So, a number of people have very strong opinions against media piracy. Be it games, anime, software, or even books, many people, including many of you, argue that piracy hurts artists and denies them the income necessary to survive and continue to make art.
I don't wish to argue this point. I wish to discuss a related point: the secondary market.
An artist is compensated equally whether someone pirates their movie, borrows said movie from a friend, or buys said movie second-hand. That is, not at all. The secondary market is not only legal, but it's recently been bolstered substantially by the Autodesk ruling in a federal court, which may pave the way to a full secondary market for older versions of, say, expensive Adobe software like Photoshop.
More and more people are content to wait for their media, largely, I believe, due to the fact that there is simply so much more media now than there ever was. The urgency is gone for most things. Why buy a game new the day it comes out, when I can buy it for $5 less used a few days later? Why buy a game at all, when I can borrow it from my friend once he's finished it, and then lend it on to some other friend again?
There's also the issue that many things, particularly software, have reached a sort of breaking point threshold of quality for most people. Old movies and old games are "good enough" for many, many people. I for example, could do just fine with a version of Photoshop even several years old. I need to buy the newest, expensive Creative Suite only because there is no way to buy an older version for less (yet). Once I can buy the old version on Ebay for whatever price the market bears, I disappear entirely from Adobe's customer pool. Their (possibly soon to disappear) artificial restriction on the secondary market is the only reason they can maintain such high prices.
I believe that, even if piracy became entirely impossible, the secondary market will have the same long-term effect on all media. Durable goods, like the effectively indestructible modern forms of intellectual property, can be sold and re-sold, borrowed and lent, not just for a long time, but forever. A digital copy of a movie, so long as my first-sale rights are maintained, will exist forever, to be sold and traded again and again without restriction (even if no copies are ever made) for as long as there are people.
Twenty years in the future, will I pay $20 to see the newest movie, or $0.00001 to see any of the thousands upon thousands of existing works to be borrowed and bought second-hand?
The only way to prevent this is to take away our collective right to first-sale. Unlike with piracy, where there are valid moral arguments to be made, I see no such overwhelming case against first-sale.