In his entry The Fan Mail That An Author Wants To Get, Nat referenced my assertion that obscurity is a greater threat to authors than piracy. That was from a piece I wrote in 2002, entitled Piracy is Progressive Taxation. It contained seven lessons from my experience as a print and online publisher:
- Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy.
- Piracy is progressive taxation.
- Customers want to do the right thing, if they can.
- Shoplifting is a bigger threat than piracy.
- File sharing networks don’t threaten book, music, or film publishing. They threaten existing publishers.
- “Free” is eventually replaced by a higher-quality paid service.
- “There’s more than one way to do it.”
I’ve written more recently about the problems of obscurity in some of my postings related to the controversy over the Google Library project, but I think my P2P-era essay is still extremely relevant.