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Piracy Television Communications Movies The Internet Entertainment

Not Even Free TV Can Get People To Stop Pirating Movies and TV Shows (qz.com) 221

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Quartz: Since the internet made it easier to illegally download and stream movies and TV shows, Hollywood struggled with people pirating its works online. About $5.5 billion in revenue was lost to piracy globally last year, Digital TV Research found (pdf), and it's expected to approach $10 billion by 2022. Streaming-video services like Netflix and Hulu have made it more affordable to access a wide-range of titles from different TV networks and movie studios. But the availability of cheap content online has done little to curb piracy, according to research published in Management Science (paywall) last month. Customers who were offered free subscriptions to a video-on-demand package (SVOD) were just as likely to turn to piracy to find programming as those without the offering, researchers at Catolica Lisbon School of Business & Economics and Carnegie Mellon University found.

The researchers partnered with an unnamed internet-service provider -- in a region they chose not to disclose -- to offer customers who were already prone to piracy an on-demand package for free for 45 days. About 10,000 households participated in the study, and about half were given the free service. The on-demand service was packaged like Netflix or Hulu in layout, appearance, and scope of programming, but was delivered through a TV set-top box. It had a personalized recommendation engine that surfaced popular programming based on what those customers were already watching illegally through BitTorrent logs, which were obtained from a third-party firm. The study found that while the participants watched 4.6% more TV overall when they had the free on-demand service, they did not stop using BitTorrent to pirate movies and TV shows that were not included in the offering.

Not Even Free TV Can Get People To Stop Pirating Movies and TV Shows

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  • Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slazzy ( 864185 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @07:07PM (#55676405) Homepage Journal
    Smells like bullshit to me. I've been offered so many "free" services all the time I turn them down without even thinking. I pay for Netflix, though rarely watch anything there or anywhere else. I'm sure I'm not the only one who is conditioned to turn down free services knowing there's a catch.
    • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Interesting)

      by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @07:24PM (#55676521) Journal

      Actually I thought this was the real tell:

      The on-demand service was packaged like Netflix or Hulu in layout, appearance, and scope of programming,

      I still pirate some stuff because I can't get it on Prime or Netflix.
      I'll readily admit to being lazy and honestly pirating content is a PITA compared to just grabbing the remote for a fire stick and streaming content... but when the library of streams is totally missing the long tail that made Netflix (DVD) popular in the first place, then the alternative is piracy.

      • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @08:09PM (#55676811)

        The real tell is:

        "they did not stop using BitTorrent to pirate movies and TV shows that were not included in the offering."

        • by Alumoi ( 1321661 )

          The real tell is:

          "they did not stop using BitTorrent to pirate movies and TV shows that were not included in the offering."

          Detail, details. We are giving you the last and the best of the crap...erm, movies/shows. If you're a grumpy old fart who can't be fooled into believing the lastest crap... erm, crop of shows is THE shit, then you're a fucking pirate and deserve to die a horrible death!
          How dare you cheat us of money we think we could have made?

          • The problem is as obvious as the last sentence in the main article above. All content needs to be available by an advertisement-supported model, essentially making it cost nothing (but some time) to the viewers. Most viewers don't suffer from the "time is money" attitude to the extent that they would prefer to obtain pirated ad-free content --and they generally won't suffer from that attitude if greedy content-providers reduce the amount of advertising associated with content, the older the content. In t
        • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

          by swb ( 14022 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @07:32AM (#55679127)

          I don't pirate but "not included in the offering" is Hollywood's major failure and essential manipulation.

          The major TV networks alone had something like 1,500 hours of scripted entertainment per year. Probably at least 30 studio feature films per year. If you just think about a single 10 year period, that's enough entertainment to occupy even a picky person for years.

          But where is it? You can barely find older films on streaming services, of if you do it's a minuscule fraction of what' out there. Older TV shows are almost non-existent.

          We've been told "Oh vey, the rights are so difficult" and given some random high profile examples like "WKRP in Cincinnati" with all its music licensing problems. I don't think that's it, I think Hollywood is worried that if large back catalogs of programming become available it will kill new revenue for current programming or undermine the ability to essentially remake old concepts with updated slang, fashions and characterizations.

          It also makes me wonder where old news programming is -- why isn't 60 Minutes available for streaming its old seasons? After watching Ken Burns' Vietnam documentary (which I'm critical of for other reasons) and some of the extended clips from the news of the era, it makes me downright conspiratorial. The image of the 1960s newsman as a tool of the establishment is false -- Walter Cronkite called Chicago during the 1968 Democratic convention a police state ON NATIONAL TELEVISION. I think that if old news programming became widely available, people would really question the nature of what they call "the news" these days -- Brian Williams or any of the other talking heads would *never* do that now.

      • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @08:38PM (#55676983)

        I have a paid hbo subscription, but I still pirate game of thrones. The pirate stream is just much higher quality than what you get from hbo streaming: Full 1080p as opposed to 720p, instant seek/rewind, higher nitrate for clearer picture, no pausing/stuttering.

