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The Almighty Buck Movies Music Television

Most File Sharers Would Pay For Legal Downloads 370

An anonymous reader writes "Two separate studies from Australia and Holland give the lie to corporate entertainment industry claims that file sharers are unprincipled thieves out to rob the honest but harshly treated movie and music studios. Over in Oz, reports, 'Most people who illegally download movies, music and TV shows would pay for them if there was a cheap and legal service as convenient as file-sharing tools like BitTorrent.' And from the EU, 'Turnover in the recorded music industry is in decline, but only part of this decline can be attributed to file sharing,' says Legal, Economic and Cultural Aspects of File Sharing, an academic study, which also states, 'Conversely, only a small fraction of the content exchanged through file sharing networks comes at the expense of industry turnover. This renders the overall welfare effects of file sharing robustly positive.'"
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Most File Sharers Would Pay For Legal Downloads

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  • by 2.7182 ( 819680 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:17PM (#32129388)
    This one cost me in karma probably.
  • How Cheap? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by snowraver1 ( 1052510 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:19PM (#32129426)
    Paying $2/epsiode is not cheap. I would pay $1 for an hour long show (42 minutes in reality) as long as it is commercial free. IF you try to sell me commercials, forget it! 30 minute shows I would pay $.50-$.75, but again, only for a commercial free version.

    The purchased copy would also have to be DRM free.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      That would be ok, if the item would be posted right after it aired (like bit torrent)....
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by darkpixel2k ( 623900 )

        That would be ok, if the item would be posted right after it aired (like bit torrent)....

        Exactly. That pisses me off. A friend recommended switching from the 'pirate life' to an xbox. He said just about every TV show and Movie I could want is available through Zune and/or Netflix.

        I switched, and everything is several years behind. Wanna watch Season 1 of Heroes, sure. Wanna watch seasons two through five? Not on your xbox.

        Is it really that fucking hard to figure out? I don't want to pay Comcast $65/mo for a crapload of channels and shows I don't want to watch. But I would spend abo

    • why?

      Because there is no fixed target. For many your numbers may be too expensive, values set by greedy corporate types who eat babies.

      That is why I think this survey is bunk. First off, they can feel good answering in the positive. It does not obligate them to give the feel good reply. Second, not only do you set a small dollar value on an episode you ladle it with conditions. Really, your numbers are ridiculous. I can imagine the grief you would feel if someone valued your output at such low numbers.

      • by Xphile101361 ( 1017774 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:39PM (#32129832)
        Actually I'm pretty sure that companies like Microsoft would enjoy his price scheme. A dollar an hour for commercial free use of their software? To his point, I agree with the price. I only watch TV on DVD. Generally I only pay 15 to 20 USD for a season. This turns out to be about a dollar an episode. I'm not sure why you would pay more for a digital copy than what you could buy in the store.
        • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @02:36PM (#32130848) Homepage Journal

          Not sure the Microsoft comparison is helpful, but...

          Here's the deal with TV. Virtually all TV shows cost a lot to make. They're not movie style budgets, but they're pretty high anyway. Dollhouse's second season cost around $700,000 per episode to make, which was considered "unbelievably cheap" by the industry, and is actually one of the major reasons why Fox signed it. More usually, TV shows cost somewhere in the region of two to three million dollars per 45 minute episode. The most obscene costs I'm personally aware of (though I don't work in the industry) is the Dark Angel first season opener, about 90 minutes of television that cost $20 million.

          Now, the business model the studios use is to initially sell these shows to TV networks, who have exclusivity over a period of time and can sell advertising. This recovers, say, $1 million per episode within the US, and another million or so overseas. After that, they can start to look for additional revenue streams, such as repeats in syndication and DVD sales to recover the difference.

          So to get to the point about DVD sales, yeah, it's about $1 per episode, but you're committing to buy all the episodes, even the bad ones (pity the Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles "fan" who wants to purchase both of the decent episodes in Season Two, but has to buy all of them instead), which the a-la carte model advocated here doesn't allow for, and you're buying it after the studio has had time to (indirectly) use advertising (that you've probably seen yourself as most people buy DVD sets of shows they've already watched) to fund a major chunk of the cost of the show.

          And imagine, for a second, that the studios decided the broadcasters weren't worth bothering about, and they should just sell shows online direct to viewers. Ignoring the logistics of that at the moment (and it's a temporary thing), it's far from obvious that most people would happily switch from ad-supported TV to a-la carte buying of individual episodes. Ad supported TV requires no commitment on a viewer's part, which makes viewers happier to try the system and watch new shows. The chances of any substantial show managing to attract three million paying viewers is fairly slim.

          This is why you're never going to see the studios switch to a $1 per episode immediate download system for the types of content you watch today. You're either going to see a dramatic reduction in costs, with Whedon leading the way, or you're going to see downloads at that pricing limited to shows that have been broadcast, syndicated, and released on DVD, long ago.

