The internet is brilliant for many things such as looking up photoshopped images of celebrity sex tapes, seeing where Miley Cyrus has stuck her tongue recently, and trying to find out exactly why the Kardashians are famous. It is also good for ruining TV shows, movies and video games through spoilers that you stumble upon during your everyday browsing.
That’s why I’m being very careful on the internet right now, since today is the day that the finale of Breaking Bad airs on TV. My problem is that I am a couple of seasons behind in both Breaking Bad and Dexter, which also finished a few days ago. That means I spend my days treading through the spoiler minefield.
The official Oxford English Dictionary definition of a spoiler is: “A previously unknown aspect or key plot twist of a TV show, movie or video game which gets revealed by an asshole on the internet before you get the chance to watch it yourself, thus ruining your own viewing.”
In general, a spoiler is when somebody gives away three of the following six things; Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. If they do this on your social media timeline, then it is perfectly acceptable to seek out the person and give them a wedgie so bad that their testicles will come up their throat.
A band aid solution to spoilers
The trouble with spoilers is that you don’t know what you’re about to read until its too late. Many websites implement policies regarding spoilers whereby people add specific HTML code to posts or comments which will black out the spoiler only to be revealed when you hover your mouse over it.
This is great, but it’s only effective if people choose to play nice.
Netflix have come up with a brilliant solution for Breaking Bad fans, the Spoiler Foiler will black out any references to the words breaking or bad thus not to spoil the show for you. You cannot do that for every show and every possible outlet for a spoiler though.
The problem with television
The problem with living anywhere except America is that things don’t get released on DVD until after the season has aired on TV. As is the case with Breaking Bad and Dexter, this can be a long time after it airs in America and the shows will air with an ad break every 4 minutes (im not even exaggerating).
In business, speed is vital to the success of a company. If I order my girlfriend some sexy new undies from the internet and want them to arrive by her birthday, I’m not going to be happy if they arrive 6 months later and somebody has drawn ads all over them with a pen.
If Netflix allowed us to access the service in Australia in order to stream TV shows, I would be more than happy to pay a small fee to watch the latest episode of a show through the internet as soon as it airs in the USA. That doesn’t happen at the moment though because TV executives are so tied up in the legalities of region control, intellectual property and copyright, that we get stuffed over because of legal bullshit. Sure, there are a couple of half-assed alternatives here but the quality and quantity of their content is somewhat lacking, especially in Australia.
Why should people living in Australia, England, or Japan be denied a second rate experience because of the region that they live in? Think about it, it is actually corporate racism; if you don’t live in America, you cannot have the same experience as an American.
Why do people download TV shows illegally?
Corporate types wonder why people turn to torrent sites and download illegally? It isn’t because they want to download things illegally, its because they feel like they have no choice because they are getting screwed over.
If things were offered in a timely manor, through legal channels for a reasonable fee, I can guarantee that people would be happy to pay it both to see the show within a decent timeframe and to see it ad free. This would cause internet piracy to drop dramatically. There will still be a criminal element that would profit from piracy, however the bulk of internet piracy which stems from generally good people, in suburban houses would drop dramatically.
A spoiler for the last episode of the season or, even worse, the finale of the series, can ruin something that you have invested countless hours of your life into. I cannot spend the next 6 months avoiding the internet in case I stumble across a spoiler for my favourite shows. This is why people resort to downloads.
It is a simple case of supply and demand… We are demanding it, and the TV executives are refusing to supply it therefore people go elsewhere.
They then wonder why nobody is watching the bullshit reality TV they try to shove down our throats… Its because everybody is online, downloading the latest episode of a quality show that has just aired in America.
Oh, and those annoying, long, non skippable, anti-piracy ads on DVDs make me want to download the show so that I don’t have to sit through annoying anti-piracy ads.
What are your thoughts on why people download TV shows illegally? Let me know in the comments.
Now head over here to see my rant about geoblocked content.
Note: this was a rant about something which I do believe is true. I have not however, downloaded any episodes of Breaking Bad, or Dexter from the internet because at risk of disproving my argument, by the time I got my lazy ass around to watching them they were available on DVD anyway!