Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Value of Nothing

In other news, Megaupload was taken down today.  Dredged out are the claims that the corporations that own recording artists have lost x dollars over y time period.

How are those numbers obtained?  What relation do they bear to reality?  I suppose they simply look at number of digital copies transferred and then slap a price tag on them.  But that, of course, ignores a number of factors:

How many of these people would not buy these products?  Austrian-school economists will tell you that the value of something is what the market is willing to pay for it.  For some of these products, the market has apparently decided that it wants to pay $0.00 dollars for it.

How many people have already bought copies of these products and are seeking a clean, easy-to-use version?  This happens more often than you'd think: format changes, loss or damage to existing physical media, and the fact that the pirated copies are often easier to use or more reliable.

How many of the products wouldn't actually sell at a full MSRP?  A B-movie from 20 years ago will probably not sell at the same price point as an A-lister released on Blu-Ray last week.

Some of these products are not available legally on the open market.  I'm kind of a fan of abandonware games that are not available on the open market at any price.  Other products have extremely limited distribution or are terribly difficult to get a hold of ("Repo! The Genetic Opera", I'm looking at you.)
Putting a price tag on what might have been sold is kinda loony.

Googlebombing for a cause:

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