        Being completely honest here, pirates have figured out how to do proper online video distribution way better than anybody else: Their standards for release quality are typically higher, even though at the end of the day they're working with rips as opposed to the source material (what.CD often rejected Amazon mp3 uploads due to Amazon's poor encoding practices) and they've also figured out how to meet the bandwidth requirements for pennies on the dollar. (Passive distribution instead of requiring a fully live playback is HUGE here, and for some reason, content companies refuse to let it happen anyways, even in cases like HBO where they have compete vertical control over licensing.)

        Also, pirating is almost completely automatic in my case. I use sickrage and rtorrent, but there are plenty of alternatives.

        • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Interesting)

          by greenwow ( 3635575 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @09:49PM (#55677309)

          Plus, many people don't have connections fast enough to stream video. I know where I live in Seattle, I certainly can't. I paid the $15 per month for HBO Now to watch Game of Thrones, because I want to support it, but I had to pirate it in order to watch it. I received a DMCA letter for every(!) episode, but ignored them.

        • higher nitrate for clearer picture,

          Though a bit more pink.

        • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

          by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @03:45AM (#55678499) Journal

          The pirate stream is just much higher quality than what you get from hbo streaming: Full 1080p as opposed to 720p, instant seek/rewind, higher nitrate for clearer picture, no pausing/stuttering.

          Yes this! What the fuck. What the ACTUAL fuck!

          I'm still pissed off about this. I paid good money to stream GoT legally and the product was utter shit. Thing that happen with pay services that don't happen with pirating:

          1. client forces an update when you turn it on, so you have to wait half an hour to start watching TV because NowTV's application CDN are connected to the internet through two tin cans and a piece of wet string.

          2. Dropouts because fuck you that's why.

          3. DRM shits itself forcing a reboot midway through the show (twice!)

          4. Quality drops to about 160x100 randomly for short periods

          5. Rewinding causes quality to be about 160x100 for about a minute

          6. 720p not 1080p

          7. Sound occasionally fuck up necessitating restarting the client

          8. No subtitles

        • by Hodr ( 219920 )

          [...] higher nitrate for clearer picture, no pausing/stuttering.

          And better taste, longer shelf life.

      • I get Netflix free with my internet and watch a fair bit of stuff, but because I don't live in the US a whole lot of stuff you guys get, I don't because pay TV owns the rights, and I don't want to pay $120 per month for TV.
        The other problem they have is that TV shows are not interchangable.
        I have been pirating "It's always Sunny in Philadelphia" because I can't see it at all where I live so if they offered me "It seldom rains in Albuquerque" I probably wouldn't be interested.
        Spotify and other streamin
        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          They think their content is worth way, way more than it actually is, and then force themselves to pay high distribution costs, and pay for DRM on top of that. Just in case that didn't destroy their revenue stream completely, they make sure you need to buy extra hardware just for the privilege of subscribing to their service.

          If they just offered TheLegitBay.org for 5 bucks a month, all distribution by low cost torrent in .mkv format, then piracy would drop as fast as it did with music streaming services. I g

      • by Rande ( 255599 )

        I still even pirate some stuff I get with Amazon Prime and Netflix because streaming cuts out often, and when I reload, a lot of the time, there's no audio and I have to mute and unmute the tab. Amazon is worse than Netflix - I'll hit reload a few times and then just go get it from torrent because it's actually faster to download the whole episode than to try and get a watchable stream.

    • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rogoshen1 ( 2922505 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @07:33PM (#55676585)

      not to mention they come up with these SCAAAAAAAAAAARY numbers for lost revenue; and you just have to wonder what the *real* impact would be.

      The overlap between "sure i'll download it because it's free" and "i really want this program, i'd totally pay for it if i had no other option!" is NOT even close to 100%. It's more like .000000000000000000001%

      Or maybe they juke the numbers to use as leverage when trying to ruin poor schmoes life. Probably using a shitty legal threat that the average person has absolutely no ability to fight. Because someone pressing bootleg DVD's for commercial sale is *exactly* the same as a guy torrenting simpsons episodes to watch on his plex server. right? yep, totally equivalent, therefore that settlement in the many thousands of dollars range is absolutely fair.

      But if they did have the temerity to fight it; some dickhead judge with 0 understanding of the technical issues would virtually automatically side with the IP holder.

      • This research could actually be interesting if they offered a few different bundles in a few tiers grouped by ratings. To one group offer your basic Netflix selection. To the next group, offer shows of around average popularity and to a third group offer absolute premium content. You would start to get a more interesting picture of where the breaking point is to start to pull people away from piracy.
        • that's a good point... I can say anecdotally since the TPB started having periods of being knocked offline, my piracy has gone to roughly 0.

          Just like my spending on media/entertainment from Hollywood.

      • The numbers are ridiculous. If people didn't watch it because they had no money, or would have never spent the money to watch something in the first place, they can't be counted as lost revenue. My guess is that it would actually increase viewership and people who paid to watch, from people that saw something they never would have seen, telling others to check it out. -- Its a bird, it's a plane.
        • by murdocj ( 543661 )

          Of course they can be counted as lost revenue. You really telling me that people who can't afford $10 a month are the pirates? The people with no money are a little more worried about their next meal than they are about scanning torrents for the latest episode of some TV show.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            You really telling me that people who can't afford $10 a month are the pirates?