          And if anyone doubts this, they should ask themselves why it isn't being done already. The studios don't have a monopoly on dramatic productions, virtually every film student has the equipment needed to produce a professional level production. And plenty are yearning for the opportunity to make that great show that none of the studios are interested in. The talent is there, but nobody is willing to invest the money, and they're not prepared to do it because the business model doesn't make sense.

          • In other words, to make a la carte episode viewing at a reasonable price (50 cents or so), TV producers would have to:

            1) Put greater emphasis on good writing and make sure every episode was worth watching.
            2) Hire actors and actresses based on talent rather than fame, to save money on salaries.
            3) Rely less on special effects and pyrotechnics.

            I can't see a down side.

      • that - and let me say that $2/episode is nowhere near expensive (a beer at a bar is easily $2 and all you get from it is the need to take a piss).. not sure what GP would pay for a 3.5 minute song, if anything - and...

        'Most people who illegally download movies, music and TV shows would pay for them if there was a cheap and legal service as convenient as file-sharing tools like BitTorrent.'

        ...that's an unrealistic demand right there; It will never be as convenient, given that you will have to register, set

        • by Mashdar ( 876825 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @02:08PM (#32130352)
          Still, if I buy a DVD I am forced to view previews, piracy warnings, etc.. If I pirate the same movie I get to skip all of those and watch the movie without 10+ minutes of crap. Sounds like someone is selling an inferior product and punishing legitimate users. These days copied discs are superior to originals. Oh, and no rootkits or viruses come pre-packaged.
      • by flitty ( 981864 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:51PM (#32130048)

        Really, your numbers are ridiculous. I can imagine the grief you would feel if someone valued your output at such low numbers.

        If 5 million viewers were watching each episode of my tv show, I'd be pleased as punch to get $.25 for each person. You've got to have a top notch piece of entertainment to make it worth a dollar or more an hour, and frankly, most television does not meet this standard. The studios need to recognize that only their top billed shows should be $1 (at most, even for HD), and everything else should either be dirt cheap or subscription based.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CastrTroy ( 595695 )
          You see, this is the problem. When "Friends" was on the air, each star (there were 6 of them) wanted $1,000,000 an episode. So based on your model, at $.25 an episode, and only downloads, and everybody pays, you would need 24 million people downloading just to cover the main actors' salaries. Oh, and that's 24 million TVs. Because multiple people can and do watch the same TV. That's a lot of people. Now, I'm not saying these actors are worth that much, but it really puts into perspective how much it c
          • That's the point (Score:3, Interesting)

            by aclarke ( 307017 )
            This is why TV and movies cost more than they "should". I'll add the same point for watching professional sports. Why should Jerry Seinfeld have made $1M per episode? The short answer is, because he could. Let's look at the cause and effect a little more closely.

            IF people are willing to pay $9 for a movie ticket, THEN Sandra Bullock can make $15M on her next movie.

            This is not the same as "BECAUSE Sandra Bullock wants to make $15M on her next movie, we need to charge you $9 per ticket."

            As a soci
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 2obvious4u ( 871996 )
      Heck I don't mind paying a subscription fee for unlimited. I just wish the selection was larger. Currently I'm using netflix on my xbox 360. If their movie and tv show catalog was larger that would be all I'd need. The only thing I watch live is College Football (and dancing with the stars).
    • Re:How Cheap? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by iluvcapra ( 782887 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:30PM (#32129662)

      Paying $2/epsiode is not cheap. I would pay $1 for an hour long show (42 minutes in reality) as long as it is commercial free..

      Universal Iron rule of the Internet: Everyone would be happy to pay for X, but they're only willing to pay half of what's being asked. Songs are a buck? 50c please. Netflix is $10 a month? I'll only pay $5 a month, and only if there's a bigger selection. An iPad will be $999? Well I'd happily pay $500, and only if it isn't crippled with Apple's retard-o-platform!

      It repeats itself over and over in just about all of these conversations... for just about anything people have a choice to buy, there are those that pay it, and those that don't and rationalize their decision with the concept that the price is too high and everything would be unicorns if only the price were 0.5x. And since it isn't, this establishes a platform for griping about collateral issues (usually DRM and license terms),

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward


        That's why I don't use Linux. Yeah it's free, but if it cost half that amount, I'd gladly pay it.

      • Re:How Cheap? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @02:06PM (#32130302) Journal

        Don't be ridiculous. I agree completely that $2/episode is too much, and it has nothing to do with whining about current pricing.
        It has everything to do with comparing prices with comparable purchases.

        If I subscribe to cable TV I might follow 5-10 shows, along with my family members following their own favorite shows. Most shows have 20-26 episodes per season.
        If I instead drop cable TV and purchase my episodes, at $2/episode x 10 shows x 4 family members x 26 episodes x 3 seasons I would be paying $6,240 per year or $520/month for the privilege on the high end, or $1,800 per year or $150/month on the low end.

        That is ridiculous pricing! Clearly they are NOT pricing individual episodes at a competitive price to cable TV.

        I have already canceled cable TV in my house and I watch the few shows I follow on Hulu. I would be happy to pay $1 per episode to watch without commercials and to avoid any hassle downloading or getting Hulu onto my TV screen instead of a computer monitor. I will never pay $2 per episode.

