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O'Reilly Media's VP for Content Strategy thinks of piracy as just another marketing expense

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Mike Hendrickson, O'Reilly Media's Vice President for Content Strategy, thinks that piracy is a cost of doing business, and that new DRM technologies are a "Neanderthal-like reaction."

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tarsier pirate
tarsier pirate

For content authors, obscurity is the real problem, while piracy isn't much more than an "early-stage marketing investment," says Mike Hendrickson, O’Reilly Media’s Vice President for Content Strategy. In an opinion piece entitled DRM-Free Day, forever, the publishing exec goes as far as to identify with the pirates:

"I am pretty confident that if you did a demographic study of the people who grab torrents and unauthorized content off the Internet, the majority of them would not be economically able to pay the prices on the products. Another data point to think about is when you were in college, was the money you spent on books a good experience as you saw your beer, food, date, clothes, and incidental money fritter away on books?"

We’ve said before that most DRM is a waste of time, and while there are definitely differences between industries, our anecdotal evidence agrees with Hendrickson that DRM probably doesn't do much to deter copyright infringement. It’s rare to see a company with as much at stake as O’Reilly taking such a forward-thinking position on something as contentious as piracy.