YouTube & Video

Pirate’s Dilemma: Best Stuff Is A Steal

In his controversial book "The Pirate’s Dilemma – How Youth Culture Reinvented Capitalism" author Matt Mason argues that most innovations are drawn from the previous creations of others.  Attempts to stop "borrowing" slows progress and stifles creativity according to Mason and from the industrial revolution to mix tapes, he makes a compelling argument.

In keeping with his own manifesto Mason is offering a free download of the book using the Radiohead pay what you want model here. The book turns the concept of piracy on its head much like the Ramones did for pop music – its honest, irritating and exciting all at the same time. Watch a video summary after the jump.

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  1. Eh… sounds more like fair use than piracy in many, many of the examples in the video summary. I guess I’ll have to “borrow” his book and see if there’s anything more to it.

  2. …And just like the Radiohead model, the website refuses to deliver a copy of the book. On my Mac, using Safari and Firefox, when I try to download the book, all I get is an empty shopping cart.

  3. Same here – on a pc with ie, so it ain’t the macness that’s bamboozling it…

  4. Sorry for the troubles gentlemen. I’ll contact the author and check and would love your comments when your comments when you read it.
    Rob can you pop me your private email? I may have a bit of work for you.

  5. he doesn’t address why the pirates don’t work WITH the copyright owners for their new slant on an old copyright – the pirates would still make $ from their idea

  6. Re barrym’s comment – I was talking to Wayne Roso a couple of days ago. He headed Grokster and Mashboxx and tried to bring record labels and “pirates” like eDonkey and Morpheus to the table to work out a deal. He said the pirate guys were all early-20s geeks, really arrogant and didn’t think they needed to get legal. It does take 2, as the songs says.

  7. Why don’t pirates work with copyright owners? Copyright owners, ie: the labels in this conversation, are impossible to work with in the beginning for any music focused startup.
    Here’s just a few reasons, feel free to add more:
    1. The labels charge insane million dollar upfront fees just to get in the game. And no matter if you pay those fees to EMI/BONY/WMG, Universal will still wait in the wings to rob you last.
    2. There’s no cohesion in rights licensing across the majors. dealing with Warner and UNI will be different from dealing with BONY and EMI. Then publishing is an entirely different issue. But to start a successful service you need a large catalog of at least 3 of 4 majors’ content. Securing all of the rights is no walk in the park.
    3. The international rights are impossible to easily arrange. IMPOSSIBLE! But, the internet is worldwide from the moment your site or app goes live. There’s a major disconnect here. Labels need to come into the 21st century in this. The business is no longer territorial, it’s worldwide. Work it out fellas.
    Because of those reasons venture capital investment into music focused tech startups has slowed dramatically in the past 18 months. VC’s aren’t stupid. They aren’t idealistic music geeks. They know Universal is probably going to sue you just to get their terms. That’s almost a guarantee. Your business surviving the Shmoo tax is not. No one wants to be involved in that uncertainty. This is part of the reason we have seen fewer and fewer cool new music focused businesses popping up in the past year.
    In music, dealing with copyright owners has been made into an impossible mission. Thanks Doug, Zach and Rio.

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