back to article Anti-piracy messaging may just encourage more piracy

The anti-piracy campaigns can have the opposite effect and increase the misappropriation of protected content, according to research. In a paper titled "Doing more with less: Behavioral insights for anti-piracy messages," published in peer-reviewed sociology journal The Information Society, Gilles Grolleau, professor of …

  1. bronskimac

    Gross overestimates don't help either

    Rights holders count every illegally acquired item as depriving them the value of a sale. Many file sharers would not have bought the files if they had to pay full price, so it may be an offence, but it may not be a lost sale,

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Gross overestimates don't help either

      Yes, came here to say this, the thing that triggered it was "US digital video providers lose between $29.2 and $71 billion annually to piracy"... No, they don't. They'd never have got it anyway

    2. Sampler

      Re: Gross overestimates don't help either

      What also doesn't help is anti-consumer behaviour.

      Unskippable "you wouldn't steal a policeman's hat" ads before the menu loads means those who pirate the movie get a better deal than those who bought it, as they aren't forced to sit through that shit every time they want to watch it (along with the side benefit of not having to get off their arse to find the disc on the shelf as it's running on their own network).

      The absolute worst for this though is 4k blu-ray. Now, a bit on me for buying without checking, but foolish me though buying a 4k blu-ray USB drive gave me the benefit of plugging it in to my HTPC to watch a hi-res disc when I was in the mood, or move it to the computer upstairs if needs be.

      But not, because to watch a 4k blu-ray you need baked in to the chip security that's only available on Intel (in this day and age) and even then, a modern intel, so the i5 in my HTPC is no good, the AMD chips in my PC's upstairs are no good, the i7 in my mobile workstation's out too - out of nine pc's and laptops in the house, only one device actually supported the content protection, my nas, running an i3 and integrated graphics (because, it's a nas, it's headless).

      So now I've got legally purchased movies that I can't play without re-arranging my set-up or getting a very long HDMI cable and running it halfway around the house (which will probably fail HDCP or some crap because it's too long and fuck you). If I'd've downloaded them it would've been a lot less hassle.

      I no longer buy media now because of this, I'll watch it on a service if it's on one, if not, tough.

      This is coming from a lifelong media buyer, my dvd collection was in the triple digits, my cd collection triple that - I was an early adopted of dvd and blu-ray, but, this all day suckers down to the soggy white stick and the fear of someone stealing a movie has made me so fed up I'm not buying them any more as they've absolutely ruined the customer experience in their greed.

      1. Dave K

        Re: Gross overestimates don't help either

        This.

        Personally, I deeply object to being "punished" for buying a legal copy of something. I always find it frustrating that if you do the right thing and buy a DVD/Blu-Ray of something, you're forced to watch an anti-piracy warning (often in multiple languages). You're forced to watch swirly logos for the film studio, the publisher etc. You're forced to watch a sometimes long-winded menu introduction. In some cases, you're half-forced to watch trailers (fast-forward allowed, but no direct skipping).

        Compare this to the pirated version of the film where you click play and the film starts.

        It is incredibly counter-productive in the fight against "piracy" when the legal version offers more restrictions and a poorer experience than the pirated product.

        It's often the same with game DRM that has "always-online" requirements. They're often still cracked, and the pirates get to enjoy the game online or offline at their convenience, whilst the "legal buyer" of a game is saddled with restrictions and limitations due to the DRM.

        I am always FAR more likely to buy a game if I can get it with no DRM (or very basic DRM at a push). As a result, my GOG library of games is pretty comprehensive. I'm also far more likely to favour a developer/publisher if they release new games onto platforms such as GOG.

        TLDR: The more restrictions you impose, the more you drive potential paying customers into the arms of piracy instead.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gross overestimates don't help either

          "The more restrictions you impose, the more you drive potential paying customers into the arms of piracy instead."

          Exactly. I once had a piece of software that was so DRM-crippled that, despite actually owning a license, I had to use a cracked version! The message here was clearly "Don't pay for it, you won't be able to use it. Your only chance is to get a pirated copy for free". Unsurprisingly that company went bust BTW.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gross overestimates don't help either

          I will say, one option is to use MakeMKV to rip your legally purchased movie which gives you the best of both worlds. The only remaining issue is cost...how many movies are really worth 50 bucks to the consumer?

      2. anonanonanonanonanon

        Re: Gross overestimates don't help either

        And what happens if you "buy" from an online service and the online service loses a copyright, or decides they don't want to be the business anymore and memory holes the collection you "bought".

        1. Sampler

          Re: Gross overestimates don't help either

          Oh, I'm not buying from a service, if it's on a streaming service I already have (like Prime or Netflix) then I'll stream it, but no way would I hand over the same price (or, more often) more than the price of disc to "own" a digital copy.

