Winter And The Wall

In response to my PandoDaily post about Game of Thrones earlier, Trevor Gilbert tries his hand at parody. Not all bad, but a few quick problems:

1) You can buy an unlocked iPhone.

2) Even if you stole the iPhone, you wouldn’t actually be able to use it on a carrier’s network without paying them.

3) Pretty much everything else.

But Gilbert knows this, I have to assume. From the comments, it seems he takes issue with my “sense of entitlement”. Clearly lost on him (and plenty others!) is the point. 

The point is the very essence of piracy.

Piracy does not exist because there are evil people out there who are thieves and/or hate capitalism and/or feel entitled. Sure, there are some bad eggs, but they’re the exception, not the rule. Piracy exists because it’s often an easier way of obtaining content than the legal means. And sometimes, it’s the only way. 

HBO doesn’t care right now because they’re raking in the money. Good for them. But they’re fools if they think the status quo will be maintained indefinitely. We’re seeing the beginning stages of where this is going right now. The pirating of Game of Thrones is all about ease of access to content.

Right now, you could wait a year to pay to get the content legally, or you could get it today for free. Remove the money element. It matters, but it’s not the key. The key is that it’s today versus a year from today. That’s the problem here.

Much of the arguments in defense of HBO today have been that it’s their content and they can do what they want. True! But they’re doing so blindly as gatekeepers who have total faith in their wall. The problem is that the wall is already full of holes.

Currently, they’re pretending the wall is perfectly intact. In a year, they’ll admit it’s been breached, and they’ll try to rebuild it. But they won’t be able to. 5 years from now, hardly anyone will be using the gate. 

So why not just let everyone in now and charge them all a fee? Because admitting the wall is crumbling will mean accepting less money. Supply/demand. No one ever wants to take less money. But what they’ll have to come to terms with in the future is that less money is better than no money at all. 

And yes, perhaps that means the end of high-end content like Game of Thrones which features massive, movie-like budgets. That sucks. But it is what it is. 

My post was merely meant as a wake-up call for HBO and other content providers. Winter is indeed coming. A lot of people pirate today because it’s easier than getting the content legally. In a couple years, as younger people not accustomed to paying for cable grow up, so will the number of pirates for artificially restrained content like Game of Thrones. In five years, it’s not going to be pretty at all.

Unless HBO and the others get out ahead of this, that is. 

The cable empires are going to die. It’s just the way it is. Nothing lasts forever. The backup plan of the premium content players should be what Netflix is doing. Content everywhere at a fair price. And they should start right now. But they’re all scared shitless to even think of walking away from that cable money.

So it will have to start walking away from them.

And make no mistake, it will. It’s just a question of when.

One year? Two years? Five years? HBO and the rest just better hope that they don’t mistime the retreat because they’re drunk on the wine from a dying resource. If piracy becomes the norm rather than the fringe, they’re going to get royally screwed on the deals for someone else to bring their house back in order. See also: the music industry.

  1. rplusdc reblogged this from parislemon and added:
    MG Siegler on why Piracy is gaining steam. Spoiler alert: is the content creators fault.
  2. roguecnidarian reblogged this from parislemon
  3. rickwebb reblogged this from parislemon and added:
    My objection here isn’t...of ease of piracy or...preferred...
  4. jmrooker reblogged this from parislemon and added:
    The days when entertainment publishers could control distribution are over. The days when withholding something that...
  5. mtduff reblogged this from parislemon
  6. peelman reblogged this from parislemon and added:
    I love it when people talk about this “sense of entitlement” surrounding piracy, like the industry is doing us all a big...
  7. chasingtheflow reblogged this from parislemon
  8. irismumbles reblogged this from parislemon
  9. parislemon posted this