Why Piracy Happens: Because No One In Mexico Thinks Tron Legacy Is Worth Paying $136

from the economics dept

Earlier this year, we wrote about the absolutely wonderful, detailed and insightful SSRC Report on "Media Piracy," which made it clear (through actual research and data) that "piracy" is almost never a legal or enforcement problem, as many industry folks insist, but rather a business model problem. To drive this point home, Joe Karaganis, who put the report together, has written up a short article for the Huffington Post, putting the economic realities into clear and easy to understand terms:
This may seem like an obvious conclusion but it is strikingly absent from policy conversations about intellectual property, which focus almost exclusively on strengthening enforcement. Nowhere in the industry literature or in major policy statements like the US Trade Representative's annual Special 301 reports will you find an acknowledgement of piracy's underlying causes: the fact that, in most parts of the world, digital media technologies have become much much cheaper without any corresponding increase in access to legal, affordable media goods. DVDs, CDs, and software in Brazil, Russia, Mexico, or South Africa, for example, are still priced at US and European levels, resulting in tiny legal markets accessible to only fractions of the population. Would you pay $136 for a Tron Legacy DVD (the relative price in Mexico, adjusted for local incomes)? How about a $7300 copy of Adobe's Creative Suite? I didn't think so.
Karaganis explains why these firms may have incentive to do this, but notes that this completely goes against the official policy positions of those pushing for laws like PROTECT IP. What becomes clear is that PROTECT IP isn't at all about protecting content. It's about protecting and propping up the legacy business models of a few companies who don't want to adapt.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Alfredo, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 7:50am

    Price vs. availability

    It`s not only price, the other problem is finding the damn DVD even if you were willing to pay for it! While in the US you can get a stream for 5$ or so and/or can wait for ti to play for "free" on TV, in the rest of the world you are waiting forever for films, movies, music, etc. Imagine you are a real fan of Tron (is there such an animal?), willing to pay the equivalent of 200$ to see the movie the day it came out, or a month laterm or the day the DVD came out in the US, or the day it hit the instant stream services... But you couldn`t, unless you learn to use torrents and pirate the damn thing for almost nothing. The same urge that would make you pay stupid sums for it, will make you do things even if you think of them as illegal or immoral...

     

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  2.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 7:51am

    The Rich should pay $10,000 to eat an ordinary meal at McDonald's.

    And yes, I'm serious. Major problem in the world today is inequality of income, and since handing out money to the poor doesn't address that, does not limit the excesses of The Rich or their grabs for power, then it's obvious that taking away "spending authority" (it's not even "money" to them as most Rich give nothing to society in exchange for their privileges) is the solution. -- That's what historical revolutions which have given you your freedoms today has done. The Rich pay no attention to anything that doesn't materially reduce their excesses or shorten their lives.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 7:53am

    Finally sombody gets it

    "Would you pay $136 for a Tron Legacy DVD (the relative price in Mexico, adjusted for local incomes)? How about a $7300 copy of Adobe's Creative Suite?"

    THIS is the main reason why global piracy is going to continue no matter what.
    People in rich countries have no idea how impossible it is to get legal alternatives in most of the developing world. They are either nonexistent, or are priced so far out of the availability of most poeple, they may as we be nonexistent.
    There are always only three option available to us:

    1. Pirate it.
    2. Pirate it.
    3. Pirate it.

    The ONLY excuse for the way things are in todays digital world is because the 'media' monopolies in the US are EXTREMELY greedy. This has now created a situation where it is IMPOSSIBLE for anything to change.
    And I get the feeling the corporations love it that way for some very dubious reasons that I can't explore right now.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 7:58am

    Re: The Rich should pay $10,000 to eat an ordinary meal at McDonald's.

    your textual diarrhea is getting so tiresome...

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 7:59am

    Re: Finally sombody gets it

    >And I get the feeling the corporations love it that way for
    >some very dubious reasons that I can't explore right now.

