- May 10, 2008
- Reaction score
- Dallas, TX
Hielor;bt826 said:The fundamental "problem" here is that computers allow us to make a perfect copy of something for almost no effort at all. If a song/picture/story/program shows up for distribution, any number of people can grab it for free.
Yup. Software development costs are O(1) with relation to the number of copies produced. Traditional goods are approximately O.
This means that "intellectual producers" who produce items that can be copied thusly (artists, musicians, software developers, writers) might no longer be able to be paid for their work--if it's available for free, why would you pay for it? If the intellectual producers can't be paid for that kind of work, they need to do something that they can be paid for (since modern society kind of requires money in order to function), and this naturally translates into less time to produce quality songs/pictures/stories/programs/whatever.
People who enjoy taking things for free claim that it's the industry's fault for not adapting to a new climate and coming up with a business model that isn't affected by piracy.
I think the general feeling is that it's unfair to charge per copy when production costs are pretty much constant. That's why I like the guild/bounty scheme. It allows developers to be paid a fair fee for their work that is nonetheless constant in the number of copies sold. The big question is whether one could get enough people participating to make it feasible.
I myself am willing enough to pay on a per-copy basis for quality software. It's just that oftentimes I'm able to find competing freeware products that do the same or a better job at what I'm trying to do.
Except, the result of that is the "software as a service" model, where you need to pay subscription fees for continued access to your stuff, and the items are essentially worthless without the centralized access.
Except that the software as a service model is a step in pretty much the opposite direction from any actual solution to the problem. It's even worse than O (you've got an extra factor, t, the amount of time a user spends using the software as a factor of the cost as well), and negates some of the biggest factors that make personal computing and networking as powerful as they are.
It's the tactics that the software industry uses to try to enforce their copyrights that are driving me to the free / open source crowd more than anything else. DRM and "software as a service" are driving me away from software that I'd otherwise be willing enough to pay per-copy for.
If developers can make money selling per-copy, great. I've purchased software per-copy before, and, if they don't load it up with too much DRM, or drop it entirely in favor of "as a service", I'll probably pay for per-copy software again in the future. If developers *can't* make money per copy, they'd better find a better business model than per-copy with DRM or "as a service", because I won't pay for either of those.
Not to mention that even having purchased some developers software legally, you always have to look carefully through the EULA for such phrasing as "I hereby sell my eternal soul to [insert developer here]". If a program says "This program is licensed under the GPL v. 3", I know that I really don't have to worry as long as I'm not mucking around in the source. It wasn't always the case, and it's not the case with all proprietary developers, but at this point one of the big draws of free software for me is that it's just a whole lot more relaxing.