Dallas Buyers Club: A Better Way

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Can technology solve the problems that technology creates? Sometimes.

Lawyer Bryan Ghows does a great run-down of the history of piracy in his weekend ST opinion piece. In the 1990’s, Bryan was involved in suing businesses for using unlicensed software and over the years has come to the belief that it is a very limited tool.

IP blocking and legal enforcement are little more than a finger in the dyke when technology is constantly evolving to bypass these efforts.

Alternatively, Spotify and Netflix have it right offering content 24/7 for a reasonable price. There will always be some who refuse to pay, but when consumers have the option, many will opt for legit over bittorrent.

There will always be some who will never pay for digital content, even if it is practically free. However, the financial success of numerous digital content providers shows that many are prepared to pay a reasonable fee for content, provided that it is easy to purchase, available on demand and on the device of their choosing, and accessible 24/7

Unfortunately, geographic restrictions make the honourable choice much less easy in some places. In Singapore, for instance, licensing restrictions block consumers from easily accessing legal content. Shouldn’t rights holders take proactive steps to broaden their licences when there are consumers willing to pay?

Without the carrot of legit downloads, the stick of potential lawsuits will have limited effect.

Bryan Ghows is a Singapore based lawyer in intellectual property (IP) and technology at Via Law.