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March 30, 2009 11:07 AM

My Wife's No Longer A Pirate!

Great news: my wife's no longer an online content pirate.

In the fall of 2007 I wrote about how my wife had stumbled upon a website that hosted the latest episodes of her favorite Japanese anime show. This site showcased episodes shortly after they aired in Japan with subtitles, as opposed to the American versions with voiceovers that took many months to arrive on our airwaves.

It was a site that was easy to find, easy to use, of acceptable quality, and it quickly became a weekly ritual for us to watch the latest Japanese episode every Friday night. Yet little did my wife know that she was committing a criminal act.

In her mind she just wanted to watch her show and this was an easy way to do so. Until I brought this issue up, she had no idea that she was breaking any laws. And even after I told her she continued watching as above all else she wanted to see her show.

Well this week that all changed: my wife is no longer a pirate.

How? The latest episodes of her favorite anime are now available on Hulu.com. Not only are they slightly higher quality video, but they're actually being released on Thursday nights instead of Friday like the pirated site. And of course the content can now be viewed legally.

Of course because the video's now available on a legitimate site Hulu.com's taking the opportunity to insert in-stream video ads. But you know what? My wife couldn't care less. She's more than happy to sit through some ads so she can watch her show.

This anecdote to me shows a clear path forward for how to deal with content piracy.

It's not about persecuting your audience for simply wanting to watch your content. Instead the focus should be on making the content available to them in a way that's easier and of a higher quality than can be obtained illegally. In this way we don't make criminals out of pirates, we reaffirm their value as loyal viewers.

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