Friday, July 8, 2011

The Copyright Stick...

So, here's the latest on copyright:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/internet-providers-join-in-web-piracy-fight/2011/07/07/gIQAm0g12H_story.html

Now. Here is the thing. First of all, what is the 'evidence of piracy'? Many years ago I caught my ISP (long gone out of business) reading my email. They, in fact, admitted to it. Given I routinely send MY IP over email, I don't want my ISP reading my email. I can't encrypt it because publishers don't accept it that way. I want them to keep their nose out.


Personally, I don't use peer to peer downloads. I don't trust them. But what is the next step...to start searching people's computers to make sure every MP3 on them came from a legal download service? (as opposed to copied from CDs in order to save wear on the discs, something I am pretty sure *everyone* does). Checking for multiple copies of single license software on the same IP? These things are technically feasible now.

And while with this program the stick is 'internet throttling', it's still a stick. Where is the positive incentive for people to spend money on content they can get for free? Especially as many, many people who do download pirated material do so because they *don't have the money*. That's not lost sales for the content provider. It's only a lost sale if the person would have bought it...which makes a lot of the 'cost of piracy' figures off base. In fact, the biggest loss many companies experience is the cost of trying to stop piracy.

Accepting that piracy will happen is important in this day and age. And sure, educating people is fine, but that college student who's living on ramen noodles? You can educate them all you like, they aren't going to miss a meal to buy a CD and they aren't going to go without music either. This is simple human nature we're dealing with. Furthermore, many people see nothing wrong with piracy. It's not viewed as the same as theft because the person does not lose anything tangible.

The only answer I can see is to make piracy not 'cool' and not 'done'. Furthermore, to come up with some incentive for legal purchases. Unfortunately, I don't see a way to do it. It's the same as people grumbling about taxes whilst taking advantage of what their taxes pay for. Also seems to be human nature.

Maybe we need to make sending money to an artist a tax deductible donation.