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December 12, 2002

O'Reilly on “Piracy”

“Our customers are all crooks” seems to be the motto of the members of the RIAA and the MPAA. “Without DRM, and unless we can crush online filesharing, no one will buy our stuff.”

Tim O'Reilly sees things differently. He’s a successful publisher, who’s embraced online distribution of his books, without worrying about DRM. In his experience, shoplifting is a bigger crimp on his revenues than online “piracy”.

The vast majority of writers and artist, says O'Reilly, stand to benefit more than they stand to lose from online sharing of their work (a point others have argued too). But unlike many, he sees a future for publishers, too, in the world of online distributions. Word-of-mouth doesn’t scale, so someone has to serve as the middleman to bring together millions of customers with thousands of writers and artists. And, as any cable TV subscriber will tell you, people will embrace a feature-rich pay service in preference to a feature-poor, but free alternative.

But O'Reilly doesn’t just talk the talk. He walks the walk, and makes money at it too. Read the whole article here.

Posted by distler at December 12, 2002 10:34 AM

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I had the opportunity to meet him several years ago. He’s an awesome guy. Truly a geek’s geek. :)

Posted by: swansong on December 18, 2002 2:46 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

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