The Urbanite – Jon Liedtke – May 21, 2014

The dark ages are over. 

The dark ages of the Internet that is. 

If you’re reading this, congratulations. You’ve made it through the most dark and insidious times that the Internet has ever seen and hopefully will ever see. 

The introduction of a new medium is always complicated, and with a complete lack of regulation combined with the hyper intensification of the free market, anyone who has used the Internet from 1995 to today has seen a world of shit: Kazaa, Limewire, torrents, streaming, downloading, iTunes, Amazon, and now, Popcorn Time, the combination of torrents and streaming; undoubtedly, the evolution of the Internet has been messy. 

Popcorn Time is free, illegal stand-alone application offering full 1080p high definition streamed to your screen instantly with no cost, fees, obtrusive downloads, or set-up; just click and play, truly piracy at its best. 

It’s not that people want to commit piracy and steal content. Content providers need to realize that the model they had cannot work unbridled anymore. 

Consumers want choice and simplicity, and much like the free market necessitates that business cut costs to increase profit, so to do consumers cut costs and will always seek the lowest cost for goods… in this case free. 

While this argument could be taken to its further logical extension that consumers will just steal everything since that is the lowest cost – such would be a infantile and hyperbolic argument 

consumers don’t want to steal, they want convenience. 

For too long, it was far more convenient for consumers to steal content than to buy it; costs were far too high at the store, accessibility was an issue, often things were bundled with unappealing additions… in short, the system didn’t work. Consumers stole content and got used to content being provided ‘free’ 

It was a model that was tried and tested for decades. Case study in point: terrestrial radio. 

Content providers need to look at the model that radio uses and realize that this too is their new model. Content MUST be provided for free to consumers in order to combat the convenience of piracy. 

Businesses will scream that their profit margins shrink, and they will, but this is the reality. Radio cannot charge consumers to access AM or FM stations, and digital content providers need to realize that this is akin to what they’re trying to do. 

Radio makes money through partnerships and selling advertising; the same model will work on the Internet. 

It’s not that consumers don’t want to pay, it’s simply that they aren’t willing to pay outlandish prices for substandard services. It’s basic supply and demand and as always the cost of a product is what a consumer is will to pay for it; nothing more and nothing less. In this case, the cost consumers are willing to pay is minimal. 


Jon Liedtke (The Urbanite – Jay Verspeelt)

Jonathon Liedtke is the managing editor of The Urbanite, Windsor’s alternative newspaper. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.

The Urbanite


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