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gothicangel
01-02-2012, 04:44 PM
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2081072/Online-pirates-threaten-Kindle-profits-thousands-turn-sites-download-free-eBooks.html



One pirate website boasts: ‘With a Kindle there is pretty much no protection against pirated books. There are programs which can simply convert any piece of text into the proper format and it will show on your Kindle as if you had bought it!’
It is estimated that up to 20 per cent of eBook downloads are from pirate sites.

The Publishers Association issued 115,000 legal threats to websites to stop them offering free pirated books in 2011, a rise of 130 per cent on 2010.

Old news, but I think the comments area is far more interesting. Could also just be the morality of DM readers of course.

bearilou
01-02-2012, 05:30 PM
Many of the comments (and usually comments in any discussion on ebook piracy) revolve around the (mis?)understanding that ebooks are cheaper to produce.

But are they? I ask in earnest because I don't think I recall anyone discussing the numbers, even in vague terms, of the difference between the work/time/money going into a print book and the work/time/money going into an ebook.

If it's ebook only, are the costs the same as a print? Are publishers trying to recoup expenses for the print when they release an ebook? Is there more work that goes into making a print available for eformat and that justifies the high(er) price?

I just wonder if there are some erroneous assumptions being made about value (or perceived value) and that maybe if there were more discussion revolving around the printing process (and how ebooks fit in), it might clear up a few of those preconceived notions.

Cyia
01-02-2012, 05:51 PM
Someone pulled that 20% figure out of thin air.

Wayne K
01-02-2012, 06:25 PM
90% of statistics are lies

Alitriona
01-02-2012, 06:37 PM
The disrespect for authors in the comments is upsetting, so many dislikes for author comments. People want free entertainment. If it's there for free, many still will not pay even a low price because free trumps all. Some justify to themselves by saying ebooks are expensive, if they were cheaper, they'd pay. I believe they are the same people who would come up with some other excuse.

Judging by all the other pirate threads, no doubt some will come on with long posts why that isn't so. I've seen nothing to convince me otherwise as yet.

seun
01-02-2012, 06:56 PM
Why am I not at all surprised by the comments from Mail readers? The biggest surprise is the lack of immigrants are stealing our books comments. And that they cause cancer.

OtterFactory
01-02-2012, 06:59 PM
Piracy is like going into the author's house, stealing his dog, dressing it up like a cat, taking photos of it, and putting them up on the Internet and captioning them with rude comments and crudely drawn MS Paint graffiti!!

(Just to get the ball rolling ;))

Chekurtab
01-02-2012, 07:08 PM
Piracy will always be there. I think it's important for the authors and publishing industry to be on the same page. Individual writers have no recourse, but putting the efforts together, we can fight piracy.

Amadan
01-02-2012, 07:29 PM
Great Piracy Debate aside, the spectacular level of ignorance about technology and ebooks is just appalling.


Creating pirate copies of published books is simple and can be done using a computer and a scanner in a relatively short period of time

Yeah, scanners have been around for quite a while now, and before that we had these things called photocopiers...


Freely available software which people can download to their home computers is able to convert just about any document file for reading on a Kindle or other ereader.

... and this is a bad thing? I love how they talk about perfectly legitimate technology -- which happens to be usable for piracy, just like scanners and photocopiers -- as if it's some kind of illicit hacker invention.


One pirate website boasts: ‘With a Kindle there is pretty much no protection against pirated books. There are programs which can simply convert any piece of text into the proper format and it will show on your Kindle as if you had bought it!’

That... isn't even piracy. And Kindles have nothing to do with the difficulty or lack thereof of pirating/converting books.


It is estimated that up to 20 per cent of eBook downloads are from pirate sites.

"By me. I estimated that right now while writing this article."


In some cases, Amazon and Apple are charging more for an eBook download than the real book.

I don't think I've ever read a Mail article that appeared to be written by someone not suffering rectal-cranial inversion.

areteus
01-02-2012, 07:30 PM
Nothing is ever free to produce because everything takes time and time is money. Anyone who is prepared to give away time for free is selling themselves short. Therefore, nothing should ever be free. Ebooks are cheaper to make, true, but not free therefore they should never be given away for free.

In addition, the old adage 'anything we obtain cheaply we esteem lightly' applies here.

Max Vaehling
01-02-2012, 10:23 PM
Sidebar: If you want to scandalize a problem, don't bring up estimates of "up to 20%". That's ridiculous!

Make it "up to 80%"! Now we're talking! And it's just as true, because even if it's really only 5%, it is in the realm of "up to" 80%.

The Lonely One
01-02-2012, 10:52 PM
As for statistics...any Todd Snider fans? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMQdtyot38s)

Though I guess my link to a pirated song doesn't help my case much.

And while I think a lot of arguments against pirating aren't well-formulated, none of the pro-pirating arguments are good.

Forget about all the opinions of the actual authors and companies that lose money to piracy, think about the mindset of the person pirating--who at best is a young person whose brain doesn't fully comprehend their actions, or otherwise is a selfish a*hole who won't fork out a measly 5-15 bucks for a book that took years to get to them.

I was a teenager/young adult once. I've downloaded my fair share of music albums and video games.

I probably was romantacized by the idea that "most of that money goes to the record labels/publisher" or whomever, not the artist. But why is that any kind of excuse, no matter what percentage the author gets?

I wouldn't walk past someone in the street and pickpocket a piece of lint, let alone fractions of a profit. If anything, that's even MORE reason to pay, because it's harder for the artist to make money on the product than the representative company.

Also, why would I want the companies that produce the things I consume to not have an income?

I guess in summation I'm saying I've not heard an argument for stealing things that clearly don't belong to you (and no don't feed me any of that "art belongs to everyone" crap), that isn't just a coverup for selfishness.

P.S.: I can't read through the comments on that link, they make me too angry. It's like the comments on any other news site--worthless, unthoughtful one-liners by cretinous morons. Why I fought against having "comment" sections that weren't at the least HEAVILY moderated on news sites. It makes them less legit, like if Jerry Springer told the news or something. Bunch of racist, inbred heehaws, the worst of the worst, are the only ones who usually have enough self-importance to post.

Medievalist
01-02-2012, 11:18 PM
Many of the comments (and usually comments in any discussion on ebook piracy) revolve around the (mis?)understanding that ebooks are cheaper to produce.

Not really--you might, depending on the book--save a buck or two. Maybe.

Most of the costs of professionally producing a book happen before the book is sent to the printer; a publisher doing a large print run (5k or more--and 10K is still fairly common) pays about 2.50/book for a hardcover, and anywhere from under a dollar to 1.75 for paperback.

But the author's advance, editing, production (copy editing, proofing, design, compositing (if there are illustrations), typesetting, cover art, etc.) are the major costs. And those costs are all shared with the ebook.

Once the file forks (one version going to a printer, and another going to the ebook production) there is additional work. The book needs to be flowed (turned into an ebook), front and back matter created, cover art revised, QA has to be done. There may be fees for art (digital licensing is different) and a license for DRM. Then the retailer (Amazon, etc.) takes a cut.

Plus you have additional costs for ebooks--you need to maintain a separate raw materials archive, for instance.

kuwisdelu
01-02-2012, 11:42 PM
Not really--you might, depending on the book--save a buck or two. Maybe.

Most of the costs of professionally producing a book happen before the book is sent to the printer; a publisher doing a large print run (5k or more--and 10K is still fairly common) pays about 2.50/book for a hardcover, and anywhere from under a dollar to 1.75 for paperback.

But the author's advance, editing, production (copy editing, proofing, design, compositing (if there are illustrations), typesetting, cover art, etc.) are the major costs. And those costs are all shared with the ebook.

Once the file forks (one version going to a printer, and another going to the ebook production) there is additional work. The book needs to be flowed (turned into an ebook), front and back matter created, cover art revised, QA has to be done. There may be fees for art (digital licensing is different) and a license for DRM. Then the retailer (Amazon, etc.) takes a cut.

Plus you have additional costs for ebooks--you need to maintain a separate raw materials archive, for instance.

Is there a source for all this somewhere that would be easy to point people to? It's a misconception I see everywhere, but I'm not generally knowledgeable enough to clear it up.

Al Stevens
01-03-2012, 02:10 AM
Plus you have additional costs for ebooks--you need to maintain a separate raw materials archive, for instance.
Print edition books have additional post-production costs, too. Warehousing and shipping, for example. And the physical processing of returns.

Medievalist
01-03-2012, 02:29 AM
Is there a source for all this somewhere that would be easy to point people to? It's a misconception I see everywhere, but I'm not generally knowledgeable enough to clear it up.

I'll go find Charlie Stross' links.

Honestly, though, in terms of places like new papers outside of AW, I don't bother anymore.

It's wearing to have to deal with people who don't actually read much, and who are SURE that the greedy publishers are ripping them off.

Pacze Moj
01-03-2012, 03:45 AM
I don't understand how "pirate" websites are cashing in on eBook piracy if the websites are facilitating free downloads. Advertising?

In all likelihood, these websites collect, sort and post links to other sites that host the files (like rapidshare) or else torrents (in which case, there is no one host.)

It's a case of Somali pirates raiding a European cargo vessel that's carrying valuable artworks, taking photos of that artwork, putting those photos somewhere, telling a third party the location of those photos, that third party publishing the location of the photos for free for all to see, and the Daily Mail calling the third party a "pirate" that's cashing in on the theft of the artworks (which were never actually stolen.)

As for stealing lint:

Lint is a thing. Things can be stolen. Ideas cannot be stolen. Copyright, moreover, is not a form of property (and property itself is merely a relationship, never a thing itself.) "Intellectual property" is a misnomer. Walking into a book store, taking a book and walking out of the store without paying is theft. Walking into a book store, photocopying a book and walking out of the store without paying is not theft. It's a violation of copyright. But so is walking into a book store, photocopying a book, paying for that book and then walking out of the store.

So when it comes to "pirating" eBooks, there doesn't have to be a pro-stealing argument, because no one is stealing anything. Unless, of course, someone steals a physical book from somewhere, then digitizes it, etc. In that case, the original taking is theft, but not the subsequent digitalization, uploads, whatever.

Amadan
01-03-2012, 04:03 AM
Ima sit this one out. :popcorn:

scarletpeaches
01-03-2012, 04:09 AM
Ima sit this one out. :popcorn:Snarkfail.

As soon as I saw this thread, I thought, "This has got Amadan written all over it."

Alitriona
01-03-2012, 04:15 AM
I don't understand how "pirate" websites are cashing in on eBook piracy if the websites are facilitating free downloads. Advertising?

Yeah, advertising. I've also seen people charge for ebooks. One woman on facebook and twitter was boasting 500 dollars a week from her personal blog. Needless to say that was easy enough to get shut down.


In all likelihood, these websites collect, sort and post links to other sites that host the files (like rapidshare) or else torrents (in which case, there is no one host.)

ShareTerm Papers is one site I know was hosting the files. Some members didn't seem to grasp 900 or so share(for example) wasn't the equivalent of the number of times a paperback would be shared without falling apart. In their defense, the moderators are fast about taking down posts as soon as they are alerted and have created an opt-out list authors can add their name to so as not to continuously have to chase them up.


It's a case of Somali pirates raiding a European cargo vessel that's carrying valuable artworks, taking photos of that artwork, putting those photos somewhere, telling a third party the location of those photos, that third party publishing the location of the photos for free for all to see, and the Daily Mail calling the third party a "pirate" that's cashing in on the theft of the artworks (which were never actually stolen.)

No, it's really not at all. The copy of the ebook in the case of pirating is not a photo or a photocopy. It is an exactly replica of the original file and indistinguishable. Your comparison is one person having a painting from one of the masters in their living room while their neighbor looks at a photo on their computer, as opposed to two people on different sides of an ocean looking at the exact same file on their ereader that the original purchaser has on their ereader.

EFA: I know some pirate files are actually rubbish and not replicas.

Pacze Moj
01-03-2012, 04:28 AM
No, it's really not at all. The copy of the ebook in the case of pirating is not a photo or a photocopy. It is an exactly replica of the original file and indistinguishable. Your comparison is one person having a painting from one of the masters in their living room while their neighbor looks at a photo on their computer, as opposed to two people on different sides of an ocean looking at the exact same file on their ereader that the original purchaser has on their ereader.

EFA: I know some pirate files are actually rubbish and not replicas.
In most cases, the copy has had its digital-lock removed, making the copy different from the original.

Alitriona
01-03-2012, 04:58 AM
In most cases, the copy has had its digital-lock removed, making the copy different from the original.

Because once DRM is broken it's okay to pirate. :Shrug:

If there is DRM.

If you are an author and if you want to share your books free, go right ahead. Have a ball with it. No one other than my publisher and me has a right to make that decision for me.

Generally, I honestly can't understand why this is a hard concept to grasp.

Al Stevens
01-03-2012, 05:03 AM
This mulberry bush is downtrodden with bootprints.

Pacze Moj
01-03-2012, 06:19 AM
Because once DRM is broken it's okay to pirate. :Shrug:

If there is DRM.

If you are an author and if you want to share your books free, go right ahead. Have a ball with it. No one other than my publisher and me has a right to make that decision for me.

Generally, I honestly can't understand why this is a hard concept to grasp.
My point was that if the original-file has DRM and the copy-file doesn't, the copy is not an exact replica of the original, just like a photograph is not an exact replica of a painting.

The concept is hard to grasp because the concept "your" is hard to grasp when it comes to novels, stories and poems. When you make a sculpture, you own the sculpture. When you write a story, you do not own the story. No one can ever hold any form of property in a story. That's why a story cannot be stolen (or pirated.) And that's why using those terms is misleading. It's also manipulative because it morally-equates copyright infringement with, say, looting a Dutch galleon.

The novel you wrote: it's only ever "your" novel in the sense that you're the creator and you have certain exclusive rights for a certain period. It's not "your" novel in the same way that the sock on your foot is yours.

kuwisdelu
01-03-2012, 06:32 AM
Snarkfail.

As soon as I saw this thread, I thought, "This has got Amadan written all over it."

Not me? I am disappoint.

Alitriona
01-03-2012, 07:02 AM
My point was that if the original-file has DRM and the copy-file doesn't, the copy is not an exact replica of the original, just like a photograph is not an exact replica of a painting.

The concept is hard to grasp because the concept "your" is hard to grasp when it comes to novels, stories and poems. When you make a sculpture, you own the sculpture. When you write a story, you do not own the story. No one can ever hold any form of property in a story. That's why a story cannot be stolen (or pirated.) And that's why using those terms is misleading. It's also manipulative because it morally-equates copyright infringement with, say, looting a Dutch galleon.

The novel you wrote: it's only ever "your" novel in the sense that you're the creator and you have certain exclusive rights for a certain period. It's not "your" novel in the same way that the sock on your foot is yours.

I will concede that pirated books with broken DRM are not exact duplicates and I used bad wording to frame the argument(although still stealing and not all pirated books have to break DRM). However they are as far from a photograph of a sculptor as a banana is from a brick. I fail to see why it's manipulation. Pirates are pirates, taking things that don't belong to them, eye patch are not. A spade is a spade, after all.

As to, me not owning my work and borrowing it from the universe.... honestly that argument against piracy has been done to death. IMO, it's a crappy excuse people use to justify taking something they have no legal right to. I hold the copyright to my work and have licensed it to a publisher. So, for now it is my work, my book. If you ask me 70 years after I die, I won't care who's sharing it freely.

With the tune of the Mulberry Bush ringing in my ears(Thanks Al :)) I'm getting back channeling my next creation from the universe.

Pacze Moj
01-03-2012, 07:47 AM
I will concede that pirated books with broken DRM are not exact duplicates and I used bad wording to frame the argument(although still stealing and not all pirated books have to break DRM). However they are as far from a photograph of a sculptor as a banana is from a brick. I fail to see why it's manipulation. Pirates are pirates, taking things that don't belong to them, eye patch are not. A spade is a spade, after all.

As to, me not owning my work and borrowing it from the universe.... honestly that argument against piracy has been done to death. IMO, it's a crappy excuse people use to justify taking something they have no legal right to. I hold the copyright to my work and have licensed it to a publisher. So, for now it is my work, my book. If you ask me 70 years after I die, I won't care who's sharing it freely.

With the tune of the Mulberry Bush ringing in my ears(Thanks Al :)) I'm getting back channeling my next creation from the universe.
Yes, you have a copyright in your novel, which means you have rights re copying that others don't have. However, you don't own (or hold any property) in the novel. That's why it can't be stolen. Calling spades spades doesn't involve calling a shovel a spade, too.

BenPanced
01-03-2012, 08:08 AM
Oh, wow. Anybody ever see the episode of The Avengers called The House That Jack Built (my personal fave of the Emma Peel run, BTW)? She's trapped in a mansion and through the mechanical operations hidden around each room and hallway, she keeps running into the same room even though she's just left it because of the mechanical operations hidden around each room and hallway, she keeps running into the same room even though she's just left it because of the mechanical operations hidden around each room and hallway, she keeps running into the same room even though she's just left it and because of the mechanical operations hidden around each room and hallway, she keeps running into the same room even though she's just left it! Over and over!

I dunno why I thought of that just now.

Medievalist
01-03-2012, 08:10 AM
I dunno why I thought of that just now.

This one goes to eleventy-eleven!

SCORE

Medievalist
01-03-2012, 08:13 AM
EFA: I know some pirate files are actually rubbish and not replicas.

Most of them in fact.

And then there's the added joy of malware.

Which, yeah, it's really really common on pirate servers, sometimes, knowingly, because the server owner seeded the damn site on purpose.

The Lonely One
01-03-2012, 10:16 AM
As for stealing lint:

Lint is a thing. Things can be stolen. Ideas cannot be stolen. Copyright, moreover, is not a form of property (and property itself is merely a relationship, never a thing itself.) "Intellectual property" is a misnomer. Walking into a book store, taking a book and walking out of the store without paying is theft. Walking into a book store, photocopying a book and walking out of the store without paying is not theft. It's a violation of copyright. But so is walking into a book store, photocopying a book, paying for that book and then walking out of the store.

So when it comes to "pirating" eBooks, there doesn't have to be a pro-stealing argument, because no one is stealing anything. Unless, of course, someone steals a physical book from somewhere, then digitizes it, etc. In that case, the original taking is theft, but not the subsequent digitalization, uploads, whatever.

Call it what you want, to me it's essentially theft. Maybe not the legal term, but the thing your mom told you not to do when you were a kid--that's what pirates are doing. You're getting into semantics, and what I'm saying is that if it makes me feel icky in my stomach after I do it, and I know I'm doing something shitty, there's no excuse for me to keep doing it except selfishness. You're hurting people you're supposed to be supporting. End of story.

