Right Versus Pragmatic

An edition of the oft-poignant webcomic The Oatmeal has been circulating like crazy lately. It depicts the difficulties one faces when trying to find a way to legally purchase media. Most people want to pay others for their contributions, but television, music, and movie distributors inexplicably make that process painful.

Andy Ihnatko made an excellent counterpoint (over-emphasis removed):

The world does not owe you Season 1 of “Game Of Thrones” in the form you want it at the moment you want it at the price you want to pay for it. If it’s not available under 100% your terms, you have the free-and-clear option of not having it.

This is absolutely correct. Just because something exists is not argument enough to entitle you to it. But we don’t live in an era where that becomes impossible. Marco Arment has the level-headed response to this:

Relying solely on yelling about what’s right isn’t a pragmatic approach for the media industry to take. And it’s not working. It’s unrealistic and naïve to expect everyone to do the “right” thing when the alternative is so much easier, faster, cheaper, and better for so many of them.

Precisely. What the iTunes Store proved is that, while there are people who are cheap and refuse to pay for anything, there are those who just wanted a simple way to buy music online. Most people don’t mind paying for something, especially when they can get it at their convenience for a reasonable price. End-of.