Why Piracy Is Good For Innovation

When we talk about piracy practices we often just look at the negative sides to it. Most of the time it is presented as stealing, as being in conflict with existing laws, or it is depicted as unfair competition. In the recent Gallo-report that was adopted by the European Parliament it was even stated that continued intellectual property infringement, often referred to as piracy, will lead to a fade-out of innovation. While this is one way to look at it, this post aims to illuminate another side of piracy and shows that it can also be regarded as useful source for market insight, a creator of new markets, and an inducement for innovation.

The term piracy often refers to the unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted or patented information such as music, software, and movies. Therefore, most of the time piracy has the connotation of stealing and is looked upon as an unethical practice. Because of this negative connotation, piracy at first sight seems to have little to do with legitimate business. However, taking a closer look at piracy practices throughout history reveals that piracy has had a profound impact on the emergence of new business models, technology, and innovation. Look for example at how theAEnglish radio pirates in the 1960s helped to establish English pop radio.

In the stacks of books, articles, and reports that have been written about piracy however, little can be found about the positive aspects of piracy. The insights ofDavid Y. Choi andAAdrian Johns on which the following is based, therefore provide a refreshing vision on the innovative forces of piracy. Without engaging in the moral discussion on piracy, we can also ask the question: what can be learned from piracy?

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Posted: November 13th, 2010
at 2:08pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: crime,development

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