            No, they are not really telling you that. Person A says "I'd like to watch Game of Thrones but I'm not going to pay $15/mo for HBOGo". That person is not "lost revenue" since they were never going to pay for the subscription anyway. Even if that person goes out and pirates an episode they are still not "lost revenue" since at no point were they even entertaining the idea of paying for HBO.

            That's not to say that Person A is in the right at all. If you think they are a terrible person or a criminal that's fin

          • I've meet a whole lot of folks around the world that don't have an extra $10 a month, that aren't starving. They love movies, but wouldn't watch them if they weren't delivered on a DVD to the neighborhood TV set for free.

            --
            It's a bird, It's a plane!

      • An EU study published a couple of years ago and quietly ignored until a couple of months ago concluded that, aside from a very small number of very popular things for a short window after release, there was no impact on revenues from piracy.

        I didn't find that at all surprising. There are basically four kinds of people in the relevant markets:

        • People that can't afford the product at all. If these pirate, you lose nothing and you might gain from word-of-mouth advertising. They will often be able to aff
    • I earn decent money for my services and I'm all too happy to pay you for yours. Sell me what I want to buy and I buy it.

      I don't want to buy your DRM-encumbered crap and I generally don't. For my money I'll watch it my way and if that's not OK with you, I'll watch it my way anyway and you just won't get paid for it.

    • The thing about Netflix and most other services like it is that they're only available some of the most developed parts of the world (north america, central and northern europe) where just about everyone can relatively easily afford to pay for all of the content they're going to be pirating. For these people it wasn't about the content being prohibitively expensive, it was about the convenience offered by piracy. Places where the cost of the content is more prohibitive and where services like Netflix could
  • Not prices, ads (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @07:08PM (#55676411) Homepage Journal

    When I cut the cord in 2004 I did it because of ads, not because I was cheap (I am cheap, no denying that).

    Free TV most definitely will mean infestation with ads.

    • And so much of that crap plastered on top of the video, not just interjected into breaks.
      • I actually quit the paid tier of Hulu largely because of the bugs advertising the local affiliate station plastered in the corner of the videos for the entire duration of the show. I think for a lot of people it just disappears, but it always grabs my eye and distracts me for some reason. When I sign up for ad-free programming, I want 100% ad-free programming, and I'm willing to pay for it.

        So, yeah, "free" TV would come with lots of advertising, and I don't want to waste my time like that.

      • The crap plastered on video I can skip, I mostly listen to TV programs, not actually watch them.

        In case of real quality program, yes, we have to live with it.

        Fortunately they use it for now for mostly their own station related announcement - upcoming programs, etc.

        When they start to sell it to outside, then I will just stop watching TV programs altogether.

    • by slaker ( 53818 )

      I agree. Pirates have the superior product. I can choose my interface and delivery method. Ads generally aren't present and I don't have to worry about the content license expiring or becoming region locked or somesuch. I can automate delivery of content. I don't have to be concerned with Netflix bogging down in its prime time because my copy is local. I know not everyone has dozens of terabytes of storage sitting around, but it's still the best choice IMO.

    • There is no free lunch. If someone spent significant amounts of money to make it - you're going to pay for it one way, or the other.

      This is where creators need to get creative: there isn't one single model that can do that - there are a number of ways, including patronage (e.g. Patreon.com , kickstarter.com ), paywalls (e.g. WSJ.com , washingtonpost.com, netflix.com and the like), and ad supported content (e.g. YouTube.com etc) to name a few. There are other models too - such as 'name your own prices' s

    • by havana9 ( 101033 )
      Yes. I have tried a Sky Now TV box to watch some channels, and I have found that the paid channel have the same amount of advertising of similar free to air terrestrial channels. With the pay TV channel I could watch a serial before, but the sad thing is the streaming quality is way less than watching terrestrial or satellite channels. Public broadcaster channels transmitted in HD have less advertising. They are license funded partially, it's true but the Sky subscription is higher. Not to mention the annoy
    • "When I cut the cord in 2004 I did it because of ads"

      Hmmm.... how's that work, anyway? Over-the-air TV doesn't have ads? When you get a DVD of original Star Trek episodes from the late 60's they run around 50.5 minutes. Get episodes of the latest NCIS and they run around 42.5 minutes. What do you suppose occurred during those 8 less minutes of programming? Yep, commercials.

      Commercials are the reason I mostly stopped watching over-the-air TV. I can tolerate commercials on stuff like Fox News whic

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Interestingly 2004 was also the year that several DRM-infected music "stores" went offline. I seem to recall that the Microsoft one, with it's presumably ironically named "Plays for Sure (but not on a Zune)" DRM, sent out an email advising people to burn their music to CD and re-rip it to MP3 to avoid losing access to all their "purchased" music.

      It was a strange time. Music companies seemed to be scared shitless of computer files, apparently unaware that CDs could be copied just as easily.

