Hurting the shows you love

Have you ever wondered about the full effects of digital piracy?


Open up Youtube on any given day and about 2-3 livestreams of Rick and Morty episodes are available for viewing. These streams aren’t run by Adult Swim or one of the show’s creators. They seem so innocent, as if they’re just there for people who missed the Sunday night showing. However, they’re actually stealing content and money from the producers of the show, meaning that these streams could cause the shows they’re stealing to disappear.
Shows like Rick and Morty are often the target of rampant piracy

I’ve spoken to quite a few sources on the matter, especially aspiring creator Seth Sturwold. Seth is hoping to write books and movies for a living, so I figured he would be a good source for a creator’s perspective on piracy.

When asked his thoughts on the matter, Sturwold stated, “Piracy doesn’t scare me. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.” He believes that the film and television industries make enough money to afford the adverse effects of piracy.

I mentioned that anti-piracy was advancing every day. He responded, “Anti-Piracy is never gonna stop people from getting what they want.” I don’t know if every creator feels the same way as Seth, but he says that he is not alone in his argument.

I reached out to Geoff Thew, Chief Editor of Mother’s Basement Media. He told me that piracy is a much bigger problem than people think it is.

“For many shows, for every one viewer, there are two people pirating it.” He mentioned how anime is especially lucrative for pirates, stating that “The popular (anime piracy) sites make around $50,000 per day in advertisement revenue, with an average site value of $500 million.”

For a website that produces no original content, that’s roughly $49,850 in profit when accounting for daily server costs. Thew stated that it only takes around 5-7 people to continuously update and run a large piracy site. Fan forums on such sites are run by volunteers who are “promised exposure and end up being totally abused.”

Thew understands why some shows are pirated. “If a show isn’t available in your region, then I say go ahead and pirate it if you want it that bad. But if it’s available and you don’t pay for it, you’re helping slimy people steal from hard working creators.”

However, as everyone knows, there are two sides to every story. An informant from the Elder band who wished to remain anonymous placed reason behind his piracy.

“It’s free and convenient. As a high school student, I don’t have the kind of money I would need for monthly subscriptions.” He reasoned that low income people who want to be part of the social loop should be allowed to pirate until they can afford not to. He gave such reasoning as “keeping in the loop could help a person get a raise at work by helping them relate to their boss more.”

When asked about the moral aspect of piracy, the informant claimed he had no guilt for his actions. “[Piracy] is victimless. It only helps people.” He said that he wouldn’t encourage piracy, but he has no judgements toward those that do.

Piracy is theft, no doubt about it. However, since it’s been magnified by the internet, some people feel as though there is nothing wrong with it. No matter what side of the argument you’re on, you can’t disagree with the fact that nine times out of ten, there is a legal option for finding the shows you want to watch.

If you don’t watch your shows legally, you could watch take a fall like Humpty Dumpty. Unlike Humpty Dumpty, however, there are no kingsmen to piece the show back together again.