I was in Cairo during the 2010 Winter Olympics and I downloaded an NBC iPhone app which promised live coverage of the games. When I engaged the app I was informed I could not watch the Olympics—the most global assembly on earth—outside the U.S. The app was free, but I would have gladly paid $10 or $15 for live, mobile access to Olympics coverage in Egypt. I’m not sure who was ultimately responsible for this decision or who specifically suffered from it (in the end I paid nothing and didn’t watch a single event in Vancouver or any ads pitched by promoters), but money was lost.
It is true that money is being lost to digital piracy, but plenty is also lost to narrow thinking. Moral indignation won’t counteract global piracy; only convenient and rationally priced offerings will. One commenter on a blog post that Bilton references in his book put it brilliantly: “Lesson to content providers: You make it easy to own, or we’ll make it easy to own.”