Yay! I like having the opportunity to write long essays!
Originally Posted by ManiacMichaelMyers
I'm sure all the recording artists, movie producers, software designers (who choose to charge, a.k.a. non-freeware), and other companies who are losing money every day to piracy would differ with that opinion.
The entertainment industry isn't "losing money to piracy", that's a myth perpetuated by it's conservative Powers That Be. Various studies by major universities and the U.S. government, amongst others, back that up. The difference that piracy does
bring about is that it changes the channels, flow and distribution of income and forces companies to adapt their business models accordingly. Those who refuse to adapt will lose money but, in reality, the entertainment industry, as a whole, makes more money now than ever before. Consumers listen to far more music on youtube, for example, (which pays its way through advertising etc.) than they ever listened to when they were buying cassette tapes.
The attitudes of those artists, record company's etc., that you refer to, are no different to the attitudes of the equivalent entities during the advent of radio broadcasting. Artists and record companies went to great lengths to ensure that their work would never be broadcast via this nasty, reckless, uncontrollable new medium. They did so under the false assumption that, if someone could listen to a song for free at home, then they would no longer have any reason to spend money on attending live performances.
Those backwards ideas now sound laughable, just as the current demonising of file-sharing will do, in 50 or so years time.
The extreme restrictions placed on airplay decades ago spawned pirate radio, which helped launch the careers of many of the greatest musicians and DJs of all time and, ultimately, forced the Powers That Be to wake up, stop being stubborn and bring themselves in line with reality. The supply was eventually forced meet the demand, which benefitted everyone.
Anyone can create high-quality audio or video content and distribute it to an infinite number of people nowadays. It requires no special skill or any expensive equipment.
Why should I pay to watch wrestling when I can watch a girl masturbate on Chatroulette, for free? The entertainment marketplace is ridiculously competitive now, in that sense. If anything, the technology companies are to blame for any problem that development causes, not filesharers.
The thing is, the ability to watch something/listen to something isn't what's being sold here. What's actually being sold is the whole package: from the cover, to the case, to the collectability, to the opportunity to directly support/influence a company/artist, to the sentimental value of physical things, to the guarantee that the stuff works...and so on. You're selling membership of an elite club, basically.
The way I see it, there's a curve of fandom nowadays. You can start off, like I did, as a poor teenager - someone who can only download the occasional wrestling show due to a cheap, shitty internet connection, watches Heat on wwe.com, and can't afford to pay for any of this stuff. You can then gradually make the transition towards being a frequent buyer of obscure shit, who thus directly financially supports the artist/producer/industry/whatever.
There will always be certain perks to buying and owning, when compared to downloading and watching IMO. Everyone
would rather have a DVD than a crappy media file on their computer. If you take away the opportunity to view, from those to whom money is a barrier, then you nip your future generations of paying customers in the bud and you slow the spreading of information about your product. Filesharing does
need to be controlled, legitimised and channelled in the right directions but to completely get rid of piracy would be like getting rid of running water, just because it's too cheap to meter now, and forcing everyone to buy Evian instead.
tl;dr I'm massively pro-piracy and I must've bought about 35 wrestling DVDs this year. If it wasn't for piracy I wouldn't even be a fan of wrestling any more. Let alone would I be spreading the word about a little-known women's promotion.
Speaking of which, back on topic:
It's difficult to apply a lot of this to a company like SHIMMER because, as I said earlier, they literally survive from one taping to the next, based largely on DVD sales. They have a very old-fashioned, simplistic business model.
They need as much money as they can get now
and can't necessarily afford to wait months or years for someone to become hooked enough to buy frequently or for a freeloader to pass the word on by writing blogs, doing youtube reviews, posting on message boards, tweeting or whatever. SHIMMER also has a cap on the number of live fans that they can accommodate, which means that freebies could only have a limited impact when it comes to promoting stuff that you can't download - like the live event experience or a signed picture, for two examples.
So, if your looking to attach some "morality" or "guilt" thing to piracy, then I can see the argument that it can apply to a tiny company like SHIMMER but piracy doesn't make a shite of difference to someone like Lady Gaga, for example. She'll just eventually get all of the money back, and more, through other means. If she tells you that she's "losing money" because people are "stealing her stuff" then she's either an idiot or just very stubborn IMHO.