The other day NYT tech-columnist and usually cool-seeming guy wrote a pretty ignorant and short-sighted column on why he doesn’t allow there to be digital copies of his books in circulation. He believes the whole notion that just because something can be freely distributed it should free to consume is absurd.
“So yes, this is how I, as an author who’s been twice-burned, truly feel. And yet I realize that it puts me, rather awkwardly, on the same side of the piracy issue as the record companies and movie companies, who are suing teenagers for downloading songs, and of whom I’ve made endless fun.”
That is certainly a sad place to be, Mr. Pogue. And, as TechDirt points out, your position is probably only going to worsen:
“It’s not that things ought to be free because they can be free — but that things will be free because that’s just basic economics. Price gets driven to marginal cost in a competitive market, and the reason it happens is because others do learn to put in place business models that work, and then if you’re the lone holdout, people start to ignore you.”
This is part of a huge discussion going on all over the web (and the “real” world too) regarding how to deal with the fact that so many goods and services are being made obsolete by digital transmission and consumption.