Monday, January 16, 2012

Creators And Piracy

For those who haven't seen it, the White House response to the SOPA petition included language suggesting that we need to do something about piracy ourselves.

Here are a few of my constructive thoughts:

1. Bearing in mind that many people who pirate intellectual property are either broke (can't afford to pay for it) or don't want to spend money on an artist they don't know, make samples of your material available for free. Make this legal free material as obvious as you can. Point people to it. Then make sure that as much of it as possible links back to a place to buy more of your work. You can also use advertising to potentially get a bit of revenue. (Asking for donations is tricky - PayPal only allows non-profits to use their Donate button and has cracked down lately, and Google Checkout has the same policy).

2. Avoid the use of egregious DRM. If the pirated version of your software is worth more than the version you're asking people to pay for, then people who would otherwise buy the legal version will pirate. Is it truly necessary for your stand alone video game to require an active internet connection at all times to play?

3. Look for ways to make the legal version worth more. This can be as simple as treating your customers nicely and responding in a timely manner to questions and support requests. If somebody told you their ereader was stolen with their only copy of your book on it, what would you do?

4. Be somebody people want to give their money to. Don't be an asshole on social media, but don't be afraid to be real, either. Don't respond to bad reviews, don't spread dirt all over the internet, don't get so plastered drunk at cons you do something stupid. Treat everyone like a potential customer - because they are.

5. Act like your material is worth paying for. Don't be one of those artists who goes around being all holier-than-thou about not being paid. You deserve to be paid. Expect it, without begging or being arrogant about it.

Any more thoughts?