Applying judo techniques to piracy

These are historic times, and the events of this particular “first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in a leap year” overshadowed everything else. There is change afoot, and powerful change. Despite all the hype, and despite the predicted sheer scale of the victory, I was amazed. And Obama’s acceptance speech was something else.

I was so taken up with the election that I missed this story:

MySpace and MTV plan to make money from pirates

Simply put, MySpace and MTV will convert the pirated material into vehicles for ads and into ads for the original material.

The logic appears to be something like this. Analyse material to confirm what it is and whether it has been pirated. If it has been pirated, then inject relevant ads into it along with links that connect to the original material.

In effect, use the power of the pirate to spread your business. And thereby fight piracy.

And that made me think. Why get so convoluted? Instead of doing away with pirates, why not do away with piracy? Digital material is intrinsically abundant; to do away with piracy, all that is needed is the removal of artificial scarcity. Then nothing is considered piracy. And everyone who wants to can become a distributor of ads or other services.

There is often some digital material at the heart of every social object. Social objects circulate, they pass from hand to hand. They can pass freely and without encumbrance, without let or hindrance. If they are allowed to.

Social objects get enriched as they move around, enriched with new information. This includes recommendations, the things that ads become when they grow up. If they grow up.

Maybe it is time to stop doing away with pirates and to start doing away with piracy. And to understand the power of social objects in that process.

3 thoughts on “Applying judo techniques to piracy”

  1. If I understand you correctly JP, you’re suggesting that direct recompense for the creators comes in the form of advertising revenue (indirect reompense via the because effect). The latter I’m fine with, but the former does I think make some assumptions about the efficacy of advertising and its long-term popularity and I have severe doubts about both of those.

    [As a sidenote – I thought Obama’s speech started fabulously but, viewing it in the cold light of day, then meandered off alarmingly.]

  2. I really like this idea of “sharing and making it so popular that people want to buy what you have or from you” This is a return to the basics for the digital world. There was a time and I strongly believe, still is, when there is a ripple effect that benefits us all from a seed planted.

Let me know what you think

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