Is The Idea Of Embracing 'Piracy' Finally Going Mainstream?

from the about-frickin'-time dept

For many years, a small group of people has been trying to explain to the world of folks who freak out about “piracy” that there really are tons of opportunities in not trying to prevent it, but simply flipping it around, and using it to your own advantage as a part of your business model. The steps to doing so really aren’t that difficult, but since many people have a natural aversion to “piracy,” it’s sometimes difficult for people to see beyond the big fat “free” to the huge opportunity right behind it.

Might that finally be changing?

MIT’s Technology Review has an article about how a variety of companies are finally starting to push the idea that content providers should embrace piracy, and put together business models that take advantage of what piracy really can be: a free input into a larger business model, that provides free promotion and free distribution, while enabling a number of new (previously impossible) business models. Nothing in the article will be all that new to folks who’ve been around here for a while — but it’s somewhat encouraging to see the concept getting slightly more widespread acceptance.

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Comments on “Is The Idea Of Embracing 'Piracy' Finally Going Mainstream?”

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L.V. The Real & Original says:

Re: Yeah, right

hi there people! well i ve been writing lyrics and composing my own works for decades and man o man,its been a bitch of a ride right up too now!!!! piracy and pirates and song sharks well they should all be burnt and pissed upon for the rest of their lying days and of their cheatting sick and tired of,getting the short end of the straw when in fact i,started with the longer one???you think that these thieves,should get away and share other people works that they rip off in the first place and then,claim it their own,or share it with the rest of their buddies in the pirate forums? i think not and i won’t let these pirated rip me for what they think is theirs too do whatever they feel like.i worked hard for the work i have done in the past,the present,and my future and im not about,to let anyone screw me, for what is rightfully mine.end of conversation!!! i also agree with you my friend that fighting these liars and cheatters in the pirate world is essential too all of us (the creators of lyrics and music).so you’ve got my vote of confidence about what has been going on and what is happening in the present.too many of us are getting burnt and they the pirates are getting all the best by illegal manoeuvers!!! knock em dead i’ve always said…Lou from canada.

zcat (profile) says:

My personal opinion

In the past, bands have had to sign with labels to get any exposure at all. Bands like NiN and Radiohead are showing that you can still make record sales by treating private, noncommercial copying as ‘free advertising’ rather than ‘lost sales’ .. It’s only a matter of time before a few more bands catch onto this and then it’s game over for the Recording Industry.

I know Weird Harold will probably disagree with me about this, but Ghosts I-IV was *ALL* released under a CC license that allowed unlimited non-commercial copying. According to the RIAA nobody will pay for music if they can get it for free. According to Amazon, Ghosts I-IV was the top selling album for 2008 even though anyone who wanted it could easily and _legally_ download the whole series via any p2p network. If they RIAA’s assertion were correct nobody would have bought Ghosts, they’d all have gone to thepiratebay and downloaded it for free.

bowerbird (profile) says:

i’m continuing my quest to get you to forget about the dinosaurs,
and start focusing on giving some good advice to the mammals…

this post could be a pretty good start on that new focus, mike…

oh sure, you’re still using the dinosaur-laden term of “piracy”…

but you go on to say this:
> take advantage of what piracy really can be:
> a free input into a larger business model,
> that provides free promotion and free distribution,
> while enabling a number of new (previously impossible)
> business models.

free promotion and free distribution. excellent.

see how easy it can be to flip things over to the mammal view?

remind the new species how they can use the system to benefit:
if you offer stuff freely, your audience experiences zero friction
contemplating a pre-consumption “is this worth money to me?”

and if — post-consumption — they decide it _is_ worth money,
they can still find some way to slip some money into your pocket,
to show their appreciation for your gift by reciprocating some cash.

they can also do _promotion_ for you by talking you up to friends,
and even “paying it forward” by distributing your work _for_ you…

when artists come to realize all the ways they can benefit from this,
and fans come to realize they are an essential part of the equation,
both sides of the relationship will benefit by strengthening the bond.
and society itself will be healthier as a result of this gift-exchange…

concentrate on _this_, mike, not on the dinosaurs. they’re doomed.
there’s no sense wasting your time and energy on them any more…


femtobeam (profile) says:

