Here is an article in The Register that I made a long comment on.
To save you ploughing through all the comments, mine follows it, preceded by the comment I responded to (They are on page 5 if you want to see the immediate context) :
[pageview http://theregister.co.uk/2010/03/26/pirate_future/ "The Register" Mandelson and his nasty Digital Economy Bill]
The word “Freetard” #
Posted Saturday 27th March 2010 09:59 GMT
[This post fell afoul of moderators the first time, so I'm editing it a bit and trying again - apologies if it is now posted twice.]
“Freetard” is an interesting and slightly misleading term to use. I recently attended a (mainly academic) conference on counterfeiting and piracy (http://www.counter2010.org/ – a 30-month EU-funded project looking into every aspect of counterfeiting and piracy across the EU and beyond) and one of the more interesting and, to some, surprising results that came out in many of the studies was that price *wasn’t* the main motivation (or justification) behind online copyright infringement. It wasn’t usually even in the top three. It didn’t even have that significant an effect. The main motivation was convenience. There is much more content available through unlicensed services, in a greater variety of formats, and it is much more accessible (one study noted that of the works in the US Library of Congress published before 1972, only 14% were commercially/legally available on a domestic level).
Now, you can criticise these results as much as you like (and I regret that I don’t have references for them as the results haven’t been published yet – although they should be appearing over the next 6 months) but at least it suggests that there is more to this issue than simply “pirates aren’t willing to pay” (even the recent OiNK case demonstrated that to be fallacious) and dismissing several million people as “freetards” is similarly unproductive as labelling them “thieves” and not conducive to a healthy and rational debate.
Yes indeed # ↑
Posted Sunday 28th March 2010 09:19 GMT
When I first investigated music downloads a few years ago, realising what a hugely convenient way it was to obtain and play digital music, I literally could not find the music I wanted, at any cost! Except on P2P. I would have been perfectly happy to pay a reasonable sum to a legal supplier, and I am sure countless millions of others would too.
If Tesco told me I could only buy a bag of Tesco sugar from their store in the next town, to which there is no bus service, and a man outside on the pavement offers me one off his barrow at reasonable cost, what do Tesco expect me to do? Walk a hundred miles in the pissing rain?
This whole sorry mess was caused by the greed and stupidity of the media corporations, and now it is being screwed completely out of hand by their ability to purchase politicians on expensive yachts in the Med. I have no sympathy for them whatsoever. If they had provided the public right at the start of the digital revolution with an efficient download service at reasonable cost, every single person involved in this whole ludicrous fiasco would be a winner. If they are now allowed to dictate our basic freedoms to corrupt government ministers, we will all, public and artists alike, and our children, be losers.
You simply cannot create legalised, corrupt monopolies and expect ordinary folk to roll on their backs like puppydogs. Neither can you un-invent digital copying, however much DRM you throw at it. You must provide a service that tempts people to buy. It is inconceivable that supposed businessmen seem incapable of doing such an elementary thing. Their brains must be addled from spending too many years on a monopolistic gravy train. They are just bullies, and everyone knows it. It may buy politicians, but it does not buy friends, nor loyal customers.
I’m damn sure Tesco would not be stupid enough to force me to walk a hundred miles in the pissing rain to get what is on offer right next door on the pavement, nor set a gang of thugs onto me if I purchased from the pavement. They would woo me with what the pavement cannot – a warm place out of the rain, a free cup of tea, and a place to change the baby’s nappy. And while I am in there, calm and at peace with Tesco, I will doubtless buy lots of other things. There are many other analogies which help to cut through the crud and the lies and show up the basic stupidities of this situation.
And the ‘freetards’ on P2P wrecking the economy? I do not recall publishers going out of business because people lend books to their friends, nor newspapers trying to make it illegal to leave a paper on the seat of a train. What an incompetent mess the media moguls have made of this wonderful digital opportunity.