Friday 23 March 2018

Jennifer Lipman: Online pirates understand the market better than their legal rivals. The challenge for TV companies is to catch up

’d heard about it even before I arrived at university. It was a campus legend; a system that allowed you to watch any television programme whenever you wanted, with just the click of a button. All you needed was a connection to the campus computer network, and you were in.

IIt was, of course, totally illegal – a large-scale file sharing service dreamt up by an opportunistic computer geek. The university shut it down sporadically, but within days it would rise again, Lazarus like.

Even without it there were dozens of ways to watch your favourite series, from downloading video files, to streaming episodes on websites with names such as Surfthechannel.

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