"I am serving my country, I should not have to go home and cry after a day of honorably serving my country."
You have got to be kidding me - these whip-kissing retards try the 'Duty to Country" schlock?
I sincerely hope that they ALL get cancer from Chertoff's pornotron scanners; anybody who participates in this security-theatre (designed to impress COMPLIANCE upon the State's livestock) is a subhuman.
AJ - the point is, if a machine existed that could copy a loaf of bread (at no cost to the baker OR the person doing the copier), then the 'correct' price for that loaf of bread is ZERO.
The cost of production of one additional unit of any DVD/CD/MP3/AVI... ANY digital content - is zero.
In a competitive market, prices equal marginal costs. Not average costs, MARGINAL costs.
That is one of the things that most people don't understand about economics - the supply curve is that portion of the marginal cost curve which is above average cost.
If there is no portion of the marginal cost curve that is above average cost, then the optimum level of supply is zero, and anybody providing output is guaranteed to make a loss... unless they can co-opt the State and its armed goons to extort protection money from consumers.
There is ONE caveat to this - and that is if producers give consumers the CHOICE to 'yield' some of their consumer surplus: that is, if individual consumers have the possibility of paying a greater-than-market price for a good, voluntarily.
Every consumer who buys a thing, values the thing higher than the price they pay... maybe a little higher, maybe a lot higher, but they always think that they GAIN from the transaction. In the jargon, they obtain 'consumer surplus'; it is not the same for each person, and is not the same for each unit purchased by any one person.
Those who value the thing a LOT higher than the price they pay, can often be encouraged to DONATE a portion of their 'consumer surplus' - that is what Nine Inch Nails understood.
If bread was able to be photocopied, nobody would starve - but nobody would want to be a baker unless they could encourage SOME people to pay more than the bread was WORTH.
Either that, or 'innovation' in bread would cease immediately: there would be no incentive to produce new and interesting types of bread. Bread would still exist though.
Likewise with 'art': first of all, 'artists' always claim that they are driven by some Muse to do what they do... if their own lines of crap are to be believed, they're 'not in it for the money'.
Well, cool. Be "not in it for the money" and I guarantee that you will get 'not money'.
Once they have gone to the trouble of writing whatever half-assed pseudo-poetic pap they churn out, the cost of production of every subsequent digital copy of the master is ZERO. Everything above that is either voluntary ceding of consumer surplus, or extortion backed by government goons.
Pop artists are not philosophers or intellectuals: they are grifters who try and parlay a set of not-remotely-rare skills (playing an instrument and writing schlock poetry) into a career.
From Presley to KISS to Justin Timberlake; from Little Richard to Prince to LL Cool J; they have produced a 'social contribution' of exactly ZERO. There are no externalities to be remedied (even for music that I like).
Even if there was some sort of significant social 'good' produced, nobody has the right to force consumers to pay more than marginal cost for a good. No extortion is ever right.
The point is, artists are NOT the ones who profit from copyright - LABELS profit.
The internet is a terrific tool for undermining the parasitic shitbags who interpose themselves between creators of content and viewers of content.
Every industry, every political system has a layer of bullshit artists - parasites whose job is to raise prices in order that they can pocket the difference between the cost of production and the (rigged) final price.
There are any number of examples of musicians who create content, provide it at whatever price the viewer is willing to pay (including "zero"), and make more than enough to cover their expenses (Nine Inch Nails are the most-cited example).
The marginal cost of a digital copy of a CD or DVD is ZERO, or as near to zero as makes no odds. Under a competitive system, prices equal marginal costs.
If artists can find people who are prepared to pay more than marginal cost, then that is perfectly alright - effectively, some consumers are prepared to voluntarily donate some of their 'consumer surplus' to the artists as a gesture of goodwill.
That is fine (noble, even) and I have done that myself from time to time. But I understood what I was doing: paying more than marginal cost, and giving up (part of) my subjective evaluation of how much it was worth TO ME.
To insist that everyone pays more than marginal cost undermines the fabric of a genuinely competitive economic system. It is the behaviour of monopolists, and monopoly is always and everywhere subject to being 'undermined' by the market... which is why the first port of call for any monopolist (when they face market pressure) is to call in the state and its goon squads.