/ Technology

Why should you always download content from a genuine site?

Legal download

Marianne Grant is from the ‘Get it Right from a Genuine Site’ campaign, which is taking a whole new approach to reducing online copyright infringement and ensuring safe downloads.

From binge-watching boxsets, listening to a favourite artist on loop or playing the latest video game all weekend, the internet has changed the way we consume media.

It’s also enabled more of us to become content creators, whether it’s uploading our own photos and videos or putting our prose out there for the world to see.

Reducing online copyright infringement

With this in mind, we set up the government-backed ‘Get it Right from a Genuine Site’ campaign. Some of the UK’s premier creative talents are taking a new approach to reducing online copyright infringement. Not only that, we want to make it easy for people to find legal downloads.

Those in the creative industries invest so much time and money in preparing and delivering their art. Our campaign aims to remind people why downloading from genuine sites and sources ensures there is more innovation and greater career opportunities in the creative industries.

Genuine sites and sources of safe downloads

But while we know that people value creativity, we also appreciate that time is precious. Turning good intentions into actions can hinge on how easy it is to access media legally.

Safe downloads are easier to access than ever – and illegal downloads have never been less appealing.

Illegal downloading and file sharing is one of the most common means for distributing and propagating viruses and other malware. Plus, it usually slows down a home broadband connection for all household members using it.

Illegal sites also often carry advertising that may not be suitable for younger people.

Early next year, the major internet service providers (ISPs), our partners in the ‘Get it Right’ initiative, will also begin sending educational emails to internet account holders. These emails will informing them if their accounts are associated with illegal file sharing and point them towards genuine sources.

And we are making these genuine sources easier to access than ever. If you’re unsure where to find safe downloads: a genuine copy of an ebook or film to download, a music album or video game to stream, where to catch-up on your favourite TV show, or how to watch popular sporting events, you’ll be able to find them on our website.

This is a guest contribution by Marianne Grant from the ‘Get it Right from a Genuine Site’ campaign. All views expressed here are her own, not necessarily those shared by Which?

Where do you go to access media content? Have you ever encountered a problem with an illegal download or site in the past?

Comments
Member

We have discussed at length the importance of using .gov.uk sites when renewing driving licences, and passports, in order to avoid unnecessary charges or worse.

I support reduction of copyright infringement but recognise that the main reason it exists is that companies have been far to greedy with their charges for music and films.

Member

I think “greed” is inappropriate in this context, although I can understand the sentiment. So many “discretionary” purchases can seem overly expensive – sports events, music concerts and so on. We do not have an inalienable right to view other people’s work, but market forces normally set the level at which consumers are prepared to pay. Those who aren’t prepared to will go to “illegal” sites, just as they might buy fake fashion items they could not otherwise afford, or copies of paintings perhaps. I do confess to not downloading music and films; my principal reason for avoiding using illicit methods of receiving entertainment would be to avoid importing something nasty into my computer.

Member

I see you have been given a “thumbs down ” malcolm probably from vested interests .I know exactly where you are coming from , never illegally downloaded any thing in my life (apart from political information /secret information ) but I believe in the principle of freedom of choice and not being ripped off by some closed shop legislation that makes the general public pay through the nose for any type of free produce just because they see a lack of profit . As I said in a previous post ,at this moment in the US they are trying to bring out legislation that would apply worldwide to stop you viewing – You Tube videos of singers /songs . I give you a thumbs up malcolm .

Member
John Session says:
16 November 2016

Hi Duncan, maybe I’ve misunderstood your comment but are you saying music and movies are free produce? Because that couldn’t be farther from the truth. If I have misunderstood you I think its still worth me making the point that from writers and directors, engineers and producers, actors, backing singers, session musicians, extras, set designers, location scouts, to pressing plant staff, warehouse distribution staff, drivers, salespeople, marketers, retailers, landlords, or in a digital world ISPs, data warehouses, coders, and on an on. All these people are trying to make a living. The product they bring to the consumer has to cover their time and effort. I understand it’s hard not to think of it as free when so much content is readily accessible on YouTube for free. But it’s really no different to real produce like Oranges and Apples. You could say they should be free because the literally grow on trees! But we kind of accept that a lot of people have to work to get it from the tree into our hand.

