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« Reverse DMCA | Main | Your children are not safe from the RIAA »

November 11, 2004


Free is not leeching. Sure, tell a bunch of law students that there will be free pizza, and predict whether you will have an audience.

The music industry is as much to blame as every other money making industry out there. We are conditioned by the marketing around us. Tell people they get something for free and they will pay attention. It draws people in. It makes them pay attention. A lot of companies look at the cost of giving something away for free, and then evaluate how much more they will make as a result. The fact so many companies give product away is evidence that the marketing strategy, as a whole, works.

Chipotle is a good example. Give away a bunch of free burritos to your target audience, as their San Diego stores did yesterday. You get a line of 75-100 people filling your parking lot. People driving by notice (hopefully they didn't focus on all of the Ugg boots and skirts, but that's another story). And now you have 1000 members of your target audience that know where your 6 San Diego stores are located. They had no idea before. And now they do. And there will be more sales, in the long run, as a result.

I think that the music industry discounts the POSITIVE effect this has on them.

Hey, guys,

The movement isn't limited to colleges. In fact, I'm pretty close to having a chapter at my high school. I encourage anyone who reads this to try to make a chapter (if there isn't already one) where they live or go to school. People have been talking about making groups in their communities and such too. The movement is definitely gaining steam and is branching out more and more.

Nice post by the way,


Some highlights from the Free Culture Manifesto:

We believe that culture is a two-way affair, about participation, not merely consumption. We will not sit at the end of a one-way media tube and buy things until we look like the people on Friends. With the Internet and other advances, the technology exists for a new paradigm of creation, one where anyone can be an artist, and anyone can succeed, based not on their industry connections, but on their merit.

The freedom to build upon the past is necessary for creativity and innovation to thrive. We will use and promote our cultural heritage in the public domain.

We will fight to make everyone understand the value of our common wealth, evangelizing for Linux and the open-source model.

We won't allow the RIAA and the MPAA to cling to obsolete modes of distribution through bad legislation and market dominance.

The future is in our hands; we must build a technological and cultural movement to defend the digital commons.

And the Free Culture Movement is not just limited to music and art; the Biotech Flyer speaks of corporations patenting agricultural techniques that farmers have developed in their own families over generations - depriving these farmers of using their own methods to farm. If that makes somene think "wtf, that's not cool," then they can print up a couple flyers and plaster them on their school to educate others and get more people to join the Free Culture Movement! (Did that last sentence really deserve an exclamation mark? Perhaps not - it's just that I'm easily excited.)

I think the Free Culture movement can be summarized best with this quote:

Historically, copyright law has been crafted by lobbyists for powerful copyright owners who represent the software, music and movie industries...consumers have not had a place at the bargaining table, and that will continue until they demand a seat.

And these Free Culture groups are demanding a seat. I say they also make a Free Culture March on the Free Culture Senate and demand Hatch's Free Culture Head on a Free Culture Platter, but I guess it's baby steps first. Free Culture Baby Steps first.

Probably not a shocker but I tend to disagree with your leeching/free analysis. I think you make a valid point that "free" doesnt necessarily denote a losing prospect for the company giving away the "free" stuff. BUT there is a huge difference b/w Chipotle that CHOOSES to give away food for a day to attract customers, and consumers taking as "free" something which the company does not intend to give away (copyrighted songs). It would be like if USD students started taking burritos (ignore rivalrousness) from Chipotle with the practical certainty that they would not be returning paying customers and then tried to rationalize it by saying, "dont be mad in the long run you will thank us." The positive effect on profitability for copyright owners is zero.

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