Understanding Free Content

Content is an unlimited resource. People can now make perfect copies of digital content for free. That’s why they expect content to be free — because it is in fact free. That is GOOD.

Think of “content” — culture — as water. Where water flows, life flourishes.

content is free, like water in a river
Containers — objects like books, DVDs, hard drives, apparel, action figures, and prints — are not free. They are a limited resource. No one expects these objects to be free, and people voluntarily pay good money for them.

containers are not free
Think of “containers” — books, discs, hard drives — as jugs and vessels. These containers add utility to and increase the value of the water. If you can get water for free in the public river, great — that doesn’t reduce the value of vessels. Quite the contrary: when rivers flow, the utility and value of water vessels increases.

free vs not free; use the unlimited resource to sell the limited resource
 
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2 comments to Understanding Free Content

  • Sophie

    I know the topic isn’t right, but THANK YOU for Sita Sings Blues. It’s amazing, astonishing, surprising and beautiful. I almost cry when woman with hearts dance to sita’s fire

  • Drakar

    Nina, I couldn’t agree any more with the sentiment and logic behind this article. I’ve been saying similar things for years, particularly in defense of “illegal” music downloading (thanks to “illegal” music downloading, for example, I own about 100 more CDs than I would have otherwise… and the RIAA would sue me for this). You have, of course, said (and illustrated) it much more eloquently and comprehensively than I have ever been able to. This is one of the biggest reasons I’ve been so invested in Sita (other than that it’s a fantastic movie).

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