  • by corychristison ( 951993 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @07:11PM (#55676429)

    About $5.5 billion in revenue was lost to piracy globally last year

    It's been proven time and time again that people who download "illegally" wouldn't actually pay for it in the first place, so you can't assign a dollar value to it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LucasBC ( 1138637 )
      Well, you could put a value to it, but it would be more accurate to state, "people pirated $5.5 billion worth of content" rather than, "$5.5 billion in revenue lost," because, as you say, most of those people wouldn't have paid for it. They just seized the opportunity to get it for free.
      • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

        A lot of what I've pirated I didn't even watch more than 15 or 20 minutes of it. Hell, it wasn't worth the bandwidth I wasted on it. They should try improving the quality of their product. Right now it isn't worth free.

    • by murdocj ( 543661 )

      Really? Proven??? How?

  • In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @07:11PM (#55676433)

    Giving people what they don't want at any price, including "free", is not a substute for giving them what they want.

    Seriously, we've all been there... I feel like watching, I don't know... "Dr. Strangelove" and netflix doesn't have it so it suggests "Dr. Strange", "Young Frankenstein", "House of cards", "Pulp Fiction", "Oliver Stone's Untold History of the..."

    So I torrent Dr. Strangelove, because I've already seen, or do not care to see any of those titles; and I *want* to see Dr. Strangelove.

    • This. The other day I searched for the TV show Highway Thu Hell and the best Netflix could give me was Highway to Heaven. Now that I think about it that's rather comical irony!
    • by mea2214 ( 935585 )
      Dr. Strangelove is available on Netflix DVD if you can wait a day or two for it.
      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        But what I want to watch isn't available on Netflix streaming or Netflix DVD. Let me know when the film Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night, the film Song of the South, or the TV series Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea gets released on region 1 DVD. The streaming metasearch sites just say "is not available now." [pineight.com].

      • Re:In other news (Score:5, Informative)

        by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @08:29PM (#55676911)

        netflix dvd is only available in the states.

        • Netflix mail in service doesn't even seem to have any competitors even in the states, at least not anymore.

          The worst part is netflix DVD is sort of just ignored instead of invested in by netflix itself. It seems when at least some titles in their library get lost or broken they are simply never replaced, meaning the library is rotting away. There are series on there that are missing disk 4 for instance.

          And since video stores have nearly vanished with only redbox as a replacement (which has a tiny recent fil

    • by nnull ( 1148259 )
      It's not only this. Many media outlets do not provide the format that I WANT. They all insist I have to use their player to watch it. So, what to do? Pirate it, because the pirates provide a better media format than all of them that I can use to play on any of my devices, any time and anywhere, without having to be connected to the internet 24/7.
  • by Z80a ( 971949 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @07:12PM (#55676445)

    And they will get it, paying or not paying for it.
    So you're better off not being on a situation where the only way is the "free" way, or people will take it.

  • with a different headline that implied the exact opposite result (something about Netflix ending piracy or something)?

    Come on /. editors, you can't just change the headline and with it the entire meaning of the article. I mean, some of us are going to at least read the summary, aren't we? I mean, not me, no. But I'm sure someone will.
    • by davecb ( 6526 )
      A similar one, from tech in asia, https://yro.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org]
    • Yes, this one https://yro.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org]

      From this article:

      The researchers partnered with an unnamed internet-service provider -- in a region they chose not to disclose -- to offer customers who were already prone to piracy an on-demand package for free for 45 days. About 10,000 households participated in the study, and about half were given the free service. ... according to research published in Management Science (paywall) last month

      And from the one I just linked:

      The researchers used a piracy-tra

  • I also would not use a Free Service wrapped up in a black box on top of my TV. You obviously need to let it analyze your viewing patterns for those 'recommendations', plus who knows what is in the eula... probably lets them analyze your viewing data as well as requiring ID/birthdate/Credit card number... who knows what data it wanted. Maybe Joe Schmoe in Dallas doesn't wan't you knowing he watches The Big Bang Theory and knows he can pirate it and watch it in private instead.

    I would.

    • I doubt if "free" means "commercial-free". I pay through the nose for Comcast, which means I'm paying to watch Mr Robot on USA. I've payed for that content, and yet I still have to endure the commercials. No fast-forwarding. That means I'm paying again with my time.

      The next killer app will be a way for me to make Comcast, AT&T and others have to sit through 5 commercials in order to get my monthly check or payment. I sell those commercial slots and make a bit off each one.
  • Oh, why oh why, we give them free streaming TV and they still pirate.

    We just can't understand it.

    Last sentence of the summary above: "they did not stop using BitTorrent to pirate movies and TV shows that were not included in the offering."

    Well **DUH!!!**

  • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @07:16PM (#55676475)
    I watch very little TV, and as such I want to make sure that I will completely enjoy anything that I do sit down to watch. I don't know about Hulu, but Netflix just seems like a bargain bin. Never has there been a greater selection of movies and shows that didn't quite make it. I consider the subscription fee inexpensive, but it is fairly spot on for what you get. As such, there doesn't tend to be much in Netflix that I want to watch ever. Not surprised it didn't fill the needs of people who pirate.
  • Well now (Score:5, Informative)

    by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @07:17PM (#55676479)

    The customers continued to pirate the movies and shows they couldn't get via approved channels? Knock me over with a feather.

