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Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by Krubixcube on Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:07 am

One of the great flaws of Netflix. Long live pirating!

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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by volvocrusher on Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:51 pm

Krubixcube wrote:One of the great flaws of Netflix. Long live pirating!
Don't be coming to Cali and saying that. Big Greenie is watching you.

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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by avidacridjam on Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:16 pm

Krubixcube wrote:One of the great flaws of Netflix. Long live pirating!

It's a flaw of streaming services/rights. It's also cheaper than blind-buying them for $25 a pop.

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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by avidacridjam on Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:22 pm

volvocrusher wrote:
Krubixcube wrote:One of the great flaws of Netflix. Long live pirating!
Don't be coming to Cali and saying that. Big Greenie is watching you.

He'll publicly kick the shit out of you like Gene Hackman in Unforgiven.

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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by Krubixcube on Thu Feb 05, 2015 6:36 pm

He really would. I don't know though, given how much I consume though, and how big my collection is I really don't feel any pangs of guilt about it.

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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by ajapam on Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:52 pm

If production companies refuse to get with the times, they can either put up with me pirating on occasion or I can buy a lot less of their movies.

Even things that are on Netflix are dumb because they take so long to get there most of the time and by then everyone's told you all of the spoilers

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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by TripOpt55 on Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:47 pm

What is your guys' solution to the issue? I'm not sure I understand what would make you guys happy enough to not pirate stuff.
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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by ajapam on Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:02 am

I don't pirate movies much anymore unless they're hard to find or they're expensive and I'm unsure about them. TV is what really needs to catch up imo. I'm not paying for cable AND HBO just to watch Game Of Thrones and I'm not waiting months to watch the Blu-Rays. That just ruins the experience of talking about it with everyone else. I just want to be able to "subscribe" to a single show or even a channel online and watch episodes as they air

Finally watched Whiplash. I've been waiting months to see this and it didn't disappoint. Best musically themed movie I've ever seen. I'm appalled that there were only 4 people in the theater. Yet another candidate for my favorite movie of 2014

I found it kind of funny because JK Simmons looked a lot like my old band teacher, who was one of the coolest teachers I ever had. I hope he makes this his new band movie for when he can't find a good substitute

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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by Krubixcube on Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:11 am

Well, for instance. I stream a movie and the source is some non-HD terrible thing. Or a foreign movie that doesn't have subtitles. Or the simple fact that Netflix doesn't have a LOT of classic movies that I'd want to watch (see Ghibli problem that started the whole discussion). But for me, being a bit of a cinephile it's mostly quality. Why pay for a streaming service so I can see a fuzzy, artifacted picture when I can just pirate a perfect blu ray rip? Again though, if I like a movie...I buy it. While this doesn't give me a huge moral high ground it does a little.

Because at the end of the day, who gets money from video rentals? The video rental service. So if they aren't providing a good service why should I pay them? Then when it comes time to buy a movie, I buy it and support the companies who are making good quality DVDs/Blu Rays.

Given, Netflix has gotten better since I had it last (though their separation of the disc and streaming service was a stingy bitch move in my opinion).

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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by TripOpt55 on Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:46 am

If you'd like I could split the existing pirating discussion into its own thread and we could continue from there? I'd like to hear your thoughts on it avid. What's a good thread title? "Twolf has no scruples"?
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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by avidacridjam on Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:25 am

"Piracy: It Should Only Happen In International Waters."

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Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by Krubixcube on Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:47 pm

Pirates: Watching all the Arrr Rated Movies?

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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by TripOpt55 on Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:41 am

Both hilarious. Avid's title wins (with a tweak). Wasn't sure where to split from, but that Twolf post gets us off to a hilarious start.
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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by Krubixcube on Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:30 am

The NSA is gonna get me when I go back Shocked Shocked Shocked

Right. But in all seriousness, I think there's been a lot of people who say that people pirate when the availability of something is limited or the service providing it isn't adequate. Think of people who will buy a game to support the devs then pirate it to get around the DLC.

Now, while I will FULLY admit my piracy of music is purely that I"m a cheap asshole with no money I will argue my case for everything else:

1. First of all, I don't pirate everything. I don't think everything should be stolen. I don't pirate games for one, because it's easy for me to get games and services like Steam make the need unnecessary. And most importantly, the money is going back to the developers in a real way. Music I feel less guilty about because most of that money goes back to the record company and record companies are just Skynet in disguise.