Also, people need to get over this "digital isn't a real book" shit, or the legalities need to change in order to MAKE people realize this is a bad pro-pirate argument. You can't change the format of something you wouldn't normally steal and adjust your morals accordingly. Pretty flimsy morals, in that case.

Torgo
01-03-2012, 03:22 PM
Call it what you want, to me it's essentially theft. Maybe not the legal term, but the thing your mom told you not to do when you were a kid--that's what pirates are doing. You're getting into semantics, and what I'm saying is that if it makes me feel icky in my stomach after I do it, and I know I'm doing something shitty, there's no excuse for me to keep doing it except selfishness. You're hurting people you're supposed to be supporting. End of story.

Also, people need to get over this "digital isn't a real book" shit, or the legalities need to change in order to MAKE people realize this is a bad pro-pirate argument. You can't change the format of something you wouldn't normally steal and adjust your morals accordingly. Pretty flimsy morals, in that case.

I would just point out a couple of things that tend to make all this more complicated:



There do exist certain justifications for illegally downloading stuff which I don't think present any kind of moral problem. It's possible to torrent something and not feel any kind of qualm about it without being a bad guy.
It's not at all clear how much harm is being done by ebook piracy. I'm sure the answer is somewhere between 'a little bit' and 'lots' but nobody has any better idea than that.

The problem that arises is that the current methods proposed by the industry for dealing with this morally and logistically nebulous issue are absurd. Things like SOPA and the Digital Economy Act are a bit like dealing with your dog's fleas by shooting it in the head.

Al Stevens
01-03-2012, 09:35 PM
There do exist certain justifications for illegally downloading stuff which I don't think present any kind of moral problem. It's possible to torrent something and not feel any kind of qualm about it without being a bad guy.
That, of course, is a matter of perspective, and different perspectives have different moral standards.

"[N]ot feeling any kind of qualm" is not automatically the same as being legally innocent of the infringement.
(Insert favorite analogy.)

kuwisdelu
01-03-2012, 10:04 PM
Here's a question.

If I bought and own a hardcopy of a book, and I pirate an e-version of it for my e-reader, have I done anything wrong? If I bought and own a CD of an album, and I rip it to my computer, have I done anything wrong? What if I download a pirated version of it instead of ripping my CD?

FYI, I don't intend this to be any part of an argument either for or against piracy. I'm just curious where the opinions will fall on the nuances of the law and morality.

The Lonely One
01-03-2012, 10:21 PM
Here's a question.

If I bought and own a hardcopy of a book, and I pirate an e-version of it for my e-reader, have I done anything wrong? If I bought and own a CD of an album, and I rip it to my computer, have I done anything wrong? What if I download a pirated version of it instead of ripping my CD?

FYI, I don't intend this to be any part of an argument either for or against piracy. I'm just curious where the opinions will fall on the nuances of the law and morality.

I think ripping a CD is legally different than downloading someone else's copy, or if someone else rips you a copy. I think the idea is that copies are meant for personal backup of data only. Or something like that. Someone else would probably give a better answer.


I would just point out a couple of things that tend to make all this more complicated:



There do exist certain justifications for illegally downloading stuff which I don't think present any kind of moral problem. It's possible to torrent something and not feel any kind of qualm about it without being a bad guy.
It's not at all clear how much harm is being done by ebook piracy. I'm sure the answer is somewhere between 'a little bit' and 'lots' but nobody has any better idea than that.

The problem that arises is that the current methods proposed by the industry for dealing with this morally and logistically nebulous issue are absurd. Things like SOPA and the Digital Economy Act are a bit like dealing with your dog's fleas by shooting it in the head.

What possible justifications, though? These arguments don't seem like good ones. As I said upstream, I don't think the anti-piracy parade is very effective, but to me there is no pro-piracy argument to be had. If you don't enjoy the way someone does business, boycott them. If you do, pay for their product or you can't have any.

At the very least it's tactless, like walking into an author's house at the very last period of their newly-finished novel, then yanking out their thumbdrive and walking out the front door with their manuscript.

Despite what some think, author is a profession. You can't go into an office and "borrow" sales from a sales rep, lowering their potential commission. And authors don't want to work for free for ungrateful, greedy consumers who aren't willing to help support them and their industry.

We can argue this back and forth and touch on all the little nuances of piracy and morality, but when you're making right/wrong decisions based on the format your product comes in, you're absolutely kidding yourself.

And yes, morality will vary. But those whose morality gives them entitlement to someone else's hard work isn't someone I want to be friends with.

kuwisdelu
01-03-2012, 10:24 PM
I think ripping a CD is legally different than downloading someone else's copy, or if someone else rips you a copy. I think the idea is that copies are meant for personal backup of data only. Or something like that. Someone else would probably give a better answer.

My question wasn't about legality.

firedrake
01-03-2012, 10:28 PM
So when it comes to "pirating" eBooks, there doesn't have to be a pro-stealing argument, because no one is stealing anything. Unless, of course, someone steals a physical book from somewhere, then digitizes it, etc. In that case, the original taking is theft, but not the subsequent digitalization, uploads, whatever.

If someone is pirating my book and someone else is downloading it for free then they are stealing money from me and my publisher. It's not like an e-book costs a fortune anyway. It's not a $30 hardback. I didn't get an advance so what I earn from my writing comes directly from sales. As I'm unemployed and not having much luck finding a job, the thieving git who's downloading my book without paying for it is taking food off my table. So, dress it up how you like, someone is stealing my book and my income.

And before you come back and say 'oh it won't be that much money', forget it. In my current financial situation, any sum, no matter how small, is meaningful.

The Lonely One
01-03-2012, 10:36 PM
My question wasn't about legality.

Ah, so you mean do we feel it's morally wrong to rip personal copies, or to download additional copies from the net?

I think, for me, it's partly about intent. If you intend to give away copies you created to other people when it is clear the company intends to sell copies to those same people, and that sales help them to acquire more books and authors, and you enjoy those books and authors and want the authors and companies to keep producing books and to keep employing people--even if the individual piracy is negligible--I'd feel morally wrong about it.

Making a personal copy is a little different, but if you go the torrent route aren't you still seeding pirate sites and giving them business, kind of legitimizing them as outlets of information? I don't know for sure. It's an interesting gray area.

The Lonely One
01-03-2012, 10:40 PM
You could also always pay for an additional e-copy, if you really like the author of a book. That's what I would do, if I wanted to show my appreciation for someone's work. But I don't think it's required, just a nice thing to do.

As for sharing with friends, why not give them gift cards or buy them e-books? It's the same idea without potentially taking money away from sales.

Torgo
01-03-2012, 10:47 PM
That, of course, is a matter of perspective, and different perspectives have different moral standards.

"[N]ot feeling any kind of qualm" is not automatically the same as being legally innocent of the infringement.
(Insert favorite analogy.)

Yeah, I was arguing to TheLonelyOne's point about a feeling of ickiness despite one's rationalisations being a reliable indicator that you're doing something wrong.

Amadan
01-03-2012, 10:49 PM
Making a personal copy is a little different, but if you go the torrent route aren't you still seeding pirate sites and giving them business, kind of legitimizing them as outlets of information? I don't know for sure. It's an interesting gray area.

Torrent networks have legitimate uses besides piracy.


As for sharing with friends, why not give them gift cards or buy them e-books? It's the same idea without potentially taking money away from sales.

Ah, but now you'll get into the "book sharing" argument. If I give my physical book to a friend after I am done reading it, no one claims that's illegal or immoral. If I give an ebook to my friend, ZOMG I'm a thief! Really? Even if I conscientiously delete all traces of that ebook from my computer and other devices? Problematic, because if I bought it, I can still download it again from where I purchased it. But what if I know for a fact I am never going to do that? Which is probably true, since I rarely reread books.

veinglory
01-03-2012, 10:53 PM
The difference is probably infinite perfect reproducibility and duplication. Also that ebooks like software are licensed rather than owned.

But actually legal lending and sharing options for ebooks do exist and smart epublishers are signing up.

The Lonely One
01-03-2012, 10:54 PM
Yeah, I was arguing to TheLonelyOne's point about a feeling of ickiness despite one's rationalisations being a reliable indicator that you're doing something wrong.

I don't think my icky-factor is a great indicator for everyone :D

And it's more complicated than that. But there's a point where people are trying to justify themselves rather than justify the action performed, and I think most of the piracy arguments I've seen boil down to that.

Maybe there is a good argument out there that would convince me otherwise. I can't say until I see said argument.

kuwisdelu
01-03-2012, 10:55 PM
Making a personal copy is a little different, but if you go the torrent route aren't you still seeding pirate sites and giving them business, kind of legitimizing them as outlets of information? I don't know for sure. It's an interesting gray area.

DDLs still exist, and it's possible to torrent without seeding. Though doing so is considered immoral leeching in that community, of course. :tongue

One of the questions I always find myself wondering when these kinds of discussions come up is how people decide between acting based on legality and acting based on their own morals.

Amadan
01-03-2012, 11:00 PM
The difference is probably infinite perfect reproducibility and duplication. Also that ebooks like software are licensed rather than owned.


Which is why technically I am violating said license agreements when I strip the DRM from mine.

It's not illegal, just a violation of the vendor's license agreement. In theory, they could demand that I delete all my now-unlicensed ebooks since I voided my "right" to store and read them.

Which is why I have little sympathy for strict assertions of digital "rights." I pay for my ebooks because I want to support authors and publishers, not because I feel obligated to sync my morals to current IP law.

Torgo
01-03-2012, 11:01 PM
I think ripping a CD is legally different than downloading someone else's copy, or if someone else rips you a copy. I think the idea is that copies are meant for personal backup of data only. Or something like that. Someone else would probably give a better answer.

Format shifting for backup is only quite recently legal, I think. I'm not sure it's legal if you have to break DRM to do it.

Clearly, if I back up my iTunes library to disk, that's morally fine. If I then give those disks to my friend, that's not. If I rip my CDs, that's morally fine. If my friend lends me a CD and I rip it, that's not. (Though I may be unusually scrupulous about that last one.)



What possible justifications, though?

Well, a few examples from my own life of crime...

1. Last year I recorded an episode of Sherlock on my PVR, and when I came to watch it a little while later I found it was corrupted. I looked on BBC iPlayer but it had already gone. I found a torrent and was watching the ep in about 20 minutes. That's a case in which I've already paid for the content (via the BBC license fee), and even for the delivery system that failed me (the sketchy PVR supplied to me by Sky.) I don't feel the least bit bad about torrenting it.

2. For eight consecutive seasons of 24 I waited until half way through the US TV run, preordered the DVD box set on Amazon, and then torrented the entire series. The DVDs would turn up about a year after I'd watched the show. Again, I don't feel the least bit bad about that: Murdoch got his money (twice over, if you consider that I pay for content via my Sky subscription). It was just that I time-shifted the purchase.

3. I illegally downloaded and read Alan Moore's Miracleman, which is the only way you can read this (classic and important) book at present. The rights in this work are a mess; it's still being fought over, bitterly, by people who did not create it but hope to profit from it. There's no way to get any money to anyone concerned in return for a copy of the work.

The Lonely One
01-03-2012, 11:01 PM
Torrent networks have legitimate uses besides piracy. Did not know that, as I've never seen someone partake in these legitimate uses. Examples? I'm just not super familiar with them, aside from the whole piratebay debacle.




Ah, but now you'll get into the "book sharing" argument. If I give my physical book to a friend after I am done reading it, no one claims that's illegal or immoral. If I give an ebook to my friend, ZOMG I'm a thief! Really? Even if I conscientiously delete all traces of that ebook from my computer and other devices? Problematic, because if I bought it, I can still download it again from where I purchased it. But what if I know for a fact I am never going to do that? Which is probably true, since I rarely reread books.

Well, given the current limitations of "e-book sharing," I don't see that an extra few bucks is a bad investment for a friend. Me and my friends go to bookstores and buy each other books as gifts. I think the same is a good investment with e-books.

But I can see a gray area, where because of current limitations and laws you'd have to break the law to share an e-book, or use that weird sharing thing on nook or whichever one uses it. It does seem a bit different than, say, torrenting an e-book to thousands of people you don't know, though, doesn't it?

Torgo
01-03-2012, 11:07 PM
Did not know that, as I've never seen someone partake in these legitimate uses. Examples? I'm just not super familiar with them, aside from the whole piratebay debacle.

Oooh, lots of them. A lot of big games companies use Bittorrent to distribute games and patches, for example. The classic 'I'm legit, honest guv' answer to the question is downloading Linux install DVDs.

Thing about BT is, it's a brilliant method for distributing large files. It's THE way to do it, so far - we haven't come up with anything better. The pirates were just early adopters.

The vast majority of BT traffic, I would say, is copyright infringement, though.

kuwisdelu
01-03-2012, 11:07 PM
Did not know that, as I've never seen someone partake in these legitimate uses. Examples? I'm just not super familiar with them, aside from the whole piratebay debacle.

Torrents are just a delivery system by which you ease the burden of hosting a massive file for download by splitting it up into pieces and sharing the transfers across many computers. Piracy may give bit torrent a bad name, but ultimately, it's just a transfer protocol. It's more evil than ftp or http, unless you just hate anything that's decentralized because it stinks of commie pinko technology. :tongue :D

It's a popular method for delivering open-source software. For example, OpenOffice or LibreOffice can be downloaded via torrent, legally. It's much faster to download a Linux distro via torrent than DDL.

Wikileaks was distributed via torrent.

I wish more businesses that publicly host large files would offer torrents. In particular, if the government started offering torrents of lots of their public databases, it would save me an awful lot of headache when I need to download data.

tim290280
01-03-2012, 11:24 PM
Many of the comments (and usually comments in any discussion on ebook piracy) revolve around the (mis?)understanding that ebooks are cheaper to produce.

But are they? I ask in earnest because I don't think I recall anyone discussing the numbers, even in vague terms, of the difference between the work/time/money going into a print book and the work/time/money going into an ebook.

If it's ebook only, are the costs the same as a print? Are publishers trying to recoup expenses for the print when they release an ebook? Is there more work that goes into making a print available for eformat and that justifies the high(er) price?

I just wonder if there are some erroneous assumptions being made about value (or perceived value) and that maybe if there were more discussion revolving around the printing process (and how ebooks fit in), it might clear up a few of those preconceived notions.
~8-12% cheaper. Haven't got the link, but it was on the Publishers Weekly early in 2011. You essentially remove shipping and distribution costs. They didn't remove the remaindering costs though, something that would be a huge saving.

This doesn't include offset across mediums and artists, especially for publishers trying to move remaindered book losses somewhere other than their profit spreadsheet.

Another source is the sales figures and discussions for this year:
http://thetysonadams.blogspot.com/2011/12/update-publishing-figures.html
My brief overview on it and also the links to the original and another article by Kristine Rusch. Pretty simply you can read the quotes by some of the publishing houses who have seen their profit margins increase because of ebooks.

Torgo
01-03-2012, 11:33 PM
~8-12% cheaper. Haven't got the link, but it was on the Publishers Weekly early in 2011. You essentially remove shipping and distribution costs. They didn't remove the remaindering costs though, something that would be a huge saving.

Yep. Although it seems to me that having spent the money to finalise the book and then produce the print and epub files, your epub sales are gravy. If you fail to sell the print run you budgeted for, you can lose lots of money. If you fail to sell a single ebook, you lose essentially nothing.

UK readers should remember also that author royalties are typically twice print royalties (and climbing), and that VAT is charged on ebooks at around 20%. That means on a £5 ebook the publisher is passing on around half their revenue, £1.50, that they wouldn't have to pass on if it were a £5 paperback - which is actually far more than a £5 paperback would typically cost to print. That is, as I've said, money that the publisher doesn't have to risk up-front, but it still means that there is no giant pot of pure cream for us publishers. It's semi-skimmed.

mscelina
01-03-2012, 11:41 PM
Torrent networks have legitimate uses besides piracy.

Sure. So do a lot of other things used as fronts for criminal activity.




Ah, but now you'll get into the "book sharing" argument. If I give my physical book to a friend after I am done reading it, no one claims that's illegal or immoral. If I give an ebook to my friend, ZOMG I'm a thief! Really? Even if I conscientiously delete all traces of that ebook from my computer and other devices? Problematic, because if I bought it, I can still download it again from where I purchased it. But what if I know for a fact I am never going to do that? Which is probably true, since I rarely reread books.

Because when you give a physical book to a friend, the chances of them scanning, copying, printing and rebinding thousands of copies of that book are slim to non-existent. But, with your illegally stripped of DRM software ebooks, that's exactly what DOES happen.

Seems to me to be a fairly obvious thing. Strange that you can't seem to wrap your head around it.


The difference is probably infinite perfect reproducibility and duplication. Also that ebooks like software are licensed rather than owned.

But actually legal lending and sharing options for ebooks do exist and smart epublishers are signing up.

Exactly. Musa is signing up with OverDrive, which will make Musa books available in libraries all over the world. You want to read an ebook without paying for it? Check it out from the library instead of stealing it.


Which is why technically I am violating said license agreements when I strip the DRM from mine.

It's not illegal, just a violation of the vendor's license agreement. In theory, they could demand that I delete all my now-unlicensed ebooks since I voided my "right" to store and read them.

Which is why I have little sympathy for strict assertions of digital "rights." I pay for my ebooks because I want to support authors and publishers, not because I feel obligated to sync my morals to current IP law.

That'll change when it's your intellectual property. *shrug* Usually does when YOU are the one being stolen from.

And so much for sitting this one out, huh?



Wikileaks was distributed via torrent.


A ringing endorsement of a scummy individual's monument to his own glory. Gee, that makes me like torrent sites SO much better.


~8-12% cheaper. Haven't got the link, but it was on the Publishers Weekly early in 2011. You essentially remove shipping and distribution costs. They didn't remove the remaindering costs though, something that would be a huge saving.

This doesn't include offset across mediums and artists, especially for publishers trying to move remaindered book losses somewhere other than their profit spreadsheet.

Another source is the sales figures and discussions for this year:
http://thetysonadams.blogspot.com/2011/12/update-publishing-figures.html
My brief overview on it and also the links to the original and another article by Kristine Rusch. Pretty simply you can read the quotes by some of the publishing houses who have seen their profit margins increase because of ebooks.

Apparently, then, most people are unaware that e-publishers are charged shipping/distribution costs at Amazon for every e-book they sell. In fact, those charges increase as the size of the file does.

kuwisdelu
01-03-2012, 11:52 PM
A ringing endorsement of a scummy individual's monument to his own glory. Gee, that makes me like torrent sites SO much better.

Hate piracy all you like, but bittorrent is still just a protocol.

And I'm serious in that it would make many researchers lives — mine included — much easier if more government agencies adopted it for their publicly-hosted databases. NASA already does for some of its data, and it looks like the UK is just starting to do this for tax and spending data. I hope it becomes more prevalent in time.