    Did they really expect people were going to say "I don't want to watch the Wonder Woman movie after all, since my streaming service offers Super Girl"?

  • People don't want to wait for a show to get played in their region of the world years later.
    One show a week with some shows missing, censored, dropped for another week for a nations sport or news?
    The monopoly days of a nations private sector TV broadcasters is over.
    Buying low cost shows that are years and decades old. People now know of the new content and don't have to wait for it on vhs.
  • A month or so ago SyFy did a Futurama marathon. Watched one, tons of ads. Actually timed it. 4 minutes of show, 2 minutes of ads. 2 minutes of show, another 2 minutes of ads. I gave up.

    The last ep of Orville did the same thing. Break for commercial, show a block of ads, show 3-4 minutes of show, and another block of ads.

    If your idea of "free TV" is "a block of ads every 3-4 minutes", then, well, fuck you with a pointy cactus. I've got a bookmark for Pirate Bay, and not only know how to use it b
    • It's not supposed to be that bad.
      It's designed to be 7 minutes of show, 3 minutes of ads. That's why half hour time slot episodes are 21 minutes and hour long shows are 42 minutes

    • by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @07:31PM (#55676577)

      Yeah, I occasionally have the misfortune to catch an hour or so of "Tee Vee" in some public location, and am always blown away by how much advertising there is. As well as by how idiotic most of that advertising is. After some 15 years of exclusively watching online, ad-free content, it's like being teleported into some horrible alternate dimension.

      Hell, it's even worse than using a browser on someone else's computer and finding out they didn't install AdBlock.

      I don't know how people can stand it ...

      • Yeah, I occasionally have the misfortune to catch an hour or so of "Tee Vee" in some public location, and am always blown away by how much advertising there is.

        My TiVO has a 30 second skip button, which translates into skipping one ad. For some programs (where the ad skipping data isn't available yet), I find that I may have to press this button 9 times, meaning there are 9 ads, taking up 4.5 minutes.

      • I often feel pretty insulted by the inane stupidity of many TV ads. I'm definitely not going to pay for something that insults me.
    • by Megane ( 129182 )

      The last ep of Orville did the same thing. Break for commercial, show a block of ads, show 3-4 minutes of show, and another block of ads.

      It's more complicated than that. I know, because I cut the commercials manually in MythTV from a lot of shows so I can do a lossless re-encode that saves as much as 20%, counting the extra minute I need on each side for the current trend of no commercials between shows. That's around a gigabyte per half hour of just commercials at HD OTA bit rates.

      Last week's episode timing was weird enough for me to notice. They had a loooooong run of show, then a block of ads, then a short run of show only as long as the

  • by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @07:21PM (#55676513) Journal

    So they just "threw together" their own Netflix or Hulu, as if that is a trivial thing to do? Did they offer every movie ever made? Apparently not - what exactly was their "scope of programming" that they offered?

    If their software sucked, and /or if their selection did not offer the specific movies and shows that the already-prone-to-piracy person wanted to see, then guess what? They're going to use the mechanisms they already know how to use to watch the exact shows they want. I'm really not sure what this study was supposed to show, besides the fact that offering a random assortment of video content will not satisfy the specific viewing desires of the average person.

  • by RyoShin ( 610051 ) <tukaro@gma i l . com> on Monday December 04, 2017 @07:26PM (#55676539) Homepage Journal

    they did not stop using BitTorrent to pirate movies and TV shows that were not included in the offering.

    ...duh? [theoatmeal.com] And that's from years ago, when Game of Thrones started.

    They can ramble all they want about things like Hulu or Netflix, but even with relatively-cheap services Hollywood still treats convenience like the plague. The show or movie you want to watch isn't available with your preferred service, or it is but is device restricted, or it is but only part of it (like one season out of seven in a TV series), or it is but you have to wait at least 24 hours after the live airing to watch it. There is a demand, but giant media corporations refuse to offer supply, and they complain when an alternative one is found.

    Just because something is cheap does not mean it is good. And the more segmented streaming services get, the more people will turn to alternative sources for the entertainment they want; I expect that two or three services is the limit for most people, and as more studios start launching their own offering the consumer becomes more choosy about what they subscribe to.

    Not all entertainment is equal, either in quality or in individual preference. Just because you gave someone free access to Jersey Shore season 3 doesn't stop them from wanting to watch Mr. Robot.

  • by WolfgangVL ( 3494585 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @07:27PM (#55676543)

    After 45 days, your account will be billed the full charge of $89.95, with a 2 year contract and 400.00 cancellation fee.

    Seriously, every damn thing in 2017 has been some kind of underhanded anti consumer one sided deal, or a scam. Is anybody surprised nobody jumps at "Free" anymore? It's lost it's meaning. This is what happens when you fool an entire generation by redefining the meaning of words.

    "Free for 45 days" means You can borrow it for a month and a half and all you pay is the processing fee, box rental fee, America fee, local fee, internal, and external fee, media tax, box tax, local and state tax and federal tax. The free 45 days also has a value of cash value 700 dollars (because we said so) and that's also going to count a income... so more tax.... and if you don't return the box and cancel service by 2AM on sunday (we're closed) you will be liable for the whole 700 dollars, btw Wendy the service cancel specialist and box processor will be out of the office that week so sorry in advance for that minor inconvenience. What a deal. Tell your friends and your welcome.

