Music. Movies. Piracy. Me.

Recently I found myself yet again squarely in the middle of a, well let’s just call it a debate about piracy and the digital revolution… and I’ve found with each time there are always the following identical assumptions made about me once I say I don’t pirate music/movies nor do I condone it that is in the end wholly ironic.

Firstly, once I tell someone I’m not a pirate or that pirating is wrong and or illegal they immediately assume that I will do nothing more than tell them all how they’re going to burn in hell (or whatever fitting punishment they’re deity might suggest for such a crime) and will do nothing to listen to their argument nor will I bother to do anything more than convince then to never steal anything, especial that song from that band they like.

Secondly, and as it seems to go right along with the first assumption people usually tend to also assume that I just blindly side with the music or movie industry and don’t have any idea what the hell is going on or that I’m so incompetently stupid that when they try and tell me they’ve made their own HD versions of movies form “source material” that I just wouldn’t understand how that works I laugh so hard on the inside I fart a little. Because if your “source material” is a VHS what you have isn’t High Definition it’s either up-converted bullshit or you’ve lied you goddamn ass off and assume I’m dumb enough not to know any better. In either case you can go promptly fuck yourself because now you’re not only a liar, you’re also and asshole and a total moron.

Thirdly, since I was told recently that I like to type to hear the sound of my own voice I’d like to listen to myself for a while and explain a simple concept that apparently not one of you has ever bothered to even try and understand. For all your idiotic assumptions and pissy trolling comments no one (not once) has ever taken the two seconds to actual ask me what my stance was. And if you haven’t figured out by now why I don’t offer it freely anymore in these so-called debates it’s because I both know you don’t give two shits and you can’t for the life of yourselves understand how I can play the long game with the straight face that I play it with. Not once do I respond to the trolling comments with trolling responses and all the while you keep telling me you’re trolling me but what you’ve not figured out (again because you keep assuming and not asking, not actually engaging in a goddamn conversation for once in your infinitesimally useless existence) is that the only one of us mad in this entire exchange is you, not me. So who’s trolling who, dipshit?

Now that I’ve fulfilled my quotient of narcissism and have listened to my inner voice for the better part of 4 minutes I’m going to offer up, for those who are even still paying attention my stance on piracy, the industry and why I am the way I am. If you can muster up the meh enough to care just enough I think you might actually be surprised by what I have to say. As for the reason I do not pirate music, movies, software or anything else is honestly simple, short, sweet and very much unlike the rest this story to the point. I create intellectual property across several mediums: I don’t have a leg to stand on form any side of any argument if I steal someone else’s music, software, movie or the like. As for the rest…well that’s a rather different story so stick with me. I mean hell you’ve read this much.

I used to be one of those white label recording studios, and as for the music industry is concerned. It’s completely the fuck broken. That doesn’t change the fact that piracy is wrong, however. And I like bands like NiN that have adopted a pay what you want, if at all and we will make, money elsewhere (maybe) approach. But honestly there are even better approaches to the industry as a whole in how we distribute content (that’s the new buzzword for intellectual property by the way) and the music industry is in fact slowly after fighting tooth and nail making ridiculously long slow ass strides in the right direction but it still has a long, long, long, way to go. But if you think about where we were just 20 years ago in the music industry you’d realize how far we’ve become. Sure Apple would love to tell you it’s all because of iTunes and sure that has helped, as has Pandora, Spotify and countless other streaming and subscription services even the likes of Grove form Microsoft (formerly Zune Music) but that’s not the whole story, in fact that’s not even half the story as to why the music industry is finally making moves in the right direction, but I’ll come back to that in just a moment.

Right now the film industry and more specifically the Asshats at the MPAA are pretty much exactly where the deflated music industry and the Fuckwits over at the RIAA were at in the late 1990s when I was still somewhat involved in the process. Both industries much like any major cooperation is extremely resistant to change. But here is where the irony is, and while I don’t pirate and I feel piracy is wrong I also know that with film and television it will help shape the industry in the next 10 years much in the same way it has done for the music industry. While Apple Music and Spotify fight for your monthly fees and you try and figure out which service to buy because they both suck in one way or another to some listeners because in both cases they have giant gaping holes in their libraries due to legacy executives at record labels who still think in terms set back as far as the industry is self the very fact the services even exist is essentially a testament to piracy. People talk about Napster (but it started before that) and people remember services like LimeWire which were the early 2000s version of the software (WAREZ) sites for music after the explosion of the MP3 in the mid to late 1990s.

