trubadour wrote:To copying is wrong because it's too easy. It was OK with tapes but not with CDs? It was OK with tapes, so-so with CDs but WRONG with mp3?
No, I didn't say that.
I was arguing that I have a right to share (for example) a cassette tape in the same way as I have the right to share any other item of my property. Any physical item can be shared when it is not being used, and nobody makes a fuss about that. Sharing is usually considered a Good Thing. I could, for example, have lent my cousin the original tape to let him play the game, and I doubt anybody would cry "piracy!".
Giving him a copy of the tape is essentially identical to lending him a sole copy because, although I can't actually guarantee it, it's a bit unlikely we'd both be playing the game at the exact same time. Giving a copy to my entire class at school - different thing entirely, but then again: because I was able to share the tape (by copying it), the game company made one extra sale. Had I been physically prevented from doing that, it would have made zero extra sales. I can imagine a scenario in which a very expensive game, which no single one of my classmates would have thought worthwhile to pay for, might have been sold to a group of half-a-dozen kids. Again, one extra sale (although one-sixth of the profit), which is better than no sales.
The point about ease-of-copying is that a CD can be replicated thousands of times with virtually zero effort, with the copies being sold for profit, whereas tapes simply weren't worth the trouble, so piracy was self-limiting. Making thousands of copies DOES rob the publishing company of profits, because many of the buyers would
have been willing to pay full price. A very small number of copies, shared between people who would otherwise definitely not
buy the product, increases
Of course, you might consider it "wrong" that the company is prevented from making their predetermined per-unit profit margin on a smaller number of total sales. Fair enough, although I bet their accountant would be more than happy with the aggregate outcome. I was simply making the point that I
consider it wrong for a company to restrict the rights which I normally expect when purchasing property, while pretending that they are not. If I am not being granted my full set of rights, then the price should be reduced accordingly, or alternative incentives offered to make it worth my while to accept that reduced package of rights.
I think the various pay-per-use distribution methods (for software) are a much better idea. They accurately describe the transaction - it's NOT a sale of property, but a charge for services - and they'll go a long way towards reducing piracy and satisfying people like me who think the present rules are unfair to consumers.