I’ve always seen illegal downloading as just that, illegal. It wasn’t until a discussion in class this week that I considered it as a means of ‘sharing’ instead of ‘stealing’. I can go and buy the new Game of Thrones season, and then lend it to all of my friends to watch. Does HBO then have the right to sue me because I lent them my DVD’s? Isn’t illegal download the exact same thing just on a larger scale?
The main reason I believe people download illegally is because of the CONSTANT rising costs of paying for products like movies, TV shows, music and books legally. Just as an example: ONCE AGAIN! Village’s prices have gone up. My boyfriend and I can’t even go out to the movies without it costing us $34 for the tickets alone and that’s because we’re students! Once I finish Uni it will be straight up to $40 for the two of us! And that’s just with the regular screen! So we add on the $2 booking fee, the snacks, extra for 3D or VMAX, AAAAAAAAND if you go with 3D you also pay for your glasses (god I miss the days of the free red and blue 3D glasses!). The fact of the matter is that these companies are just ASKING for people to download illegally, the prices for these products are ridiculous and they’re wondering why they’re seeing such a slump in sales! Unfortunately this seems like a never ending problem for companies. It’s all about supply and demand; as the demand reduces from these consumers downloading illegally, the prices keep getting jacked up to compensate for lost sales.
The other primary reasons include the effort involved in acquiring products; it’s much easier to download than to make a trip down to the shops, and the variety of options for consumers; there’s an unlimited supply of products online for every person’s interests, whilst companies may only provide a limited selection.
Now these companies aren’t just going to take this lying down. To them, illegal downloading is going to eradicate jobs in the creation, production and distribution of these products. Village Roadshow, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, Disney and the Seven Network attempted to sue internet provider iiNet in 2008 for ‘allowing their users to illegally download’ in an attempt to set a precedent to prevent the larger internet providers from allowing online downloading. The legal battle was unsuccessful, however Parliament has been reviewing the idea more recently and could cause serious issues in the near future for illegal downloader’s. If this is successful, we could all face the same issue we had with LimeWire and have no choice but to pay these ridiculous prices that we as consumers forced up. (credit http://www.smh.com.au/news/technology/biztech/film-pirates-put-iinet-in-the-dock/2008/11/20/1226770617457.html)
Now in my opinion, the battle is not over for these companies! They just need to move WITH the times, and try to meet consumer needs in order to try and combat illegal downloading. Netflix is an example of a company that may offer a medium between ridiculously priced cinemas and DVD’s. They have continued to grow over the past few years to the point where they are now competing with Cable TV in the states for top position according to this report posted at the end of last year.
(Image retrieved from http://mashable.com/2013/12/05/netflix-cable-users)
Illegal downloading will never entirely be eradicated but it may be reduced if companies are willing to open up the option of online and affordable products. What are your thoughts? Would an online affordable option make you feel more inclined to pay for products legally? Do you think if these laws are put in place to prevent illegal downloading that consumers will have no choice but to pay? OR will consumers just fine a new way to revolt? Leave your comments below!!