There was a brief period of time, mainly during the hangover stage of rampant file sharing via indie FTP sites, Napster, and torrents, that many of us realized that freely downloading the creative works of others at no expense to ourselves might be unfair. There were some logical arguments against this sentiment:
"You know what? I would steal a car. If it was as easy as, like, touching the car and then 30-seconds later I own the car... [and] the person who owned the car, they got to keep the car." -Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling had a point that I think is relevant today and we're still, frankly, figuring out. The definition of "ownership" in the digital age can be so murky, especially when it comes to things like music and video that can be copied infinitely at almost no cost.
Nevertheless, in the wake of that collective guilt over limitless file sharing, we began embracing the idea of extremely convenient and all-inclusive streaming platforms that gave us access to everything we could imagine for a low, monthly fee. We assumed they were handling all the back-end accounting appropriately so we could enjoy any kind of entertainment with the warm feeling that the trade was fair.
And that worked. For a while.
But in the last few years, we've seen cracks begin to appear in this model:
"users have grown increasingly frustrated at having to hunt and peck through a universe of different, often terrible streaming services just to find a single film or television program"
Not only has the all-inclusive streaming concept begun splintering, but we've also begun to realize the deal was never as fair as we once believed – namely for those on the creative side of the equation. What once seemed like a great bargain is appearing more and more like a rotten one.
So these reports that pirating and torrenting is on the uptick again, for the first time in years, is not all that surprising. People are fed up. And they want something that works better for everyone, not just the giants guarding the gates.