    They can use this as an excuse to get more laws passed to make their primary markets more profitable.

     

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  6.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:00am

    Re: The Rich should pay $10,000 to eat an ordinary meal at McDonald's.

    Building a successful business that provides a good or service that people want and adds to the overall strength of the economy doesn't add anything to society?

    Are there greedy people who hoard money and wealth? Yes. But there are also a lot of greedy people who do not have money or wealth that do nothing but take from society.

     

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  7.  
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    John Doe, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:10am

    Re: The Rich should pay $10,000 to eat an ordinary meal at McDonald's.

    That comment sure is out_of_the_blue. It is also completely wrong. First off, why punish the rich for what the poor do? By your own admission, handing the poor bags full of money would not solve their problems.

    Also, how can you say the rich give noting to society? Maybe the ones that inherit fortunes from their parents, but even many of them do something worthwhile with it. Many other rich are doctors and business owners. In fact, I would say the largest percentage of the rich are either in the medical field or business owners.

    Oops, I guess I fed the trolls.

     

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  8.  
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    John Doe, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:13am

    The release windows are the other cause of piracy

    Using the release windows, especially when delaying other markets, is another large cause of piracy. Why delay the European release? People in Europe don't want to get on message boards, forums, etc and see people talking about a new movie or show and not be able to join in the discussion. They also don't want the plot spoiled so the alternative is to pirate it so they can be in on the conversation while the topic is hot.

     

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  9.  
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    Hulser (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:14am

    The cause is not in dispute

    Karaganis explains why these firms may have incentive to do this, but notes that this completely goes against the official policy positions of those pushing for laws like PROTECT IP.

    Maybe this is supported in the full report, but I don't see this statement being supported by the quote here or the HP article. What Karganis said is that the cause of piracy -- uniform pricing of digital media regardless of local currency exchange rates -- is not acknowledged by the proponants of PIP, not that it "completely goes against" their positions. I think they know full well what the causes are. That's not in dispute. It's how to address piracy that is in dispute.

    Now, you could make an argument that you can't solve a problem without understanding its root cause, but I don't see any evidence that PIP supporters don't understand the cause. They know that they're charging $136 for a crappy movie in Mexico. It's just that they see changing their current model as being too risky for them personally.

     

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  10.  
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    arcan, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:17am

    Re: The Rich should pay $10,000 to eat an ordinary meal at McDonald's.

    just imagine if everything was income adjusted. at least to a degree. otherwise if you made 0 money you could get everything for free

     

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  11.  
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    Mike42 (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:18am

    DVD region codes

    This is the real reason why they have region codes. The industry recognizes that the incomes are far apart in different areas of the world, and would like to adjust them accordingly. However, if people in Mexico can buy a truckload and sell them in the US at a 300% profit, they will. They still try to a certain degree, which is why there are region codes on 45-year-old movies.

    Having said that, it should be obvious to everyone that the studios will make money even if they sell the shiney disks for $.75 US. They are really just doing everything they can to "maximize profits", and until the people of the world decide that businesses have responsibilities beyond profits, we can expect more of the same.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:27am

    Re: DVD region codes

    And because of the greed on their part to "maximize profits" in the present, they have essentially committed future-suicide. They've lost the game and they know it.
    There is no going back in time now, even with a DeLorean

    The only thing they are doing now is trying to create as much damage as they can.
    Probably out sheer spite and malice

     

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  13.  
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    iamtheky (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:30am

    Would you pay $136 for a Tron Legacy DVD (the relative price in Mexico, adjusted for local incomes)? How about a $7300 copy of Adobe's Creative Suite?

    I suppose if I had already purchased the $1300 dvd player, or the $8000 computer. If they are pirating, they must have had all this mad cash laying around to by the physical hardware, in order to pirate and or consume the media in the first place, right?

    Countries that determine their poor by food availability not assets, are not proper examples. Remember they still have to foot the over $1000 electricity bill and $500 dollar internet bill.

    taking our number x 3 is fun!

