The entertainment industry has been very vocal for a long time about how piracy cuts into their revenues. They even convinced lawmakers of the need for legal protection, which resulted in the SOPA and PIPA fiasco. While most people would agree with the statement that piracy needs to be dealt with, the debate continues, with bi-partisan support among Congress and the heavy-hitters of the internet discussing new possible legislation on KeepTheWebOpen.com.
In the meantime, a new report has just been released by the French government about the effectiveness of their “Three Strikes” law. The report claims that internet piracy has been cut in half in France based upon the consequences of the law. However, TorrentFreak notes that what the report fails to mention is that the decrease in piracy did not translate into increased revenues for the copyright holders.
Meanwhile, a number of prominent music artists have been quietly pulling their content out of music streaming services because, it appears, piracy is actually good for them. It seems that people who engage in peer-to-peer file sharing are also the biggest purchasers of their content.
So what’s the answer – let people keep stealing because copyright holders make more money in the long run? Or deal with the piracy issue and still nobody (monetarily) wins. There is an alternative, but the entertainment industry is still very distrustful that they will be able to continue to enjoy the huge profits of yesteryear.
Problem is, yesteryear is a blip, an anomaly. It is highly unlikely that we will continue to enjoy the fat economic times indefinitely. Economies ebb and flow, expand and contract. The entertainment industry simply needs to recognize that while they got to enjoy some really profitable times post World War II through the 1990s, that’s not today.
I asked the question above – so what’s the answer? Video streaming. It’s convenient, cost-effective, and deals with the piracy issue. It also has some added benefits. Television shows have gotten a huge boost in Nielsen ratings after making past seasons available on streaming services. It is likely to increase the number of seasons that the show is in demand as well, because new fans can “catch up” on shows made available from stream services like Hulu or Netflix.
While streaming service subscriptions tend to put less money in the entertainment industry’s pocket, there are still other options that will maximize royalties. Let’s go back to piracy and the musician example. People who engage in piracy also tend to spend the most amount of money on content! So, if you give them what they want legally, they will gladly still put money in your pocket. But the entertainment industry is biting off it’s hand to save it’s foot, so to speak.