The Instigator
scottpreston
Con (against)
Losing
16 Points
The Contender
USAPitBull63
Pro (for)
Winning
38 Points

It should be legal to stream/download movies for free off the internet

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/24/2008 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 14,042 times Debate No: 5129
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (12)

 

scottpreston

Con

The topic of course refers to the currently popular illegal download of films on the internet.

1. The movie industry is like any other and as such everyone working on or for a movie should get paid for their work and not have someone steal it from them.

2. Not everybody can make a feature length film and so they will logically get paid more than in an industry where there are an abundance of skilled workers.

3. People don't steal other luxuries in life just because they're not sure if they will like them once they have purchased them [i.e.] you don't steal a bar of chocolate that you've never tried before because you may not like it and therefore wouldn't eat the whole bar.
USAPitBull63

Pro

Neither the resolution nor my opponent's opening constructive offers a specific brand, company, or format of movies to be considered in this debate; the most specific classification from my opponent is "the movie industry"---which is vague, at best.

For the purpose of this debate, Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary has conflicting definitions of "industry":

Definition 2(a): systematic labor especially for some useful purpose or the creation of something of value.

Definition 2(b): a department or branch of a craft, art, business, or manufacture; especially: one that employs a large personnel and capital especially in manufacturing.

Here, definition 2(a)'s "something of value" standard is subjective, which can directly contrast definition 2(b)'s specific capital-based criterion.

Nevertheless, because no clear distinction as to what types of "movies" or "industry" is given in my opponent's arguments---as well as no contrary definitions for these terms---I will base some of my counterarguments on the definitions above, as well as the possibility that any movie---created, produced, and distributed by anyone---is fair game for this debate.

Now, to direct clash:

(1.) While I love capitalism, the issue raised in my opponent's first contention is not a direct roadblock for the fruits of one's labor. With modern technology like "YouTube" web sites and peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing servers (i.e., Limewire) so advanced and commonplace, it is the burden of the major film companies to adjust until these technologies are deemed illegal or are severely regulated by governments in which they're used.

For example, these technologies offer---free of charge---worldwide publicity on-demand, 24/7. And as with the music industry, such technologies have not caused substantial and increased profit-drops over the past 5-10 years. In fact, the availability of movies through such technologies often encourage movie companies to put exclusive, sometimes never-before-released features on their DVDs, in order to encourage sales.

Film studios also utilize profit-based, pay-to-view features of the Internet, such as Netflix and Playstation Network, among many others. So movie studios are not limited just to the free distribution of their products via the Internet.

Also, if an employee for a film company wants to get paid as per distribution and popularity of the film for which (s)he's working, that employee and his or her agent should add a contractual clause allowing for consideration of such aforementioned technologies. While it might be an irritating process, it is far from impossible or even implausible. (That's how contract law works all the time.)

(2.) My opponent's second argument actually supports my case. Not everyone can get the recognition of major film studios, or find conncections to hot-shot Hollywood producers; and hardest of all, most people cannot afford to make movies on their own personal budgets. Therefore, technologies like YouTube and P2P servers offer significantly better chances for recognition and viewers of one's art (i.e., one's "something of value").

Besides, not all skilled workers are employed by major film studios. The Internet gives everyone a fair shot based on merit and talent, not just nepotism.

(3.) People may not usually steal products just to see whether or not they might like to purchase them; but the issue here is not exactly theft or larceny, as I exemplified in counterargument (1). There are often mutual benefits for both prospective consumers who download videos for free (for example)---and those who produced such videos with, for example, a profit in mind. And there certainly exist mutual benefits for those not necessarily seeking a direct, correlative profit for their movies (counterargument (2)).

But considering my opponent's contention at face value, many companies and products do offer free samples, test drives, trial offers, etc., exclusively to persuade consumers to invest in company products in the future. This happens all of the time. Thus, to use my opponent's example of the chocolate bar, a wise consumer would not likely steal the bar, but look for a sample of the chocolate first, being as it wouldn't likely be too difficult to find.

To recap, it SHOULD remain (at least, where I live) legal for movies to be downloaded from the internet, for free, for several key reasons:

(1) Film corporations/studios and their employees have a burden to adapt to modern technology, and can do so through contractual considerations, especially when a clear and consistent advantage is/can be gained from the extra, free exposure such technology provides;

(2) Not all skilled workers and/or qualified filmmakers work for major studios, and they need the Internet to limit their costs and possibly establish a fan base and other connections via cost-effective exposure and worldwide, 24/7 accessibility;

(3) Other businesses use many similar means for offering consumers discounted samples or copies of products, with intentions for future profit/return investments in their respective businesses.

For these reasons, I urge a PRO vote.
Debate Round No. 1
scottpreston

Con

I'm afraid my opponents seems to have not understood the point of the debate, it was referring to the ILLEGAL download of copyright movies. I did mention this in my initial post.

