Monday, April 25, 2005

Visiting the Pirate's Lair - Where to buy fake DVDs in Shanghai? Try a fake restaurant. By Henry Blodget

A very good point.


Visiting the Pirate's Lair - Where to buy fake DVDs in Shanghai? Try a fake restaurant. By Henry Blodget: "On tables in the center were piles of loose DVDs. I picked up Shark Tale, an authentic-looking box emblazoned with an odd blurb from the Chicago Tribune: "Dated … and only intermittently funny." Shark Tale was a movie I would not have paid to see and would not have bought for full-price. At $1, however, why not? This, of course, reveals one of the two fallacies in the media industry's assertion that file-sharing and DVD piracy are the same as 'stealing': Some of the supposed damages from 'lost sales' would never have been sales in the first place. The other fallacy is that the 'theft' of digital property is the same as the theft of physical property—which it isn't. When someone steals a physical product—a car, say, or a DVD from the shelves of Blockbuster—the owner has lost more than a potential sale; he or she has lost inventory. When someone buys a copy of a digital product, however, for which the owner of the copyright has paid nothing, the owner has lost only a potential sale. This doesn't make file-sharing or DVD piracy OK—there must be some way for producers and packagers to get paid—but it does explain, in part, why millions of people who would never shoplift are so eager to collect pirated DVDs."

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