and watch on whatever device and operating system I wanted, whenever I wanted, forever? Sorta like the way mp3's work? I'd pay for it.

    But there isn't. So I don't. Sorry, I'm not going to rent a time-limited single-device-limited Windows-only internet-connection-required stops-working-if-we-go-bankrupt movie.

  44. Captain Underpants

    If it's only 5% they're bloody lucky, I'd say. I would have estimated it as more like 10%, with far more again being willing to pay a reasonable price and pirating when that's not an option.

    The rise in legal useful services in the UK will almost certainly be a factor here, but as a film and music enthusiast who uses everything from Amazon through emusic to Bandcamp to get music and Netflix/Lovefilm through Film4OD/CurzonOnDemand for home viewing, I maintain the opinion that if I've checked half a dozen services and accounts to try and legally get at the product I'm seeking and the rightsholders have decided that I shouldn't be allowed paid access to it, then they lose nothing if I end up getting it elsewhere. (EG I'd happily pay up to £10 just for streaming access to Sky Atlantic, but Sky won't let me get that unless I switch to them as a provider - so they can sit and swivel, and those content creators who decided that giving Sky the exclusive rights to their contents get money from me only when they release their stuff on DVD. It's a net loss for all of us, but if they will insist on being bloody stupid there's only so much I can do....)

    I happily pay for content, but I don't understand what sane individual would think that there's a difference between "Captain Underpants, in the UK, watches DL copy of eg current Big Bang Theory episodes, then buys boxset of that season 6 months later when it's released" and "Captain Underpants, in the UK, waits until that boxset is released 6 months after broadcast and buys it when it's released". They get the same money, at the same time, in both cases. If they want my money sooner, the way to do it is to give me DRM free access to paid-for episode downloads, at a reasonable price. The music industry eventually accepted this and, surprise surprise, is now reporting steady increases in digital music sales. I look forward to the day that the film and tv industry catch up.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see bitter people...

    Ahhh...the sounds of bitter people who are too scared to copy anything in case they get into trouble... and feel that `it's not fair` that others do.

    If I can copy something for nothing I will....and that's that. If it makes you feel better to call me a freetard then fill your boots. Go ahead and intellectualise all you like, I'm still not paying for films or music unless I decide it's worth it, to me (and I do buy films and movies on the rare occasions that I feel they are worth it, to me).

    But feel free to get as angry and incensed about it as you like, and then pop out and buy an album or something to calm yourself down, knowing that you've done the right and noble thing.

  46. Oliver 7

    It's amazing that only 5% of us are at it! In fact I don't really believe that, if we all paid for what we consume we'd be impoverished, e.g. you'd have to be a millionaire to fill an iPod. And the 'legitimate' income streams denied to the distributors isn't somehow wasted, it all goes back into the economy in other ways, not many paytards seem to acknowledge this (OK, some might go on recreational drugs). Hopefully it will stay this way and the intransigence at Westminster will continue. I reckon most of their disinterest is down to them not having the first fucking clue about how the Interwebs work, their ignorance is certainly apparent when they have to discuss it (cf. DEB). That and the fact the PM's wife isn't a performing artist (to whom could I be alluding?).

  47. Occams_Cat have got it right.

    As an avid fan of audio books, I have to say that Audible have got this digital 'try before you buy' thing nailed.

    As a full member they allow you to download and listen to the book for anything up to 12 months and if you didn't enjoy it you can simply request a refund or return of the credit or exchange for another title.

    I have around 100 titles in my library and so far audible have swapped or refunded around 15 books for me, sometimes months and months after I had read them and was either bored stupid by them or gave up halfway through. No hassle, no questions just a straight forward exchange or refund.

    THIS is how it should work with films too. Too many times I've been told about this 'wonderful' film which looks OK in the trailer, only to want to walk out after 20 minutes through boredom...*anything Hollywood usually). In such cases punters should be able to swing by the booking office and get a partial refund or ticket exchange for something else.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do you produce work yourselves?

    How many of you people saying you pirate, actually produce creative work yourself?

    I used to rip stuff off, left, right and centre then I started writing my own music and producing my own images, I don't hope to sell any of them but when they get ripped off and copied without permission, things I don't agree with done with my work, I hate it. I don't mind giving it away providing it's left in the state I gave it away in.

    I'm not squeaky clean, I still pinch the odd song from online when I fancy it but I no longer rip off whole albums, games or movies. I don't like my work being ripped off, so I don't do the same to anyone else's.

  49. Jim Carter

    A couple of things

    I'm pretty damned sure that Orlowski is only kept around as some sort of El Reg equivalent of Jan Moir or Richard Littlejohn.

    Anyway, ad hominem attacks aside, I pay for my content. Only seems fair, really. However, downloading and bittorrent for me fills a very useful hole, in that if a disc gets scratched or broken, I can get another copy. That said, there are those who blatantly abuse the system and I know of one person who has at least 3tb of movies knocking round. He doesn't know what to do with them all, the silly sod.