          I don't condone piracy, there's a lot of things fighting for my free time and, having watched far too many movies to start with, I doubt watching a movie will change my life, so if I can't watch a particular film, oh well..

      3. iron Silver badge

        Re: Gross overestimates don't help either

        As well as putting me off buying legitimate media those ads also make me want steal a policeman's hat!

      4. Mike 137 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Gross overestimates don't help either

        "The absolute worst for this though is 4k blu-ray."

        I don't entirely agree. Although I don't condone theft, I think the worst thing about software and video pirates is that they never make the vendor walk the plank.

      5. phuzz Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: Gross overestimates don't help either

        The opposite is true as well.

        When Apple made it really easy to buy music via iTunes, sales went up, and piracy went down.

        When Amazon made it really easy to buy ebooks, sales went up, and piracy went down.

        When Netflix made it easy to stream TV and movies, you've guessed it, piracy went down. Except that now every company is trying to start their own streaming service, (meaning it's complicated to find the service that has the show you want to watch, and expensive to subscribe to), people are once more going back to piracy.

        Most people will quite happily pay a 'fair' price for media, if it's easy and convenient. If it's not easy, convenient and cheap, they'll just go straight to piracy which is always quite easy, fairly convenient, and above all, free.

    3. cosmodrome

      "Rightsholders"

      Nobody will cry "hold the thief" as loud as "rightsholders", "content providers" and other thieves.

  2. Alan J. Wylie
    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: From "The IT crowd"

      Indeed. And to be fair, the article itself includes a link to that same video ("...And as a result, they say, the video was widely parodied.")

    2. Kane Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: From "The IT crowd"

      "You wouldn't steal a handbag"

      You wouldn't download a car

  3. usbac

    The "poor" victims of piracy

    From the article:

    The authors say research has established that "an identifiable victim elicits higher emotional reactions and willingness to act and help than numerous victims suffering from the same difficulties."

    So, according to the authors, they should have adverts with various pop artists sitting on the balcony of their $20 million Beverly Hills mansion, telling us we shouldn't copy their music because we are taking food out of their mouths? Or even better, the record company exec sitting on his $150 million yacht, complaining about how his income was down by 10% last year due to piracy? That will work!

    We won't even start talking about how every copied song is "a lost sale" BS.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The "poor" victims of piracy

      I can't say that seein Sir Cliff Richard wringing his hands changed my attitude one iota.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: The "poor" victims of piracy

      Well, they could show the session musician who played sax on said artist's first hit, who is struggling to pay for his kid's dental care. There are lots of people involved in the music industry, and the great majority of them are far from rich.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: great majority of them are far from rich

        If more people bought music from legitimate sources would poor session musicians be any less poor?

        1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

          Re: great majority of them are far from rich

          I dunno... Ask Sir Elton John (he was a session musician first before he did his own thing).

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: The "poor" victims of piracy

        "There are lots of people involved in the music industry, and the great majority of them are far from rich."

        And if there was NO copying whatsoever and everyone who wanted to pay for the product did pay (ie far fewer than those making free copies), then the industry's income would rise a bit. But very little, if any, would trickle down to the majority at the bottom. They'd still be struggling.

      3. brotherelf

        Re: The "poor" victims of piracy

        Yes, but does that session musician actually get a cut or were they given a flat fee cheque for the X hours they actually worked and then sent on their merry way?

        1. DJO Silver badge

          Re: The "poor" victims of piracy

          Unless the session artist is almost as famous as the lead artist and has a better agent it'll be a (very small) flat fee every time.

      4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: The "poor" victims of piracy

        "There are lots of people involved in the music industry, and the great majority of them are far from rich."

        And they'll stay that way. You don't think their poverty is entirely unrelated to the fact that all the money's elsewhere do you?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The "poor" victims of piracy

          It's simple math: If everyone earned the same, everybody would be poor-ish. But by taking a couple dollars from everybody else some manage to get rich, because "a couple dollars" multiplied by a million is a couple million dollars after all.

          (Now obviously said like this it sounds perfectly harmless, but in reality if there are a lot of people trying to take "a couple dollars" from you at any time, you will end up real poor. It's the old predator-prey equilibrium problem.)

        2. TangoDelta72

          Re: The "poor" victims of piracy

          Oldie, but a goodie. I'm not a CL fan, but there are salient points made and what's old is new again:

          http://antiquiet.com/miscellaneous/truth/2009/06/courtney-love-on-the-industry/

      5. iron Silver badge

        Re: The "poor" victims of piracy

        Said session musician loses nothing from a pirated copy of the song. They don;t get royalties and will have been paid a flat fee so they got paid whether you pirate the song or not.

