Re: Hmmm... if real life is going to turn into a copy of Shadow Run...
If life turns into shadowrun, I'mma be a decker. Going to get me a fixer who I can sell info to, call a Mr. Johnson once a while for those tricky systems, swap apartments every two months, start cooking my own gear, and enjoy the adrenaline rush of evading and slipping past the ICE.
Imagine what the pure thrill of programming straight from your brain would feel like . . .
Re: "When even the death penalty doesn't deter infringement"
Eh, why isn't it moral to copy someone else's music/book/whatev?
Let's look at in a few ways: act utilitarianism, rule utilitarianism, kantianism, and social contract theory.
Act utilitarianism: I copy your song. You've lost nothing, I've gained a copy of your song. Plus for copying.
Rule utilitarianism: Same thing, but everyone does it. If everyone (who wanted to) copied your song, you would have lost nothing, everyone would have gained something, but there is the chance that you would not have created the song in the first place.
But, very few people live from their music, and there are many, many people who make music far beyond the number that make enough money to live off of it, and the free sharing of culture would lead to a lot of these people making more/better music after having been inspired by more sources.
So, questionable, but I give copying the win here.
Kantianism: If everyone copied music, would it still be possible to copy music? As the answer to the above, the grand majority of people do not make music for money, at least in the sense of selling plastic discs, and thus would not stop making music. So, in Kantianism, copying holds.
Social Contract theory:
Well, up until very recently, it was allowed, and expected, to be able to copy music, like, say, mix tapes, to give to your friends. That social contract was in place before the current confusion, and existed well before copyright.
So, it is moral to copy, because we all agreed to copy, well before some small group of people decided we couldn't. Since society still largely disagrees with them, well, we have copyright infringement, which is the evidence that social contract is still in place.
What about that, four arguments for the mortality of copying, and none of them, not even one, needs to touch on the economic gain that copying may give. (If I chose to, rule utilitarianism would also conclude, this time unambiguously, in favour of copying)
What's your argument for the immorality of copying?
Wow, even with my response right above you, you managed to say all that?
Here's how independent invention & influence can exist in the same world:
You see a commercial that has, say a kid pretending to darth vader be startled by his dad activating the lights with his remote.
I see the same commercial.
Then, for the sake of this argument, we're both thrown in solitary confinement at the same time both our studios have two different producers who want us to write a script each for two different movies, both of which involve a little kid playing make believe, only to be granted the powers he was pretending to have, but otherwise completely diverge.
Now, what is the likelihood, I wonder, that both of us will write almost the same scene about the kid discovering his powers? I'd rank it pretty highly; maybe 10%, 20%, maybe even 30-35% if the commercial was the last thing both of us watched before we were thrown in solitary.
Can you agree, at least, that we could possibly write the same scene?
Now, assuming we could, we were both influenced by that Mini Vader commercial, right? Were we influenced by each other at all? No, we were in solitary.
TL;DR: To have a world with both is not only perfectly consistent, but the only world in which we would see independent invention happen with any frequency.
There's a competitive advantage somewhere. I'm sure there are places where transportation is an issue, (ie: alcohols. Any beer lover will tell you that beer is liquid bread, and has a good tasting shelf life of about the same), and an advantage can be had for that, I'm sure that there is a competitive advantage for a tech company specializing in one nation, & it's languages, there are things you want from trusted sources, like medicine or encryption programs, there are resources that can be mined or produced more cheaply than any other country, or at least the US can provide them more cheaply to neighbouring countries, there are services & expertise that are always in demand no matter where you go and the US can raise those, and if you guys weren't so goddamn much against robots, the electricity for those per day is much less than the slave wages of a factory of chinese employees.
Point being, the only real thing tariffs & protectionist policies do is prevent the US from selling its goods outside the country, and makes goods more expensive for the people in the US.
Whether you think we should help poorer countries or not regulate the free market, tariffs happen to go against both . . .
"And those heavy infringers would be just fine paying for what they consume."
Evidence shows two things:
1) They do not consume nearly so much of a product that they cannot 'pirate' (easily). This is very clearly seen in the sales of manga & anime related merch to over here for a particular series as soon as there is any fan translation. . . said merch including DVD's & manga.
2) They would not consume nearly so much, and pay for even less, if they could not 'pirate'.
For a lot of them, as well, cutting off their infringement, if it could so magically be done, wouldn't make them pay more . . . they already spend as much as they are able to.
There is an argument that youtube's primary design allows it to be used for piracy, by people posting copyrighted content, like episodes of My Little Pony & covers of other peoples songs as sung by a then-undiscovered Bieber.
With all the evidence behind, say, the majority of heavy infringers also being the heaviest consumers, the increase in revenue as you drop prices or go to a pay-as-you-want scheme, the increase in sales of a book as you make a free version availible, etc., I'm tempted to think that if you can't make infringement work for you, then you wouldn't be able to make work, anyways
But I'm glad that you admit it works for some people.
Other note: "So sell it to them at the price they want to pay (usually $0)", is something that we usually find is false. Everyone and their dog knows how to download [insert popular musician/band here]'s songs, yet they still sell plenty of copies. Sure, the price is very low, very close to $0, but then a vinyl disk actually did cost $10 back in the day to make and a virtual copy now costs as close to $0 as any good you're ever going to sell.
Are you blind? That's most of what this blog is about.
Offer a service people want, for prices they want it at. If that proves difficult, you can also sell a scarce, (ie: non-infringeable), good using the infinite good as an advertisement, or to build a fanbase.