The Pirates Dilemma


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A short talk on my book The Pirate's Dilemma, which looks at how youth culture can gives clues about new ways to share information, and why competing with pirates is often better than fighting them.

Published in: Business, Education

    André Luiz Bernardes
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  • nice work, thanx for share us......!!<br /><br/>
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  • You make a good point about the distinctions between average and marginal costs, but the assumption you’re making is that the media itself is the only revenue stream. In music, this isn’t the case, and although CD sales are falling, every other part of the business is growing. In film, Hollywood just had its first ever $4bn summer despite rampant piracy. Movie piracy isn’t driving people away from theatres; it seems the reverse is happening. But the real problem here is as you say, people can make perfect copies at zero cost, and they are. The law doesn’t seem to be stopping them because so many people support the simultaneous release model that exists because of piracy, so maybe the answer is to monetize and legitimize that model, especially as it doesn’t seem to be hurting the business.

    The music punks created was daring and original, no doubt. But if you look at other aspects of what punk was about, the way montage was embraced by people like Jamie Reid who did all the design for the pistols, not to mention Westwood’s early designs and where Richard Hell took his inspiration from, all you’ll find is people imitating the work of others – which doesn’t take anything away from how original punk was. Copying/remixing is a great way to produce new original works. It’s also worth pointing out that punk could have been forgotten entirely, had it not been for pirates. As the music historian Clinton Heylin argues in The Great White Wonders: A History of Rock Bootlegs: “It could be argued that the influence and impact of the original punk bands lingered on only because their music was bootlegged.”

    As for your comments on modern pirate radio, I think this is pretty subjective. I happen to like modern pirate radio a lot, but maybe that’s because I’m a fan of a lot of the styles of music that come out of it. Whether you’re a fan of the music or not, I would urge you to take a look at some of the larger stations such as Rinse FM, Freeze FM and Passion FM in London. They are professionally run operations which continue to breed new styles of music and send artists up the national charts and spread awareness of new music around the world. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea music wise, but I think London’s pirates are as innovative today as they have ever been.

    In the 1960s the pirates were beaten by the government’s decision to legitimize the market (and you could make the argument that the pirates were simply copying Radio Luxembourg’s free market model, which began transmitting in 1933). But I think we’re splitting hairs here – the point is the government beat piracy by competing with it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a government, an artist, or another pirate – the thesis is that sometimes it’s better to compete with pirates no matter who you are. Thanks for taking the time to check out the presentation, and thanks for the feedback!

    All the best,

    Matt Mason
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  • looks very good...thnks<br /><br/>
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  • Thanks Amit - I had another crack at it - let me know what you think.<br /><br/>
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