Los Angeles Netflix subscribers may have enjoyed the Sunday premiere of "Arrested Development," the cult classic sitcom that has been revived after a seven-year hiatus.
And they are not the only ones.
Although the new season of "Arrested Development" is supposed to be available only to those who have a Netflix subscription, plenty of people got around that requirement. Within 24 hours of its debut, the kickoff episode was illegally downloaded about 100,000 times on illegal file-sharing sites.
Such piracy amounts to copyright infringement.
That piracy rate is not a record (that dubious distinction goes to the Season 3 premier of "Game of Thrones," which had over 1 million downloads) but it does represent a frustrating situation for Netflix.
Netflix, of course, is hoping to use enticements like "Arrested Development" and its other original series, like "House of Cards" and "Hemlock Grove," to induce more people to pay its monthly service fees.
If people who don't pay to belong to Netflix are just illegally consuming its offerings, that is akin to stealing.
The fact is, the entertainment industry needs strong intellectual property laws (and needs those laws to be observed) because without them, companies have no way to protect their offerings. This, in turn, significantly hampers their ability to flourish economically.
This is an especially pertinent issue in Netflix's case. As we have written about before, the company is transitioning away from the DVDs-by-mail service that it built upon and is trying to become a standalone entertainment generator. If people are allowed to continue infringing on its copyrights, that quest will be infinitely more difficult.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter, "'Arrested Development' Pirated More Than 100,000 Times in 24 Hours," Eriq Gardner, May 28, 2013