Open Questions for the Piracy Czar

The US has created a position in our Department of Commerce called the Coordinator for International Intellectual
Property Enforcement
. In short, a Piracy Czar. From what I’ve read the person will be in charge of a war on piracy.

On The Long Tail blog, Wired editor Chris Anderson writes I was chatting with a former Microsoft manager the other day and he revealed that after much analysis Microsoft had realized that some piracy is not only inevitable, but could actually be economically optimal. Read the whole post for the explanation.

On the Piracy Czar’s press release this figure is touted: U.S. companies alone lose an estimated $250 billion per year [to copyright infringement], costing 750,000 American jobs. That’s a lot of money and jobs, but does that count the money the was made from copyright infringement by companies like Microsoft? Is anyone even keeping track of how much money companies earn from copyright infringement?

In the show On The Media host Brooke Gladstone discusses mixtapes with writer Oliver Wang. Oliver says

Most mixtapes are still technically illegal ones because they’re not using materials that have been cleared and have been paid for. But it’s an understanding between the label that if we give you this and you help promote our song, the labels are willing to look the other way.

The same recording industry that is at war with its customers is encouraging piracy as a promotional tool.

Will the Piracy Czar try to stop mixtapes, when the record labels that own the songs actually encourage their copying? How can the RIAA indicate which songs are OK to copy onto mixtapes and which songs are forbidden to copy? (hint)

The BBC is changing its business model after it received a ‘wake-up call’ about the demand for new technology in March when the first episode of the new Doctor Who was leaked on to the internet.

The constitutional purpose of copyright is to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts. Progress in the BBC’s delivery system is coming about because of copyright infringement, not in spite of it. When progress and copyright are in conflict, which side will the Piracy Czar be on?

The creation of a Piracy Czar post heralds a US “war on piracy.” Will it be an blind war against any copyright infringement, or will the harms and benefits to society be carefully weighed?

One thought on “Open Questions for the Piracy Czar

  1. It’s not right to consider digital piracy as marketing advantage. Firstly it contradicts to most international laws. Secondly it brings companies to lost revenues. However an “enough piracy” can help in a digital product PR and distribution. But it mostly depends on digital product type. For example it might be useful for such a things like CD/DVD containing music, films, e-books, but not for PC software. If we talk about potential entertainment products customers in this case we can imagine that by example some music album having unbeatable DRM will not reach all its target audience and risks to remain relatively unknown. But with more accessibility it will come to all potential customers and among them can be many people who will bye its licensed version for full price having known and fully tried it from unofficial sources like pirates. But software cracks and piracy can bring developers and vendors only for lost revenues by the next reasons:
    – Most software products have specialized direction and limited target audience. In this case marketing people of such a companies set the reasonable prices for their users that need this solution and ready to pay for it. Otherwise if the application cracked and available to free use the big part of these potential customers will prefer to use free or low cost illegal copies to save their money.
    – Where an application has wide targeted audience and many competitor products its cracking and piracy is the shortest way to large volume lost revenues. And in this case we cannot consider free application availability through cracked versions and piracy channels as a promotion opportunity. The best marketing solution for such a products is a wide range of free evaluation versions with flexible limitations legally available, additional freeware distribution, differentiation on light, Std and Pro versions. And it gives possibility to all real potential users to try software before bye it. Then to avoid illegal use and make a large part of users to pay the software has to be strongly protected. As a result all who need the program and ready to pay for it will buy it for full price that really will raise revenues of application vendor. An ‘uncrackable’ software protection cannot negatively influence to sales because it will differentiate people who cannot and in all cases won’t buy an application copy from target customers who really need the solution.
    As a software developer and vendor I can say my opinion is based in practice. Having weak protection I found my program cracks and keygens in several days after software release. And among users who really needed my software solution paid for it only most honest people and a large part of ready-to pay people used its illegal copies. Having found and using in my product one of today’s strongest software protection tool EXECryptor from made my application new updates uncracked during about 2 years. I have significant sales raise. In addition to supply most possible customers with solution they need by cannot to pay full price my company has flexible pricing such as great discounts for educational and non-profit organizations and all people who is able to contribute a reason to get discount so they pay money they can.

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