        1. cosmodrome

          Re: The "poor" victims of piracy

          Depending on place and local legislation at the time of recording, the place where the recording was made and the contract they had this might be more or less true. It even might differ between (recorded) live performances and studio records. Oh, and of course on how seriously the actual rightsholders are trying to rob the session musicians and original creators.

  4. John Robson Silver badge

    False equivalence as well...

    Stealing a car, and copying some ones and zeroes that they simply won't sell you in any other way are not equivalent.

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: False equivalence as well...

      Yes, it's a false equivalence. Piracy is also easily solved.

      Give people what they want at a price they're prepared to pay.

    2. James O'Shea

      Re: False equivalence as well...

      I do love how certain files, allegedly videos (not that I've seen, for example, 'pirated' versions of Star Wars:Rogue One, given that I have a legit copy and don't need to, ah, 'pirate' it...) which were directly copied from DVD or Blu-ray and contain _everything_, including the 'FBI Warning' notice. (Note to those who might have ideas: I got Rogue one in BR... and it shipped with a DVD version, _and_ an 'electronic' downloadable version. I stuck the BR and DVD in a safe place, and have only played the 'downloadable' version. I do have copies of certain tools available which can make 100% copies of pretty much any BR or DVD ever made, so if the 'downloadable' version ever gives me static it can be replaced... and Disney can bite me.

      This might or might not have already happened.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: False equivalence as well...

        Me thinks thou dost protest too much!

    3. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: False equivalence as well...

      Indeed. I'd never steal my mates car, but if I could copy it, I'd do so in a heartbeat!

      1. RAMChYLD

        Re: False equivalence as well...

        That reminds me of those videos of Burmese folks building their own Bugatti and Ferrari cars in their own garage. From body parts fabricated themselves using just pictures sourced from the Internet as well as aftermarket components sourced from local mechanics.

        Bugatti and Ferrari doesn't call it piracy. In fact they didn't come out to say anything about the legality of those copies. Are those Burmese folks not engaging in piracy then?

        1. MiguelC Silver badge

          Re: False equivalence as well...

          No need to go to Burma, you can buy replicas in the UK, like this Ferrari California

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: False equivalence as well...

          "Burmese folks building their own Bugatti and Ferrari cars in their own garage ... Bugatti and Ferrari doesn't call it piracy."

          Indeed, that is not "piracy", by any stretch of imagination. You are indeed free to gather some friends and, based on trailers and any pictures you've seen of it, try to recreate some movie blockbuster with your smartphone... No law forbids it, as long as you don't try to sell it as the real thing.

          1. Red Or Zed

            Re: False equivalence as well...

            I can recommend the ikorodu_bois of Instagram, a group of young men who do exactly that, shot for shot of film trailers and music videos.

            They do it very well and it's entertaining fun.

        3. Joseba4242

          Re: False equivalence as well...

          If they copied for example the exact shape and forms of the cars then this would almost certainly "piracy" (violation of intellectual property rights).

          I suspect that the overlap between the potential customers of the Burmanese and the original versions is next to nil, and hence they don't consider that this a risk to sales.

          It might been seen as a curiosity that enhances mystic brand status.

          Just because Bugatti doesn't act against these people doesn't mean that they believe legally they could not.

  5. gnasher729 Silver badge

    Back in the day, I had non-technical relatives (still have) who would never think of stealing, or of not paying someone who creates something for them.

    The problem is that since I was the person with the CD recorder and the empty disks they saw _me_ as the creator of music, not the musicians or the record company.

  6. Little Mouse Silver badge

    Remember when every video & DVD from the rental store started with a full blown "Don't be a thief" message?

    A great way to alienate your paying customers, and things haven't really improved much since then.

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      I have a few 80's records...

      With the really fun "Home taping is killing music" as if somehow tape hadn't existed then (it had but the compact cassette made it fundamentally far cheaper and convenient).

      The bands in question still exist today, music still exists today, this too shall pass.

      1. Sub 20 Pilot

        Re: I have a few 80's records...

        Not forgetting that every tape bought, in the UK at least, had a percentage added on for piracy so you paid a fine regardless of the use of the tape. Treat people like criminals if they must but don't complain when they do just what they are accused and fined for. The parasites never changed, just got worse.

  7. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Thanking users who choose legal means to get the desired products for their support

    Yes, something along the lines of "Thanks to your honesty, 0.00003p of the £10 you paid for this album will be going to the artist".

    Oh right, they're not into that sort of honesty.......

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Thanking users who choose legal means to get the desired products for their support

      And you are guilty of equally gross exaggeration in the opposite direction.

      Typically, something like 15% of the retail price goes to the performers. Then there's the writers, who will also be on a percentage. The shop that sells the CD, if there's physical media, will pocket maybe 40-50% - hey, they have costs y'know. (This is why online distribution is just as popular with the industry as it is with consumers.)

