How popular would Google be if you paid per search? Imagine it: you type in a search and “ding!” and you’re redirected to a page basically saying, “If you really want to see the search results, pay $2. Otherwise, forget about using Google.” The search engine would have been a complete flop because that business model is totally unsuited for the business. And yet, that is precisely what the entertainment industry is doing: continuing to try to apply an aging business model to a business which is radically different than it was a century ago when it emerged. Consider another example: your city is having a fireworks show tonight downtown, and they insist the show is copyrighted and charge $10 per viewer. Even if you weren’t interested in seeing the fireworks, you probably would look up at least periodically and see it from anyone in town, and inadvertently infringe copyright. Should you be sued? The entertainment industry sure would try! They sue for viewing material which is as easily copied and viewed as the cityscape sky. Rather than adopting their business model to maximize on technology’s incredible ability to distribute their products (say through placing advertisements in their movies or songs) they instead prefer to restrict its distribution and charge customers directly. Music and movie files are as easily distributed as radio and TV programs, so why not adapt their business model in the same way? Whether they like it or not, technology has changed our world: the entertainment industry needs to stop suing and start updating their century-old business plan.
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