Piracy of the online variety poses problems for positive-minded people. It may give us opportunities to alliterate, but it puts us in a dilemma. We like seeing good content spread beyond paywalls, especially when it can help the people it reaches. We also don’t recoil instantly when it’s digital piracy because the content isn’t being “stolen” in a conventional sense. Still, clearly piracy causes major drains on our financial systems and is, in the final analysis, morally unacceptable. So what to do?
Netflix is probably the best contender to a find a workable solution. First, they’re one of the biggest video streaming websites out there. In the U.S. alone they boast a subscriber base of 30 million. Making content available is what they do. Piracy is largely focused on leeching from their market. They recently published data that suggests that content providers don’t have to automatically play the role of woe-is-me victim.
The answer is simple and elegant, and perhaps draws on the angels of our better nature. Netflix says that “The best way to combat piracy isn’t legislatively or criminally but by giving good options.” Their claim of “killing” torrent traffic might be a bit hyperbolic. But then again, they have the numbers to show the drop in unauthorized peer to peer file sharing.
The giving of good options means simply being the better service provider. The underlying assumption that users just want more choices, and the easy ability to act on them. The same rather obvious conjecture seems to have worked for Apple’s iTunes. The thicket of legal threats might assist the overall process. But it’s nice to see that the major players are responsive to consumer psychology. HBO, maker of non-Netflix streamed Games of Thrones, are you listening?