The Insidious Cost of Ringtone Piracy

Chris Higgins

I've covered the brouhaha over laws like SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA. But in this five-minute TED Talk, Rob Reid brilliantly explains what I had been missing all along: Copyright Math™. By going through a series of claims by entertainment industry shills Copyright Mathematicians™, Reid reveals the shockingly absurd "truth" about media piracy: according to current US law, a typical iPod can hold $8 billion in stolen songs.

This talk is fun, smart, and just a tad reductive. Can you spare five minutes for a guy making fun of entertainment industry claims about the cost of piracy? Especially if that guy was involved in the creation of the Rhapsody music streaming service, and thus knows what he's talking about? Yeah, I thought so:

Reid is subtly promoting his new novel, Year Zero, about which deranged millionaire John Hodgman wrote:

“Can you imagine The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy combined with The Social Network? Of course you cannot: because only Rob Reid can. Hilarious, provocative, and supersmart, Year Zero is not merely the first IPSF (intellectual property SF) epic ever written, it is also a plain brilliant novel to be enjoyed in perpetuity, in the known universe and all unknown universes yet to be discovered.” —John Hodgman, resident expert, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart