Eight things worth proroguing on TV: Pirating TV shows from BitTorrent

January 12th, 2010 by Barry Sookman Leave a reply »

Did anyone catch John Doyle’s article in The Globe and Mail last week titled “Just copy Our Glorious Leader: Eight things worth proroguing on TV”?

In musing about Parliament being prorogued he suggested a list of 8 TV related items that should be prorogued. In one of them he makes the point that pirating TV shows over BitTorrent and other file sharing networks is not a victimless act. It can affect the lives of ordinary Canadians who directly or indirectly earn a living in the industry.

Here is what he had to say:

“Anyway, seeing as prorogue is all the rage, let’s think big. There are many things we could do without for a while. Herewith, a list of other stuff that should be prorogued (TV-related)….

2. Pirating TV shows from BitTorrent and other sites. Honestly, could people quit shoplifting TV shows for a while? No, you’re not sticking it to some super-rich actor/writer/director or showbiz conglomerate. A few years ago, at the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles, Canadian critic Bill Brioux thought he saw a familiar face among the large group of stenographers who transcribe the press conferences. He thought the guy looked a lot like Max Gail, best known as Detective Wojo on the long-running series Barney Miller . It was indeed Max Gail – working as a typist. Apparently, after his wife’s death from cancer, Gail had stayed home to raise the kids and took odd jobs when necessary. He and the kids could have used some royalties.”

It is a point worth remembering next time someone tells you its okay to download infringing copies of movies, tv shows, music, software, games, or books from BitTorrent or another file sharing network or suggests that illicit file sharing either doesn’t hurt anyone or only hurts big business.

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