How Bob the Millionaire became a pirate

TVNorge have done reasearch that shows a loss of about 10% of the viewers on the series “Lost” to filesharing and bittorrent. I am puzzled by the fact that the big studios don’t get the point. If they have a look at the music industry they can see parts of the solution. One of them is called iTunes Music Store. Or, to be very precise: legal and user friendly alternatives.
The reason why so many people downloaded Lost here in Norway is the fact that we got the episodes months behind the US. So, the brilliant story telling in Lost became the biggest motivation for download of new episodes from the net. The people in the movie and television industry are wizards at visual communication. In a hope that they might get the point I have taken up the art of comic drawing. Something that I have not done since the age of 14. You can clearly see that in my story about Bob the Millionaire, but the message is the important stuff here. The strip about Bob the Millionaire is based on a true story. And, Bob the Millionaire is in for a very pleasant surprise:












Do-you-get-it? Bob could not resist. And as a bonus he gets the episodes in a quality that no Norwegian television stations can give you today. Related post: Help for the left behind Yes, they will release Lost on DVD in Norway, but what quality? Probably standard definition. So, even if it was possible to buy Lost you would get better quality through BitTorrent… Hello? Anybody home? And, here’s a list of simple hints for the movie industry: 1. As already mentioned: make user friendly, high quality alternatives to illegal download 2. Remember: the world is connected! : The system of different regions on DVD was a bad idea even at the point where DVD was born back in 1996 : To even think about dividing the planet into something other than 6 billion potential viewers is utterly ridiculous 3. Availability! People want to play their content on all their devices Feel free to add more hints to the movie industry here by adding comments.

How Bob the Millionaire became a pirate

74 thoughts on “How Bob the Millionaire became a pirate

  1. hubertk says:

    The real issue is the condescending and patronizing way how the entertainment industry is used to treating their non-US markets. Get the products there months, or years, later, in worse quality, and at higher prices. They have been doing this with movies and records for decades (remember the DVD region code?).
    After all: who cares what the consumers want? We are a monopoly, consumer wishes are irrelevant! A creative monopoly is used to enforce a distribution monopoly.
    All of a sudden, the Internet exposes the inherent arrogance of this strategy – and the consumers don’t like it. Really – who is surprised by that?

    Internet users are spending tons of bandwidth, time and brainpower to get to the latest Hollywood material. Just confirming this material’s popularity. And the owners should be thrilled about this. Instead …
    They so don’t get it.

  2. Yes, they have popular content and the list of important matters regarding media contains the following:
    1. Popular content
    2. Availability
    3. A resonable price

    They have a serious problem regarding availability.

    The movie industry has adjusted parts of their model to meet the new rules that the internet creates. Two of them are:

    1. World opening nights (the movie starts at the same time all over the world). This happens more often now compared to just a couple of years ago

    2. Earlier release on DVD

    Both of them to act on the fact that the internet makes the world smaller…

  3. m0l0t0v says:

    is it illegal to get tv-series from the net? if they were on free tv…
    i’ve never heard that this is illegal, shall i erase all my simpsons sequels now?

  4. It depends on what country you live in. Some countries already have laws that forbid that kind of activity. Others are working on a revision of existing laws to make it illegal to download copyrighted material.

  5. Miguel Sanchez says:

    Think profit!!! And distributing directly through the net to the customer, no resellers, small investment and great returns!?! I though those guys was all about making money but they just don’t get internet… People including me prefer legall download but there are none!!!

    I wan’t to watch shows and episodes not available in my country therefore my only alternative is downloading illegal content… You’ll reply buy the $$$ DVD, the problem they seem to come out about 5 years later and cost far to much.

    What you need to do is distribute it in Volume therefore you can charge a lower price.

  6. Lightyear says:

    1. Lost is not available in higher quality than SD, the rips are scaled down to about regular resolution, or slightly less. Lost is captured from an HD-source, but not redistributed as HD on the net. DVD-quality is higher.
    2. World-premieres is something I really like, but one would have to understand the enourmous logistical problems that such a release brings with it. 35mm-copies take time and money to produce in the numbers required, however if movies were distributed digitally over high-speed connections, this is no longer an argument. But the least I’d expect is that they show the movies ASAP, not months and months later, unless of course they want you to be a pirate?

    It’ll take a while for studios to feel comfortable with the world-wide market, but I’m not so sure a lot of people would pay even if you could buy new episodes off the net. This content isn’t a human right to have access to, but still people demand it like it was, and get hold of it with no second thought. I’m one of them. This nut continues to be uncracked.