Amadan
01-03-2012, 11:53 PM
Sure. So do a lot of other things used as fronts for criminal activity.

Like the Internet.


Because when you give a physical book to a friend, the chances of them scanning, copying, printing and rebinding thousands of copies of that book are slim to non-existent. But, with your illegally stripped of DRM software ebooks, that's exactly what DOES happen.

Stripping DRM from an ebook isn't illegal.


That'll change when it's your intellectual property.

We've been through this before. No, it hasn't.


And so much for sitting this one out, huh?

Well, I've been avoiding the "EPIRACY KILLS KITTENS!" aspect of the debate and sticking to tech talk, but the heady aroma of your BURNING RAEG!!! is enticing.

kuwisdelu
01-03-2012, 11:57 PM
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/143553/Lolthings/pirate-cat1.jpg

Torgo
01-04-2012, 12:02 AM
Sure. So do a lot of other things used as fronts for criminal activity.

I feel you may have misapprehended the nature of BitTorrent. BitTorrent is a protocol, rather than a network. It's a method of communication that is designed to be efficient at communicating large files. Think of it like Morse Code. Before the telephone, Morse was a great way of talking along wires. You could do good with Morse, like capturing Dr Crippen. You could also do evil with it, like transmitting espionage data to a foreign power.

It's not like, say, Napster or Limewire. Those were proprietary networks - private companies - operating their own P2P protocols. You could be justified in calling them 'fronts for criminal activity'. Not so with BitTorrent. It's like calling the web protocol - HTTP - a 'front for criminal activity' because you can use it to make websites that host jihad videos.

Now, you can make what you might call a 'BitTorrent network' by setting up a tracker - like the Pirate Bay - that helps to coordinate a lot of illegal file sharing. But there are many more legal BT trackers now than illegal ones, purely because it's so damn useful for coordinating legit file sharing. And that's because legit business is finally getting their digital distribution act together and finding that pirates already wrote all their code for them.

Parenthetically, it's interesting that it's the pirates and the pornographers who are the innovators and early adopters in any information tech. If you want to know how to make money doing clever but legal stuff, the chances are the big problems - efficient distribution, say, or streaming video - have been solved for you by some scoundrel five years earlier. We rarely give them credit for that.


Because when you give a physical book to a friend, the chances of them scanning, copying, printing and rebinding thousands of copies of that book are slim to non-existent. But, with your illegally stripped of DRM software ebooks, that's exactly what DOES happen.

Seems to me to be a fairly obvious thing. Strange that you can't seem to wrap your head around it.

It's obvious to me, too. If it's a problem, the Internet can scale it up massively for you. What's interesting is that it's not quite clear where the moral line sits in terms of the number of free rides. Would it be OK for me to lend a print book to a thousand people, for example?


You want to read an ebook without paying for it? Check it out from the library instead of stealing it.

Publishers seem to hate and fear library lending of ebooks and are doing their best to discourage it without actually disclosing their feelings. I signed up for Overdrive at my local library recently and it is, in my opinion at least, a pile of crap, largely because it appears there are only about twelve books available. EDIT: Oh! And also the iPad app is ugly, clunky, has few customisation options, and it smells.

Although as a reader this annoys me, I have some sympathy for publishers in that we have to think pretty carefully about how we convert borrowings into revenue for ourselves and our readers. If we end up with books being borrowed many more times than their corresponding print editions we'll want many more times as much money. But then the library service over here is having its budget slashed. It's a tricky one and I don't think we currently have a very good solution.


A ringing endorsement of a scummy individual's monument to his own glory. Gee, that makes me like torrent sites SO much better.

Again: just a convenient method of communication. The site in question was Wikileaks.org, but the protocol was BT.


Apparently, then, most people are unaware that e-publishers are charged shipping/distribution costs at Amazon for every e-book they sell. In fact, those charges increase as the size of the file does.

Yes, though, again, because that's a per-sale cost you can't lose money unless those costs outstrip the revenue from each sale (in which case you would be feeling a bit foolish.)

OtterFactory
01-04-2012, 12:08 AM
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/143553/Lolthings/pirate-cat1.jpg

Pirate Kitteh!

Whose book dis iz, I do not n0
Teh DRM is removed, tho,
So I canz share with all mah frndz
For free 4ever ever more!

Sailing 2 deh internets end,
Torrentz fired, moneyz unspent,
Steeling writers left and right,
So deyz can't pay the rent.

kuwisdelu
01-04-2012, 12:10 AM
Parenthetically, it's interesting that it's the pirates and the pornographers who are the innovators and early adopters in any information tech. If you want to know how to make money doing clever but legal stuff, the chances are the big problems - efficient distribution, say, or streaming video - have been solved for you by some scoundrel five years earlier. We rarely give them credit for that.

I've yet to find anyone encoding in 10-bit H.264 outside of anime fansub groups. Hell, Apple is still on main profile for fuck's sake. And the subtitle formats outside of the Matroska / SubStation Alpha combo are just plain hideous.

But I digress.

Torgo
01-04-2012, 12:12 AM
I've yet to find anyone encoding in 10-bit H.264 outside of anime fansub groups. Hell, Apple is still on main profile for fuck's sake.

I'm gonna bet video subbing code was solved efficiently by some pirate fansub group years back, and now that's what Sony uses, or something.

kuwisdelu
01-04-2012, 12:15 AM
I'm gonna bet video subbing code was solved efficiently by some pirate fansub group years back, and now that's what Sony uses, or something.

Yes and no. See my edit. Matroska / SubStation Alpha work beautifully. However, DVDs and BDs are still subbed using a godawful a bitmap layer that can't be ripped to any usable digital format playable on a personal computer without a significant amount of headache. If you have a DVD or Blu-ray and want to rip it to your computer for backup with the subtitles intact, you have to OCR the damn thing. Legit digital copies rarely come with subtitles at all, and when they do, they're .srt, which offers no formatting whatsoever, and no more than two lines per frame.

/nerdspiel

Al Stevens
01-04-2012, 12:28 AM
One of the questions I always find myself wondering when these kinds of discussions come up is how people decide between acting based on legality and acting based on their own morals.I am from a generation that did a lot of that. Protesting a legal war. Violating laws that enforced legal discrimination. In those cases, the morals of the protester were arguably above those of the establishment. Hindsight would bear that out. But in these issues, that is not so clear. The bad guys are indistinguishable from the good guys.

If uncontained file copying is tolerated, then companies such as Carina and Musa, who depend on the intellectual property integrity of their products, are at risk. And we as authors stand to lose, too, when the first innovative business model in a long time that favors us fails to endure the encroachments of unopposed piracy.

Our best hope is that something like Amazon with money to burn comes down hard and relentless on the pirates, makes harsh examples of anyone they catch, and puts the practice into the light it deserves.

kuwisdelu
01-04-2012, 12:39 AM
Our best hope is that something like Amazon with money to burn comes down hard and relentless on the pirates, makes harsh examples of anyone they catch, and puts the practice into the light it deserves.

I really don't think that will work. In fact, it's probably the worst thing that could happen. We've seen what happens when industry tries to do that: we get Protect IP and SOPA.

I think the best thing that players like Amazon and Apple can do with movies and e-publishing is the same thing that made them so successful with music: make it so damn convenient and easy that there's no more reason to pirate. And I think a big part of that will happen when one of them finally forces the big movie studios and publishing houses to stop it with the DRM nonsense, just like Apple eventually did with music on iTunes.

And I do think the smaller houses are in an unfortunate situation right now. Lots of them are doing everything right, but are suffering the consequences of the larger house's decisions. It's a tough spot to be in.

Al Stevens
01-04-2012, 12:50 AM
I really don't think that will work. In fact, it's probably the worst thing that could happen.
It's debatable. A lot of people took notice when the RIAA sued a housewife for sharing MP3s and was awarded an amount large enough to make the news. Something like $300,000. As I recall, she wasn't aware that she was a pirate. Just passing around what had been made available.

But you are right on one count. Make the product inexpensive and convenient to acquire legally. Make piracy not worth the risk or the trouble.

But don't eliminate the risk.

kuwisdelu
01-04-2012, 12:52 AM
It's debatable. A lot of people took notice when the RIAA sued a housewife for sharing MP3s and was awarded an amount large enough to make the news. Something like $300,000. As I recall, she wasn't aware that she was a pirate. Just passing around what had been made available.

But you are right on one count. Make the product inexpensive and convenient to acquire legally. Make piracy not worth the risk or the trouble.

But don't eliminate the risk.

Education is a good thing, yes. One shouldn't confuse education with hugely disproportionate penalties which will only serve fuel the feelings of injustice from the perspectives of pirates who are potential customers rather than deter piracy.

Al Stevens
01-04-2012, 01:04 AM
Education is a good thing, yes. One shouldn't confuse education with hugely disproportionate penalties which will only serve fuel the feelings of injustice from the perspectives of pirates who are potential customers rather than deter piracy.
The only known way to educate people to abandon their larcenous activities is to catch and punish them, and that doesn't always work. Most people show remorse and get rehabilitated only after they've been caught. Screw the feelings of pirates.

Torgo
01-04-2012, 01:08 AM
It's debatable.

I wish SOPA were debatable (there might have been some kind of debate, perhaps) but the debate about it is not merely 'will it work to decrease piracy'?

SOPA's method of 'blocking' websites is to mess with DNS. Think of your cellphone. You probably don't need to remember many phone numbers these days - you say 'Call Jim', it looks up Jim's number for you and calls him. DNS is the Internet equivalent of that service. You say 'go to absolutewrite.com' and your ISP looks up the real address/number - the IP address.

So say you 'block' the Pirate Bay. You type in 'thepiratebay.org' and your ISP refuses to look up the address for you. The cellphone refuses to make the call. But you can still call the number directly, if you know it.

It's easily circumvented. If your ISP is being picky, you just switch DNS lookup provider. At this point several bad things happen:

Firstly, pirates are barely inconvenienced, because it's trivial to work around.

Secondly, we've been trying for years to make DNS universal - one phone book. Now, it starts to fragment as governments start forcing ISPs to censor it, causing myriad rebel phone books to spring up. You can no longer be entirely sure where you will go when you type in www.absolutewrite.com.

This presents all kinds of security risks. You found a DNS provider willing to connect you to the Pirate Bay; but are they also connecting your online banking address to some sketchy phishing dudes?

It won't do what it's designed to do, but it will be a tremendous boon to organized crime and to powerful people who want to suppress kinds of speech they happen to disagree with. It breaks the internet in important ways. But legislatures don't really seem to get that.

We need to be really careful when evaluating this stuff not to get caught up in the (illusory) enforcement advantages and actually look at how this stuff will (won't) work.

kuwisdelu
01-04-2012, 01:09 AM
The only known way to educate people to abandon their larcenous activities is to catch and punish them, and that doesn't always work. Most people show remorse and get rehabilitated only after they've been caught. Screw the feelings of pirates.

From a practical point of view, that doesn't work very well. Nor am I convinced that suing anyone will ever stop anyone who knows what they're doing from pirating anything.

Al Stevens
01-04-2012, 01:11 AM
From a practical point of view, that doesn't work very well.
We agree.

kuwisdelu
01-04-2012, 01:14 AM
One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Al Stevens
01-04-2012, 01:17 AM
We need to be really careful when evaluating this stuff not to get caught up in the (illusory) enforcement advantages and actually look at how this stuff will (won't) work.
We do. SOPA is the product of technically-challenged bureaucrats pandering to a constituency that they don't understand either. But blowing air around to criticise it is counter-productive. We need to examine its motivation and present a workable solution. Fix this problem, and they will come.

Medievalist
01-04-2012, 01:20 AM
I keep coming back to one of my very favorite Steve Jobs quotes:


If copyright dies, if patents die, if the protection of intellectual property is eroded, then people will stop investing. That hurts everyone. People need to have the incentive that if they invest and succeed, they can make a fair profit. Otherwise they’ll stop investing. But on another level entirely, it’s just wrong to steal. Or, let’s put it another way: it is corrosive to one’s character to steal.

Steve Jobs, Dec. 2003

Keep in mind that the guy who said this is someone who tried fiercely to get producers and publishers to wave DRM.

When iBooks was just a proof of concept, I was invited to attend some of the talks with publishers--who were almost universally rabid about the necessity for DRM.

Torgo
01-04-2012, 01:26 AM
We do. SOPA is the product of technically-challenged bureaucrats pandering to a constituency that they don't understand either. But blowing air around to criticise it is counter-productive. We need to examine its motivation and present a workable solution. Fix this problem, and they will come.

Well, there's no legislative, enforcement solution. That's the problem. Especially as it pertains to ebooks: there's no way to legislate the Internet into being worse at distributing text without actually burning it to the ground. So the copyright holders are going about it the wrong way. But, you see, they don't necessarily care about breaking the Internet, because the Internet is largely inimical to their established business practices anyway.

Here's the thing. A workable solution looks like iTunes or Kindle. I want a book/film/song/game and I can easily and quickly download it in a way that serves my needs, for a price that I am willing to pay. I'm prepared to spend £7.99 on that album because it's right there, two clicks and five minutes away.

You will never conquer people who want bits for free. With books, it's impossible. Sorry, but you have to choose between that and, say, the Chinese or Iranian experience of internet freedom. The only solution is to make selling stuff to the rest of the people as painless as you possibly can, and that isn't about lobbying Congress to pass idiotic acts of pointless vandalism.

kuwisdelu
01-04-2012, 01:29 AM
Steve Jobs, Dec. 2003

Keep in mind that the guy who said this is someone who tried fiercely to get producers and publishers to wave DRM.

When iBooks was just a proof of concept, I was invited to attend some of the talks with publishers--who were almost universally rabid about the necessity for DRM.

I already respected him for removing DRM from iTunes music. When I read in Isaacson's biography the lengths he went to, meeting with hundreds of artists in person to convince them that it was the best thing to do, my respect went up to 11.

Medievalist
01-04-2012, 01:36 AM
You will never conquer people who want bits for free. With books, it's impossible. Sorry, but you have to choose between that and, say, the Chinese or Iranian experience of internet freedom. The only solution is to make selling stuff to the rest of the people as painless as you possibly can, and that isn't about lobbying Congress to pass idiotic acts of pointless vandalism.

This is truth in a nutshell.

Aside from the few who really don't know/don't think, the others aren't ever going to pay anyway. Be proactive--send those takedowns--but concentrate on the paying customers. Repeat customers even in terms of printed books and conventional retail are the backbone of bookselling.

SOPA and similar laws will quickly put an end to legitimate sites like this one—while the illegitimate sites will continue on their merry way.

Medievalist
01-04-2012, 01:37 AM
I already respected him for removing DRM from iTunes music. When I read in Isaacson's biography the lengths he went to, meeting with hundreds of artists in person to convince them that it was the best thing to do, my respect went up to 11.

Another interesting thing: Jobs was personally responsible for mandating that iTunes be usable by indie artists—and that they not be penalized.

NicoleJLeBoeuf
01-04-2012, 01:45 AM
Did he really say "investing" and not "inventing"? I prefer "inventing." 'Cause it's true. Again, see the relevant article of the US Constitution.

I seem to remember a story that falls somewhere between "BT is a legitimate and useful protocol" and "Some artists don't mind pirates" -- Seems there was this small rock band touring around with their new album. Someone in the audience once night illicitly recorded the show and spread it around via BitTorrent. People downloaded it and listened to it -- a lot. The band were shocked and heartwarmed when, upon their next performance, a huge portion of the audience knew all the words and were singing along.

I do not recall whether they also experienced higher CD and T-shirt sales at that performance, though.

And of course the fact that these artists were pleased with the results of piracy neither invalidates other artists' displeasure nor validates piracy. Just in case anyone thought I thought otherwise. And yes, [citation needed].

Anyway, the discussion of legit Bittorrent uses has got me thinking: when I'm ready to release a freebie -- some short-short I'm not trying to publish, or whose rights have reverted -- in addition to putting the text up on my website, I could also record a home-brew audiobook sort of thing of it with original music & effects for Bittorrent release. Maybe with some small artwork that would show up in the "album cover" portion of the mp3 player. That might be fun.

kuwisdelu
01-04-2012, 01:50 AM
I seem to remember a story that falls somewhere between "BT is a legitimate and useful protocol" and "Some artists don't mind pirates" -- Seems there was this small rock band touring around with their new album. Someone in the audience once night illicitly recorded the show and spread it around via BitTorrent. People downloaded it and listened to it -- a lot. The band were shocked and heartwarmed when, upon their next performance, a huge portion of the audience knew all the words and were singing along.

That's probably true of a lot of bands.

Bootlegs probably fall into a different category of gray morality than pirated studio albums, though.

gothicangel
01-04-2012, 01:52 AM
Interesting comment from a small publisher over on The Bookseller:


We find it hard to set a price lower than £5 on ebooks because Amazon takes 30%, we share income 50/50 with the author, and the VAT on ebooks is way too high. I've taken a look at the cost of ebooks in the top 10 being displayed and there seems to be an average price of £3, so the pricing is low. I think you're right that this kind of price isn't sustainable long term by a publisher if we're to give authors a royalty on each book that makes sense. Even at a cost of £5-£6 this leaves an income of just over £1 each for the author and publisher. I suppose self published books could stay at a lower cost than £5 and get a little income for the author. Or publishers could pay an incredibly low royalty. But really we need realistic prices for ebooks to be a valid part of a publisher's list and to reward that authors fairly.

http://www.thebookseller.com/news/hc-christmas-day-downloads-top-100000.html

Torgo
01-04-2012, 01:54 AM
Interesting comment from a small publisher over on The Bookseller:

Yep. True of big publishers too. VAT is the biggest impediment to what the public would feel is 'fair' ebook pricing in the UK at the moment.

Al Stevens
01-04-2012, 02:14 AM
Well, there's no legislative, enforcement solution.
There is none so far. And I can't imagine one. The Internet is an anarchy. It was designed to be so. Whatever you make illegal or unavailable in one jurisdiction will move to another. And you cannot turn off the pipeline.

All you can legislate is people's use of the tool. It's already illegal to distribute and own child porn. The penalties are swift and severe. So much so that the practice is way underground and limited. But that works because most people don't want it. We can't apply the same measures and controls to otherwise legal intellectual property.

Medievalist
01-04-2012, 04:32 AM
Did he really say "investing" and not "inventing"? I prefer "inventing." 'Cause it's true. Again, see the relevant article of the US Constitution.

He said investing (http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/steve-jobs-rolling-stones-2003-interview-20111006?page=2). Remember, he always had to think of stock holders--and note the context includes patents--people invest in tech companies in part because of patents.