Movies are the most morally gray for me. There are services to rent, but most of them are unavailable to me while abroad. Also from my experience the selection isn't great and often not good quality. I don't want to pay money to stream a pixelated DVD quality of a movie that should be in full HD. Back when I had Netflix (and i assume it's gotten better since then in all fairness) I found movies that had been cut to fit the screen, pixelated horrors, foreign movies that only had English dubs etc. So I thought to myself "why on earth would I pay money for this?"

Also, my movie collection is about 350 strong at the moment, I don't pirate without supporting the industry and in fact most of the movies I decide to buy I pirate first. So the argument that I'm somehow taking money away from the industry is simply not true. Not watching a movie on Netflix doesn't take money away from the people making the DVDs or the people who made the films, it takes it away from Netflix.

I would cite studies that have shown that people who mix piracy and buying media tend to buy more than people who only buy media without pirating but there's been mixed results on that so it's inconclusive. From firsthand experience as well, I could argue both ways. Some of my friends just pirate everything and never buy anything - the bastards.

Also there's piracy of necessity: I pirate games when they are no longer commercially available anymore. I pirate films when the DVD was so botched that it's not worth buying. I pirate software when I've legitimately bought it then had to rebuild my operating system and can't get an installer from the original company (did that with antivirus software a couple of times).

Now, I will not argue that those circumstances are the only times i pirate. Sometimes I pirate because out of cheapness and principal I wont pay $200 for a piece of software that's a fancy word processor, or because I'm cheap. So I'm not perfect, but I think there is a case by case for piracy.

Now, if you were to say: "What if things were affordable and worked how you wanted them to, would you pirate?" I would inevitably say "No." If I had no need to pirate, whether that be financially or quality or whatever I wouldn't.

There are also cases I wont pirate out of principal. Indie games/super independent bands/films. Those people need the money and I wont take that from them. People who pirate Humble Bundles for instance, where you can literally pay anything you want - that is despicable. I also don't pirate films that are still in theaters because who wants to watch a film like that and most of the money of tickets goes back to the filmmakers/studio.

Anyway, long story short: I'm a god damn monster and you all can deal with it.

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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by ajapam on Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:01 pm

I also can't really condone pirating games except to see if they work or if they're impossible to find. Neither of those are a problem for me anymore thanks to GOG. The "I wouldn't have bought it anyway so they aren't losing money" excuse is BS. Games get so cheap on steam these days and there's so many of them. If you're willing to spend time but not money on a game, you either need a job or you must pirate pretty much everything.

I don't pirate music anymore because it's so much easier to either listen on a streaming service or preview on youtube before buying. Funnily enough though, I bought more music back when I had no streaming services and was pirating albums

With movies you can't just check them out on youtube and frankly 25 bucks is way too expensive for something I'll only watch once. Yeah, I'm cheap, but I can't afford to spend that kind of money. I rarely buy movies I've never seen before so pirating only makes me buy more of them. I check the university library for them first but that's pretty much the exact same thing. Movie streaming services leave a lot to be desired so I can't really use those either. Also, if you're watching a foreign movie to practice a language they rarely have subtitles for the native language. But I can sync up a video file and downoaded subtitles in VLC pretty easily.

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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by Krubixcube on Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:19 pm

Music piracy is the one facet of my piracy I honestly have no comeback for. I am a shameless, asshole pirate for music. But I like owning my music, I organize it and whatnot so streaming services/youtube doesn't really do it for me.

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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by TripOpt55 on Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:41 pm

Krubixcube wrote:Music piracy is the one facet of my piracy I honestly have no comeback for. I am a shameless, asshole pirate for music. But I like owning my music, I organize it and whatnot so streaming services/youtube doesn't really do it for me.
At least you are honest about this. There are programs you can use to track your listening habits (I recall this being an excuse for you not using a streaming service, but could be remembering it wrong). You can also organize things pretty well on them now. The latter with Spotify is what has always bugged me, but they have taken steps in the right direction in that regard.

I admit I'm not as well-versed in the movie industry so while some reasons seem like rationalization to me, I'm not sure I know enough to say. Looking forward to avid's thoughts on it.
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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by Krubixcube on Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:19 am

I pose to you a conundrum for the sake of conversation though. In Japan, at rental stores you can rent music. Now if I rent some CDs and rip all the music off of them is that better or worse than pirating the music?

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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by volvocrusher on Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:23 am

If you have the CD in your possession I'm fine with that. Once you return it it's just as bad, not better or worse.

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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by avidacridjam on Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:17 pm

Sorry for the delay in my response. This has the potential to be a touchy subject and I didn't want to jump right in without thinking it through, so I've been thinking about what to say over the past 2 nights. And I also want to tread carefully and not point the finger at anyone and make them feel like shit and act all sanctimoniously.

