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>You're not playing fair with your comparisons. In the case of bottled water, you want to count all the costs of making the bottles, filling them, transporting, them, etc. In the case of digital content, you want to ignore the cost of producing the original, and focus only on the subsequent copies.

With bottled water, I want to count all the costs to the manufacturer of making a specific bottle: materials, wages, property taxes, equipment wear, etc.

With digital content, I want to count all the costs to the manufacturer of making a specific copy: none.

I'm not saying that unlimited copying of work is fair, I'm just saying that there is a qualitative difference in scarcity.

I don't really want to argue about what hurts more. I'll just point out that using nothing, or purchasing a license to work A, or purchasing a license to work B, can all be looked at as causing the creators of A and/or B to forego revenue.

There is no single manufacturer of digital content. In that respect, I agree that there is a qualitative difference.

The difference is that water bottle manufacturing is centralized, while digital content "manufacturing" is distributed--each person "manufactures" the digital content on their personal electronic device. That is, they use a device and energy that they paid for, to turn the IP into something that is physically consumable (sound, images, etc.)

So the concept of scarcity is different too, but it doesn't go away. There is still a physical cost to digital content, it's just unbundled from the act of creation.

You could not give infinite amounts of digital content to everyone on Earth, because you'd need to first give everyone an electronic device that can store and play it, the power to operate that device, and a means of digital distribution (network connectivity or shippable media). There are physical and cost limits on all of that.

Digital content only looks free and infinite if you ignore the required infrastructure.

But infrastructure is paid for separately. I'm ignoring the cost of the highways for water bottle shipping, because highways are needed with or without them.

Basically, since people already have computers and power for them to do things completely unrelated to getting this media, the 'cost' of a copy is in the same range as asking for one. Tap your phone against someone else's and you're done, for example. And if you think asking is a real cost then you've defined things so that it's impossible to be past scarcity, so I reject such a definition.

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