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:40am

    Re:

    I was waiting for someone to post this.

    GUESS WHAT NUMBNUTS; the producers of physical merchandise are not as insane and greedy as the ones who sell fictional merchandise.

    NO, the average computer don't cost 1000, it costs THE SAME AMOUNT AS THE TRON DVD around 200$. Internet connections are so cheap, companies are begging you to sigh up with them thanks to huge competition. DVD players cost from 10$ to 100$ for the most expensive home entertainment centers. Cell phones are FREE!
    Thanks to China, technology is now affordable to EVERYONE. Unlike your shitty movies you shills seem to believe are the cat's meow.

     

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  15.  
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    aj00200 (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:47am

    Re: stupid comment

    Other items are at a reasonable price in other countries. Manufacturers have realized that people in other countries often have lower incomes so they charge less for them.
    This is not the case for DVDs where they would cost $136 if the price is adjusted for income.

    Get it now?

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:08am

    Re:

    "$1300 dvd player"

    Wha?

    "$8000 computer"

    Huh?

    "$1000 electricity bill"

    Wtf?

    "$500 dollar internet bill"

    Seriously, you either are a mad spender or you seriously need to find somewhere else to buy your stuff man. You are being ripped off.

     

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  17.  
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    Jay (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:08am

    Re: Re: Finally sombody gets it

    "They can use this as an excuse to get more laws passed to make their primary markets more profitable."

    It's a false positive. You legislate which costs a lot of money, greatly increasing the price of your product, which invites other companies to compete at lower price points.

    See also Bittorrent to Netflix streaming vs MPAA lobbying.

     

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  18.  
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    Jay (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:16am

    Re: Re:

    Small thing, no one ever looks at competitive pricing points. The numbers in the article are accurate in places like India or Brazil, where wages aren't as large as American wages.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:25am

    What is stupid here is that there is no reason to sell the stuff for less. We cannot price goods based on the ability for the lowest wage market to pay for it, because that would just lead to rampant piracy bringing the goods to other markets.

    The other thing I think you would be seeing is subsidized prices. Basically, sell it at full market price in the US, so you can afford to sell the same product at a loss in another country, just to keep market share. It's not a sustainable model, especially when the people in the high price markets find out they are overpaying dramatically for the products.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:30am

    As large as American wages is a fallacy. Stuck your head out to look at a world a lack of jobs? Today's real world, minimum wage with less than 40 hours a week is the norm.

    Pricing points based on American wages hasn't caught up the times.

    Now that Adobe's insane price has been mentioned, it's not the only high priced software they put out. All of it is eat up with spyware. Even the reader for pdfs. No, they don't update their software that often...you are seeing phone home in action. I long ago changed to other software, such as GIMP and Foxit.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re:

    He buys everything mac ;)

     

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  22.  
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    Any Mouse (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Don't seem to be accurate. Perhaps you could, I dunno, support that?

     

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  23.  
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    DS, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:38am

    Re: The Rich should pay $10,000 to eat an ordinary meal at McDonald's.

    "The Rich should pay $10,000 to eat an ordinary meal at McDonald's."

    Should they?

    "And yes, I'm serious."

    Are you?

    "Major problem in the world today is inequality of income,"

    Is it?

    "and since handing out money to the poor doesn't address that, does not limit the excesses of The Rich or their grabs for power,"

    Doesn't it?

    "then it's obvious that taking away "spending authority" (it's not even "money" to them as most Rich give nothing to society in exchange for their privileges) is the solution. "

    Is it?

    "That's what historical revolutions which have given you your freedoms today has done."

    Have they?

    "The Rich pay no attention to anything that doesn't materially reduce their excesses or shorten their lives."

    Don't they?

     

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  24.  
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    iamtheky (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re:

    NO, the average computer don't cost 1000, it costs THE SAME AMOUNT AS THE TRON DVD around 200$.