  7. Von Lauben says:

    To Lightyear:
    Actually, there are high-resolution HDTV-rips (HR.HDTV in the release name to differentiate from other releases) of Lost released by NBS, CTU and serveral other groups. These releases have much higher visual quality than the ordinary HDTV-rips.

  8. Actually to comment on Lightyear´s post the thing is that more and more movie theaters are moving to digital most big chain movietheaters here in sweden are digital by now.

    i must say that watching the hdtv releases are sligtly addictive better sound better picture then normal tv and you decided when it start´s.

    telia has now (a while back) relased tv over broadband with some payperviewmovies but when the movies cost more then going out and renting something else it fails and the tv shows aired are nothing mmore then mpg streams of what you can see on your normal tv and you have to oay extra for it even if you have a telia digital norma box… wich aggravates me oh and i forgot you need telias own adsl aswell…… sorry for this rant i just had 🙂

  9. Esson says:

    You are all retards. And ooh, yea, why do you want to be dropped a line if I use your material, you hypocratic bitch?

    Nothing is free just because you want it bad enough. To argue like this is like saying that “Duuhuhu, I know it’s illegal to drink and drive but the last time I did it I had so much fun, so i don’t care. I’ll do it again, duhu.” or maybe “Ooh, tonight I really feel like raping my wife. Hmm, that’s illegal. Nah, who cares.”.

    Furthermore, you have no right what so ever, to decide in what quality, at which date or at what price a product is sold. You could try to use your “consumer power” but in the end, it is all up to the fuck who produces to decide whatever he/she likes to. Your web page looks like crap in my web browser, but hey, I can’t force you to make your page compliant with my browser now can I. You charge to little, but hey I cant make you change your prices now can I.

    Now, some of you retarded dipshits are laughing: “Haha duhuuhu, you can make them obey, by downloading shit from the internet, then they must listen to us lol.”. Wise point there, I say. If we steel the producers products, well then they will have to listen to us eventually. On the other hand, if we do that, no one will produce anything. More importantly, it’s not really nice to take what is not yours. Also, you’re a good imitation of a fuckoff if you think that information in all it’s forms should be free. You know why? Because if it was, you would still be playing pong, whatching King Kong special effects and listening to radio (the type that weighs 20 kg). Now, wait, you would only be able to read poor novels written by spare-time novelists.

  10. Minne says:

    ”There has grown up in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped or turned back.”
    ”Life-Line” by R. A. Heinlein; written 1939.

    Says it all really…

  11. erzk says:

    New demands, new services… why does it take so long for the industry to adapt? They simply cannot listen, or do they but dont do anything about it? Since a while i am doing a project at university considering a new service available for high-speed networks. The subject is video on-demand. Using set-top boxes connected to the VoD network you can get movies streamed to you home theatre. The purpose of this service is to replace the local video store or where you rent movies, since you simply rent your movie from home, sounds so easy. I heard there is such a service in some town in Italy working right now, A high speed network with the only purpose to offer video on-demand.

  12. Esson:
    Several good points there and a slightly puerile language.

    1. The hypocratic bitch wants you to drop him a line because that could start a conversation. I use these illustrations in my presentations to exaggerate and make my point clear. If you download and use it to make a point it would be very interesting to hear if it worked. If it helped you.

    Considering the way you write it would be very interesting to hear you speak.

    2. You really, really, really don’t get the point of my comic. I happen to work within the content producing industry that you think I want closed down. I do presentations to help them understand the new technologies and how things work. If you read my comic and call me a hypocratic bitch because you think i promote illegal download and is of the opinion that the people making good content should not get paid, then think again. I repeat. You did not get the point.

  13. I guess I’ll have to translate this comment:

    Rädda Joppe = Save Jöppe!
    Rädda Varden = Save the world!

    And who the hell is Jöppe? For me it is a hero from Swedish television. I was never able to watch Swedish television while I grew up, because I grew up on the western coast of Norway, but after living in Oslo for several years even me have heard the story of Jöppe and how he should be saved, “dead or alive”.

  14. Martin says:

    Your comic makes a good point. Nicely done.

    You will have to excuse “Esson”. He is probably an american and the general views on these things are very different in the US. Most americans really do put the rights of corporations ahead of rights of consumers. They also have a lot less “free” TV over there. He may not be aware that over here, Lost is broadcast to whoever wants to tune in.

    The general problem for the whole media industry i that globalisation eliminates a large network of distributors that become more or less redundant. ABC can not simply provide their content online since they are under contract with a lot of television-stations around the world that have purchased the rights to broadcast the content in a certain region.

