Friday, December 23, 2005

A Myth Unintentionally Busted

One of my favorite shows when we (briefly) had DishTV was Discovery channel's MythBusters. Very cool. If you have never seen it, basically it's two guys and their team who put together experiments to test against historical & urban legends (i.e. could a penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building kill a pedestrian below?)

Slashdot featured the shows two stars answering readers/viewers questions recently. I think they unintentionally & eloquently busted a myth right in that post:
Bittorrent? by boatboy
Your show is available on bittorrent networks to download and watch when/where it's more convenient. Some users, however, could download the show without paying for it via cable service. How do you personally feel about this? (Cheated\Angry\Flattered\What's A Bittorrent?)

JAMIE HYNEMAN -- There will likely always be a certain amount of this kind of opportunism, and I suppose it will be self regulating to some degree. If there is too much, then quality programming will be reduced, and there will be nothing to steal. Other similar ways of avoiding commercials are also having this effect, and companies like mine are going to go out of business because the advertising revenues are being cut. Somebody has to pay for good programming, and if you cut out all the ads, and cut out the cable revenues, then you will end up with nothing but the kind of programming that is on public access stations, which is fine if that is what you happen to like, but limiting and a bit of a waste for a medium that is as powerful as TV.

ADAM SAVAGE -- Personally, I cannot condone the downloading of copyrighted work without the permission of the copyright holder. That being said, I look forward to a future where such a thing will be possible, and encouraged, and conducted in such a way that properly takes care of the needs of the artists, the distributors, AND the end users. We're not there yet, but Creative Commons is a step in the right direction to be sure.
Piracy via P2P fileswapping is going to kill off quality media productions. Those who engage in such activities really are ruining it for the rest of us. The myth that this illegal activity is somehow a victimless crime has been busted...

I particularly liked Savage's response. When moderate voices prevail and P2P technology can be employed so that the consumer has on-demand access to media, AND the production companies can still get paid--we will all win.


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