New Music Strategies posts about how threatening legal action against filesharers has not resulted in reduced filesharing among students, but has increased political activism.
What’s going on with the music industry is similar to what’s going on with software. Particularly, things like authentication.
I had a hardware failure on a Mac and need to sort out authentication problems with Adobe. Adobe’s license agreement states that you can only install their software on 2 machines at once. Their authentication attempts to enforce that license.
So right now I have 1 license on the Mac I use, and another on a Mac that doesn’t exist anymore because it’s made up of old parts that a technician took with him after he fixed the Mac.
Big problem? No. Inconvenience? Yeah. Now I have to call Adobe (you can’t sort these things out over the internet) prove I’m not a thief, and reset the authentication.
Of course, that’s not what Adobe wants you to believe:
I think this is where the problem lies: developers and music labels set on trying to solve an unsolvable problem instead of making their customers love them and make them want to shell out their credit cards every time they release products.
The war on piracy is like the war on terror. It consists of broad, vague goals that are too open-ended to have a measurable result. It’s rhetoric.
And the software business isn’t any better than the music business when it comes to threatening customers. Take a look at what Adobe tells people:
And if you’re browsing around on Adobe’s site, keep a mental count of how many opportunities they give browsers to rat out potential piracy.
I don’t condone piracy, but trying to end it isn’t as effective as making loyal customers. Instead of fighting piracy, developers and labels need to pull WITH their fans instead of against them. And yes, it’s possible. Just look at Apple and Radiohead.
And while there’s no huge activism when it comes to software piracy, mistreatment of customers with inconvenient authentication procedures and expensive software is creating a market for indie developers to come in and sweep away users. There are lightweight replacements of Photoshop and Dreamweaver, and I’m betting that some developer is working on a lightweight Indesign, and it’s not Adobe.