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On Piracy and the Future of Media

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On Piracy And The Future Of MediaEach day, millions of youths from Canada and around the world download music and movies off of the Internet.

This epidemic of unauthorized downloading has been cited by the record and film industries as being the prime cause for billions in losses.

Politicians have come under tremendous pressure to pass legislation on the issue. But despite all the media frenzy on the piracy crackdowns, there's been very little attention to the topic itself.

At the very best, news reporters regurgitated the contents of an industry press release. There was nothing of substance, which is where this documentary fits in: we wanted to cover the issue in-depth.

We interviewed industry execs, copyright lawyers, pirates, consumers, artists, and everyone we could think of - and made you this film. Download the documentary from piracydocumentary.com

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Comments and User Reviews

  • Jeff

    Is there a direct relationship between the producer's bias and the amplitude of the voices of the interviewee's whith whom he agrees?

    There exists a great volume disparity.

  • tom

    The movie company are mad about the web and piracy of their movie will Im sorry it will never stop ..........Here what they should do most movies make less money after the first or second week and most of the movies put the web are web cams and look like crap .......will then keep the movie on at the cinemas and also release on the web too with percentage of adds like tv does at least their make money and some people will still go the movies because no adds and a lot people just go to get out like dates etc .....Hell I go just to see some movies on a big screen and nice surround sounds Hell they can release on the web and the movies the same day and people will still go to the movies and they will watch the ones on the web with adds overs cams or the illegal ones Why because their not illegal.......

  • Nyax

    I don't know how much the fact that's it's illegal is a deterrent. I know it has never stopped me, or anyone I know from downloading stuff (and some of these people are otherwise law abiding). And the quality of pirated movies is often very good, only in some cases do you have to wait until something good comes up. Hell, sometimes the pirated copy is available before it is at the cinema or in stores.

    I don't think there is or ever will be any effective way to end internet piracy, maybe reduce it temporarily, but piracy will always prevail in the end.

    And that's a good thing, free circulation of art is as important as free circulation of information. If one particular piece of art or artist (as opposed to producer) is truly good, then people will contribute to it (after actually experiencing it) to allow more good art being created.

    This would value only the best art, and would reduce the flood of crap being released by production companies.

  • Dave

    That CRIA guy really doesn't make any sense. First he says that for filesharing to be truly about sharing, people would have to give up something when they gave it to someone else.
    Now, when I look up definitions of "sharing", what I come up with are things like "have in common", and "sharing ideas", which completely contradicts his criticism.

    Later in, he says they are stealing music and compares it to stealing a shirt in a shop. With that he contradicts himself, because doesn't recognize what he pointed out befire, how, if I share music, I don't give up anything, I still have it, and everything about it was a voluntary exchange.

    The whole debate is about intellectual property and the need for the record industry to make money, unwilling to finally die out in an age where they don't serve any any purpose any more.

    IP says the originator of an idea has the right to get money for it, from the enjoyment of other people. Which is simply ridiculous. There is just no way this could work in any voluntary way, without forcing people to comply and unnecessarily give up some of their money. Arguing for the sake of the economy also doesn't make sense, as people would naturally just spend their money, which they have more of if art is free, on other things.

    Arguing from an artist's point of view shouldn't support IP either. It actually hinders the whole recycling and inspirational process that goes into creating art.
    And perhaps art that was merely created to make money, should not have existed in the first place.

    Abolish IP / F*** the record and motion pictures industries!

    Independent artists can only win.

  • Dave

    ...sorry for all the misspelling.

  • walnut whip

    as performers are paid much less than 10%, they suffer the least 'loss' (if you can call it a loss). music piracy mainly affects those fatcats at the top of the music food chain. it means they can only drink champagne from a rolls royce instead of a $1million yacht

    WHAT A SHAME!!

    greedy scum, i wont lose a wink of sleep

    its not theft, its duplication. if i copy something that i wouldnt buy anyway (because of the overpriced ripoff) then its no crime - the industry has not lost any money!

    they should re-price media products to a fair price - not maximum exploitation. then people will buy more. consumers are not stupid.

  • Totality

    Media industry solution for tech-ignorant consumers: iTunes and similar idiot-proof download services.

    The solution for tech-savvy people: None.

    Piracy is a fact of life for all audio and video media businesses. Cry me a river.

  • Dan

    I beleive that the solution lies with where the problem began. Who started digitalizing the music and not using any precautions to protect the Intelectual property? The Record Companys. They decided to go digital. The Artist had to follow suit. Their decisions were made based on greed. They made SONY players etc. that played the burnt discs, they made and sold the recordable discs, and what about who made the burners? They created this whole problem. Regulate them in order to solve the problem. Don't restrict the fans or artists. Restrict the Record Companies so they aren'nt so careless and can't make decions based on their greed, that can change the economy . Let them face the consequences.