        • Re:How Cheap? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by gsmalleus ( 886346 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @02:33PM (#32130802)
          I personally haven't dropped cable yet, but came upon an interesting dilemma the other day. Two weeks back I missed an episode of 24. It was clearly available on bit torrent the next day, but I opted for Hulu. I didn't mind the 45 seconds of commercial break. I actually sat there and watched them. When I watch 24 on cable, there are several minutes of commercials and I usually go to the bathroom, make some popcorn, or grab a drink. While on Hulu, the commercial breaks are so short I actually watch them.

          Fast forward to this week. I missed an episode of The big Bang Theory on CBS. Not available for purchase on iTunes, or Amazon VOD. I checked Hulu which directed me to CBS's website. CBS didn't even have full episodes for viewing on their website. My solution... bit torrent. I would have gladly paid for it, or sat through a few Hulu commercials, but they simply don't make it available.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by winomonkey ( 983062 )
          I feel that your math is a little on the high side of things here. I suppose that 10 shows may be a fairly normal number for people to care about and track in an American household, but the per-person rating is high. Would the husband, wife, and children all watch separate shows with no overlap? I find that unlikely ... many of the shows would be "family time" events. Your American Idols, Myth Busters, House, etc will likely have multiple people watching them. Additionally, why is there the 3-season mu
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dangitman ( 862676 )

        Universal Iron rule of the Internet: Everyone would be happy to pay for X, but they're only willing to pay half of what's being asked. Songs are a buck? 50c please. Netflix is $10 a month? I'll only pay $5 a month, and only if there's a bigger selection.

        You're not wrong. I think these surveys are worthless, because what people say they will do, and what they actually do, are very different things. There will always be an excuse.

      • Re:How Cheap? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Blue Stone ( 582566 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @03:08PM (#32131492) Homepage Journal

        >"Universal Iron rule of the Internet: Everyone would be happy to pay for X, but they're only willing to pay half of what's being asked. Songs are a buck? 50c please. Netflix is $10 a month? I'll only pay $5 a month, and only if there's a bigger selection. An iPad will be $999? Well I'd happily pay $500, and only if it isn't crippled with Apple's retard-o-platform!"

        Universal Iron Rule of the Copyright Cartels: Our intangible assets are PROPERTY that must remain with us for time immemorial, we have the right to set the price in collusion with other cartels to extract maximum profit and price-fix. We will not compete with piracy or free because we have a monopoly: we are sovereign rulers and you will like it.

        We will make you pay through the nose for digital products equalling or exceeding the price of physical goods, even though our costs are vastly reduced, because we are sovereign, and you will like it. We will buy and write laws, and whisper poison in the ears of the ignorant and gullible politicians and we will cripple new technologies so that we industries of the past may continue to be fat and prosperous despite the changes in technological reality.

        Our profits shall remain guaranteed and anything which threatens them or dares suggest that they were temporary boons, will be ignored and condemned as untruthful.

        We are powerful and rich middlemen and we will have no truck with reason.

    • What is the episode producer's net advertising revenue per viewer? Shouldn't the commercial-free video be priced about the same?
      • On reflection, that should be gross per viewer, not net. You supposedly can buy TV advertising for 0.5 cents per impression, or less than 10 cents per hour of programming. Multiply that by the number of times the purchaser is really going to watch that episode, and you are still at under $1 per episode. I guess what I'm saying is that iTunes pricing is actually reasonable.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      I'm for even the price of the show on the DVD. If you sell the Seasons's DVD set for $39.95 and it has 20 episodes on it, I'll give you $1.99that for one episode in full pristine resolution and no commercials.

      but they want 3X-4X for it, at low res, and full of commercials.

      There is no reality in the heads of the executives. They are all a bunch of morons.

      • but they want 3X-4X for it, at low res, and full of commercials.

        And charge per viewing. At least with the DVD you can watch it multiple times and in multiple places.

        $1.99 should buy you a local copy to do what you please, following your same logic.

        Oh, but I forgot. Streaming provides a convenience that you should pay more for, right? Right?

      • Re:How Cheap? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Reziac ( 43301 ) * on Friday May 07, 2010 @02:11PM (#32130418) Homepage Journal

        I've discovered that for DVDs, I'll readily pay about $1/hour for TV that I really want to collect and save, or about $8 for a good movie that I'll watch more than once, without thinking too much about it. (Somewhat less for ephemeral stuff, but I seldom buy that at all anyway.)

        But if I have to spend my time to download it, muck about with burning it to DVD if I want to save it, etc, then I expect to pay a small fraction as much, because I've done a good part of the distribution work for them, and ALL of the unit manufacturing work.

        Or do they expect me to work for free?? See, that goes both ways...

    • Re:How Cheap? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:43PM (#32129904) Journal

      Paying $2/epsiode is not cheap. I would pay $1 for an hour long show (42 minutes in reality) as long as it is commercial free. IF you try to sell me commercials, forget it! 30 minute shows I would pay $.50-$.75, but again, only for a commercial free version.

