Thursday, 24 November 2011

Piracy/Copyright/Web Media Usage - An Analysis

(video somewhat related...)

Sir suggested that I do a write-up of all my random thoughts and pieces of background knowledge about the use of copyrighted material on the internet and the impact it has on media industries so here goes...

Piracy is an issue which affects the revenue made by intellectual property owners. Although this is a controversial thought among the "I WANT ALL THE FREE STUFF" community, I can understand why this damages the industries. Not because of this "that's stealing!" thought they want you to believe (it is not "stealing" the product, because in my eyes stealing requires taking an item away from someone; piracy does not take their original copy) but because a lack of revenue will lead to less profit being made once you've taken into account the fact that actors, camera crews, writers, finance staff, marketing teams etc. don't work for free (far from it in a lot of cases!).

There is a huge fuss at the moment about how copyrighted material is used and distributed when it comes to the internet.

Firstly, there is the way in which media (such as music, films and video games) is acquired bought. The most common problem for the industries is that it is extremely easy for people to just download a copy of an album/film/game as opposed to buying a legal copy of it. There are a number of factors which make me think that media and retail industries are bringing this on themselves, one of which is pricing. I buy things legally because I like to have a physical product for everything, however for many people this is not the case and they'd rather go with the convenience that downloading a film or whatever would allow. The problem is that quite often legal media distributors such as iTunes are overpriced to the extreme, with there being several cases where the download costs more than the physical product. To the everyday consumer it would make much more sense just to download it from a file-sharing site or make a copy of their friend's one as opposed to paying extortion for it.

The other factor which it is necessary to highlight is how the product is made available. Despite the fact that in this modern age it is possible for someone over here to receive a file from their friend in America or wherever in a matter of minutes, some businesses still have this idea that it's a smart move to release their product in one country a few weeks before they release it in another. The result is that people get tired of waiting and would rather just download it early.

This is one which annoys me to no end. The attitude of general media industry towards the use of copyrighted material in fan works on the internet seems really outdated. This is because in actuality if a fan of a band/TV show etc. wants to put a video on YouTube or whatever there is a great chance that someone will see the video and develop an interest in the product because of it. Personally, I'm much more likely to buy something that several people on the internet have made a recommendation about than I am from just watching official trailers. There is also the fact that a while back YouTube set up a Content ID system which allowed copyright owners to sign up to - this allows them to profit from advertisements on the page of any fan videos which featured their content. From a business perspective it makes more sense to take both a small profit AND free advertisement than to take the video down and randomly threaten legal action towards a group of kids who made some videos using the computer in their bedroom. Despite this, it should be made illegal to create FPS montage videos which use Drowning Pool music in the background.

So from this post, if you're a media content owner, be more open to modern methods of distributing your content; if you're a consumer, don't copy that floppy:

- HM

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