Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution

Article by Tim O'Reilly from 2002 that I think is an interesting counterpoint to the NYT article: Print Books Are Target of Pirates on the Web

The O'Reilly article is: Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution

Another person stated it this way: "Piracy" is a tax on success.


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I believe the point about obscurity is very true. The Hacker Crackdown: Law And Disorder On The Electronic Frontier is a book that was published in 1993 about hackers. The sales rank on Amazon is 191,000. To have that sales rank 1-3 copies are selling every week. The author makes the book available for free.

Find another 16 year old book about the internet that is selling this well. There are not many out there because those books are not on anyone's radar.

The preface to the book where the author discusses the decision to make the book available for free is interesting.

Excerpt one from preface: You can upload the book onto bulletin board systems, or Internet nodes, or electronic discussion groups. Go right ahead and do that, I am giving you express permission right now. Enjoy yourself. (Notice that there is no mention of the web.)

Excerpt two from preface: Teenagers don't have any money -- (no, not even enough for the sixdollar Hacker Crackdown paperback, with its attractive bright-red cover and useful index). That's a major reason why teenagers sometimes succumb to the temptation to do things they shouldn't, such as swiping my books out of libraries. Kids: this one is all yours, all right? Go give the print version back. *8-)

Ah, 1993. What a year...

The Web was just released by CERN.

Mosaic was just released.

FidoNet was the main network for the dial-up BBS. Partial gateways existed between it and the Internet for e-mail exchange. Heck, I got my first e-mail address three years later on a FidoNet board. That it seemed a mile long compared to today's addresses wasn't a worry then.

That the book did not reference the web at the time was a simple thing. Nobody was there...yet...
Stephen Michael Kellat, Host, LISTen
PGP KeyID: 899C131F

1982 was my introduction to hackers

a friend gave me a number that allowed me to make free long-distance telephone calls.


Does that mean getting carjacked is my "tax on car drivership?" Taxes are legal. Crime is not.

-1 for analogy fail.

-1 for analogy fail.

If South African crime stats

If South African crime stats are right - yes, sadly.

O'Reilly article blocked by library filter

Brooklyn Public Library filters the openp2p.com website on all computers because it falls under the category P2P (peer to peer).

If your library filters p2p sites, try this direct link: Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution

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