      What about shows that just plain aren't available? I've been following HBO's mini-series The Pacific for the last few weeks. The first episode was a freebie on their webpage. Decent quality stream and no commercials. None of the subsequent episodes were made available though.

      I would happily pay for the privilege of watching this show but that isn't an option. The only way I can get it is to sign up for an insane cable package that will cost me $60-$70/mo. Fat chance of that happening. So I've turned to other avenues to see the show....

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by houghi ( 78078 )

        What about shows that just plain aren't available?

        You do not get to see them. As far as I understand there is no law that forces show makers to make shows available to you in whatever way possible. I don't think it is covered under any human right.

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      Why pay $1 per episode?

      Why bother even to pirate?

      Just stream it from Netflix.

      As far as $1 per show goes: a lot of DVD sets already meet that pricepoint or better.

  • Oh, so true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by raddan ( 519638 ) * on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:20PM (#32129438)
    I am not a downloader. Despite all of the content-producing industry's failings, I believe that I should pay for what other people spend their long hours producing, even if that means, in the end, what the artist gets is minuscule. I didn't invent bad contracts.

    But what really ticks me off is when people actually prevent me from willingly parting with my own money due to geography. There was a show on the SciFi channel recently, Defying Gravity []. It wasn't exactly the greatest bit of science fiction out there, but I like Ron Livingston, the acting was generally decent, the story was compelling, and on the whole, the show was entertaining. About halfway through the season, ABC cancelled the show. But Canadian and Australian networks continued to show it. You could buy the episodes online via Amazon's video page, but after the ABC cancellation, you could only buy the first half of the show. WTF? I fired up BitTorrent for the first time.

    While I'm at it, let me say: region coding for DVDs is a gigantic anti-competitive crock of shit. Fortunately, I have me a region 2 DVD-R, a Linux machine, and Handbrake, so that I can actually pay for and watch good television from another English-speaking country.
    • I'd hardly consider that rubbish a language even if those aussie shielas know how to make me crack a fat.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      "I am not a downloader. Despite all of the content-producing industry's failings, I believe that I should pay for what other people spend their long hours producing, even if that means, in the end, what the artist gets is minuscule. I didn't invent bad contracts"

      what does that have to do with downloading? How is it different from getting content over the air?

      AFAIAC, they could put it online with commercials and I would watch it just the same as over the air.

      • by raddan ( 519638 ) *
        Oh, but you are paying for content over the air. Commercials. You're paying with your time, even if you aren't watching those commercials.

        By "downloader", I meant "illegal downloader". You know, what TFA is about.
    • ABC did the exact same thing, with a show on the same timeslot the year before, named Kings []. I liked both of them, and both of them got stopped partway through the season, then eventually bounced to another time, unanounced months later, and finished out.

  • by swm ( 171547 ) * <> on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:21PM (#32129486) Homepage

    I periodically try to buy media from some service that is trying to sell it to me. Invariably, their DRM doesn't run on my platform, and I give up.

    • What's even worse is when you legally are gifted a CD that won't play, at all, except with only ONE tool that has virtually no interface on one platform (for example, cdcontrol on FreeBSD), but works like normal on a different, crappier, platform (Windows).

      Reeks of DRM. Not happy.

  • DRM (Score:4, Informative)

    by thepike ( 1781582 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:22PM (#32129494)

    Part of my problem has always been DRM. I know it's a lot better now than it used to be, but if I pay for it, I want to get to keep using it forever, not just until a given music store shuts down or something like that. Granted, itunes won't be going anywhere anytime soon, but when all this was starting that was a serious concern.

    Even xkcd [] knows it's true.

  • by AnonymousClown ( 1788472 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:22PM (#32129512)
    With all the people forking over $.99 for iTunes and software, I was under the impression that the thesis of this paper has been proven in real life.
  • So they say... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jwietelmann ( 1220240 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:23PM (#32129518)

    Should be titled:

    Most File Sharers Hypothetically Say They Would Pay For Legal Downloads

    What people say in surveys and what they do when there is actual money in play are two different things. What is "cheap"? And what pay service could possibly be as convenient as BitTorrent? If you have to log in and provide payment information, it's already not as convenient.

    Anyway, I wouldn't extrapolate too much from that survey.

    • Re:So they say... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:32PM (#32129694) Journal

      Although what you say is true, the fact is that a combination of ingrained moral principle and slight fear of being caught do help push people towards the legit options, if all else is approximately equal.

      Torrented shows are always going to be the superior option overall because of the price, but as iTunes and Hulu have demonstrated, people are willing to 'do the right thing' if they get a similar product. People are much less willing to pay a significant amount of money for a far inferior product.

      • by Itninja ( 937614 )
        Not mention that fact that, when getting torrent'ed files, there's always a risk of malware and whatnot. Of course, there is a marginally risk with legit purchases too, but corporation can be (and have been) successfully censured or sued for doing so. Despite my best efforts I have not been able to serve papers to warexluvrr69 who recent gave me digital herpes.
    • by blueg3 ( 192743 )

      I bet if you came up with a system that remembered your payment information where you remained logged in, enabling you to go from viewing an item to having purchased it in one click, it would be such a clever system that you'd be issued a patent for it.

