Ten years ago, in 2006, I stood on stage and said that companies who try to prevent their customers from sharing, such as the copyright industry, won’t survive. Companies who tolerate the phenomenon of sharing will remain. But the companies which will really thrive in the new landscape, I said, are the future companies who unconditionally depend on their users sharing. Ten years after this prediction, which was absolutely heretic at the time and which made the copyright industry scoff and scorn, where have we arrived?
We’ve arrived at a point where other people than the copyright industry, services which all or mostly started out as pirate streams (or at least had their legacy from the pirate culture), have solved the copyright industry’s problem. There’s Spotify, Pandora, Netflix, HBO, and so on. Paying for convenience is mostly easier than going through the minimal hassle of torrenting (unless you’re not torrenting but using something like Popcorn Time, but then again…).
And once the copyright industry has had their long-standing problem of torrenting, how does the copyright industry react?
It reacts by claiming these services are making the industry too little money! It compares the situation today to a pre-internet era, and are basically blaming the services that meet the market demands head-on for operating in a society where the Internet exists. They also assert to have a legal right to operate like it’s 1980. (Unlike in 1980, when they asserted a right to operate like it was 1960, before the cassette tape.)
The copyright industry will ultimately lose this Quixotic war, for two reasons:
First, their business depends on preventing people from sharing interesting things with each other. This goes against every bit of human wiring. It was technically possible when it was hard to manufacture copies of something. From the