That said, I do think creation in an act of investing; it has connotations, etymologically of clothing. When we bring creation to fruit, we are clothing our ideas with form--note that the same root has connotations of covering, surrounding, and yes, invading and besieging.


I seem to remember a story that falls somewhere between "BT is a legitimate and useful protocol".

BT is a fabulous protocol if you run a large database-driven site and need distributed backups in the advent of Bad Things Happening.

It's used a lot by academic folk to legitimately transfer huge terabyte datasets to colleagues.

Medievalist
01-04-2012, 04:34 AM
Yep. True of big publishers too. VAT is the biggest impediment to what the public would feel is 'fair' ebook pricing in the UK at the moment.

Torgo, I'm trying to determine if software in the UK is subject to VAT.

Is it?

Torgo
01-04-2012, 04:42 AM
Torgo, I'm trying to determine if software in the UK is subject to VAT.

Is it?

I'm afraid I don't know the answer to that. I suspect it's also somewhat complicated depending on whether you're importing media or using services overseas etc etc. Sorry!

Max Vaehling
01-07-2012, 04:08 AM
Did not know that, as I've never seen someone partake in these legitimate uses. Examples? I'm just not super familiar with them, aside from the whole piratebay debacle.

Mininova.org switched to legal torrents a while back. Even before that, they offered the opportunity to upload legal torrents there. So you don't have to host them on your own server to keep them available.

There's also legaltorrents.com which, now I'm checking the file, seems to have turned into clearbits.net/ and may or may not still have the original torrents. including net label mp3 collections, free documentaries and a handful of very fine movies.

Those are just two I know from the top of my head. The latter because I originally intended to host my own ebooks there, the former because that's where I ended up hosting them. Used to be a great distribution platform, too, but downloads dropped significantly around the time Google changed their autocomplete parameters to please Big Licensing. (Well, I can't prove it was Google's fault, but download rates don't just drop by half from one day to the next, and it was pretty much exactly when Google announced that change. If the drop is a Google collateral, this is a fine illustration of how over-regulating what some big guns consider pirate territory is really hurting small business and legit uses.) (Just sayin'.)

Max Vaehling
01-07-2012, 04:09 AM
Also:


Call it what you want, to me it's essentially theft. Maybe not the legal term, but the thing your mom told you not to do when you were a kid--that's what pirates are doing.

This made me chuckle. Yes, I agree: Piracy is exactly like stuffing all my things into the corner behind the door and pretending I cleared up my room.

Or maybe it's more like eating too much candy before lunch.

Yeah, actually it's a lot like eating too much candy before lunch, if you think about it.

Well, if you can call it theft, I can call it pretty much anything I want.

Moving back to the sidelines now.

bearilou
01-07-2012, 04:11 AM
*creeps in* what's VAT?

kuwisdelu
01-07-2012, 04:13 AM
*creeps in* what's VAT?

A type of tax.

The Lonely One
01-07-2012, 09:19 AM
Also:



This made me chuckle. Yes, I agree: Piracy is exactly like stuffing all my things into the corner behind the door and pretending I cleared up my room.

Or maybe it's more like eating too much candy before lunch.

Yeah, actually it's a lot like eating too much candy before lunch, if you think about it.

Well, if you can call it theft, I can call it pretty much anything I want.

Moving back to the sidelines now.

No one said it was exactly theft. That's why I said it might be legally not theft. But it's taking something you don't have the rights to. Something someone else needs you to buy. That's pretty crappy in my book.

You seem to be caddishly implying that I'm offbase here with my analogy. But I think it's pretty close to theft. Which is something my parents taught me was very wrong. You're stealing intellectual property, and all the effort someone put into their work.

Again, if it was a physical book you'd have nothing to say against me calling stealing stealing. Why, I ask once again, does a format change legitimize taking what isn't yours?

I don't think I'm comparing apples to oranges by calling ebook piracy "essentially theft"...

Amadan
01-07-2012, 05:43 PM
I don't think I'm comparing apples to oranges by calling ebook piracy "essentially theft"...


Let's suppose I go to a torrent site right now and find a book I have no intention of ever buying or reading. I download it. It sits there on my disk drive. I never even bother to open it.

According to you, I'm a thief. I've stolen money from the author and publisher.

But I haven't. Making a copy of a digital file removes no goods from inventory, and they were never going to get my money. So the impact on their balance sheet as a result of my "theft" is zero.

That describes the majority of ebook piracy.

Now, if I redistribute that file, or if I would have bought it but pirated it instead, then you have an argument that I have possibly caused some economic harm. And then we proceed with iteration eleventy-five of the Great Piracy Debate.

But the reason why even people who frown on piracy (ME!) are adamant about disagreeing with the "Theft! Stealing money! Evil thieving thieves who thieve!!!!" construct is that it's inaccurate, morally and legally, and leads to other inaccurate and ill-thought responses.

Max Vaehling
01-07-2012, 07:21 PM
No one said it was exactly theft.

Where have you been the last ten years? People say it all the time. You just happened to be on the frontline with that one post this time, and I sometimes just can't help myself.


if it was a physical book you'd have nothing to say against me calling stealing stealing. Why, I ask once again, does a format change legitimize taking what isn't yours?

It doesn't legitimize anything, and I didn't say it did. But there's a difference, and ignoring it distorts and unnecessarily hystericizes every debate about online piracy. Y'know, because most everybody's against theft. So people call it theft and other people say, oh well, then it must be bad. But there's no real basis in calling it that unless you want a debate to escalate into either a shouting match or a one-sided campaign.

Which may be right up some people's alley. Not saying that's you, of course; after all, you're actually asking stuff rather than what's usually the next step - accusing those who don't join the witch hunt of being pirates and thieves and evil-doers themselves. Thus, not worth listening to.

Anyway, the difference between priacy and stealing? Easy. Obvious, too. You steal something, it's gone. You illegally copy something, it's still there. Why does it matter? There's a whole different victimization experience attached to both.

Just 'cause you claim ownership for something that isn't rightfully yours, doesn't make it theft. Actually, I half-remember once hearing that, legally, it's closer to fraud then theft. Especially when people cash in on sharing the booty, be it via ads or actually selling copies. That's really like fraud because you're claiming you have the right to sell this stuff, or maybe it's more like fencing because most people won't buy that lie anyway unless they have a vested interes in not thinking about the illegality of shopping there.

Y'know, if you want a good analogy from established crimes. If you just want the outrage, stick to theft but don't expect anything reasonable to come out of it.

Or just call it what it is. Online piracy. Illegal downloading. In my experience, discussions work best when you don't have to wade through affect-laden analogies every five posts.

The Lonely One
01-07-2012, 09:01 PM
Even if the manner in which piracy victimizes someone is different, the intent of the pirate is the same: to take that which does not belong. Be that an identity or copyright or an actual item. You're kind of grouping me in with those shouting fire, based on the word "theft" you saw in my post, but it's not that I'm not understanding there are other perspectives out there. I still think that, in terms of the intent of the person behind the act, piracy is a kind of theft. You're obtaining something with a price tag for free. And I'm not so dense as to see there are legal differences, and some vague, uncertain idea that "e-book piracy helps sales via promotion," but the intent by pirates is clearly not simply to act as a promotion team for the music and books and games they like, nor are they authorized in any way to do so. They're taking those things so they can use them for free. "Sharing" is a part of the process of obtaining things for free.

Look, I get there is a witch hunt. But maybe there should be, to a certain degree. Not without critical thought and planning, but I don't think it's a good idea to justify what could potentially hurt others. I just don't get people that are okay with this, especially given that without sales a lot of novelists here would not survive. Words have as much value on a screen as they do in a book.

If you'd feel more comfortable calling it fraud, I'd still consider fraud "essentially theft." The informal definition of theft (not the legal one) contains fraud under its umbrella. I just think, to some degree, but I really don't think my analogy of e-book piracy to "something you aren't supposed to do" is as far off as you think. I do understand the technical differences, but these hypotheticals don't really change my mind on the severity of taking or fraud, or whichever you choose to call it.

Sophia
01-07-2012, 09:06 PM
Anyway, the difference between priacy and stealing? Easy. Obvious, too. You steal something, it's gone. You illegally copy something, it's still there. Why does it matter? There's a whole different victimization experience attached to both.

For me, the sense of being a victim of theft comes from the pirate having something that I didn't give them permission to have (my words, and the knowledge of what happens in my story). It's irrelevant to my "victimization experience" that their gain of those things hasn't simultaneously meant my loss of them. Sure, if we were discussing a car or some physical object, there would be a difference. But for a story I've written, there just isn't.


If you just want the outrage, stick to theft but don't expect anything reasonable to come out of it.

Or just call it what it is. Online piracy. Illegal downloading. In my experience, discussions work best when you don't have to wade through affect-laden analogies every five posts.

In my experience, these discussions also work best when the people who do call it theft aren't then immediately assumed to all be mindlessly outraged, hysterical, and supporters of DRM and SOPA, by those who position themselves on the other 'side' to them, which is how some replies in this thread have come across.

The Lonely One
01-07-2012, 09:10 PM
Let's suppose I go to a torrent site right now and find a book I have no intention of ever buying or reading. I download it. It sits there on my disk drive. I never even bother to open it.

According to you, I'm a thief. I've stolen money from the author and publisher.

But I haven't. Making a copy of a digital file removes no goods from inventory, and they were never going to get my money. So the impact on their balance sheet as a result of my "theft" is zero.

That describes the majority of ebook piracy.

Now, if I redistribute that file, or if I would have bought it but pirated it instead, then you have an argument that I have possibly caused some economic harm. And then we proceed with iteration eleventy-five of the Great Piracy Debate.

But the reason why even people who frown on piracy (ME!) are adamant about disagreeing with the "Theft! Stealing money! Evil thieving thieves who thieve!!!!" construct is that it's inaccurate, morally and legally, and leads to other inaccurate and ill-thought responses.

This argument, though, is so slippery-slope. The whole idea of piracy is to get something so you don't have to pay for it. You guys are arguing from an effect side of things. I'm arguing from an intent side of things. I'm not saying it's always evil or anything like that, either. I'm talking about those who intend to take that which does not belong, for their own use, without paying. If piracy were legal, no one would pay for a single book. Why would they? There's obviously some unintentional harm to be had by e-book piracy, if it were to be allowed to flourish. I just feel like sometimes we argue things just for the point of arguing. Yes, piracy is not legally theft. Informally, I think there's an argument to be had that it is.

Medievalist
01-07-2012, 09:21 PM
It's odd that you don't see writers complaining about "shrinkage" (theft of printed books from bookstores) or stripped books--neither of which contribute income to the writers' purse.

In fact, I suspect writers who haven't worked in retail bookstores are unaware of how much theft there is.

ChaosTitan
01-07-2012, 09:41 PM
It's odd that you don't see writers complaining about "shrinkage" (theft of printed books from bookstores) or stripped books--neither of which contribute income to the writers' purse.

In fact, I suspect writers who haven't work in retail bookstores are unaware of how much theft there is.

That's because, unlike torrent sites and sites that link to them, we don't get Google Alerts telling us when another copy of our book has appeared in someone's bag/purse without being paid for. ;)

Amadan
01-07-2012, 09:41 PM
This argument, though, is so slippery-slope. The whole idea of piracy is to get something so you don't have to pay for it. You guys are arguing from an effect side of things. I'm arguing from an intent side of things.

Everything is a slippery slope.

Yes, I argue from the effect side of things, because what difference does a pirate's intent make? Does it make you feel better to be vehemently anti-piracy if you are convinced that pirates are all evil, greedy, selfish, entitled bastards? Knock yourself out, but it doesn't change anything.


If piracy were legal, no one would pay for a single book. Why would they?

Well, this is wrong on several levels. First of all, it's not the illegality that stops the average person from pirating, it's that the average person hasn't taken the (minimal) effort to find out about it and how to do it. Which is why I think it's perfectly fine to keep piracy illegal and send take-down notices to sites that host pirated files. As long as it's somewhat "underground," the average consumer has to go a little bit out of his or her way to get pirated copies, and that tiny bit of added inconvenience will deter most people, because most people are lazy.

However, you're also wrong that no one would pay if they didn't have to. I pay, and I can easily get all the ebooks I buy for free. You would, and so would most people here. Some authors have even made their books available as free downloads, and yet people buy them in stores. There are lots of people perfectly willing to buy books from authors they like, even if they do know they can get them for free.


It's odd that you don't see writers complaining about "shrinkage" (theft of printed books from bookstores) or stripped books--neither of which contribute income to the writers' purse.

In fact, I suspect writers who haven't work in retail bookstores are unaware of how much theft there is.


Also, libraries and used books.

Here's a nefarious thing I have done to take money out of authors' pockets: I obtain a lot of my print books from PaperBackSwap.com. And when I'm done reading a print book, unless I have a reason to keep it (which I usually don't), I give it away on PBS.

I am not too poor to just buy all those books new, but I don't. Not only do I not buy them, but I then give them away again so that another person can not buy them.

I also borrow books from the library which I could buy new.

Now, the library/used books/ebook piracy comparison is also not a new one, but I'm just pointing out: I've had people yell at me for rolling my eyes at "Piracy = theft!" as if I am personally responsible for taking money out of someone's pocket. But I do read books I get from PBS or the library that I really wanted to read, and if I hadn't been able to find them there, I would have bought a new copy. So, demonstrably, that has cost the author a sale. Why does no one yell at me or think I am selfishly refusing to support authors when I do that?

(And if you say "Because physical books wear out/they were bought once/etc." yes, that's true, but now you're arguing effect and not intent.)

Max Vaehling
01-08-2012, 07:10 PM
I make it a point not to repeat myself too much in a thread like this anymore because that leads to nothing, so for the last time:


You're kind of grouping me in with those shouting fire, based on the word "theft" you saw in my post, ...

You may have read more subtext than text into my "Not saying that's you". Your bad.


I still think that, in terms of the intent of the person behind the act, piracy is a kind of theft.

So now you're saying the pirates themselves view it as akin to theft? Without having asked them all, I can pretty much guarantee that's not the case.


Look, I get there is a witch hunt. But maybe there should be, to a certain degree.

There should never be a witch hunt.


... Not without critical thought and planning, but I don't think it's a good idea to justify what could potentially hurt others.

Now you're saying that anybody who won't join the witch hunt is okay with piracy. That's pretty much my point (or one of my points) from my previous posts.

And, while I'm at it:


It's irrelevant to my "victimization experience" that their gain of those things hasn't simultaneously meant my loss of them. Sure, if we were discussing a car or some physical object, there would be a difference. But for a story I've written, there just isn't.

Ah, now we're getting somewhere. You're saying, yes, there is a difference between theft and piracy because it is unlike stealing a car, but you choose to ignore it. My point exactly.


In my experience, these discussions also work best when the people who do call it theft aren't then immediately assumed to all be mindlessly outraged, hysterical, and supporters of DRM and SOPA, by those who position themselves on the other 'side' to them, which is how some replies in this thread have come across.

You mean, when people like me stop calling people who choose to escalate the debate into a witch hunt out for escalating the debate into a witch hunt? Or do you mean when people who aren't as thoroughly anti-piracy as you stop stop calling you out for whatever they then claim that's not my argument and, thus, not for me to answer to? It's kind of hard which side of "calling it theft" you mean as long as you insist on using this metaphor. Which is, again, exactly my point.

If you mean "theft" as in "a crime that's totally different from the crime we're talking about but sounds much snappier", I will keep calling people out on this for the reasons I've sketched above as well as in previous threads. And for no other reasons that may or may not be attributed to me by third parties who don't get that pointing out one wrong doesn't automatically mean you're okay with another wrong that the pointed-out wrong opposes.

If by "people who call it theft" you don't mean the distinction but just "people who point out it's illegal" but are again using that crooked metaphor, you're proving my point on how using it just messes everything up.

_____________

This concludes my third and hopefully final post (in this thread, anyway) about how piracy isn't theft and why we shouldn't call it that, if only for the sake of clarity and deescalation. For the sake of not cluttering up this thread, I'll leave it at that unless it gets really hairy, so if anybody still feels the need to call me out on this, please don't view my not answering right away as arrogance.

Though I gotta say, I did like it when somebody said "it fell off a truck on the information highway" once.

Max Vaehling
01-08-2012, 07:11 PM
Also:


First of all, it's not the illegality that stops the average person from pirating, it's that the average person hasn't taken the (minimal) effort to find out about it and how to do it. Which is why I think it's perfectly fine to keep piracy illegal and send take-down notices to sites that host pirated files. As long as it's somewhat "underground," the average consumer has to go a little bit out of his or her way to get pirated copies, and that tiny bit of added inconvenience will deter most people, because most people are lazy.

This.

James D. Macdonald
01-08-2012, 07:40 PM
Actually, I think most people are honest and want to do the right thing. If you make getting legitimate copies possible, most people will go that route.

Medievalist
01-08-2012, 10:23 PM
That's because, unlike torrent sites and sites that link to them, we don't get Google Alerts telling us when another copy of our book has appeared in someone's bag/purse without being paid for. ;)

Here's the thing, though.

Unless you also download the file you have no idea what they've downloaded. It's a great way to circulate malware.

You can name a file anything you want. You can embed anything you want, too.

kuwisdelu
01-08-2012, 11:19 PM
Actually, I think most people are honest and want to do the right thing. If you make getting legitimate copies possible, most people will go that route.

There's a difference between wanting to do the right thing and not doing something because it's illegal.

I've never known anyone my age not to pirate because it's illegal (i.e., due to fear of getting caught). I've known them not to pirate when it's more convenient not to, or because they want the artist to be compensated. Legality is rarely a concern.

Max Vaehling
01-09-2012, 12:50 AM
Making legitimate copies possible isn't enough; getting them must be easy enough to compete with the potential hassles connected to illegal downloading. That doesn't necessarily mean free, although it's true that free is hard to compete with. It does mean easy to find, guaranteed to be the file you're actually looking for, easy to obtain, easy to use.

The Lonely One
01-09-2012, 03:10 AM
I get frustrated because I feel you guys are misconstruing my arguments. . I try to help make AW a place where multiple views can be shared, and I don't think any of our views here are objectively "right," so I don't see why there is a need to become hostile. It's sort of hurtful, probably on both ends, and I will try to see your guys points of view so please, as a request, please try to see mine in the light I intended them, not a battle of semantics in hypotheticals.


Everything is a slippery slope.

Yes, I argue from the effect side of things, because what difference does a pirate's intent make? Does it make you feel better to be vehemently anti-piracy if you are convinced that pirates are all evil, greedy, selfish, entitled bastards? Knock yourself out, but it doesn't change anything.

Literally never said any of that. I've been as straightforward as possible, never once saying "all pirates are evil" or that I don't recognize other viewpoints. Intent IS important, in my perspective. If a gun misfires and kills someone, that's much different than a person killing someone else in cold blood by shooting them. To me, yes, intent is important as to what kind of person you are and whether I respect you.

