Column: Nobody Asked For A Refrigerator Fee

In my latest column on TorrentFreak, I explain why the unnecessary copyright industry shouldn’t be held on life support, and why it’s good that obsolete industries are allowed to disappear instead of artificially keeping jobs that don’t produce anything of value.

I compare with the electrification of households in the first half of the last century, where the refrigerator obsoleted the ice distribution industry, which was one of the largest support industries in most cities. Here’s a sample from the article —

…but here are a few things that didn’t happen as the ice distribution industry became obsolete:

No refrigerator owner was sued for making their own cold and ignoring the existing corporate cold distribution chains.

No laws were proposed that would make electricity companies liable in court if the electricity they provided was used in a way that destroyed icemen’s jobs.

Nobody demanded a monthly refrigerator fee from refrigerator owners that would go to the Icemen’s Union.

No lavishly expensive expert panels were held in total consensus about how necessary icemen were for the entire economy.

Rather, the distribution monopoly became obsolete, was ignored, and the economy as a whole benefited by the resulting decentralization.

We’re now seeing a repeat of this scenario, but where the distribution industry — the copyright industry — has the audacity to stand up and demand special laws and say that the economy will collapse without their unnecessary services. But we learn from history, every time, that it is good when an industry becomes obsolete. That means we have learned something important — to do things in a more efficient way. New skills and trades always appear in its wake.

Read more at TorrentFreak. >>

This article has been considered reference material by the community, which has chosen to translate it into more languages. Translations available: Arabic, French.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. […] Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge has written a column at TorrentFreak where he explains the basics of how a market economy works to […]

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