    The only reason I burned music to begin with was that I knew that record companies were screwing over artists with seven year/ seven Album contracts that funneled all of the money to them and not the artists. I knew that in order for the artist to make $$$ they have to tour to make the money and pay back the record companies (Dixie Chicks after 3 #1 albums, didn't even have a million bucks). By downloading the tunes I would be Protesting the way the industry is run by the Record Companies. If I know the artist is getting paid from CD sales etc. I will buy their products to support them. The problem now is that the Record Companies are trying to get revenue from the Concerts that are being held in order to recover their losses. That's right. Grabbing $$$ out of the artists hands once again.
    I am an aspiring singer/songwriter myself, and have not made a penny from being so, though I would like to. I'm lucky to break even. I do my part to promote and encourage all of the local talent that I can by buying their CD's and attending their shows, to help the Artists out. Don't leave it to the Record Companies to come up with the solution. Regulating them is the solution.
    Pirating movies - well that's another story.

  • LR

    File sharing will not end because it's very easy to do & can be very rewarding for those that cannot afford to buy products like music CDs, DVD films etc. The dangers are in hackers getting access to your computer and all you do on your computer and making life hell for the people they decide to attack.

    Downloading music free online is a plus these days because popular Artists are not as good as Artists from the past. Most music released in the last 20 years have been very forgettable. (NOT ALL MUSIC). So why buy CDs from new or old artists, receiving 10 to 15 songs or so on the CD; realizing after you've spent almost $20 or more for only a couple of songs that you'll listen to for a few weeks until another Artist release their CD. All the while the Artists are getting richer and we the consumers barely make our monthly payments and many of us continue to spend money on Artists, year after year as they get richer. The prices for everything goes up. So the few Artists crying about Piracy are usually the really wealthy/selfish ones; along with their publishers, managers, etc.

  • sober42long

    I'm a full pledged pirate, but if I think an artist deserves my money I'll go to a gig or buy a teeshirt. Hell, I might buy a few cd's for convenience.
    One thing I don't get though is this: They say you can't share because you don't have rights to the music, yet when you buy a cd you pay for the physical copy??? Mp3 is a lossy codec, therefore in time your copy will lose quality. Companies don't want to honor you purchase of the rights to songs so why should you honor them.
    Artists make more off merchandise and touring and they tour more. That sounds like a win to me. Besides any monkey smart enough to put 2 and 2 together can rip streaming audio.

    As for movies... people will always go out and watch movies, but a majority might switch to an alternative source. Movie theaters need to up their quality. Quality is the key issue with piracy on movies. Sometimes movies can be pirated at a better quality then what is being displayed at a theater. A lot of people find their home and their huge hd tv more comfortable. Many people will go out and buy dvds just because the dvds have extra material.

    Software: Simple. If your going to pirate, you don't have the money to buy it anyway. For instance CS5, Adobe makes their money selling to businesses.

    Overall I don't think piracy is harming anyone. Record labels are complete dicks to artists and make more then enough money to sustain several lives. If people weren't pirating then those people would be deprived of art and entertainment, most part. I wouldn't be buying much. Pirating is here to stay as long as the internets remains free.

  • Omega Man

    These lawyers and producers dont GIVE A SHIT about the musicians... they only care because they can not profit off the backs of these starving artists!!!

    And to say it is the digital/internets fault is a LIE!!!

    Remember Jimi hendrix??? Read up on how his managers took ALL HIS MONEY ( ALL OF IT ) to a remote Island and left jimi broke and having to live off the charity of friends!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_M6F3RJVEWJ24QKMCHFNVK7ADVE Winston Smith

    The issue of file-sharing is simple. The record and film companies need to develop technologies to secure their products. End of story.

    If you leave your valuables laying around unattended in public dont complain if someone walks off with them. These companies. the very same ones that made a killing when cd's were first introduced (bc they were so much cheaper to produce that vinyl) did not complain about all the money they were making then. Now that the technology has moved beyond their control (because they did not keep up), it is just a shameful response to prosecute people for using technology they have at the fingertips. (it's extortion)

    personally, I have discovered more music through youtube and file-sharing than I ever did before. And I go buy my favorites in cd.. the collection of which is also larger than ever before.