      Then the various uncredited session musicians, engineers etc. involved in the production need to be paid. To say nothing of publicity, video production and the other expected expenses of modern music.

      Then, if there's anything left over - and by this time there very often isn't - the publisher starts to make a profit. For maybe one song in a thousand, that profit is very handsome - enough to pay for the other 999 songs they need to produce to get lucky.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Thanking users who choose legal means to get the desired products for their support

        I don't know where you get that 15% number from? Back when I took my record producing classes, the number was more in the range of 3-5%. There was a clause in most standard record contracts that said that the artist gets their 3-5% AFTER all of the production and advertising costs are recovered by the record company. Also any returns/defective media comes out of the artist's share.

        The record producer usually gets 20-30% of the wholesale price. 5-10% goes to the song writer. The record company gets the rest. It's much better to be a producer than an artist. Also, when the artist is also the song writer, they are in a much better position. Some unusually crooked record companies would trick/require the artists to sign over their ownership of the songs to them.

      2. Geoffrey W

        Re: Thanking users who choose legal means to get the desired products for their support

        That's interesting...My favored market place for music is Bandcamp.com. Apparently bandcamp takes 15% and the musician takes the rest. As opposed to your figures where the musician gets 15% while the music "Business" takes the rest.

        Plus, on Band Camp you get DRM free downloads, in HQ format like Flac, for the most part; and you can usually listen before you buy, just like those listening booths in record shops. Why go anywhere else?

        I love giving my money to musicians I love (Barbara Manning..adore...luv...sigh...swoon...). Not on Band Camp? You likely won't get much from me then, or most of my friends either.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Thanking users who choose legal means to get the desired products for their support

          Yes, Bandcamp is pretty good but I'm still waiting for Elbow's most recent album to appear on it. There are other services such as Bleep. Some labels, Partisan Records for example, offer direct download. It would be nice of journalists to cover these alternatives from time to time.

        2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

          Re: Thanking users who choose legal means to get the desired products for their support

          Bandcamp also have a kinda good thing going where they can give artists access to manufacturers for certain formats (namely vinyl) but as I've found out recently the lead times can be huge and come from the states leading to long shipping/customs waits.

          On the other hand, a number of small local record labels allow me to buy physical albums off them and collect direct (for example a friend of mine runs his outfit from his girlfriends home and is also an amazon driver to make ends meet, I also let him have any shipped record cardboard) which I also enjoy as it means I get to meet the people involved.

          None of them are millionaires (said friend is barely a thousandaire....) but these are the people most likely to suffer from illegal downloads, but allowing potential customers to stream the music before purchase actively encourages custom. As did the bandcamp Fridays over Lockdown where the site gave the indies all of the fees, that garnered alot of goodwill from music junkies like myself and the artists.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Thanking users who choose legal means to get the desired products for their support

        "Typically, something like 15% of the retail price goes to the performers"

        That's absolutely bullshit. If an artist is a know name and sells millions, they *might* get $1 per record sold.

        That's right. $1. That's about 6%.

        If you are not known or have a bad contract, you don't, in reality, get *anything at all* as "expenses" are higher than your share and in reality you'll end up *owing money* to record company.

        See: Case TLC,

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Thanking users who choose legal means to get the desired products for their support

        " Then there's the writers, who will also be on a percentage. The shop that sells the CD, if there's physical media, will pocket maybe 40-50% - hey, they have costs y'know. (This is why online distribution is just as popular with the industry as it is with consumers.)

        Then the various uncredited session musicians, engineers etc. involved in the production need to be paid. "

        All of this s***t is absolutely bullshit: *Publisher does not pay any of these, ever*. It's the artist who pays. From that $1 per CD she or he gets.No-name artist might get 15 cents *or less*.

        '

        Publisher of course owns the record studio, the CD press *and* distributor and makes profit the second first CD is sold. Artist doesn't get a penny at that point, he or she has to *pay* everyone else off first.

        "the publisher starts to make a profit"

        Bullshit again: Publisher *always makes profit*. They do not publish *anything* which doesn't make profit, ever.

        Publisher also gets their money *always first*, before anyone else: Tha'ts the place resellers send the money. The Publisher. No-one else.

        Claims about 999 songs published without profit is absolutely ridiculous and will *never* happen in *any* record company. Obviosly this person belongs to record company top brass bullshitting his lies here.

        More likely is 1 out of 1000 which *does not* bring in profit.

  8. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Pretty obvious

    Psychologists - but not the ones the media companies use apparently- have known this stuff since I was at uni in the 70s.

    Advertising a behaviour as a social norm isn't going to reduce it.

    Making an overblown claim about it isn't going to reduce it.