    All this study proves is that bit-torrent is the most honest about the cost of the media, is reliable, less annoying, less conniving and underhanded, and has a better media selection.

    If you wan't people to respect your laws, you need respectable laws. Artists death+70 year copyright owned by some corporation or media titan aint respectable even a little bit. Suck less big media. Nobody buys your bullshit anymore.

    • Not to mention that BitTorrent is free of distribution license BS. If I want to watch a Warner Bros movie on an on-demand service that doesn't have a distribution deal with Warner Bros but it's on BitTorrent then "free" doesn't give me much value.
    • Most things that are being downloaded on BT aren't situations where the author has been dead for 49 years. Usually it's stuff that's been out for 49 minutes. Most of the pro-piracy arguments come down to watching whatever you want whenever you want being a basic human right. More than food and clean water it seems. Yet we still expect people to pay for food and water.
      • C'mon, you know the difference.

        The cost of copying and distributing cultural data is nearly zero. Food and clean water cannot be copied at all - every "copy" of a hamburger costs as much to make as the original - and have a decidedly non-zero cost of distribution.

        • The incremental cost of water is nearly zero. If you have any doubt about that, look at your water bill. In fact the incremental cost of enough water for a day is probably about the same as the incremental electricity from downloading and watching a movie. And most "cultural data" is already free. The popular movies on BT aren't classic documentaries!
  • Yeah it feels like yesterday I commented on this... or was it two days ago?

  • It had a personalized recommendation engine that surfaced popular programming based on what those customers were already watching illegally through BitTorrent logs

    I would welcome that as much as Clippy. I don't need some damn AI pestering me with suggested programming "It looks like you just finished watching Deep Throat, would you like to view reruns of The Rosie O'Donnell Show?"

  • by tdelaney ( 458893 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @07:48PM (#55676687)

    I pay for FOXTEL, NetFlix, Stan and Amazon Prime (basically all the major video services available in Australia). If a show is available on one of those services at the best available quality, I will watch it on that service.

    Despite paying for all these, there are many shows that are either not available, or are only available with a significant delay (weeks or months), or are only shown in standard definition or 2.0 audio (when I can get HD video and 5.1 audio by downloading).

    I've fulfilled my side of the deal - I pay for their services. If they don't want me to download then they can fulfill their side of the deal - provide the shows that I want in the quality that I want in the timeframe that I want.

    I fee

  • "they did not stop using BitTorrent to pirate movies and TV shows that were not included in the offering." They had to do a study to figure out that people will watch what they want to watch. They must have been very hard up for subjects to study, because the result is just what anyone would expect.
  • by Wild_dog! ( 98536 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @08:00PM (#55676773)

    Up front I am not a huge proponent of peoples rights to pirate/share even though my commentary below would tend to contradict what I am saying here. But there is some nuance to the issue. And I say this at a time when I am now replacing all of my 800 plus legit DVD's with legit 1080P and 4K copies.

    Way back in the day everyone bought a bunch of programs and games for their computers. They cost like $50 bucks each and so as geeky teenagers with not a lot of funds from lawn mowing and oddball chores we also collected programs. Personally, I bought up stuff as my money allowed and collected lots of game copies from other collectors.

    But the thing is the bulk of what I collected was largely an archival collection .... I never even used most of the programs and I didn't play many of the games other than to see the disk worked. I generally had to own my favorites which I purchased and played all of the time.
    I even find myself seeking out copies of the games I enjoyed wasting weeks and months on now to play again under emulation or as apps.

    Just got Dragons Lair on iOS. Got Worms Armageddon also because I was obsessed with that game. Got Duke Nukem from GOG.
    What I posit is that, I am not certain the actual damage to the industry is. Is such damage really so great as the numbers the industry puts forth? I remain doubtful.

    Now I knew of a guy who was supposed to have collected over 10K programs for the Apple 2. He was a true collector. Made me a mere speck in terms of collecting.
    How many did he actually use? Probably not many since he was spending all of his time collecting programs.

    Sometimes when I hear how much damage to the industry is going on, I think about this guy because he really wasn't doing damage to the industry at all. Just the amount he was spending on Floppies and Hard Drives was maxing out his budget. So to me, the industry was getting his money on aggregate anyhow.... just in a tangential way. His joy was in collecting... not so much in playing or using. To collect, one spends an inordinate amount on hardware and media.

    Were those 10k content creators losing out on real sales from him? Perhaps marginally or maybe not at all, but if you think of a guy collecting 10k games and programs, he isn't actually deriving benefit from the copy sitting in floppy case. He is merely collecting because of an odd penchant to collect. More of a fetish.

  • by DeBattell ( 460265 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @08:11PM (#55676821)

    It's not about price. It's about selection. If the powers that be want to kill piracy they should all get together and offer reasonable online purchase and and rental of ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING EVER MADE. If people knew everything was available from a reliable source for a reasonable price there would be no temptation to pirate. But they won't do that, because they all want to try to squeeze out the other guy and think that will some how magically give them more money. So piracy continues because people want what they want.

