A quick article on intellectual property and piracy
Over at Forbes, Paul Tassi has an interesting article on Intellectual Property and piracy. Take a look at this opening and tell me you don’t want to read the whole thing:
Now that the SOPA and PIPA fights have died down, and Hollywood prepares their next salvo against internet freedom with ACTA and PCIP, it’s worth pausing to consider how the war on piracy could actually be won.
It can’t, is the short answer, and one these companies do not want to hear as they put their fingers in their ears and start yelling.
Wait, so you’re telling me that yelling won’t solve all my problems!? That ramming a “shoot first, ask questions never” law like SOPA/PIPA through the Congress is not actually going to help people!? Stop the presses.
The issue that lobbying shops like RIAA and MPAA have with piracy is not one of property rights – they don’t care a whit about your property rights. It’s not even law – to them, that’s a means to an end. It’s a question of business model.
Rather than adapt their business model to one that can work in a world where common thieves have adapted their business model, they would instead prefer a law that would kill off just about the only free part of the market left in the world.
And what is not being acknowledged is that the things that pirates do are illegal already. Pirates are nothing more than common thieves with a new tool. Record companies and movie studios have the resources and rights to go after pirates. When they have, the backlash over suing 14 year olds for millions of dollars has caused them to back down, but is that in any way my problem? Or anyone’s problem who innocently uses the internet?
In a world where the internet has sped up the inevitability of “adapt or die,” the big drivers of intellectual property law are not only refusing to adapt, they are seeking to levy the costs of their dead business model on everyone else.