For years now, the legacy entertainment industry has been predicting its own demise, claiming that the rise of technology, by enabling easy duplication and sharing — and thus copyright infringement — is destroying their bottom line. If left unchecked, they say, it is not only they that will suffer, but also the content creators, who will be deprived of a means to make a living. And, with artists lacking an incentive to create, no more art will be produced, starving our culture. While it seems obvious to many that this could not possibly be true, since creators and performers of artistic content existed long before the gatekeepers ever did, we’ve looked into the numbers to get an honest picture of the state of things. What we found is that not only is the sky not falling, as some would have us believe, but it appears that we’re living through an incredible period of abundance and opportunity, with more people producing more content and more money being made than ever before. As it turns out… The Sky Is Rising!
There is nothing wrong with private companies profit maximizing. What is wrong is that they are trying to do so through rent seeking via legislative and regulatory barriers, rather than value adding production. It’s obviously better for the bottom line if government grants you a monopoly or otherwise constrains your competition. Thus companies direct their attention to this rather than how to better value add. Now why was the duration of copyright extended?
But as a society we are the poorer for it. The more ingrained and widespread this rent seeking behavior becomes the worse off we will be. It matters little if it is bailing out the banks, car industry or entertainers. The effect is the same. It perverts outcomes and incentives. Capitalism made us richer than our forebears because it focuses people on value adding. Not on how to get the powers that be to enrich you.
Protests are increasing in Canada against their SOPA and PIPA. Also check out our prior post: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement replacing SOPA and PIPA