    ...because that makes far more logical sense

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 10:00am

    $136 for a Tron Legacy DVD
    $7300 for Adobe's Creative Suite?

    Is this how the BSA gets their Billions of lost revenue value?

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 10:13am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes mr.shill dipshit, it is

    THATS THE ACTUAL PRICE

    Blueray of Avatar directors cut here:
    185$ -not adjusted for inflation or market, ITS REAL FUCKING PRICE.
    Brand New HP computer - 250$
    YES, THE ACTUAL FUCKING PRICE.

    Next time you try posting propaganda, why don't you try giving your fortune away and living where we the 'peasants' live instead of your fictional little Richie Rich world

     

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  27.  
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    iamtheky (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    you know amazon ships to mexico for @ 4.99

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=596202&#country

    so maybe if the conversation remained about percentage of income, and not about whose caps lock works better.....

     

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  28.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 10:44am

    Re:

    How did you guess?

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The sad thing is computer parts dollar for dollar cost more in India even WITHOUT adjusting for our incomes. For instance, that shining new graphics card which costs $600 in the US of A on NewEgg or Amazon costs around $900 equivalent. And $900 is way more than even an entry level computer engineer makes per month; he makes around $550 to $600.

    See where the problem arises?

     

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  30.  
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    txpatriot, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 10:50am

    Pricing is no justification for piracy

    So if I can't afford a particular car, or they don't sell it where I live, I can just go out and steal one?

    Maybe piracy does not involve physical theft of a tangible good, but it certainly involves taking something that isn't yours and for which you have no inherent right.

    Why is the the illegal taking in the second example constantly rationalized by techdirt readers, who (I hope) would never justify the illegal taking in the first example?

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 11:08am

    Re:

    No, that is adjusted for income money. The truth is the price is the same as every else. This is just an attempt to inflame people with misleading "facts".

    The only fact that counts is that these people don't earn enough money. It isn't about the price of the goods.

     

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  32.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 11:09am

    The value of money.

    No. The problem is that $5 is a lot more money in Mexico. As a function of income or spending power, it's more money. You can import it via Amazon with free shipping and you would still have the same problem and the same economic disparity.

     

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  33.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 11:12am

    Re: Pricing is no justification for piracy

    > So if I can't afford a particular car, or they don't sell
    > it where I live, I can just go out and steal one?

    No. But if you had a suitable 3D printer, there is no good reason that you shouldn't be able to print one of your own.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Pricing is no justification for piracy

    Just make sure it's a Model-T because they should be in the public domain by now, right?

     

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  35.  
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    Jay (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 11:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    PDF Media Piracy

    Page 57 - Coldplay and Dark Knight. Prices for the US are horribly out of whack with those of the lower waged Brazil, India, or Mexico.

    Page 63 - Microsoft 2007 prices. Same issue of US prices being horribly out of date with price expectations of other countries.

     

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  36.  
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    kathrine134, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 11:59am

    piracy is not a good thing , as it harm many things but on the other hands it creates ease for many people

     

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  37.  
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    txpatriot, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 12:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Pricing is no justification for piracy

    Sure knock yourselves out . . .

     

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  38.  
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    Lemonade, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Pricing is no justification for piracy

    Information is infinitely divisible and reproducible at no loss of value; physical goods are not.

     

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  39.  
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    Prashanth (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:06pm

    Part 1 of rebuttal to Rick Carnes

    So there's a commenter on that post named Rick Carnes who is supposedly a Huffington Post blogger, and he has put out some of the most misinformed tripe I've seen in a comments section on this sort of article; it's on the same level as some of the Anonymous Coward posts here. I've put together a line-by-line rebuttal which I hope to post (but may feel too lazy in the end, I don't know) there, and I'd like to post it here too.

    "Get the facts... the loss from piracy is in the billions each year. "
    [citation needed - that too, a citation from a REAL, independent study, not from an RIAA/MPAA-funded study]

    "This is absolutely wrong... Read the bill, not propaganda." [in reference to the PROTECT IP Act]
    THAT is absolutely wrong. Read the bill, not RIAA/MPAA-funded propaganda (which sadly resulted in the creation of that bill, in a way).

