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

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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3 thoughts on “Eight things worth proroguing on TV: Pirating TV shows from BitTorrent”

  1. Bob the Builer says:

    Hey, I took time off my work so I could raise the kids too. I too could benefit from a royalty cheque or two.

    What? I don’t qualify because I’m a construction worker rather than an actor? Well that hardly seams fair. What makes actors so special?

    I guess some of us actually have to stop receiving an income when we stop working, and others don’t.

  2. I hear you. But, IP is not unique in permitting owners to enjoy the benefits of their hard work. Contractors create value when they build something too. That value can be sold or leased to produce income as well. The law protects this property to ensure that people who invest in it can reap the benefits. I know retirees who are collecting rents to live. Why shouldn’t creators of intangible products have the same entitlements?

  3. Stephen says:

    My question is how can it be considered Piracy to download a copy of last weeks NCIS from a torrent site when I can get the episode for free from either CBS.com or globatv.com?? Now the reason I don’t watch from those sites is I am downloading the HD due to my new monitor I got for Christmas. Now if you want to mention the whole commercial thing I don’t watch commercials anyways – thats what remotes are for! 🙂

    I am confused as I got one of those annoying emails from my isp via whatever company it is that does NCIS…..

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