Before everything else, let’s read Lloyd Kaufman’s own take on Why Piracy is Good and Copyright Sucks. Improv Everywhere also has a very funny, yet ironically, quite a bitingly truthful protest about copyright infringement which they called: WAP, Writers Against Piracy.
Now, on to the issue.
Piracy is good because it’s tearing down the walls of our insanity. Intellectual property rights should never have been made into a law. For that matter, neither should property rights have been, but let’s tackle that for another day.
Piracy forces society to deal with an obsolete market system. The dawn of the digital era has brought about the dawn of non-scarcity. Value arises out of limited goods. But in a world where a product can be recreated indefinitely without cost, that product loses value. Yet archaic tyrants want to force artificial scarcity on us by enforcing DRM and other IPR protecting mechanisms.
Piracy forces the middle man out of the picture entirely. For while it would soon become unprofitable for them to make a business out of publishing, originators would still continue to find it profitable to continue originating – this time without the presence of publishers.
In the face of great change, we must adapt, or be swept away along the currents of change.
In the near future (hopefully tomorrow), I will be a famous author. I’ll write speculative fiction and have my books devoured hungrily by the masses. I’ll self-publish using all the modern tools self-publishing has to offer me and I’ll skip the middle-man and go straight to the consuming public. I’ll upload my books in my own website and let the public download directly from my website. All this, and I’ll give it all away for free.
For free? But why?
Because I believe that the world should be a free society – free from bondage, control, and market forces. Because I believe civilization isn’t meant to be a community of selfish, competing simians all living for their own self-interests rather than for those of the greater interests of the community. Because I believe, that in reality, the work I created is no more mine than the genes I inherited from my ancestors. All the ideas and inventions we’ve ever made, owe its life to previous ideas and inventions made by others before us. None of us truly own anything that comes out of our mind. Our own way of thinking is shaped and formed by thousands of years of cultural evolution. What I am doing is nothing more than just giving back what I owe to that evolution.
There is but one tiny thing of selfishness that I do withhold. It is but the primitive desire of an egoistic man. It is but one tiny thing, but to me, it is the world. For without it, I would not endeavor to create or write anything of value. Recognition. All I ask is that I be recognized as the originator of my work. Not its owner, but simply the man behind the mask.
And you’ll say, how hypocritical of me. A pretender of the most devious act. Me who peddle my talent for a price. Can there be anyone more hypocritical than a freelancer preaching free books? While I sell my words for a dollar, I want others to give theirs for free? Hypocritical indeed.
Only if you do not distinguish between freelance writing and writing. “But that’s preposterous!” you’ll say. “There’s no difference between the two!” And I’ll say, “but there is, my dear Watson. The former is the act of hiring out my services for another while the latter is simply the act of writing. One is done only upon the reasonable expectation of reward while the other is done purely for self-satisfaction, respect, and recognition.”
Simply put, if I enjoy writing it, you can have it for free. But while you’re the one asking for copy and not me voluntarily creating copy, and while this world is trapped in capitalists mode of thinking, I’ll continue to charge by the dollar for words I care not to write.
Maybe in the future, when we’ve all succeeded in tearing down this house of insanity, and I would not need currency to survive, you can have my services all you want for free. And I’ll write all the words in the world you like and never worry about starvation.