Member

John have you read William,s post below ? It seems to have attracted some approval . Like William I also see where you are coming from but most of the public feel if they have payed for something they should be able to share it with others like the many uploads to Youtube . I remember the days of 45,s and LP,s where many at a party listened to them , then you could record them onto open-reel tape which was popular in the 50,s I dont remember any controversy about it. Then when CC came out it was – CC is “killing music ” . With more and more media giants buying up the opposition , they then start charging large amounts of money for films/music/ etc that previously was available free on the TV for instance till its now reached the stage that freeview , IMO- has endless repeats of old films the American public wouldnt pay a dime to watch , I can turn down the sound and still know what they are saying and yet they think they are doing all right because young people havent seen some of the old stuff and dont realise its been paid for many times over . Thats disingenuous why should we be subject to rubbish media just because we arent paying for it . Even knowledge is now a for profit enterprise , what about the poor who cant afford to pay for it ?

Member

Hi Duncan, I get it, I do. When you buy something once you should have the expectation that you can do what you will with it, including sharing it or reselling it. I must admit open reel is a few years before my time. 🙂 but I do remember being at school in the 70s/80s at the peak of cassette. I had school friends that were doing a roaring trade in selling concert bootlegs. I bought quite a few from my favourite bands. Though we all knew what we were doing was wrong, we got a bit of a thrill out of it. Someone initially paid for a concert ticket to record that gig, was that sufficient money to make the bootlegs legitimate? Certainly a transaction the artists weren’t signing up to! I expect you’ll remind me that we’re talking sharing not selling. But people are making money from the sharing. Illegitimate content may seem like it does no one harm but there is evidence that it diverts income to organised crime. I’d also say that we’ve never watched a free TV show in our lives. We pay subscriptions, license fees, or we consent to having our program interupted every 15mins with advertising. There’s always a cost, and there’s always a revenue for content makers. As for the quality of freeview programming, you got me. 😉

Member

Whilst I see were you’re coming, I can’t agree with you. The political and power elite take great efforts to put out we’re in a global market and should be looking outwards, yet when it comes to things like dvds etc. We’re being royally sc**wed in this country. 1) We’re forced to buy region specific dvds to prevent us from buying in cheaper legal versions. 2) We typically have to wait from them to be released when they’ve already been released in say the states. ( A throw back to passing reels of film around the world, which meant there was a delay in getting films shown etc ). 3) And what’s with the cost, dvd’s cost fractions of penny so we all the packaging say £1, haven’t the film companies made enough money from the cinema that they now try to milk the dvd buying public too and don’t get me started on 6 months later the special edition gets released at the same rip off price. The whole industry needs to embrace this socalled global market for not only their benefit but for the paying public too.
and TV programmes, why are some shown with 24 hours ( sometimes at the same time) yet other programmes take months to arrive if they even do. And postponing an episode cos there’s a holiday in the states, bah humbug. Global economy my …
P.S. I’ve never illegally downloaded anything, but I have little sympathy for companies that suffer from because of it when it’s so easy to adapt to remove the reasons behind it.

Member

I agree region specific DVDs are a real rip-off in the UK. When we bought our DVD player from Panasonic a few years ago now, we paid an extra £40 to have it region free.

Member
John Session says:
16 November 2016

Hi William, I think you’re making a common mistake on your point 3 about DVDs costing a fraction of a penny. Yes, the 90 grams of plastic in a DVD and its case cost next to nothing as a raw material. However, once you’ve processed it, shipped it to a pressing plant, then to a distribution center, then driven it across the continent to a retailer its much more expensive, because none of these businesses in the supply chain are going to do their part for free. On top of that, there’s everyone else involved in making the content on that disc that needs to be paid from directors, actors, writers, to carpenters, stylists, designers, to accountants, lawyers, and managers. Then there’s retailers, their landlords, their staff, and all the other expenses from lightbulbs and carpets to till systems and and security.

