As streaming platforms, and the digital availability of entertainment content are both increasing, the demand for the instant availability of the latest movies or TV show is becoming a standard expectation.
Even though official content distributors such as VOD platforms are also growing, thus giving instant access to entertainment content, video piracy seems more popular than ever because not all relevant content can be accessed legally at the same time in every market; therefore the search through mostly non user-friendly content libraries of countless providers often becomes a time-consuming and nerve-wracking task, and it is not for free. In addition, unlike a few years ago, available pirated download and streaming options are high quality.
Thus, video piracy is a more convenient, cost-free, and even socially acceptable choice for many.
However, it is also no longer a secret that the distribution of copyrighted material is illegal, nor that it causes financial damage to rights holders. Furthermore, everyone should know the wider consequences of video piracy by now. The risk of being able to cover the costs of film production has increased in recent years, which has led to a thinning of independent and smaller producers and the strengthening of already established filmmakers and studios.
The media and entertainment industry will gradually lose its diversity.
Modern video content owners have multiple ways they can try to protect their movies or general media content from illegal online distribution; the possibilities range from watermarking videos and new release strategies to sending warnings and closing down piracy sites.
Aside from the fact that many content protection options are extremely cost-intensive and therefore only available to large rights holders, piracy advocates scoff it as a bottomless pit when trying to block streaming video piracy.
As soon as some piracy sites or streaming channels close, multiple new ones are created.
Thus, is streaming piracy prevention and content protection hopeless?
PUTTING IT BLUNTLY: WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF NOTHING WAS DONE?
What if there were no (new) technologies for improved copy protection?
Let us start with copy protection; yes, those who specialize specifically in the monetization and distribution of illegal videos are technically adept and can usually quite quickly excise copy protection. However, as an estimate from out of the blue – how many people are actually involved in this and how many want to do it at all?
Continuously improving copy protection will certainly deter the first wave of potential pirates - as it will be far too time-consuming and they will have no desire to deal with it.
Stop closing piracy sites and disabling channels that distribute illegal content?
Searching the internet for videos that are not yet officially available is also often difficult and mostly far from being convenient. And this is even though or precisely because there are countless different options to find pirated content - from various streaming sites to file-sharing networks. Often torrent-files or video streams have the wrong title - you can expect anything from an ancient version from 50 years ago to a completely different content - the quality is poorer than expected, it is in the wrong language, the content is incomplete, or has other issues.
Sometimes searching is very annoying, leading to the fact that in many situations, such as if you are in a group and want to enjoy a nice movie evening, the choice falls on content that is available through legal platforms and you can also be sure by clicking the play or buy button that you will end up with the right movie in the quality and language version you desire – without having to play 10 wrong pirated versions first.
Even if this does not apply to every situation in which video piracy comes into play, measures that make access and distribution more difficult or reduce convenience do their part to combat it.
No consequences? No DMCA notes or cease and desist letters?
Regarding the assumption that the unlawful distribution of copyrighted material over the internet is completely without consequence, again asked exaggeratedly, but - what if shoplifting did not entail any consequences? - A less vague assumption is that the rate of shoplifting would increase significantly.
There is no question that music and video piracy have declined significantly in countries where DMCA notes and monetary consequences have been consistently enforced over a certain period of time. This certainly has two reasons - the risk of being caught and having to pay a three-digit or even four-digit sum for the consumption of entertainment videos is too high for many and it has brought about a long necessary change in the perception and appreciation of digital content – because just if something can be accessed easily, it doesn't mean that it has no value or free use is legal.
No action and no consequences will mean that everyone will be able to distribute and watch any videos whenever and however they want. Honestly?
Then why protect a work at all? From what? Why produce and invest in films or TV Shows?
All measures to prevent or hinder online video piracy will always be an essential part of protecting creators and distributors–and thus also a wide range of entertainment content.
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