Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution
Subject:   Your customers _know_ what you think of them
Date:   2003-01-27 15:33:56
From:   scottellsworth
I wish more publishers considered reputation as something to be earned, and something which their own actions can harm.

Some time ago, I lobbied MacSoft for a removal of CD copy protection on several computer games, as I do not like carrying CDs in my briefcase, nor do I want to carry every CD I have bought on the chance that I will want to play a game. My example was a notebook sans CD on a cross country flight. I also noted that it makes me quite angry when a company acts as if I am a thief.

A senior MacSoft staffer replied that anyone who was angered by having to use a CD should consider anger management, and that while he would help a legitimate customer happily, he was not about to help someone break their copy protection. This memorable comment is something which I have borne in mind ever since when buying games. He earned honesty points, but he still is in the "our customers are thieves" camp.

Similarly, Sony Music, who distributes all of Danny Elfman's music, has chosen to implement Mac-hostile copy protection. I have not bought an Elfman soundtrack since that announcement last year, despite enjoying movies such as "Spiderman", because I could not be sure that the CD would work. No retailer accepts returns on opened stock, and thus it is clear that Sony and Tower consider their customers as thieves.

Again, I remember this when buying products.

I listen to all of my music (all legit, I might add) on my iPod, as then I can carry roughly three days of music on a cross country drive. If we decide to listen to Nik Kershaw while driving up the coast, we can. Even if I had forgotten that I had the album. This would not be possible with copy protected DRM music.

I have contacted artists to tell them that they made a poor choice of label, and I have given thousands of dollars to the EFF in hopes that the damage these rogues have done can be reversed. I have no idea if there is still hope, but I do know that publishers unable to adapt to the future will lose to those who can do so.

These companies have not lost just one sale or two, they have lost my respect, and whenever there is an alternative product, my money.