Paradigm Shift

I observe an odd animosity to “Weird Harold” for his opinion, which I find very insightful. The original article is about MIT, which is notorious for obtaining and using other researchers’ information without credits and then developing it in-house and spinning it off into their own spinoff companies, claiming they obtained it through so-called open sources. They started by taking Paul Allens’ dish and cutting his abilities for SETI research time literally in half. If you think that other peoples work should be available for a big business model, then you don’t believe in small business which is the life and blood of the entire nation. These large companies take everything overseas, where they get cheap labor and tax write offs. They take from one scientist and put it in a lab and spin it off into a big company and create an industry with jobs for others, albeit underpaid ones, overseas. It is destroying our economy which allows us the money we must have to live. This same Paradigm Shift in society was detailed in an excellent book entitled, “The Ascent of Man” by J. Brownowski. It was about how societal advancements can be overtaken by technological ones.

pete says:

Didn’t anyone learn the ad-supported “free” business models are scams?

Doesn’t anyone remember the dot com bust? The only survivor of the slaughter is NetZero, and they now are 10 hours a month of “free”.

Using piracy to save bandwidth costs? heh, who will pay for the license when they find the serial/crack in the torrent, and who will want to download a torrent without the serial/crack inside?

Value added services added onto “free” base products works very rarely when you have customers (Fortune 500s) that MUST HAVE the value-added services, for example B2B Tech Support and SLAs for FOSS (Redhat business model). 99% of consumers have no needed for value-added services along with entertainment media. Tech support doesn’t exist for entertainment media, autographs already have a market, custom mixes quickly wind up on P2P, artists aren’t going to get personal with fans since they risk being ripped apart limb to limb by obsessive fans, concerts already exist on their own, renting an artist for private live performance already exists. Name a real business model for “free” entertainment media.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:


Quick, everybody help tell the government this before they screw us over further with worse copyright laws.

Sometimes I feel like I am the only one sending emails (or form fill outs on their stupid pages) to our US government representatives (senators, legislators, the president’s office) saying how stupid copyright is and how much it hurts the public.
We want our culture back.
The internet and technology advances.
Adapt or die bitches.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

This one makes me laugh. It’s an article in the same category as the crap you see on the front pages of certain magazines “Protecting your Store in a Riot”

“There are ways to protect your store in a riot. If you see looting going on, don’t call police or try to stop it, it will only bring you the crowd’s ire. Instead, unlock the door to your shop, how the door open, and let them have at it. They will empty out your entire inventory and trash the inside of your store, but at least they won’t break the windows!”

Sage advice from people who don’t own stores.

Just Another Moron in a Hurry says:

Re: Re:

I actually kind of like this analogy.

In the situation given, you know that the rioters are going to get in and steal everything. You know the police won’t get there in time to stop it. And you know that a locked door will only lead to them breaking the windows. So open the door and save your windows.

And when the rioters leave, nothing has been stolen (remember…copies are made. originals are not taken), and your windows aren’t broken. And best of all, some of those rioters are going to say “hey, I liked that shop. I’m going to come back tomorrow and buy something legitimately.”


Just Another Moron in a Hurry says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I don’t see how they made it worthless. There is obviously a desire for the product, or else they wouldn’t have stolen anything to begin with. And if they keep coming back for more? Then that means you obviously have a desirable product that consumers want.

But if you aren’t capitalizing on that desire, then you have a problem with your business model.

cram says:

“I don’t see how they made it worthless. There is obviously a desire for the product, or else they wouldn’t have stolen anything to begin with.”

If there is a desire for a product, people must pay for it, not steal it. That’s why we have laws in place – except of course, on the Internet.

“And if they keep coming back for more? Then that means you obviously have a desirable product that consumers want.”

Of course consumers will keep coming back for more, especially if they don’t have to pay for their desired product.

“But if you aren’t capitalizing on that desire, then you have a problem with your business model.”

But of course. It’s always a problem with the business model, isn’t it?

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