  9. sarusa
    Devil

    Yeah, no sympathy

    It doesn't help that I hate the people and corporations crying their crocodile tears about it and feel just great about not giving them any money. Sony Music (and Pictures), Universal, Warner, Disney - these are all the rich bastards filing false takedown claims on youtube videos with zero consequences, and re-partitioning off TV so you can no longer just watch a show. Then they give the artists fractions of a penny on the pound. Why yes, I sure would download a copy of a car if I could.

    Note - where things are available at a fair price and I can (mostly) make sure a decent amount of the money goes to the artist I do so - I love Bandcamp for music, and GOG, itch.io, Steam, or Epic work fine for games even though the last two still take too big a cut. So I haven't pirated a game in decades (except I guess, my ROM collections for old consoles - that's convenience again).

  10. cornetman Silver badge

    It just confirms what many of us already knew.

    If you have bought a legitimate DVD or Blu-ray then you are a valuable customer. Putting aggressive notices on there that imply you might be a criminal is not the way to encourage brand loyalty. People watching torrented copies are not going to be seeing those notices.

    Unfortunately, the kinds of people that want these kind of notices on media are, I suspect, probably sociopaths. They don't understand that to insult your customer is probably not the best strategy.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "If you have bought a legitimate DVD or Blu-ray then you are a valuable customer. Putting aggressive notices on there that imply you might be a criminal is not the way to encourage brand loyalty. People watching torrented copies are not going to be seeing those notices"

      Especially when the "anti-priacy" adverts are unskippable so the legitimate purchasers/renters have no choice but to wait for it to finish.

    2. ChoHag Bronze badge

      > People watching torrented copies are not going to be seeing those notices.

      We do. They're amusing. It's easier to rip the whole thing than to start getting fiddly.

      1. Dave K

        Disagree. I often rip DVDs I own, mainly for convenience, travelling etc. Handbrake makes it a doddle to rip the film or TV episodes from a disk without any of the extra forced crap I'd have to watch if I used my DVD/Blu-Ray player for them.

  11. VoiceOfTruth

    A small point about the worldwide figures, and file sharing

    In poorer countries, or rather in countries where the vast majority of people are far poorer than in the bloated west, software at the headline price is just not affordable and people will not pay that price. It doesn't matter what somebody says about it being "illegal", it's just not affordable. When people in the UK complain about the cost of Adobe CC or perpetual licence rental (e.g. the recent article on Sage), what about people in say, Indonesia or India or Pakistan - three populous countries. Do you think somebody in Lahore or Mumbai is going to pay up monthly? Or are they going to use a cracked version of whatever software?

    The term "file sharing" (cut down from "illegal file sharing") has also been coopted into something apparently illegal. A few years ago I had a short discussion with my ISP about file sharing. Oh, that's illegal. They said. Well how about I share you some FreeBSD source code or Linux? It really is a *lot* of people who don't understand that file sharing can be completely legal and above board.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: A small point about the worldwide figures, and file sharing

      "The term "file sharing" (cut down from "illegal file sharing") has also been coopted into something apparently illegal. A few years ago I had a short discussion with my ISP about file sharing. Oh, that's illegal. They said. Well how about I share you some FreeBSD source code or Linux? It really is a *lot* of people who don't understand that file sharing can be completely legal and above board."

      Yes, lazy people co-opting terms and adjusting them for their own nefarious uses. Using the anti-piracy lobbys own logic, "streaming" is also illegal because there are many sources out there where you can stream videos and music outside the licence terms, eg many of the 3rd party add-ons for Kodi. But then they have been constantly shooting themselves in the foot over the years with these sorts of misinformed arguments.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A poor analysis of a poor paper written entirely from the copyright industry's point of view

    "...noting that it compared illegal downloading to stealing a DVD from a store (a reasonable comparison)..."

    Like fuck is that a reasonable comparison. Stealing a physical object from a store is theft. Making a copy of the DVD's data has not deprived the store's owner of their property.

    I expect candid and honest analysis from El Reg's journalists - not recycled press releases passed off as journalism. There are plenty of other organs which are quite happy to pay people for that kind of trash, but I certainly don't expect it from The Register.

    It's this kind of bullshit research and journalism by press release which ensures that people will continue to not see things the way the copyright industry wants them to, regardless of how many starving academics they bribe to produce these nausea inducing "research papers" for them.

    The copyright industry is rightly despised for its greed, corruption and exploitation. They could start to create a better market for all by cleaning up their act, treating performers in a fair and equitable manner, and paying them the majority of the income from sales, particularly when it comes to the music industry. Then, actually listening to the people who copy music and films instead of buying DRM laden, inferior or otherwise locked down digital copies and offering them what they want, how they want it and at a reasonable price would go a long way towards changing the way things are.

