There’s an Opportunity in There Somewhere

I’ve been meaning to weigh in, sometime, on the whole copyright war thing. This isn’t going to be much, just an observation or two.

Let’s imagine you create something, but for whatever reason, your creation is really difficult to secure. That is, it’s easy for people to steal. And, in fact, it’s so easy — offered up on a silver platter — that normally good people don’t even think of it as stealing. …People who would never in their lives imagine breaking into a locked building, or holding someone at gunpoint, taking stuff.

I’m not excusing it, but there’s some distinction to make, I think.

So what would you do? It’s yours. They’re stealing it. They’re not paying you for it. If you made more, they’d steal more. It’s not so much they like stealing, it’s that they like what you make. Will they pay if you make it easier and more convenient to pay for than to steal?

I don’t know about you, but I see an opportunity, a market. Now, I don’t think iTunes and whatever else is out there is necessarily the ideal solution, but I sure do like iTunes an awful lot. Even more than for music, I can get just about any TV show I want, without commercial interruptions, for $1.99. Get a whole season for about $15. Downloads in the background, automatically. I’m even thinking about getting an Apple TV box so that I can watch what I download on the big HD set in the TV room rather than at my desk. It begins to make me rethink the whole cable or satellite thing. Pay for what I want, and only what I want.

I’m pretty sure this is all going to work out OK and it’s going to be better.

One final observation is that I think what’s really got the big mega-producers’ panties in a bunch more than anything is an exploding amount of free content. I laugh every time I see an entertainment exec or industry expert interviewed and they always have to comment about how "most of it isn’t any good." Yea, well, feel free to argue with a million views of something not very good, but the underlying element, I think, is fear.

It’s really, really hard to compete with a free product that’s any good at all. Want to know what I’m talking about? Watch this. This one might even be better. There’s no copyright issues, the thing has been viewed worldwide at various sources an estimated 8 million times, and not a penny has changed hands. Yea, I’d be scared. And guess what? With that sort of broadcasting (hardware: the original barrier to entry) ability at the fingertips of virtually anyone, anywhere, the world just may be a changin’.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Kyle Bennett on March 27, 2007 at 15:49

    The ones who really have their panties in a bunch are not even the artists, but the middlemen. The RIAA and the record companies are shitting themselves, not because of the competition from free product, or even directly because of the pirating, but because their entire function is becoming obsolete with blinding speed. All that is left of a once lucrative and formerly value-for-value business model is rent-seeking on other peoples' copyright.

    After they're gone, it'll be interesting to see what effect pirating actually has, and what level it continues at.

  2. mandrill on March 27, 2007 at 14:53

    More free stuff that supposedly isn't any good. These guys are amateurs. No wonder the professionals are shaking.
    As to the copyright wars, creators of content have to realise that the market has changed. The old ways of doing things are no longer relevant or even profitable. Individual artists can now self-publish, self-distribute, and self-promote. They no longer need the middle men. The old order is dying.

  3. Bob on March 27, 2007 at 22:45

    Possibly even better yet.

    I don't copy (pirate) music but I also have not felt the need to buy any for years. Between what I bought 10 to 30 years ago and take good care of and what is available "free", there just isn't much need to give the traditional middle man my business.

  4. Kyle Bennett on March 28, 2007 at 07:02


    You're right, those two videos are really something. Combine that kind of technical skill with guys who really know how to tell a story, and the future of the professional middle-men looks darker and darker.

  5. Kyle Bennett on March 28, 2007 at 07:05

    Bob, nice, but he's no JerryC 😉

  6. Freelance Cynic on March 28, 2007 at 14:11

    Wonderful Video thank you for helping me find it.

  7. Bob on March 28, 2007 at 21:59

    Kyle, I went back and listened to both again. On second listen I have to concur: JerryC has the better of the piece (by quite a bit).

  8. brettbum on March 29, 2007 at 21:08

    Your blog is an excellent example of free content. There is going to come a time when bloggers move from words into some other form and it will transplat TV as we know it out of existence. 🙂

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