    "In order to have a sustainabl­e content creation eco-system you can't lower the price of the product below the price of creating the product. Beyond that, what are the ethics involved in allowing thieves to set the value of content? As a profession­al songwriter who has the price of the sale of my work set by the US Government via the Compulsory Mechanical license, and as a citizen who pays taxes on the earnings from my work, I expect the Government to protect my property by law and by enforcemen­t. The "Simple Economics of Piracy" are this: Without property rights the fair value of goods cannot be establishe­d in the market place. So don't lecture creators about pricing until Intellectu­al property rights are enforced.Your argument is moot. "
    It is true that in a market economy, you can't lower the price of the product below the price of creating the product. The problem is, the price of creating the product is actually the marginal cost of creating an extra copy of the product, not the fixed cost of producing the initial product. The marginal cost is essentially 0, so the price should be 0. It's up to you to figure out how to make money from related items in a market economy; if you say that you depend on an artificially inflated price set by the government to make money, frankly, you don't belong in a market economy. Also, you're putting two totally unrelated things together in the hopes that people will believe you: property protections and fair value for a product. As evidenced by the other sane comments, this won't work.

    (This was part 1. Part 2 is coming right up.)

     

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  40.  
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    Prashanth (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:07pm

    Part 2 of rebuttal to Rick Carnes

    "OK.. 1. Songwriter­s are NOT getting rich on one song. We can have a song on a platinum album and still not make it above the US poverty line for the year. 2. Songwriter­s do not tour or play live. We write the songs for the artists who tour and play live... No one ever told you that the artists don't really write their own songs. 3. No one wants to pay for ANYTHING..­. but the law requires it. Just because you can steal it doesn't make you smart. It makes you a thief. 4. The idea of charging people more than it costs to produce a product is called making a profit. Profit is a good thing. It incentiviz­es people to continue producing the product. That is why the Art. I sec. 8 of the Constituti­on establishe­d royalties for creators. 5. Do I think a song is worth a dollar? Well, if you fell in love to it... If they sang it at your wedding... if you cried over it when you divorced..­. I think it added way more than one buck's worth of value to your life... WAY more than that 4 dollar cup of coffee you had at Starbucks today. 6. I don't work for Sony/BMG I am a self-emplo­yed small businessma­n. No health benefits. No pension.. No retirement fund. My songs are supposed to be my retirement­. But thieves stole them."
    1. Then you need to find a second job or something to actually support your lifestyle and passions. If you think you can get by through simply writing songs (and yet you complain about living below the poverty line just through songwriting), you're sorely misguided. 2. The previous point still stands. 3. No, people DO want to pay for stuff. They just don't want to pay nearly as much as you're asking, and they want it to be more readily accessible as opposed to being totally locked up. And no, the law doesn't actually require payment for everything. I use Google every day, yet I don't pay a cent (directly) to Google. 4. That's an economic profit. As suppliers make economic profits, more suppliers (i.e. singers, songwriters) will come into the market and undercut your higher prices. If you want to compete, you'll have to bring your prices down to that level too. In the long run in a free market, there are no economic profits; there is only a normal profit, in which the price exactly equals the marginal cost. Yet businesses continue to operate. Maybe you're just being whiny. Oh, and Article I Section 8 secures for limited times the exclusive right of production to reach the end goal of promoting the progress. It says NOTHING about revenue, royalties, et cetera. 5. I agree that I'd be willing to pay more for a song that meant more to me in my life. But you can't force such willingness from everyone; that's not how the market works. If they don't like your songs' prices, they'll find a cheaper product that's a reasonable substitute, until you bring down your prices likewise. 6. No, your songs aren't supposed to be your retirement. You certainly have the right to try to make money from your business. But you don't have the right to make money from your business automatically; that's not how a capitalistic free market works. If you find songwriting isn't bringing home enough bacon, once again, find another income source instead of crying rivers online, where few people are likely to be sympathetic to a failed business model.

