In honor of Christmas, a post about piracy …
LinkedIn has given me a handful of reasons to write this year. Early conjecture over its potential role as the "sleeping giant of publishing" gave way to some concern about self-serving posts and bland, list-driven roundups. Last month, at least some of my faith was restored in "Why courts can barely dent online piracy", a post written by Isabelle Roughol.
Roughol is an editor at LinkedIn, based in France. In her post, she argues that piracy is driven by a "self-destructive lack of innovation" among media companies. Responding to a U.S. action taken to shut down isohunt.com, Roughol offers a global perspective:
"More ways than ever [to get legal access to content]" might be technically correct, but it's not nearly as good as it sounds. The truth is most countries do not have access to Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime. With few decent paying services, consumers across the world are the hostages of archaic regulations and unimaginative businesses.
Roughol also adopts a consumer's point of view:
I want content when I want it and how I want it. You can wish the market were different or you can work with what it is.
Toward the end of her piece, Roughol links to coverage of a Norwegian study that "attributes the decline [in piracy rates] to the rise of legal alternatives, such as music streaming service Spotify and on-demand video service Netflix." While Spotify is not without its critics, services like these capitalize on a shift toward rental agreements and away from media ownership.
I've maintained for some time that piracy is a business model issue. While Roughol presents arguments that have been made with increasing clarity by a range of people connected to the media business, it is encouraging to see them featured at her employer's site.
Enforcement remains an option, but it is too often the least effective, most-used alternative. The more the business community hears this message, the better off the media industry will be.