It’s been mentioned that SOPA and PIPA were only the beginning. From the perspective of large media corporations and their representatives protecting intellectual property has been a losing battle. The amount of money these institutions are losing to due to piracy is used to force politicians to propose legislation that is more likely to hurt legitimate businesses and consumers than pirates. Instead of changing their business model and being proactive, the entertainment industry simply reacts and blames the largely unregulated nature of the internet for their problems.
The solution is to simply provide a better service by utilizing the same service they are trying to degrade. Netflix is a prime example of creating a simple and affordable means of legitimately obtaining copyrighted content. By releasing media content earlier through online channels, people would likely be willing to pay for a hassle-free way of obtaining said media. The longer a company withholds a valuable product that can easily be copied or obtained through other means, the impatient consumers have more of an incentive to pirate it. Why wait until tomorrow’s official release date when the finished product is just a URL and a click away.
With so many means (TV, PC, Phone, eReader, etc) to enjoy movies, music, books, and games the temptation to have it now is hard to resist. Whatever channel provides the information we are seeking, whether it’s useful or not, has the fastest delivery rate is the one the consumer will choose. I can watch hundreds of movies and shows on Netflix on any of my PCs and my phone, Steam allows me to instantly purchase and download the latest PC games. Many streaming radio web apps allow me to enjoy an endless supply of music as well.
Piracy will never be wiped out as long and digital media exists. Bytes can be copied ad infinitum, which allows information to exist indefinitely. When the supply of a product is infinite, the laws of classical economics no longer apply. Demand for such a product can fluctuate, but the supply will almost always meet demand. Without any true scarcity, how can such a commodity be priced to ensure the maximum return? It may be hard to compete with a perfect substitute/copy of the product that is free. However, if a person cannot afford to purchase said product, but is willing to spend time to obtain a free copy then there is no intent to buy in the first place. A company does not lose massive amounts of money due to piracy, they simply don’t meet the demand of a crafty market.