Some solutions to kill piracy. Without killing the internet.

A lot has been said and done to stop SOPA and similar bills over the past few weeks. I am no legal guy but I sure know that all these bills will eventually destroy the internet and won’t do much to solve the actual problem- piracy. I came across this article on the guardian which talks about ways to solve this problem. I would like to reiterate some of the points expressed by the writer and add some of my own.

Digital content is over-priced

First of all, the main reason for piracy is the content-providers themselves. The digital content sold online is simply over-priced. Don’t tried and tested marketing strategies teach us that aggressive pricing helps increase sales? This rule is followed when real products are sold; electronic appliances are sold; in short, it is followed for selling all non-digital content. The entertainment industry must price all the content reasonably. Also, they can stream content for free online with ads. No viewer would object that because we are already used to ads being sandwiched between shows on TV. And for content which is not free, price them at such a rate that people buy. I am pretty sure that there are plenty of users who respect artists’ work but don’t buy content online and turn to pirated stuff only because the legal copies are highly priced. There sure are people who still won’t shell out a single penny no matter how low-priced items are, but hey.. it will at least help reduce the number of users using pirated content. So, the gist is- Make content affordable first and there will be more profit.

Stop Geo-restriction

When a new TV show or Movie arrives in the US, its only available in the US- for years; before other countries get their hands on those movies/shows at a very high price. Why not take efforts to make all media available globally at the same time? Even this will reduce piracy. And come on, we are in the 21st cent. and Geo-restricting content is very outdated. All kinds of music, movies etc cater to the global market these days. So this makes perfect sense.

The above-said solutions will not eradicate piracy but alleviate it. Pirates will never go down and new methods to push pirated stuff will crop up every now and then. But these solutions will at least help recover losses to an extent. Its in the hands of many of those content-providers to come out with better pricing models and make people aware about their intentions. Give away freebies and you will earn some buyers. Digital stores need to be repackaged in a new avatar and made more attractive. Some new ad-models can also be thought about to make money by providing free/cheap content online- for example small ads can be embedded in low-priced downloadable copies of movies. There are many solutions available. This may or may not work out but at least they can try. Please don’t kill the internet in the fight against piracy.

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