Piracy is the Future of Television

This is the provocative title of a study conducted by Abigail De Kosnik from the Convergence Culture Consortium. The author compares the advantages for the consumers between legal offers and the pirate “offer”.

The conclusion is that pirate offer is more attractive than the legal ones, and thus not only because it is free. For instance, the legal offer is divided up among many sites. No one merchant does offer the “complete” catalog of video content, whereas sites such as The Pirate Bay do. Pirate content has no limitation (i.e. DRM) and offer codecs that are universally supported. This is not the case for legal offers. And the list is long:

Single search
Simple indexing
Uniform software and UI
File portability
Freedom from Preempting in the US

The conclusions are that legal services should take some good ideas from the pirate offer, such as standardize the way to get access to or tos earch content, go immediately to global audience, offer a premium service for personal archives, eliminate the TV set, and charge according to volume usage.

Of course, the study is biased. The study clearly forgets that the pirate offer does not have to comply with copyright laws, commercial agreements, and has not to fund creation of content. It does not take into account economics. Nevertheless, some recommendations are interesting (but not necessarily easy to deploy).

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