    Then again, we've been sending them the same message for decades now and apart from a few players who have seen that light, the xIAAs of the world still have their hands clamped firmly over their ears and their eyes tightly blinkered. I don't hold any illusions about them suddenly getting the message.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: expect candid and honest analysis from El Reg's journalists

      Years ago, there were weekly articles on this subject here with a much lower standard of journalism. It reached the point where I would check which articles were written by Andrew Orlowski before deciding which ones to read. The new streaming services are bringing this back.

      It would be nice if The Register would put the author's name near the headlines. I would be fine if reporters used a (consistent) pseudonym for things that they consider less than their best work.

      1. cornetman Silver badge

        Re: expect candid and honest analysis from El Reg's journalists

        > It reached the point where I would check which articles were written by Andrew Orlowski before deciding which ones to read.

        Yeah, his articles read like industry shill. I generally love El Reg for the quality and impartiality of their news but that was a pretty low point. :(

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Rant

      OK, chill out! The "reasonable comparison" and "less reasonable comparisons" was the paper's viewpoint, not ours, which I've made clearer in the piece. Suffice to say, no, we don't think physical theft of an item is the same as downloading something you weren't going to pay for anyway.

      One, this article is critical of the paper in that (for example) we note that the paper cites industry numbers without challenging them, which is not great.

      Two, Tom (who wrote the article) is one of our top staff who goes beyond press releases, and routinely ruins an exec's month with original reporting. Gimme a break with this churnalism stuff.

      C.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rant

        I'm glad to see that you have updated the article to change the quoted fragment to read "...compared illegal downloading to stealing a DVD from a store (a reasonable comparison in their view)...", and to highlight the paper's uncritical acceptance of fairy tale "cost to the industry" estimates.

        This makes it much clearer that the view is that of the paper's authors and not that of the article's author.

        I understand that writing this type of article can be tricky when it comes to creating a structure that clearly distinguishes the article author's views from the views of the paper being criticised. Personally, I think the article's structure ended up being somewhat clumsy. Had I been the writer I would have made my criticisms of the paper in separate paragraphs rather than trying to embed it within already complex and unwieldy paragraphs describing the paper's assertions. This would have also allowed the use of some more colourful language when discussing the criticism of the paper.

        It's a real shame that the link to the paper just takes me to the standard paywall which thinks the paper is worth a whole $47 of my money to read. I guess I'll just have to wait for it to turn up on Sci Hub.

        Interestingly, the abstract displayed when following the link contains the following sentence: "We propose to design messages based on the homo heuristicus perspective, which activate and channel automatic processes in human beings toward desirable directions." Am I the only one who finds viewing people as ultimately programmable creatures somewhat sinister?

        1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

          Re: Rant

          "the link to the paper just takes me to the standard paywall"

          That about sums it up.

      2. David 132 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Rant

        Hey, if it helps, this site's journalism gets my approval. I for one wish Andrew O and Lewis Page still wrote for the Reg, because their pieces were always well-written and thought-provoking - even when I didn't agree with the premise. I'm pretty sure AO liked to bait his readership occasionally by being deliberately contrarian, just to kick the metaphorical hornets' nest and stand back sniggering...

        1. Geoffrey W

          Re: Rant

          As if we don't have enough trouble from trolls in the commentariat without having to bear trolling from "Professional" journalists as well. If they were trolling then good riddance to em!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DRM drove me to "piracy".

    I simply will not engage with it. For my professional work, I will buy a license; but I will not activate online or by phone; I will open radare2 and fix the software instead and then I will share that fix anonymously online for less technical users because sharing is good and not being able to own a *copy* of software when you purchase it is in my opinion a criminal act.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Indeed. Modern 'software as a service' is making this far worse. I want to use your software. In perpetuity. Sell it to me.

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        I realize that sounded a little demanding, i mean, PLEASE sell it to me, I want to buy it. But i am not gonna put in money to learn a piece of software that could disappear should your company go bankrupt, or just lose interest, at some unspecified time.

  14. theOtherJT Silver badge

    Piracy is a service problem...

    ...and always has been. When Netflix first rocked up all the stats show that file sharing services took a nosedive in popularity. Why? Because people don't mind paying for things, they mind feeling like they're getting cheated. As Netflix has started losing more and more of it's most popular content back to Disney+ and Paramount+ and HBO Max and all the others their subscriber numbers have declined and piracy is back on the rise.

    I'm more than happy to pay for the content I watch, but I'm not - and it would seem the vast majority of people are not - prepared to pay for 8 different subscription video services to watch one or two shows from each. This is taking us straight back to the predatory cable TV model of the early 90s where you had to buy the family pack, and the sports pack, and the movies pack, and the education pack all separately and see yourself paying for ninety nine programmes in a hundred that you don't care about and don't want.