    • Re:So they say... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:46PM (#32129956) Homepage Journal

      over and over again it has been shown that giver a convenient method and a cheap price people will pay for the goods.

      Apple has sold billions of songs, all of which could be gotten for free.

      There is no correlation between the advent of bit torrent, and a decline in music sales.

      If the industry put up a easy to use feed and embed advertising, they would be fine.

      AS it stand right now, I'll grab a series online, watch soem episodes. If it's good, I'll get the DVD, if not I dfelete it and move on.

      Just like when would listen to a tape of songs before going and purchase an album.

      I had tons of 8 tracks I down^H^H^H^H copied front the air waves to listen to.

      The same shit has been said since the introduction of the printing press. Seriously the exact same argument. Yet the entertainment industry is still a multi billion dollar industry, and the easiest thing to copy in the world, software, is a multi-billion dollar industry as well.

    • I would suggest the BBC iPlayer shows people will use legal means if such means are available. BBC iPlayer with a few controls allowing you to buy media forever would be perfect. Especially if I couldn't download them onto my PS3.

      I gave up on music downloads because buying an MP3 album was usually more expensive than buying the CD. I've not bothered with TV downloads for the same reason.

      Whatever your definition of cheap is, they are trying to sell digital media in a marketplace. I would think given the
    • Re:So they say... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @02:00PM (#32130214) Journal
      Seriously, something more convenient than Bittorrent? Hunt around for that rare movie, find out there's only one extremely slow seeder and after days of downloading (if the seeder didn't disappear altogether) you find that it is a version dubbed in f-ing German. Or has hardcoded subtitles in piss-poor Dutch? No, I would love to pay for good, reliable downloads straight from the (legal) source.
  • That's why people illegally download things that they CAN legally download.

    Seriously, how many people are going to say "No, I wouldn't do it legally even if it was cheap enough!"

    • That's why people illegally download things that they CAN legally download.

      Like what?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Let's go with the big one: music. You can even download, legally, for a small price, DRM free MP3s from iTunes, Amazon... etc...

        • Yes, and iTunes sells literally millions of tracks every day. Sure, piracy hasn't been wiped out, but low price music without ads or DRM seems to sell pretty successfully, even though the option not to pay is just a couple of clicks away. Spotify, which uses a free but ad supported streaming model for music, is also extremely popular here in the UK.

          I'm unaware of a comparable service for video, though. Hulu and its ilk seem like a great idea - moving the standard ad-supported broadcast model onto the web se

        • by rtaylor ( 70602 )

          Gave up on iTunes. About 1 in 5 items I purchased were either incorrectly labelled so I didn't get what I wanted, or very poor quality but with a high quality sample.

          The pricing was fine but getting these things fixed via their customer service is pretty painful, particularly when it was a very similar item (show 5 from season 2 instead of show 2 from season 5).

          Sample set was well over 100 items. I haven't tried the alternatives yet, but iTunes is out.

        • So let's go with a counter-example from recent experience...

          "Only You" (re-recorded version) by The Flying Pickets, at Amazon UK:

          This is geographically right next to where I live.. save for the north sea.

          But I can't buy it.

          We're sorry. We could not process your order because of geographical restrictions on the product which you were attempting to purchase. Please refer to the terms of use for t

        • Let's go with the big one: music. You can even download, legally, for a small price, DRM free MP3s from iTunes, Amazon... etc...

          Okay, I get you now. I see it from a different perspective, though. Music trading has been super easy for over 10 years. iTunes has been enormously successful and Amazon isn't doing too bad itself. iTunes even dumped its DRM and is still doing fine. I don't think the number of people 'illegally' downloading MP3s when they could get them otherwise is anything remarkable. For all we know, they're just downloading songs because it's easier to do that than to rip all their CDs sitting in the back of thei

          • That is true, they could be doing that. In my experience, most people aren't doing that. Most people that I know that illegally download music are downloading tons of albums, either just for the fun of it or because they don't want to pay for it. Usually, they will say "if I like it, I'll pay for it." However, anyone can claim that and make themselves feel better. How many people actually DO that, I don't know. :)

            My main point was that someone claiming "oh yeah, I would do it legally [if it was cheap e

        • by Spatial ( 1235392 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:52PM (#32130072)
          I don't see your point. Those services are hugely popular and lucrative.
        • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

          > Let's go with the big one: music. You can even download, legally, for a small price, DRM free MP3s from iTunes, Amazon... etc...

          That's fine so long as the download services carry what you're interested in.

          Much like Netflix, the idea that they have whatever you want or even anything that's available on physical media is something you can't assume.

          There are a number of things that iTunes doesn't carry.

          Some things aren't even available at all. Perhaps they never have been or didn't sell well enough when t

        • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:56PM (#32130156) Journal
          Exactly. And that is where I get my music; I haven't illegally downloaded any music in ages, ever since there has been a viable legal alternative.

