Content does not want to be free (nor should it)!

A thought-provoking article by David Lowery (one of my music heroes) about the impact of piracy on musicians and other artists. While I have many issues with how our intellectual property laws have failed to adequately and meaningfully keep up with technological changes, David very correctly (and persuasively) calls out those who seem to feel that creative content should be available for free.
Creative content is neither free to produce nor is is without value. If we are not willing to pay those who create and distribute content, then there will be no incentive to create and distribute this content. With no incentive, the availability of content will wither. This is neither moral nor economically (let alone aesthetically) desirable.
While I continue to believe that we need to find ways to update our intellectual property laws to make them more flexible and able to deal with the changes that technology is bringing to our economy. (Not only can we not put the genie of technology back into the bottle, we should not wish to.) That does not mean, however, that we can or should want to sacrifice our morals or the economic necessity of incentivizing artists and other creators of content we want to consume on the alter of disruptive change.

Technology has already brought many changes to our economy and it will continue to do so. This evolution of the information economy does not change the fundamental fact that intellectual property has real and tangible value and that those who create and distribute it should be able to enjoy the benefits of this value.

The Trichordist

Recently Emily White, an intern at NPR All Songs Considered and GM of what appears to be her college radio station, wrote a post on the NPR blog in which she acknowledged that while she had 11,000 songs in her music library, she’s only paid for 15 CDs in her life. Our intention is not to embarrass or shame her. We believe young people like Emily White who are fully engaged in the music scene are the artist’s biggest allies. We also believe–for reasons we’ll get into–that she has been been badly misinformed by the Free Culture movement. We only ask the opportunity to present a countervailing viewpoint.


My intention here is not to shame you or embarrass you. I believe you are already on the side of musicians and artists and you are just grappling with how to do the right thing. I applaud your courage in admitting…

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