Is It Really Such A Problem If People Sell Your Works? Or Is It Just Free Market Research?
from the not-too-hard-to-figure-out dept
One of the key questions that comes up when you discuss the concept of a world without copyright is "what's to stop others from just copying that book/DVD/CD etc. and selling it themselves, thus making the money that you could have made." The answer is that there's usually a lot preventing it. Filmmaker Nina Paley, a big supporter of culture without relying on copyright, has a great post discussing the "what's stopping you" question, where she notes that most people simply won't go through the hassle. However, what's more interesting is that even if people do start selling your works, it's not necessarily a bad thing. This is the similar to the discussion we recently had about others making money off of your content. If they're able to do so, it often suggests some sort of demand that you haven't met. As Paley notes, it's free market research:
In general, I would much prefer you bought Sita merch from the Sita Merch Empire than from a CafePress store. Reasons include: I know the Merch Empire merch is high quality, I personally designed and like all the products there, and a much higher % of the money goes to me. CafePress merch tends to be overpriced for the quality, and CafePress takes almost all the profits unless the seller sets prices absurdly high.Indeed. This is also why we've said time and time again that it's perfectly fine if you want to copy this blog and try to sell ads against it (or make money some other way). If someone actually figures out something that works well, then that's useful info to us, and would allow us to then incorporate those findings into our own offering. That's actually good for everyone...
That said, Drakar's store offers Sita merch that doesn't exist at the Merch Empire. If I offered mugs, mousepads and stickers, he wouldn't have needed to make a Cafe Press store in the first place. If he actually sells any, it will demonstrate there is demand for such products. Then I can offer the same or similar products at my store. Drakar is essentially providing free market research, as are any other "competitors." If any of them do exceptionally well, I'll know what merch I should be selling.
This is why old-school economists say competition is good for businesses. It is. Too bad there's so little real competition in our supposedly "free market democracy."