          I still download movies illegally (though in the Netherlands downloading isn't strictly illegal if you don't upload at the same time). Why? Not because I am unwilling to spend my money, but because the pirates offer a better product. I fully agree with our MPs who state that downloading of copyrighted material will not be prosecuted until there is a viable legal alternative. Viable... This means a good selection, a good price, a variety of formats, and no DRM so that I can actually download to own and play movies on any of my devices.
        • Are they region-restricted though?

      • That's why people illegally download things that they CAN legally download.

        Like what?

        As far as I understand, in Netherlands - like in the rest of Europe - HTTP downloads of media files (not software) are actually legal (as they involve no redistribution on your side, and provided that you don't intend to spread the files further - i.e. sole personal use). Therefore, many people here actually download stuff legally already.

    • by Itninja ( 937614 )
      I do. Why not? There will always be 'that guy' who gets a boner by accumulated 30 years worth of music for free. There will always be people who will spend time actively seeking out the illicit downloads, even though a legit one of the same thing is $1.50 and they could get it in less time. These people have massive amounts of disposable time.
  • They asked filesharers whether they would be "nice" if given the chance? Well duh, people tend to paint themselves in better light when presented with such questions.

    The Dutch thing is actually a study, with nice numbers.

  • Two anecdotes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:26PM (#32129570) Journal
    Two anecdotes that are related to this:

    I remember back in the 90s before filesharing became popular, I read an article by an expert predicting the demise of the recording industry within the next decade. It was so full of corruption (ie everyone trying to get their 'share', even at the abuse of the artists or the company, much like, say, Bear Sterns) that it was going to implode within a few years. Remember at that time they were still flying high off their boost from the switch to CD format and were spending profligately.

    Second anecdote, I had a friend who was working for a major recording studio at the time iTunes first came out. He said iTunes completely saved the industry. People were all terrified because they could see the collapse going on, and were thinking of changing careers (have to when there's nothing else). They didn't know what they were going to do. Then iTunes music store came out and everyone started coming back.

    In other words, it is true file sharers are leeches on society who take without giving back, but they aren't the ones who caused the problems in the recording industry. The industry brought it on themselves.
    • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:57PM (#32130178) Homepage Journal

      What: Printing press
      When: 1653..about
      Who: Stationaries guild

      I read an article by an expert predicting the demise of the book industry within the next decade. -

      What: Player pianos
      When: 1906
      Who: Composers
      I read an article by an expert predicting the demise of the music industry within the next decade. -

      What: VCRs
      When: 1970s
      Who: TV industry

      I read an article by an expert predicting the demise of the TV industry within the next decade. -

      What: Software
      When: Mid 70s, 80's, 90's, and the Naughties.
      Who: Software industry

      I read an article by an expert predicting the demise of the SOftware industry within the next decade. -

      What: Cassettes
      When: Late 70s
      Who: Music Industry

      I read an article by an expert predicting the demise of the Music industry within the next decade. -

      They would be wise to learn from history and adopt instead of wasting money irritating consumers.

  • The music industry insisted that computers are only for piracy and that no one would ever pay for music online.

    iTunes is now the single largest retailer of music.

    Now Hollywood and TV studios are being dragged into this, and most are slow to catch on to the fact that if you provide a good service for a good price, people will pay for it.

    Why watch a low-quality pirated copy of a movie on a streaming site if I can subscribe to Netflix on the cheap?

    • I would gladly pay a buck (or maybe 2) for an hour long episode with no comercials.

      Yet the industry say's that its not enough.

      My cable company pays a few dollars per subscriber month to the biggest media companies. (thats a holdover from the early days, when cable TV wasn't supposed to have commercials, cause WE were paying for it) If I pay for a few episodes (like say, a buck a week for 30 Rock) then they should end up making even more money off of me, than they would with the local cable company. Grante

      • I think Hulu will eventually move to a model like this.

        It amazes me that it was someone at NBC who was willing to do something like Hulu before anyone else.

  • I would gladly pay a subscription to download programs for a flat fee, but would I pay $1900US for CS5? Hell. No. Not when I can "liberate" it from Usenet. But TV shows and movies for around the same that it costs to rent a disc from the RedBox? Sure, I'd do that. Especially if it means I don't have to get my fat ass out of the car whilst in line at the McDonald's drive thru-getting fat-burgers fat-nuggets for me and the fat-family.
  • I agree (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:30PM (#32129674)

    This seems pretty logical to me. Speaking to my own experience, the things the I "pirate" lately have been because of convenience.

    I "pirated" Avatar off of Bittorrent because I'd seen it 3 times in the theater already, but it wasn't out on video yet (I then bought it on Blu-Ray the day after it came out).

    I "pirated" Survival of the Dead off of Bittorrent because it's not been released on DVD yet in the US.

    I "pirated" nearly 200 individual songs off of Bittorrent recently, because I switched to Rythmbox and it couldn't import those songs with DRM'd content from my iTunes library (and though I technically can pay to "upgrade" to DRM-free music- FUCK paying twice just so that I can use my media on another player).

