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Subject: The Oatmeal, Game of Thrones, and Reality rss

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Duke of Lizards
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College Station
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I am a breathing time machine
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We're all in this together, and we love to take a bath!
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It's like he's inside my head NSFW, but you knew that already, didn't you?
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Mad Meknik
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Parmelia
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Grrrrrrrrowf!
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Grrrrr aaarrrggghhh
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That, is sadly, sadly close to reality. Replace "not available yet" with "not available to customers in Australia" and you have our situation. We've seen season 1, by pirated copy, and we will buy it when it becomes available, but it still isn't (it is at least available for pre-order, which is new since I last checked).
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Darryl Boone
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Coquitlam
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Reading your recent posts has been like dipping my bottom over and over into a bath of the silkiest oils and creams.
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I'll bite.

(First of all, while I don't engage in piracy myself, I have friends who do and I'm not righteous against it at all. But the discussion and rationalisation of it interests me.)

I understand the reasoning behind piracy when the content is unavailable and there is no expectation it will ever be available. You're not denying a sale.

But I assume that Game of Thrones will be available on DVD/Blue-Ray/iTunes/etc. someday. It's just pretty new right now, I think? So the argument of "I'm downloading a free copy because there isn't one yet I can buy" is actually "I'm downloading a free copy because I don't much feel like waiting". Despite the ridiculous delays in some parts of the world, which I agree must feel intolerable, I'm not sure that's a supportable argument.

Let's say it won't be purchasable online for whatever reason, but the DVD set will be out in three months. So it's OK to download for free because you can't buy it right now, I guess? What if the wait is three weeks? Three days? Three hours? (The stores are closed for the day but I really, really want to watch it tonight, so it's OK to download for free because there's no way for me to pay to do so?) What is the threshold of waiting time beyond which piracy is acceptable?

I guess in a perfect world, things would be available to purchase online and on physical media the day of cinema/cable release (though I understand why they don't do this). Still, then the argument could be changed: what if the final edit was leaked before it was available to purchase? Is that OK to download for free because you can't buy the finished product right that minute?

(This is theoretically moot if you still intend to buy later when it's available. Good on you, if you do follow through, and there isn't any other single thing competing for your limited funds at that time.)
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Michael Edwards
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Everett
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Many studies have shown that piracy tends to lead to increased sales.

I know in my own case, back when I was an "impoverished" suburban psudo-punk in the 80's, I taped a ton of albums from my friends. (Remember cassette tape? Remember vinyl albums? If so, you may remember that the record industry firmly believed that cassette tape piracy would destroy record sales).

I know at the time, I didn't have much in the way of personal disposable income. So, I a pirated a ton of music. I imagine if this had been prevented somehow (anti-piracy tech, no tapes, etc) I probably would have been restricted to buying more used items, and a much more limited amount of music - just the stuff I wanted the very most.

As it turns out, I, of course, spent most of my time after gaining a suitable disposable income, buying old music I had been exposed to via my tapes on albums, then CDs, and now via download. There is no question in my mind that I have purchased much more music overall than I would have if I had not taped stuff. I probably would have purchased a little more in the short term, but instead I purchased much, much more in the long term.

In the various studies I have read, they seem to indicate that stuff gets pirated because it's popular and/or interesting. This leads to exposure - both to the pirates, and their friends. This, in turn, leads to more total sales.

Does that make piracy (at least for music) morally correct? No (although I'm sure some arguments could be made in other ways). But, I'm always surprised that the music industry doesn't figure out that it is helpful sales wise.
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David K.
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Pflugerville
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FYI...

The DVD and Blu-Ray arrives in stores on March 6th, 2012.

Season 2 premiers on April 1, 2012.
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Tom Pender
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I am roughly in sympathy with this. Unfortunately, there are large segments of the population (i.e., people under 30) who have somehow convinced themselves that they have a legal and constitutional right to plunder IP regardless of whether it's a valid reason or not. So I can't (or, rather, won't) mount a valid defense of the practice.

A lot of people have cooked up justifications in their head about how it's not REALLY stealing because the original still exists. They don't seem to grasp the concept that they're still stealing a potential sale. And if they weren't going to buy it anyway, then why steal it? Just because you don't agree with the price of something doesn't mean you get to just take it.

Let's face reality--the situation described in the Oatmeal cartoon above probably contributes to a small but significant (say, below 25%, most likely 10-15%) of all piracy. That still means that the vast majority of the pirating population basically wants shit and doesn't want to pay for it. Get in line with the rest of us who aren't committing crimes.

[Of course, I think the movie studios/music companies are going about this wrong--as mentioned above, it often does lead to increased sales. But that's doesn't mean they are in the moral or legal wrong. And I agree that copyright law is screwed up, but it has very little to do with privacy.]
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Mr. Glitch
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Coase wrote:
A lot of people have cooked up justifications in their head about how it's not REALLY stealing because the original still exists. They don't seem to grasp the concept that they're still stealing a potential sale. And if they weren't going to buy it anyway, then why steal it?

I am one of those people. The concept of a "lost potential sale" has neither legal nor ethical ground. When you lend your hammer to your neighbor, tool manufacturer has lost a potential sale. When you ride a bus, some car dealership has lost a potential sale. Every story you tell to your kids is a lost sale to an audiobook manufacturer. Just imagine how many potential sales do restaurants lose when you cook at home day after day.

No one is entitled to sales, does not matter if it is a physical property or an intellectual one; and the issue is completely orthogonal and unrelated to copyright. When a physical store gets stolen from, no one pursues "lost sale" aspect; there is no such thing. All theft cases are based on "I had stuff, I do not have it anymore" , i. e. actual damages.

That's how copyright infringement differs from theft. Theft deprives original owner of the object of theft. And depriving him of "potential sale" is not theft because "potential sale" was not his property. It is not a property at all - you might claim someone stole your dreams with about the same success rate.

As far as oatmeal comic goes, it is a simple law of numbers. If several people break a law, the are criminals. If more than half of country's population breaks a law, that law is unenforceable, and, for most intents and purposes, does not exist. This is not unlike speeding laws - people generally try to respect speed limits, but when they are set too low, vast majority simply starts ignoring them and drive the speed they damn well please. If enforcement starts in earnest, sooner or later it is the speed limit that goes up, not the drivers' speed that goes down.
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Michael
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Lincoln
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Very funny find, regardless if you support torrenting it or not.

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Lance
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Moorhead
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The coolest best thing I have ever done in my life is being a father
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The Dread Pirate Caleb!! (age 2)
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Back eight or nine years ago I used to download and watch all kinds of TV shows because I didn't have the option of watching them. I never really thought of it as being "bad", even though I knew it was stealing. However, when I heard of someone who was downloading scanned copies of the comics that I bought and loved I denounced them for the jackhole that they were and felt good about standing up to piracy.

It's all relative I guess.

I don't have the time to watch stuff anymore anyway, with work, kids, my wife in school, etc - so the very act of trying to track down a torrent site, download the episodes, hope that my ISP doesn't shut me down (they are VERY good at cracking down on people for this sort of thing - several of my friends have had their accounts permanently disabled because of their piracy) and then watch the show on my computer screen (yes I know I can port it over to my TV but that also takes time) just seems like WAY more work than just waiting for the show to come out on DVD and picking it up then.
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