Monday, January 16, 2012

The absurdity of online "piracy"

Nothing demonstrates the absurdity of the concept of online "piracy" better than the situation I find myself in: a new episode of The Simpsons aired this evening, one which I really wanted to see. I was out of the house when the episode aired. If I had remembered to set my DVR before I left, I would be able to legally watch that episode now (and skip the commercials). But I didn't, so now if I find a copy of the episode and watch it, I'm a pirate.

To which I say: arrrr, mateys.

[UPDATE:] I tried to see if the episode was available on-line. I first tried YouTube, and discovered a zillion videos that claimed to be the episode in question, all of which were spam (or at least all the ones I tried). I then tried to find the episode on the Fox site. No luck. Finally, I tried iTunes. The episode was there, so I bought it. I somehow ended up buying it twice by accident (for some reason the usual confirmation dialog didn't appear -- iTunes seems to have quietly gone to one-click purchasing.) And then -- AFTER I had bought the episode, paid for it (twice), and downloaded it, iTunes told me that I COULDN'T PLAY IT BECAUSE MY MONITOR WAS NOT HDMI-ENABLED!!!

Nonetheless, despite the fact that I BOUGHT AND PAID for a copy of this episode and didn't get it, if I now obtain a copy by other means I am STILL a pirate in the eyes of the law. But the studio, which stole my money, isn't.

I'm a filmmaker, so I am VERY sympathetic to the desire of content producers to protect their work. But even I am ready to hoist the jolly roger in this case.


Unknown said...

This is what I've wondered, my chain of thinking is thus;
- Recording TV is not illegal
- What if I'm out of state? What if I ask my friend to record it? Still legal!
- Okay, so I'm out of state and not going to be back for a while... My friend records it, and emails it to me. That's illegal. What's the difference?

Matt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Wow. Learn about public domain. Not illegal.