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @08:47PM (#55677027)

    The study found that while the participants watched 4.6% more TV overall when they had the free on-demand service, they did not stop using BitTorrent to pirate movies and TV shows that were not included in the offering.

    It hardly seems shocking to discover that when you give people free access to content they don't care so much about, they'll still use Bittorent to find the content they really want to see.

    I used to think that Netflix was going to stop movie piracy, then the studios decided that they didn't want one streaming provider to have access to everything, so to really watch everything I want to see, I need to subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, HBO, Starz, Disney's upcoming streaming service and more.

    While I *could* track down all of the services I need to use and subscribe to them, why bother when with a few clicks, Bittorrent has the content for free?

  • Plex (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Berkyjay ( 1225604 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @09:11PM (#55677129)

    I pay for Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, and a basic cable package. But I still download all of my shows and put them on my Plex server. I do this for two main reasons. 1) Avoid commercials.....I hate commercials. 2) To have all my shows in one app for my viewing pleasure. Regardless of what these media companies think, convenience is king and jumping around from platform to platform isn't fun. Yes yes, I know cable provides the convenience but the horrible service, commercials, and paying for content I never intended to watch ruins the convenience.

  • What we want is access to all the material, all the time, everywhere, in simple, easy to do ways. The current industry refuses to understand that. It keeps creating artificial scarcity, by pulling content out all the time. The keep constraining where you can play the content. They make it more burdensome than it would to play that content. Finally, they charge too much for said content. Piracy solves all those problems. The industry could solve all those problems as well, and charge some money for it. They
  • by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @10:54PM (#55677599)
    I was watching a show on someone's TV and nearly 1/3rd of the screen kept telling me that there was some concert now live on their web site. This was a Canadian TV channel. Over and over they kept putting this on the screen. It made the show shit to watch. Then there is the bug in the corner. These people simply do not respect my desire to not be continuously marketed at.

    Netflix is free from this. Once in a blue moon netflix takes up the top half of my iPad app to blast some stupid series at me, and I resent that enough. I want to choose what I want, I don't want some MBA who has weaseled and backstabbed his way into getting his company to put his product in my face.

    For instance, a number of people that I know are complaining about netflix continuously recommending Korean TV. None of us want it. If I find out that some exec did a Korean deal and is screwing with the recommendation system to push that crap, I will drop Netflix and go back to piracy in a heartbeat.
  • So they're comparing a Set-Top-Box which must be connected to a TV versus an Internet service deliverable via browser or mobile app...yeah, even if it's comparable movie catalogs it's still not the same thing.

    People pirate movies to take them on-the-go - via computer or mobile - when traveling or out-and-about.

    Want a good study? Offer *identical* services.
  • netflix helps a lot, but... of course it not solve everything, not even close to that!

    i do have netflix, but many movies or series or programs that i do want to view are not there. If it's not on the my fiber TV, nor on my netflix, i will search for alternatives.

    Also, netflix now works in linux browsers, but when i go to vacations, i do not want to take a laptop so i can connect it to a random TV. my RPi3 with xbian is easy to carry and connect to almost all TVs... netflix needs to work there too (yes, ther

  • by XSportSeeker ( 4641865 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @12:35AM (#55677975)

    Ok, let's start with the obvious - predicted revenue "lost to piracy" is just bullshit. You start the article with that kinda crap I already see it as leaning to some agenda.
    Let's put this clearly out there: there is absolutely no reason to believe that even a fraction of people pirating content would pay for everything they get if there was no other option. It's as absurd as claiming an open party with all expenses paid would attract as many people as if you charged everyone 50 bucks for entrance.

    Moving on - for people who already knows and have a routine for pirating, it's just that more convenient. Changing habits will be just as hard, there's no way around this.
    Othe reasons: I dunno exactly what they used, but for instance, I pay for services like Crunchyroll yet I often have to pirate the content that is streaming there, getting content slower than the streaming service offers and oftenly at lower quality... because even though I'm on fiber, with very fast speeds that most of my country don't have access to, the reality of it is that if I try watching it using the service itself, I'm stuck with buffering issues and whatnot. It's on their side, not mine. So I pay for it yet I never use, and have complained multiple time to no avail.
    And I imagine Netflix, Hulu and other services have similar problems. I mean, it can work perfectly for americans, for europeans and whatnot, but what people have to get is that not all countries have optimal service, or even libraries of content.
    Which is understandable for the most part - streaming backend is ultra hard, specially if you have a huge audience, and content is bound to the contracts made in the country.
    But those are things that gets overstepped by piracy. P2P systems and whatnot will take care of this in an almost impossible to beat way, specially for new content. Not to mention that once you get it, it's there to watch offline and whatnot - which I do know is something that some streaming services are offering nowadays for part of their content.

