Internet piracy won’t stop if the prices remain out of reach

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, I’m 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 occurs in cases where end customers can’t afford to get the product legally because it’s expensive. Most people don’t dream about stealing from creators, 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.

Those were physical mediums, such as CDs and VHS tapes, that are relatively easy to identify and relatively hard to copy. Now we’re talking about a picture on the Internet, that is as hard to copy as it is hard to hit Cmd+C/Cmd+V on your keyboard.

Obviously, the point of this rant is not the Dilbert comic, but what this comic represents. Amazing art that is virtually not accessible to share or reproduce in any form, even non-commercially.

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