Friday, May 05, 2006
The worst senator you'd never want..
That is if you enjoy technology. Orin Hatch, what a guy, when faced with P2P systems he asked if hackers could "blow up" computers that were using file sharing, he went on to say
"If we can find some way to do this without destroying their machines, we'd be interested in hearing about that ... [But] if that's the only way, then I'm all for destroying their machines."
And if your kid was caught sharing pre-release movies or music, how's a five year prison sentence sound? First offence, does it really matter, not to Hatch it doesn't.
I'm not advocating stealing music or movies, but for me the piracy has always come down to microeconomics. Looking at price points via a demand curve, as you lower the price of an object, more and more people will be willing to purchase that item. But if you go too low, the company might not be around for long. On the counter side less people will be able to afford the item if it is priced high, but the company makes more money per item. You instill supply and demand to make this more dynamic. The movie and music industry has never really been strapped for supply. Once the product is out, reproduction is fairly easy. Its developing the product that slows them down. On the other hand, demand for the product is high due to the dynamic range of appeal. Both industries can cater to the very young all the way to the very old. This keeps demand fairly high for the product. With higher demand, customers have slowly moved up the price point scale, because while supply was never low, the technology started to gain a premium. It used to be that if you wanted the best quality, you had to buy a CD (on the generic scale, things like DATs, SACD, DVD-A can have better quality, but the market is small). These companies grew used the profits made off these sales. But as I said earlier, as you push the price higher you create two groups. Those whom feel the item's value to them is not worth the price, and those who value the item, but can't pay the price. When the population of people who wanted to see more movies, or listen to more music grew large enough, a new market emerged. In the absence of the music and movie industries presence, the only thing that could support this need developed, the black market.
My biggest point in all of the boring stuff is that both the music and movie industry ignored that market and kept pushing for the hard sell. When people were faced with paying $15 -$19 dollars for one or two songs or they could get the same songs for free online, it really was a no brainer. The vast majority of folks using P2P networks, did want to pay for but it was either not practical or the couldn't afford it. Hey, I would love a BMW M3, with my current finances I can't afford it, but if I did change a few things, yes I could afford it, but it would be horribly impractical. Any if you really need any more proof of what I am saying, look no further than the 1 billion+ songs sold on iTunes. $1 a song meets the market demands, plain and simple.
Orin Hatch is of the same bread of dinosaurs that gazed upon the VHS and cried "It will be the death of the movie industry!". And we all know how that turned out for Hollywood. These same tactics are being laid out for our newest and brightest technologies, how would you feel if you couldn't watch a recording on your new HDtv? Or if you iPod could only play certain songs. Its about time we clean out the closet of these dust bunnies and moth balls. Fire Hatch!