You asked “havent the film companies made enough from the cinema?” The answer is no. Sure, some films are incredibly lucrative: Suicide Squad cost $175million to make, and probably another $150m to market but it has taken $745million globally so the studio is in the money. But for every global success there can be 8-10 failures. The same studio released Our Brand Is Crisis: it cost $28million to make and took $7million at the global box office. They tried to reboot Point Break and spent $105million on production to make $134million; after marketing they lost money. And some of their films never even managed to get a cinema release. If studio income was derived solely from the cinema, then studios would stop taking risks altogether, because they couldn’t afford the failures. And we’d all end up with the most boring, bland, safe films in the world.

Member

TTP and TTIP have been very keen to standardise copyright rules. Unfortunately despite the companies being in favour the worlds populace are seeing it as a stitch-up.

https://www.eff.org/issues/tpps-copyright-trap

” The current Berne standard of life plus 50 years is now under threat. The USTR is taking advantage of the secret TPP process to renegotiate it, hoping to firmly establish life plus 70 years as a new de facto global standard.”
Apologies to JW

Member

Patrick , as a knowledgeable person are you defending TTIP ?? The mind boggles ! it is secretive , evil trade deal that allows American BB to CONTROL British democratic voted on legislation by the British public , in regional and local shires , in everyday life , its abominable !! are you for this country to really be a satrap of the USA ? try doing that to the US there would be uproar – those dam limey,s telling US what to do ? If this goes through England = Costa Rica . No wonder years were spent in highly guarded world conferences by BB and governments deciding to be owned by the US , body + soul . As far as I know Donald is putting the blocks on TTP and even Congress agrees , sorry Patrick I am completely against this evil trade deal , full stop .

Member

While I support efforts to reduce copyright infringement, it is equally important that the public is treated fairly by companies. It took many years before ‘format shifting’ was made legal and many people bought CDs or downloads of music they had already purchased on record or tape. I’m no expert but believe there is a good case for getting rid of the region-specific DVDs that Alfa has mentioned.

Most of what I buy is orchestral music and I am happy to pay the advertised price because the cost of a CD supports skilled musicians and orchestras. However, looking at the money made from films and more popular music, I feel the public is being exploited and it is hardly surprising that we have illegal downloads.

Member

I miss the early internet days when free games and utilities were widely available and you didn’t have to worry about viruses or malicious intent but sadly those days are long gone.

These days, the risk is too great to download software from anywhere except a genuine site. It might be expensive when it is first released, but the price does drop if you are prepared to wait a few months.

Member

Alfa I have just posted on the money convo if you have WOT app on your browser remove it now , they are definitely guilty of malicious intent -all your data sent to third parties – read my post there.

Member

I don’t have WOT installed Duncan. Funny how you can’t trust most things that have the word trust somewhere in their title.

Member

Pricing and Licensing are the two major reasons illegal downloads exist. It is so hard to get content providers to release the same content across the world at the same time (or in some cases at all such as local content or Anime/) This coupled with anti-competitve practices of content companies contracting with only one provider like Amazon Music or Spotify and Netflix and Now TV and users are forced to pay for multiple times due to this uncompetive practice. Sky have been forced to offer sports contents to it’s competitors when will content providers be forced to open up the market for anyone to show it.

Member

Anthony , you might or might not know that 6 major entertainment conglomerates own 96 % of the world media , I wont name the owners as it might get me in trouble but its so bad now even Business Insider has published basic details on its website . I got the deeper info years ago on “non- approved ” websites. Yes its a stitch up. In reality there is a serious “political” side to it .

