Tim O’Reilly: Why I’m fighting SOPA — Tech News and Analysis.
I love the “Piracy is not a real problem” part. It’s worth repeating this (emphasis is mine):
… But the vast majority of customers are willing to pay if the product is widely available and the price is fair. If you have a relationship with your customers, and they know you’re doing the right thing, they will support you.
The people who are pirating are most likely the people who would never give you a nickel to begin with. Piracy serves people on the fringes who are not being served adequately by legitimate markets. Frankly, if people in Romania can download my books and enjoy them, more power to them. They weren’t going to pay me anyway.
Charge a fair price. What a concept. I stopped buying music for 10 years because the price of a CD rose to absurd levels ($15 and sometimes much more–I’ve paid over $22 for a CD). The problem with the music industry is the artist, from that $15 sale price, gets very little ($1 if they are lucky). When I download an “album” from Amazon.com or the iTunes store, the cost is close to nothing for distribution. Yet, the price didn’t really come down for digital versions. Just like when we went from LPs to CDs, the price actually went up instead of down, even though CDs were cheaper to produce.
The fact is, that for music, the artists are getting screwed. This is also true with movies and books and performances in general. Louis C.K. made a comedy show that he sold on his website for $5. In a few days he had made $1,000,000. I’m sure he’s made much more since then.
The old ways of distributing artistic works don’t translate to the digital world, and when you charge too much because you are trying to hold onto the past, you will be circumvented. Either that, or people will find other things to do with their time, which means your movie, book, album or performance will be ignored. When this happens, as has been par for the course in the last 10 years or so, we will unfortunately see a lot of complaining about “pirates are stealing my stuff and I can’t make money anymore.” Don’t believe them. If they had changed with the times and offered a good product for a reasonable price, people would flock to pay for it. Just like they did for Louis C.K.’s performance.