I just came across an interesting article on PCMag.com regarding online piracy and looks at it from a different angle.
The Swiss government has decided that it will not implement an additional legislative solution to copyright infringement, arguing that the money consumers save via piracy is spent later on other entertainment expenses.
In a statement released on Nov. 30, the government’s department of intellectual property said that it had completed a report originally commissioned by the Swiss senate in March 2010, to address the question of whether or not additional measures were needed to counter the spread of copyright infringement. – PCMAG.com
I’ve never really thought about it this way, but in some ways it does make sense. These days, it’s so easy to download something for free on a torrent network or any other peer to peer sharing system. You must admit, when that option is hanging in front of you, it’s a much better alternative than forking over your hard earned cash.
After a while, all of that saved money adds up and you’ll ultimately have a subtle sense of having extra money to spend. The question that I still ask is – what will this extra money get spent on?
Look at it this way - the main things people download for free are movies and music. The record companies, theaters, and hollywood lose money whenever somebody decides to opt for the pirated version. When the consumer ultimately ends up spending that saved money on something else, what will it be? Perhaps it will be entertainment systems, TV’s, Stereos, whatever. I’m guessing it will be anything but movies and music.
Once people get a taste for how easy it is to download something for free off the internet (especially when it’s the same quality they’d get from the paid version) they won’t be spending much more money on that kind of stuff anymore.
Sure, the entertainment industry as a whole may not be impacted, but the areas in which the only form of revenue is from music sales, or movie sales – they most definitely will be impacted. It’s just a transfer of wealth the way I see it.
Either way, I believe the following sentence sums it up pretty well, regardless of how you look at it.
The department’s conclusion therefore favored the consumer: instead of forcing Swiss citizens to change their behavior, copyright holders would have to adjust to the new market realities.
Piracy is always going to exist. It’s become so prevalent that it’s pretty much impossible for to eradicate it through copyright laws. Too many people download pirated material, and too many people are smart enough to get around any kind of barrier they put into place. Eventually the industry will have to adjust their way of doing business to account for the fact that piracy does exist and will always exist, unless of course we go the way of China and start allowing crazy censoring regulations to be passed. If that ever happens, we’ve got bigger problems than worrying about where to download the newest Lady Gaga album.