Rose M. Welch
points us to an interview with Cory Doctorow
, where he discusses his decision to give away all of his books as free downloads (which, as you hopefully know, has been quite successful for him). As Rose notes, one of his quotes aptly sums up the basic position we've taken here at Techdirt for years:
As a practical matter, we live in the 21st century and anything anybody wants to copy they will be able to copy. If you are building a business model that says that people can only copy things with your permission, your business is going to fail because whether or not you like it, people will be able to copy your product without your permission. The question is: what are you going to do about that? Are you going call them thieves or are you going to find a way to make money from them?
This is what's been so frustrating about this debate for so long. The focus, by many in certain industries (especially the music and movie industry), has relied so much on the "calling them thieves" part, rather than figuring out better ways to make money. Sure, if there were a way to stop unauthorized copying, that would make lives easier for those companies. But that's a pipe dream. It's not possible. And while it may take more work, once they stop complaining about it, and start realizing that there are ways to leverage that copying as free or cheap creation, promotion and distribution, suddenly it becomes an opportunity, rather than a threat.