thoughts for a thursday

Instead of worrying about the RIAA sending you a lawsuit, why not pay for privacy? In the end, though, maybe we can legitimize P2P. I don’t know. I always think it’s kind of funny when people try to quash file-sharing on the internet in one way or another, technically or legislatively. It’s funny because what they fundamentally want to prevent people from doing is sending bits to one another, and that’s all the internet does anyway. They want to turn the internet into television, pushing out all the products to you that you should buy. They hate the fact that the quivering masses out there have the ability to push stuff out to, and they especially hate it when they payed for the creation of that stuff. It’s understandable. They just want to make money like any reasonable corporation.

I’m not worried, really. It may be true that corporations are better at purchasing legislation than the American people, but in the end not even as corrupt a government as we have will turn their constituents into criminals. As more and more people realize that for essentially zero marginal cost they can make a copy of their CD, their DVD, their video game, you can bet your DMCA they’re going to do it, regardless of the law. It’s so easy. It doesn’t *feel* illegal. And even when they think of whom they’re screwing, they don’t Imagine it’s Peter Jackson or Eminem. They think of Sony Entertainment and BMG, and who gives a fuck about them, anyway? People just want to listen to music. If it were easier to pay for it, people would. People are lazy.

But it’s too hard to pay for it. Even though, to copy a DVD, I have to rip it, decrypt it, and remove region encoding (30 mins), then I have to trasncode it to fit on a DVD-R (1 hr), then I have to burn the finished product back to a DVD-R (20 mins), which costs me $1 in materials and quite a bit of time, it’s still more compelling than going to the store to spend over $20 for something which will entertain you for at best 6-7 hours for the duration of your ownership.

One of two things is going to happen:
(a) nothing. people will continue to be treated as criminals by media companies with no concern for customer satisfaction beyond the profit motive. Piracy will get easier and easier on old technology (CDs, DVDs, TV) and new technology will get more and more restrictive. It will be a constant arms race between pirates and content producers, and everyone will lose.
(b) someone will figure out how to make money by selling something worth buying. If I could buy a DVD movie for $7, I would do it in a second. I *know* they could make money on it. If I could by a CD for $7, I’d do it in a second. It’d be even easier to make money on that. CDs and DVDs cost pennies to manufacture. Cut prices drastically, and recover production costs in staggering volume.

I don’t have a lot of hope for b. But who knows? Enough ranting, I need to swap my next Netflix disc in to my Mac for ripping…

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