In 2002 Tim O'Reilly, publisher of an amazing array of technical titles, published an essay: Piracy is progressive taxation. In it he challenged many assumptions about business models in an internet-based digital world.
The essay is a good example of the reality that 'new' is not necessarily the best as it stands a model of clear thinking on the subject. To whet your appetite:
- Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy.
- Piracy is progressive taxation.
- Customers want to do the right thing, if they can.
- Shoplifting is a bigger threat than piracy.
- File sharing networks don't threaten book, music, or film publishing. They threaten existing publishers.
- "Free" is eventually replaced by a higher-quality paid service.
- "There's more than one way to do it."
As a 'worked example' of the problem, consider the problems I encountered writing this post. I could find many great photos on flickr and other photo sites, but the good photos I found were all licensed with "all rights reserved." So, I did not use any of them. However, if they had used, for example the license I use on this blog, I could have used them with attribution. Now there is no way I'm going go through the bother of getting rights or paying for a photo on this blog, but I could have provided free advertising for some photographers. Such a shame.
What was accomplished for the photographer? Not much. I can still point you to the photos I wanted to use.