The issue with piracy is really an issue of entrepreneurs insisting that they use a business model of printing and selling copies (that have been devalued) and not understanding why their copies arent worth as much as they think it does.
Whereas in the 20th century, printing copies required giant printing press which costs hundreds of thousands (if not millions) in investment capital. in the 21st century, the commoner can buy one for several hundred. So there was a paradigm shift. For something like $300 and a $20 monthly internet connection, u can rival the output of a factory from 20 years ago.
What happens when every household can produce as much as what costed millions to produce a decade ago? It creates an abundance.
Because basic economics tells us that prices tend towards marginal costs. The marginal costs for producing a copy is now $0.00001, so cheap, that people are willing to produce it for free. That’s why it is free, not because people stole it, but because competing printers bid each other down repeatedly until the price of it hits rock bottom.
There’s so much of it it’s like confetti.
The problem is that entrepreneurs are stuck in the 20th century business model, they want to sell confetti but they don’t understand why consumers don’t want to buy that anymore. Therefore, the fix to the problem is simply to produce things that haven’t been devalued yet. Like your labour. The act of creating a new movie or a new video game is always going to be scarce, because I cannot pirate a movie into existence. I have to offer to pay the artist to motivate him/her to exchange his or her services in creating new movies.
That is why you are seeing in post-netflix world, a market that is mass-emigrating over to this model of production. Just the other day we saw crowd funding exceed $10 million http://www.polygon.com/2013/6/10/4410436/chris-roberts-celebrates-star-citizens-10-million-crowdfund
In 2012, kickstarter, just one private player alone, has facilitated for more funding to the arts than the entire National Endowment of the Arts!
Of course, I’m not saying the first hundred copies that the artist sells is not extremely valuable. But once it is sold into the world, there is no enforcement ability capable of preventing purchasers from manufacturing more copies for their friends & neighbours (short of a totalitarian police state).
That is why even in the absence of scarcity of copies, you can still make money. Just because the copies have been devalued, it does not mean that there is no business model.
Apart from selling your labour, you can also sell:
- Immediacy (i want it in my folder here as soon as it comes out. I will pay $3).
- Personalization (i want u to record a brand new version of this track just for me)
- Support (i want 24/7 support for this piece of software. I want online play.)
- Accessibility (i want it on all my platforms. i want it on smartphone)
- Convenience (i dont want to fiddle with file transfer. u do that for me)
- Embodiment (i want a boxed copy. i want it to line my shelf)
- Generosity (i want it bcuz u are so generous. i like how u sold me $400 worth of games for $25)
- Attention (https://sharingisliberty.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/attention-economy/)
- Patronage (i want to pay you. i like how 95% of my money goes to u)
- Transparency (i like how u tell me how much u make, other sellers dont tell me this, aka humble bundle)
^ None of these things can be pirated.