Sunday 26 February 2012

The misconceptions of piracy and damage

Priacy is a huge subjects nowadays. But everyone advocating "strike down on piracy" always overestimates the damages. There is a political motivation behind it is clear, it is a rhetorical means to make the "economical impact" seem bigger; or it might just be that they still haven't realized that the rules and limitations of physical goods do not apply to the digital world. I am not advocating piracy, but come on let us keep it real. I have seen two lesser book authors complaining about "I don't want people to steal my stuff" and implied "there should be zero tolerance on piracy", I might add that one was all for SOPA and the other was like "I'm not for SOPA but I think the 'piracy problem' should be solved" or in other words, "SOPA in unpopular, so I oppose that; rename it to CtIA and I'll be all for it".

Here's the real facts:

  • Some people (in a lot of cases it is most of them) who download from the internet would never have bought your product anyway.
  • Some people buy your product because they downloaded it, and liked it enough to buy it.
  • Some people download an album, like the music and attend a concert.
  • Some people bought your product and lost or damaged their copy, you only allow digital media to be downloaded once, and make it impossible to make a legitimate copy; that is your fault, you and your closed minded policies.
Another thing you need to understand: If somebody steals a DVD, a book or a video game; something physical has disappeared from a shelf, that cost money and raw materials to make; somebody is going to have to pay for that. That is in addition to the upfront production costs but if your movie sucked and nobody bought it, you would still have to pay for that.

The real problem with the industry is that they are competing with anyone now; in music, if you are a competent artist you do not need the labels anymore. The big record companies are no longer able to bend the market to their will. And they don't realize that good artists who make good music can sell music too, you don't have to play on sex to sell music anymore; and most importantly, you don't have to be backed by a label to sell your music with sex.

Journalism is another issue, but they understand the competition they are under (all except Rupert Murdoch, but that is a different matter) and I'll just point out Jeff Jarvis, and his book What Would Google Do?; "It's not the 1950's anymore, get over it; today you have to engage with your audiences."

Lastly, TV and radio; You really don't need anything more than Leo Laporte's TWiT network to really understand it. He created a media empire from scratch and he gives away his content for *free*. Don't tell me it is impossible to make money by giving away your content; you can.

Additional reading:
Jonathan Coulton and pircay

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