I have been reading an excellent book by Chris Anderson, FREE: The future of radical pricing. The book describes how companies like Google can offer so much for free and the business models that are emerging from prices progressively moving closer to zero. I am not anywhere near being an economist, but the ideas create an interesting discussion. I teach in a college of journalism where this topic has become more of and issue because of the current situation with newspapers going out of business and moving online. This book fittingly is available free as an audio book.
An interesting section of FREE is the piracy chapter where Anderson tells about China and Brazil’s take on copyright. I think China has an interesting model for the music industry with 95% of the music on the market being free copies, but labels become event planners. The classic example in the US now a days is Radiohead’s In Rainbows where you buy the album online and give what you like. This in turn drives interest in the band making concerts and merchandise.
Along these lines there have been some great videos online about piracy and copyright law that I think are opening the conversation about this topic.
Larry Lessig on laws that choke creativityA documentary by Web activist and filmmaker Brett Gaylor RiP: A remix manifesto looks at issues of piracy and mash-ups. Watch it online or download it for what you think its worth!