    A realistic dream of mine is that at least one of these “content producing” companies would release a new series ONLY for the internet. That would circumvent a lot of legal red-tape and if the quality of the show i good create the worlds first HIT internet TV show.

    Compare this to the marketing move that BMW made a few years ago when they launched Top producers, top content, top stars, top budgets!! Real quality action short-films that were and still are hugely popular.

    One other thought related to the problem of TV and the internet, regarding advertising. Why would we even have to buy the TV shows online. commercials and advertising pays for it on TV… why not online?

  15. Very good points. No puerile language. 🙂

    And the question of commecials on online content also leads the dicussion in direction of the traditional 30 second ad and how long it will survive in a market of PVRs, streaming, download and ad skipping in general…

    (And, thank you on your compliments on my little comic!)

  16. Esson says:

    Puerile? Hmm, okey, guilty. I had no idea that I was reading something that a grown up had produced. Sorry about that, but these kind of websites tend to be written by teenagers, who express themselves in a certain way. I’ll try to blend in here though. Sorry.

    First, I’m terribly sorry that I did not get the fun parts of your comic strip. Guess my sense of humor is bad. But I still do believe that you’re wrong, no matter what my sense of humor is, right?

    Above all, I’m sorry if I missinterpreted your intents with the comic. I understand now that you only wanted to justify the illagal downloading of copyrighted material with the line: “The reason why so many people downloaded Lost here in Norway is the fact that we got the episodes months behind the US.” (I just have to be sarcastic somewhere.)

    That, I find childish. First of all, someone has to translate the show which of course takes time (not months however), but the really interesting part is that the producer (distributor, whatever) of Lost, for example, isn’t even obliged to give you the opertunity to watch the show. And you justify illagal actions with the fact that they give you the material to late? Say that Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Ericsson or any other company released a new cellphone for a specific market. Is it okey to steel such a phone if you’re not “a part of” that market? I admit the simile has it’s flaws. You can (almost) allways import. Try to think in the terms of that not being possible. Is it okey to steel just because a specific product isn’t available to you?

    Moreover, the TV-network that gets the rights to air some show, often wants to see how it is recieved by the (most oftenly) american viewers – another delaying circumstance.

    It is sad that you do not want to see how you justify illegal actions with your comic and “column”. Or maybe I’m just trying to defend what you’re not attacking?


    I am sorry to inform you that you are in no position to make excusions on my behalf. Nor are you in any position to tell anyone where I’m from. I can do all that just fine by myself, when I find it reasonable to. I’m from Sweden, living just 250 or so km from Oslo. To say that “we” are used to free TV is to lie. I do not know about Norway, but in Sweden you have to pay for having a TV (to fund the “free” channels). I don’t like it, but that is another question. Or is it? When I think about it, maybe it’s not. You believe it’s wrong to give corporations to much rights, but you believe it is right to give the government rights to charge me for services not used? Hmm… No you never said that TV licens was a good thing. Just me spitting out my thoughts, sorry.

    Speaking of the rights of the corporations vs. the rights of consumers – this is really simple. First, to be able to buy, you need an income. To get an income you need a corporation (or business idea). The corporation needs buyers to be able to pay you your income. To get buyers, the corporation needs something to sell. Now, if you steel their products they will have nothing to sell and following the line back, you will have no income. Of course you don’t need one since you’ve stolen all the products you wanted. But when they wear out, no one will be there to produce you the new products. Therefore, the consumers have no right steeling from the corporations.
    Note that I have made two basic assumptions:
    1. You are not a communist.
    2. You are not an anarchis.

    Or were you talking about any other rights?

  17. Now we are talking. Yes, I am old. Old to the point where it is much easier to take you seriously when you leave out heavy use of words like retards, bitch, dipshit etc. If you had bothered to read the “about eirikso” page you would have known. I am a huge fan of exaggeration, irony, sarcasm and humor. As you put it yourself, it is just a question of timing and understanding the audience.

    So Esson, now you have even more good points. This time without the puerile language.

    First of all, I feel that I have to once more emphasize the fact that my goal with this strip is not to promote or justify illegal download and unfair use of copyrighted content. I am trying to make it clear for some people that there are certain factors that makes the temptation bigger. Factors that they can do something to minimize.

    They don’t have to translate the version that they make available to buy on their website. The 10% of the TVNorge viewers that downloaded Lost did not want subtitles.

    The producers obligation to show their content
    No, they are not obliged to show their content. And if I open a resturant I am not obliged to open the door for anyone. I don’t understand your argument.