    I truly don't mind paying for stuff, and I buy a lot of media. It's a matter of pricing and convenience. Don't DRM it - I don't buy DRM'd movies online because I don't know if I'll be playing it via XBMC (on either my AppleTV or my hacked Xbox), my Linux machine, or any other device that hasn't been dreamed up. They also better price it fairly. The $0.99 price point for a song I don't mind. It works, and I buy most of my music now with that (previously from Amazon because I'm trying to not support Apple, but now from the Ubuntu One store if they have the track). TV show episodes also shouldn't go higher than $0.99 each, and movies in digital download form shouldn't cost more than $4-5 each. That's about what the physical copies fall off to in a few years anyways. Why should I pay MORE for them not having to manufacture, ship, and stock a disc?

    The studios are going to have to come to grips with the fact that they've lost a ton of control over a market that they once called every shot in. Consumers have been presented with a way to get what they want for free, but more importantly WHEN and HOW they want it. The latter part is what's important to me. I'm willing to pay if only to make sure that I'm getting a quality standard that a studio can provide as compared to some guy who ripped a copy of a movie with Handbrake and forgot to deinterlace it. When the "pirated" stuff just plain works better though, then they're just being naive if they think people will pay for an inferior product out of some sense of loyalty.

  • Laughable (Score:4, Insightful)

    by theArtificial ( 613980 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:31PM (#32129680)
    Since we're naming the prices that we would be comfortable paying, I think I would be happy buying a Lamborghini for not a penny more than $1400. The Pirate Bay wanted to fill this gap with a single monthly fee for access to the shared content but the industry didn't bite. I mean if you are Adobe and sell software such as CS4 receiving a fraction of a users $14/month sounds like a fantastic deal compared to retail prices.
  • Pay a REASONABLE price for downloads.

    Honestly, I'd love to be able to buy access to my TV shows via RSS feeds instead of pulling them from and then torrenting them all. But I cant.

    No Hulu is not an option. I want it in 720p on my playback device of choice. not their blessed device or at a horribly crappy resolution plus disabling skipping of commercials.

    So I simply have a mythbox to grab what I can locally, and I torrent the stuff I cant get in the country.

    Make it so I can pick 25 tv shows for $50

  • I dont have the links, but dont articles mentioning this same thing keep appearing every few months?

  • Which means, according to *IAA, trillions of dollars of lost revenue.
  • Sure, I would. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pathological liar ( 659969 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:38PM (#32129820)

    I'd love to pay for legal downloads. It'll never happen though. It's great that the iTunes store is offering generic MP3s (although lossless would be nice) ... but for $1/track? Forget it. I can buy it used for $6 and get the case, liner notes, and have it in whatever format I want. Downloadable TV? It had better be high def and MPEG4, and no commercials, and cheaper than they would ever dream of offering it. When I can buy a DVD box set for cheaper than buying a download of each individual episode, you're doing it wrong.

    The content industry will simply never offer it in formats or at a price I find acceptable.

  • In the example of music, we already have mulitple, cheap means of buying songs, most of them legal, most of them DRM-free. Amazon MP3 sells songs for 99 cents and most albums for under 10 bucks, with a huge selection of albums even cheaper that that. They regularly hold sales with popular albums in the 5 dollar range. All of it in standard MP3 formats without DRM.

    There are several East European sites that sell MP3's for as little as 15 cents apiece.

    And still, the torrents flow. Because if you make something

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      > We have a generation that think music is free because it's on the Internet.

      No. We have generations that think music is free because of radio.

      Music has been free since before most people alive today were even born.

  • Statistics (Score:4, Funny)

    by kaoshin ( 110328 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:39PM (#32129840)

    Most people might, if they had the money left over from so many others competing for their entertainment dollar. I don't mean to sound stupid, but I conversely and robustly positively don't understand what that from the second study means. On the other hand, proactively quantifying the synergy facilitated by that paradigm is a win-win situation for future-proof vertical markets, and I find that quite empowering.

  • The key to making money from paid content is to make it Easy, Cheap, Safe and Reliable.

    Easy - The site must be fast, easy to navigate and have a good search function.

    Cheap - I don't know exactly how cheap it would have to be, but the general philosophy would be, cheap enough that the buyer does not have to think about the purchase for too long, and the penalty for making a mistake is minimal.

    Safe - No viruses or malware.

    Reliable - The site is always up, downloads always complete successfully.


  • Is downloading banned stuff , games like manhunt2 outside USA piracy in its criminal form, as it did not result in a lost sale for the publisher, just that the publisher did not want to sell it to me

  • I want a service that provides me with live streaming access to all media ever created. I would be willing to pay a monthly subscription fee for this service, probably up to the $100 USD/mo range. This is *almost* what we have with the vibrant torrent community already.

  • Yeah, probably I would. How much? Another good question. I might pay $30/mo but that depends on the terms. If I stop paying would I lose rights to everything I downloaded up until that point? If no, then yeah... if yes, then hell no.

