The Revenge of the Angry Nerds

I got into a Twitter-fight with @paulcarr earlier today. (Yes, someone was wrong on the Internet!) The topic developed into an editorial piece on Pando Daily.

I’ll admit I did a poor job of defending my point on Twitter, within the 140-character limit. I started a less-constrained reply on the PandoDaily article, but decided it would work better as a blog post; and frankly, my blog could use some love.

So. Read the original article first; it won’t make sense otherwise. I apologize for the length of my response, as I did not have time to write a shorter one.


On the one hand, the entertainment industry, citing a grossly overstated estimate of piracy damages, brazenly tried to buy a law that would cripple another industry (one that they are to some degree in competition with), throwing due process out the window as they did, and they came scandalously close to succeeding.

On the other hand, the tech community responded to an act of plagiarism with a public naming-and-shaming. No cops, no lawyers, no bribing of Congresscritters, no subversion of the Constitution.

Obviously, these two are exactly morally equivalent.

And of course, everyone who opposed SOPA/PIPA, or who wants to prevent future SOPA-ish nonsense by making Hollywood’s current business model obsolete, is also a hypocritical advocate or apologist for piracy of Hollywood content. Obviously.

You are so full of it.

Piracy is wrong. It’s also inevitable, a cost of doing business. And saying so is not a pro-piracy sentiment, any more than saying “Some politicians will always be corrupt” is a pro-corruption statement.

Believe me, the software industry already knows about piracy. It also learned, the hard way, that there is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to anti-piracy measures. It sucks up resources, depletes customer goodwill, and produces negligible results. It distracts you from making a better product and better serving your paying customers.

Again, pointing this out is not a pro-piracy position. It’s hard-won wisdom from fellow content-owners.

The tech industry has also proven that it’s possible to build a profitable business in the face of piracy. Apple proved that it’s possible in music too. If they can do it, why can’t Hollywood? And if they can’t or won’t, and insist on trying to throw the Bill of Rights under the bus again, maybe it’s worth trying to invent their replacement.

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