The Law and the Internet. The Arguments Against Legal Restriction and Interference.

Having discussed the arguments for having legal intervention regarding the internet I shall now turn my attention to the arguments against legal intervention.

The internet is a public place. What you place on the internet can be shared millions of times across multiple sites thus creating a network of quick information and quick communication. A public place is a place that everyone has the right to enjoy and use so the internet again is a right everyone has a right to use. The government should not be restricting public places. People use various sites to express their opinions, their love for something or their displeasure with something, usually politics. Restricting these rights to free speech and freedom of association goes against the ECHR.

However recently a new idea has gathered momentum about why these restrictions and laws should not be put in to action. The notion goes that these restrictions are not needed, the pirates don’t want to pirate copyrighted material but due to the cost of the material they have no choice. The reason for piracy is accessibility. If accessibility was improved piracy would drop, it has dropped. Legislation would hinder the internet for decades and would be an overreaction.

Looking at Netflix shows how making material easily accessible lowers piracy rates. Piracy was fantastic for getting the content, software, ebook you wanted easily and quickly but Netflix offers a service where you get the content you want, movie or TV show, even easier and it doesn’t require you to store the content. ‘Since Netflix launched in Canada three years ago, piracy has dropped by a whopping 50 per cent’ [1] this shows that when a good service is offered and the content is easily and quickly accessible people will buy it. This fundamental idea would quickly eat away at the number of people who participate in piracy. People don’t mind paying for good services but when people feel like they are being ripped off or creators of content are just throwing out anything to make money they will pirate it because they don’t want to pay for poor content. This is a perfectly understandable reaction and as Netflix has shown piracy can be combated against by developers and creators improving their services. This indicates that there is no need for the government to place laws upon the internet and restrict the content people can access. Yes some people will always pirate material but we always have murders taking place as well so no law is perfect in stopping crime from happening and removing people rights will have lasting implications to the internet and could drastically change its use.

A second service that has helped reduce piracy is that of Spotify. ‘Through quarterly surveys researchers have polled the music consumption habits of thousands of Swedes between the age of 15 and 74, and in their most recent report they find that music piracy continues to drop.

Since 2009 the numbers of people who download music illegally has decreased by more than 25 percent, and over the last year alone it dropped by 9 percent. The data further suggests that this downward trend is caused by the availability of improved legal services such as Spotify.'[2] This again shows how an improved service that offers quick, easy access to what people want will deter people from piracy. The government can do other things than legislate about the internet. Helping firms that are providing these alternative services either by tax breaks or financial support for them to expand and improve their own services, the government would do more to help the fight against piracy than restricting viewable websites.

A third type of service that is only just started to expand but has had a huge effect not just on piracy but also on computing as a whole is cloud computing. Many companies that suffer from piracy such as Adobe and Microsoft have launched cloud versions of their most pirated software. Both hope that by having cloud based version of their products, for Adobe that is the creative master suit and Microsoft’s office 365, both companies will hope that people will willing to pay for the monthly or annual fees for instantly updated, products that don’t take up as much HDD space on your computer as they used to. Both companies offer a range of package that include the products being used on more than one computer meaning that everyone in a family can use the service. For example Microsoft office for a family of 5 computers is ‘£80′[3] a year in the cloud or £390[4] for one computer on disk. Cloud computing has drastically reduced the cost of new software and had made it more affordable to people meaning they don’t have to pirate the software they pay for it legally. This again shows how companies showing they are improving their services and trying to make their product as cheap as possible to then end consumer can reduce the piracy of their own product. Adobe has had fantastic success with its Adobe in the cloud service and has suspended any new disk releases of its products. The entire Master Collection, every program Adobe makes, for ‘£47 a month’. [5] This collection on disk is £3,100 [6]. All of the cloud based programs have automatic updates meaning you don’t have to wait for updates to install you just open the updated app in the cloud and start working. Microsoft and Adobe also claim that working in the cloud reduces the security risks as well, meaning users have a safer experience with their products.

Overall the arguments for not introducing legislation to deal with piracy come down to that of people just wanting better services. Yes some people will continue to pirate but people will continue to break other laws and blocking internet sites because of a few people is a lot of hassle and would lead to claim of infringement of human rights. The easiest way for piracy to be stopped is by the developers, the people who are falling fowl of piracy, to simply step up their game.

 

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/09/18/netflix-canada-piracy-down_n_3947633.html
[2] https://torrentfreak.com/music-piracy-continues-to-decline-thanks-to-spotify-110928/
[3] http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/buy-microsoft-office-365-home-premium-FX102853961.aspx?WT%2Eintid1=ODC_ENGB_FX010064710_XT104060515
[4] http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/buy-microsoft-office-365-home-premium-FX102853961.aspx?WT%2Eintid1=ODC_ENGB_FX010064710_XT104060515
[5] https://creative.adobe.com/plans
[6] http://www.amazon.co.uk/Adobe-Creative-Suite-Master-Collection/dp/B007UXCQFC

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