Who is really to Blame for BitTorrent Record Usage?

2009-drmWe all know that BitTorrent is great way for distributing all kinds of media, and that there are a lot of legitimate uses. Sadly there is not a lot of that media that is legally shared, but have we examined why BitTorrent is as popular as ever?

On my last podcast I received a email from a person living in Australia who is beyond frustrated at being treated as a second class citizen. I think it is worth sharing his email with all of you. I will preface this with

Mate, love your podcast. It’s kept me sane everywhere from Azerbaijan to Georgia (the county, not the state) to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar and beyond.

My gripe is DRM. I am a writer, so I definitely believe people should be paid for their work. But I am also a consumer, who expects that when I buy a product it will work.

I buy a book or magazine, it will work anywhere in the world.

On DVDs and regions. I move around the world a lot. Coded regionalised DVDs are a disgrace. I can’t keep changing my region on my Mac because I get only 5 chances. I used to buy legal, original DVDs. Now I will ONLY buy pirated copies. At least they work. I now refuse on principle to ever buy a legal DVD again.

Likewise my iPod. I’ve lost three laptops in three years. Afghanistan is not a kind place for computers. But Apple has now made it impossible to restore legitimately bought music from my iPod to my new laptop.  I have had to buy third party software which does not always work.

My iPhone: I had to pay an extra $100 to get that hacked in Qatar, which is a country where it is supposed to legally work. (Why the heck should a handphone be restricted these days anyway?).

I also can’t buy half the iPhone apps or iTunes progs because my credit card is Australian.  Why is that?

And the prices for the pathetically tiny choice you can get on the Australian iTunes store are much higher than the US store – and that’s not because of tax or exchange rates. And why is the App store choice so much smaller?

Sorry for the rant.

Bottom line: I am treated as a criminal by these companies so much that they have actually turned me into one.

Which means they are shooting themselves in the foot, and actually losing themselves money. Great business model.

2009-dvd-regionsSo the question that has to be asked is who is to blame for the rising utilization of BitTorrent. Is it the foreign consumer who is locked out of American Products and Services or silly DVD region code rules.  Even ISP’s in foreign countries are fed up and are offering torrent seeds to there users.

I think part of the answer lays in the frustration of the above email. Folks I get these types of email’s every day. With a faltering economy you would think that media conglomerates would be looking to open up and earn dollars globally versus just the American marketplace.

Tags: DRM, Consumers

About Todd Cochrane

Todd Cochrane is the Founder of Geek News Central and host of the Geek News Central Podcast. He is a Podcast Hall of Fame Inductee and was one of the very first podcasters in 2004. He wrote the first book on podcasting, and did many of the early Podcast Advertising deals in the podcasting space. He does two other podcasts in addition to Geek News Central. The New Media Show and Podcast Legends.