David Pogue had a very thought-provoking column today about self-enforcement of IP compliance such as copying disks and Napster-style downloads. He explains how he normally surveys his audiences on their attitudes towards copyright, finding that at some point his audience ends their self-serving rationalization and admits that certain activities cross over the line into IP theft.
This didn't happen at a recent talk at a college campus:
I just could not find a spot on the spectrum that would trigger these kids' morality alarm. They listened to each example,looking at me like I was nuts.Anyone who teaches on a college campus has seen this coming, but Pogue's anecdote should wake up music (and now movie) industry execs into realizing that their days for building an ethos of legal downloads are numbered. And if this is the attitude of young people in the most IP-oriented economy in the world, this does not presage well for any IP-based business model.
Finally, with mock exasperation, I said, "O.K., let's try one that's a little less complicated: You want a movie oran album. You don't want to pay for it. So you download it." There it was: the bald-faced, worst-case example, without any nuance or mitigating factors whatsoever.
"Who thinks that might be wrong?" Two hands out of 500....
[I know] that the TV, movie and record companies' problems have only just begun. Right now, the customers who can't even *see* why file sharing might be wrong are still young. But 10, 20, 30 years from now, that crowd will be *everybody*. What will happen then?