    (This was part 2. Part 3 is coming right up.)

     

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    Prashanth (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:08pm

    Part 3 of rebuttal to Rick Carnes

    "Marginal cost of reproducti­on applies to commodity goods not to music. Songs are not interchang­eable units where a fan will be equally happy to download a Beatles song or Justin Beiber. Not to mention that even when the marginal cost of distributi­on approaches zero there are still high fixed costs to producing and promoting music. When a creator offers a work at a price that will cover fixed costs and produce a profit and the consumer finds that price appealing and purchases a market is then formed. The 'option' you talk about others exercising is theft. That 'option' is available in any sort of goods... cars, purses, watches... Anyone can become a thief. No business can set its prices at a level that competes with theft. Nor should they be forced to. Is that what you are advocating­? Once again, your "Resistanc­e is futile' argument doesn't fly... the current internet is simply the result of code.... Change the code and change the results. Not to mention the nearly total lack of response from law enforcemen­t to date... but that is changing.Analogies with the drug war and an enormous stretch...You are totally incorrect about the origin of the compulsory license, It had nothing to do with radio.Take some time. Do some research. Learn about the music business works and how what rights create what revenue."
    Nope. Marginal cost issues apply to music too. Why shouldn't they? Oh, because it's 0? Too bad. You need to be smart enough to figure out how to tie your music with an alternative business model that's more likely to win you revenue, and better yet, fans, or else you're not cut out for this business. No, the Beatles and Justin Bieber are not totally interchangeable (except in a few people's minds, I guess), but neither are apples and funnel cakes. What's your point? Oh right, you have none. And the price should never be covering the fixed costs - only the marginal costs. Now, if you're in an emerging market, then you're more likely to be able to make an economic profit, but if you're in an established market like the music industry, you're going to have to bring your prices down to meet the rest of the market. And if that means you're operating at a loss, you're going to have to either figure out a better business model to bring in new revenues from actual scarce goods, or you're going to have to live with that loss. This is true of any industry (though those industries have the benefit of being able to figure out more efficient and less costly production methods and stuff like that, which can't be applied to an already infinite, nonscarce good like digital music files). And what code? That makes no sense at all. Change the code, and you piss people off, and you're going to be worse off. And law enforcement has been overzealous in responding, if anything, what with the totally baseless ICE domain name seizures at the behest of the RIAA/MPAA (and almost all of those sites were totally legal to begin with, and some of them were even official music sites sponsored by the RIAA). Oh, and the compulsory license thing did come from radio. Read "Selling Radio" by Susan Smulyan (among other things). So why don't you do your research - oh right, all the facts will come out against your totally shill-full argument.
    Ah, that felt good. I can sleep a little easier tonight.

     

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  42.  
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    Prashanth (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:11pm

    OK I Lied

    Turns out that to sign into the Huffington Post comments, I would need to let it access my address book and stuff, and frankly, I'm not comfortable with that. So if anyone on this site already uses some account with the Huffington Post, I would greatly appreciate it if you could repost those rebuttals in the comments section of that article.
    Anyway, I would love it if people (other than anonymous industry shills) could point out flaws in my argument so that I can further strengthen it. :)

     

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  43.  
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    Any Mouse (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's media, not hardware. I was referring to the comments rather than the article, so that's my bad.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Nicedoggy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 5:02pm

    Re: Re: The Rich should pay $10,000 to eat an ordinary meal at McDonald's.

    Quote:
    "Major problem in the world today is inequality of income,"

    Is it?


    Yes it is, the 1% of the population holds 80% of the gains and pays less than 40% in taxes.

    With people's income dwindling their is less taxes, less money for entitlement programs and so less standard of living for everyone.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Nicedoggy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 5:06pm

    Re: Pricing is no justification for piracy

    If you can't afford a car but can build one, why should anybody stop you from doing so, except for safety reasons?

