Henry Blodget the disgraced former market analyst turned journalist has a great article over at Slate about the Chinese market for pirated software and entertainment.
Blodget highlights the arguments that undermine the media industry’s argument that piracy is the same as stealing. Some of the supposed damages from “lost sales” would never have been sales in the first place, this also applies to fake goods. Many of the people wearing fake Rolex or Ralph Lauren could never afford the rea deal anyway. Theft of a digital property is not the same as the theft of a real product When someone steals a physical product—a car, say, or a DVD from the shelves of Blockbuster—the owner has lost more than a potential sale; they have lost stock. When someone buys a copy of a digital product, however, for which the owner of the copyright has paid nothing, the owner has lost only a potential sale, which may or may not have value depending on the persons ability to pay the real price.
Blodget’s article also covers one of the token number people arrested for piracy was Randolph Guthrie, who sold bootlegs on eBay and ran threedollardvd.com, a bootleg supermarket.