Why Pay More?

MCMThursday, May 26, 2005
This post is from a version of my blog with inconsistent timestamps: evidently I was very good at defining 'modified' dates, but not 'created' dates. As such, I can't be sure when the content was actually written. Sorry!

Some things are hard to explain, and the hardest of things to explain is why you should pay for something free. I'm probably an odd person that way: I pay street performers if I enjoy their work. I used to think more people did that, but maybe I'm delusional.

Anyway, during a conversation about the BBS Documentary I've been a-waiting for (Silicon Tundra rules! w00t!), I think I maybe expressed myself semi-clearly for the first time... so I shall write my revised version below, but also check out the original for context.

... just because you CAN get it for free, doesn't mean you SHOULD. If you watch the first hour and say "this isn't for me", then that's fine... but if you spend five hours of your time enjoying it... freely-distributable or not, you should consider paying for it.

You're thinking of the "enforced" morals that Hollywood pushes... I'm talking about your basic citizen's morals, where you pay for what you enjoy because it's the right thing to do.

I'm not saying you NEED to pay for it, I'm saying you need to clear your mind of all the push-and-pull nonsense you're used to with movies and DVDs, and think of it as "you and this guy's documentary". Evaluate and proceed.

Most of us here are relatively well-off (we can afford video games and Sith screenings at midnight). If we don't start really supporting our own community (both in entertainment and software) we're going to relegate ourselves to hobbyist producers, rather than a professional alternative market. Here's someone who put his money where his mouth is, and we should strongly consider following suit.

I reckon this says it best. All of us geeks say we have the MPAA and the RIAA and their goons, but we turn around and feed them our money. Of course, there aren't nearly as many good indie-type productions out there to support instead of the latest Universal release, but if you spend your money only on the **AA products you know you want, why not spend the leftovers on some alternative media?

Not just entertainment, either. If you have $20/month to spare, drop it into a FOSS project. They can use it. If enough people did that, more people could work full-time on their projects, and the quality would vastly improve. Hell, chances are some of the people reading this work on FOSS in their spare time... if your project could guarantee you regular income, would you rather do it instead of your day job?

We're an alternative market right now, and the only time we get anywhere significant is when a company like IBM supports us. We have the cash flow to support ourselves, and I think it's time we tried.

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