Legal downloading alternatives 'just not good enough'

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 20 Feb, 2009 Updated Fri 20 Feb 2009 17:47 CEST
Legal downloading alternatives 'just not good enough'

Peter Alvarsson, CEO of Headweb, argues that illegal downloading sites will continue to thrive until consumers are offered a viable alternative.


Generally speaking, I'm in favour of copyright and the right of copyright holders to earn money from their work. I also believe in copyright on the internet - but innovative thinking is needed on the part of copyright holders if they want their work to bring financial rewards.

The time when you could ask for x amount of kronor for each individual copy is becoming a thing of the past, partly because copyright holders have lost control over the production of copies but also because they have lost control of distribution. The digital revolution made it possible for anyone to make copies, while access to the internet has put a distribution channel in every home - all at very little cost.

In the highly developed society in which we now live it is almost naive to think we might be able to stop all piracy by means of laws and restrictions. This is not to say that it should be permitted, but it's important to improve services to the extent that piracy becomes uninteresting to the general public.

Unfortunately there are few legal alternatives for movies are and those that do exist are not very good. They will get better but I can understand why many internet users get frustrated and choose The Pirate Bay when copy protection and other things prevent them from using the legal services out there.

I also understand why many choose to download a film illegally when they can't find it legally. What this is really about is conventional customer adaptation: improving supply to meet demand. But the film companies are lagging behind and are stuck in their ways.

Headweb was set up to become the most user-friendly movie service, to outclass the DVD market, and to compete with illegal downloading. It is possible to compete with file sharing sites if you can offer attractive services in terms of content, usability and user experience.

Legal services can guarantee ease of use, quality, correct subtitles and quick delivery in a way that is not possible for illegal downloading sites. And this is something we believe most people are willing to pay for in some form.

We're also working on models where users get to watch films for free, but with ads attached - so the copyright holder gets paid by the advertisers. The important thing is to keep trying new models and not get bogged down focusing on the prevention of illegal copying.

See also: Swedish firm offers legal alternative to internet piracy


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