One more beatiing for the dead horse...
The Punch 'em response is an interesting view that has been ezpressed before. I could cite Janis Ian at her website:
'Yes, free music (as in "Free Beer"!) in the spirit of the landmark article. "The Internet Debacle" Go ahead, download, listen! We promise not to sue you.*
Below you'll find links to download selected tracks, along with the discography links for the album they come from. Yes, we know these are not super hi-fidelity MP3s...the idea is that you'll like these so much that you can't help but go to our Shopping Mall and buy the album or make a donation to the Pearl Foundation.
*Disclaimer from our legal department. We don't exactly promise not to sue you, but you have to do something really bad, unrelated to downloading our music from our web site, to get that sort of attention. Even then, we probably won't even bring up the whole "downloading" thing unless you really irritate us.'
Or, from even longer ago, Eric Flint at Baen books in respect of the Baen free library (yes, they put whole books, lots of books, up for free download). Not quoted in full (for length):
'Baen Books is now making available — for free — a number of its titles in electronic format. We're calling it the Baen Free Library. Anyone who wishes can read these titles online'
'I will make no bones about it (and Jim, were he writing this, would be gleefully sucking out the marrow). We expect this Baen Free Library to make us money by selling books.'
'In short, rather than worrying about online piracy — much less tying ourselves and society into knots trying to shackle everything — it just makes more sense, from a commercial as well as principled point of view — to "steal from the stealers. "
Don't bother robbing me, twit. I will cheerfully put up the stuff for free myself. Because I am quite confident that any "losses" I sustain will be more than made up for by the expansion in the size of my audience.
For me to worry about piracy would be like a singer in a piano bar worrying that someone might be taping the performance in order to produce a pirate recording. Just like they did to Maria Callas!'
'The only time that mass scale petty thievery becomes a problem is when the perception spreads, among broad layers of the population, that a given product is priced artificially high due to monopolistic practices and/or draconian legislation designed to protect those practices. But so long as the "gap" between the price of a legal product and a stolen one remains both small and, in the eyes of most people, a legitimate cost rather than gouging, 99% of them will prefer the legal product.'
The last time I checked, Baen were still in very busy business. The last time I checked, authors were most definitely _not_ running away from them in droves because they dared to offer stuff for free. The last time I checked they were just as hard to get published by as everybody else because they had just as many people bringing them new material (OK - so they didn't take mine. I'm not bitter :-P).
OK. Everybody stopped reading about ten pages back. I'll shut up now... :-).