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Illegal Downloading

From the top, I am not a fan of downloading illegally.  When people download movies, songs, TV Shows, etc – here on referred to as Entertainment – it is stealing.  If people steal the entertainment, then that is money which is NOT going to the studio’s to produce the shows that you are enjoying enough to illegally download.

It is a catch 22.  You enjoy the shows enough to watch but won’t pay to see them. Hypocritical much?  In the case of television programs, yes it is free, but you are not watching that TV Station’s commercials which fund the cost of the TV Station purchasing that program from the producers.  Therefore, if you are not watching, then ratings fall, if ratings fall then advertisers pay a lower amount to advertise in that timeslot.  The TV station cannot afford to buy the top quality shows and therefore we are left with rubbish shows which are cheaper to produce and therefore cheaper to buy.

How is this good for anybody?  The studio’s receive less money, therefore the actors receive less, the directors, the producers, the sound and lighting guys, the camera operators, the caterers etc.  The list goes on.  They all receive less money.  Suddenly the top actors are not doing this movie because they aren’t being offered the financial incentives they are accustomed to.  So instead of Brad Pitt you get Steve Guttenberg.  Instead of Steven Spielberg you get a 1st year uni graduate.  Are you getting the picture?

Eventually it is going to get to the point where the money is simply not there to make programs such as Dexter, CSI and Law and Order or to produce music from artists such as U2, Bon Jovi, and Taylor Swift.  Then what?  Back to playing Monopoly and Scrabble at the kitchen table and singing Kumbaya around the campfire.

Does that mean that you should never be allowed to download TV programs from the internet?  No, it doesn’t.  There are circumstances when you can. For instance, if a TV program has already been broadcast and for whatever reason you missed it.  But that doesn’t mean you can download the full season.  Eventually you will be able to buy a whole season if it interests you that much.  For eg,  The Survivor Gabon finale was over 3 hours and my HDD was set to record for only 1 hour.  I had watched all other episodes on free to air but missed the finale.  So a mate told me how to download it via torrents.  I did and that is all I downloaded.

A lot of TV channels will allow you to watch a program after the original show has already been broadcast directly from their website and you can also buy episodes of some shows from places like Itunes for less than $3.  That is very reasonable and you have it for life to rewatch at your leisure.  To download new episodes of particular TV shows immediately after they have been broadcasted in America just because you can’t wait for it to be broadcast in Australia is simply not acceptable.  Wait and enjoy it like the rest of us do.

Music and movies should NEVER be illegally downloaded.  Just about every song is available to purchase from iTunes for a couple of bucks.  Cheap as.  Movies can be downloaded from iTunes as well in case you don’t want to go to the video store.

In summary, illegal downloading is stealing.  There is no other way to describe it.  I am a lover of good TV and great movies and cool songs and I am happy to pay for the privilege of enjoying them.

So what about you?  Do you agree with me in full or just parts of my argument?  Have you downloaded illegally?  If so why?  Do you agree with anything I have said?  What is an appropriate punishment for serial offenders?  I would love to hear your thoughts.