  • Before they were shut down had reasonable prices and an extensive library; they charged by bit-rate (hence bandwidth) at very reasonable prices.

  • Its cheap enough, its selection is big enough and the keep 10 incentive/deal makes it very affordable. Not only that but the software is pretty cool, integrates with zune hardware, xbox 360 and remote windows media players easily.

    I could say the same for netlix.. i quit using torrent for tv since instant watch has plenty of things for me to watch and quite franky i enjoy waiting a few months until all episodes are available on disk or on demand instead of waiting a week between each episode and planning my

  • by Rydia ( 556444 )

    'Most people who illegally download movies, music and TV shows would pay for them if there was a cheap and legal service as convenient as file-sharing tools like BitTorrent.'

    If only someone would create an online service which allowed you to buy music! What kind of twisted mockery of a universe do we live in that has kept this from happening?

    Why must the universe mock us so?! WHY?!

    (For reference, it is raining behind me, and I am wet. The two are not related.)

  • by holiggan ( 522846 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:59PM (#32130198)

    Part of the fault of this whole "downloading" mess rests on the "industry" shoulders, be it the music, movie or TV. Specifically the whole "region" concept.

    Why, in this day and age, with globalization, internets and the like, do I have to wait MONTHS to catchup a TV series on my country (Portugal), after it broadcasts on the US? Why don't they just make it available straight away on iTunes, for me to *buy it*? Oh right. Because as of right now, I can't buy series or movies on iTunes Portugal, only music... Can someone explain me why?

    Or why do I have to wait 6 (sometimes even more) months to get a movie on DVD, after it came out on the US? Granted, I can understand some delay related to localization costs (in the Portuguese case, only covers and subtitles, as we almost never dub movies, as the Spanish do). But even so, if I want to buy the whole English version of a movie, why can't I do it? Well, I can do it, I can order it from if I have a region 1 DVD player, of course.

    In both these situations, I have two options: sit and wait months for the "region aproved" versions of the series or movies (if they ever get picked up by the local distributors, of course), or just fire up utorrent and have a Lost episode hours after it aired in the US.

    My point is that I would gladly pay for DRM-free, "fresh", 0-day, English only media content. I don't mind waiting for a region 2 edition of a good movie, and buying it, and I have some original, payed-for box sets of my favorite TV shows. The problem is not exactly price. The problem is convenience. And artificial barriers. I still can't figure out why can't I buy my favorite shows on iTunes Portugal. Or why all of the sudden I can't watch The Daily Show on their website. Oh, the problem is add revenue, you say? It can't be free anymore? No problem, I would *pay* for episodes of the The Daily Show... If I had a place on the web to buy them!

    The industry is still clinging to outdated business models, that don't make any sense in our age. Come on! In a few days, the Mac crowd will be able to enjoy Steam, and Valve's games! Talk about globalization and interoperability! But why can't I watch South Park or Lost or House, legally, in Portugal, after it broadcasts on the US?!

    You see, the issue is not always price. My treasure can be the next man's garbage. The issue is convenience. Ever wondered why malls and big store conglomerates are so popular? Heck, ever wondered why Amazon is so popular? Convenience. When I want something, I want it in the fastest, most convenient way possible. Amazon delivers me books to my doorstep, in a matter of days. I've tried to do something similar with some "brick and mortar" stores here. Just forget about it. They told me I would have to wait for 2/3 weeks for a specific book that I wanted to order. I said to them "never mind then". I went to Amazon, and 3 days latter, I had the book. And it probably cost me a bit more than doing it locally. But I had the book *fast*, because I needed it.

    So there you have it. Media industries, start to think about "costumer convenience" (this includes DRM-free stuff as well), even before the prices. If the convenience is there, even if the price is not the cheapest, the people that want it will pick it up.

  • by Dan667 ( 564390 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @02:17PM (#32130528)
    when you buy a DVD the first thing that happens when you try and watch it is you get told you are Criminal (FBI warning, don't pirate, etc) and then you have to sit through unskippable trailers, then crap dynamic menus, and finally after 10 min or more you get to the movie. With a pirate copy you get the movie first thing with no crap, which is what people buy. You would think that movie execs would put two and two together.
  • Personal Experience (Score:3, Informative)

    by morcego ( 260031 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:06PM (#32134868)

    Some time ago, a publisher released a book that I wanted. It was part of an ongoing series, and I had all the previous as e-books (paid for). However, now the publisher told the stores they can no longer sell these e-books for people from outside USA. This e-book is now simply unavailable to me. They don't sell it in my country, or anywhere else that will sell to me.

    To add insult to injury, after several attempts to talk to the publisher, they never, even once, replied to my e-mails.

    Need prove I was willing to pay ? I payed for all the others before. I even payed premium for those "just released" books.

    My option ? A pirate download, of course. Which was, I'm said to say, readily available after a few days.

    It amazes people they keep complaining about piracy, when they seem to simply be unwilling to sell to people who wants to pay. In this particular case, even the author of the book (who DID reply me) was baffled by the publisher's attitude. Yeah, protecting the authors my ass.

"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."