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It is equally easy to say that record companies should start charging less for CD's because it's now so easy to steal the content, or because the measures necessary to protect the content from theft make the CD's less usable. I'm not the least bit surprised, though, that publishers don't take that viewpoint. A store with a high incidence of shoplifting isn't going to respond by lowering prices.

A couple of thoughts. First, it's always been possible to copy music. The only difference now is that copies are high-quality digital reproductions rather than analog tape. However, the improvement in quality is a slight red-herring. We were all happy once with vinyl and audio cassettes for our listening pleasure. Now we have more. The copying, however, has continued relentlessly.

Secondly, a store with a high incidence of shoplifting should take some responsibility for using a sales strategy which makes shoplifting easy. If you'd gone into a shop not so many decades ago, you wouldn't have been able to stroll around helping yourself to products from the shelves and filling up your basket. You would have asked the shopkeeper to fetch what you want from behind the counter, they would have brought it and you would have paid at the cash desk.

You don't leave your wallet on the front seat of your open top sports car while you go shopping. Similarly, if a shop wants to use an open-display strategy for moving consumer goods out of the door fast, then they have to take steps to guard against the minority criminal element.

As for file sharing, I still think it's incredible that so many old films have survived solely because pirate copies were made when they were first distributed. And in some cases, a film's popularity is solely due to *lack* of copy protection (eg. It's a Wonderful Life). Art versus commerce is a balancing act. Always has been, always will be.


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