Member

I’m not sure about 96% of the world’s media being owned by 6 major entertainment conglomerates. I wonder how that was measured. Off the top of my head, in the UK, the BBC and Channel 4 are government-owned, ITV is independent and owned by several licensees, there are several independent publishing groups owning newspapers and magazines, and there are several independent film production companies. There are numerous book publishers even though many of the well-known names are part of larger corporations. I accept that Sky [21st Century Fox] and Times Newspapers [News UK] are both part of Rupert Murdoch’s empire, and that Channel 5 is owned by Viacom, but the overall picture is quite diverse and no one organisation has a dominant position. Globally, music, film, games, and digital content are more consolidated but still competitive. Social media are technically independent even though the main players have very large numbers of users but new platforms keep popping up.

The important question is whether this situation is harmful and whether choice is restricted or powerful individuals have undue influence. This depends on one’s assessment of the intelligence and mentality of the general population. At least it is all out in the open and people can talk about it freely, and also avoid what they don’t like.

Member

Its the truth John and while I got the original compilations years ago along with the owners ( at the very top ) Its very easy to obtain the figures of what I said , if Business Insider , a German owned , American based business/stock market /business celebrity/ etc -right wing -pro BB prints it as well thats saying something . But as luck would have it I have a full archived vastly detailed ( taking up a webpage ) of fine print proving my point , I will ,if you or others doubt me ,and as I have been told many times here -prove it ! – well I can but it wont look too good for the owners as they all belong to one section of the community . I originally got it from radical websites but found out from “normal ones ” it was the truth , they just dont like admitting it as they use their power for propagandistic politico ( world politics ) use constantly . Many Americans already know the facts and complain about it vigorously. Do you want me to post it ?

Member

I agree with much of what AnthonyMitchell says.

You start watching a TV series, wait patiently for the next series then find it is only available on providers like Amazon who avoid their taxes and can then afford to hold the rest of us to ransom.

BT have invested heavily in BT Sport holding football fans to ransom. They have made their money from telecoms customers and should have put that money back into improving the telecoms network.

Neither Amazon or BT will get any money out of us for their TV viewing. We already pay more than enough to Sky. Another series will get our attention at some point and if we really, really want that series, we will buy it all on one DVD.

Member

Although we are not avid TV viewers and have abstained from signing up to any of the packaged content providers like Sky and BT, I can see that the power of certain companies has seriously restricted choice and diversity. If I were a sports fan I would be extremely annoyed that a powerful combination of sports promoters and media moguls is having such a controlling effect on access to sport, its presentation, and its timing to the detriment both of the many supporters whose loyalty is being taken for granted and of casual home viewers who can no longer watch the sports they want to in the way they want to without paying a high price and having to take a package that includes stuff they don’t want. It also means that public service broadcasting has been excluded from the coverage of many sports except at exorbitant cost and under restrictive conditions. I appreciate that there are counter-arguments around investment in the sports but, in my opinion, that is a thinly disguised apology for corruption, the spoilage of natural talent, and the exploitation of supporters.

The movement of popular drama and serials across different media platforms is also causing a lot of concern and is leaving the mainstream channels dependent on low-grade programmes and formats, repeats, and third-rate sensational tripe. Now that big organisations like Amazon are creating their own content rather than just marketing existing material, the eclipse of traditional but simple and accessible broadcasting is taking place before our very eyes.

As to what we can do about this, I haven’t a clue.

Member

I appreciate your comments, Duncan, but I still don’t understand how, when so many of the world’s media organisations are either under some form of government ownership [and direct state control in some countries], and when there are so many independent media organisations, how 96% of global media can be owned by just six corporations. However, I am not going to challenge the ‘truth’ of what you say because the facts are hidden from view and I don’t think naming names will get us any closer to the real issue. This is, in my opinion: Why is it a problem? What harm is it doing? and What should we do about it? You have not answered any of those questions and rather than continuing to allude to mysterious sources and a protected element of society it would be helpful if you would explain why, as UK consumers, we should take these undercover reports more seriously.

