Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vestigial Organ

Somewhat lengthy but interesting interview with a self-confessed book pirate.

The parts that made the most sense to me were :

Just because someone downloads a file, it does not mean they would have bought the product I think this is the key fact that many people in the music industry ignore – a download does not translate to a lost sale.

Folks like me who depend on the public library or second hand book stores for their reading needs, would be very unlikely to buy a new book at retail or even slightly discounted prices. If it were easy enough we may browse a book on-line but we would not have bought the book even if were not there to read for free. To that extent the argument about each download being a lost sale is not valid just as this book pirate notes.

I think most of the filesharing community feels that the record industry is a vestigal organ that will slowly fall off and die – I don’t know to what extent that feeling would extend to publishing houses since they are to some extent a different animal. In the end, I think that regular people will never feel very guilty “stealing” from a faceless corporation, or to a lesser extent, a multi-millionaire like King.

This is almost in line with the reasons why open-source software is as popular as it is. People will contribute their time and talents to something for which they  cannot make more than whuffie and admiration. As an consultant, I almost always encourage my clients to consider open-source alternatives when they are getting ready to spend ungodly sums of money on commercial products. A lot of product development companies have come to resemble "vestigial organs" in the world of open-source and not everyone loves them.

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