by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
convenience, piracy

An Open Letter To Content Creators: One 'Pirate' Explains Why He Infringes & How To Get His Money

from the the-power-has-shifted dept

We launched our Step 2 discussion platform last fall, just before the whole SOPA/PIPA fight heated up. It was just the first part of a much bigger planned program to better engage the wider community around here, with more parts rolling out as we move forward. The timing was interesting, and while we had intended to feature more content from Step2 on Techdirt early on, the SOPA/PIPA debate took precedence. However, even without us constantly tending to Step2 -- or even mentioning it -- over at Techdirt, a group of you took to it and have built up some interesting discussions. I wanted to highlight a few of the discussions there you might have missed over the past few months, starting off with one of the most popular ones on the site: An Open Letter To Content Creators from user Bobbi Smith, explaining "why he pirates." It's a long open letter, but if you want to understand the mindset, it's an important read for content creators.

I'm sure some will -- quite incorrectly -- try to summarize the point as one of entitlement, but if you read the details, it's actually quite the opposite. It's the story of someone who's sick of the sense of entitlement from big entertainment providers -- those who want you to pay top prices for mediocre content -- and then expect you to come back for more. If there's one key theme running through the discussion it's that control has shifted. The big gatekeepers used to have full control of the market, but now there's been a massive market shift: to the consumers. Smith isn't arguing that he "just wants everything for free" or that he feels entitled to things for free. Actually, he makes it clear that he willingly pays for things all the time -- when the content makes him "happy," when the offering doesn't try to limit him and when the price is reasonable.

If you read the full thing, you'll realize that the article is not a defense of piracy. It's an argument for how content creators can do better -- something that we've been seeing more and more content creators figure out. Content creators who understand this letter will recognize that it's not about piracy so much as about how to satisfy a market and make money doing so.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2012 @ 9:27am

    listening to customers would be the best thing any of the content creators could possibly do but it will be the last thing any of them actually do. that's because they wont get off their high horse, wont accept that they dont know what's best for people and if they did, it would mean admitting that they have been wrong all along. punishing customers for finding a service that does what the customer wants a lot better than the industries do themselves is completely the wrong approach! the harm the industries have done/are still doing to themselves is phenomenal. calling customers 'pirates' that always want 'stuff for free' is not the way to win them back either, particularly when 90% are perfectly willing to pay but the content isn't available 'legally' when they want it.

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