Is Netflix The Solution To Movie Piracy?

By  |  Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Ernesto over at TorrentFreak has an interesting premise: the meteoric rise of Netflix, and especially its streaming movie service, are having the surprising effect of tamping down on movie piracy here in the US. Impossible you say? Not so fast, it may actually make sense.

You could argue that movie piracy is much more popular for those movie watchers who don’t feel like paying an arm and a leg for a movie they’ve already seen, or is a couple years old. Just like an old car, these films lose their value. Thus piracy seems an attractive option since you don’t have to pay for it.

Enter Netflix. Its streaming movie service offers a lot of these films that these folks are looking for, and its price — only $7.99 a month — makes it quite attractive. Add to this the quality is likely much, much better in most cases than you’d ever get from a ripped movie, and more on-demand than downloading, and you’ve got a winner.

Ernesto says the site does have some evidence that the number of pirates out there in the US has decreased. With Netflix’s growth, one could easily argue that the site could be a contributor.



8 Comments For This Post

  1. meelahi Says:

    By all means, I believe netflix to be the solution, if there is one. Many people and eventually many more shall give up on piracy if they are offered a good value. The value of netflix outweighs the trouble of obtaining pirated content.

  2. The_Heraclitus Says:

    I think Hollywood already hit upon a solution. Put out a high % of REALLY bad flicks so it isn't worth your time to watch, even if free. 😉

  3. homelesspete Says:

    I 100% agree that Netflix has helped, as in the last year I've stopped using bittorrent and switched to Netflix. Though the only caveat I would include is that I am getting older and I've landed a good paying job in the last two years, which surely has something to do with it.

    I think the main thing here is that streaming is instant gratification, opposed to having to go buy/ rent physical media or finding a bittorrent tracker, and then waiting an indefinite amount of time for the file to download, hoping that it's watchable, the correct movie, correct language etc.

    On top of that, I think people are finally moving away from owning video and audio files and are switching to streaming media without owning and storing files.

  4. Turtle Master Says:

    I think the main driver of movie piracy is convenience and the watching experience, and Netflix understands that. If I go buy or rent a movie on physical media and watch it, I'm forced to sit through obnoxious FBI warnings, and forced to watch previews and other stupid content I don't want to watch. But if I rip, download, or watch the movie on Netflix, I don't get any of that unwanted crap. I just get to watch the movie whenever I want, however I want, as many times as I want. Bingo! No more reason to "pirate" movies..

  5. jltnol Says:

    I'm a Netflix member and love the service, but not so much the streaming service. With my 52" TV, and Blu-Ray and OTA HD, and a killer 5.1 sound system, Netflix streaming looks and sounds barely passable.

    The quality is ok for some things… but if I'm going to invest 90 minutes or more of my time watching a movie, why would I not want to watch the best quality possible?

    Ugh! Please, someone wake me up when the US has a network infrastructure that can handle even DVD quality thru streaming.

    "It's the network, stupid!"

  6. Mike Thrane Says:

    I tried it for a month. Hard to find a movie on there that was newer than 2 years old.

  7. dave Says:

    Netflix and similar just aren't efficient in terms of bandwidth. When I download a torrent, it's downloaded once, and I can use the file as much as I want. If you want to watch a video twice, it needs to be streamed twice. My torrenting is far less bandwidth intensive than your streaming. And I can work with whatever remnants of bandwidth you leave me, at whatever time of the day it may be.

    Also, how much of that $7.99/month actually gets back to filmmakers instead of staying with Netflix? Dividing that $8 by 20+ movies/month is definitely affordable, but subtract from that bandwidth costs, and I start to wonder how can filmmakers afford to make so little from me on each of their films.

    If filmmakers are willing to accept income measuring in pennies per view, I've got a solution. Work with us, not against us. Stop thinking of us as pirates and start looking at what we can provide for you. Create torrents of your work, utilizing your own or trusted trackers. Distribute 700MB standard-definition and 2GB high-def versions. Sell advertisements within the torrents based on the number of downloads. We'll handle the expensive distribution costs – you only need to support the bandwidth required by trackers and initial seeding, not the continuously high bandwidth costs of streaming to each user. If you control the trackers, you can reward people with higher priority for seeding your works, and/or punish them with lower priority for leeching.

    Yes, some of us will still have incentives to chop out your advertisements and redistribute. But we are used to advertisements – we already tolerate brief advertisements added by our favorite distribution groups. The number of seeders is my predominant concern in selecting a torrent, not the presence of a commercial. You have the advantage of being able to release first, and you have the advantage of the most exposure for your work, so your torrents will always have the largest number of seeders.

    Also, and this is my biggest gripe – would you PLEASE put up donation buttons on your website (And package a link to that site within your torrent) so we can send you money directly instead of paying off your distributors? I don't need a DVD copy of your movie – I don't want to pay them for creating a DVD when all I want is the video itself. You really don't get to whine about losing money when you make it so difficult for us to send it to you.

  8. Criminal Minds Says:

    I tried Netflix few months ago and I'm not satisfied with their service. I think Netflix is not a solution to movie piracy but at least it will reduce it