Did you know that one Dilbert comic strip will cost you a whopping $35? Yes, that’s right. $35 for sharing a funny image in your non-commercial blog. The prices for commercial usage are even higher but that’s fine and can be justified since the image becomes an investment. But how can we justify that price for a personal blog?
Don’t get me wrong, we’re all fully aware that the creator’s work should be paid. I’m a strong proponent of fair compensation for all products and services. I also have no problem with the freedom of setting a price for your product. In the end, the owner is free to do whatever comes to mind.
I’m talking about the accessibility of those products. Internet piracy inevitably appears in locations and industries where end customers can’t afford to get the product legally. People don’t dream about stealing from you, they don’t say “man, I enjoy stealing so much I’d like to do this again and again”.
Do you remember those news reports from Eastern Europe in the 90’s when piracy was an overwhelming problem? Guess what happens when destroyed economies and most people living beyond the poverty line match weak intellectual property protection. When people have no chance of acquiring the content legally they will be looking for other ways.
If food suddenly becomes too expensive you better guard those supermarkets with some military force. If sex becomes banned don’t be surprised about the increased number of sexual assaults. That’s nature. That’s what made our ancestors survive. It’s hardcoded into our DNA. Are you surprised?
Of course, we don’t depend on the next Marvel movie as much as food and sex. Well, maybe some of us do. But digital content became so integrated into our lives that it’s hard to draw a line between what is essential and what isn’t.