Start-Up Plans to Make Journalism Pirates Pay Up
New York Times, July 26, 2009
You gotta love this new business model being proposed by Attributor: Make the ad networks pay for pirated content! After failing to get enough publishers to pay for the service, Attributor has decided it might be easier to get money out of the ad networks. More power to them. While I can't argue with the fact that ad networks are making money at the expense of publishers, I am bothered by the fact that this business model rewards the sins of the sinners.
Shouldn't the actual culprits -- the sites that are pirating the content -- be held accountable? Not with this model. The story headline is misleading. The pirates are not having to pay anything. In fact, the story suggests that it is perfectly fine for sites to copy content with impunity. Someone has to pay, but surely not the people who stole it in the first place. They did the publisher a favor. It's those money-grubbing search engines and ad networks that are to blame.
I've suggested this strategy to my son, who has a bad habit of collecting speeding tickets. The next time he is caught speeding, he should have the state patrol send the ticket to Chevron. After all, it was Chevron who fueled his car and they are the ones who have the money! My son is a poor college student. He shouldn't have to pay. Screw the oil companies. Screw the ad networks. They made us do it.