So, lets have a reasonable discussion on valid ways to reduce piracy.
First, we need to approach the reasons why people turn to ThePirateBay and other places for their ill gotten goods.
1. Convenience. I have a copy of Vista Home Premium (gag) OEM that I downloaded off TPB because my father in law lost his installation CDs, and it would take Toshiba a month to get them for me. He had a valid Vista license because he bought a laptop that included the shiny sticker on the bottom. Far, far easier to just find a torrent, call Microsoft and go through the automated nag prompts, and be done with it. I think all PC retails should have OEM copies of their OSes available for download, if you have a valid service tag or serial number. It's just as easy for me to enter a serial number on a website as it is to enter Microsoft's 56 digit security code.
2. Price. Brand new content is too expensive. Older content is too expensive. I think opening night tickets for a movie should be jacked up in price (because the fans will pay it), and then the price should rapidly decay after that first all important box office weekend is over, until a month later it's out of theaters and a buck to watch on Video On Demand. For music, CDs need to include more value added goodies as an incentive to buy them. (I own two actual FFXI music CDs, not because I wanted the music, but because I wanted the little in game item....) For books, hardback collector's editions should always cost more than the digital editions, but also come with something extra.
3. Timeliness. This applies primarily to the foreign language import market (e.g. Japanese anime and manga). Under the "old" model, an anime would come out in Japan, after it was finished showing it would be licensed for release in the US, and a year or two later put out in very nice quality on DVD. That model went on life support, the moment anime fans discovered crappy Real Media Sachi Gumi fansub VHS rips, and died an ignoble death once digital subtitling became fast and easy. (Took down many a media company too, such as Pioneer, Central Park Media, etc, that had staked their business on that model.) The content producers in Japan finally said, "If you can't beat them, join them" and officially sanctioned Crunchy Roll
was born. Episodes are released in English, subtitled, at decent quality, shortly after they air in Japan. Viewers watch ads - sometimes the original ads in Japanese when they're for products also produced in the US. Fans get to watch fresh anime shortly after it airs in Japan, but episodes are not archived forever, and if you missed the first season of Naruto, well, time to go buy a box set.
There are other reasons people pirate, but price, access, and convenience are the big three.
Crunchy Roll and Netflix are two good industry solutions to the "access" part. Apple just took aim at book prices, 99 cent iTunes downloads are a good example of a price point most people can agree on, and RedBox rentals is about as cheap as a non pirated movie can get.
The big thing that companies are dragging their feet on is convenience. This is because they want to control when, where, and how people experience their content, even when the time and place the content is available is inconvenient or nonexistent. I want to listen to music in MP3 format on my Walkman headphones. That rules iTunes right out. I want to finish fixing this laptop today, not when you finish sending me the physical CDs in the mail three weeks from now. I want to watch the movie from the comfort of my couch, not on opening night in a very loud theater surrounded by sweaty men and crying babies. Edited, Jan 20th 2012 6:44pm by catwho