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UK: New Subscription Channel May Cause Surge In Piracy

Posted by: , 13:43 AEDT, Tue February 8, 2011

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By removing free viewing options on TV, will this lead to more piracy?

Sky Atlantic, a new subscription channel, was launched in the UK last week, and experts are warning of a surge in piracy because of it. 

Sky Atlantic has secured itself exclusive UK rights to hit HBO shows such as Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos and Entourage, as well other popular shows like Mad Men. These shows can now only be seen on the new subscription based channel, meaning that for those without a subscription, they will have to source the shows via different means.

Other than actually buying a subscription which costs at least $USD 32 per month, the legal method would be to wait until the shows are released on DVD and Blu-ray, which could be months after the original US air date. The illegal method then, seems to be the method of choice for today's impatient audience, for whom even waiting a day seems like a delay that's too long.

To make it worse, many of these shows previously had homes on free to air television, and for those patient enough to wait, they could still enjoy these shows, a few weeks or months after the original air date. However, now that these show are exclusives to Sky Atlantic, this last free and legal option has been removed, and many expect illegal file sharing and streaming to increase as a result.

Last week, a group of "digital consumers" published a manifesto asking for the end of things like delayed releases and calling for greater access to legal content, as a way to fight piracy. It seems this latest development in the UK may be exactly the opposite of what the manifesto calls for. 

Do you think that by removing free, legal options for watching TV, this will lead to more online piracy? Post your comments in our comments section, or in this forum thread:


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