“It is piracy, not overt online music stores, which is our main competitor.” This is what Steve Jobs had to say when Apple iTunes first came out. That was back in 2001. Almost two decades down the line not much has changed. The authorities and organizations have gone all out in their efforts to put an end to piracy, especially torrenting, but it seems we may be coming back to square one.
In this article, we explore some of the reasons why torrenting refuses to die despite a comprehensive drive against it.
The Torrenting Curb
In 2015, the US government passed the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill in order to put an end to online piracy. Efforts around the world have been underway since early 2010 to get major brands on board and take sources of piracy like torrent sites off the World Wide Web. In 2011, Google blocked torrent sites from its auto-complete feature to help the cause.
In the years following the US government bill, many torrenting sites were taken offline. Traffic took a major hit because users were unable to find any place that offered credible torrents. As a result, there was a temporary shift towards other sources but it was not long before people began finding ways around the problem.
How the Entertainment Industry is Trying to End Piracy
Movies and TV shows are the second most torrented media. Together with the first, they make up more than 60% of all illegally downloaded content. Production houses and directors lose sizable chunks of their revenue due to these practices so naturally, they had to do something about it.
Besides relying on official efforts to take down major torrenting websites, the entertainment industry made streaming services more affordable. With torrents hard to be found and streaming service subscriptions more within reach, it did bring a considerable audience to these platforms. However, now, the dynamics are changing again.
Why the Whole Effort Seems Futile
Part of the problem lies in the way streaming services operate. Torrents are absolutely free. All it takes is data to download and then you can keep the show or movie for as long as you like. That is something you don’t get with a streaming service. There are geographic restrictions on content, meaning that a show which is available in the US may not be in the UK.
Moreover, content is divided among a number of platforms. Having a Netflix subscription alone won’t get you access to every TV show or movie that you want. For instance, if your current watch list has Peaky Blinders, Doctor Who and The Stranger Things you need three separate subscriptions for Netflix, Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer.
Some users are just not willing to do that and it makes sense.
Although Piracy is illegal, the drive for most media houses to make as much money as possible from their endeavors is sometimes detrimental. Actors, producers and directors along with production companies work hard and they deserve their returns but at times they go beyond justifiable limits and this is why they are unable to bring torrenting to stop. It doesn’t seem that they will be able to any time in the near future either.
Also Read: TV Shows to Binge Watch This Winter