    I keep repeating this all the time, but let's just put this out once more: for the most part, piracy didn't come up because the vast majority of people are ok with stealing the hard work of others, not compensating directors, actors and whatnot, or worse, profiting at the cost of others. Yes, there are some people who would definitely go that route, but it isn't the majority of people. Most people just want some convenient system that works. And the industry has been slowly getting better at providing exactly this - I've been saying this long before iTunes or Netflix came into existence. And studios, industries and whatnot are not only victims of this: piracy played a huge role in spreading out content to places that it would never get to otherwise. This is evidenced by the growth in all entertainment and software industries over the years. If piracy was killing anything, all of those industries would be dead by now. The marketing effect is something that will be left unexplored and unmeasured, thanks to the interests in hiding it.
    But on the industry side, there's still a whole ton of catch up to do. Systems that in one way or another supports piracy has matured a whole ton over the years, and it got to a technological performance that is unmatched by proprietary commercial systems. And it breached barriers that commercial systems can't. So, if you think piracy will die just because there has been some changes in how industries commecialize their stuff online... fat chance. Because even those changes have been marred by old industry practices.
    Just look at what Steam did for game piracy, and look at the differences between a system like Hulu or Netflix, and Steam. The clues are there.

  • to buy older movies at $2 each with no DRM and I wouldn't even care if I lost them since at $2 I'd probably re-buy them.

    Here's how retarded some media companies are. On my YT channel I uploaded a cd called Dogwhislte Life and Time Of An After Hours DJ. This is something that came out in 1994. The chances of someone who bought it after 1998 are slim to none. So I upload it and it got censored in 270+ countries by what even label owns the copyrights. So instead of making it available to the world once again

  • Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @04:11AM (#55678551) Homepage

    Okay, I'm a "legitimate content" person. I don't pirate. I see no point - I earn good money, I have enough spare to pay for what I actually want, which gives me titles I can play where/when I want to, and for which I don't have to worry about viruses, huge downloads, being marked by my ISP, or whatever.

    I know, everyone does it, but I'm one of those odd people who just pays for my stuff. In fact, for the stuff I like, I've often paid several times over over the years. I have Amazon Prime so I get their Instant Video, and I have Google Play for a load of other things. I don't do Netflix as I don't see what they add for me and even with a friend's Netflix in the same house, I see no reason to use it.

    But... this is my problem. If I want to watch it, I want to watch it. Every ad in front of the thing I paid for is an abomination. Every restriction on device, etc. is a pain in the butt. And every time you don't have the content I want, it's even more frustrating. I'm often standing in front of a online store, wanting to give them money, for maybe the crappiest old movie that's available everywhere and easily for free and I can't because it's not on offer for that service.

    Two things pop to mind. Aliens: Special Edition. I love it. I'd love to have it on either the Google or Amazon account. But you can't. You can have Aliens. You can have boxset which include Aliens (but which you can only tell the version of by the runtime, and it's not Special Edition). You can have Alien: Director's Cut. But you can't have Aliens: Special Edition. Go into a shop, however, and that's all they sell, even in the boxsets.

    Another is an old sitcom from the 1970's called The Two of Us. It's UK-specific but so is a lot of the content I buy and the online stores don't have a problem obtaining or selling it. But they released one series on DVD only, nothing else, and then never released the second series (despite it being listed as a pre-release item on Amazon for 8 years now and various dates promised). I can't find either online.

    Now, I'm sure if I really Google hard, I could come up with somewhere selling the first as an online streaming movie, and I could download the latter in a minute via a torrent, I'm sure. But... I'd quite like to own them legitimately and on two of the largest services in the world today. And I can't. It's simply not possible.

    Until the media industry gets together to make a rights consortium that can handle such things so that all the relevant players can licence content properly, and that the same levels of content are available across services, it's really just wasting my time and money. I'm literally trying to give them money for products they already have, but they have no interest in taking it, no way to gauge my interest, no way for me to give feedback.

    By contrast, all the top line of Google Play Movies / TV and most of the stuff I see on Amazon Instant Video I have absolutely zero interest in. Literally I have stopped looking, because it's all just "latest cinema release", six months later, at premium prices, advertised only at the rental prices, that I wouldn't want to watch if they were free to do so anyway.

    Given the amount of tech involved, I don't get why it's so hard to tap into a licensing database, of official content, allowing me to buy anything and everything that's ever been digitised, while recompensing all those people involved fairly, via any service I like, and to actually make sensible recommendations based on what I like to buy.

    To be honest, it's totally worked against them. I just stopped watching movies instead.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @04:58AM (#55678691)

    Allow me to quote from TFS:

    "The study found that while the participants watched 4.6% more TV overall when they had the free on-demand service, they did not stop using BitTorrent to pirate movies and TV shows that were not included in the offering."

    (emphasis mine)

    You're REALLY surprised that people kept downloading the stuff they couldn't get from your package? How on earth is this in any way a miracle? Or a proof that people would still "pirate" if they could stream it for free?

    Here's the problem, let me put it in bold so you actually might get it: You did not offer what people wanted.

    If you stream I Love Lucy for free, it will not convince anyone wanting Game of Thrones to stop downloading it.

    I honestly wonder whether you're so stupid or whether you hope lawmakers are stupid enough to believe you.

  • It doesn't matter how cheep you push the stuff we don't want to watch. People want to watch what they want to watch. If your not offering it at a reasonable price then people will be doing something else. Why is this so hard to understand? It doesn't exactly take a PhD in rocket science to figure this out.

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