Studios Need To Replace BitTorrent, but users have to stop stealing

Dave Hamilton at TMO has some good thoughts to share on the new “Six Strikes” punishments American ISPs are getting ready to inflict on consumers who download copyrighted content. Make no mistake, this is bad policy. Like, War on Drugs bad.

I agree that punishing BitTorrent users places emphasis on the wrong thing, much in the same way that arresting drug users does absolutely nothing to get drugs off the street. And I think the studios can be doing a better job of getting content to users in a timely, reasonable and affordable fashion. And big strides have been made there – like Dave, I have a wealth of options for getting content I want to watch: cable TV and “On Demand” service, Apple TV, Netflix, TiVo, Redbox.

So I mostly agree with everything that Dave writes.

But I get impatient with Dave’s conclusion, addressed to the content producers: “I’d love to have the convenience of not stealing from you.”

There are lots of things I want that I can’t have because I lack the resources like a Viking range, a BMW X5 and washboard abs. Doesn’t mean I’m allowed to go out and steal them. Same goes for music, movies and video games. Just because I want the content and it’s convenient to steal doesn’t mean I should.

There’s right, and there’s wrong. Stealing stuff is just plain wrong. We learn this as children, yet somehow we make elaborate excuses for it as we get older, like “Well, I’m just copying bits. I’m not really stealing.” Or “If it weren’t so hard for me to get legitimately, I wouldn’t have to steal it instead.”

When the studios make it hard for you to have content you want, you should just live without it, or reward other content providers who make it easier for you to do business with them.

Consumers have to stop expecting to have everyone kiss their ass just because they want something. This is the warped, misguided reason why “Six Strikes” policies are created to begin with.

In closing, I’m gonna let Mick and the boys speak for me: