Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Why Copyright Theft is Bad

Look, I know as well as anyone that "free is easier than paying." Given the power of the internet, "free is often better than buying." If I want to buy something, I usually have to either leave the house or wait for product delivery. The rare exception to this is ebooks, but if I buy them I still have to pay for them and as I wrote earlier "free is easier than paying."

But you also know what getting all your stuff for free means? It means that people will stop making the stuff that entertains you. If there is no money to be made, then people will stop working hard to produce things that entertain you. Case in point? Stephanie Meyer. Somebody leaked part of an early draft of her next book, and she's postponed indefinitely the writing of that installment.

It's hard work to write something worth reading and that work can be devoted to other profitable ventures. Those who have the talent, and discipline, to be creative in an entertainment field are also fully capable of making money other ways, and they will migrate away.

Don't tell me that "advertising" will eventually pay for all this great free stuff, and perpetuate the myth of the "economy of free." Sure, a lot of stuff we are currently paying for -- maybe even Meyer's books -- will be free due to ads, but at some point there has to be a purchased product to pay for the advertising that supports the "economy of free." It's economics 101. Heck, it's even more basic than that. Rousseau understood this when he wrote ON THE ORIGIN OF INEQUALITY. If you want people to create entertainment, then they need time and resources to be able to make that entertainment. If you want talented people, then the compensation has to be commensurate.

Go ahead and disagree, but don't come crying to me when all that is available to entertain you are mmorpgs, porn made in someone's basement, and Kirk/Picard slash fiction.

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