29 May 2009

Whatever happened to 'will of the people'

The BBC reports that seven million people, in the UK alone, engage in illegal downloading

Now that's impressive - it also proves that it's impossible to prosecute downloaders, only the individuals who actually post the content

Personally I think this situation can only be solved by adapting with the Internet, not putting up silly barriers like they're trying to in Australia - music companies and the like are only after as much money as they can get and their time was always going to come

Now I'm not sure how they've worked out how much it's all worth, and whether they count sharing TV shows as 'illegal' (bit of a grey area) - but certainly it's music and films

The point I would make is that this is the maximum potential figure, just because say, an album, has received 1 million downloads, does not mean it would be bought by a million people if they had to pay for it, nor does it mean all of them haven't bought a copy of it as well

People conveniently forget that a lot of stuff downloaded is actually downloaded because of availability - in this age of instant worldwide information, when a film/DVD/TV show is released or aired in (principally) the US, the information is all over the net as soon as it's out, but the product will not be released for months or even longer in many countries - those people know it's out and they want to know the goss - that doesn't mean they won't buy it/watch it legally when it does air in their market - in fact many downloaders feel obliged to do this as fans - they want to support the product and many go out and buy the DVD when it is released so as to ensure their favourite show continues (e.g. Futurama and SG-1, which are now solely distributed on DVD now)

We live in a worldwide market now and it's not right to serve one market first, part of the reason why you see now that the biggest films and TV shows are distributed around the world a lot more quickly than in the 90s, where places like Australia got blockbuster films years after the US and Europe, that's the reason why the later Harry Potter books were released worldwide simultaneously - the industry has already had to adapt to some extent

So who knows what the figure is, I'm sure there's some good I.T reporters out there who know, but don't simply believe that the full potential of what is downloaded is actually lost from the economy

Seeing as politics is always 30 years behind contemporary culture, I wonder if when we finally get a voice our generation will even give a hoot about protecting the media moguls

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