In the past, I too have been guilty of either downloading music or streaming video of movies (either screener copies or shitty captures made from smartphones) but I haven't done so in well over 5 years. Like others have mentioned before, I had similar reasons (convenience, timing, but not exactly price). If I missed a certain film in theaters or if it never played in my area, there were times that I went to suspicious-looking website, crossed my fingers and hoped that I got a decent video and I could hear what was going on. I'm not sure what made me stop; perhaps the period between theatrical release and home video became shorter, the greater availability of VOD....or maybe I just felt like shit after doing it after a while.

Last month, I missed out on two films when they reached my area: Inherent Vice and Blackhat. Both were pulled from the theater after 2 weeks of showings (fucking Taken 3 is still being shown, though). I felt no need to hunt down a pirated copy or stream just because I missed out. It'll be out on VOD or rental soon enough. Sure, it sucked missing out on the theatrical experience but you can't make it to all of them.

I stopped caring if I was late to the party regarding a game/film/tv show. These days, everyone I talk to talks about new and old releases and no one ever gave me shit for not knowing about something in pop culture. If they did, I'd stop associating with them.

This whole discussion started with ajapam's desire to see more of the Studio Ghibli films, whether that was VOD, streaming or otherwise. Yes, I'm a Netflix fanboy. I think its a great service both for its streaming and disc rental service (I can recall when it was just the later and when the streaming service wasn't so hot). When it comes to rental services where the discs come through mail, yes, we're at the mercy of the postal service. When it comes to streaming, we're at the mercy of our ISP and the streaming technology. But both delivery methods have greatly improved over the years. There's so much at our fingertips that it feels we'll never have enough time to soak it all in. What I wouldn't give to be a teenager right now.

I felt that in 2-3 months time, ajapam could see all of the Studio Ghibli films through Netflix's disc rental service (all of them available on dvd) and pay around $20-30, roughly the same amount that he wouldn't spend on one blu-ray. Sure, it sucks that they cost that much but you don't have to like it.

All in all, when it comes to entertainment, I vote with my wallet. I don't feel bad paying for Netflix or Hulu or even cable (yep, I'm that dumb) or Spotify. If I can afford it, I'll do it. All of these services has paid for the rights to use the content. I'm not afraid that I'm going to accidentally download malicious software or a virus or that the feds will knock on my door one day with evidence that I illegally downloaded copyrighted material (now I'll have to pay a fine and serve prison time).

I admire and am fascinated by the creative process so I love reading about or hearing how artists struggle to bring their visions to fruition. I've also heard/read about projects that fell through or just wouldn't happen. Maybe the studio execs couldn't see eye-to-eye or just wasn't convinced. But right now, in the age of the internet, piracy is risen to such a degree that you'll actually see stories about "the most pirated tv shows or movies" like that's a fucking news story. I don't see how it benefits anyone to know that. I know that it doesn't benefit artists from getting a project funded or greenlit.

Say, for example, a tv show creator/filmmaker makes a pitch to a studio head for a project and he or she really aces the pitch. The studio head will ask about previous projects and will inquire about how received they were: sales, ratings. If those previous projects were victims of piracy and affected sales, the studio head will most likely not fund that project; why fund something if you don't expect a return? Or lets say they do but they provide you with a smaller budget. Now that limits you to what equipment (cameras, film stock, lighting rigs) you can buy or where you can shoot and the crew and cast that you can afford to hire. It may even affect your shooting schedule. Now you can't realize your vision; you don't have enough time, money and you can't hire enough people and certain people who wanted as a collaborator won't be available unless they'll work for nothing.

Imagine what it's like to be a specialist in make-up, stunts, set-decoration, costume design or an electrician or a grip and that you can't get steady work due to the lack of jobs because studios won't back enough projects because of the threat of piracy. It's already insanely fucking difficult to create a film or a tv episode or a game, even when the end result is amazing and you got full support of the studio. No one wants to put out a sub-par product, especially if they have a fan base.

Until you can convince a studio exec to finance and distribute your project based on how many times your past work has been illegally downloaded, piracy will always cockblock. I feel that so many people have told themselves, "how much damage can I possibly do? It's not like I'm recommending anyone else to do the same?" which is why this shit keeps happening. Despite the fact that Game of Thrones is a heavily pirated show, HBO still makes enough money from their cable subscribers, VOD and rental purchases and DVD/blu-ray sales, not to mention merchandising. They don't hurt from it but that doesn't apply to everyone else.

Because at the end of the day, who gets money from video rentals? The video rental service. So if they aren't providing a good service why should I pay them?