  • Guest

    In a way, us pirates are as much artists as musicians/actors are.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Barber/1044783776 Chris Barber

    Look at it from the perspective of somebody who listens to obscure and hard to find music, like me. If I am doing my normal search for bands I like and come across something from 20 years ago that was limited to 1000 copies on CD, I am probably never going to be able to hear it. I can download it until the album pops up somewhere. Even then, they albums are usually found on Ebay for hundreds of dollars. Just sayin'

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Barber/1044783776 Chris Barber

    The president of CRIA argues the point that people say records only have one or two good tracks. His argument is based off polls that ask if people are satisfied with the amount of good tracks on their CD purchases. Well, of course they are! They are buying CDs that have all good tracks, instead of the shitty mass produced records that only have one or two "good" tracks. This guy's arguments are ridiculously full of holes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Barber/1044783776 Chris Barber

    Also, of course they are going to like all the tracks on the CD they bought, they already downloaded it and liked most of the tracks. This guy is a moron.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IDFMQANUZUD4CZERFVYOQLUP5Y L?ve Hearts xx™

    I don't see music artists, actors or film directors rumaging through bins. What is all the fuss about?

    I download what I want when I want.

    I can't afford to pay for music and films. The people that work in this business probably make more money in a year than I make in 50 years.

  • Guest

    i sure can see your point!

  • Bilal Bruce Morpeth

    I don't download music, but musicians use to be not much more than beggars, bards in taverns, singing a song for a coin, I think musicians and actors are placed on too higher pedestal in this society.

    Personally I find music rather annoying and inescapable. People drive past me blasting their music, I go into a shop and its blasting, its everywhere and its mentally polluting. Give me peace, the sound of a breeze rustling leaves, organic sound.

  • illmaticgwc

    "The people that work in this business probably make more money in a year than I make in 50 years"
    I assume your talking about established artists?
    What about upcoming artists who dont have any money, if you steal their music how are they or their record label going to get paid.
    How will they afford to record in a good studio, with a decent team of engineers who will ultimately create a brilliant record?
    How will they afford to go on tour and play to their fans?
    People need to be paid for their hard work.

  • Beerwulf

    it's not stealing is someone is file SHARING, since when did sharing with others become a crime?

    i used to borrow my friends cassettes then copy them, i don't have to any more. not only that, i actually help save the planet now by not using gasoline in my car to get them and i stopped buying plastic cassettes which would one day end up in a landfill killing poor innocent pigeons.

  • max11b

    Facts is i pirate games and movies...why? Not because im a mean pirate. But because i jus simply cant offord it. I buy new games that come if the multiplayer is worth it. 60$ a game an 30$ a movie living in a house with no gas no hot water. So i guess i should sit here with nothing while they make billions of dollars. They will be fine without there 2nd mansion and beach vacation home. Trust me id much rather be able to buy an have a legit copy but i cant. so i download. Plus i dont have to drive all over hell to get a movie i want to see. i sit in the recliner and click download.

    SUPPLY AND DEMAND!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WNUIFFJVZRCQ4D6KZPEBHSOZZY Pooh

    Game software developers/movies/music as a whole make money and of course they make a profit, it's a business - after all some of you may go to McDonalds but you can't demand a free burger and fries just because Ronald makes tons of money, already filthy rich and etc. The money we hand over for Big Mac, shakes and fries, some go to the employees' wages. The same for the artists, software developers and people who work in movies.

    Trouble is you guys see yourself as "victims" when you're not - anyway I find it hard to feel sorry for thieves which is what you are. No-one owes you anything.

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.speight Peter Speight

    I was thinking the exact same thing myself! He contradicts himself more and more throughout the interview.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6UTX2FV63OJTYUS5WM5DUNEMYI Davey

    Yeah right like we care about their billions and billions of dollar loss. Not my problem. I don't give a f**k about any of those people because almost everything is cr*p. I download music, games and whatever else. And only if i like it i buy it. And copying is thieving my ass. I own a xbox360 and if i want to play games on it i buy them. I don't ever play games and i ain't gonna pay for movies except when i am going to the cinema. So there you have it. I pay for it in the cinema to see it but i ain't paying for Blu-ray. And music downloads, blegh music sucks these days also not worth it. And i bootlegged everything on cassette in the 90's so i am used to it. Besides, there are millions of people who buy cds if not billions so should i really give a tiny f**k about the million they make less. I do not. I also do not give a f**k about you, yes you there behind your screen. Thinking i am some sort of angry piece of s**t. I do not care what you think. You can call me a thief, an a**hole, a troll. Just know this!!

    I will be sailin' t' oceans o' info. I will contribute t' spreadin' t' loot. me thought's be towards a huge infestation. o' pirates, we download, we upload t' goods.

