Saturday, December 25, 2010

19th-Century Internet Piracy

Brian Clevinger has a really interesting mini-essay on the piracy of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds in the 19th century. You should just go read it, but here's the conclusion:
The lesson here isn’t about who was right and who was wrong and how much an author’s feelings ought to be hurt. 
The lesson is that people will seek the easiest ways to find original works. Sometimes that will be piracy. Those same people will then seek the easiest ways to support the authors of the pirated original works they cherish. 
It has been this way since forever. The internet’s just making it easier to find those original works through piracy than in previous eras. But it also makes it easier for pirates to support those authors.

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