Matt Asay is my hero…

… for saying what few others will, about distribution channels for popular media:

“My desire for convenience shouldn’t have trumped New Line Cinema’s desire for control and profit. I had no right — legal or moral — to pirate the movie to satisfy my own whims. I was wrong, and that wrong could well end up ensuring that fewer ‘Dark Knights’ and ‘Fellowships’ get created. As consumers, whether of movies, software, or other digital goods, we do ourselves a disservice when we steal.”

I’m less concerned about abstract “legal rights” or “moral rights” than I am about practical sustainability. When one party in a transaction unilaterally dictates terms to the other, things don’t usually work out as well in the long run. I think we need to increase the total number of choices available to both creators and consumers, so that they have more options, more tools to reach agreement with each other.

Or, as Matt says: “As technology providers, we need to foster new, convenient, and safe technologies and, hence, business models for content providers to make their products available online as wares, not warez… [otherwise] we may well get what we pay for.”