    Music publishing has already shown how this ends up. Once people get used to the idea that they can buy the content that they want - and only the content that they want - they will stop being prepared to pay a subsidy to a bunch of things they don't care about, be that in the form of buying albums with 50% awful filler tracks on, or paying a monthly subscription for something they don't use.

    It's sad to see the TV and movie industries repeating the same mistakes.

    1. eldakka Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Piracy is a service problem...

      > I'm more than happy to pay for the content I watch, but I'm not - and it would seem the vast majority of people are not - prepared to pay for 8 different subscription video services to watch one or two shows from each.

      Speaking for myself, I 100% agree with this.

      I am happy paying for 3 subscription streaming services (1 mostly for sport, 2 for TV/movies), and having done so feel completely morally comfortable still watching content sourced from all the others in addition to those 3.

    2. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Piracy is a service problem...

      @theOtherJT

      Fully agree with issue of content now split over a huge number of streaming services & people cannot afford them all (& DRM issues / unskippable crap with DVD & BluRay a total pain, coupled with optical drives not being "standard" on PCs / laptops these days so only watch disk content on dedicated player connected to TV as all household computers optical drive free. Do have an external drive for if I do need to read a disk from PC stashed in the loft).

      Another nasty trick (I think Dabbsy referred to these practices recently on El Reg) that housebound relative we look after encountered was changing a series* she was watching from free to paid for content (this was on Prime). No way was she going to pay (as an ill, retired person on a pension) when she was already forking out for Prime.

      * She was quite a few episodes in at this point so far more irritated than if she had just watched a "pilot" episode

  15. Grogan

    It does for me. The harder they squeeze, the more that will slip through their fingers.

    The financial impact of piracy is not as "consequential" as they like to whine about, as they assume that people are going to buy their rubbish in the first place. They are essentially thinking they are entitled to this money and if they don't get it, they blame piracy.

    Some people will pay, some people won't, and fewer won't if it's crap, or they make it difficult. It's as simple as that. Ignore those that don't and concentrate on making it a better experience for those that will.

    Yes, carrot works better than stick.

  16. RAMChYLD

    It's already mentioned time and time again

    If you don't want piracy, make your content affordable and available.

  17. heyrick Silver badge

    I rip my DVDs, and have no qualms about doing so.

    Somewhere in the early '00s they changed macrovision which led my ancient cathode ray TV to freak out and show a rolling and tearing picture, which was why I started ripping in the first place - to be able to watch what I had bought.

    In more recent years, my now defunct TV has been replaced by phone/tablet. So ripping is necessary to use these, though DVD purchases have plummeted thanks to the likes of Netflix.

    It pisses me off no end that movies often begin with this "you wouldn't steal a car" nonsense that cannot be skipped over. And far too many then follow that up with several minutes of blatant self promotion that, also, cannot be skipped over.

    It says a hell of a lot when one can pop in a DVD, then go make a mug of tea and a microwave burger, eat/drink both, and come back to find the initial couple of minutes of creator logos at the start of the movie are still playing.

    If I want to watch $Movie, I want to watch $Movie and not ten minutes of forced shit.

    Personally, I think the movie studios have missed a trick in not offering affordable MP4 downloads. By all means embed purchaser details in the file, like Amazon does with the digital music downloads, but it would be great to be able to buy a film as a tagged but otherwise unrestricted MP4. Not a you need this app and this crypto and you can only do this and this and fuck you.

    You want to know why people pirate? There are two reasons.

    The one you can't fix - some people are just cheap ass losers that think the world owes them something.

    The one you can fix - when it's easier, simpler, and a lot less hassle to pirate than to do things properly, this isn't the time to start screaming about losses greater than the GDP of entire countries, but to understand that your entire way of releasing your product is simply not keeping up with how people consume media these days. The problem is that rather than look for new ways to release your creations, you bent over backwards to cling on to older methods and just interfere - DVDs infamous "region" controls, anyone?

    The music world eventually got it. Albums were increasingly getting packed out with filler and pointless rereleases, so people could instead buy the songs they liked rather than complete albums. And, yet, for whatever reason sales of vinyl (full albums) are actually increasing despite the widespread acceptance of digital downloads (and as a child in the 80s it's really weird seeing more records than CDs in the supermarket these days, and they're bloody expensive, and people are buying them!).

    So why can't I go on to some place (like Amazon, or direct from the distributor) and get a simple download in return for my money? That I can watch on whatever device I choose?

    Yes, there will be people sharing that with friends and such, but that's been an issue since the days of VHS. It happens, get over it.