1)I'm not sure what my opponent was refuting, there is no 'clear' advantage to having movies illegally downloaded of off the internet. People will have less need to purchase the movie or see it in cinemas. I saw no 'clear' advantage outlined

2) Again my opponent proves nothing, if the creator of a film places their film on the internet then people may download the film freely. This is not an issue. People recording movies in the cinema and placing them on the internet is an issue.

I'm going to stop here and apologise for my initial post, it clearly wasn't outlined properly. My opponent is arguing the use of downloading free movies of off the Internet which are free in the first place. Whilst I did blatantly say I was referring to the illegal download of movies my opponent didn't understand this.

As my opponent counterargument was based on a false debate I call this stalemate.
USAPitBull63

Pro

Not so fast.

It seems as though you're trying to pigeon-hole this debate about illegal activity in general, rather than the general act of freely downloading movies online.

In other words, you're basically rephrasing the resolution as "It should be legal to ILLEGALLY stream movies for free off the Internet."

Even more simply, you seem to be trying to reshape the resolution around parameters that you are against (as con) legally doing illegal things, which itself is a paradox.

Also, what is illegal in one country or jurisdiction may still be legal somewhere else. Thus, your vague use of word "illegal" does little to clarify or truly reshape the resolution.

Nevertheless, with my opening argument, I decided to take what I felt was the more rational intention of your resolution. I will continue along those lines as much as possible while directly refuting your second argument's claims.

(1) Merely saying you saw no clear advantage (in my argument) of free, mass distribution of copyrighted (a term you never used in your opening argument) movies online for the movie "industry"—doesn't mean I did not outline specific, genuine examples to show how major studios can adjust to, and best use, said exposure of their product(s).

Some specific examples included adding previously-unavailable features to DVDs; and working with online movie-distributors, such as Netflix, to show better quality versions of movies than amateur/pirated copies—for a profit! (Or, at least, a share of one.)

You have not refuted these specific examples, other than to say you did not agree with or understand them. Therefore, my argument and evidence still stands uncontested.

(2) Your second rebuttal here was basically already blocked by my first counterargument to your original constructive, as well as my second one. You're now bringing up yet another new parameter of your resolution: that you intended the interpretation of "movies for free" to specifically mean "movies illegally filmed by amateurs with camcorders in movie theaters, then pirated for free online."

As you're basically trying to change the entire shape of the debate here (again), it should not serve as proper rebuttal of my original points.

But even considering your alleged clarification of the actual resolution, several weaknesses exist.

You said in your first rebuttal that "[p]eople will have less need to purchase the movie or see it in cinemas [if people can watch them for free online]"; yet if, as you state in your second rebuttal, you're narrowing the illegality aspect exclusively to "[p]eople recording movies in the cinema and placing them on the internet"—you are seriously overestimating both the quality and popularity of such pirated copies compared to their professionally produced and distributed formats.

To say that most people would, en masse, prefer watching a film of significantly inferior quality, pirated online---even for free—--rather than experience a theater atmosphere, or professional quality of a movie (not to mention extra features of DVDs) is completely unsubstantiated in regard to any real financial threat to the film "industry."

Lastly, as I've again specified, I did not merely refer to movies that were "free in the first place" (i.e., shared-profit initiatives like Netflix, Playstation Network, and even Blockbuster Online, etc.). These are viewings of films for which consumers must pay a fee, if nominal; and those fees produce profits.

With all due respect, this debate is no stalemate. If you erroneously phrased the resolution, phrase it correctly in a new debate, after you complete this one.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
scottpreston

Con

1)This is simple, if it is not free to download... then it is not free. Therefore it is irrelevant to the debate. I have not fully researched Netflix, but I assume it is like any other DVD rental website, you pay a fee for them to deliver DVDs or you pay a fee to download movies. The industry simply supplies their movies. I know of no websites that allow you to legally download copyrighted movies for free. And that is what we're debating, it has to be completely free.

It doesn't matter if the movie is copyright, it is only if it is illegal. Whether you are downloading copyright-free material illegal is irrelevant. I suspect, however, downloading copyright-free materials legal isn't difficult.

2) 'movies illegally filmed by amateurs with camcorders in movie theaters, then pirated for free online' This was just an example of how people uploaded illegal movies. How people upload the movies is irrelevant to the debate. I was not specifying the debate as such. This therefore make all of your 2nd rebuttal redundant.

Regardless of this there are some flaws with your argument.
'you are seriously overestimating both the quality and popularity of such pirated copies compared to their professionally produced and distributed formats.' It doesn't matter if only one person downloads these copies, it is still relevant to the debate. The debate is not 'does the legitimate distribution of movies garner more return than the illegal distribution'

You took the pro stance which means you are arguing that people should be able to download movies for free.

'Lastly, as I've again specified, I did not merely refer to movies that were "free in the first place" (i.e., shared-profit initiatives like Netflix, PlayStation Network, and even Blockbuster Online, etc.). These are viewings of films for which consumers must pay a fee, if nominal; and those fees produce profits.

You have created an irrelevant example, as these products are not free you are not refuting anything.

'
In other words, you're basically rephrasing the resolution as "It should be legal to ILLEGALLY stream movies for free off the Internet."

