[PLUG-TALK] SOPA, PIPA, "Piracy", Incentives

Paul Heinlein heinlein at madboa.com
Thu Jan 19 10:25:48 PST 2012

On Thu, 19 Jan 2012, Keith Lofstrom wrote:

> I will start things out by saying we need a better way to compensate 
> producers of ideas that does not involve lawyers ( except, perhaps, 
> for contract violations and physical theft and violence ).


> One of the /best/ ways to compensate producers is lowering the cost 
> of production and the barriers to entry.  It is far easier to 
> produce great ideas, new products, and new collaborations than it 
> ever was.  I propose that much better tools are possible, and we can 
> cut the cost of idea production and deployment by one or two more 
> orders of magnitude.  That means more people can produce more good 
> ideas more cheaply - they won't need very much compensation per 
> idea.  In a world awash in new ideas and invention, we can thrive 
> with less compensation.

My intuition is that for many market areas production is actually not 
the blocker.

In some ways, it's never been easier to do craft production, be it 
software or scarves or music or bicycle frames. Sure, things like 
producing competitive general-purpose CPUs or full-length 
effects-driven motion pictures require a huge development 
infrastructure, but large parts of the market have what appear to me 
to be fairly low entry costs.

I'd argue that in most markets advertising, marketing, and in some 
cases distribution are really the costs that make pirating harmful. 
(There are also some markets where government or guild regulations are 
barriers to entry -- like automobile production or medical procedures 
-- but I'm less well versed in those costs.)

An example: there are lots of folks making really good music these 
days. The difference between them and folks on terrestrial radio 
stations is (IMO) more often due to marketing than quality.

So an artist and her production team put some money into music 
production and a lot more into marketing, distribution, personal 
appearances, etc. When the music is pirated, it's those latter costs 
that cannot be made up.

SOPA and PIPA are horrible solutions, but the MPAA and RIAA are not 
crying about nothing. The work they do to make me aware of their 
artists' good idea is expensive, and completely undercut by piracy.

Just to muddy the waters a bit...

Paul Heinlein <> heinlein at madboa.com <> http://www.madboa.com/

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