In a recent answer to a question on Quora (embedded at the end of this post), I gave my take on content piracy or, better stated, ‘illegal content sharing’. I thought it would be worthwhile to share that on here as well. Here is what I wrote:
In my view, content piracy is a result of a demand for content that is not being offered in a compelling manner. Piracy is not just an innate desire to just take something at the expense of others. At least I hope that is true for humanity’s sake.To visualize this, think about a hypothetical situation where you could go to the corner outside your home and instantly get any movie you’d like to watch for an insignifant cost ($1 in US, 1 rupee in India). Would you take the effort to do any downloading? Most people wouldn’t. This is exactly what iTunes did for Music.If a properly priced product or service exists that provides large value, and better yet, additional value that can’t be obtained without the product or service, then ‘free inconvenient content’ becomes less valuable resulting in less use and therefore less piracy. Piracy alone is never a reason for the failure of a product, service or industry.
My point is, the the key to combating illegal content sharing is innovative products or solutions that offer the consumer:
- A simple, intuitive, convenient and affordable option to get the content. The perfect example here is Apple’s iTunes Music service when it first launched. More recent offerings include Spotify and Apple Music.
- Additional value in-addition of the content itself. DVDs did this using ‘alternate endings’ and ‘extra features’. iTunes Plus did some similar things in the digital distribution space.
Below is the original Quora question and answer.