Today’s highlight for me has been all… 

Today’s highlight for me has been all the news surrounding the ‘Pirate Bay’ website and its creators.

Piracy may well be theft but I can’t help thinking that some users don’t necessarily have the cost in mind as they click away. Sometimes its convenience.

Before the days of iTunes, many downloaded illegally. Napster and Kazaa icons graced many a desktop with users trawling though all sorts of dubiously named downloads trying to find that illusive album or song. So when Steve Jobs finally offered us ‘instant gratification’ it didn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the music industry didn’t collapse. It flourished.

Its very easy for the ‘authorities’ to merely point the blame at the ‘thieves’ and they can rightfully claim the moral high-ground (whilst bumping up the prices on iTunes), but can they claim the creative crown? Why do they insist on staggered country releases for movies and games? Why won’t they stream US content in the UK? Why are they so inflexible when it comes to letting me chose when and where to watch streaming media and why can’t I back up my legitimately purchased DVDs?

It’s no wonder then that people are trying to track the torrents rather than wait for the DVD or CD box-set. We’re used to seeing some content delivered DRM free and on our terms and when Apple offered us instant download, we tasted fruit from the promised land and were quite happy to pay for it too.

The studios and mega companies need to develop and embrace all of our wonderful technology. my iPod and even my mobile can play the movie files so why can’t I buy them in a format I want, quickly and easily online?

And so, like @stephenfry who “stole in the cassette age” I cannot help thinking that the answer to these issues may be much more complex than merely shouting ‘stop! Thief!’

@ruskin147 chose a relatively unsuspecting but wonderful guest to discuss this issue on the BBC News channel at today’s ‘Digital Britian’.

@marcelbooth managed to screengrab the BBC News website which linked to the torrent search engine before they thought better of it 🙂