Because suing people always stops piracy. Not.

There is something unusual in this story from Philippines new source Inquirer.net.

The story is about the Philippines-based TV company ABS-CBN and a lawsuit to stop piracy. That, in itself, sadly, is not so unusual. The same network “successfully”  sued someone earlier this year, winning a $10 million reward.

The strange thing, for me, is that these lawsuits are being filed in America, and are often against Americans. This despite the fact that the situation that drove this latest lawsuit was a raid in Australia.

First – really, are there so many people in the world who want to watch Filipino TV?! And second, do Americans, or many other people for that matter, have legitimate access to Filipino TV shows?

At the heart of this, of course, is money. ABS-CBN claims that the dozen or so website who were doing this piracy were depriving them of income, or, misusing copyrighted materials. Why does ABS-CBN not set up a site of their own where people can download the shows for free? Because either a) they don’t have the rights to do so (which points to a glaring lag in their contracts given the 21st century media distribution conditions) or, they want to charge more money.

So, the money the pirates are making is not enough for the network, but its enough for the pirates.

This is a kind of idiocy, or at best, lunacy.

Maybe (?!) I am an naive idealist, but, all this lawsuit could possibly do is this:

  • shut down some websites
  • cause the content to move to other websites
  • at best inconvenience people by removing their tv shows for a little while

Even if they did stem the tide of those shows they are in fact cutting their own noses off – once people have turned away from a tv show they won’t go back (ask someone who used to watch soap operas and then stopped or changed). These companies seem to think that viewers are loyal (which they are not except in very rare cases) and even worse, are loyal to a production company!

These people will either find other Filipino TV shows or just watch other shows.

Recently a popular website that offered pirated Japanese TV has shut down its service. The majority of its users were from Japan. They used the service not because of the money (most of the shows you can get for free on broadcast TV) but because there was no easy way to download shows to watch on laptops or mobile devices!

Will this drive the TV Networks to offer such a service? No. They have ‘won’ against this pirate and consider it job done.

Companies will never learn.

We need a new distribution model.

Rant over.

We now resume normal programming (ha ha!).

And here’s the article.

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Phil Smy

I am currently a student in the Raindance Film Degree Masters program. This site comes from the research I am doing as I learn more about film production and distribution.

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