the conflicts of a former torrenting fanatic…

January 25, 2012 11:12pm
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It’s kind of ironic that just a week ago I wrote a gigantic post about SOPA and the movie industry and why it makes little sense to combat piracy on the Internet, and yet here a week later I find myself checking out a tool that admittedly is still very cool, even if ethically it’s also kinda wrong… 😳

The gist of the program is that it basically acts as a DVR for pirated TV shows, offering support to monitor TV directory services for TV Guide-style show information, then automatically download the latest episodes via either usenet or bittorrent. I know this isn’t actually the first app of its kind, as I do kind of recall other people attempting to mix torrents with RSS back when I still actively downloaded things myself, but it’s no doubt very slick and seems to do a pretty simple job of managing the tedious part of searching for and downloading files so that all the user has to do is choose their show and preferred format, then sit back and wait…

And yet it was kinda funny when I clicked into this site because on one hand, the technology itself is very cool, but at the same time this is the exact thing that the studios in Hollywood are complaining about! Why pay for a $90 cable subscription with HBO and Shotime when you could just set this little tool up to grab the latest episodes of Dexter in high definition just as soon as sources can get the files online after they air?! It’s hard to condone this kind of software when you can download new episodes without a subscription for $2.99 on iTunes, but if you’re the kind of person who insists on DRM-free files in a very specific format – here you go?

I don’t know – maybe it just has something to do with getting older and actually having money to purchase the things that I enjoy, but I find it a lot harder to justify piracy these days than I did a decade ago when I would grab entire music albums off of IRC to check out new artists, as opposed to now spending $0.99 to sample a single track or splurging the $9.99 to buy the whole album. There was a time when I did care about simple things as the naming conventions of the files that I downloaded and that they all followed the same encoding and file formats, and maybe I’ve just moved on from that kind of stuff or something, but I honestly just don’t care about a lot of the idiosyncrasies that I used to support piracy back when I used to do it.

Today I’m more ready to place a value on all of the time that these creative people put into making their shows and I want to support them financially so that they can continue to make more … maybe when you’re young and dumb, because you don’t have much money you just naturally assume that it wouldn’t make much of a difference to anyone else if you chipped in for their efforts anyways? I’m even willing to just chalk it up to rebellious youth – there are certainly plenty of other extremely stupid things I did back in high school and college that are just completely without reason except to ruffle someone’s feathers in hindsight! Maybe illegally downloading really expensive software that I didn’t actually even have a use for was some way to stick it to the man in the mind of a free-spirited 20-something with nothing to lose and no real bearings on intellectual property yet to compare to…

In a way, I guess it’s just kind of interesting for me to look back at something that I was very much a part of back then that I’ve so radically changed my position on over the years, sort of akin to thinking that my long hair back then was kind of ridiculous or having absolutely no desire to go camping in the outdoors ever again, despite having spent 12 years of my childhood in the Boy Scouts. In a way, it’s somewhat comforting to see my views evolving as I grow older instead of being stuck in their own little world with less and less substance to back them up.

Granted, it may not make me feel as young to actually pay for my content online instead of just pilfering it like all of the kiddies do, but then again, there are also some pretty cool things that older people get to do through actually having money to their name like visiting theme parks all the time and having a swimming pool in their backyard, so maybe this whole growing up thing isn’t so bad after all! 😉

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