They still had to pony up the cash to purchase the copies. And in Netflix's case, they have to pay for the shipping and handling for their disc rentals. And they don't charge for late fees. Again, you're at the mercy of the postal service and the nearest location of a shipping plant but what's a few days wait? I know it depends on where you live but I myself feel better knowing I'm not breaking the law. I'm not exactly a boy scout but you have to consider that Netflix's recent ability to make their own content was provided by the profits from their customers. And for example, we'll be getting Marvel tv shows from them soon. So I happily pay for dvds and the little extra for blu-ray access. Because I can afford it. Because I want it. Because it's been paid for.

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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by Krubixcube on Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:07 pm

Wow, avid's response (as expected) was a beast. Will try my best to respond as best I can. And like avid said, it's a discussion and I too am not trying to point the finger at anyone so take that for what it is.

Say, for example, a tv show creator/filmmaker makes a pitch to a studio head for a project and he or she really aces the pitch. The studio head will ask about previous projects and will inquire about how received they were: sales, ratings. If those previous projects were victims of piracy and affected sales, the studio head will most likely not fund that project; why fund something if you don't expect a return?

I do know exactly how hard that struggle is on the professional level on set, I'm living it. But the studios are hurt primarily by theater ticket sales. I just simply haven't heard a lot of first hand accounts (that aren't studio propaganda) saying that piracy is stopping productions from happening or stopping people from getting work. At the truly independent level where I have talked to a lot of people funding is more of a case of faith in the person than a look at previous sales records.

It's a fantastic time to be working in the film or TV industry right now (maybe moreso TV). I'm not without conscience and I don't doubt that there has been a case or two where, like you've said, someone has turned around and said "Well you didn't sell enough, get out" but I think it's not enough of an overarching trend to say that's ruining the lives of independent filmmakers.

As for TRULY independent, small people, piracy could work either way: for or against them. Yes, if you're pitching to someone that truly cares about sales figures it can hurt you. On the other hand, someone who made a small tiny film, so small and tiny that a service like Netflix might not touch it, and theaters barely touched it, it might  get a second wave of popularity and interest through piracy. It might, it might go the way you said - it's very hard to say either way.

Not to mention I'm someone who very much believes in the theater experience. I've had a very different history of piracy to you in that I'd never ever pirate something that's still in theaters. Not only because the quality isn't worth it, but to me, that is when the movie would deserve the support. Once it hits DVD (except in a few very rare cases) the fate of that movie and whether it's made a return or not is well decided. DVD sales tend to only matter if the film was a box office flop.

But right now, in the age of the internet, piracy is risen to such a degree that you'll actually see stories about "the most pirated tv shows or movies" like that's a fucking news story.

Well, I can agree with you there but I think that's more to do with the news being more sensitive to it than a true increase. Why Game of Thrones is getting unwarranted levels of news about piracy I don't know when every other popular show has had similar levels of downloads. But hey, let's look at that example - Game of Throne's seemingly abnormal level of piracy has not hurt that show in the slightest. Because you make an assumption that 100% of people who pirate Game of Thrones are also not buying anything to do with it. I mean, I assume they're not paying the cable subscription but not buying the DVDs/Merchandise? I reckon a lot of those people are contributing to game of thrones.

I think in general there's an assumption sometimes that people either choose to pirate or choose to pay and support people and I think that muddies the waters and simplifies the argument. I have a feeling that many people do both so while you can say that their actual act of piracy has hurt something financially you can't with any confidence say that they, as a person, are not contributing to the industry as a whole.

They still had to pony up the cash to purchase the copies. And in Netflix's case, they have to pay for the shipping and handling for their disc rentals. And they don't charge for late fees. Again, you're at the mercy of the postal service and the nearest location of a shipping plant but what's a few days wait?

Netflix having to pony up cash to send DVDs and license the films is irrelevant when I'm not using their service. if I was pirating netflix's service and watching their DVDs then that would be relevant but by NOT using their service it doesn't matter what money they spend. I choose not to eat at McDonald's because I think their food isn't good despite how much they spend on "meat", hamburger buns, rent, marketing and employee salaries.

And as you've rightly pointed out the vast majority of what you're paying when you're paying a Netflix fee is for the maintenance of their streaming service, their parcel costs, their packaging and their software development. I don't have the numbers but I bet a very small percentage goes back to the film industry.

I felt that in 2-3 months time, ajapam could see all of the Studio Ghibli films through Netflix's disc rental service (all of them available on dvd) and pay around $20-30, roughly the same amount that he wouldn't spend on one blu-ray. Sure, it sucks that they cost that much but you don't have to like it.