  • Matthew Kahn

    The problem with Graham Henderson's sweater analogy is that the victim should not be losing the sweater. To correct this analogy, someone sneaks up behind someone else who has a sweater, waves his magic wand, and acquires a sweater for himself without affecting the original sweater. If a sweater can be copied at no actual loss to the holder, what's the problem?

    The problem is that our economic system requires people to receive reimbursement. In a day where we have the technology, scientific knowledge, and resources to provide for the needs, education, and a high standard of living for everyone on the planet, it makes no sense to constrain ourselves with a money system and laws that limit the effectiveness of our technology.

    We know how to raise sane people, were just not sane enough to do it. When we have new technology that conflicts with our socioeconomic system, the system is what should change.

    Check out The Venus Project for a blueprint for a society that is updated based on our current knowledge and technology.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/R2FEKKIPJYYVW23WK5JXW5RGJY Rebekah

    What people don't pay attention to is the fact that as a group, pirates are the biggest buyers of music, films, etc. You download it, if you like it, you buy it. Sure some of them don't - but more often than not, those are the people who can't afford it anyway; they can either have it pirated and not pay or not have it at all (and therefore not pay) and it won't affect the system; they might as well have it and raise the popularity of the film/band/whatever by word of mouth.
    1 download doesn't equal 1 sale loss. Pirating only hurts the artist when the content is bad.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UVPLMRGKYLDDVD66JX4FG5HUYY Alien

    They think that pirates never pay for anything, and if people can no longer download music and movies for free the will be forced to buy instead and raise those greedy bastards' profits. That's bullshit. If I couldn't download I won't buy it either since I don't have a freakin money tree in my backyard to pay for overpriced garbage. If I really like something then of course I would l buy it, just as I do now. The few artists/movies that are worth anything I will gladly support, even if it's still overpriced. If they succeed in their plans to stop pirating and kill the internet (ACTA SOPA and all that) they won't even get that much from me, since without downloading or free internet I won't even be able to find the few things worth paying for.

  • Travis Bain

    Implementing laws that catch bootleggers set by the entertainment industry is futile, myopic, and not the future. The music industry began this fight when Napster came out and they are in no better position then when they first started, and actually, in a much worse state.

    I believe the future will be nothing physical and everything digital. People will consume content for free by streaming and downloading through ad-supported platforms. Also, the CONDUITS of HOW people CONSUME that content (hardware manufactures, software developers, and internet service providers) will pay rights to content owners.

    If the movie/tv/video game industry and their respective trade bodies only used the music industry (the recording industry) as an example of not having any foresight to increase their business, then this is foreshadowing a declining industry. Instead of levering consumers to pay for content, the entertainment industry should be leveraging the technology industry (players that are a pipeline for consuming content) to pay rights.

    But that will probably not happen. Instead what will probably happen is the technology players will also become content producers. If you look at the recording industry, a few years ago there were five major conglomerates and now there are just four, and maybe soon enough, only three. What is stopping a Google and an Apple for purchasing these major labels at a deep discount? Google and Apple certainly have the financial wherewithal to do such a task. So the same companies that provide smart phones, tablets, computers, software, and platforms for CONSUMING content will also be the PRODUCERS of the content.

  • Devon Griffiths

    You're living in the past and comparing unlike to unlike. In terms of pirating, there is no limit to how many "virtual Big Macs" could be produced, no employees required to produce them, and no difference in cost to make one or a billion copies. Why continue to go by a now inefficient model of production, suited to obsolete technologies of a previous era?

    Just after WW2, some American aid workers were in China, observing the communist's efforts at rebuilding the country, the so-called Great Leap Forward. They were taken to a dam, where the workers were using basic hand tools like shovels and picks and very little in the way of heavy machinery. The Chinese explained, that labour intensive methods would reduce unemployment, and with fewer people unemployed, the economy would be stronger, wealth would be more evenly distributed, and the society would not be burdened with having to take care of workers for whom there was no work. Having heard this, one of the observers wryly commented: "If the shovels are a good idea ... wouldn't spoons be even better?"

    This is very much the same thing. If the system demands inefficient methods of production - then it simply isn't suited to the technologies available, no matter how much sense it seemed to make under the old paradigm. Efficiency is what's important, saving the paradigm is not.

    We could argue the ethics all day, and we could all decide to support this dying mode of production by artificially propping it up and repressing the new reality with nightsticks and jails, but in the end, it will fold for the same reasons the Chinese stopped trying to prop up the communist model. Because we're not alone in this world, and if we don't do it, other groups will, because it's more efficient and they can leave us in the dust by doing so.