I’ve struggled for years with my opinions on intellectual property issues, especially with respect to software and music piracy. On the one hand, they strike me as a form of stealing, which – most thinking people will agree – is morally wrong. On the other hand, though, I don’t think that the publishers – especially the music and movie publishers – have taken the right approach in lobbying for laws that treat all consumers as potential thieves.
I ran across this article today by publisher Tim O’Reilly which makes a lot of sense. A couple of quotes:
Piracy is a loaded word, which we used to reserve for wholesale copying and resale of illegitimate product. The music and film industry usage, applying it to peer-to-peer file sharing, is a disservice to honest discussion.
We don’t have a substantial piracy problem in the US and Europe… What we have is a problem that is analogous, at best, to shoplifting, an annoying cost of doing business.
Now if only some of the folks in Hollywood will listen to O’Reilley…