Are P2P And Torrent Sites The Enemy, And Are They Really Costing The Studios Millions Every Year?

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The simple answer to the question of p2p and torrent sites being the enemy is no. The same applies to the question of those same sites “costing” TV and movie studios millions in lost revenue every year. Seventy percent of nothing is still nothing. The truth is that over ninety percent of downloaders (pirates according to the MPIA and other groups) never would have paid the twenty-plus dollars to go see a movie in the theaters in the first place. The studios scream and moan about lost revenues, but those are revenues they never would have had in the first place. Even if you consider the countries who don’t have treaties regarding copyrights with the US, the supposed billions made by selling copied CD’s and DVD’s is still revenue US companies never would have gotten anyway. As far as TV shows are concerned, it usually comes down to missing an episode or two. Most people know that they’ll probably never catch the missed episode, and paying sixty-plus dollars for the whole season after waiting another year is not a viable option – not everyone has or wants DVR (digital video recorder), or has the services available in their area. If the major studios really wanted to increase their revenues, they need only move into the twenty-first century. Most people who download media would like to have an affordable option to obtaining it legally. There are some second-party sites which accommodate this need (mostly for music), but they are more expensive because they don’t come directly from the source. In other words, many consumers would be happy to pay ninety-nine cents per TV episode or up to five dollars for a movie directly from the source companies. The software architecture for sites like this is already there. With an investment substantially lower than their yearly advertising budget, major studios could set up the servers for direct downloading and streaming of video. As for so-called revenues lost it’s a simple matter of economics. In economics, people will not pay more than what they feel a product is worth. When studios invest millions in DVD’s for distribution with a retail cost of over thirty dollars, people know that they’re actually paying more than a few executive’s seven figure salaries – especially when the actual DVD’s cost is less than five cents. While the above may sound like an advertisement condoning downloading copyrighted materials, it’s not. People should not distribute or resell those materials, but the answer isn’t demonizing the average person or even harsh legislation. It would only take a realistic view of the world, and an investment in the future. Take computers for example. Twenty years ago they were bulky and overpriced which only allowed well off people to purchase them. Eventually supply rose in response to the demand, and prices went down as a result. It could be argued that this is an overly simplistic argument, but the core is still solid. Computer companies didn’t look backward, increase the supply, or keep with the time honored tradition of a 500% or higher markup on the products. They chose the former, and have stayed in business as a result. Again, the problem of downloading copyrighted materials will never go away, but there are multiple ways for motion picture, TV, and music studios to actually pull in more revenue from downloading. A little common sense is needed, and screaming wolf when it’s merely the sheep grazing causes people to want to become the wolf.


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