At last — some real insight into file-sharing
Tim O’Reilly has written a terrific essay on the reality of file-sharing. Among other things, it’s a reminder of the importance of not letting the opposition get control of language — e.g. the way the copyright thugs seek to brand everyone who downloads a music file as a ‘pirate’. Piracy is something quite different — the wholesale copying of copyrighted material and its onward sale for profit. Tim structures his essay in terms of a number of ‘lessons’:
Lesson 1: Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy.
Lesson 2: Piracy is progressive taxation
Lesson 3: Customers want to do the right thing, if they can.
Lesson 4: Shoplifting is a bigger threat than piracy.
Lesson 5: File sharing networks don’t threaten book, music, or film publishing. They threaten existing publishers.
Lesson 6: “Free” is eventually replaced by a higher-quality paid service.
Lesson 7: There’s more than one way to do it.