How should music and film companies combat illegal filesharing?

  PC Advisor 10:56 16 Jun 2010

In 1984 the American writer Stewart Brand (click here) coined the slogan "Information wants to be free."

Now that media is available as digital data, and filesharing technology makes it simple to get a free copy of most films or music albums within hours of their release, how do you think media companies should maintain their revenue?

Is the stick or the carrot the best approach? Should they use the full force of the law to punish copyright violators, or should they concentrate on rewarding legitimate music buyers and cinema goers with features such as Avatar's 3D?

Have your say in the poll in the lefthand column.

  DANZIG 11:46 16 Jun 2010

I have voted on this and the nearest I could find to what I believed in was the 'advanced features' selection.

I believe the price of CD's and DVD's is really quite low now generally speaking. Of course 'free' is better, but when last week I saw all the Alien films, all the AvP films and all the Pirates of The Caribbean films for £30 I couldn't quite believe it!

Illegal filesharing will never ever stop, no matter what companies do. It was going on when I was a kid with people copying cassette based computer games etc.

I believe I've said this before, but if it was such a problem, we wouldn't be legally given the capability to do it.

  sunnystaines 11:48 16 Jun 2010

If prices were reasonable [some are] people would not bother with all the hassle of pirate software films etc

  Þ² 12:27 16 Jun 2010

I used to heavily pirate but became fed up with it all. I now buy budget dvds, cds and have a big subscription with Virgin Media.

extra features + lower prices - drm* = more sales

*Some friends pirate (download) because they want to rip video to portable devices so the inclusion of a video file on the dvd/bluray is win, it should be done more.

  pjwheeldon 13:14 16 Jun 2010

I am baffled by the ridiculous argument that songs, movies, books, etc should be free, simply because they are available online. As to that idiotic statement by Stewart Brand “Information wants to be free", songs and movies are not information, they are products. The time, effort and expense which goes into making them is no different to a car or a tin of beans. Do supporters of free downloads seriously suggest that shoplifting and TWOCKING should be encouraged simply because circumstance and technology allows it?

My view is that the law should be greatly strengthened globally to allow file sharers and the hosting sites to be shut down, billed and prosecuted. ISPs already have the data which would allow the computer of every visitor to a file sharing site to be identified, and similarly they are able to identify each and every computer and internet connection used to distribute stolen material.

As this is illegal activity they are already required in law to report this, but with greater control and far higher penalties for the individuals, sites and ISP’s who allow this activity to take place, there would be a real impetus to stop these criminals.

I would envisage a blanket ban on internet access, seizure of hardware used directly or tangentially in the theft, distribution or use of stolen material (including DVD players, iPods, etc) and hefty fines with the option of imprisonment for repeat offenders.

  Kevscar1 13:28 16 Jun 2010


Agree totally. Pity the legal owners cannot access these files and add a very nasty virus to them.

  David Price 13:52 16 Jun 2010

pjwheeldon - Thanks for your comments. I should add, however, that I quoted Stewart Brand as a starting point for discussion, not as an argument for one side or the other. He certainly wasn't saying 'All films and music should be distributed for free'.

To quote the Wikipedia page for the slogan itself (click here):

"The various forms of the original statement are ambiguous: the slogan can be used to argue the benefits of either propertied information, or liberated/free/open information, or of both. It can be taken merely as an expression of an amoral fact of information-science: once information has passed to a new location outside of the source's control there is no way of ensuring it is not propagated further, and therefore will naturally tend towards a state where that information is widely distributed."

David Price

  sunnystaines 13:59 16 Jun 2010

DVD Region codes should be scrapped its a rip off and the industry does itself no favours.

I am against pirate software but get annoyed by some of the rip off prices and region codes. why should i not be allowed to play a dvd i bought on holiday more than a few times when i return to england.

windows 7 and xp ok but when i had vista had so many genuine dvd's that would not play because of DRM problems and had to play using klite codecs.

  Þ² 14:43 16 Jun 2010

You would happily encourage IP owners to propagate viruses (virii?) to every computer that's been used to break copyright law?

That's the most stupid idea I have ever heard.

Perhaps that's like saying adulterers should be given a dose of the clap.

  michaelw 15:38 16 Jun 2010

I rarely go to the cinema nowadays. That's after a lifetime of enjoying one of my pastimtes. I've always liked films, since the sataday Matinee days.

But now when I go to see a film people are still looking at their mobiles and texting. The glare is irritating. Loud eating, whispering, seat banging, cramped legroom, other unsocial habits, and the cost of £8.70 are preventing me from going. So I buy genuine dvds and whilst they are cheap, I'd imagine lots of people would buy pirated stuff if it came a lot quicker and was cheap at good quality.

In Kenya pirating is rife. I think you can get 5 films on one dvd for about 500 bob (£4).

  pjwheeldon 17:11 16 Jun 2010

I understood that it was not your quote, or a rationale one way or another. I have however seen it used numerous times by the "pro theft" lobbists, hence my ire!

I know how you feel Kevscar, and a dark part of me does this that a data bomb rather than a virus would be just desserts. Not practial in the real world though. A better, simpler and totally practical idea whould be a blanket block on the IP adress and user. A car thief gets his screwdriver taken off him, a drug dealer loses his stash, why not deprive the theives of their internet access at the very minimum?

And how about, once their period of punishment is over they have to pay a punative tax on any future internet access, something like the greatly increased premiums drink drivers have to pay for insurance once they are allowed back on the road. The revenue from this and fines could be plowed back into the artists revenue, or used to fund more resources to catch even more of these crooks.

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