Digital Piracy for the Win!!!

Two momentous events happened this week, Pirate Bay went under (hopefully not for long) and I considered why I use peer-to-peer sites to share files.

The Pirate Bay may be down but the idea it created of free and collaborative internet has taken root amongst us and the new generation and an idea will never die. Dominic talked about how the film and music industry is under threat from file sharing websites but he oversimplified a nuanced scenario in the entertainment industry. It is true that revenues has fallen in the internet era but they are still very high. The recent Sony hacking (this is the third one I believe) revealed that for every $1billion invested by the company, the rate of return is $500million. Let me tell you, that is a rate of return any company will absolutely kill for! Musicians make a higher proportion of their money from live performances nowadays, file sharing has made musicians work harder for their money, “pirates” have made them more productive! I’m not surprised that musicians and actors are complaining, they miss the old days of working a few months a year and them fucking off to live the high life.

I did consider this week why I don’t buy music or films digitally. If I like a movie I go watch it in the cinema and pay around £10 which is an exorbitant price based on monopoly power, but I still pay it because I’m going for an experience. If i don’t consider the experience to merit the extortionate price them I share it online from someone who paid for it. I have every right to test a product before plumping my minimal student loan into it. And that is my second point, I’m a student and with the high living costs and the crippling debt I will look to save money where ever I can, its simple economics.

So, did I learn anything this week? I learned about people’s viewpoints on this topical issue but I’m unmoved. I simply respond to rational economic situations and incentives to reduce the costs to me while increasing my satisfaction. And until my income increases or the extortionate pricing for albums and movies declines I will not buy them (unless it’s my flat-mate Scotson Pike’s music!).

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