In the past years, filesharing has been claimed as being the death of the music and film industry. Maybe. But let's take a look at how they work and compare it to how programmers, that are distributing their work under a free license, do their job. 

The record and movie industry emerged in a time where it was virtually impossible to create, copy or share both kinds of media on your own. Thus, this industries specialised on recruiting talented people, called artists, and help them to create a product, either a movie or music. Back in that days, the audience had to take what this industry served, and did it.

At that time, this model just worked fine and everyone was happy with it. Really? No. If you were a talented musician who just didn't fit in with your style and music, it was almost impossible to become successful without being signed at a big label. Of course, being signed meant almost guaranteed success and financial security.

Today, the internet opens up ways no one dared to think of even a few years ago. Masses of data can be transmitted in a matter of minutes and stored on huge disk drives. This decentralised means of getting and creating information also impacts the way people search and retrieve information. There is no need for a newspaper subscription or a TV set. All you need is a broadband internet collection and you can access virtually any information existing digitally.

Decentralised also means that in contrary to old mass media, like television and newspapers, there is no single instance controlling the information accessible. Everyone can easily provide content, from wherever he wants to. There are no borders. No working system of censorship ( almost any censorship besides the plug-the-cable method can be broken using Tor or something similar ).

Of course, to some people this is threatening. Easy ways of copying and storing information. Home recording studios are almost built-in if you buy a computer these days. It's hard for an industry survive that was built under completely different conditions. There is not one homogenous mass to provide with music anymore. There are millions of people listening to exactly the music they want to. Independent artists, with no major label backing them, are finally having the chance to get some attention. And use it. 

The maybe only way for this industry to be a part of that new culture is by adapting. Adapting their way of distributing, of interacting with customers, of recruiting artists, of using the internet. But certainly not by trying to sue everyone who leverages the blessings of this new kind of experiencing culture. 

Most likely you've never heard of the French band SoKo. It's one of my favourite bands, but unfortunately i couldn't find it on iTunes or Amazon. Industry: 0, Internet: 1. And unless you tell me the story of an artist who actually got homeless because of filesharers stealing his content, I don't think there will be any reason this count will change the next time. 

As I promised, a short look on who programmers, who really keep the 2.0 world spinning, do their job. For fun. Really. Many friends of mine are just involved in projects for fun or improving their skills. Earning money is maybe sometimes a nice extra, but the motivation is something non-materialistic. An overwhelming share of the software used today is created by small groups of people with an idealistic attitude. No one writes articles about them, though their impact on your live maybe bigger than you expect, take Firefox or the Wikipedia alone, both based on voluntary work. And while some Blockbusters still get their crying companies $200 million, Wikipedia was hardly able to raise $6 million to ensure their ad-free service. But no one there tries to sue anyone. 

What's the difference? We are adapting and changing the way we work and think. And we are damn happy to share our work, and to be proud of it. Real musicians ( with a plastic share of less than 30% ) are quite the same i guess. Placing a microphone on stage without the explicit intent of sharing?