It’s rare for an artist – be it a musician, author or filmmaker – to admit they’re perfectly fine with piracy. It’s even rarer for them to facilitate it via their own website while ruminating on just why it isn’t such an evil thing.
Novelist Paulo Coelho does both.
Back in 2007, Coelho launched the aptly named “Pirate Coelho” blog. Since then, he’s humorously dressed it up as if it were a true illicit online venture: references to the group in updates, comments about the writer written in third person and brazen hyperlinks that lead to free copies of his published work. One entry even offers support for infamous Swedish site The Pirate Bay.
Coelho shared his thoughts on piracy in a post last week, opening with an anecdote.
“When I was active on Myspace (I am not anymore), ‘Fly me to the moon’ (Frank Sinatra) was deleted from my profile. So who deleted the song?” he asked. “The answer is simple: greed and ignorance. Greed that does not understand that this world has changed. Ignorance that thinks that, if the music is available for free, people are not going to buy the CD.”
Coelho’s novel (excuse the pun) approach holds to one simple caveat: “You can reproduce them anywhere provided that you name the author.”
Despite urging web denizens to share his work freely and buy if they enjoy it, Coelho maintains there has been no ill effect. On the contrary, the author claims a complimentary boost: “I am selling more books now than ever.”
Though certainly uncommon, such a sentiment is shared by others within the creative fields.
Alternative musician Moby offered strong words to his own industry recently: “reinvent or die.” The producers behind Australian horror movie “The Tunnel” crowd-sourced the production via a website and managed to work out a unique deal with Paramount that will see the film released officially on DVD the same day it’s available for free on BitTorrent.
Coehlo sees art as something worth sharing, and not merely a product:
If you buy an orange and eat it, you have to buy another one, and then it makes sense that oranges should not be given for free, because the consumer consumes the product. Art is about beauty. Music is about beauty. If I visit a page and I like the music, I am sure I will buy the CD, because I want to know more about the work of the artist.
And though the blog invokes a name often used to label criminals, Coelho believes in a kinder, softer side of piracy.
“The intention of Pirate Coelho (as well as my free web books) is first and foremost share thoughts with people who cannot afford buying books,” Coelho said. “In the case that you download a book and like it, please buy the book so we can tell the industry that sharing content is not life threatening to the book business.” (Via TechDirt)
What do you think of Coelho’s ideas? Are they brilliant or crazy? A sign of things to come? Let us know in the comment section.