Free is good but is it best?

Free stuff comes with other stuff – maybe more problems than the price warranted?

Another thought provoking post from Mitch Joel over at Six Pixels of Separation: The problem with Free.  People don’t value what they get for free and without effort.

OK, so here’s the rub.  The Pirate Party and their ever increasing pool of supporters are shouting the opposite message.  Two of their three issues are: (1) non commercial copying and use should be free; (2) abolish patents (which ‘kill people every day’).  (The third issue is respect for the right to privacy.)

So what’s it to be?  Who’s right?

Someone involved in developing life saving drugs for people with incurable diseases commented to me today in response to this: ‘sure, everything that is everyone else’s should be free, but when it’s their own stuff, maybe they’d have a different view’.  We had a brief discussion about what would happen if it was tangible property, like a car, that we were talking about here.  The comment was ‘How would they feel if I just came and took their car whenever I wanted to’.  Someone else in the room commented – well they wouldn’t have one, because they would always be using everyone else’s.

Maybe there’s something in all of this – what do you think?


One Comment on “Free is good but is it best?

  1. Hi Duncan,The problem is that these guys don’t understand property as something intangible.They see something as bits and bytes, and that, for them, is no property.There is a excerpt form Matrix I really love in these moments: What is real?On free… I will not reduce it to a trend that it will go away.Is a business model, with all the risks. The problem is how to make people value the plus for what you might be paid, when they are in the majority satisfied with the free?Its a problem of economic choice. And piracy is mainly a problem of market failures.Its funny how they say patents are bad when patent databases are the biggest support to promote innovation.Like that person said, they don’t care until it hurts them.Best,

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