What may be interpreted by many as a plain pursuit for happiness is bringing a revenue-loss amounting to millions of dollars to the music, film and gaming industries annually.
Though Hollywood and Bollywood stars are still getting their bank accounts packed with hoards of cash and affording “the fab life” any person would dream of, their African counterparts are living in shameful mediocrity and near nonentity amidst popularity. Besides the national and regional popularity, many of our stars still struggle to have decent burials, let alone proper vehicles to their name.
By Phinias Shonayi
News of illegal file-sharing giant, Pirate Bay, has hit the fan for over a year now with the closure of the site and following arrests of co-founders and computer experts, Swedish-born Gottfrid Svartholm (29) and Peter Sunde Kolmisopp (35), of Norwegian and Finnish ancestry. Leaders in the entertainment industry are all smiles, yet fans… us the fans, are up in arms, or rather tweets and posts, for the duo’s release.
Administrators of the most popular peer-to-peer file sharing site have replaced their usual ship logo with the above, asking users to send letters and gifts of support to the two, currently serving time for copyright infringement and hacking. Founded in 2001, the Pirate Bay’s popularity has caused thousands of fans on tweeter to use the co-founders’ online aliases @anakata (Svartholm) and @brokep (Sunde) to air their sentiments and support.
Thanks to sites like Torrentz.eu, YIFY-Torrents.com, Extratorrent.cc, Kickass.to and Bitsnoop.com, 2014 blockbuster movies like Transcendence, Godzilla, The Other Woman, A Million Ways to Die In The West, Transformers: Age of Extinction and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit have already hit our screens and hard drives.
Latest cartoons; How to Train your Dragon 2, The Lego Movie, Rio 2, Tarzan and The Nut Job have been made available to the world for free as well, so much for spending months in the recording studio and production house!
Back home in Zimbabwe, Deputy Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Media Services Honourable Supa Mandiwanzira recently urged artistes to embrace technology in marketing their music to counter piracy. Piracy refers to the unauthorized use of or reproduction of another person’s work.
Zimbabwean artistes, mainly the rising ZimDancehall and Urban Groovers, have street media vendors enjoying the fruit of their works while they continue basking in unpaid popularity. Their only chance to make it has been slimmed to live shows and endorsements deals.
Honourable Mandiwanzira said, “an online platform to sell our content has been availed through the Astro MobiStore by Bethel Communications for local material. This platform brings renewed hope to local artistes, the majority of whom have been negatively affected by rising piracy.”
Debate and privacy campaigners, however, believe that government and law makers should not be allowed to censor what we do on the internet. Sites like The Pirate Bay don’t actually host any incriminating content themselves, but instead the websites link users who have the copyrighted movies, albums and games. These users are known as seeders and leechers.
• Seeders refer to users who have particular material available for sharing with leechers.
• Leechers are users benefiting and downloading the movies and music from seeders.
• Peers are sharing and downloading partners linked through the site.
Leechers also have the opportunity to become Seeders as well, but only after their download is completed and they do not stop the link or move the downloaded material folder. The more seeders an item has contributes to the time the download takes for the leecher.
However, the issue from the perspective of copyright holders is clear- they want to shut down these sites to prevent people getting free access to their music, TV shows, games and films.
The Pirate Bay went even further, telling website TorrentFreak: “This will just give us more traffic, as always. Thanks for the free advertising.”
Almost in support, the most comprehensive recent research on the impact of file-sharing on the box office covering the period 2003-2009 was run and used 150 Hollywood blockbuster movies as specimen. The findings were that only 200 million dollars was lost in the first month of release, which constitutes to a very small fraction of the total movie income. The report, sent to TorrentFreak, highlighted that “while there is a small negative effect, this is limited to three tenth of a percent and not statistically significant.”
Though this has been a loss to the local government in the previous ring fights against piracy, the local ministry is open to suggestions and ideas towards promoting copyrights and ending piracy. Programmers may have an opportunity to make their name and create income for themselves.
But, will piracy ever end?? You make the verdict.