Monday, December 12, 2005

Five Finger Discount

I did a little Christmas shopping this weekend with my dear friend Paula. We've known each other for something like 14 years and she can read me like a book.

So we're at Fairview Mall and I picked up a roll of wrapping paper at the Bay. Paula was waiting for me just inside the mall and as I approached her she looked up at me and said, "what's wrong with this picture?" I had no idea. "You're sitting?" I offered. "No, what's wrong with this picture?" she asked again, indicating the roll in my hands.

It took a few seconds for the synapses to start firing straight and I realized: I hadn't paid for the roll.

Here I was, in the mall, beyond the Bay entrance, with unpaid merchandise in my hands.


I turned around, walked back into the store, found a cashier and paid for it.


This story came to mind today when I read one of Cory's latest pro-P2P posts.

Here's a quote:
I wonder what fraction of unauthorized P2P service users would cite hatred of the litigation-happy bullies of the music industry and fear of DRM crippleware as their reasons for avoiding the authorized stores?

That's nice. Meanwhile, I wonder what fraction of unauthorized P2P service users would cite an unwillingness to pay for something they can get for free as their reason for avoiding the authorized stores?

Memo to Cory: offer a solution or shut your yap. Yes, DRM is evil, yes, attacking your client base is stupid. But these are reactions to the problem, they are not the cause. Don't cite the Sony rootkit issue as a reason people flocked to Napster many moons ago.

No business model exists that will get morally-flexible folks to pay for something that they can get elsewhere for free. Period.

So, tell me Cory, if DRM weren't an issue, would you walk back into the store and pay for the roll?

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