Is Digital Piracy About To Be Killed Off?

An article regarding an Aussie company using the same blockchain technology that is used for cryptocurrency to stop piracy of digital content.

Any pirates out there better hurry up and finish your dodgy downloads



A blockchain will only stop direct digital piracy (copying straight from the source). As soon as the content has been decrypted, it is open to copying - as publishers found with VCRs, DVDs and Blu-Rays.

This is just another barrier, and not an insurmountable one by any stretch. The implementation cost, though, would likely drive consumers away from their favourite legitimately obtained entertainment. Blockchain takes time to decrypt, and not many people want to wait for five minutes while their movie buffers.

There is another problem with the tagline for the article’s first image:

Game of Thrones creators likely wish this technology existed before the hit series became one of the most illegally downloaded shows of all time (HBO)

In fact, the GoT creators spoke specifically about Australian ‘piracy’ several years ago and said they were not bothered by it. Of course, that was before anyone had the Australian rights - but it was also quite sensible. Research indicates that most ‘pirates’ of digital content actually spend more on that content than non-‘pirates’; they are presumably keen to ensure they get value for their money rather than the latest Pirates of the Caribbean.


… and it only has to be broken once, then it’s on all the torrent servers … or so I am told … :wink:


I think this question comes up every few years, and the answer is always no. I’m not saying we shouldn’t take reasonable measures to discourage piracy, but having affordable and easily accessible legal options will always be more effective and ending piracy.


For those who pirate for personal use and because they can’t get whatever any other way. Those who do it for kudos (yes, some do), or just to be able to say they have X TB of media, nothing will work. And there are those who do it just because they can.

So are any of these actually lost sales? As I mentioned in a previous post in this thread, most piracy has nothing to do with lost revenue - at least in the developed world where we can afford to pay the price that content producers charge.

The obvious question that follows the one above is: if nobody is actually damaged, where is the crime? (I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader.)

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The damage is generally through giving your business to pirating websites, therefore making those websites viable and more attractive for people who WILL buy if pirating isn’t easy.

This does follow on my initial point though. Better developing ways for people to pay for content will always be more effective than shutting down piracy sites


Precisely. Make it easy for people to pay what in most instances is a relatively moderate price, and they will. Australians were the world leaders in pirating Game of Thrones not because it was some cultural phenomenon, but because it wasn’t even available here!

The other problem with ‘piracy’ is that of moral hazard; if it is easy and involves no risk or cost then why make the effort to pay for the product. Copyright owners are actually contributing to the problem in two ways: locking up content for 75 years after the creator’s death (the Mickey Mouse laws), and trying to make their products difficult to copy (a fight with inevitability). The former means copyright law looks unrelated to its stated aims of encouraging creativity, while the latter can result in a poor user experience when trying to use the content for which they paid.


Yeah I think your last point there is actually big. There was a big fuss in gaming last year when testing revealed pirated copies of some video games had better performance than legitimate copies. This was attributed to a popular DRM system.

As for DVDs, stop running anti-piracy ads at the start of them ffs. We already bought it!