App and website creator Philip Kaplan knows when people are stealing from him. But he doesn’t lash out against thieves the way most people would.
Kaplan is best known for creating Fucked Company in the early 2000s. But he also runs a website, DistroKid, that helps musicians get their songs on iTunes, Spotify and other outlets. Musicians are supposed to pay $US19.99 for an annual account but they can get a free account if they refer five friends to the site.
Kaplan says it’s easy to tell when people fake their referrals and nab undeserved, free access to DistroKid. But up until now, he has turned a blind eye.
“We let them get away with it because I love seeing people use the system, whether they’ve paid for it or not,” Kaplan writes on Medium. “It’s one of the most complex things I’ve ever built and I’m really proud of it.”
A video of a police officer showing kindness to a thief inspired Kaplan’s admirable reaction. When a Florida cop caught a woman shoplifting and found out it was because she couldn’t feed her family, the cop bought her groceries instead of arresting her.
Now, Kaplan’s team has created a way to call thieves out and challenge them to do what’s right.
“When the system detects that you’ve just created 5 bogus referrals, you’ll be presented with a notice that we caught you, but here’s an option: Either pay the $US19.99/yr, or sign up for a free Scholarship account if you can’t afford it,” he writes.
Here’s the cop video that inspired Kaplan.