Representatives from Britain’s traditional downloading industry have urged the government to take swift action to stem the rise in popularity of so-called ‘physical media’ which they say is crippling the livelihoods of on-line pirates everywhere and disadvantaging honest consumers, by obliging them to spend money in shops.
‘It’s scary, the shift in people’s sense of right and wrong,’ said Per Lunkwill of Sweden’s Pirate Bay website. ‘Overnight we’ve seen these kids deserting their Bit Torrent clients in droves, and hitting the record shops to buy these ‘CDs’ and ‘DVDs’. I don’t know what the world’s coming to. If it’s all legal, where’s the excitement, the rebellion? Our advertising revenue?’
Analysts believe that today’s youth are attracted to physical CDs largely by the sheer convenience of being able to buy the same favourite artists’ songs again and again repackaged in endless ‘Greatest Hits’ compilations. ‘What totally bums me out,’ explained Danny Hair, 14, of Cheam, ‘is having a folder full of downloaded songs that are stuck in the same order. What I want is to be able to buy the same songs loads of times on CDs, all in a slightly different order. Maybe with a bonus track thrown in, in a perfect world.’
It seems that consumers are also being lured by the instant gratification of ‘shopping’, mindless of the devastating impact this has on traditional pirates. Users are reported to be enthralled at the speed of data access – once a CD is ‘installed’ onto your music player, the whole album is available instantly, with none of this tedious waiting for pornography to finish taking up all your bandwidth.
Spurred by the threat to their criminal livelihoods, the companies behind the largest bit torrent search engines have launched a campaign to remind Britain’s young people of the consequences of their law-abiding behaviour. A range of t-shirts has been launched, positioned near the entrance of clothing shops for easy theft, with the catchy slogan: ‘CD buying is killing piracy – and it’s legal!’