Well, this is wrong on several levels. First of all, it's not the illegality that stops the average person from pirating, it's that the average person hasn't taken the (minimal) effort to find out about it and how to do it. Which is why I think it's perfectly fine to keep piracy illegal and send take-down notices to sites that host pirated files. As long as it's somewhat "underground," the average consumer has to go a little bit out of his or her way to get pirated copies, and that tiny bit of added inconvenience will deter most people, because most people are lazy.

Yes, and this is the kind of anti-piracy I think is important to keep in place. I never said "string them up by their toes!" but you and Max seem to have this generalized, wrong idea about my beliefs and arguments.

However, you're also wrong that no one would pay if they didn't have to. I pay, and I can easily get all the ebooks I buy for free. You would, and so would most people here. Some authors have even made their books available as free downloads, and yet people buy them in stores. There are lots of people perfectly willing to buy books from authors they like, even if they do know they can get them for free.

If it was legal for e-books to be shared for free with everyone over peer-sharing networks or torrents or whatever, the legality would make the pirating a legitimate business, offering something for free. Why on Earth would someone pay for that? If the author you liked offered a pay-for version and a free version of the same book on their website, which would you take? It's almost financially irresponsible to pay for it at that point, unless you're viewing it like a charity.


Also, libraries and used books.

Here's a nefarious thing I have done to take money out of authors' pockets: I obtain a lot of my print books from PaperBackSwap.com. And when I'm done reading a print book, unless I have a reason to keep it (which I usually don't), I give it away on PBS.

I am not too poor to just buy all those books new, but I don't. Not only do I not buy them, but I then give them away again so that another person can not buy them.

I also borrow books from the library which I could buy new.

Now, the library/used books/ebook piracy comparison is also not a new one, but I'm just pointing out: I've had people yell at me for rolling my eyes at "Piracy = theft!" as if I am personally responsible for taking money out of someone's pocket. But I do read books I get from PBS or the library that I really wanted to read, and if I hadn't been able to find them there, I would have bought a new copy. So, demonstrably, that has cost the author a sale. Why does no one yell at me or think I am selfishly refusing to support authors when I do that?

I see you've been burned before by people being flippant to you about your views on this, and please don't believe I'm one of them. I read your posts and take them into consideration, but thus far I still haven't seen an argument that makes me feel okay about e-book piracy. I also think there is a difference between what you do and piracy. I hate to keep analogizing, but I do believe sharing a book with a friend, or on some individual monitored basis (library), is different than making infinite copies of a book and giving it to strangers/potential e-book customers.

(And if you say "Because physical books wear out/they were bought once/etc." yes, that's true, but now you're arguing effect and not intent.)

Amadan, I really think we're not coming at this argument from the same angle, which has a lot to do with why we aren't agreeing. I say intent is important, you say effect is important. Certainly they go hand-in-hand at certain intersections in the law. But my argument is very simplistic, and that is that taking something belonging to someone else is wrong and potentially harmful. That is the argument, stripped of hypothetical analogies to my bare bone perspective.


I make it a point not to repeat myself too much in a thread like this anymore because that leads to nothing, so for the last time:

This is the kind of tone that leads to endless disagreement. Come on man, I promise I'll try to meet you halfway.

You may have read more subtext than text into my "Not saying that's you". Your bad.

Perhaps. I'll take a step back, then.

So now you're saying the pirates themselves view it as akin to theft? Without having asked them all, I can pretty much guarantee that's not the case.

They can view it any which way, but isn't justifying it just delusional? Maybe not, but I think my main mental stop here is where taking things without permission becomes justified, whether or not you call it "theft." Like I said, if that word is upsetting you, choose another one. Whatever you call it, I think it's wrong. You can hypothetically download something and never use it, like Amadan said earlier. But why do that, honestly? That's where my intent argument comes from. That seems like a waste of time that potentially gets you in trouble with the law. Just pay for it, problem easily solved.

There should never be a witch hunt.

Yes, I see your issue now with my linking "witch hunt" with critical thought and planning. I realize that was dumb of me, those things don't go together. I will call it "combating e-book piracy" rather than a witch hunt.

Now you're saying that anybody who won't join the witch hunt is okay with piracy. That's pretty much my point (or one of my points) from my previous posts.

I did not nor will I in the future say that. I don't force my views on others. I am sharing them in this symposium. You, nor anyone else, are under obligation or urging by me to adopt my views.

And, while I'm at it:



Ah, now we're getting somewhere. You're saying, yes, there is a difference between theft and piracy because it is unlike stealing a car, but you choose to ignore it. My point exactly.

I think this is where you're confusing my argument. Yes, legally theft means removing property. But I think it is the same intent as stealing. To take something without paying.

You mean, when people like me stop calling people who choose to escalate the debate into a witch hunt out for escalating the debate into a witch hunt? Or do you mean when people who aren't as thoroughly anti-piracy as you stop stop calling you out for whatever they then claim that's not my argument and, thus, not for me to answer to? It's kind of hard which side of "calling it theft" you mean as long as you insist on using this metaphor. Which is, again, exactly my point.

Okay, man. Call me out if you like. But I don't think that's an effective way to argue. It implies aggression, which I've noticed here and I don't like and I won't respond to. You and I both know there's a calm, thoughtful way to discuss this. And I don't think there's anything to call out. I already said I understood your arguments, that I'd considered and read them. This is just my view, and it isn't wrong, it's an individual perspective of a complex problem.

If you mean "theft" as in "a crime that's totally different from the crime we're talking about but sounds much snappier", I will keep calling people out on this for the reasons I've sketched above as well as in previous threads. And for no other reasons that may or may not be attributed to me by third parties who don't get that pointing out one wrong doesn't automatically mean you're okay with another wrong that the pointed-out wrong opposes.

I feel like you're assuming some things about me here. I'm not other people, and I am trying to take into consideration your views. Can we both step back, not get into semantics, and try to see where the other is coming from and why we're up in arms about it? I would love this argument to take that direction, because I want to make friends here that I can have thoughtful discussion with. I don't want to argue with you or anyone on AW, Max. I really, really have no intention of doing so. And for me I'm asking as a fellow writer that we both lower our snark-level and shed some light on this.

If by "people who call it theft" you don't mean the distinction but just "people who point out it's illegal" but are again using that crooked metaphor, you're proving my point on how using it just messes everything up.

_____________

This concludes my third and hopefully final post (in this thread, anyway) about how piracy isn't theft and why we shouldn't call it that, if only for the sake of clarity and deescalation. For the sake of not cluttering up this thread, I'll leave it at that unless it gets really hairy, so if anybody still feels the need to call me out on this, please don't view my not answering right away as arrogance.

Though I gotta say, I did like it when somebody said "it fell off a truck on the information highway" once.

Max, I don't want you to go away from this thread angry or upset, and I don't want it to get hairy at all. I'd actually prefer the deescelation you talk about to happen in this very thread.

Some people are going to view theft and taking non-physical copies of something without paying as the same moral wrong. I am one of them. This is not the same as me shouting from the rooftops that all e-book pirates are evil bastards trying to ruin everyone's life, that they should be unthoughtfully punished in some blanket attack. And I get that this argument is usually linked this way. But in my case, it isn't. I also feel I'm being viewed in the light these other individuals have been viewed in past conversations, which I didn't think was fair to me and why I became hurt and possibly created a personal attack, which I apologize for.

Please, if you'd like to continue the conversation, I'm willing. These may be old arguments but at the least we get to understand multiple perspectives and backgrounds on a common problem. So again, I really do apologize if I was rude, as I feel all of us got our feathers ruffled a little on this one.

I think we all can take a step back and understand one another more clearly. Anyway, thanks if you read this.

Amadan
01-09-2012, 03:47 AM
Lonely One, I'm not angry or hostile. I just disagree with you. That doesn't mean I'm getting angry or hurt.

However, when you dismiss opposing viewpoints as "a battle of semantics in hypotheticals," I think you are missing the point. There is a reason why some of us object to calling epiracy "theft," and it's not just a semantic one. When I gave my hypothetical example of pirating an ebook I will never buy, it was hypothetical for me, but not hypothetical in the real world.

You seem to think there is some bedrock objective level of morality that "semantic" and "hypothetical" arguments evade, but law and morality are based largely on hypotheticals.


Literally never said any of that. I've been as straightforward as possible, never once saying "all pirates are evil" or that I don't recognize other viewpoints. Intent IS important, in my perspective. If a gun misfires and kills someone, that's much different than a person killing someone else in cold blood by shooting them. To me, yes, intent is important as to what kind of person you are and whether I respect you.

Intent is important in sentencing, but the person shot is just as dead in either case. Getting back to epiracy, does this mean that a pirate whose motivation is not "Get stuff for free" but "Protest against IP law, which I think is immoral and benefits rich, privileged corporate interests and oppressive governments" would be more ethical and his actions more defensible, in your view? Because there are quite a few pirates who host torrent sites and encourage piracy for just that reason. You might disagree with them (I'm sure you do, as do I), but if intent is what matters, well, they are quite sincere about their intentions.


If it was legal for e-books to be shared for free with everyone over peer-sharing networks or torrents or whatever, the legality would make the pirating a legitimate business, offering something for free. Why on Earth would someone pay for that? If the author you liked offered a pay-for version and a free version of the same book on their website, which would you take? It's almost financially irresponsible to pay for it at that point, unless you're viewing it like a charity.

I really don't want to give an abbreviated version of the Cory Doctorow argument again, but there are authors who have done just this. I'm not saying it's a model that will work for everyone, but your assumption that it's an impossibility and illogical to even suggest it is just not correct.

The Lonely One
01-09-2012, 03:57 AM
Lonely One, I'm not angry or hostile. I just disagree with you. That doesn't mean I'm getting angry or hurt.

Fair.

However, when you dismiss opposing viewpoints as "a battle of semantics in hypotheticals," I think you are missing the point. There is a reason why some of us object to calling epiracy "theft," and it's not just a semantic one. When I gave my hypothetical example of pirating an ebook I will never buy, it was hypothetical for me, but not hypothetical in the real world.

Also fair. Understood.

You seem to think there is some bedrock objective level of morality that "semantic" and "hypothetical" arguments evade, but law and morality are based largely on hypotheticals.

I hadn't considered this.

Intent is important in sentencing, but the person shot is just as dead in either case. Getting back to epiracy, does this mean that a pirate whose motivation is not "Get stuff for free" but "Protest against IP law, which I think is immoral and benefits rich, privileged corporate interests and oppressive governments" would be more ethical and his actions more defensible, in your view? Because there are quite a few pirates who host torrent sites and encourage piracy for just that reason. You might disagree with them (I'm sure you do, as do I), but if intent is what matters, well, they are quite sincere about their intentions.

Well to me, the protesting hurts the artists as well, so this is why I think it is wrong. I do understand why there are differences in intent, though. I see this is important to understanding one of the complexities of this issue.


I really don't want to give an abbreviated version of the Cory Doctorow argument again, but there are authors who have done just this. I'm not saying it's a model that will work for everyone, but your assumption that it's an impossibility and illogical to even suggest it is just not correct.

Fair enough. I should stop the absolutes. On the large haul, though, I think there's good reason for anti-piracy law to exist. A lot of people, in my opinion, conflate the law with moral justification and in my experience cheaper products (if quality is the same) are the ones acquired.



It's clearly complex, and I think it's good for authors to discuss and issue that directly affects them. I think protesting corporations is a different intent I hadn't considered in my statements, but not a good one as it still has possible casualties among the artists the pirates are enjoying.

Max Vaehling
01-11-2012, 01:41 AM
Oh, I never removed myself from the thread. I'm just very aware that posting an opposing view over and over isn't really helping anybody, and also a very questionable pastime.

Not everything in this thread is about this one question, and you may have seen I've posted since, on other questions. Also, I do care if my posts strike a wrong chord with people. I'm not really the "hit-post-and-run" type.

My main point is a very simple one. So simple in fact that I'm having a hard time accepting that it gets debated so much. (Well, depending on my mood, sometimes it's a hard time, sometimes a heck of a time, and mostly a bit of both.)

This is the point:
Illegal downloading isn't stealing. It's not even very much like stealing. In fact, the only two things it has in common with stealing are that it's illegal and at the end of it you have something that's not legally yours. Everything else about it is different.

This is why I keep making it:
When people call it stealing, either out of flippancy or to point out just how opposed to it they are, they are contributing to an atmosphere where just by trying to distinguish the facts from the witch hunt side of the debate, you can get burned for being pro-piracy. You seem to have read my posts in exactly that manner, asking me about legitimizing and justifying piracy as if I had done any of that.

And this is exactly why I keep opposing this metaphor. Also, it's fun, to a degree. I mean, I do realize it's a bit like walking into a bar knowing there's gonna be a brawl.

(Also, none of this is about you. You seem to take arguments as personally directed at you, even when I explicitly say they aren't, or when I'm answering to a post that wasn't even yours. When I say, "people" tend to do this or that, I mean exactly that - people. And I'm saying it to point out just where the slippery part of the slope is, so other people who may or may not be you don't step on it. Not because I want to imply that you already did. If that was my case, I'd simply state it.)



Like I said, if that word is upsetting you, choose another one.

Sadly, it's not about what words I use. I choose to call it illegal downloading because it is both illegal and downloading. Unless we're talking about illegal uploading, of course.


You and I both know there's a calm, thoughtful way to discuss this.

Yep, and using emotionally charged-up metaphors that don't contribute to the discussion isn't it.

All I said, really.

The Lonely One
01-11-2012, 03:37 AM
I appreciate your views and certainly don't think you're pro-piracy. We just must agree to not agree when it comes to this. I feel the moral implications of intent make the two things alike, if only in that facet. You do not. That is fine.

Sophia
01-11-2012, 03:38 PM
This is the point:
Illegal downloading isn't stealing. It's not even very much like stealing. In fact, the only two things it has in common with stealing are that it's illegal and at the end of it you have something that's not legally yours. Everything else about it is different.

The only thing that is relevant and important to me is that they now have something of mine that I did not give them permission to have. I understand that you disagree that that is enough to warrant my calling it stealing.

I am not in favour of DRM or SOPA, and I do not think that anyone who argues against calling it stealing is pro-piracy. (Yes, I'm aware that readers don't generally see the "not" in these statements...) It seems necessary to say this, because you appear to automatically assume the opposite to be the case for everyone in the "it's stealing!" camp.


This is why I keep making it:
When people call it stealing, either out of flippancy or to point out just how opposed to it they are, they are contributing to an atmosphere where just by trying to distinguish the facts from the witch hunt side of the debate, you can get burned for being pro-piracy.

I gave my reason in an earlier post for calling it stealing, and I was being neither flippant nor doing it to point out "how opposed" I was. The fact that you can only see these two reasons for me (or anyone else) to call it stealing, suggests that you may be making some incorrect assumptions about other posters.

Not everyone who calls it stealing has accused you of being pro-piracy. You are lumping people together, and by doing so, are ignoring some of the variations in our views. Re the part of your quote I have bolded, my calling it stealing is not why someone might "get burned for being pro-piracy". I was giving my viewpoint, with my reason, and reading those of others, which is what a discussion thread is for. I think you are giving much too little credit to your own contribution:


And this is exactly why I keep opposing this metaphor.Also, it's fun, to a degree. I mean, I do realize it's a bit like walking into a bar knowing there's gonna be a brawl.

A brawl that you seem to intentionally spur on with your inflammatory word choices, dismissal of nuance, and generalisations. Your posts on this subject do not come across as those of someone who is "just" trying to distinguish facts.

Max Vaehling
01-12-2012, 12:55 AM
I don't really see how anything I wrote translates to "everyone". But, hey, I didn't see the point of the thieving metaphor either, so maybe I'm just bad with metaphors.

The danger I'm describing is something I've seen happen before, over the last ten years or so, more often than not, and that's about all I said, really, as far as generalisations go. As for not referencing your reasons correctly, excuse me for editing out a couple of side aspects from a very long post. It wasn't the only one. I do like brevity sometimes.

Can we leave that be now, please? This side aspect has been going on long enough for something that has originally been just a remark on something unintentionally funny The Lonely One said. I'm not going to convince either of you of using less value-judgy phrasing or maybe that it indeed is more value-judgy than helpful, and you're not going to convince me it's a good choice of words. Or that it's only semantics, for that matter.

(I may be more up to it later, but there will be other threads for that soon enough.)

Al Stevens
01-12-2012, 01:01 AM
Enough with the "he said, she said," already. :)

kuwisdelu
01-12-2012, 01:06 AM
My main problem with calling piracy "stealing" is that it feeds directly into the false assumption that there is a one-to-one correspondence between piracy and lost sales/revenue. If you steal a physical product from me, I can't sell it to anyone else, so the cost does come out of my pocket. If you "steal" a digital product from me, I don't actually lose anything, and though I don't get you're money, it's questionable whether you would have bought it if you couldn't pirate it.

So my issue with the "stealing"/"theft" analogy is that it can often lead people to the false conclusion that pirated copies are lost sales, and that if X people pirated your book, then that means you lost the price of X books, or that you would have sold X copies if piracy were impossible. Which is, of course, folly.

veinglory
01-12-2012, 02:10 AM
I don't think the idea of stealing posits any such correlation (although many other things/people do).

I think all "stealing" implies is: you have my widget that is mine, and I did not sell or give it to you.

At the dawn of copyright it was decided that if you borrow a man's cow, and while you have it it has a calf, you can't just return the cow keep the calf and call it fair because he never lost anything. The calf is still stolen and must be returned.

Al Stevens
01-12-2012, 02:34 AM
You can "steal" other intangibles. Identity theft. Would anyone apply these same arguments to that? You think that's not stealing, not theft?

Gee, you didn't take anything I don't get to keep. You wouldn't have bought it. You might never even use it. It isn't right for you to hide your identity behind a screen name, so I'll just take it in protest.

:)

Max Vaehling
01-12-2012, 02:50 AM
Time, too. Although they usually really don't get that back.

The Lonely One
01-12-2012, 04:13 AM
We just all have to accept that we have different perspectives, and actually respect those perspectives as valid on an opinion basis (not you in specific, just the general tone of the thread up until this point). We should assume that either we're simply coming at this from different angles with each other, or that we have multiple opposing viewpoints. Neither is right or wrong. They are perspectives that take into account the facts, or at least ideally they should.


My main problem with calling piracy "stealing" is that it feeds directly into the false assumption that there is a one-to-one correspondence between piracy and lost sales/revenue. If you steal a physical product from me, I can't sell it to anyone else, so the cost does come out of my pocket. If you "steal" a digital product from me, I don't actually lose anything, and though I don't get you're money, it's questionable whether you would have bought it if you couldn't pirate it.

