Kim Dotcom on ending piracy

January 14th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Pat Pilcher writes:

has become a regular fixture on Twitter and not so long ago he posted a tweet on what he believes needs to happen if piracy is to end. As ironic as that may sound, ’s logic is inescapably robust.

Here’s what his end to piracy manifesto says:

1. Create great stuff 
2. Make it easy to buy 
3. Same day worldwide release 
4. Fair price 
5. Works on any device

I basically agree with Dotcom on this. It would not end “piracy” entirely, but it would massively decrease it.

I get so annoyed when I try to buy a movie or a TV series and I can’t buy it on itunes or Amazon. It means the producers are refusing to take my money. How stupid is that?

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38 Responses to “Kim Dotcom on ending piracy”

  1. dime (9,806 comments) says:

    yep, good moves.

    if pricing is fair then Dime will quite often legally purchase a product. like books from kindle. 7 bucks? no worries. $27.99 from a local company, no thanks

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  2. Dotcom (1,386 comments) says:

    Totally agwee.

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  3. tamati (70 comments) says:

    The problem is what is a “fair price” ? What an consume is willing to pay in China, is probably somewhat less to what a fair price is in New Zealand. Price discrimination is entirely fair and reasonable.

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  4. dime (9,806 comments) says:

    tamati – for NZ i think it should be based off the US price.

    eg a paperback has $7.99 US on the back. convert that to kiwi and add freight. $10.99/ 11.99 no worries.

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  5. Jim (407 comments) says:

    “Price discrimination is entirely fair and reasonable.”

    No way. That kind of thinking led to the stupid mess we have now. If you want to discriminate based on what people are willing to pay, then why stop at country borders? There are greater differences within some countries than there are between others.

    All you will achieve though, is an opportunity for arbitrage. Then, to prevent people from taking advantage of this you will introduce regions, DRM, …

    Keep it simple.

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  6. wreck1080 (3,865 comments) says:

    Not sure there is anything new here.

    I guess if dotcom says it then it gets more air.

    Regarding pricing, kiwis will never pay fair prices (what others in the world pay). We are gouged in so many ways.

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  7. simonway (381 comments) says:

    I have seen Wreck-It Ralph, The Hobbit, and Les Miserables in cinemas in the past month. Django Unchained and Lincoln are not yet out here (Australia), so, even though I am perfectly willing to pay to see those films, as I have done for several others, I can’t. Screeners of both have since been leaked onto the internet… I think maybe now I won’t bother waiting until they’re in theatres.

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  8. RJL (145 comments) says:

    Tamati,

    Sure, different pricing levels in different markets is a fair profit tool for a studio/distributor. However, the point is that this, as Jim says, creates an opportunity for arbitrage, particularly when the different pricing structures are artificial (and well in excess of the actual costs of moving goods from one market to another).

    So, there is a very fine line for studios to walk between profiting from “pricing” and creating an opportunity/motive for piracy.

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  9. bc (1,365 comments) says:

    Yep Kim Dotcom is only staing the obvious, but he is right on the money.

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  10. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    Its neither fair nor reasonable.

    Fair and reasonable implies that there is a decent REASON for the difference. There is none, other than the additional costs of local classification and other smaller matters.

    Dont try to sell me a product that is exactly the same as somewhere else, being consumed in exactly the same way, and expect me to be OK with paying a huge premium.

    Faced with a 75% premium or 100% discount, which do you think the rational consumer is going to prefer?

    You CAN charge whatever you want. But your freedom to do so doesn’t make it a fair price.

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  11. thedavincimode (6,612 comments) says:

    If he’s right, then it would seem to follow that if the bludge was increased to about $100,000 pa and given to everyone we would have far less crime.

    While we’re at it, we should compel the sale of out of season vegetables at a “fair price” and require houses to be sold at a “fair” price.

    All our problems solved and all by a fat kraut. Pity he didn’t come here earlier.

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  12. marcw (242 comments) says:

    Remember the massive FAIL when Adidas tried to gouge the NZ market at the RWC – an unfair price for clothing to NZ fans, then blocking access to overseas on-line retailers (who had the fair and reasonable price) when their existance was publicised. So how did that work out for them? Do you think it would have been better for them to have sorted out their ethics before they tried to take advantage. I have never bought any of their products since in protest, and don’t ever intend to. (Yes, I’m sure they are crying about me, but at least I have priciples).

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  13. gump (1,617 comments) says:

    @thedavincimode

    I don’t like Kim Dotcom, but you’re completely misrepresenting what he said.

    He hasn’t advocated for content companies to be *compelled* to sell their products for a fair price. He has said that this is sometimes they *should* choose to do.

