Posted on Sep 22, 2004
The “We Lied to You” letter.
Dear Content Producers and Owners:
We lied to you. In the golden 80s and 90s we told you
micropayments and content protection would work; that
you would be able to charge minuscule amounts of money
whenever someone listened to your music or watched your
movie. We told you untruths which we well knew would never
work – after all, we would’ve never used them ourselves.
Instead, we wrote things like Kazaa and Gnutella, and all other
evil P2P applications to get the stuff free.
We told you these things so that you would finance the things
we really wanted to build, not the things that you wanted to be
built. We knew all along that DRM schemes do not work, and
we knew that whatever we create can be broken by us. We
don’t care anymore, because your money made us bigger than
Look at us: every year, we churn out more computer games
than your entire industry is worth. You know how we do it? We l
ike our customers. We don’t treat them like potential criminals,
and try to make our products do less. We invent new things like
online role-playing -games, where the money does not come from
duplication of bits (which cannot be stopped, regardless of your
DRM scheme) but from providing experiences that the people
We saw that you were old and weak. So we took advantage of it:
told you things that you wanted to hear so we could kick you in
the head in twenty years. Some of us told you that the future is
going to be interactive – what did you do? You started to think how
to make interactive movies (CD-I, anyone?), which is not what it
really means, while we wrote games and tried to understand the
new mediums, not how to bolt it on onto old things.
We lied to you. And we apologize for that, but it was for the greater
good. So we’re not the least bit sorry.
Signed: The Computer Industry