Discussion of movies and ReelThoughts topics

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April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?" 
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Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
I think it's worth backing up a few steps to look at why so many people have been successfully convinced that downloading content is, indeed, tantamount to "theft." If the topic here is greed, I'd suggest that it also almost - but doesn't quite - apply to an industry that would rather demonize its potential customers than adapt to new technology. "Sloth" might be more appropriate.

The fact is, digital content is potentially profitable because it can be so endlessly duplicated without a loss in quality. But for the same reason, the product itself is worthless as a commodity. Of course I can sympathize with artists who struggle to monetize their talents. However, when the free market works properly (rather than being manipulated by oligopolies abusing the legal system and taxpayer money to secure their dominance) the advantage should go to creative and resourceful people who use new technology to their advantage and provide a genuinely useful product, rather than one whose value is artificially inflated.

If anything, the internet has been an unprecedented boon for independent artists, who can find a wide audience, build a fan base, advertise for free, and potentially launch a career without the mechanisms of the recording industry. And when a creative business becomes harder to dominate, and its blockbusters rule by lower margins, this is a huge benefit to consumers who value quality and variety over mass appeal. Make no mistake, when the industry starts rattling its sabers over "piracy," this is all it really means. Lucky for them, there are still enough suckers out there paying full price for its garbage.


Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:25 am
Post Re: April 1, 2009: "Greed Is Good?"
"The only thing driving the iTunes "re-structuring" is a desire for higher profit margins; the 30 cent increase does not mean the people responsible for making the music are getting more. Doing this in the midst of a bad economy strikes me as about the dumbest P.R. move possible."

I agree that it may be a bad PR move - it does LOOK greedy. However, if we are in a bad economy, doesn't that mean that companies (whether it's Apple, the record companies, or whoever) need to make higher profits in order to survive? Personally, I am hoping my job will do well and I'd be happy if my paycheck got bigger; why is it greedy for large corporations to work toward the same goal? I am no student of advanced economics, but it seems to me that a recession is when people lose their jobs and quality services and products are no longer able to be provided; therefore, if the company raising the prices is able to make more money, (aside from whether or not that money goes to the artist himself) might that not mean the company can then afford to NOT fire its employees, and keep working to provide services that we, the consumers, need/want? I believe that it is important to remember that a capitalist economy is not about what's "fair", (who decides what a fair price is anyway?) but what the marketplace dictates. In other words, if the price is too high, people will get that product somewhere else, forcing the company to lower their prices to attract more customers.

Anyway, that's my two cents. Mr Berardinelli, I very much enjoy reading your thoughts on movies (and other things)...I appreciate that even though I don't always agree with your point of view, you're never trying to shove your worldview or opinions down people's throats. Keep up the great writing.


Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:43 am
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