But most of you are very likely too young to remember when the music industry tried and failed to stop companies like Sony form introducing a cassette player to the masses with the capabilities or recording and again with the CD recorder, and the mini-disc just as the film industry did with the advent of the Recordable in-home VHS and Betamax players. Like I said slow moving and extremely resistant to change. These industries fear it and that’s why they fear music and movie piracy, it’s why actual little old ladies and kids were sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars not even 10 years ago because they’re grandkids downloaded an AC/DC Album from the internet.

The rub? That isn’t the industry. You are. At its core there is a very simple reason for most piracy (granted not all but seriously about 90%). Convenience and cost. The reason sites like The Pirate Bay exist and can’t really be stopped is because there isn’t a more convenient alternative. If you own a Microsoft Windows based Computer System and you’ve upgraded it to Windows 10, did you steal that copy of Windows? Likely the answer is no. Why because Microsoft has changed (following companies like Apple) it’s business philosophy and how it plans to monetize its base offerings. When you look at the cost of Office 365 and now having access to Office online for free in most cases the piracy rates as a whole for those products too has fallen dramatically. Why? Because the industry had spoken and the businesses who support that industry finally started listening, but they too have a long way to go.

Which brings us back to pirating movies and television. And while it does still happen at an alarming rate because licensing rights are insane and I can’t watch a show on iPlayer from the BBC because its geo-locked as is pretty much anything playable on Showcase in Canada (even shows like Saving Hope that are 100% unavailable for consumption through any legal medium in the United States) already torrent traffic is down and Netflix takes over 30% of the it Worlds Internet Traffic at its peak. Subscriptions like Hulu and Amazon Prime are available as are HBO Now and Showtime as well as others, but they’re costly when separated and companies like Sling and now Apple are trying to pull services together for the “cord cutter” generation which is the driving force behind the shift in the industry, but they are so disconnected and painful still because no one has the right set of libraries and then companies like Comcast who once they started seeing more internet only customers for the first time in their history started (even where data competition is not in their favor at all) started instituting data caps because they are still killing us with old legacy ideals and don’t get me started with regard to companies Paramount/CBS with the licensing agreements and disastrous library rates for their online subscription services.

Cable companies, especially companies like Comcast who really are NOT cable companies (Time Warner is in that list too) because they are so much more. They are content distribution AND content creation and having that much power being run by executives who still live in a world where they believe they can pay for new content by making you subscribe to content you don’t want or need just to get the one you do is why that industry is also the fuck broken. And until these conglomerates are restructured or reorganized we will continue to be in the slow dragging crawl to the next evolution of content development and distribution. Just take a moment and see how many of the programming options and delivery methods you use are controlled just by just these 4 media giants. They control content development and distribution of 90% or more of your news and entertainment as well as the medium in which you receive it. Is it any wonder you collectively have revolted against these businesses with a giant middle finger in the air as you grab the latest copy of <insert TV Show, Song, or Movie> over <insert torrent client> from <insert pirate site> while not giving a single flying fuck? Spoiler Alert: No because you are the industry, not them, they just haven’t figured that out yet.

Comcast: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assets_owned_by_Comcast

    The Walt Disney Company: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assets_owned_by_Disney
    Viacom: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assets_owned_by_Disney
    CBS (Also Viacom): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assets_owned_by_CBS
    Time Warner: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assets_owned_by_Time_Warner
    

But it will get better in time, and the real truth is the people who make the things we like to watch or listen to can still make money and we can still enjoy them once we all figure it out but sadly in the meantime you still have artists like Taylor Swift who has A&R reps who whisper the stupidest bullshit into her ears and as a result she ends up trying to copyright the year of her birth and refuses to add her services to streaming media because she supports the little artists, or whatever line of crap they sold her. And she does stuff like add layers of ridiculous oversight to her photography contracts because her manager blindly follows the very old school ideology of thinking that pioneers like Ray Charles even started to break 60 years ago when he told a record label he will own his music and that wasn’t up for negotiation but that even as recent as groups like TLC just 20 years ago were still caused harm and taken advantage. And in the end it’s both the artist and fan alike that lose. All while producing bands like Metallica who come across as self-righteous sharts in shirts (that’s a thing now I’ve decided) who have no goddamn clue how arrogant or lucky they even are because the fan, the very core of the industry, is revolting against them…hence the piracy. So yes it’s wrong and no I won’t do it, but also no I won’t stop you.

And that people is my opinion not that anyone seems to gives a shit.

~rev

 

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