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Could piracy make a comeback with the slew of new streaming services?

  • "For a while there, it seemed like piracy was over," says Brian Feldman. "The major media conglomerates had figured it out. Thanks to broadband internet and adequate streaming technology, it was easier to access movies and TV and music legally than to turn to peer-to-peer file-sharing. Just a few years after it seemed to threaten the entire entertainment industry, piracy had become the domain of obsessives and paranoiacs — cinephiles and audiophiles who wanted to possess local copies of high-quality media that couldn’t be wrenched away at any time by corporate overlords — while even the most dedicated former movie torrenters were happy with Netflix and its ilk. Streaming media has been successful. But possibly it’s been too successful." Feldman adds: "Look, I’m not saying piracy is good, or even justifiable. I’m noting that the pop-culture industry is once again re-creating the conditions that allowed piracy to flourish in the first place. Piracy declined because the legal options for consuming media became easier than the illegal options. iTunes aggregated all of music within one storefront and eventually sold it DRM-free, and it made digital film rentals cheap. Before it started making its own stuff, Netflix aggregated thousands of films and shows and made them watchable at the push of a button (between 2010 and 2018, the number of films available on Netflix dropped 40 percent). Now the legal options for media consumption are once again becoming overly burdensome in both a financial and logistical sense. Even paying for a cable subscription won’t fix it. The best centralized place to find media is, once again, through piracy."

    TOPICS: Piracy, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, CBS All Access, Disney+, Hulu, Netflix