Friday, October 2, 2015

More trivially obvious ways to reduce copyright infringement

Contrast the following DVD pre-releases:

Doctor Who: Series 9 Part 1
This title will be released on November 3, 2015.

Doctor Who is currently airing on Space television (Currently owned by Bell Media) on Saturdays, with the rest of the first half airing later this October - with the DVD of those episodes being made available the week after.  As someone who doesn't have cable and isn't a customer of a BDU for Internet, I can also watch the episodes the day after they air on cable streamed from the website.  Past seasons starting from 2005 through to last years's Christmas special are all available on Netflix.

Personal: I'm watching via the website each week, and will be purchasing the full season DVD when it is released.  If last year is any indication, it will be available in December prior to the airing of the Christmas special (which will be available early in the new year).

Game of Thrones: Season 5
This title will be released on March 15, 2016

Game of Thrones season 5 aired from April 12 to June 14, 2015. It is only available directly via HBO, in Canada exclusively licensed to HBO Canada, which is also owned by Bell Media.  It is not available unbundled from Cable or Satellite as a streaming service.

While I would have no idea why anyone would want to infringe copyright on modern Doctor Who given how readily available it is in a wide variety of legitimate formats, I fully understand why people would infringe the copyright of Game of Thrones.  In the case of Game of Thrones  you are forced to choose between 3 inappropriate options:

  • Watch on Cable/Satellite : The tied selling of the Game of Thrones to an unrelated and unnecessary separate service (Cable or Satellite TV) is something that should be declared illegal under Canada's Competition Act.  If not, then it should be considered fair dealings under Copyright Law given under "effect of the market" fans aren't provided a legitimate market.
  • Infringe copyright
  • Wait nearly a full year after release, an illogical delay that can only be explained by HBO trying to drive people to the other two options. They may want to immorally force people to the tied selling, but just as legitimately are forcing people to copyright infringement.

Personal: I'm waiting for the DVD release, but will watch with someone else if they have acquired it via some other means.  I may not be willing to choose either of the first two options myself, but am willing to watch the show with someone else who has.

I know that orthodox copyright lobbiests try to paint a picture where innocent copyright holders are being attacked from all sides by the evil world, but reality is quite different.  The easiest way for copyright holders to reduce the vast majority of non-commercial copyright infringement is to stop the self-inflicted pain: business practises which induce fans of their works to infringe as legitimate methods to pay are not offered.

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