    The music industry was not obliged to offer MP3. They actually worked heavily against it. Still, it is becoming the most used music standard ever. And, when someone makes user friendly services people use it. Have a look at iTunes. Every single track in iTunes is available for illegal download. Still they sell millions of songs. But, what iTunes fails to understand is the word availability. Messing it up with a proprietary DRM. But that’s another story.

    What I am trying to say is that the problem of illegal download will be there. What the industry has to do is to offer good solutions to minimize the temptation. The strategy of suing, threatening and making laws is not working.

    And, yes I should have commented some of the other discussions and threads at different forums on this comic. There is no doubt that a lot of people read it as a huge justification of illegal download.

    As mentioned, I have used this in presentations and has obtained what I wanted. The discussion here and around the net proves that my little comic works and has motivated me to consider new adventures with Bob the Millionaire and his friends.

  18. WhizzarD says:

    Nice discussion. Lucky i ended up here in my wandering journey. I have just a small thought… Whan about tape recorders. Wasn’t there a big fuzz about them? U could record songs from the radio. At that time this was considered stealing by some. Aparently this “recording” has moved out of the basement into a more serious form. Nonetheless in 20 years whe will look back on downloading and mp3 as we do now on tapes.
    What! I still have a few of those… wonder whats on em…

    -leaves to check this…

  19. Esson says:

    So, with the “not obliged” I mean that not the producers nor anyone else along the distribution chain is obliged to make any changes to anything just to satisfy customers. Of course, it lies in there own intrest to do so, but that is not the point. The point is that, like you imply, lawsuits are considered as threats, not as a way of stating a principle, the principle that no one should have to do anything to protect what is theirs. Now, this is thinking that there exists a utopia – but nonetheless we customers can’t crave for certain services and then steal products if the companys don’t “obey”. What I was saying was that companys are not even obliged to let you use their services, so why should they be obliged to change the services?

    Of course, you can argue that a company should listen to their customers, or else they will quickly fall out of business. On the other hand, though, if the company will lose money on “obeying” customers, maybe they should not listen? Now, I know a lot of people will say that it is very inexpensive to let customers download from the Internet. This is not true. The production cost certianly isn’t lowered, so the question only conserns distribution. Distribution done illegaly is cheap indeed, but legaly, they need lots of band width not to speak of software, maintenance, hardware and possibly support for different standards (.mpeg, .avi, .whatever). Maybe they need to educate their employees? (Okey, that is a one time cost, cross it over.)

    Do not compare with the music industry where the files are about 5 MB. Here we are talking about files that are around hundred times larger. Also, mp3 grew big because of availability and prices. Only a few customers has the bandwidth to be able to say that TV-series or movies are “highly available on the internet”.

    Eventually though, I think we will see what you “fight” for. My only consern is that we go there in peace, so that we can enjoy Lost and other productions in the future to.

    WhissarD: Well, the music industry has been wrong before. Is that a guarantee for that they will never get it right? Isn’t there any difference in the easyness of copying with a tape recorder and a computer? I’m talking about time here, not the process of making a copy which probably is equally easy – press record or rightclick. There is another important difference. With whom we share! Tapes went to family members or freinds. Mp3 goes to anyone.

  20. You might want to read this:
    A Business Model Involving Free File Sharing

    And from Cory Doctorow’s excellent speak to Microsoft mentioned earlier in this thread. About a company that did not liten to their customers. A japanese company called Sony:

    Today, Sony is dead in the water when it comes to walkmen. The market leaders are poky Singaporean outfits like Creative Labs — the kind of company that Sony used to crush like a bug, back before it got borged by its entertainment unit — and PC companies like Apple.

    That’s because Sony shipped a product that there was no market demand for. No Sony customer woke up one morning and said, “Damn, I wish Sony would devote some expensive engineering effort in order that I may do less with my music.” Presented with an alternative, Sony’s customers enthusiastically jumped ship.

    These are difficult issues, and the internet can change businesses faster than any other technology.

    However, I am not too concerned. The software and gaming industry is bigger than the movie industry, and they have had the problem of illegal distribution, copying and piracy since day 1.

    Eventually though, I think we will see what you “fight” for. My only consern is that we go there in peace, so that we can enjoy Lost and other productions in the future to.

    Could not agree more!