    But whatever you do, fuck the entire lot of you for having the audacity to begin a DVD that a person paid for with the "you wouldn't steal..." rubbish. No, I'm never going to let that one drop or be forgiven. You basically implied that your paying customers might be thieves. Little surprise that some of them treated you with the same level of disdain.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the past I had a folder of DVDs that I had copied when I had either rented or borrowed them.

    I either watched them once and then never watched them again, or paid up and got a legitimate copy.

    One of the few I didn't have a legitimate copy and had watched more than once was from a small independent company and I ended up meeting the owner (who was also the presenter) at a dive show.

    I asked if he had any copies of that DVD for sale and explained why, he just laughed and handed me a proper copy.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And therein lies the problem

    > The authors say research has established that "an identifiable victim elicits higher emotional reactions and willingness to act and help than numerous victims suffering from the same difficulties."

    I was introduced to "piracy" by musician friends of mine, who insisted on pirating their own CDs out of spite for the record company keeping 98% of the sales money, with the remaining 2% split five ways amongst the band members.

    I suppose you could show a clip of Sony's CEO sobbing about being unable to upgrade his latest jet because of YOU, dirty pirates. Something tells me that's not a good idea, though.

  20. Wade Burchette

    Big Media can deter copyright infringement if ...

    Big Media can deter copyright infringement with a few simple things. (1) Make their product reasonably priced and easy to obtain. (2) Make it easy for me to do what I want with my purchased product. (3) If I purchase a digital copy, they will be required to always make it available to me whenever I want, even 1000 years from now. (4) Remove all that annoying and unskippable junk found in purchased products.

    For instance, if I am paying customer, I put my DVD in. I get an unskippable company logo, sometimes several 'coming attraction' intros that I have to skip one at a time, an unskippable menu into, then I select play, then I get an unskippable anti-piracy warning, an unskippable reason for the rating, and finally an unskippable legal disclaimer about the commentary opinions.

    However, if I illegally download the movie, I push play and enjoy right away.

    The problem is the media people give me several reasons to download the movie, and none to do the right thing.

    1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Re: Big Media can deter copyright infringement if ...

      (3) If I purchase a digital copy, they will be required to always make it available to me whenever I want, even 1000 years from now

      I have campaigned for this ever since DVD Jon caused countries to panic into passing laws protecting DRM. It should be a requirement of acts like DMCA that DRM only gets legal protection if a completely unencumbered version of the content is lodged with a Copyright Library.

      The copyright library would then release the unencumbered content automatically at the expiry of the original content term (with no interaction with the original owner), at which time the content is owned by the public domain.

      The concept of copyright was created to enrich the public domain. Copyright libraries were created for a reason.

  21. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Ani Difranco worded it best

    She released her own stuff on her own label, with the message,

    "Home recording, while sometimes necessary, is never as good as the real thing."

    It both gave permission to copy her work, and guilt-tripped you into buying it.

  22. Blackjack Silver badge

    You wouldn't download a car, would you?

    1. Geoffrey W

      Why not? 3D Printers!

  23. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Tape sharing

    In my youth it was fairly common for us to buy some music and copy some of our friends'. As did they. (And tape off the radio,of course).None of us bought any less by being able to share our music. So sharing didn't cost the industry a single penny- those tapes would not have been bought. However, by sharing it was common for the youth to discover -and buy and go to concerts of- far more music making the industry money.

    Yet they still complained and fulminated about piracy. But it was mostly bullshit-counting pirated tapes/Films etc.as lost sales is only ever true when there was a chance they might otherwise have been bought.

  24. Aussie Doc
    Trollface

    Is it just me...

    ...or did anyone else misread this part: "...Similarly, anti-piracy ads ARR, the authors say,..."

  25. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Temptation - New Order

    I just saw the official video at the time. It shows a girl stealing the New Order Temptation 12", which was just out. I mean mixed messages, right?

    "Oh you've got green pants, oh, you've got blue pants, oh, you've got grey pants"

  26. teebie

    "The anti-piracy campaigns can have the opposite effect and increase the misappropriation of protected content"

    Certainly this is true for the anti-piracy ad which included music that they hadn't paid for (apparently not the "you wouldn't steal a car" ad, despite what I had heard)

  27. Potemkine! Silver badge
    Flame

    To the right holders

    You claim that copying is theft? Then I argue that that property is theft.

    The only difference between you and me if you have corrupted politicians to go your way.

  28. that one in the corner Silver badge

    "Thank you"

    For a few years now the DVDs we've bought *have* had a big "Thank you" message instead of the "anti-piracy" videos, which does work on us (oh, we are so easily manipulated): we feel lot more positively towards the DVD producer after being thanked and keep on buying DVDs.

    (Intrigued that none of the above comments mentioned this change to a "Thank you" message - maybe we are part of an experimental group?)

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