Piracy: Consumer Vs Company

If you’re reading this article right now, ask yourself how you are contributing to the ever-increasing cancer of piracy that has been choking the film, music and video game industry for years now. If you’re in India, there’s a good chance that even your operating system has been installed from a pirated copy. The Asian markets have a piracy industry that competes with the actual entertainment industry in terms of volumes and revenue. What brought this on? How can this change? Here are a few of my opinions and suggestions.

The one single cause of spreading piracy is simple and basic, money. Original softwares and DVDs are too expensive and one can’t afford to buy too many of them. So for a fraction of the price, you can get the same game or movie. Can you really blame the consumer? I mean, we are simply acting in self interest. We want to play a certain game or listen to a certain album, why should we spend twenty to thirty times the amount when we can simply go to our local CD-waala and buy anything we want. This simple action is causing billions of dollars of losses to the entertainment industry each year. If we truly appreciate the efforts of the people involved, we need to support them. Rent original DVDs from a place like BigFlix or something. If you really like a new album you’ve been listening to and think it’s worth it, go buy it. Find places where you could rent video games for a day or weekend or so. And at the end of the day you’ll realize you’re probably spending the same amount of money you were before. Use the internet wisely (not to download free stuff all the time). Read people’s opinions. Find out everything you can about the movie or album or game you wish to purchase. Make an informed decision. This way, not only are you helping the industry, your purchase warrants the industry to keep their standards high, and you help yourself too. These simple things will go a long way.

The industry needs to change its outlook as much as the consumers do. Game companies like UbiSoft and Electronic Arts in recent years have come under much fire for shipping DRM (Data Rights Management) along with their video games. In a way they have unintentionally helped piracy thrive by forcing their paying customers to suffer through a lot of unnecessary procedures like continuous connection to the internet, limited installs etc. The price of original material, especially in Asia seems to be on the high side. If companies want their customers to support them, they too need to do the same. Better quality of products, maybe a loyalty program, if possible, a reduction in price. The companies need to understand their customers better in order to serve them well and increase their own profits.

The fight against piracy cannot be one sided. Both parties need to change. We need to say no to piracy. The companies need to understand us better. Hopefully, such a day will come soon.

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