  21. Cajoso says:

    Esson, I agree and admire you for the thinking of that one´s cause never should override what the law says. Unless of course its a matter of life or so…
    Anyway that should also go for your swedish Antipiratbyrån which have been breaking the law with its IP-registrations.
    You say it is in the companies interest to keep its consumer satisfied, why do you want them to give the right to as they feel?
    Do movies have to be a multibillion business?
    Can someone else produce good movies and technologies?
    If they dont start understanding that they can not apply laws to the internet, there is internet where there are no laws, they are gonna miss out on oppurtunities like retaking Asia which have been lost to fake vcd/dvd´s for long.
    For instance, government owned China-telecom already offers welworking services for streaming movies in big parts of China.
    In not too many years there it is gonna be more chinese people on the internet then europeans and americans togehter. In China 450.000 engineers graduate every year. My point is that they have to realize what they are fighting now is free and available to anyone with internet, and in future probably even be better.
    We will see what will happen, I strongly doubt we wont have producer as you say. First, it is still a quite lucrative branch. Yes it going to be harder for them but that is ok they still make alot, of course they scream nooo and want changes in the laws worldwide. But illegalizing filesharing programs etc is letting them set the tempo of our the development, a tempo that should be set by the 450.000 chinese engineers and anyone else with a skill.
    Entertainment producers all over the world have to face this fact called internet, internet changes and becomes different everyday, they can not control but they can use it.

    One other thing, you can not comparison with drink driving and raping your wife was silly+some other stuff you wrote.
    Regards Calle

  22. Martin says:

    “Free television”
    By this I am refering to channels funded by advertising. Swedish TV license tax supports the advertising free, government owned TV you can tune in to. Paying for the satellite service, cable service or other acces methos is not the same as paying for the channels (even though some providers like to offer payment in that form if you prefer). This is contrasted by costly, commercial free, channels like many Film and Sports channels. By free channels I refer to those paid for by McDonalds, CocaCola and others through commercial spots.

    Stealing hardware vs. stealing software
    Comparisons made between downloading TV-shows (the topic discussed here) and stealing a cell-phone, only released on the other side of the planet are missing one crucial point, the point on the comic strip in this article: Availability.

    How many Swedes have to date got thenselves a Sony PSP console? A few thousand maybe? How on earth did they do that? It is not available in Europe? Did they all get together in pirate groups to steal a truckload of consoles? Not likely.

    Any DVD-release, computer game, gaming console, watch or any other product IS avaiable everywhere if you just import it yourself. The popularity of imported goods as a result of regional relesase policies should give everyone a clue to how willing most “pirates” are to actually pay for a product if is was at all possible.

    Economy is not the foundation.
    I belive that the problem (and paradox) of piracy is primarily a social issue not a legal of financial one. ABC wants us all to talk about lost as work and with our friends. They want popularity for their show. Our social structures are very much global these days. In that global group of friends it is devestating to be left months behond of central topics of conversation. This, I belive, is the strongest motivating factor for the drive to download the shows NOW and not wait 3 months.

    So, if so many people from so many countries socialize online the only way to avoid mass piracy is to make the content (products) available to a global market.

    Opinions, slightly off topic and probably inflammatory:
    In a democracy, any law that criminalizes a majority of the population must be questioned. If “the people” rule and the people pass a law that makes them all criminals, do “the people” really rule?

    Since the introduction of the internet the world has for the first time seen private citizens rival corporations in controlling media flow and distribution. How come one guy could build napster years before Apple and the others caught up and entered the market place? How come one guy could make Bittorrent? Why did not Muicrosoft have anyone that bright on their staff to make a similar system? They could certainly use it for Windows Update and other download services.

    Many people (myself included) partly feel that if The Pirate Bay can run a large global service for distributing TV-shows, movies and what not, how come none of the big corporations can do it? Conclusively they “allow” piracy to some extent.

    Further off topic: I have seen many software-companies benefit from piracy. Yes bebefit from having their products used by teenagers that downloaded the software “for free”. Microsoft is the most obvious example. They can only keep their dominant position by using piracy to keep the market in check. Microsoft has Windows installed on about 104% (=sarcasm, it is probvably only 97%) of the worlds computers. This number, does not correspond to the number of licenses sold by a long shot. The same goes for the Office suite. Imagine that tomorrow you would wake up and all illegal copies of Windows and Office were gone, erased, would not start at all. How many would give “Open” alternatives a try for real?

    Do not take my statemenst more seriously than you want to. Pease.

  23. A reply to Martin’s first comments:

    You will have to excuse “Esson”. He is probably an american and the general views on these things are very different in the US. Most americans really do put the rights of corporations ahead of rights of consumers. They also have a lot less “free” TV over there. He may not be aware that over here, Lost is broadcast to whoever wants to tune in.

