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One Subject on Which Piracy Apologists Have a Point… To a Point

In reading about the (inevitable) piracy of Netflix’s popular original series House of Cards, and the yeezy replica evidently record-setting piracy of the third seasons premier of HBO’s Game of Thrones, I’m struck by what the two have in common, beyond their popularity.

Both series are distributed behind pay walls, with one (House of Cards) being a bit more difficult to pirate, due to the fact that it is streamed through a system that uses pretty robust DRM. Thrones is in its third season, so it has built more of an audience (paying and otherwise), but both have generated a buzz that has been heard in the market outside of their paying customer base.

Naturally, along with the buzz comes the desire to see the shows — which is tricky for would-be viewers who do reside in areas that don’t receive HBO or Netflix’s service. This brings me to one of the very points on which I agree with many piracy apologists and radical copyright reform advocates: the combination of a media product being wildly popular and not available in any given area or region greatly increases the odds of it being pirated in that area/region.

This is not to say that I think it’s A-OK for those who can’t obtain these shows legally to obtain them illegally, just that I think the desire to do so is understandable, and the fact that many consumers in such regions will turn to piracy is inevitable — right or wrong be damned.

I’m not about to do what many piracy apologists do at this point in the discussion, which is to disparage the executives at HBO or Netflix as “idiots,” or to lecture them about the proper way to release and distribute their content and how much more money they would make if they distributed their programs in a truly universal fashion from Day One. Among other things, HBO and Netflix seems to be doing just fine on their own, they have made infinitely more money than I have (or ever will), and I understand that creating the legal licensing framework for a truly global release of new content isn’t as simple as merely deciding to do it.

I also think HBO Programming Presdent Michael Lombardo has the right attitude toward the meaning of the widespread piracy of Thrones; in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, he said: “I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts. The demand is there. And it certainly didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales. [Piracy is] something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network.”

That’s a sensible view to hold, I think, and is quite different from saying that piracy is a good thing, or that respect for copyright is an outdated notion. Lombardo is just telling it like it is: these days, popular media always gets pirated, and if your movie/song/tv show/book/whatever isn’t being pirated, it’s probably not getting purchased that much, either.

What will be interesting to me is what excuse piracy apologists will make when content that is released globally, at a very low price and across a wide range of distribution platforms still gets pirated, despite meeting all the demands of the Give It to me Cheap, In the Format I Want It, Right Now! young consumer set.

Will the piracy apologists then admit, finally, that some people are indeed just cheap and opportunistic, or will they come up with some new rationale as to why so many people refuse to pay the asking price, one that places the blame squarely on the rights-holders, as usual?

Sadly, I’m betting the answer will be the latter…. but I hope to be proven wrong.http://www.stockxsale.co.uk