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  14. Jim (407 comments) says:

    Not only did he not call for compulsion, but comparing the price of digital goods (eg replicated by an HTTP GET) to physical goods in short supply is absurd.

    If thedavincimode thinks media distribution is already fair and reasonable, and thinks that vegetable comparisons are valid then how would he/she feel if unable to share those vegetables with friends? If he/she was prohibited from altering (cutting, slicing) and combining with other vegetables and seasonings to make a pie – without a licence from the vegetable grower + royalties…

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  15. thedavincimode (6,612 comments) says:

    gump

    True, but there is a reasonable inference that theft is legitimised where prices are perceived to be unfair. The only “fair” response is that that of marcw at 2.00pm: boycott the product. It isn’t to steal it.

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  16. MikeMan (171 comments) says:

    Exactly Gump.

    The studios and their mouthpieces like RIAA/MPAA are saying that piracy is killing their business, however it is actually their commercial model that is doing that.

    In the days of old they could get away with that as instant communication and comparison was not available to joe public and you had to buy what was available at the price set by the local retailers.

    HOWEVER

    There are now other options and while people are open to a fair deal they are no longer going to be ripped off for content that they are after. IF there was a NetFlix/Hulu type service in NZ that made sense (and quickflicks does not count) then I would not “Acquire” the TV content that I do and I would pay for the legal alternative, in fact I am paying approx $80 per month over and above my ISP costs to keep my “Acquisition” clear of the SkyNet law. I would happily pay an additional $20ish per month to get a legal source of what I want watch on the day of US release.

    But this is not an option at the moment so I do what I do. That is money that the studios are leaving on the table and I am sure I am not the only one who is doing this, maybe not at the same level.

    Hulu Plus has ~5000 content options for instance for just TV compared to QuickFlix’s archive of 120ish DVD issued series, mostly BBC content. Hulu Plus costs $USD7.99 per month!!!!!!! Netflix looks to be the same cost per month so for $USD16 per month you get access to thousands of TV shows and movies in the US. I would love the capability :)

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  17. Tautaioleua (296 comments) says:

    Kim Dotcom is only saying what everyone thinks, the entertainment industry should adapt or it will continue to bleed a slow and miserable death.

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  18. thedavincimode (6,612 comments) says:

    Jim

    It isn’t absurd for copyright owners who have invested in their product to choose where they sell their products and at what price. Your vegetable analogy is quite wrong. You can share the vegetables by eating them together following which the vegetables will have been consumed. That does not apply to copyrighted works. If I am an author I make my money by selling my books. If you want to lend your book to someone, that’s fine. If you want to sell my book to someone, that is fine also. But if you want to copy my book then that is not fine. That means I get to sell one book and I don’t get paid for the copies of my work. I understand that the ITunes rules are more restrictive than that but if they are, tough. If that’s what you agree to when you download, that’s your problem. The legitimate response is to choose not to download. It is hardly life-threatening and this increasingly ambivalent attitude to copyright and contract law is nothing more than justification for people who want things on their terms and not others’ terms. Theft is another way to describe it.

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  19. thedavincimode (6,612 comments) says:

    Tautaioleua

    That’s their problem, not yours. You only have a problem if you pinch stuff.

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  20. Dean Papa (787 comments) says:

    Next: Dotcom on ending obesity..

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  21. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    On a slightly related note, I went to the cinema last week and sat through 20 minutes of ads before Jack Reacher started.
    I’m not worried about a couple of movie trailers before the movie. I’m also not worried about a couple of ads for local businesses, but 20 minutes is a bit over the top if you ask me.
    I’ve already paid to watch the movie, I don’t think I should be subjected to a shitload of ads as well.

    No wonder people pirate movies.

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  22. bc (1,365 comments) says:

    I don’t go to the cinema that often, so I noticed the increased number of pre-movie ads too gazzmaniac when I went last year to see Skyfall.
    Having a couple of previews of movies is fine, but the number of ads before them was ridiculous. Next time I’ll come 15 mins after the advertised starting time to catch the previews and then the main feature (after booking a good seat online of course!)

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  23. Jim (407 comments) says:

    thedavincimode

    Firstly, I didn’t choose the vegetable analogy. Showing how wrong it is was partly my point.

    “It isn’t absurd for copyright owners who have invested in their product to choose where they sell their products and at what price.”

    It is absurd that they treat their customers with contempt, as criminals, cripple their own products and then wonder why people prefer to circumvent that. Copying has been going on for centuries (at least as long as the printing press has existed). The US didn’t have a problem with it until they became a producer.