    Those other people have no right to stop others from building their own solutions.

    More I'm all for piracy in developing countries it helps develop business and create income and it also serves as a growth inhibitor that helps companies stay mean and lean and if they die they don't drag down the entire economy, somebody else just pops up and restarts the market with a different concept.

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Nicedoggy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 5:11pm

    Geolocation restrictions, high price, windowing schemes are the scourge of the earth.

    In the digital times those things are anachronistic relics from a past that is not coming back.

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:21pm

    Re: Pricing is no justification for piracy

    The difference is obvious if you'd bother to think for yourself.

    If I steal a car I can't afford then the owner no longer has it and therefore suffers harm.

    If I pirate music/software I can't afford then the copyright holder isn't harmed, because regardless of whether I follow the law the artist will neither gain nor lose anything.

    So I'd like to ask how can you think "piracy" is immoral even in a situation where the artist/programmer suffers no negative impact whatsoever?

     

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  48.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 10:48pm

    Re: DVD region codes

    Who is to say that globalization shouldn't benefit consumers for a change?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 10:52pm

    Re: OK I Lied

    I would greatly appreciate it if you could repost those
    rebuttals in the comments section of that article.


    Tl;dr.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
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    Chargone (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 11:45pm

    Re: The Rich should pay $10,000 to eat an ordinary meal at McDonald's.

    i'm going to agree with your described problem but also conclude that your proposed solution is silly.

    simply putting an end to the incredibly stupid policies in place in large parts of the world that favour the massively rich over the poor in the first place would help a lot more. and actually be viable

     

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  51.  
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    Chargone (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 11:52pm

    Re:

    ...
    ...
    ...

    *wanders off to find a parrot*

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Difster, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 2:21am

    Living In Mexico

    I'm an American living in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico. There is a lot of stuff here that is much cheaper than the US. Food and housing in particular come to mind. But there are things that are generally more expensive than the US. Electronics comes to mind.

    If you were to judge Mexico's poverty levels by the people that have laptops, smart phones, cable and satellite tv, broadband and big screen LCD TV's, you'd hardly think Mexico had a poverty problem at all.

    Most everyone here uses pre-paid cell phones. If I call a cell from my land-line, I get charged for it (caller pays).

    All that is to make the point that you cannot make fair comparison to goods using income levels in country X vs. United states incomes. The fact of the matter is, there's a lot of price shifting that has taken place and Mexicans have found ways of obtaining luxury items. Just about every teenager has a cell phone. I've been in some awful houses that look like they're falling down but they'll proudly display their 42" Samsung LCD television. It's amazing.

    I can buy a DVD of a movie that's still in the theaters on the street for less than $2USD ($20MXN). People still go to the movies though; go figure. Walmart and other grocery stores sell legitimate copies of movies and someone must be buying them because they keep rotating stock. People still rent DVD's even though they can buy pirated copies.

    Oh, and I would like to add that going to a movie here is about half the price of a US movie and you wouldn't know you were in Mexico by walking in to the theater (except for the Spanish stuff of course). But they have stadium seating, good sound systems etc. But the prices are lower (except for pop corn).

    Sorry if I'm rambling a bit here but I'm trying to give the full perspective. People here are perfectly capable of purchasing movies and DVD for comparable US prices and they frequently do. Just as frequently though, they'll buy a cheap knock off if it's something they're only mildly interested in.

     

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  53.  
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    Dave (profile), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 3:12am

    Greedy Corporations

    I'm sorry to take a radical position, BUT, the only way to stop this nonsense is to stop the companies to begin with. The only real way to do that is to stop buying plastic music/films entirely. That will eventually shut down the companies and end the crap that's going on. Do I think it will ever happen? Not no, but Hell no. Sure would be nice, however. We don't really need them anyway, so why put up with them?