So my issue with the "stealing"/"theft" analogy is that it can often lead people to the false conclusion that pirated copies are lost sales, and that if X people pirated your book, then that means you lost the price of X books, or that you would have sold X copies if piracy were impossible. Which is, of course, folly.

No sales are stolen, but potential sales could be, if the taken writing is then redistributed to those who, without access to the free copy, would be forced to pay profit to the providing company. This is all hypothetical and difficult to quantify, but certainly there is some kind of correlation, especially between those who fraudulently sell work as their own or deny sales among customers who otherwise would have been forced to pay. It could also potentially distort sales numbers, as a publisher will see x amount of books sold but never see the number of times it was copied and taken for free. Perhaps an author is widely read illegally, but their sales are down and the publisher decides the author isn't bringing in enough money for them. This is all potential not real, but even with that I personally feel uncomfortable having a role in it.

Now, with respect to its wrongness, let's just take the law out of it, let's not call it stealing (since so many people have hang ups with that word). In my opinion, if the author of a 100,000 word novel spent years getting said novel ready for publication, intends it for sale, and you go and take it (or copy it, or whatever), you're at the very least disrespectful to the amount of effort the author put into it, and unsupportive of the author that was relying on you to buy the book if you wanted to read it. It should not need to be argued that, if you have respect for the author whose hard work you are enjoying, whose talent you admire, and who you should know likely makes meager earnings at best from said work, you should not be one of the people enjoying it without giving something back, helping them live, helping them continue to produce the product you get so much out of.

All technicalities aside, I have not heard an argument for pirating--theft or not--that is not at its core disregarding the feelings, hard work, and financial needs of the author.

Regarding music downloads, when music was primarily on physical disks, it seemed to me like I knew a lot more people who were pirating and burning CDs with those pirated mp3s, thus not actually paying. When it became much more digitized, it seemed like the same people were purchasing mp3s through the easy, cheap venues such as iTunes. Now, I don't have statistical data and analysis to back this, but it is something I noticed over time. I think the same could be true of the e-book industry, if physical books are purchased less and less. This is just a hypothesis without any data, but maybe someone else could chime in on this idea. Wouldn't the increase of digital purchases perhaps show that, as music digitized and became easier to access for less money, digital sales became more viable to honest music patrons than pirating? Could something be said between music and e-books here? I don't know enough to say for sure on any of this. It was just an idea.

The Lonely One
01-12-2012, 04:22 AM
This side aspect has been going on long enough for something that has originally been just a remark on something unintentionally funny The Lonely One said.

I certainly didn't intend the comment to be funny, I was making a statement that even if e-book piracy isn't technically stealing, it's wrong to me because it feels wrong, for various of the reasons I've stated. Some of it is complicated and technical, some of it is gut. In my gut, it's wrong to take something that isn't yours, you didn't write, and you shouldn't have access to. That's what I meant by the "thing your mom told you not to do as a kid" comment. I mean, it's a core feeling of having pilfered someone else's life and well-being. If I am told "I'm selling this book" by an author, I would have no other thought of acquiring it but by purchase. If I didn't like the price or the author or I wanted to boycott the publisher, I just wouldn't acquire the book. That's called a consequence. I don't like the conditions of something, I don't acquire that thing. And I think the idea of e-book piracy skirts the issue of consequence.

kuwisdelu
01-12-2012, 05:24 AM
No sales are stolen, but potential sales could be, if the taken writing is then redistributed to those who, without access to the free copy, would be forced to pay profit to the providing company. This is all hypothetical and difficult to quantify, but certainly there is some kind of correlation, especially between those who fraudulently sell work as their own or deny sales among customers who otherwise would have been forced to pay. It could also potentially distort sales numbers, as a publisher will see x amount of books sold but never see the number of times it was copied and taken for free. Perhaps an author is widely read illegally, but their sales are down and the publisher decides the author isn't bringing in enough money for them. This is all potential not real, but even with that I personally feel uncomfortable having a role in it.

A very, very small percentage of pirated copies would have been sales if piracy were impossible. I'd posit a very, very small percentage of pirated copies are even read at all.


Regarding music downloads, when music was primarily on physical disks, it seemed to me like I knew a lot more people who were pirating and burning CDs with those pirated mp3s, thus not actually paying. When it became much more digitized, it seemed like the same people were purchasing mp3s through the easy, cheap venues such as iTunes. Now, I don't have statistical data and analysis to back this, but it is something I noticed over time. I think the same could be true of the e-book industry, if physical books are purchased less and less. This is just a hypothesis without any data, but maybe someone else could chime in on this idea. Wouldn't the increase of digital purchases perhaps show that, as music digitized and became easier to access for less money, digital sales became more viable to honest music patrons than pirating? Could something be said between music and e-books here? I don't know enough to say for sure on any of this. It was just an idea.

I've argued time and time again that the best way to combat piracy is to make buying it legally too convenient to even bother pirating it.

Midian
01-14-2012, 05:03 AM
I think that anyone that pirates, no matter what their excuses or justifications, are fully aware that they are stealing. They're fully aware that it's against the law. Right or wrong, they are choosing to ignore that.

I have my own opinions on piracy but at the end of the day, no mater what anyone believes should or shouldn't be, it's still illegal and they still know it.

KalenO
01-14-2012, 05:30 AM
I wonder if perhaps referring to it as a form of plagiarism rather than theft might be more applicable, due to the 'not all downloads equal sales lost' aspect of things. Like say, my issue with piracy from the perspective of an aspiring author isn't the money - though I reserve the right to feel differently about that when its no longer a case of hypothetical for me ;) - its the entitlement of those who engage in it. As a writer, if we're talking about MY story and the months spent writing, editing, revising it into publishable form....its MINE and only mine to do with as I choose. I get to decide if I want to distribute it for free online, if I want to self-publish it, or if I want to submit it via an agent to a major publishing house. A random stranger on the internet then turning around and taking my published work and declaring he/she is going to distribute it however they wish - look, that might not be theft, but it absolutely IS appropriation of someone else's work and if you don't think there's a staggering amount of arrogance involved in that, you're deluding yourself.

If you want to talk about piracy as a possible vehicle for self-promotion, and experiment with potential benefits and ride the wave of the future into an age where creative property belongs to the masses that's fine. But do it with YOUR intellectual property. You do not get to make the decision to do that with someone else's.

So yeah, piracy might not be plagiarism in the sense that you're passing yourself off as the creator of the work, but it has similar qualities is in the sense that you're passing yourself off as the proprietor of the work, and the person who gets to decide how and where its distributed. And again, might not be theft, but its not morally sound either.

Max Vaehling
01-15-2012, 05:27 PM
Personally, I tend to reserve the term plagiarism for cases where people pass a work for their own, but I get the point that there may be 'lesser' forms of it in assuming the role of distributor.


If you want to talk about piracy as a possible vehicle for self-promotion, and experiment with potential benefits and ride the wave of the future into an age where creative property belongs to the masses that's fine. But do it with YOUR intellectual property. You do not get to make the decision to do that with someone else's.

That's basically the deal breaker for me. I do believe that there's a lot of marketing potential in piracy, but I also think it's hypocrite of pirates to argue that way. More often than not, they're not really doing it for the artist, are they?

It may be wiser for the artist and her publisher to play along and use the momentum the best they can, as opposed to whining about lost potential sales they wished they had but likely wouldn't have got anyway. But at the end of the day, that's their call to make, not the pirates'.

Mostly the artist's. There are cases of artists being okay with piracy and their publishers still moving against it. In music, one famous case is Chumbawamba who had their label remove the DRM. In Germany the licensing police GEMA even stated more or less explicitly they're protecting artists from themselves by prohibiting them from (by charging them for) uploading their own songs for free.

But those are special cases. I can think of a number of more or less justified cases where piracy does not express disrespect for the artists nor inhibit their business. But pretending you're doing it for the artists when you haven't even asked them if they're okay with it or know they're not is not a very convincing one.

Windcutter
01-20-2012, 04:42 PM
Another thought about piracy. I'd even say the culture of piracy, since it seems a lot of younger people aren't even aware they are supposed to pay for some content.

Traditionally, people always had to budget their entertainment and make the cut.
I'll buy book 1 and 2, but book 3 is too expensive, and I'm not too hot about 4. You can either buy the pink shoes or the red shoes. You can have two chocolates or one pack of jelly beans. You can't have it all.
People had to give up some things in order to gain other things. Make choices and be responsible for them.

The culture of piracy is teaching people that they do not have to give up anything or make choices. That they have a right to get everything they want.

Perks
01-20-2012, 07:34 PM
The culture of piracy is teaching people that they do not have to give up anything or make choices. That they have a right to get everything they want.Even worse, in my opinion, they think they have a right to whatever their eyes settle upon, if this is to be believed (which I do happen to believe) -



I'd posit a very, very small percentage of pirated copies are even read at all.

The Lonely One
01-20-2012, 08:00 PM
Another thought about piracy. I'd even say the culture of piracy, since it seems a lot of younger people aren't even aware they are supposed to pay for some content.

Traditionally, people always had to budget their entertainment and make the cut.
I'll buy book 1 and 2, but book 3 is too expensive, and I'm not too hot about 4. You can either buy the pink shoes or the red shoes. You can have two chocolates or one pack of jelly beans. You can't have it all.
People had to give up some things in order to gain other things. Make choices and be responsible for them.

The culture of piracy is teaching people that they do not have to give up anything or make choices. That they have a right to get everything they want.

When I go to the bookstore I have a really bad problem of buying books 1, 2, 3, 4 just because it's Bradbury, and 5 (where did 5 come from? Gift for a friend, perhaps).

I waste a SERIOUS amount of money on books, and I'm way behind on my bookshelf as it is. But at least I feel ok about myself, even if I'm trying to figure out if the leasing office will take books in place of rent money. :D

Rhoda Nightingale
01-21-2012, 01:52 AM
What Windcutter said.

Also, I've been seeing a lot of arguments pop up in the blogosphere lately to the tune of, "I really don't like piracy, in fact I feel rather badly about it, BUT--"

…and in come the excuses about why they think it's okay for them to do it. "I'm poor" or "My country's distribution sucks" or "I'll buy it properly later, but it doesn't come out for this many days and I want it naooo".

-__-

All just shorthand for "my desire for instant gratification is more important to me than my own ethical values."

Whatever.

Still, I quite like this blog post by Jeaniene Frost ( http://www.deadlinedames.com/dame-for-a-day-jeaniene-frost/) that rather brilliantly dissects all the usual justifications.

Amadan
01-21-2012, 02:00 AM
Still, I quite like this blog post by Jeaniene Frost (http://www.deadlinedames.com/dame-for-a-day-jeaniene-frost/) that rather brilliantly shallowly dissects all the usual justifications with straw men, mostly failing to engage with any of the real issues, just shaking a genteel fist.

Meh.

kuwisdelu
01-21-2012, 02:02 AM
"I'll buy it properly later, but it doesn't come out for this many days and I want it naooo".

-__-

All just shorthand for "my desire for instant gratification is more important to me than my own ethical values."

Or they might simply have different ethics. Personally, I don't see a moral problem with it if they really do buy it later.

ETA: Is it possible to "steal" something that's not available yet? Moreover, what if it never becomes available?

ETA2: If it's out of print or there are no plans to have it licensed in your region, would you say that you are morally obligated to go out and find a used "legitimate" copy even if the original artist won't get any money from it anyway, or seek out an imported copy even if it's region-locked and won't work on your hardware in the first place or is in a language you don't understand?

Rhoda Nightingale
01-21-2012, 02:07 AM
The point though, kuwi, is that they do feel badly about it, and do it anyway. Not everyone, obviously--there's a girl at my work who's rather blithe about saying things like, "I download illegal stuff all the time, and I don't care!"--but a subset of people does exist who feel, in their own words, guilty about downloading, and do it anyway. That is the mindset that frustrates and depresses me.

ETA@ kuwi: It's a slippery slope, isn't it? Honestly, I think one of the biggest problems with piracy is that very thing--it seems like no two people draw the line in the same place.

To answer your question about hunting down used copies, etc--well, that's what I'd do. But that just goes back to what you were saying earlier about legality versus morality. Nobody seems to care whether it's legal or not, sometimes not even anti-piracy folks. I myself try to find out how the original creator feels about piracy, and how much it actually affects them. That's not about legality but my own code if ethics.

kuwisdelu
01-21-2012, 02:29 AM
I just wanted to point out that it's not always going against one's ethics. Many people simply have different codes of ethics, and in their eyes, not all piracy is created equal.

Amadan
01-21-2012, 03:24 AM
Nobody seems to care whether it's legal or not, sometimes not even anti-piracy folks. I don't care if it's legal except inasmuch as I avoid breaking the law for selfish and pragmatic reasons. I do not consider law and morality to be the same thing. If I think something is wrong, it's wrong whether or not it's illegal, and if I don't think something is wrong, making it illegal won't make it wrong.

Windcutter
01-21-2012, 03:49 AM
Even worse, in my opinion, they think they have a right to whatever their eyes settle upon, if this is to be believed (which I do happen to believe) -
Well, right now I'm discussing it with a person who says she'd never pay if she had a choice. I can't provide a link, but her point is (it's not a direct quote):

You writers think you can write one book and quit your day job. Most of you don't write brilliant or amazing books. None of you writes like Shakespeare. You are just lazy hacks. While I work hard, so I don't think I need to spend my hard-earned money on financing your whims. Besides, if you wanted to do your art, you wouldn't want us to pay you anyway. Your books simply aren't worth my money.

And when I'm asking her why she keeps reading such bad books--if they are so bad, then stop reading--she doesn't reply directly, just brings the conversation back to lazy hacks and Shakespeare.

Rhoda Nightingale
01-21-2012, 03:57 AM
Well, right now I'm discussing it with a person who says she'd never pay if she had a choice. I can't provide a link, but her point is (it's not a direct quote):

You writers think you can write one book and quit your day job. Most of you don't write brilliant or amazing books. None of you writes like Shakespeare. You are just lazy hacks. While I work hard, so I don't think I need to spend my hard-earned money on financing your whims. Besides, if you wanted to do your art, you wouldn't want us to pay you anyway. Your books simply aren't worth my money.

And when I'm asking her why she keeps reading such bad books--if they are so bad, then stop reading--she doesn't reply directly, just brings the conversation back to lazy hacks and Shakespeare.

Jesus Christ on a cracker. *headdesk* Anyone quit their day job yet? Anyone still believe that's how it works? Show of hands?

Perks
01-21-2012, 03:58 AM
Well... holy cow. And I guess there's only one way to respond to her - "Bite me."

Windcutter, I utterly forgive you for not being Shakespeare. High five me and forgive me, too.

The Lonely One
01-21-2012, 04:00 AM
My point is the same it's been all along. If she doesn't want to support me, she doesn't get my book.

Most jobs these days are the equivalent of writing a book, as far as how physically demanding they are, as there are so many computer-based sit-on-your-ass jobs. My guess is she has one of these.

It's very sad that this horse-shit perspective of "I deserve this and you don't" even exists, and I couldn't be gladder there are anti-piracy laws in place that could potentially take people like her down.

I also resent the whole Shakespeare quip. As if the man was never inspired by anyone else, and his work existed in a perfect vacuum.

If you don't like my writing, you aren't going to get it without a knock-down-drag-out fight or money in my pocket.

Windcutter
01-21-2012, 05:08 AM
I forgive everyone here for not writing like Shakespeare, though I bet not everyone wants to. xd

Our conversation arrived to the point where she admitted that she thinks every writer (also artist, filmmaker and such) should have a job and write/paint/whatever in their spare time, offering their product for free. She also mentioned that maybe some "worthy" stuff deserves to be paid for, and it should be determined by the level of its public success. For example, an author of NY Times bestseller or a director of a summer blockbuster movie is perhaps a bit less of a lazy hack.

So she basically thinks the whole piracy debate is a battle of greed--but the reason for my ire is that, from her point of view, readers who don't want to pay for books aren't any greedier than authors who want to be paid for their books.

Amadan
01-21-2012, 05:12 AM
Our conversation arrived to the point where she admitted that she thinks every writer (also artist, filmmaker and such) should have a job and write/paint/whatever in their spare time, offering their product for free. She also mentioned that maybe some "worthy" stuff deserves to be paid for, and it should be determined by the level of its public success. For example, an author of NY Times bestseller or a director of a summer blockbuster movie is perhaps a bit less of a lazy hack.


She sounds very stupid and obnoxious, but you can find really stupid people with bizarre views on any side of any issue.

The Lonely One
01-21-2012, 05:26 AM
Yep. Store owners are greedy for wanting people to pay for their products. Doctors are greedy for wanting to be compensated for saving lives. Pilots are greedy for wanting a salary for keeping people in the air. Writers are greedy for wanting money for their work.

People enjoy all these things, but only one doesn't deserve pay? Sorry, but if you think that you don't really understand how capitalism works. A product or service is a product or service is a product or service. (Whew, say that three times fast.)

Again, if the person thinks writers shouldn't get payed, that's fine. But she absolutely does NOT get the benefit of the product/service for free. She does not get to decide which laws are for her to follow and which ones aren't, especially when it comes to clearly disregarding the well-being of others.

Authorship is a real job, one that has existed for countless ages. If contract-work and freelance journalism and commission sales jobs are jobs, author is a job.

I just don't get the utter ignorance of some people...

kuwisdelu
01-21-2012, 05:29 AM
So she basically thinks the whole piracy debate is a battle of greed--but the reason for my ire is that, from her point of view, readers who don't want to pay for books aren't any greedier than authors who want to be paid for their books.

Well — and please don't think for a moment I'm defending her, because I'm coming from a completely different direction here — a great deal of the piracy debate is a battle of greed. But not the artists' greed. Rather, at least when it comes to things like SOPA, the greed of entities like the RIAA and MPAA who want to control our content, line their pockets to their whim, and don't really give a damn whether the artists get a penny.

Now, I think it's important to separate that out from the legitimate desire of artists to be compensated for their work.

But there is definitely an issue of greed on the side of Big Content in the piracy debate at large.

James D. Macdonald
01-21-2012, 05:40 AM
While I work hard, so I don't think I need to spend my hard-earned money on financing your whims.

Hope she doesn't mind if I come to her house and drink the milk directly out of the carton.

The Lonely One
01-21-2012, 05:54 AM
Just sucks because SOPA-policies make it harder for anti-piracy advocates to be taken seriously. Not all of us want to smother the whole of Somalia with a thick blanket of one-for-all justice. And not many of anyone with a reasonable IQ supports the MPAA.

