Piracy Is Not Competition

In the February 27 issue of National Review, Reihan Salam and Patrick Ruffini argue that Hollywood lobbyists have been more successful than they deserve to be, especially by nearly passing the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Most of their article’s main points are unobjectionable: SOPA was problematic; the Internet is a wondrous development that should not be overregulated; Hollywood has received unseemly financial favors from various levels of government; and copyright law has been needlessly expanded at the hands of the entertainment industry.

Salam and Ruffini are also correct that the Web has thrown numerous established businesses, from brick-and-mortar retailers to newspapers to the U.S. Postal Service, into turmoil, forcing them to confront highly efficient online competition. They are right, too, that the government should let the market work its magic in these cases. But they are wrong to include the threat Hollywood faces from Internet piracy in this trend.

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