If you did not agree to the parameter I placed in my initial argument then you should not have taken up this debate.

'Also, what is illegal in one country or jurisdiction may still be legal somewhere else. Thus, your vague use of word "illegal" does little to clarify or truly reshape the resolution.

You do not state where it is legal, the burden of proof is on you. If it is hosted in a country where it is illegal it doesn't matter if someone in another country can download it legally.

Until you suggest a relevant argument I still maintain stalemate.
USAPitBull63

Pro

Again, you're trying to reshape the resolution as a paradox: that it should be legal to do illegal activities.

This is different from saying something currently illegal should be legal; by your own parameters, and as con, you're then allegedly arguing that illegal activities, in general, should not be legal. (Which itself is different from arguing that some specific act currently illegal should remain illegal.)

If something is ruled legal by a binding authority, it no longer remains illegal; therefore, you have an inconsistency in your reconstructed resolution.

Again, I took the most reasonable interpretation of your original resolution, which, on its face, still stands as the resolution of this debate. But you're apparently contesting that you'd prefer a different analysis. The crux of your argument's problem is simply that your revision does not make sense.

My specific example of Netflix (among other companies) directly supported my counterargument to your original second contention.

You said: "I know of no websites that allow you to legally download copyrighted movies for free. And that is what we're debating, it has to be completely free."

As I already mentioned in my original counterargument, peer-to-peer (P2P) networks exist all over the Internet, and have not been federally shut down in most (if any) countries (certainly not America). High courts have stopped issuing subpoenas to college students and others for participating in P2P file-sharing. I specifically mentioned Limewire as just one example; and as of this day, Limewire's basic server is still 100% free of charge.

In your second rebuttal, you say the "camcorders in movie theaters" example (from your first rebuttal argument) was "just an example of how people uploaded illegal movies." You then say, in the very next sentence, "How people upload movies is irrelevant to the debate." So while you claim you weren't specifying the debate as such, you do admit to using an "irrelevant" example to support your claims.

My second rebuttal might have seemed redundant because I basically had to say it twice, in order to counter your opening argument and first rebuttal. (I'm making my second rebuttal now, actually.)

You say: "[quoting my first rebuttal] 'you are seriously overestimating both the quality and popularity of such pirated copies compared to their professionally produced and distributed formats.' [End quote; then you add:] It doesn't matter if only one person downloads these copies, it is still relevant to the debate."

So you said it's an issue in your first rebuttal; and in your second rebuttal, you say it's irrelevant.

Also, while alleging that whether or not people download bootleg copies is relevant to the debate, you just finished saying how the bootlegging process itself is "irrelevant to the debate." Yet I specifically gave a direct correlation for how the process itself limits the severity and recurrence of this process, or even the initial urge to choose this format over professionally distributed versions.

In other words, I argued that the means affects the ends; you never dispute that, but instead claim that the means don't matter, just the ends. But if you don't dispute my dependent correlation, you implicitly accept it—--and furthermore, sound like you're trying to have it both ways.

Again, my specific, working examples like PS Network, Netflix, etc., directly support my attack on your original second contention.

I phrased your attempted revision of the actual resolution as "It should be legal to ILLEGALLY stream movies for free off the Internet." You respond by saying, "If you did not agree to the parameter I placed in my initial argument then you should not have taken up this debate."

But this is NOT what you said in your opening argument. There, you merely said you referred to illegal downloads, which, as I mentioned in my first rebuttal, was too vague a term—--especially considering such activities are not illegal or federally sanctioned by most (if any) governments.

Actually, the burden is on you to state where it is illegal; especially as such was a condition of your opening argument. You merely mention "the illegal downloading" but do not mention in what capacity it is illegal, and under what restrictions, sanctions, and jurisdictions such illegality resides.

Like with your original resolution, I used the most reasonable interpretation of your words, particularly "illegal."

I have relevantly and exhaustingly detailed my arguments and the flaws, loopholes, and contradictions of your own.

This is no stalemate. Based on the actual resolution, and upon the arguments, examples, and rebuttals I've put forth, I urge a Pro vote.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by s0m31john 9 years ago
s0m31john
Great debate, gentlemen.

25 characters
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
Damn, he's successfully blocked the objection "Well yes it should... if the owner gives permission."

After all he clarified the resolution to disallow it :D
Posted by Rezzealaux 9 years ago
Rezzealaux
Actually, I think I might take this one.

"Art should not be capitalized upon".
Posted by s0m31john 9 years ago
s0m31john
And pry the data off my cold encrypted hard drive.
Posted by Rezzealaux 9 years ago
Rezzealaux
You'll have to pry my external hard drive out of my cold dead hands.
Posted by s0m31john 9 years ago
s0m31john
You'll have to pry my external hard drive out of my cold dead hands.
12 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by angelsm9 7 years ago
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scottprestonUSAPitBull63Tied
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Vote Placed by FormAndTheFormless 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by Orangeman333 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by Riddick 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by the_conservative 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by scottpreston 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by USAPitBull63 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by dashdustrider 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by Rezzealaux 9 years ago
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