Pat Pilcher: Kim Dotcom on ending piracy

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Kim Dotcom. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Kim Dotcom. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Kim Dotcom has become a regular fixture on Twitter and not so long ago he posted a tweet on what he believes needs to happen if piracy is to end. As ironic as that may sound, Kim Dotcom's logic is inescapably robust.

Here's what his end to piracy manifesto says:

1. Create great stuff
2. Make it easy to buy
3. Same day worldwide release
4. Fair price
5. Works on any device

Looking at what Kim is saying, the 5 points seem pretty obvious, although each could quickly get bogged down once Hollywood gets involved.

Looking a little closer at each, the following issues and questions are likely:

Make great stuff
This isn't rocket science, but as Kim Dotcom points out, it's also very important. Making a movie is a big investment and Hollywood naturally wants to see a return so getting bums on seats in cinemas involves making your show as compelling as possible is pretty much a must do.

This is subjective but as I recently pointed out, box office takings are growing, even though we are being told piracy is on the up and up.

Making it easy to buy
This may also be a no-brainer, but as with point #4, the devil is in the detail. A limited range of legit movie downloads exist on a very small number of services in New Zealand and you can only buy so many over-priced DVDs/Blu-Rays before your house gets cluttered up with cases. Making downloads easier and more accessible is simply common sense and yet for some bizarre reason seems to be an incredibly difficult thing for Hollywood to do. Wonder why?

Same day worldwide release
If Hollywood could get this one right, I'd be willing to wager that they'd kill off a sizeable amount of piracy. People want what they can't have and that makes the latest blockbuster movie or that must-have TV episode a highly traded commodity. By making content available everywhere at once, they'll only starve Piracy of oxygen. Unfortunately, this would require major changes to the way TV networks and cinemas operate so same day releases are unlikely to happen anytime soon.
?
Fair price
DVDs and Blu-Rays cost peanuts to manufacture yet prices for new releases are often pretty steep. Sure there's investment in plant and of course Hollywood want's its pound of flesh, but these are business model variables that can be tweaked. Problem is that Getting the studios, rights holders and the other bazillion or so people involved to agree on what constitutes a reasonable price would be a lot like herding a room full of cats. However, if Hollywood can get this right they'll sell content rather than watching people downloading it for free.

Works on any device
This needn't be terribly difficult. From a purely technological perspective much of the of the hard work has already been done, whilst how to implement copy protection is likely to be a sticking point even this is still a technical issue that can be resolved.

So there you have it. Kim Dotcom's manifesto for ending piracy, which is as simple as it is elegant. Question is how likely or possible would it be to implement?

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