    Regarding iTunes, etc: “If that’s what you agree to when you download, that’s your problem.” No argument there. It was my problem.

    “The legitimate response is to choose not to download.” Also agreed. On the same page to this point.

    As a result of the above: my movie expenditure is a tiny fraction of what it was. I still purchase music via iTunes because that works reasonably well and is not loaded with measures to stop me listening.

    I stopped purchasing because it was too inconvenient to do so. Piracy had nothing to do with that decision.

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  24. Gerrit (107 comments) says:

    Seems like the Aussies are onto Dotcom’s new game.

    http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/could-adjacking-software-save-kim-dotcom-20130114-2coos.html

    adjacking malware?

    Not going to win many friends there.

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  25. scrubone (3,091 comments) says:

    Dean Papa 3:06 – heh!

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  26. RRM (9,773 comments) says:

    Or, as Matthew Inman put it:

    http://theoatmeal.com/comics/music_industry

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  27. cha (3,933 comments) says:

    Interesting piece on the long line of thugs who preceded KDC.

    http://blogs.canoe.ca/parker/general/hang-the-pirates-%E2%80%94-but-start-with-the-movie-moguls-and-record-execs/

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  28. Sadu (129 comments) says:

    @thedavincimode

    Nobody is forcing content producers to do anything. Dotcom is simply proposing an alternative, an entirely reasonable one which is not pie-in-the-sky at all. Many people do very nicely under this model.

    Maybe the content producers are happy with the status quo? Where willing potential customers who are normally honest people will pirate content because it’s unreasonably expensive, or not available in their country or on their device. Whatever. The consumers generally don’t generally give a fuck whether the content is legal or not, but given a choice most people will pay a fair price to have the legit version if they aren’t inconvenienced or penalised for doing so.

    “Fair”, in the context of movies, means “significantly cheaper than going to a cinema”. Basically the consumer expects to pay their share of the production costs, but none of the middle man fees, cinema costs or traditional distrbution costs. Under this model, the content producer should be able to recoup exactly the same amount back to cover the production, so in this case they can give the consumer what they want at a cheaper price and make the same markup. Cinemas, DVD stores and middle men will lose out, but only because their services are no longer needed in the internet age.

    The movie people can’t site there and bitch and moan about piracy while at the same time completely ignoring a perfectly good alternative model. This situation is entirely in their control, and I gotta say I have no sympathy if they aren’t willing to change their business model.

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  29. thedavincimode (6,612 comments) says:

    So in other words, you condone the theft because it’s all the fault of copyright owners.

    Thanks for confirming where your moral and ethical compass rotates. Perhaps you could take up bank robbery if they don’t give you money you want.

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  30. big bruv (13,702 comments) says:

    Is Kim Dotcom talking about ending piracy a bit like Daivd Bain talking about ending murder?

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  31. Jim (407 comments) says:

    davincimode, I don’t see anyone condoning piracy here – just pointing out that byzantine distribution and consumer-antagonistic controls are the cause.

    Piracy is filling an otherwise unsatisfied market.

    The OP was pretty much on target. Remove the reason for piracy and it will be greatly diminished. You don’t have to like or condone piracy to agree with that.

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  32. Viking2 (11,367 comments) says:

    With the advnt of super fast Bdband and home theatres etc someone someday is going do what needs to be done.
    add to that the new super sized screens coming out and theatres become expensive real estate which most people will just never visit. and that’s aside from the many millions who simply have no access to theatres.
    There is more money to be made from change than will ever be retained from continuing to operate a 1900 business model. sooner rather than later it will happen.
    Bollywood and Chinawood will capture that largest share of the cash if the yanks and Pommes don’t get their shit together on this.
    Neither india nor China has any need to follow Hollywood and they are the two biggest ethnic groups around the world. Look at the way Indian’s and Chinese have grown their services inside NZ. If they can do it here then the USA is a no brainer for them.

    The movie industry doesn’t own a sole right to communication with customers and it better think about its way of business if it wants to continue to survive.
    As the internet develops more in the next three years much more money will be available to film makers again making Hollywood redundant.
    The world is full of entreprenurial people and there are many scripts that will be written eliminating as wll the need for Hollywoods cache of past scripts.

    Change is inevitable even if the yankee moguls don’t think so.

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  33. Fletch (6,251 comments) says:

    Although polls in France show a “majority” of 52% in favour of gay marriage, a huge crowd of 340,000 has just gathered at the Eiffel Tower to protest gay marriage. So proud. At last people are standing up for what they believe.

    (TheBlaze/AP) — Holding aloft ancient flags and young children, hundreds of thousands of people converged Sunday on the Eiffel Tower to protest the French president’s plan to legalize gay marriage and thus allow same-sex couples to adopt and conceive children.

