Fast forward 41 years and everyone wants you to steal their book or CD or idea. They want that because then you will distribute it and in turn, they will sell more whatever. A few years ago the bandRadiohead released their album, In Rainbows, on the Internet with a 'Pay what you like' format that allowed you to either pay, or download the album for free. 1.2 millions copies were downloaded the first day and although the record company has never released sales numbers, it was a PR coup. Permitted, encouraged stealing has now become a distribution method. After all, if nobody wants to steal your stuff, then it can't be any good, can it?
Seth Godin recently considered selling a DVD of his latest speaking series and then opted for an 'honor system' method that allows you to watch it on Vimeo - then he gives you the password. Free. This way he gets attention, and then sells DVD boxed sets. And this has become the Internet business model of choice: Give something away for free, use that to gain attention, and then sell a hard copy of whatever it is you have to make money. Hugh MacLeod has used this method for years to distribute his cartoons and ideas - now he will happily sell you a framed print from his online gallery or a book. Hugh is doing very well.
This blog is free but I do it to gain attention and then sell consulting services. What can you give away, or let people steal that will then endear them to you enough to buy whatever is is you have to sell? Steal this blog post please.