Piracy is theft? No it's not...

I found this nugget of information at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) web site while trying to find a way to pay royalties separately from obtaining the media.

Downloading a movie without paying for it is no different than walking into a store and stealing a DVD off the shelf.


Erm, “no different”? I’m not a lawyer, but I think it’s very different. Downloading a movie without paying for it is copyright infringement if you use the movie in a way not intended or authorised by the copyright holder. Walking into a store and stealing a DVD off the shelf is theft of material goods.

Downloading a movie without paying for it does not cause a financial loss to the owner. Walking into a store and stealing a DVD off the shelf does cause financial loss to the owner.

While I fully understand that copyright holders, rightfully, expect to be paid, or at least asked for permission, before their property is used, the use of FUD to distort the truth and control, confuse and scare people is not the right way to go about it.

I’m not the first to suggest this, but rather than trying desperately to stop movie distribution over the Internet, the MPAA and movie studios should be embracing this technology and using it to their benefit. People who download movies don’t require pretty packaging, DVD media or shipping. What I’d like to be able to do is to download a movie legally.

Imagine I’m at work, and decide I want to watch Epic Movie tonight. I could simply download the movie to my computer at home using bittorrent and nip over to a web site to pay the royalties. When I get home, the movie’s ready for me to watch and paid for. I can stream it to my TV or burn it onto a CD or DVD and watch it with my DVD player. The (legal) options right now are to buy the movie, rent it, wait for it to come on TV or download movies that use some form of digital restrictions management (DRM) to stop me from using the media in the way I choose. Examples of DRM include only allowing you to watch the movie from the computer you downloaded it with, only watching it 3 times, having to run Microsoft Windows to view the movie, etc. There are a few services that provide DRM free content, but the media can only be downloaded from their server, which means I don’t get the higher speeds and availability associated with distributed, peer-to-peer downloading. Opponents might suggest that people will download movies and not pay for them, but that’s already happening. If you give people the choice to do the right thing, those that want to, will. Those that want it for free wouldn’t buy the DVD in the store anyway.

So tell me - anyone know how I can pay royalties for movies?

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