The piracy problem
I remember the dawn of Internet piracy. I remember the thrill of using Napster to download Eminem singles on my parent’s 56K connection. It took hours! I’ve since moved on to a faster Internet connection and better music. Piracy, however, has continued to be a hot button issue.
The thing is, Internet piracy finally put the power into the hands of the masses, allowing them to ask a question that’s left major media companies reeling: “Is this item actually worth it’s price tag?” This fundamental shift in consumer’s attitudes toward everything from music to computer software has shed light on a cycle that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight.
The film industry was hit hard by piracy. I’m going to go ahead and admit that I’m part of this “problem.” The cycle at work in this industry involves the cost of movie tickets. The prices of tickets keep rising because people aren’t going out to theatres like they used to. Illegal downloading and Netflix have allowed people to watch whatever they want, when they want, in the comfort of their own home.
In my opinion, the film industry had it coming. Going to see a movie in theaters sucks now. The problem isn’t the price (although that sucks too). The problem with theaters is the atmosphere. Crying babies, loud patrons and lack of booze to cope make going to the theater a chore when the movie is available at your home, FOR FREE.
I saw “The Avengers” at midnight for the release last year; I don’t think I’ve ever been so annoyed before. A guy dressed up as Thor repeatedly got up and started screaming and throwing around his plastic replica of Mjölnir. It was funny at first, then I realized that I paid $15 to watch this guy make an ass of himself and interrupt the movie.
I’m poor, and the thought of wasting that $15 made me cringe. I can feast like a king (or drink like one) for $15. Instead I spent it to watch about 70 percent of The Avengers. That sucks. When I downloaded and watched it at home I had so much fun. I could pause it for bathroom breaks, pet my cat and look up corresponding comics to certain scenes. All from the comfort of my own home, and all for free. Can’t beat that.
An aspect of piracy that isn’t often discussed is the quality of the product. Yeah, people download things because they’re free, but I feel like if the product is worth it, they’ll pay money for it. I’m guilty of illegally downloading movies. However, if you were to come to my house you would see stacks of blu-rays and dvds everywhere. Why? Because of things like packaging, presentation, special features and overall quality. If those things don’t exist in a product that’s meant to be purchased, it isn’t worthy to be purchased in the first place.
As consumers we deserve more than a basic, bare bones product when we’re spending money for it. The same goes for video games. I’m not going to pay $60 for a new video game, when I’m going to end up paying about $20 extra for the downloadable content (DLC) needed to actually make the game fun.
Don’t even get me started with music. The fact that most artists don’t make hardly any money from store album sales (especially the iTunes store) makes the “You’re hurting the artist” argument invalid. I buy vinyl records, but only for albums that I KNOW are going to be good (because I downloaded them ahead of time). Why? Because of the packaging and presentation, that’s what gives it value. Not the person or group that’s featured on it. Want to support your favorite artist? Go see them in concert. They’re going to get a lot more support from that than that $10 iTunes album purchase.
Bottom line is: Piracy is a problem because the overall quality of products has gone down. A good way to fix this would be for companies to start giving people more for their money. Make that trip to the theater worth it!
Pictures of the Year 2012-2013
8:00 am | MBA Information Meeting: AM session
10:00 am | SAP Farm Stand
5:30 pm | MBA Information Meeting: PM Session
11:00 am | GVSU Track & Field at NCAA Championships
No events for Fri