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Netflix exec: 'Piracy drops wherever we launch'

Whenever Netflix launches in a new territory, BitTorrent traffic drops, according to exec Ted Sarrandos.

How do you stop people pirating movies and TV shows? Get stern with them? Threaten to lock them up? Rather, give them a better selection of legal offerings, according to one Netflix exec.

Ted Sarandos, the company's chief content officer, says that wherever Netflix launches, the number of people pirating movies and shows goes down. "One of the things is we get ISPs to publicise their connection speeds -- and when we launch in a territory the BitTorrent traffic drops as the Netflix traffic grows," he told Stuff. "So I think people do want a great experience and they want access -- people are mostly honest. The best way to combat piracy isn't legislatively or criminally but by giving good options."

He went on: "One of the side effects of growth of content is an expectation to have access to it. You can't use the Internet as a marketing vehicle and then not as a delivery vehicle."

It's a view shared by the comedian Louis CK, who sells his stand up shows through his website. The shows are completely DRM-free, so people can share them through file sharing sites if they want. But he politely asks them not to. The first time he sold a show this way, he made $1m in just 12 days.

What else is Netflix working on? 3D won't roll out internationally for a while yet, as "the connection isn't good enough" according to Sarandos. And 4K? "It'll be super interesting to see how it evolves, it's super early and the pricing is obviously in the very early curve," he said. "If it evolves as a streaming only format it'll be very interesting."

Netflix's chief product officer Neil Hunt previously said that 4K streaming would be available through the service in a year or two.

Sarandos also said the service is "steering towards" ubiquitous global licensing, which could mean us Brits get the same mahoosive selection as our US counterparts. Of course, you could just access US Netflix via a VPN, which everyone I know seems to be doing nowadays.

Is Sarandos right about combatting piracy? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.