Piracy, justified. And rightly so.

Contrary to what many from the industry will continuously insist on saying, no, those of us who subscribe to the mentality that torrents are better are, in fact, not all cold-hearted lawbreakers. More often than not, we actually genuinely just don’t have much choice. From the linked article:

The easiest way for me to watch TV shows on my computer is to illegally download them. You are competing with pirates, and the pirates are winning. Why? Because they provide me a better service than you do.

I genuinely don’t want to illegally download shows. For starters, downloading torrents is slow and annoying. Secondly, I strongly believe in financially supporting creative output that I enjoy – music, movies, television shows, books, comic books, etc.

Why do the commercial TV options fail me?

Each of the various TV companies insist on having complete control of their shows. This means that they only stream their shows on their own websites. So I find myself needing to keep track of many different websites. (Which network shows CSI again? I can never remember.) This gets doubly tricky for me, because most American websites don’t stream in Canada, where I live.

Indeed, that’s pretty much the crux of the issue right there. Whether or not you subscribe to cable/satelite/what have you, you’re restricted to watching the newest releases of TV shows when, how, where and for however long the TV networks–not the cable companies–choose. Let’s say CTV has the rights to a show Fox is originating. Fox has sold those rights to CTV. If CTV decides to air a show at midnight and I can’t stay up to watch it–occasionally, I do actually go to bed before midnight, I’m escentially screwed. Particularly if I’m not aware CTV has the rights to that particular show, and therefore might, possibly, be streaming it on their website–at least for a few days.

And, since the originating networks in the US don’t actually allow streaming in Canada, I’m left–like the author of the original article–with trying to remember where it is a show is being originated in Canada, and hoping that doesn’t change–I’m reminded of a short-lived show brought to light by Fox during the TV strike of a couple years ago, which in its first season was shown on CTV, I believe, and for its second and final season was shown on a network that escapes me, also on a different day and time.

The original post was apparently prompted by a cease and desist notice handed to him by his ISP, which was handed to them by CBS. They were slapping him on the wrist because he had the nerve to download a show otherwise not available in Canada lest he pay extra to subscribe to the Movie Network. In the letter, he’s advised he can watch the show on demand from CBS’s website. Except, being in Canada, he can’t. He could watch it on the Movie Network’s website, except they’re only streaming one episode of this show on their website, and apparently you have to be a subscriber to that channel in order to gain access to watch that one episode.

Let’s take it a step further, however. At the end of February, I was bouncing around somewhere between my apartment and my parents’ place on one end or another of a month of oh my busy. As a result, I missed the gold metal hockey game between Canada and the US. Yes, I know who won, but I’d planned to actually watch it. Think I could find a means of streaming it online, legally, when I finally had a minute to sit down and actually do that? If you said yes, give your head a shake. CTV, who carried the olympics, didn’t offer it. Nor did I find a listing for it in my search, admittedly online, of Shaw Direct’s on demand options. Which meant exactly what? You guessed it–torrents. Within 5 minutes of looking, I’d found exactly the feed of the game I was looking for, completely free and without needing to go digging any deeper than the official sources for such things. Now, imagine if that’d been the official legal source of what I was looking for? I’d of been much happier. And so would the network doing the broadcasting. I’d offer an opinion on that, but once again, the original article says it better than I could.

As a Canadian consumer, wanting to do the right thing, now what am I supposed to do? You tell me.

Are you starting to understand why piracy is more convenient?

I have money in my hand, and I’m looking around the Internet for the product I want, and it’s just not for sale. This is a situation I find myself in regularly. I want to download a digital copy of an album, but the musician is only selling CDs. I want to pay to download a videogame, and the company insists on sending it to me in a box. I want to watch a streaming TV show, legally, and no one is streaming the show.

In all of these cases, the pirates are standing right next to me, whispering, “You want that video game? You want that music? You want that TV show? Here you go. No charge.”

Fast, convenient, easy to find. They do it better than you.

Indeed, as a Canadian consumer who can’t aford to subscribe to every network that might possibly be offering a show I may or may not want to watch, “What am I supposed to do?” is pretty accurate. I’m still waiting on an official answer for that that doesn’t equate to “subscribe anyway”.

H/T: Kill Everything


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