So, pirates, what's your excuse now?

The age-old complaint to justify TV and movie piracy has been one of availability and price. Those barriers are tumbling down, so what’s the new excuse going to be?
Over at Mumbrella, Tim Burrowes wrote an excellent piece yesterday talking about Stan’s local launch of Better Call Saul, and why it’s quite price-competitive in terms of value, as long as you like the program in question.
In the interests of full disclosure, I’ve never watched a single episode of the series that leads into it, Breaking Bad.
You may now judge me. All done? Good. Let us continue.
Not long after that, a press release landed in my inbox, stating that local digital sales group EzyFlix would offer the entire series to digitally own for the grand price of $10, or $1 per episode. Episodes are made available 24 hours after broadcast, but after that, you own them to watch whenever you’d like. Yes, it’s a loss leading publicity stunt, but still, it points rather resolutely to the fact that content is becoming both available much more quickly in Australia, and at much lower price points.
EzyFlix’s contention is that its $10 price point for Better Call Saul is $20 cheaper than the three months of Stan you’d need to pay for to watch the same series, which obviously ignores anything else Stan might offer you. Lest I be accused of beating the pro-Stan drum too hard, as I noted in my review, Stan has its own issues too, including a terribly wonky search engine and reliance on Silverlight as a desktop playback mechanism. I didn’t watch Better Call Saul last night, obviously, but I wonder how well it stood up to the barrage of people trying to do just that, given that its exclusivity has been a heavy plank of Stan’s advertising to date.
Still, the content is there, and it’s legal, and it’s quickly available.
Which makes me wonder. The twin war cries of “availability” and “affordability” have long been the excuses that the pro-piracy crowd have rested on, alongside the even shakier “never would have paid for it anyway” line.
I’ve never been particularly comfortable with the “never would have paid for it” line on two fronts. Firstly, it’s used by the copyright crowd to inflate the “value” of piracy numbers to a degree that’s often comical, but on the flipside, it points to an attitude of entitlement that ignores the fact that content costs real money to create. But that’s a diversion, really.
Getting back to affordability and availability, it’s quickly becoming the case that these excuses simply don’t add up. So what will the new excuses be?
The reality is that a lot of people pirate because it’s relatively easy to do so, they feel anonymous while doing so and it’s free. Those aren’t justifications that stand up in any sense if you actually like watching TV or movies in the long term, but they’re pretty much the bottom line here.
As such, I’ve prepared a little list of excuses that you might want to use to justify your next bout of TV torrenting, just to save time.

  • But it isn’t available in 4K, and my eyes spontaneously combust if it isn’t in 4K!
  • I can’t possibly wait 24 hours to watch this, because I’ve only got 23 hours to live!
  • No Amiga playback client? Pah! I shall continue hoisting the jolly roger!
  • I heard from my cousin’s auntie’s next door neighbour’s garbage delivery man’s hamster that Jennifer Lawrence was once really mean to an ant. That’s all the justification I need to pirate Top Gear!

They don’t really stand up either, do they? So what’s the new rallying justification cry going to be?
Image: No Frills Excursions

1 thought on “So, pirates, what's your excuse now?”

  1. Well, let me see….I’ll continue to pirate until such time as these services are available on numerous and readily available platforms, ala Kodi, WD, Roku etc….. and STOP relying on last years PC based software. They still have some ways to go Alex. Its at least a start.
    Oh, and I just spent about 10 mins on Call me slow (I’m a pirate remember), but I could not even find a list of shows available, and in what resolution?
    Piracy still offers the best service. Until that is no longer the case, I’ll switch then.

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