I understood the allure of getting what you wanted for free, though there was always a part in the back of my mind that thought about the reality of the situation. If we were all able to just download everything we wanted to watch, or play or use, and not pay any money for it, where would the money go to pay for that product being made? How could we continue to have new things if none of the old ones made money? Game making companies going out of business, studios going out of business, one after the other until none were left and downloading would become an impossibility. Of course, this isn’t something that could easily come to pass, but it was on my mind regardless.
When I went into college for a journalism program, one of the first stories I tackled was one that I actually knew something about, the effects of pirating on the market. And truth me told, even though downloading is a crime, it’s not one that’s going to collapse any industries any time soon. Even if something is downloaded millions of times, there are tens of millions of legit copies bought through traditional and legal means. This gave me a bit of pause when it came to my own personal downloading that I was doing simultaneous to this piece of how impactful it is on the industry.
This was all during a time where big bands were suing downloading sites for infringement, when the ads on DVD’s were becoming more prevalent, and when the internet was kind of in its infancy. No one knew about the impact of pirating, because most people in the higher up positions even knew much about downloading as a whole. This left a whole slew of sites just stealing material wherever they saw fit and ignoring the consequences. This was all up until the year that one of the biggest hosting sites for illegal torrents went under attack by federal governments. All of a sudden these sites were shutting down left and right as the full force of government enforcement came to bear upon these sources.
Pirates everywhere were seeing their favorite sits tumble one after the other, until only few brave souls were left. We had some sites trying to declare their own national sovereignty to try and bypass laws regarding copyright, and all means and manners of trying to subvert these laws. In the end, the government realized that where there’s a will, there’s a way, and for every site they dropped, two more sprung up in their place, until it became more cost effective to lose money than to battle. You still hear about your random pirate here and there going down, but for now the majority of stories that circulate the net are all about major sites being shut down. Who knows where this will all end up in the future, but for now, it’s anyone guess who will win out in the end.