Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Entitlement, Morals, and Pragmatism

Megan McArdle of The Daily Beast notes how the common argument made by Certified Internet Economists™ in favour of piracy (or in contention of the waiting period between show air date and availability on iTunes) is completely wrong:

Ludicrous, because if piracy is actually wrong, it doesn’t get less wrong simply because you can’t have the product exactly when and where you want it at a price you wish to pay. You are not entitled to shoplift Birkin bags on the grounds that they are ludicrously overpriced, and you cannot say you had no alternative but to break into an the local ice cream parlor at 2 am because you are really craving some Rocky Road and the insensitive bastards refused to stay open 24/7 so that you could have your favorite sweet treat whenever you want. You are not forced into piracy because you can’t get a television show at the exact moment when you want to see it; you are choosing piracy.

Via Marco Arment, who agrees with McArdle’s point:

Admit it: you’re ripping it off, it’s morally questionable at best (and illegal), but you don’t care. You’re pirating a TV show because you don’t want to pay for it or wait for it to become available in the ways you want. You’re not making any kind of statement or participating in a movement — you’re just being cheap and/or impatient. If you don’t have the fortitude to cope with that, then don’t pirate.

It may not be right, but “yelling about what’s right isn’t a pragmatic approach for the media industry to take.” Arment, earlier this year:

It’s unrealistic and naïve to expect everyone to do the “right” thing when the alternative is so much easier, faster, cheaper, and better for so many of them.

The pragmatic approach is to address the demand.

How can these two aspects be reconciled? There’s obviously demand, and it clearly isn’t being met to the standards of those who wish not to wait until the end of the season to watch the first episode of a show. While some of these people are simply being cheap, others would happily pay for the content that interests them. The current model doesn’t support this.

If only some company would make a great internet-connected television platform.