Piracy is not going to stop nor should it. It’s a good thing!
Piracy stems from the idea that information should be free: no cost. When information is free it flows freely; people make better decisions and we all end up getting better stuff. That’s not a guess. That’s a fact. When people freely share ideas we get renaissances, cultural surges that inevitably lead to radical social and technological advancements.
We shouldn't be using the word Piracy. We should call it what it is: sharing. Sharing is the free flow of ideas and stuff. The people who have a vested interest in maintaining the current model call it sharing piracy in order to demonize it and make it distasteful to society as a whole. The fact is sharing is a better model.
Stay with me here because it’s about to get fun.
There is no money in Star Trek. There are no poor. There are no hungry. There is no such thing as economic equality. In Star Trek everything is free. The replicator can make anything anyone wants, for free, leaving everyone with the time to pursue whatever intrigues them.
That may seem like a distant future but it’s not. It’s happening now! Sharing is the start of it.
It started when the idea of scarcity began to fade.
Computers made that possible. Among the first files shared were scientific ideas. That’s where the Internet started, a collection of university computers that were connected to each other to share ideas. That slowly transitioned into sharing software. The next easiest thing to digitize were books. Computers store text. Books are texts. And thus, books were the first copyrighted material to be easily copied and distributed digitally.
As computing power increased, larger things began to be digitized. And, next on the commerce block was music. A song is a small file, and it was one of the early things to go digital. With that shift, the music industry changed. That shift was called Napster.
Now, it’s movies. That’s what I do for a living. I made a movie called ALGORITHM. I released ALGORITHM for free for 24 hours. Within a week, my website had 232,000 hits. ALGORITHM is now up on the various torrent sites and it’s being freely shared.
I was mad when it first happened because all those views only translated to about $2,500, which is next to nothing for a movie. I was mad when my tech-savvy friends were stealing my movie and not paying for it. I was mad that I constantly heard about people who had seen the movie all around the world, but that I still couldn’t afford to even pay myself back for what I’d spent making ALGORITHM.
Then I finally just sucked it up and realized that piracy isn’t going to stop. It’s going to keep going. People are going to keep sharing my movie.
I decided to adapt, to continue the lessons I had heard about in The Lean Startup. I chose to fail fast and iterate.
Youtube gives me the most coverage across the world with the smallest upfront cost to me. It also allows me to make money with ads while still, technically, giving my movie away for free.
I still need money, for now.
Here’s why: the way I make a living has shifted to the Star Trek model, my need to pay for food and to pay rent hasn’t. The rest of the world has yet to catch up. But it will. I’m going to help it. I am making ALGORITHM easily accessible to the world on Sunday December 7, 2014, at 12:01am Pacific time. I will redirect my website www.thehackermovie.com so it points to the movie. I'm making it very easy to find.
The shift from the present to the Star Trek future is happening now. It’s not going to stop with movies. The next shift is in making small physical objects. It’s 3D printing. That technology is just beginning. In this early stage we can print statues, houses, cars, food, even medical devices. It’s not going to be long before every physical thing is free.
And that’s a future I want. I want to be a part of that future. I'm going to help make it a reality.
When everything is free there won’t be any poor. There won’t be any wealth inequalities. There won’t be people starving because anyone can just print food. People won’t go into debt for the rest of their life to go to college because we’ll have equal access to information and art. There will be no tricking the ignorant because people won’t be ignorant because information will be free.
I’m crazy enough to believe I can help change the world. And the world I want is when the future is free!
[Edited: for continuity, spelling, and participant inclusion at 11:24am Pacific on 12-05-2014]