Member

It is an interesting statistic. The first point is “owned” which may be a distinction from who is showing it.

Bertelsmann are very big and own ” With the acquisition of Random House in 1998, Bertelsmann already became the largest book publisher in the English-speaking world.[171] 250 publishing houses on five continents are part of the company, including Random House and Penguin Books, but also Doubleday, Knopf and Viking.[172] The German Verlagsgruppe Random House (Goldmann, Heyne and others), based in Munich, is not part of Penguin Random House,[173] yet it does belong to the same division at Bertelsmann”

Berlusconi controlled major chunks of the Italian media, Murdoch’s media empire is legendary so whilst I may not get a figure of 6 and 96% I could make a very good case that media control is a serious problem for Western democracies. Where the state controls the media that is a different case IMO.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assets_owned_by_21st_Century_Fox
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assets_owned_by_News_Corp
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Geographic_Society

Member
John Session says:
17 November 2016

I 100% agree. The industry wilfully restricts consumers’ choice on access, and creates the demand for a black market. Much like prohibition in the 1920’s. Ultimately you have to go back to de-criminalising consumption, and creating legitimate routes to access that give consumers choice.

Member

Hi @marianne-grant – Please can you let us know how the ‘Get it Right….’ campaign is currently funded. I could not find this information on the website.

Member

Wavechange= look no further I have it –its government funded so that makes me a bit suspicious that BB is behind it although from the websites you looked at it looks as if its pure gold . The bottom line is increased profits for all the media not just the seemingly “underdogs ” who have been given prominence to make it look more “charitable ” and so engender more public sympathy . Maybe I am too cynical but its real life I look at not flashy adverts . You want the info- prsformusic.com/aboutus/press/latestpressreleases/Pages/get-it-right-safeguarding-the-uks-creative-industries.aspx. I look forward to John- malcolm-Ian -Derek-etc proving my cynical attitude wrong ?

Member

That was my concern, Duncan. 🙂 As I’ve said earlier, I’m opposed to copyright infringement but you are not the only one who is suspicious about the commercial motivation of this campaign. Thanks for the link.

Member

Blew it apart Wavechange , although it says founded in the UK -2015- its AMERICAN — PRS -USA- linked to ASCAP – founded in 1914- +BMI+SESAC MCPS etc — as I said Wavechange BB -USA and we are backing it -taxpayers .

Member

Hmmm. Any worthwhile campaign should provide detailed information about funding and the main organisations promoting and supporting it. Hopefully we will get some feedback.

Member

Never fear I am here. All the necessary detail.

http://www.bbfc.co.uk/education-resources/education-news/get-it-right-genuine-site

How about they reduce the length of copyright which has been expanding since it was invented in the 1700’s when AFAIR it was twenty years. Sort of like a patent.

Member

I could not see any reference to direct government funding [which I would be against] although it rightly has government backing. The PRS for Music [the Performing Rights Society as was and incorporating the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society] makes its money from licence fees from users of copyright material and in my opinion is an entirely worthy organisation. It is basically a trade protection organisation but it represents the artistes and performers, not the producers and distributors, so is not an agent of big business but of the hundreds of thousands of creative people who depend on royalties for the performance, via any media, of their music, lyrics, and other content. They are under threat from the illegal reproduction of their work which deprives them of their deserved earnings. The “Get it Right from a Genuine Site” campaign appears to be an initiative designed and promoted entirely by the PRS for Music. If the media industries also benefit from its endeavours that is a bonus and is separate from the issues we have discussed earlier in this Conversation to do with the suppression of competition through commercial consolidation. Performers are arguably the losers in such developments and this campaign is one way of counteracting those challenges and protecting their incomes.

Duncan – I have no desire to prove your “cynical attitude” wrong even though you look forward to me doing so.