Netflix Not Concerned with Piracy: ‘People are Mostly Honest’

Netflix, one would think, despises piracy. After all, Torrent sites are built around offering for free what Netflix charges customers a monthly fee to access.

But if the company’s chief content officer can be believed, piracy is not a major concern for Netflix. In fact, Ted Sarandos’ philosophy on piracy is both friendly and perfectly logical.

“The best way to combat piracy isn’t legislatively or criminally but by giving good options,” Sarandos explained in an interview with Stuff Magazine. He says that people want a great experience and convenience, things Torrents don’t really specialize in. Plus, he argues, “people are mostly honest.”

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Netflix is affordable and simple, which is why it’s been so successful. Piracy tends to occur when content is overpriced or made inaccessible. Take HBO for example, and its hit show Game of Thrones. The first season was the most pirated television show of 2011. The second season was the most pirated television show of 2012. And the third season premier? The most pirated TV episode ever.

However, it is also interesting to note that pirates—at least music pirates—buy more content than non-pirates, suggesting they simply consume more content overall, both legally and illegally. People who routinely pirate music or copy it from friends have collections 37% larger than people who only acquire music legally, according to a 2012  study by the American Assembly and Columbia University, and pirates buy 30% more music legally than their strictly legal counterparts.

“The biggest music pirates are also the biggest spenders on recorded music,” the study concluded, before cautioning the music industry against cracking down on piracy. “If absolute spending is the metric, then P2P users value music more highly than their non-P2P using, digital-collecting peers, not less. They’re better digital consumers.”

Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty