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Arrrr-gravation - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Today's tale is of pirates coming from unexpected places.

I mentioned yesterday having picked up the recently-released tribute album by friends of Peter Gabriel, covering twelve of his songs, returning the favour done four years ago when he covered a bunch of theirs.  My purchase turned out to be nine songs, and the nine were out of order. This was a bit confusing, as PG mentions in the liner notes that he made a deliberate choice to re-order the tracks so they weren't artist-to-artist matches from 2010, but when the CD came up three songs short, we knew something was wrong.

At first, it looked like a clear case of rip-and-return by some confused little script kiddie.  The disk itself had a very generic label on it- no record label, copyright, serial number, nothing.  Plus, it had been the only copy, and Sarah at Beans & Noodles did tell me that it was open and a return.  I thought it pretty cheeky- and pretty stupid- that someone would return a pirated copy of a disk for store credit when their identifying information was on file, and that they'd probably done so by accident, returning the copy in the jewelbox rather than the original.

Oddly, Krista (the Sarah of the day) didn't much mind when I brought it back to the store today- she marked it down as defective, let me exchange it (for the 2010 album that they did have, in stock and sealed) and didn't much care about what Long John Ripper had done to them and me.  I did ask if any other copies had come in; the computer said there were eight, but she then saw that all of them had been pulled as unsealed and defective.

So are music pirates now working in the real distribution chain?  I know BN is having financial problems, but having them resorting to fall-off-the-truck wholesalers is not at all good for their look. Or their Nook.


So I'm now ordering the full album from BN online (my ripto-iPod of the nine available tracks having occurred when I was a rightful legal owner of the disk), but the store got the equivalent of another album out of me when I happened to see this hardcover on the 50%-off-plus-member-discount remainder table:

Since so many of those PBS shows, from Up/Down (as they internally always called it) to today's co-production of Sherlock have long been such influences on me and many friends, I thought it a worthwhile read.  I did stick my nose into the index and took a quick look at the references to Moff and the about-to-premiere-here series.  Again, there be pirates, and again, we are not amused:

I came face to face with the pirates in the winter of 2012, when PBS held a screening of a brand-new episode of Sherlock in New York City. Although it had just gone out in the U.K., the program wasn't scheduled to air on Masterpiece for four months.

[snip, about Moff and BC and their respective obsessive fans all being there and the latter queueing up like lemmings at 7 a.m. for the event at 7 that evening, yada yada....]

I was thrilled- until the Q and A started. Not only had these young pirates previously seen this particular episode of Sherlock; they'd illegally seen the other two episodes multiple times on their computers. They had only a vague awareness of Masterpiece, and it's possible that there wasn't a television set owner among them.

So THAT's the rub to the Old Media- these evil pirates are losing their brand loyalty to the institution that made it all possible.

Let me reply, infringing on yet another copyright, in the simplest term available to the task:

That cord's been cut, Rebecca.  Just as we no longer send telegrams, or rush to pay phones when we're away from home, or limit our viewing choices to three or four government-approved over-the-air broadcasters, we are not tied to sweeps periods or pledge drives or international boundaries when we seek out information or entertainment on our own terms.  It's not that we want to steal. I have faithfully procured legal Sherlock from the BBC on two previous occasions and will do so again as soon as they (or possibly you) make the third series available, but until you and your fellow moguls recognize the changes in this world and give us more reasonable ways to access your material, you can only expect unreasonableness in response.

The comic artist behind The Oatmeal described this frustration in one of the funniest, yet saddest, ways I've ever seen when describing his attempt to pay for Game of Thrones. After one failed avenue after another to pay for the content, just the content and nothing but the content that he likes, off he goes to the Bay of Pirates and sits there with the devil on his right shoulder beating the living crap out of the angel on the left.

It doesn't have to be like this.  A decade ago, it was in the music business; the RIAA didn't want you picking and choosing what you wanted. That's what Artists and Repetoire managers were there for, to tell you what to listen to, how to listen to it and in what media you could do so. (Already bought a CD? Putting it on your primordial player was, in the words of one Sony executive, "a nice way of saying that you're only stealing one copy." ) But in time, these troglodytes got Jobbed- by a gorilla as big as they were, who came along and made a la carte music the rule. Somehow,  in the years since this iNnovation, the Capitol Records tower hasn't slid into the Pacific yet.

So eventually, I expect, content providers and distributors will realize we live on a planet full of zeros and ones, and that it will all be to our mutual betterment if we decide on an appropriate combination of them, put a dollar or euro or pound sign in front, and let us pay for what we want to watch or listen to when we want.

Or as someone will eventually say on Buffalo television, "No shit, Sherlock."

This entry was originally posted at http://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/183934.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
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rainbow_goddess From: rainbow_goddess Date: January 20th, 2014 09:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that if they don't want pirates, they're going to have to make shows like Sherlock and Doctor Who and GoT, among others, available internationally at the same time. Why make North Americans wait three weeks for their legal dose of Sherlock on PBS? If they don't want people to torrent it, then show the damn thing on PBS the same day it's broadcast on BBC.
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