If Instagram is the teen-age bedroom wall of the Internet, then Pinterest ($PINS) is the scrap book.
This would be fine, so long as most of the content was original. But it’s not. It’s a model that rewards image theft.
So, it’s not unfounded to say that $PINS’ IPO is akin to having The Pirate Bay IPO on the NYSE. At least TPB is honest about their intentions.
Let’s do a quick thought experiment. Suppose TPB did IPO, what would the reaction be? Hollywood lobby rage, for starters. And that would likely be enough to stop it, in its tracks.
But if it’s only photography, then who cares, right? Particularly if said images come from amateurs, students, or obscure local pros.
If the market is telling us that it’s all good to profit from unlicensed image copies, then end copyright. Drop intellectual monopoly. Open-source everything. Reform laws to fit the 21st Century, at least.
But that would need a bottom-up movement that top-down legislators responded to. Bottom-ups have advocates and practitioners, but not pocket-stuffing lobbyists. It would also need legislators who weren’t intellectual and moral bankrupts. Fat chance.
Unfortunately, we’re likely to get IP laws, that serve illiberal interests. None of them will help independent artists. This is the dilemma, when abstract universalism and fractal localism are in conflict. So what are people left with?
Creative Commons and the some rights reserved option is a place to start. But questions about its efficacy are reasonable.
There are no easy answers, other than to follow Warren Buffet’s suggestion to never buy an IPO… particularly if it’s a digital scrap book of stolen images, with a fluffed market cap of $13.7B on $-0.20 EPS.
Bubbles, we’re blowing bubbles.