For years we have had it rammed down our throat that Piracy will be the death of software companies and recently Rupert Murdoch has been making waves about how aggregating his news content is damaging his business and thus wants to start charging for it.
Well it seems that his daughter Elisabeth has made a pretty bold statement about piracy, stating in a roundabout way that it could be a good thing.
“Fans remain the best salesmen of our content, even if that behavior is on the borderline of piracy. Danger of the new world is that we must concede that we’ll lose some control.”
The question for me is how software companies in the Pre-media would police the use of pirated software and how you handle the penalties for usage. It takes some doing for a software company of a governing body to get into our firms to see if what we are doing because they need grounds to do so. For years companies have flaunted the somewhat out of date font licensing laws as the pressure for lower costs from the clients has driven people to ‘bend’ what they feel is ‘fair usage’
Now we see a complete disregard of any laws regarding software and licensing as the borders of commerce are bought down and work can be produced anywhere in the world. And with the world being so interconnected via the worldwide web there is no stopping where or who has access to what and how they use it.
So with Elisabeth conceding that piracy of content is your best salesman, how are companies looking to gain revenue from that content be that software, news, knowledge or anything else that can easily be searched, catalogued, indexed and then downloaded by, well, anyone in the world.
One method spoken about sometime back was to reduce the cost to an amount that more people would be willing to pay. As we’ve seen in a few of my previous posts, the cost of digital content seems to be more expensive than that of the manufactured content; CD vs Digital Download; newspaper vs Online News Subscription; DVD vs Media Streaming; Video Game vs Online Streamed Game; Packaged Software vs Digital Delivery, the list could go on.
So, we see that companies are thinking that by providing the content (whatever that content is) digitally they are able to retain more profit from the service they provide. In my mind they are actually making the content easier and faster to obtain, access and distribute.
Although I in no way condone the usage of pirated software in the everyday business world I find myself wondering who is to blame for the volume of pirate content out there. If you have followed the news on the case of Pirate Bay then you may ask if they are really at fault for providing a method of people trying to find content? Are they not just being used as an example, a warning to other people who want to provide a service and we all remember what happened to Napster, once a sharing site, now turned clean – did the industry kill the mp3 sharing problem? No they aggregated it even more and before you knew it loads more sites sprung up all over the place…. The same can be said for MP3.com
There is no silver bullet solution to this problem and we in Pre-media are probably as guilty as anyone else about bending the rules of content engagement. It could be as simple as loading a music track as your ringtone that goes against the artists wishes, but what I do know is if companies actually listened to the market they would understand and learn how to develop new business models for the modern age. Our children are currently heading for a world of free usage of content as it’s so freely available and that has a massive impact on so many market verticals that we could see complete industries fizzle out because they were unable to diversify their business model.
Author: Gary George
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