“You Will Never Kill Piracy, and Piracy Will Never Kill You”

Good God… someone actually advocating an intelligent solution to movie piracy, in a mainstream business magazine?! Unbelievable!

Listen up, Hollywood. As an independent software developer, I’ve been dealing with Internet piracy for longer than you — without a single lawyer, let alone an army of them, and often on a shoestring budget. The facts in that article are pretty much true, especially the part about people paying for convenience. No matter how many battles you might win against the pirates, you can never win the war — not through technology, not through legislation, not even through Mafia-style brute force. If you want sales, you have to make the process of buying the product less painful and more pleasant than stealing it.

I buy DVDs, for three reasons: I have the money, I believe in rewarding creators, and I like to ensure that I have a copy of the movies and TV shows that I like to watch whenever I decide to watch them. Like most people, I’ll play by your rules — but only so long as you don’t make them too annoying. If you get arrogant and start trying to push me around (as you did with the Shrek 4 DVD that GoddessJ and I finally watched recently, with its unskippable previews for other movies whether I want to sit through them or not, as well as the usual unskippable FBI threats) I’ll be sorely tempted to rip your DVD and watch it on the computer instead, where I’m in control. It’s a lot easier and more convenient to just pop the purchased DVD into the player and hit play, but that convenience is dramatically diminished when you pull crap like that.

As the article ends:

Treat your customers with respect, and they’ll do the same to you. And that is how you fight piracy.

It’s never going to kill it off completely. People with more time and energy than money are still going to steal your stuff. Learn to live with that, because you can’t stop it, and concentrate on making the purchased experience so much better that those people will buy your wares as soon as they can afford them.

Just my two cents’ worth.

(Via Schneier on Security)