     

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  54.  
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    Prashanth (profile), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re: OK I Lied

    TLDR: ("you" does not mean you, techflaws.org; it means Rick Carnes)
    1. P = MC = 0, even for music. Also, in long-run equilibrium in a market economy, there are no economic profits only normal profits.
    2. Stop whining about songwriting creating your retirement fund. It won't, and it's time you stopped living in such a fantasy.
    3. Stop calling your customers "thieves". It'll only serve to further piss them off and turn them away from you.
    4. As a businessperson, it's your job to figure out how to make money from the music business when the marginal cost of producing a copy of a song is 0. If you can't, leave the music business/industry.

    How's that? Then again, how hard is it to just copy/paste what I wrote into the comment box on that article?

     

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  55.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re:

    You say tomato...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 11:23am

    IP in developing countries

    Excellent article! You have vindicated yourself.
    I have long been sympathetic to this issue; feeling that people who can afford to pay should, but the poor (especially in other countries, where there is limited access to second-hand goods) are justified in finding a way around abusive, discriminatory rules and regulations.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Pricing is no justification for piracy

    So it's not theft in that case?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
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    Karl (profile), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 7:08pm

    Re: Pricing is no justification for piracy

    Maybe piracy does not involve physical theft of a tangible good, but it certainly involves taking something that isn't yours and for which you have no inherent right.

    False on both counts.

    First of all, it's not "taking," it's making a duplicate; nothing is lost. Not even the product of your labor, because you still have that product. I have merely created my own product from my own labor. If you build a house to live in, and I build my own house to live in, and my house looks exactly like yours, have I "stolen" your house?

    Second of all, whatever you have bought is your property. Property is an inherent right. Copyright is not; it is a statutory limitation on that right. Furthermore, since that "property" is in fact a form of expression, it is also a limitation on free expression.

    Those limitations may, or may not, be beneficial to you (the property holder, i.e. the consumer, and the "speaker," i.e. the copier), in the long run (in that it creates more property, and more expression, even if their use is limited).

    But if it's not, the laws should be altered until it is. Please don't kid yourself: you have no more right to copyright than you do to make a right turn at a red light.

    Why is the the illegal taking in the second example constantly rationalized by techdirt readers, who (I hope) would never justify the illegal taking in the first example?

    Probably because they're completely different situations. Say I can't afford a car, or they don't sell it where I live. So, I can't buy one. Then, someone comes along selling a duplicate of that car, which they have manufactured using their own parts and labor, but are selling at a price I can afford. What, exactly, do you think is going to happen?

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 8:48pm

    Re: Re: Pricing is no justification for piracy

    Actually, English does have the concept of stealing the intangible, but this is far from a universal concept. Of the 5 language families I surveyed, only one other than Indo-European (the family English belongs to) has the concept of stealing the intangible. The rest use negative words such as "misuse" or neutral terms such as "take" (in the sense of intentionally acquire); although in some of those cases slang words around that concept have developed very recently (e.g. in the last decade or two).

    I had a rather surprising experience when I brought up the linguistic metaphor of theft (using copyright as the illustration) in conversation with ethnologists. It was... interesting. I didn't expect that level of hostility to the concept of intellectual property (or to the term itself).

     

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  60.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Jul 3rd, 2011 @ 4:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: OK I Lied

    Here's all you need to know about Rick Carnes:

    http://www.techdirt.com/blog.php?tag=rick+carnes&edition=techdirt

    There's plenty of debunking in these pieces, but despite that, Carnes continues to operate his keyboarded noise-hole every chance he gets.

    One choice analogy of his is that 90-second iTunes previews should be paid for because it's like "giving away ice cream." No, Rick. Giving away a limited good, like a tshirt, is like giving away ice cream. Giving away 90-seconds of data streaming is like giving away the air. There's more where that came from at the same low price.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    atroon, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re: Re: The Rich should pay $10,000 to eat an ordinary meal at McDonald's.

    Yes it is, the 1% of the population holds 80% of the gains and pays less than 40% in taxes. {citation needed}

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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