As you've said: vote with your wallet. If you don't like it, don't pay for it. I too believe that and if I don't think Netflix is a good service why should I support it?

But, I'd like to end by extending the olive branch here:

It's SO easy to argue on a case by case basis and I think that's what makes this argument so difficult. I have a code of ethics regarding my pirating in general. Independent video game soundtracks - despite pirating everything I buy these because it's usually one dude who's trying to earn a living. I would never pirate a friend's independent film. I don't pirate things in theaters. I don't pirate games because the services designed to provide them are more than adequate (like someone said GoG pretty much eliminated the need to pirate old PC games). I don't pirate because I get a sheer thrill out of breaking the law, though I'm sure there are those who do and I'm sure there are those who pirate without ever paying a cent for anything and that sucks.

But I guess what does bug me is when someone with a straight face tells me I'm hurting the industry, when the numbers don't support it and when I know very well that I am definitely not part of the problem. I guarantee I probably see more movies in theaters and spend more money on DVDs than 80% of people who use Netflix.

Studios care about their bottom lines and a big part of what politicians say about the issue, and a big part of what hits our TV screens and news outlets is brought to us by them. Big entertainment moguls own the papers, own the news outlets and lobby the politicians. So there are two sides to this story.


I think it's worth noting that avid isn't wrong. Ideally no one would pirate and there'd be more money going to everyone. Knowing corporate greed we don't know how that money would be used (more executive bonuses anyone?). Is he wrong that piracy does affect someone though? No. Piracy does affect people, and we can't say that it doesn't. Specifically how it does is hard to measure and something that I doubt any of us have real concrete evidence for. We've all seen the stories of artists pulling off of "legitimate" services like Spotify because they don't see money from those though so who knows the real story? if we all had the money and good services I think most people would pirate less. Steam has recently said that their sales and delivery system has been so popular that piracy is a "non-issue" for them.

There will always be bastards who will steal no matter what is available to them and you can't stop those people unfortunately.

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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by Krubixcube on Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:38 am

I really wish we could actually talk this one out, avid. I mean that in the literal sense, as in, this would be a good discussion to have over a beer.

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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by avidacridjam on Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:06 pm

I do tend to overcompensate with my posts but that really shouldn't surprise anyone by now. Wink

I do know exactly how hard that struggle is on the professional level on set, I'm living it. But the studios are hurt primarily by theater ticket sales. I just simply haven't heard a lot of first hand accounts (that aren't studio propaganda) saying that piracy is stopping productions from happening or stopping people from getting work. At the truly independent level where I have talked to a lot of people funding is more of a case of faith in the person than a look at previous sales records.

It's a fantastic time to be working in the film or TV industry right now (maybe moreso TV). I'm not without conscience and I don't doubt that there has been a case or two where, like you've said, someone has turned around and said "Well you didn't sell enough, get out" but I think it's not enough of an overarching trend to say that's ruining the lives of independent filmmakers.

Yes, I don't think the scenario I provided is the overriding reason a project gets turned down but its one of them, especially where piracy is concerned. The potential for a loss in profits not only hurts for theatrical release but also home video releases.

One of my favorite podcasts right now is The Movie Crypt which is hosted by two indie filmmakers (Adam Green and Joe Lynch) where they interview someone they're worked with or admired and discuss that person's career and history in show business. Green and Lynch also are very candid about their own struggles about landing gigs and working within and outside Hollywood and they've both been affected by piracy. Even some of their guests have had similar problems.


Look, I get it. Our lifestyles are not the same and we don't have the same options (you've been living in another country, for one thing) and at the end of the day, we're all responsible for our own choices and no one can make them for us.

But I guess what does bug me is when someone with a straight face tells me I'm hurting the industry, when the numbers don't support it and when I know very well that I am definitely not part of the problem.

And I don't want to be that person, either. My long-winded post was not meant to call anyone out but to express why I prefer to pay for my entertainment. Yes, I think you roll the dice otherwise but its truly not my place to judge you or tell you what to do. As long as you don't hurt, rape or kill anyone, do whatever.

And I'd like to have a beer with you anyway.

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Re: Piracy: Should it only happen in international waters?

Post by Krubixcube on Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:39 pm

Yeah, I hope you didn't take that as me accusing you of getting in my face about that, because you definitely weren't. But I certainly have had people give me a lecture on it.

Also, that is interesting about the indie guys getting hit by piracy, I actually haven't heard that before. Might have a listen myself.

Just wanted to say, I know I pirate a lot, and I (obviously) try to justify that but I don't disrespect people who don't or fail to understand why someone wouldn't. I just think it's interesting to look at the whole thing from a big picture standpoint.

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