David Pogue Explains 'How Hollywood Is Encouraging Online Piracy'
When it comes to piracy, Hollywood is on the attack. It's a tricky topic to discuss and one that the MPAA has the loudest voice in. An excellent post that I came across today by tech writer David Pogue takes another stab at piracy and this time goes after the studios themselves. Pogue has written a column for Scientific American titled "How Hollywood Is Encouraging Online Piracy". He succinctly, in about 600 words, pretty much nails the big issue with the movie industry right now that is keeping piracy as rampant as it is. For the sake of discussion, I thought it worth mentioning his column, and highlighting a few of his quotes.
Nothing compares to simply reading the full article itself, since it's a fairly quick read and gets right to the point. Here's where Pogue really gets at Hollywood and what they're doing blatantly wrong. Worth hearing:
"Yet perhaps most important, there's the availability problem. New movies aren't available online until months after they are finished in the theaters, thanks to the "windowing" system… None of the movie studios would talk to me on the record about this subject, so I can't tell you why so many major movies are missing. Obviously somebody, somewhere, objects to releasing the rights—a lawyer, a director, a studio executive…"
"The people want movies. None of Hollywood's baffling legal constructs will stop the demand. The studios are trying to prevent a dam from bursting by putting up a picket fence."
"And if you don't make your product available legally, guess what? The people will get it illegally. Traffic to illegal download sites has more than sextupled since 2009, and file downloading is expected to grow about 23 percent annually until 2015. Why? Of the 10 most pirated movies of 2011, guess how many of them are available to rent online, as I write this in midsummer 2012? Zero. That's right: Hollywood is actually encouraging the very practice they claim to be fighting (with new laws, for example)."
While I've always been a staunch supporter of the theatrical experience, I understand why piracy exists. And Pogue pretty much explains why here, and why it continues to exist nowadays. He really says it best: "Yes, times are changing. Yes, uncertainty is scary. But Hollywood has case studies to learn from. The music industry and the television industry used to fight the Internet the same way—with brute force: copy protection, complexity, legal challenges… Eventually all of them found roads to recoup some of their lost profit not by fighting the Internet but by working with it." Exactly. It's almost that simple. So why is any progress in that direction so slow? (The MPAA.) I'm not sure Pogue's column will shake up the industry enough to make changes, but more pressure like this
can should only help encourage change for the better.