Windcutter
01-21-2012, 06:30 AM
She sounds very stupid and obnoxious, but you can find really stupid people with bizarre views on any side of any issue.
Sure, but this point of view, perhaps in a less obnoxious form, is gaining popularity.

- I want money for my books.
- But why, don't you want your books to be read?
- Yes, but I also want money for my books.
- Well, fanfic writers don't, they have more soul.
- They can do whatever they want. I want money for my books. Do you want to be paid for your job?
- But I have a real job, I carry papers back and worth in an important office. I won't pay for books or games, I don't want to give my money to stupid people like their creators who don't know what a real job is.
- Okay. Why do you think you can have those books or games for free?
- Because...

It always, always comes down to "I don't think it's worth my money so I will have it for free." And when you put up the analogy of going into a store, loading up stuff and then saying "heh pepz your stuff is crap so I'll be taking it for free kk?", people start getting defensive.

Well — and please don't think for a moment I'm defending her, because I'm coming from a completely different direction here — a great deal of the piracy debate is a battle of greed. But not the artists' greed. Rather, at least when it comes to things like SOPA, the greed of entities like the RIAA and MPAA who want to control our content, line their pockets to their whim, and
This is true, and perhaps the artists get caught in crossfire.

Hope she doesn't mind if I come to her house and drink the milk directly out of the carton.
Wut, you want to take an even bigger advantage of this honest person? The nerve of some people.
* * *
I think I just deeply shocked her by saying that even if an author wouldn't get royalties, only a single upfront payment (fee), sales would still affect the publisher's decision to sign up the author's next books.

Amadan
01-21-2012, 07:12 AM
But I have a real job, I carry papers back and worth in an important office. I won't pay for books or games, I don't want to give my money to stupid people like their creators who don't know what a real job is.


People who work real jobs in the adult world are less likely to have this juvenile mindset than teens and young adults who are still living in a prolonged state of adolescence. But I am skeptical that this is actually a widespread and growing point of view. Obviously it's infuriating to argue with people like this, but one or two will stick in your mind so that it's easy to become convinced that they represent some growing wave of entitlement. It's anecdata, and I don't give it much more credence than the imaginary figures some authors make up to represent how many sales they think piracy is costing them.

Rhoda Nightingale
01-21-2012, 07:17 AM
I wonder sometimes--just throwing this out there--if people who make that argument simply hate their jobs? And feel resentful that certain others, like, say, people in the arts, actually get to make money doing something they love? Not that it validates her argument, but I wonder if that's where it comes from.

kuwisdelu
01-21-2012, 07:54 AM
People who work real jobs in the adult world are less likely to have this juvenile mindset than teens and young adults who are still living in a prolonged state of adolescence.

Again, it's anecdotal, so take what you will from it, but I know plenty of people who pirated because they simply couldn't afford to buy books, music, movies, whatever, because they were poor students, in debt from loans, living assistantship paycheck to assistantship paycheck, and once they got "real" jobs, didn't have a problem at all with buying all kinds of content from all of the content creators they'd grown to love during those years.

I know many people here will still say it's wrong and not being able to afford it is no excuse and if they buy stuff later it was wrong that they pirated earlier stuff in the first place. But from a pragmatic viewpoint, there never would have been any sales there in the first place if piracy didn't exist.

My point isn't to excuse that behavior, but to offer, as Amadan is, a more optimistic view of the future generations. I know there is a vocal segment of the internet population that scoffs at the idea of paying for content at all. But I don't think the majority of people have any problem with it, and I think a lot of the current generation has little qualms about pirating content they can't afford, but they also have no problem becoming paying customers when they can afford it. Anecdotal evidence, so take it as you will, but just my own outlook on that part of the debate.

Windcutter
01-21-2012, 08:08 AM
On a somewhat unrelated note (yet related to libraties and giving books to friends), I wonder, what about book buying clubs.

A few people live next to each other or work in the same place. 2-5 people usually. They like the same kinds of books. They agree to put their money together, so instead of buying 2-5 copies of the same book, they buy 2-5 different books everyone wants to read, and then share them. If someone decides they want to keep the book permanently, this person buys it out.

Windcutter
01-21-2012, 08:20 AM
People who work real jobs in the adult world are less likely to have this juvenile mindset than teens and young adults who are still living in a prolonged state of adolescence. But I am skeptical that this is actually a widespread and growing point of view. Obviously it's infuriating to argue with people like this, but one or two will stick in your mind so that it's easy to become convinced that they represent some growing wave of entitlement. It's anecdata, and I don't give it much more credence than the imaginary figures some authors make up to represent how many sales they think piracy is costing them.

Well, logically I don't see too many other reasons for getting illegal downloads. Not everyone feels so entitled, yet it's either "I want stuff for free" or "this stuff isn't worth my money". Sometimes it's also "I can't afford it but I want it bad" or "I can't get it any other way."

Actually, there is another person in the discussion I talked about, a representative of just wanting free stuff. She simply says: "I know pirating is illegal, I don't think I have a right to do it, but as long as it's easy, I'll keep doing it just because it's easy and useful. If I could steal food and clothes from the store just as easily, I would. I won't harm any living being unless they try to kill me or my friends, and I won't steal your home or your car, but my personal code of honor says it's okay to steal small stuff."

The Lonely One
01-21-2012, 08:35 AM
@Amadan I think we can all agree not all anti-piracy folks are SOPA nuts and not all pro-piracy folks are as extremely entitled as this individual.

I think what's wrong with the "stealing small stuff" argument is how slippery that slope is, and secondly that books are considered "small stuff" when it's the life's work-sweat of so many authors who toil away either in MFA programs or just gaining their own footing by submitting and getting acceptances.

I think the people who are so selfish have a truly limited understanding of how much effort goes into any art, and writing in particular takes a number of years to even become marketable or publishable. Then, to give something that people enjoy enough to get lost in for a few weeks...that is truly a service. Intelligent thought and all the other benefits reading brings to readers is being truly underrated.

I'm so strongly against what this individual has said that I don't think, if they were my friend, I could continue my friendship with them. They clearly don't respect my life, goals or aspirations, so we'd be done right then and there.

kuwisdelu
01-21-2012, 08:40 AM
I've seen the "content should be free" plenty of times before, but when I see it, it's rarely coupled with that kind of "get a real job" attitude, which is just disgusting and insulting. Usually when I see it, it's due to some kind of artistic or creative idealism, which I can certainly relate to in some way.

The Lonely One
01-21-2012, 08:56 AM
It's just odd because I wonder if people would suggest architects shouldn't be paid since it can be considered an art, and by paying the architect it would destroy the artistic intent.

I mean, are there seriously a slew of authors out there in it for the cash? Not very smart individuals, if so :/

EDIT: though I do appreciate artistic intent, I don't think it needs to be divorced from a paycheck, not like authors make loads of cash and need to be humbled or something.

Man, I'm trying to write and I need to get away from this thread. It's absolutely stomping on my muse :D

Alitriona
01-21-2012, 03:22 PM
Just two days ago I saw the argument all art should be free coupled with the cavemen didn't ask to be paid. The number of heads nodding in agreement gave me eye strain from all the eye rolling I did. I still haven't seen one valid argument for piracy on this thread or anywhere else. All I see is entitlement with an inability to admit it or simple lack of respect for the work of others.

Amadan
01-21-2012, 09:25 PM
Just two days ago I saw the argument all art should be free coupled with the cavemen didn't ask to be paid. The number of heads nodding in agreement gave me eye strain from all the eye rolling I did. I still haven't seen one valid argument for piracy on this thread or anywhere else. All I see is entitlement with an inability to admit it or simple lack of respect for the work of others.


Read more.

Alitriona
01-22-2012, 01:11 AM
Read more.

I've read plenty. I stand by my opinion. I would have more respect for someone who straight up said, "yeah, I know it's wrong on so many levels, but I'm gonna do it anyway." than those who throw up smokescreens and make condescending speechs about how authors need to adjust their attitudes to suit pirates. My book, my product and my decision on how it should be mass distributed, not the pirates. It's pretty simple. It shouldn't be difficult to understand for anyone of reasonable intelligence.

Before anyone goes accusing me of getting emotional, I'm not. I really couldn't less one way or the other what conclusions others come to ease their conscience. I'm sharing mine. I actually find it amusing that anyone would automatically insinuate I don't know enough on the subject because I don't swallow the excuses offered. I would suggest it simply means argument to the contrary isn't convincing.

Amadan
01-22-2012, 02:34 AM
Before anyone goes accusing me of getting emotional, I'm not. I really couldn't less one way or the other what conclusions others come to ease their conscience. I'm sharing mine. I actually find it amusing that anyone would automatically insinuate I don't know enough on the subject because I don't swallow the excuses offered. I would suggest it simply means argument to the contrary isn't convincing.


A number of reasons why people pirate have been offered here, not just by me. You may or may not find any of them "valid," and that's fine. However, you said:



I still haven't seen one valid argument for piracy on this thread or anywhere else. All I see is entitlement with an inability to admit it or simple lack of respect for the work of others.


Therefore, either:

(a) You read very little of what was posted.
(b) You believe I am entitled and unable to admit it.
(c) You believe I do not respect the work of others.

Which is it?

kuwisdelu
01-22-2012, 03:05 AM
Just two days ago I saw the argument all art should be free coupled with the cavemen didn't ask to be paid. The number of heads nodding in agreement gave me eye strain from all the eye rolling I did. I still haven't seen one valid argument for piracy on this thread or anywhere else. All I see is entitlement with an inability to admit it or simple lack of respect for the work of others.


Or they might simply have different ethics. Personally, I don't see a moral problem with it if they really do buy it later.

ETA: Is it possible to "steal" something that's not available yet? Moreover, what if it never becomes available?

ETA2: If it's out of print or there are no plans to have it licensed in your region, would you say that you are morally obligated to go out and find a used "legitimate" copy even if the original artist won't get any money from it anyway, or seek out an imported copy even if it's region-locked and won't work on your hardware in the first place or is in a language you don't understand?

So you would object to pirating a work that is impossible to obtain any other way besides pirating even if getting a "legitimate" copy wouldn't mean getting any money to the author?

KalenO
01-22-2012, 03:25 AM
That would be one of the smokescreens she's talking about, I think. You know perfectly well that's not what we're talking about when speaking of piracy in general terms. Dig hard enough, you'll always find exceptions that are less objectionable than others, but the bottom line is the majority of piracy occurs because people want what they want, when they want it, and they don't want to have to pay for it, and that's entitlement, plain and simple.

Again. If you believe piracy has merits, if it increases promotion, visibility, if you think giving your work away for free is a valid business model as it produces dividends on the back end, then GOOD! Fine! More power to you! By all means, experiment with that...WITH YOUR OWN CONTENT!

But you do not get to make that choice with someone else's content. They and they alone get to decide how its distributed, whether for free, as a self-published ebook for ninety nine cents, or as a traditionally published hard cover.

Have your personal code of ethics, spout whatever platitudes you want, but it makes no difference. If the product is not yours to distribute, you deciding how to distribute it is NOT YOUR CHOICE TO MAKE. Forget theft or lost sales or all of that, THAT is what it comes down to.

virtue_summer
01-22-2012, 04:50 AM
So you would object to pirating a work that is impossible to obtain any other way besides pirating even if getting a "legitimate" copy wouldn't mean getting any money to the author?
Actually, that is entitlement. Out of print and such often are more sympathetic reasons for expressing entitlement through pirating than others, but it all starts from the same premise of "I want it so I should have it." And honestly entitlement isn't always bad. There are things I think we should be entitled to, particularly things we both want and need such as access to emergency healthcare. When it comes to entertainment, though, I think things get a lot more tricky.

Amadan
01-22-2012, 05:57 AM
That would be one of the smokescreens she's talking about, I think. You know perfectly well that's not what we're talking about when speaking of piracy in general terms. Dig hard enough, you'll always find exceptions that are less objectionable than others, but the bottom line is the majority of piracy occurs because people want what they want, when they want it, and they don't want to have to pay for it, and that's entitlement, plain and simple.

Except it's not plain and simple, because you are using qualifying words like "most" and "majority" when the original statement was an absolute: there are no valid arguments and anyone offering a contrary point of view is "entitled" and/or "disrespectful."

I'm not defending "most" piracy, I'm saying it's not a black and white "Either it's infinitely evil or it's perfectly okay" issue. And pointing out the complexities is not a "smokescreen." Look at the howling rage so many people exhibit at people who don't advocate piracy and aren't pirates, merely decline to take offense at the very thought of it.

KalenO
01-22-2012, 06:56 AM
Except it's not plain and simple, because you are using qualifying words like "most" and "majority" when the original statement was an absolute: there are no valid arguments and anyone offering a contrary point of view is "entitled" and/or "disrespectful."

I'm not defending "most" piracy, I'm saying it's not a black and white "Either it's infinitely evil or it's perfectly okay" issue. And pointing out the complexities is not a "smokescreen." Look at the howling rage so many people exhibit at people who don't advocate piracy and aren't pirates, merely decline to take offense at the very thought of it.

First of all, no one's howling rage here.

Secondly, let me qualify further. There are no valid arguments for appropriating the copyright holder's right to distribute his/her own content as he/she sees fit, when that content is readily available via legal channels. Would you be content with that version of our argument?

Because for a lot of us, it really isn't about the money or the 'lost sales' or anything of the sort. It really is about the arrogance and the entitlement of people thinking they have a right to make decisions about what to do with someone else's hard work and product. And yet in all the arguments from those who defend piracy for ANY reason, be it they advocate piracy or else simply decline to take offense at the thought of it....it's all rhetoric about there's no proof piracy hurts sales, it can be valuable promotion, etc, etc, but I've yet to hear one argument that actually manages to justify appropriating a creator's right to be in control of their own creation.

Amadan
01-22-2012, 07:55 AM
First of all, no one's howling rage here.

Okay, maybe more like snarling it under their breath. :Ssh:


Secondly, let me qualify further. There are no valid arguments for appropriating the copyright holder's right to distribute his/her own content as he/she sees fit, when that content is readily available via legal channels. Would you be content with that version of our argument?

Content in what way? Do I agree with the statement, or do I agree that that is your take on it? To the first, no, because we're still stuck on what constitutes a "valid" argument. To the second, sure, I'll take your word for it.


Because for a lot of us, it really isn't about the money or the 'lost sales' or anything of the sort. It really is about the arrogance and the entitlement of people thinking they have a right to make decisions about what to do with someone else's hard work and product. And yet in all the arguments from those who defend piracy for ANY reason, be it they advocate piracy or else simply decline to take offense at the thought of it....it's all rhetoric about there's no proof piracy hurts sales, it can be valuable promotion, etc, etc, but I've yet to hear one argument that actually manages to justify appropriating a creator's right to be in control of their own creation.

Those arguments would involve the nature of IP law, including its unintended consequences, and whether or not the fact that you created something means you are entitled to absolute, exclusive control over it (irrespective of whether or not you are entitled to be the sole person who profits from it, since you're saying it's not about the money). And that will become an even more complicated issue, since your argument ("No one has a right to do anything with my work that I don't approve of!") would imply that fan fiction, for example, is as egregious a violation of creators' rights as electronic piracy. Want to go there?

Sorry, no matter how you try to rephrase it, the issue remains cloudier than you'd like, and I remain unimpressed and unfazed by attempts to portray everyone on the other side of the bright shining line you imagine to exist as morally deficient.

KalenO
01-22-2012, 08:58 AM
Okay, maybe more like snarling it under their breath. :Ssh:



Content in what way? Do I agree with the statement, or do I agree that that is your take on it? To the first, no, because we're still stuck on what constitutes a "valid" argument. To the second, sure, I'll take your word for it.



Those arguments would involve the nature of IP law, including its unintended consequences, and whether or not the fact that you created something means you are entitled to absolute, exclusive control over it (irrespective of whether or not you are entitled to be the sole person who profits from it, since you're saying it's not about the money). And that will become an even more complicated issue, since your argument ("No one has a right to do anything with my work that I don't approve of!") would imply that fan fiction, for example, is as egregious a violation of creators' rights as electronic piracy. Want to go there?

Sorry, no matter how you try to rephrase it, the issue remains cloudier than you'd like, and I remain unimpressed and unfazed by attempts to portray everyone on the other side of the bright shining line you imagine to exist as morally deficient.

Let's avoid making assumptions for other posters state of mind, can we? Looking back over this thread as a whole, you've displayed more snark and heatedness than most other posters here combined.

For someone who repeatedly insists that their stance is merely that the issue is cloudier than simple black and white, you seem equally insistent on allowing those who pirate to sidestep ANY responsibility for taking actions with content that quite simply does not belong to them. I'm not out to tar and feather everyone who pirates, contrary to what you seem to believe. I'm simply of the mindset that you don't get to ask creators, corporations and the law to bend over backwards (or evolve, change, adapt, whatever you want to call it) to accommodate piracy without taking responsibility for the 'I want this my way, right now' entitlement issues that play a very major role in piracy as a whole. If you want people to meet you in the middle for an argument, its generally a good idea to advance to the middle yourself.

And, if you're going to accuse other people of being narrow-minded for talking in absolutes, its best you avoid doing it yourself. Not to mention please avoid putting words in my mouth or blatantly reinterpreting my statements to shore up your own specious arguments. I was VERY specific in my wording of my argument here:


There are no valid arguments for appropriating the copyright holder's right to distribute his/her own content as he/she sees fit, when that content is readily available via legal channels.

So please explain how you're comfortable reinterpreting that as:


"No one has a right to do anything with my work that I don't approve of!"

An argument that I very clearly did not make?

No one but you has talked about creators having absolute, exclusive control of their creations. I was talking about a single, very specific right, one of the most basic and fundamental rights of any copyright holder.....their right to distribute their own content as they see fit. I did not mention, allude to, or invite discussion of any other rights aside from that. And yet once again, rather than provide me with a justification for why its NOT 'morally deficient' (again your words, not an accusation I ever cast against pirates, as the worst I have yet to label them has been entitled, which is leagues away from morally deficient)....once again, you refrain from making an actual argument or justification and concentrate on moving the goalposts further and implying I'm going to go crusading against fanfiction next. I can't help but notice that your first defense was 'you can't make a valid argument, since its unclear what constitutes a valid argument'.....So rather than make ANY argument to that point at all, instead you just sidestepped entirely and tried to turn it back on me.

And for that matter, I'm not against fanfiction at all. To the contrary, I used to write it myself, years ago. And no, that doesn't make me a hypocrite in the least, if you bothered to pay attention to what my stance here actually IS rather than just assume it on my behalf. I wrote in a couple very specific fandoms, whose creators were very open and clear about the fact that they didn't mind people writing fanfic about their creations, they just couldn't read it themselves for legal reasons. There was another fandom I would have written in, but for the fact that the creator of that property made clear she didn't like fanfic about her creations, so I steered clear.

