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Recently, I found myself wondering how I should feel when I download a TV show from a P2P service. Why do I do it? Well because most of the time:

  • Cable was out
  • US Presidential Address that I don’t give a “bling” about.
  • Forgot to program that new show in the PVR
  • Too many shows at the same time

Here is where I feel uncertain: When you pay for a premium cable service and somehow that service failed or for a reason or another you missed your favorite show, why shouldn’t you be allowed to download that show? You have the right to watch when it’s on the air, and even when it’s a rerun, why shouldn’t you be allowed to download that show and watch it when you want? You pay for that service through a monthly service charge. And somewhere down the line, some of that money goes to the producers of that show.

Let’s say that you missed a show broadcast on National Television (let’s say CBC in Canada), why shouldn’t you be able to freely download that show? You pay for it with your taxes! It’s available for free over the air (albeit via the old rabbit ears) or is included in the basic packages that you have to take with your cable.Why is that illegal? Is it because most “uploaders” remove the advertising? Is it because the media conglomerates don’t have control over it?

Why don’t the TV stations provide the downloadable content in a “Bittorent” format themselves, with bottom ads if they must. That would not bother me one bit as I am sure many others.Why does our government spend billions of dollars into a fight against “illegal” download when we have much more pressing issues to solve in our health and education system? (I know that CRIA and MPAA and all those other money hungry lawyers are lobbying all the parties and giving a lot of funds for the elections or vacation homes of our politicians)

We can have the comfort of knowing that at least the police forces are not targeting “downloaders” anymore but going for the tracking sites and big “uploaders”. But still, is that morally right? Should they spend those efforts to fight child pornography and find those pedophiles?

I think that basically it falls under the same category as other ineptitudes of our society.

(photo © Jordan Miller for CC:Attribution)

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