    The opposition to President Francois Hollande’s plan has underscored divisions among the secular-but-Catholic French, especially in more traditional rural areas versus urban enclaves. But while polls show the majority of French still support legalizing gay marriage, that backing gets more lukewarm when children come into play.

    The protest march started at three points across Paris, filling boulevards throughout the city as demonstrators walked six kilometers (3 miles) to the grounds of France’s most recognizable monument. Paris police estimated the crowd at 340,000, making it one of the largest demonstrations in Paris since an education protest in 1984.

    “This law is going to lead to a change of civilization that we don’t want,” said Philippe Javaloyes, a literature teacher who bused in with 300 people from Franche Comte in the far east. “We have nothing against different ways of living, but we think that a child must grow up with a mother and a father.”

    Public opposition spearheaded by religious leaders has chipped away at the popularity of Hollande’s plan in recent months. About 52 percent of French favor legalizing gay marriage, according to a survey released Sunday, down from as high as 65 percent in August.

    French civil unions, allowed since 1999, are at least as popular among heterosexuals as among gay and lesbian couples. But that law has no provisions for adoption or assisted reproduction, which are at the heart of the latest debate.

    Hollande’s Socialist Party has sidestepped the debate on assisted reproduction, promising to examine it in March after party members split on including it in the latest proposal. That hasn’t assuaged the concerns of many in Sunday’s protest, however, who fear it’s only a matter of time.

    “They’re talking about putting into national identity cards Parent 1, Parent 2, Parent 3, Parent 4. Mom, dad and the kids are going to be wiped off the map, and that’s going to be bad for any country, any civilization,” said Melissa Michel, a Franco-American mother of five who was among a group from the south of France on a train reserved specifically for the protest.

    Support for gay marriage – and especially adoption by same-sex couples – has been particularly tenuous outside Paris, and people from hundreds of miles from the French capital marched Sunday beneath regional flags with emblems dating back to the Middle Ages, chanting “Daddy, Mommy.”

    If the French parliament approves the plan, France would become the 12th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, and the biggest so far in terms of economic and diplomatic influence.

    Harlem Desir, the leader of Hollande’s Socialist Party, said the protest would not affect the proposal’s progress. The Socialists control Parliament, where the bill is expected to be introduced on Tuesday, with a vote following public debate at the end of January.

    “The right to protest is protected in our country, but the Socialists are determined to give the legal right to marry and adopt to all those who love each other,” he said. “This is the first time in decades in our country that the right and the extreme right are coming into the streets together to deny new rights to the French.”

    Bliimin socialists ey? Still glad to see the ordinary person stand up for what is right.
    The link also has video –

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/01/13/hundreds-of-thousands-converge-on-eiffel-tower-to-protest-gay-marriage-a-change-in-civilization-that-we-dont-want/

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  34. Reid (16,223 comments) says:

    Dotcom is a very clever guy isn’t he.

    His PR campaign here has been masterful and this is another stroke to get the international stage set for his trial, which will happen.

    I very much doubt he wrote a word of it himself, frankly. But he would have thought of doing it and that’s what counts.

    Also to think up another line he’ll launch shortly to do one-click encryption, is but another plank in the rebel-who-cares storyline. Stick it to the man. Of course he knows about NSA’s new Utah Data Centre which can crack it but hey. But maybe he just wants to make them buy more processors as more and more and more people use PGP 256 bit encryption on simply everything in sight. That’ll make em mad, won’t it. But that’s part of his image too.

    I look forward to the next move, like I said, he’s a very clever guy.

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  35. Fletch (6,251 comments) says:

    Oh shit, I posted in the wrong thread, sorry!

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  36. Fletch (6,251 comments) says:

    This was meant for the dotcom thread –

    http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones

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  37. Sadu (129 comments) says:

    [quote]So in other words, you condone the theft because it’s all the fault of copyright owners.

    Thanks for confirming where your moral and ethical compass rotates. Perhaps you could take up bank robbery if they don’t give you money you want.[/quote]

    I’m just pointing out that in the world we live in, piracy exists. You don’t have to condone the behaviour to recognise it’s existence.

    But yes, it is all the fault of copyright owners. This problem is almost entirely of their making. I believe that piracy will continue unabated until the industry changes their business model to the model the consumers are asking for. This is not rocket science.

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  38. Jim (407 comments) says:

    Since we’re talking moral compasses, where’s this guys at? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIRjeVZL-ew

    At least it’s clear who’s breaking buying the laws to criminalise all of this (realigning the moral compass for the shills).

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