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.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), 8 Mar 2012 @ 4:52pm


    That so totally misses the point that I think you hit another country with that shot so I can't be bothered to pick it apart. One statement struck me as really really funny in a disconnected from reality kind of way:
    So what you're saying is that the content owners will never stop pirating. OK throw the pirates in jail, lets seem them steal content from behind bars without access to the internet.

    A great plan. That might even actually stop "piracy" (well probably not in Europe since the European Court of Human Rights largely considers removing internet access from a prisoner to be inhumane but there you go).

    Except for one small thing.... The US usually has about 1% of it's population in jail or around 3 MILLION people and the system is groaning at the seams. According to a quick search about 80% of the US population uses the internet and industry figures claim about 16% of US users are "pirates" of some kind.

    So in summary your wonderful plan is to lock up around FOUR MILLION people on top of the 3 million the system already can't cope with.

    Were you going to write a cheque for the difference? Or is your plan to let out all the violent offenders to make way for the clearly far more heinous "crime" of infringement and shoot the rest?

    If not, try re-reading the article and connecting it to reality.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.