Cyberclinic: 'Do the right thing' isn't a very sexy message

A new advertising campaign has been described (albeit by the people behind it) as "emotionally explosive". The kind of ads that make my emotions explode usually feature people battling valiantly with cancer, but this is different. Here we have footage of people sitting on comfy chairs while watching or listening to some pre-recorded entertainment, and being moved to laugh hysterically or weep unashamedly. The message is simple: these moments are worth a bit of cash. If a film has made you blub, a TV show has made you laugh or a piece of music has made you flail around wildly, the people responsible deserve some money. So cough up rather than grab it online for free.

I can't argue with the thinking. I like paying for entertainment and I've always been puzzled by scenester music fans who continually try to score free tickets to see bands they supposedly love. But does this guilt trip approach work? Liz Bales from the organisation behind the campaign, the Industry Trust for Intellectual Property Awareness, talks about persuading people to do "the right thing" – but we've shown a hilarious indifference towards doing the right thing for a decade or more. Entertainment just isn't seen as an essential utility, and the cash value we place on it has been hugely diminished by it being digitised and made easily available. We place more value on an HDTV set than the entertainment we might watch on it – even though forcibly downgrading us to non-HD would only elicit irritation, while depriving us of entertainment would reduce us to emotionless husks.

Does pleading with us pay off? According to the Trust, previous campaigns have stemmed the growth of copyright infringement by an estimated five per cent between 2007 and 2009 – although goodness knows how they calculate that when there are so many complex factors in the equation. The growth of streaming services such as Spotify has hugely contributed to the decline in filesharing (although not particularly enriching artists) simply by being less hassle than downloading things illegally. Widely publicised legal moves to curb filesharing probably have some effect; it's impossible to know how much, but it's telling that two-thirds of us would, apparently, stop illegally downloading content if we were asked to do so in an official letter.

Telling people to do the right thing can't hurt. It's a good idea. But you can't help feeling that kids with time on their hands, a thirst for music and video and no money in their pockets will just mumble that they've got no money in their pockets and do it anyway – and thus reinforce the point that every download isn't a lost sale, no matter what the creative industries might claim.



Geeks can occasionally display heroic attributes. After the BBC announced that some 172 of their websites would be mothballed, an anonymous chap spent $3.99 on server space, archived them all and made them available for anyone to download. This gesture has parallels with the activities of The Archive Team, who set about saving the 652GB of Geocities sites when Yahoo shut them down – or, for that matter, protesters who rally to prevent the demolition of old but much-loved buildings. But is web content really worth preserving like architectural masterpieces? The BBC isn't convinced; a recent blog reveals that it's nothing to do with saving money ($3.99?), merely that many sites are just clumsy, dated and lack quality. The argument is essentially about whether to chuck or hoard; I'm a chucker by nature, but if I change my mind and want to examine a clutch of badly-designed websites with outdated information, I suppose I can always download the torrents.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer - 2nd & 3rd Line

    £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The IT Support Engineer is needed to ass...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior / Mid Software Developer

    £22000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Service Desk Manager

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity to join a p...

    Recruitment Genius: Graphic and Motion Designer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Do you get a buzz from thinking up new ideas a...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea