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An informal, stream-of-consciousness reflection on business ideas, events and issues in modern business, modern life and with some specifics to the web-software industry by Paul Tomori, Internet Entrepreneur

Information Just Wants To Be Free
and rocks just want to roll

By Paul Tomori
Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 16:07:09 (EDT)

I am going to beat up on the CBC again here. In another show, I listened to the hosts debating whether content piracy via the internet needed to be policed more rigidly or let to run amok. The discussion centered around the 4 Swedish gentlemen who ran a piracy website that facilitated the free transfers of any types of files. Typically, people were downloading major motion pictures, songs, and other "copyrighted" works. Those 4 men have been rightfully fined and sentenced to jail.

The fact that there even needed to be a debate on this topic is in my mind, insane.

One of the hosts even had the gall to state that he had purchased pirated movies and watched them... and that in doing so, he felt a little bit bad for his local Blockbuster rental store, because they would be thus deprived of his rental dollars. (please see my recent post on integrity!).

Let's settle one thing here: Information does not want to be free anymore than a rock wants to roll. Inanimate objects and especially intangible "information" cannot want anything. It's people who want information to be free.

At first, people (including myself) rationalized the piracy of music via Napster, because of its remarkable convenience (and free-ness!). Information wanted to be free afterall, and it was easy to buy into this. However, my own shame rose as I could not deny that copyrights were DEFINITELY being infringed. As a capitalist, I have no problem at all with movie studios, record companies, and artists earning however much they can. They produce a great product and they get rewarded handsomely. We all should be so successful and damn anyone who tries to stop us! So, the reasoning that "record companies have enough money" sure did fail quickly didn't it? In 10 short years, those big record companies who used to be power-houses of commerce are now mere shadows of their former selves mostly because of free downloading (i.e. stealing). I don't know about you, but paying $20 for a new album never seemed like that much to me. So, no, I never thought they over-charged.

I love that Apple came out with iTunes. We now have the total convenience of obtaining just about any song we want, for just pennies compared to what we used to pay. No one can argue against that model in favour of pirates who think that information (i.e. songs) wants to be free.

And so, again, I think the CBC hosts were incredibly naive to take the position against fair commerce and copyright. Hopefully, they'll just stop talking and will be playing more Rachmaninov the next time I tune in.

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