bakedjake - 6:12 pm on Feb 24, 2011 (gmt 0)
Are you still allowed to be an evil free market capitalist around here? :)
I'm in the middle of all of ya'll:
1. The reason the iTunes store makes so much GD money is because it's easier to buy the album than pirate it. Same with Kindle. I get to click a button to buy and it's much easier than firing up uTorrent, waiting for some stupid download to finish (and we don't know if it'll happen in 3 minutes, 3 hours, or 3 days).
So the market will most likely solve most of this problem on its own. Netflix/Pandora subscriptions work well because at the end of the day people are lazy and do value their time somewhat, and paying $10/mo. is easier than downloading.
2. The minute the government starts criminalizing piracy (and I mean really prosecutes it, like shoplifting, no dumb RIAA civil trials), it will go way down. If you're a publisher, this is what you need to be lobbying towards. And I don't care if Timmy is 12 and Carol is 19 and in university - (s)he needs to be smacked the same way if they'd stuck an Xbox 360 game down their pants at Best Buy and walks out.
The current issue that makes it hard to criminalize is that it's hard to track.
Is infringement theft? Yes, and it's significant. The huge majority (>90%) of real authors (that's not bloggers or hacks) do not make enough money to support themselves via writing. Same for musicians, etc.
Boo hoo. I can't make enough money dancing on top of my car playing the theme to Lawrence of Arabia on my harmonica either, but it's not because of theft...
No one apart from a few people with money at stake think that copyright infringement is theft.
Excuse me for saying so, but that's a really stupid thing to say, and that sort of thinking threatens to bring us back to the physical distribution age.
Digital distribution makes it very easy to copy and steal, and theft needs to be criminalized, or digital distribution will no longer be a viable business model.
That's like walking into Best Buy and saying "oh, I'll take this pack of gum, because the incremental cost to the store is only $0.10 or whatever, and they won't miss it". Having a zero or near zero incremental cost to produce doesn't make it suddenly "OK" to copy.
But I will give you this: people are so worried about theft that they're missing the big opportunity. Think about the music space:
a) the market has decided that $20 per CD at a store doesn't work (tower records and its ilk going out of business quickly)
b) the market had decided that $0.99 per track downloaded works fine (itunes rev goes up up up)
What's the difference? I don't know. But there's inefficiency somewhere, and the market is rejecting the old model... distribution? Price? Product selection? Packaging? Who knows. I'm not in that business.