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Software, music and movie piracy has been a more or less constant topic of discussion over the past ten or so years, usually led by special interest groups representing the three industries (in the U.S., these are the BSA, RIAA and MPAA, respectively). I agree that copyright holders should be paid their due, and have no problem paying for the media I use. The main problem I have with the arguments the copyright holders and their interest groups are using, is that their argument is one for the pre-internet age, when the options available were watching live TV, recording live TV, or buying the show or movie on a cassette or DVD.
The problem in the internet age with their arguments, is that the media isn’t as accessible as it should be, through legal channels. This isn’t only a problem when it comes to shows that are currently running, it’s also a problem with content older than fifteen or so years. Frankly, it pisses me off, for two reasons. First, because of the semantics they use, as I have discussed previously, but secondly because I think it is disingenuous to make any accusation when you yourself has not made sure to be the best purveyor of your own content. My opinion is that any show and movie that is available on DVD should also be available through download, and that there is really no excuse for them not to be.
As long as the special interest groups keep covering their eyes and ears, they abandon the high ground. Why not make the content available through legal channels. Make it easy to use, and let the money roll in on intellectual property that would otherwise be worthless to their creators? I like to think of this as the KISS approach to copyright protection; Keeping It Sweet and Simple.