The Continuing Reign of Pirates in the 25-Year Copyright War

25 Years of Copyright War: The Pirates Still Have the Better Product

The collateral damage caused by the content industry’s campaign against piracy has become quite significant. Even technical intermediaries such as DNS resolver Quad9 and hoster Uberspace are being targeted by the copyright lobby, which poses a threat to the Internet’s foundations.

However, the real problem for the music and film industry is the fact that the “pirates” still offer a better product. For over 15 years, writer Volker Briegleb has seen various trends come and go and believes that both the internet and Hertha BSC have turned out as the biggest disappointments of his life.

Consumers are often left frustrated due to missing tracks in their playlists, limited options for television series or movies with no preferred language and subtitle choices. The industry is still fighting a battle against piracy that started with the establishment of Napster by Sean Fanning almost 25 years ago.

Although many successes have been achieved by the judiciary in recent years, successes like the one against will only offer a temporary solution. On the other hand, the industry itself has been reluctant to improve its offerings. However, external players such as iTunes, Spotify, Netflix, and Amazon have positively impacted the industry, creating new dependencies.

Though the music industry might be doing better today compared to 1999, the film and television industry still has a lot to catch up on. The industry’s managers need to understand the lesson that “product is key,” as the product has to be right.

Due to the incredibly fragmented rights landscape for films, series, language versions, subtitles, and everything else, even the industry finds it challenging to know who owns the rights to their offerings. This situation has made it complicated for consumers who are often left without access to their favorite movies or TV shows.

It is not clear whether politics can do anything about this. The political intervention in the marketing of sports rights created more competition, but the industry needs to tackle its structural issues. Instead, the industry is focusing more on the war against illegal competition and targeting innocent market participants like Uberspace and Quad9.

The content lobby’s actions are threatening the foundations of the internet, without considering the legal protection of individuals. While the judiciary’s cluelessness in technical matters may be their defense, these proceedings ought to end differently in the final instance. The industry should focus on its priorities, and that is the product.

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