Saturday, February 22, 2014

On Downloading

I'm a movie-junkie, and I'll happily pay to watch.  That's why I'm love Netflix.  But sometimes there are movies people want to see that aren't on Netflix.  They're out there, but not in a format that can offer remuneration.

So people download.

It seems like such a reasonable thing to do.  I understand that people should be compensated for their work.  Absolutely!  If that's possible to do conveniently, I bet most people would do it - or accept a reasonable fine tied to their viewing pleasure.  Thankfully, in Canada there's a $5,000 cap on damages awarded for copyright infringement.  That's lucky for many right now because a Federal Court has decided that Teksavvy has to hand over all the IP addresses of people who download movies.  Specifically, it's just a list of people who downloaded from Voltage Pictures, so some people might luck out if they haven't wanted to see any of their films.  

The fact that it's so much easier to download than to find a site to pay for the films is the heart of the problem.  Technology changes the way people work and play, and some industries haven't entirely figured out to how to continue to flourish within the new playing field.  When I watch The Daily Show on-line, I'm forced to suffer through commercials - strangely, often the same commercial over and over.  That's one way to get around the reality that many, many people are viewing on-line instead of using cable TV access to shows.

The film industry has to use services like Netflix to present their work in a way they can be compensated.  Instead of wasting time and money chasing after people viewing illegally, they should invest their efforts in making their films faster and easier for the general public to access.

And I promise people will still go to the theatre.  At least once a month, I go to a movie for the big screen, for the slimy popcorn, for the gasps and laughter in unison, and sometimes, just sometimes, for the air conditioning.  That won't go away because everything's available on-line.  They'll still get the bucks from the opening weekend - and then some.

After all, we will continue to need something to distract us from the real world.  That's not going to change any time soon!

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