    Martin, if we’re going to overgeneralize, let’s assume you shouldn’t determine the general views of Americans on this issue by what you read in the American corporate sponsored media. Visit and read the commentary on any posting in the Your-Rights-Online section to get a better understanding. Yes, there are those sympathetic with the corporations need to make a profit, but there are more upset with constricting DRM and a general attitude by media producers that all citizens are criminals. This upsets people like me very much. In addition, follow to see how very normal, non-subversive adult Americans feel about these issues.

    As for “a lot less ‘Free’ TV over” here, I respectfully disagree with you. We have ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, the WB, and UPN to choose from for free TV, plus other alternative channels broadcast channels usually broadcast in the UHF spectrum. Lost is broadcast for free on NBC. All I need is a pair of rabbit ears and a TV and I can watch it. No taxes. No fees. The ads pay for the service (and oh, there are soooo many ads). I live in Utah. This is no different than any of the other 50 states. Perhaps you didn’t realize how much free TV we get.

    In fact, this vast amount of free television is what is contributing to the online problem. When we get our TV for free, we don’t generally see anything wrong with grabbing it for free off the internet. Miss an episode? Go online. Tired of taping your favorite show to VHS tape? Just pull the episodes off the internet everyweek and burn them to DVD. The movie industry is not responding to the need. Many Americans are getting fed up with politicians pushing for laws that legislate Hollywood’s business model because those politicians have received campain contributions from lobby groups.

    The general problem for the whole media industry i that globalisation eliminates a large network of distributors that become more or less redundant. ABC can not simply provide their content online since they are under contract with a lot of television-stations around the world that have purchased the rights to broadcast the content in a certain region.

    This is very true. And this is the very reason why Eirikso’s point that Hollywood needs to imitate Apple’s iTunes Music Store success is so on target. Many of us over here have been saying the very same thing. I think it’s a pain, personally, that I cannot buy from the British or French or even the Canadian iTMS, but I understand that I cannot because of the distribution contracts.

    I wonder why NBC hasn’t taken opportunity to cash in on the internet popularity of their show “Lost”. If distribution costs money then NBC could offer each week’s “Lost” episode on an official site and insert ads where the commercial breaks are. Most people accept ads as necessary to pay for their “free” content (they just don’t want the ads to be annoying) and would gladly put up with them to get their hands on digital, legal copies of their favorite programming. Those ads would give NBC even more profits – a new stream of revenue. No, they just don’t get it. Too old school for their own good.

  24. elbowz says:

    First off I’d say its humbling to read a Norwegian and a Swede arguing in English: so many of my countrymen couldn’t be so lucid and its their native tongue.

    As to the argument itself Esson is quite correct there is no obligation for content producers to make programmes easily accessible. We would like to be able to access content but contrary to what Eirik’s comic strip would have you believe making online content easy to buy will end up costing companies money.

    As I understand it a TV show’s evolution works like this:
    1. Show is made (pilot or first series)
    2. Series is hawked around TV companies
    3. One or more TV companies purchase the series
    4. TV compan:es promote show locally
    5. Show is is success and gets sold to other TV companies

    As I see it step three is never going to happen if the TV company is going to be thrown into competition with the Internet and be unable to recoup its payment in advertising revenue.

    It works for music because radio stations pay a fixed fee per play and can play anything they like. Plus of course songs can be listened to repeatedly over short periods of time, unlike programmes which don’t work so well to repeated viewing.

    So, to sum up, unless programme producers are guaranteed more revenue from Internet downloads than from selling programmes to TV companies this won’t happen.

  25. How about this: while you’ve skipped a couple of weeks and watched episode 7, you’ll then go back and get episode 6 – great, two episodes ahead of everyone else in Norway now. Hang on, you’ll now have to wait three weeks to see the next episode on regular television, and you’ll still have to wait a week to see the next episode as aired in the US. Also, saying “HD quality” is a bit of a misnomer, as groups rarely release 720 or 1080 files due to the sheer size, and the processor grunt required to play them back, therefore the bulk of files released are closer to DVD quality than HD quality, but it’s a point well made 🙂

  26. No, no, no. I couldn’t improve a thing. You said it just right!

    Well, maybe one thing: There is only one world. There is only one market.

    But only one at a time. TIME. So, anything you have from ten or twenty years ago, that’s new. It’s not on the net (probably). And, anything you have that just got finished has Time Value. But once released, the artist’s (or the hack’s) work creates ripples throughout the pond. One world, One market.

    But maybe many times, or more conveniently delivered.

    One world, One market.


