Thursday, February 10, 2005

Paging Gary Becker?

The anti-copyright crusaders at Boing Boing need to take a class on the economics of crime. There's nothing wrong with having higher penalties for one type of content theft than for another if one is much more difficult to police. If your chance of being prosecuted for downloading is 1/1,000,000 and for shoplifting 1/1,000, then for both crimes to have the same expected sanction, the penalty for downloading should be 1,000 times harsher than the penalty for shoplifting.
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