    I strongly fail to see why I should sell out for something twice when I've already bought the rights to watch the content. Also, format shifting shouldn't be illegal either. Just my thoughts, you don't have to agree, naturally.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't feed the beast

    The large media companies who make all those movies and albums are the same companies that have bought out all the newspapers and TV stations, which feed everyone crap news and essentially keep the public in the dark about the major issues in politics and society. When was the last time you saw some really good investigative reporting, uncovering corruption in government, or abuses by corporations? 10 years ago? 15?

    That's around that time they started cutting everyone's budgets for investigative journalism (and even fact-checking), and gave us pablum instead. Investigative journalism and fact-checkling work is far more time-consuming, expensive, and more likely to piss off potential advertisers than the simplistic sloppy news-tainment that passes for news nowadays.

    More importantly though, this fosters an ignorant public. The real problem here is that Big Media has effectively undermined democracy.

    To quote James Madison:

    "A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."


    When you give Big Media your money, you build their resources and power, and continue to reward them for eliminating a "free press".

    Pirating media can be an effective form of protest against this, but only if pirates leave messages behind on comment boards, stating things like "You took our journalism, so I take your music"; "you harm our democracy, so I harm your profit margin".

    BTW: Freetards are people who choose a free item over a paid item even when the price of the free item, in terms of time needed to get the free item to work properly, outweighs the monetary price of the paid item. A Freetard is someone who wastes more time than it's worth, just to get the item for free. Not everyone who chooses the free option is a freetard.

  51. Mark Haven

    Andrew you say research on economic damage gives mixed outcomes. I'm afraid this is not the case. The research findings are neatly divided along the lines of who paid for them and who conducted the studies. If funded by the media lobby they find horrific damage and if funded by the digital rights movement they find none.

    What little independent research exists tends to find that revenue models have merely shifted.

    Something rarely taken into account is the deliberate strategy to undermine the first sale doctrine which permits resale of physical content such as dvds. This is achieved by a shift to digital rental or purchase where the media is crippled via drm to prevent transfer / gifting etc. There have been few calculations of how much the content industry has made from this shift but it would likely compensate for loss of revenue through infringing downloads.

  52. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So many of the comments here are excusing downloading things for free because they can't get a legal (paid) copy for a few months after they can get the illegal download. Some news for you - you will not actually die if you have to wait 6 months longer to see a particular series or film!

    I am disabled so visiting the cinema to see a film isn't really practical, sitting in the same (uncomfortable) seat for more than 2 hours would cause me a lot of pain that would last for days after. So I wait until any film I want to see is on Sky, or released on DVD, and watch it then. I watch probably as much if not more than anyone else here, i just watch much of it time shifted by 6 months or so.

    I won't argue that the current system is great, it's stupid & unfair. But demanding that you get whatever you want when you want, and using that to justify not paying for something, is also unfair. One question for all the people that think it IS fair to copy - how much would be produced if only ONE person paid then everyone else copied from them?

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Home grown food is killing family restaurants...

    ...and it's illegal!

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One reason why...

    ...Blighty is falling out of favor internationally due to their failure to properly prosecute hackers and pirates. Cybercrime is only going to get worse in the UK and their releations with the rest of the world will continue to deteriorate.

    1. Intractable Potsherd

      Re: One reason why...

      From your spelling ("favor"), I suspect you mean "... their releations [sic] with the USA will continue to deteriorate." To which I reply, "Who should really care?"

  56. illiad

    problem with the stats...

    the sad fact is, 90% of all internet users have NO CLUE about computers and 'net... they either just have it for their children to use, and the phone package deals, or just for email & Facebook etc.. they dont bother with knowing what all the other stuff is!! a friend mine said he had lost his internet - turns out he had somehow changed settings and lost the IE icon... that is all...

    that leaves the 10%, half of which only vaguely know stuff.. and the top part of that is guys like me, who repair stuff, and help out the others for a fee.... :)

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Download != Lost Sale

    I read "Because *you* believe that *you* are entitled to benefit of the work of others." ..and it made me smile...what a benefit...where do I pay?

    Oh, and just because someone may have downloaded something doesn't mean that they'd actually have gone and bought it in the first place. That's crazy person logic.

  58. MartinB105

    When someone in the media industry decides to offers digital movie downloads in a format that plays on my Linux XBMC based HTPC, then I will consider switching to a legal service.

    Simple as that.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    When I was a youngster in the late 80's, I remember hearing a couple of catchy tunes on the radio, went to buy the album or tape, only to find the rest of the rest of the album was shite. Could you return it? No.

    Or when your favorite tape got chewed up by your Walkman, or get screwed up by being next to a magnet. At the time I though the music industry were a bunch o criminals, and if only there were a way I could get back at them.

    Seems karma has come around to them these days.

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