  27. […] Presenting at TiDE – Television in a Digital Environment I have been fortunate enough to attend and present at the TiDE conference hosted by Lillehammer University College. Here are some recommended links for the people that attended my presentation: Digital Rights Management: How bob the millionaire became a pirate BMW don’t get it Placeshifting – your media everywhere Remixing and open APIs: Give the kids something to remix Panoramio – place your pictures on Google maps BBC Backstage BBC Mood News […]

  28. […] A huge, plain, simple, upper case “THANK YOU” to all the people that voted for this blog. Still, this also has to be the time to thank my readers in general for comments, feedback and motivation. This blog started out as a personal tool for myself to remember hacks and tweaks for all my technology experiments. After gaining a bit of readers I have started to post articles on other stuff as well. Several posts, including the one about the guy to the right has driven a bit of traffic. I am now the happy editor of a blog that gives me more knowledge about the thoughts I post here, new friends all over the world and experience running a web site that actually reach out to a certain amount of people. […]

  29. […] Been there, bought the T-shirt. I want to keep on providing strange little projects like this one. I have a truly excellent hosting with Dreamhost. It’s cheap but not free. So, here’s the deal. This probably extremely limited edition T-shirt will give me a couple of euros to use on hosting and domain registration: Eirikso T-Shirts And what’s that other T-Shirt? The guy with a bag on his head? Well, that’s Bill the Hacker. A character from another very popular post here on […]

  30. […] Update2 Been there, bought the T-shirt. I want to keep on providing strange little projects like this one. I have a truly excellent hosting with Dreamhost. It’s cheap but not free. So, here’s the deal. This probably extremely limited edition T-shirt will give me a couple of euros to use on hosting and domain registration: Eirikso T-Shirts And what’s that other T-Shirt? The guy with a bag on his head? Well, that’s Bill the Hacker. A character from another very popular post here on […]

  31. Ron Heywood says:

    It’s a good point but I think you oversimplify the nature of the market place.

    Bob the millionaire wanted episode 6 of lost because he had seen episode 1- 5 on network tv.

    The networks bought the show at considerable cost, because they knew that they could recoup that cost through advertising revenue during the breaks.

    Now if Bob knows he can get episode 6-8 on the internet he has no reason to continue to watch the network show, and when he and everyone else stops watching the network show the advertising rates fall.

    But the catch 22 is that if the network hadn’t bought the show Bob would probably never have got into it, and there would be no incentive for him to download it.

    And the networks can’t make future episodes available online at a reasonable cost, because everyone would just skip past the commercials and no one would watch the tv transmission.

  32. Not too far into the future Bob will for sure pick up the buzz on the net. Without the big networks.

    The business model if you distribute through the net is different from the one on the big networks. The 30 second commercial in between programs is worthless. Right now the models companies are experimenting with are pay per use, product placement and very short commercials in the beginning and inside the programs. So short that people don’t bother fast forwarding through.

  33. Tomas says:

    As I understand it a TV show’s evolution works like this:
    1. Show is made (pilot or first series)
    2. Series is hawked around TV companies
    3. One or more TV companies purchase the series
    4. TV compan:es promote show locally
    5. Show is is success and gets sold to other TV companies

    Just wanted to answer this.
    This is just noe of the ways it is done now. There are others, like TV stations making their own content (happens quite alot here in Norway).

    But why does that recipe HAVE to be like that? I don’t see why it can’t be changed to suit the new technologies.

    I propose :

    1. Pilot is made.
    2. Hawked
    3. TV stations buys rights to distribute and the show is produced.
    4. Sets up internet download, pay-per-view.
    5. Airs shows on normal TV, and releases episodes straight after.
    6. Everyone hugs and becomes “bestest friends”!

    What’s wrong with this picture?
    AAh…you say : What about the foreign channels?!? They won’t be able to air their show locally!! … *eeeerh* wrong.

    First off, the dubbing. The local TV-stations would buy the right to air the show locally, and dub the show for their viewers. It would probably be cheaper for the local tv-stations as they would know that it is not a “exclusive-right” as it is availble through download on the internet. The seller of the show would probably earn more money this way as the internet users would in total pay more than the local TV-station would for todays exclusive right (a wild guess).

    And 2nd. MOST viewers of TV shows want it to air locally. Because they :
    – A: Don’t have a computer hooked to their TV set
    – 2: Can’t be bothered to learn how to download show (yes…your mom and grandma won’t bother).
    – 12c: They don’t like change (everyone’s grand -ma and -pa).

    If you mean that people wouldn’t buy the show off the internet, but rather just copy the file from a friend, then I say…erh. That is just what they do now…WITHOUT it being avaible for download from the owner. My guess is that most users would prefer the “real-thing” as long as it is good quality, and has a decent download speed.

