This is what dinosaurs do: they stomp on things. They move slowly. Their brains are too small for their massive bodies. They lumber. They shriek at the sky. They go extinct.
Many people have asked me to write about SOPA on Kotaku, and I understand the reasons why. Standing up against tyranny is important. Very important. My opinion was simple, the last thing the world needed was another article/video/post/tweet about a situation that was clearly black and white: they are wrong and we are right. SOPA is a terrible piece of legislation written by dinosaurs and it should not, will not, stand.
What interests me more is content and how we consume it. How will we consume it in the future? How will it be delivered to us?
How will we pay for it?
SOPA is a dinosaur’s response to the slow burn collapse of business models that have existed since media was first sold. You transfer content on to something physical and you sell that thing. If you’re smart, you sell it to them three or four times. I have Star Wars on VHS. I have Star Wars on DVD. I assume, in the near future, I will own Star Wars on Blu-ray.
But we’re fast approaching a point where I will never have to pay money for Star Wars again if I don’t want to. In fact, we’ve hit a point where it’s actually easier for me to not pay for the media I want. It’s easier for me to pirate content than pay for it. Much easier.
This is what dinosaurs do: they stomp on things. If I buy a PC game, if I pay money for it, I have to deal with DRM. If I pirate that game I don’t. If I buy a movie on Blu-ray I have to sit through unskippable trailers for movies I don’t want to watch and, hilariously, suffer advertisements ordering me not to pirate content. If I torrent said movie I don’t have to deal with this.
Seriously, what is wrong with this picture? You advertise to consumers who don’t pay for content, not those who do. You tell people who pirate to stop pirating, not the people who have just bought what you’re selling.
This is what dinosaurs do: they shriek at the sky.
Why not make it easier for consumers to buy your content? Why not price it reasonably? Why not make it easier for consumers to buy your content than it is to pirate it? People will come; in droves.
It’s easier to buy video games on Steam at a reasonable price, so I buy video games from Steam. It’s easier for me to find obscure music on iTunes, so I buy music from iTunes. It was easier for me to purchase, then download, Louis CK’s latest stand up direct from his site, so I did exactly that.
We don’t need to change, you do. You need to provide us with the alternative. You need to sell us your product — that’s how this whole business thing works. You sell us stuff, you sell it to us in a way that is convenient, you convince us of its value. You don’t introduce bills that crush our abilities to communicate with one another, you don’t sell us software that impedes our ability to consume your product, you don’t arrest us in our homes.
Find a way to sell us the content we want to buy — quickly — because, if you don’t, someone else will. Speed up. Surprise me. You have quick, easy access to more consumers than you ever imagined possible, but instead of taking advantage you’re doing your level best to destroy this beautiful thing — this lightning rod for commerce. Lumbering across the landscape, your brains too small for your humongous body; lashing out, fighting to survive in the least effective way imaginable.
This is what Dinosaurs do: they move slowly, they stomp on things. Learn to move faster, or accept your fate, and do what all dinosaurs are destined to do eventually: go extinct.