    To finish : Any copy-protection WILL be broken, and it only alienates the customer from the products AND promotes illegal copying (a hacker that breaks a copy-protection WILL distribute the cracked copy. A product without copy-protection isn’t distributed by hackers. The users WILL visit the OWNERS site, and download from there).

    Show me an example of that NOT being true, and I’ll be surprised…no…amazed.

  34. I agree with most of your reasoning. But as long as content cost money the pirates will keep distributing it regardless of DRM or not on the original.

    Most music that you find on BitTorrent is already available for a very reasonable prize, with very high quality and without any DRM through

    Still the torrent is out there.

    But that does not mean that DRM works very well. iTunes are selling millions of tracks each day. With a high prize, with DRM and with a low quality. The DRM means nothing but pain for the consumer. Nearly all the tracks in iTunes are available for free with no DRM through torrents.

    So, I agree with you – I think iTunes would sell more if they removed the stupid and limiting DRM.

  35. Tomas says:

    Yeh. True.

    I may have gone a BIT far when I say that it won’t be distributed illegally if there were no copy-protection. Point is that the big groups wouldn’t put their name on it, making it “low-profile release” and thus wouldn’t be as highly availble as most other stuff. But it would without a doubt BE pirated…that is for sure.

    I think it fits the movie and TV industry better. Because of big file sizes, the public pirate versions are usually of bad quality. Or if good quality, very big and takes ages to download (this is not true for BT, but there the files are only availble for a certain amount of time before deprecated).
    With dedicated lines, and proper BT setup, the direct sales of super-high quality to customers would, in my mind, without a doubt benefit both the industry AND customers and to a HUGE extent the enviroment (think of all the plastic that could be saved 😉 ).

    It’s just a matter of time anyway…the industry ALWAYS fight new technology. Just like the quote from 1936 someone wrote earlier on this post.

  36. Yoummy says:

    Lost is not the only series this has happend for, but if there was such a service that you could buy episodes in high quality i woulld guess that that would get popular bretty fast. people would even like to get old series to enjoy.

    I guess that in 3-5 years time there will be more online tv systems that you can pay for. like online sports channels where you can select the kinds of sports you like to watch and it will be sent to your media center or other system you have connected to the internet.

    i havent checked if anything like this already is here… but i think there is a good way to go… we see that the broadband is getting faster end better for for the general joe out there so getting HD quality online is doable…

  37. Douglas says:

    This is a really difficult issue for me.

    But… just because people are doing something stupid doesn’t mean I have the right to steal their product.

    I’ve gone back and forth with this over the years, but that’s what I come down to.

  38. …and as mentioned. This story is not made to justify the stealing of content.

    I am not saying that I find it OK to steal something that is not yours. I just try to illustrate one of the reasons for why so many people think it’s OK.

    So, Douglas – I totally agree with you on this one.

  39. J.D. says:


    Please don’t generalize all Americans that way. Most of us DO care about consumer rights, and are tired of tricks like Sony’s rootkit stunt.

  40. Knut says:

    Also, many of the series that we (I, at least) download never even gets to my country.

    Shows like -Firefly-! I would never have known about this absolutely marvelous show, if it hadn’t been for illegal downloads.

  41. Simon says:

    I’m from Norway and download just about every tvshow that runs in the US. I download because;

    1. Norwegian television channels doesn’t run all the shows I want to see.
    2. When they run for example Lost, its half a year behind. I know they are only a few weeks behind now, but I remember the time of Friends. A whole YEAR behind. I cant wait that long.
    3. I can see them when ever I want. The guys over in America can get a TiVO. Ofcourse I could buy a HDD-recorder and set it up to my TV, but then again points 1 and 2.

    If there was an alternative for me like buying a ad-free version or a free version with ads I would stop downloading. That option isn’t there. I have to download.

    (No I don’t HAVE to. But I want the product and when they won’t sell it to me I’ll “steal” it.)

    I know this is what every warez-guy says but its true; I buy everything I like when it comes out on DVD. Support the scene etc.

  42. Tommy says:

    like Tomas said, i also have a good point to
    if TVNorge set up a store where you can buy the latest episodes of Lost a week before the next episode airs on TV, and advice it on TV when the episode is over, many people will go to their homepage, go to their store and buy the episodes and best of all, if TVNorge provide norwegian subtitles and 720p quality, they wont be competing with the US market, due to TVNorge have also 720p and Professional Norwegian Subtitles, i will be a huge sucess!

    only if the tv companys and big *BAD* media companys want give their customers something good instead of making every singel fan of a tv series a pirate

    i downloaded music before, but not anymore, why? Legel and Huge collection of music that is beating the pirates! and thats called Spotify!

    Best Regards

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