You see, for me, if I'm a fan of someone and their work, its really not hard to respect their wishes, and that's all it comes down to. That has been my sole argument all along, and despite your insinuations that I really am about the money but don't want to admit it, or that I see all pirates as morally deficient, or whatever other aspersion you care to cast my way, its really quite simple. I don't know how to make it any clearer. I don't care about the person who pirates a book that's out of print, I don't care about the person who pirates to replace a print version they lost in a fire, I don't even care about the person who pirates because they don't have the money to buy it yet but later goes on and buys a print version.

My only stance on piracy is now, and always has been against the pirate who downloads content available to them through legal channels, with the sole reason that they simply don't want to pay for it.

Furthermore, I do not now, nor have I at any point made any mention of where that puts them on some nebulous moral or ethical spectrum.

I simply find it to be entitled, and that to be distasteful.

And if you still feel the issue is cloudier than that, perhaps its just that you're deliberately obfuscating it.

Just a possibility.

Amadan
01-22-2012, 10:24 AM
For someone who repeatedly insists that their stance is merely that the issue is cloudier than simple black and white, you seem equally insistent on allowing those who pirate to sidestep ANY responsibility for taking actions with content that quite simply does not belong to them.

No, I've said that I think pirating should remain illegal


I'm not out to tar and feather everyone who pirates, contrary to what you seem to believe. I'm simply of the mindset that you don't get to ask creators, corporations and the law to bend over backwards (or evolve, change, adapt, whatever you want to call it) to accommodate piracy without taking responsibility for the 'I want this my way, right now' entitlement issues that play a very major role in piracy as a whole.

Find where I said anything about thinking anyone should bend over backwards to accommodate piracy.


If you want people to meet you in the middle for an argument, its generally a good idea to advance to the middle yourself.

I am in the middle. If I weren't, I'd be arguing that piracy shouldn't be illegal at all and that all creators should indeed accept free downloading as the model they must adapt to - which is the position some "pro-piracy" advocates do take.


And, if you're going to accuse other people of being narrow-minded for talking in absolutes, its best you avoid doing it yourself.

Haven't done that.



So please explain how you're comfortable reinterpreting that as:

An argument that I very clearly did not make?


I'm comfortable doing that because it's not clear to me that you are clear on what rights you're asserting and what rights you're not. Your explanation clarifies it somewhat, so let's limit ourselves to distribution. (And I wasn't assuming you are anti-fan fiction.)


I don't care about the person who pirates a book that's out of print, I don't care about the person who pirates to replace a print version they lost in a fire, I don't even care about the person who pirates because they don't have the money to buy it yet but later goes on and buys a print version.

Well, that's nice, but that's you. You said " There are no valid arguments for appropriating the copyright holder's right to distribute his/her own content as he/she sees fit, when that content is readily available via legal channels." So presumably, you're willing to let people "pirate" to replace a book they lost in a fire or to read a book they can't afford now, as long as they intend to pay for it in the future - even though both instances are technically just as illegal as the "I want free stuff" pirate. But if you change your mind, or if some other author feels differently, then it would be wrong to do so and anyone who does is an entitled pirate? If not, it seems to me you have just contradicted yourself that there are no valid arguments for piracy. If so, I will say that I disagree with you, and believe that those two examples are among the arguments for "piracy" that I consider valid (and do not believe should be illegal).


My only stance on piracy is now, and always has been against the pirate who downloads content available to them through legal channels, with the sole reason that they simply don't want to pay for it.

Well, since I've repeatedly said that I do not approve of such behavior (my "declining to take offense" position at this point becomes the pragmatic one in which I point out that I doubt these people actually account for any significant economic damage - which is the argument you say you don't care about), I guess we aren't really in disagreement.

Al Stevens
01-22-2012, 10:35 AM
Wake me when the "I said, you said" is over and someone says something new about this topic.

Williebee
01-22-2012, 10:42 AM
Wake me when the "I said, you said" is over and someone says something new about this topic.

What he said.

Perhaps instead of saying "you said" or the usual follow up "you said I said" ask the other person what they said.

"Did you mean X?", "Are you saying Y?". Or, even better, "I think you are saying Z, are you?"

Williebee
01-22-2012, 10:50 AM
So you would object to pirating a work that is impossible to obtain any other way besides pirating even if getting a "legitimate" copy wouldn't mean getting any money to the author?

It's not really something different, perhaps, but this premise seems incomplete. An item "impossible to obtain any other way" would not be obtainable by theft, either. The premise requires some kind of caveat --
"unobtainable in a way convenient to me", or "unobtainable in a way available to me" for example.

At the end of that train of thought, though, is a truth: theft is theft. The rest is justification to make it palatable or acceptable to some number of people.

"I stole this car because my girlfriend was dying and I had to get her to the hospital." Bottom line on that one is "I stole this car. Doing so saved her life, but I still stole this car." Bring on the judge and the jury and I'll take my chances.

So, before stealing a copyrighted work I'd have to ask myself, "What value is gained by my action, and who does it benefit?"

Amadan
01-22-2012, 11:06 AM
Wake me when the "I said, you said" is over and someone says something new about this topic.


There really isn't anything new to say on the topic (I mean, gosh, Williebee, right after reiterating that point you just reiterated the "It's theft period!" argument which is not only not new to the topic but not new to this thread), at least not until there is another legal/technological shift, which will certainly happen eventually. I imagine the landscape for epublishing and digital rights will be quite different years from now, though what it will look like, I have no idea.

Until then, yeah, every piracy thread will follow the exact same trajectory as the last eleven.

Which pretty much describes every discussion ever on the Internet. :P

Alitriona
01-22-2012, 09:22 PM
A number of reasons why people pirate have been offered here, not just by me. You may or may not find any of them "valid," and that's fine. However, you said:



Therefore, either:

(a) You read very little of what was posted.
(b) You believe I am entitled and unable to admit it.
(c) You believe I do not respect the work of others.

Which is it?

First, I addressed you because you are the one who told me to read more.

Your conclusion doesn't make any sense. I've stated an opinion the I haven't seen a valid argument. You don't agree, therefore I couldn't have read the arguments? I've read the arguments presented and in my opinion the arguments for pirating presented aren't valid.

Yes, I do believe when someone pirates it's because, essentially, they feel entitled. You have said you are not in favor of pirating so I can't conclude you are personally entitled and unable to admit it. Since you'll also said many times that you speak up when you see piracy, I can't conclude you disrespect other writers.

I see you more as attempting a devil's advocate's position on the subject. However, I don't have to agree the interpretation of the facts offered, even the middle ground ones. That's the beauty of an opinion.


So you would object to pirating a work that is impossible to obtain any other way besides pirating even if getting a "legitimate" copy wouldn't mean getting any money to the author?

Yes, I would. As I said my biggest issue is with justification. The idea of 'I have to pirate because I can't get it otherwise' rather than 'I can't get what I want legally, so I shouldn't have it but I'm taking it anyway'.


That would be one of the smokescreens she's talking about, I think. You know perfectly well that's not what we're talking about when speaking of piracy in general terms. Dig hard enough, you'll always find exceptions that are less objectionable than others, but the bottom line is the majority of piracy occurs because people want what they want, when they want it, and they don't want to have to pay for it, and that's entitlement, plain and simple.

Again. If you believe piracy has merits, if it increases promotion, visibility, if you think giving your work away for free is a valid business model as it produces dividends on the back end, then GOOD! Fine! More power to you! By all means, experiment with that...WITH YOUR OWN CONTENT!

But you do not get to make that choice with someone else's content. They and they alone get to decide how its distributed, whether for free, as a self-published ebook for ninety nine cents, or as a traditionally published hard cover.

Have your personal code of ethics, spout whatever platitudes you want, but it makes no difference. If the product is not yours to distribute, you deciding how to distribute it is NOT YOUR CHOICE TO MAKE. Forget theft or lost sales or all of that, THAT is what it comes down to.

Not really, by smokescreens I'm mean those who try to justify pirating as a valid choice and justified under certain circumstances rather then an entitlement issue. I agree with dig hard enough and there are less objectionable circumstances, but still objectionable. The rest of your statement is right on the money for how I feel about the subject.


Okay, maybe more like snarling it under their breath. :Ssh:


Ah yes, the usual anyone who doesn't fall into line or disagrees must be emotional and therefore easy to dismiss.

kuwisdelu
01-22-2012, 10:40 PM
It's not really something different, perhaps, but this premise seems incomplete. An item "impossible to obtain any other way" would not be obtainable by theft, either. The premise requires some kind of caveat --
"unobtainable in a way convenient to me", or "unobtainable in a way available to me" for example.

At the end of that train of thought, though, is a truth: theft is theft. The rest is justification to make it palatable or acceptable to some number of people.

But you're arguing under the assumption that piracy=theft and all piracy is created equal, which are by no means things that everyone agrees on.

I assumed the primary objection to piracy was that many found it immoral to obtain media in a way that didn't compensate the artist, should the artist desire compensation for his or her work. I was presenting examples in which obtaining the work legally would still not compensate the artist, putting pirating and obtaining it legally on the exact same grounds morally, IMO, though not necessarily legally.

It seems I was wrong, and other people are objecting to piracy for other reasons that I don't fully understand.


"I stole this car because my girlfriend was dying and I had to get her to the hospital." Bottom line on that one is "I stole this car. Doing so saved her life, but I still stole this car." Bring on the judge and the jury and I'll take my chances.

That's a false analogy, at least as it pertains to my examples. A closer one would be "I found this car abandoned on the side of the road, so I made a copy of it and took the copy."


Yes, I would. As I said my biggest issue is with justification. The idea of 'I have to pirate because I can't get it otherwise' rather than 'I can't get what I want legally, so I shouldn't have it but I'm taking it anyway'.

Hmm, so the issue for you does come back simply to legality? Not morality? Following a different set of ethics isn't necessarily entitlement. It's possible that for some people it is, but the two are not one-in-the-same. It sounds like so long as pirating is illegal, you would reject any kind of justification, no matter its moral implications.

If one does buy a hard copy and then pirates a digital version, is that still evil?

Windcutter
01-22-2012, 10:54 PM
I've seen the "content should be free" plenty of times before, but when I see it, it's rarely coupled with that kind of "get a real job" attitude, which is just disgusting and insulting. Usually when I see it, it's due to some kind of artistic or creative idealism, which I can certainly relate to in some way.
It usually pops up when someone asks, okay, content should be free, but what would the artists eat then?

Speaking of profit, I do think that if writing happened to become more profitable, there would be fewer enraged authors.

Alitriona
01-22-2012, 11:25 PM
But you're arguing under the assumption that piracy=theft and all piracy is created equal, which are by no means things that everyone agrees on.

You can swing it any way you want. The swing still creaks. You don't have to agree with me that all piracy is created equal. It doesn't make my interpretation of the facts wrong.

I assumed the primary objection to piracy was that many found it immoral to obtain media in a way that didn't compensate the artist, should the artist desire compensation for his or her work. I was presenting examples in which obtaining the work legally would still not compensate the artist, putting pirating and obtaining it legally on the exact same grounds morally, IMO, though not necessarily legally.

It seems I was wrong, and other people are objecting to piracy for other reasons that I don't fully understand.

Yeah, the reason being regardless of the artist being compensated. That doesn't give anyone the right to share it through pirating.

Hmm, so the issue for you does come back simply to legality? Not morality? Following a different set of ethics isn't necessarily entitlement. It's possible that for some people it is, but the two are not one-in-the-same. It sounds like so long as pirating is illegal, you would reject any kind of justification, no matter its moral implications.

In the case of taking something a person has no right to morally, legally or any other way. Yes it is. They may choose to follow different morals or ethics because it suits them, when it means they can take what they want when they want and not feel bad about it. But, yeah, that is entitlement.



For me, there are three types of downloaders of pirate material. Those who don't understand they shouldn't but can be educated. Those who know they shouldn't but spend vast amounts of time coming up with arguments and speak over everyone else in the hopes talking loudest makes them appear justified. They believe it's wrong but not wrong for them. Finally those who know it's wrong, accept they are doing wrong, morally and legally, but do it anyway with no excuses or apologies.

Max Vaehling
01-22-2012, 11:36 PM
That's a false analogy, at least as it pertains to my examples. A closer one would be "I found this car abandoned on the side of the road, so I made a copy of it and took the copy."

Actually, since a lot of anti-piracy activists distinguish mere copying from pirating within filesharing networks (and since once people get sued they don't get sued over the one copy they made for themselves but for the millions of potential copies that may or may not have been made from their copy-in-the-works):

"I made a copy of the car and took it, and while I was at it, the copy I made made additional copies of itself that other people may have taken."

Amadan
01-23-2012, 04:22 AM
For me, there are three types of downloaders of pirate material. Those who don't understand they shouldn't but can be educated. Those who know they shouldn't but spend vast amounts of time coming up with arguments and speak over everyone else in the hopes talking loudest makes them appear justified. They believe it's wrong but not wrong for them. Finally those who know it's wrong, accept they are doing wrong, morally and legally, but do it anyway with no excuses or apologies.

So, you are incapable of conceiving of pirates who genuinely believe that what they are doing is not wrong? You don't believe they actually disagree with you, you just assume that the reasons they give are lies?

kuwisdelu
01-23-2012, 06:03 AM
ETA: Damn, I accidentally deleted the rest of the post that preceded this part, and can't seem to get it back. In any case, this was a response to some other points I made about this post, the foremost being that having a reason to pirate under certain circumstances doesn't imply one has a sense of entitlement. It's possible for someone to simply weigh the act of pirating versus obtaining it legally, and not find the former morally deficient as compared to the latter; that is not the same as entitlement. But I think the following is a more important point anyway:


For me, there are three types of downloaders of pirate material. Those who don't understand they shouldn't but can be educated. Those who know they shouldn't but spend vast amounts of time coming up with arguments and speak over everyone else in the hopes talking loudest makes them appear justified. They believe it's wrong but not wrong for them. Finally those who know it's wrong, accept they are doing wrong, morally and legally, but do it anyway with no excuses or apologies.

You seem to be under the misconception that our purpose for giving reasons for piracy is to somehow excuse it or justify it. There are a few limited cases where I think it's hard to argue that it isn't justified (e.g., the out-of-print example). But for the most part, why people like Amadan and myself present reasons why people pirate is so that other people can understand the motivations behind it.

Ultimately, the goal, I think, is to create a system where there are no more reasons to pirate besides simple entitlement. I don't think that world exists yet. However much you may disagree with those reasons, dismissing them as simple entitlement is to refuse to understand why people pirate. Refusing to understand why people pirate is a sure way to guarantee that you aren't going to turn them into legitimate customers any time soon.

I actually agree that the vast majority of pirated copies are downloaded by people who are downloading them simply out of entitlement, often without any strong desire to even read or watch them. I don't think it's worth trying to turn these pirates into legitimate customers. Go ahead and sue them.

But if we're to discuss the pirates who would like to be legitimate customers, but instead pirate for whatever reason? It's worth understanding what those reasons are, even if you disagree with them. They won't be "educated" out of their complaints, and understanding them is key to understanding how we can change the systems of delivery to one in which they are paying customers, and isn't that what we all want most? Or am I wrong? Are we instead more concerned about blindly punishing all pirates?

Xelebes
01-23-2012, 06:21 AM
It usually pops up when someone asks, okay, content should be free, but what would the artists eat then?

Speaking of profit, I do think that if writing happened to become more profitable, there would be fewer enraged authors.

On the other hand, there may be too many authors for it be profitable for a majority. I think it is rather amusing that we flood the market with books and expect profitability. The Dunning-Kruger Effect does wonders with the whole debate.

Williebee
01-23-2012, 07:03 AM
But you're arguing under the assumption that piracy=theft and all piracy is created equal, Yes to the first, No to the second. which are by no means things that everyone agrees on.

I assumed the primary objection to piracy was that many found it immoral to obtain media in a way that didn't compensate the artist, should the artist desire compensation for his or her work. I was presenting examples in which obtaining the work legally would still not compensate the artist, putting pirating and obtaining it legally on the exact same grounds morally, IMO, though not necessarily legally. The artist is not the only one with a stake in this. Granted, MPAA/RIAA and their henchman may be greedy bloodsucking bastards, but that's a different battle.

It seems I was wrong, and other people are objecting to piracy for other reasons that I don't fully understand.



That's a false analogy, at least as it pertains to my examples. A closer one would be "I found this car abandoned on the side of the road, so I made a copy of it and took the copy." Except that, technically and legally, the car isn't "abandoned" until the copyright runs out. Are copyrights and the extensions currently at an unreasonable amount of time? I think so. And as human life expectancy and corporate greed continues to grow, I think it is a danger to us as a species. (See Spider Robinson's "Melancholy Elephants."



Hmm, so the issue for you does come back simply to legality? Not morality? Following a different set of ethics isn't necessarily entitlement. It's possible that for some people it is, but the two are not one-in-the-same. It sounds like so long as pirating is illegal, you would reject any kind of justification, no matter its moral implications. Not exactly, see the analogy you find to be false. The moral implications of letting someone die vs. stealing a car, for example.

If one does buy a hard copy and then pirates a digital version, is that still evil? "Evil"? No. But theft, yes. Now if you buy a hard copy and make additional copies of that hard copy for your personal use, I think that should be ok. Admittedly, a VERY FINE distinction. And not one the bloodsuckers mentioned before agree with -- either the distinction or the idea.

Does it suck that some people think knowledge should not be free to all? I really do think so. There is a distinction between education and entertainment that I actively work to keep making smaller and smaller. That puts me in an odd contradiction on this matter, a contradiction founded in my own ideals. And, since I'm cognizant of my own conflict, far be it from me to judge anyone else's conflict.

Amadan
01-23-2012, 07:22 AM
If one does buy a hard copy and then pirates a digital version, is that still evil? "Evil"? No. But theft, yes. Now if you buy a hard copy and make additional copies of that hard copy for your personal use, I think that should be ok. Admittedly, a VERY FINE distinction. And not one the bloodsuckers mentioned before agree with -- either the distinction or the idea.


Wait, if I buy a hard copy, then it's not theft if I make a physical copy of it for my personal use, but it is theft if I download a digital copy for my personal use? I don't understand your distinction at all.

kuwisdelu
01-23-2012, 09:45 AM
No. But theft, yes. Now if you buy a hard copy and make additional copies of that hard copy for your personal use, I think that should be ok. Admittedly, a VERY FINE distinction. And not one the bloodsuckers mentioned before agree with -- either the distinction or the idea.

So what exactly did I pay for? Did I pay for the paper and ink? Or the content?

If it's the former, then all of the assumptions all of these arguments are based on kind of falls apart.

If it's the latter, then by what right does anyone have to call my getting a second copy of the exact same content I already bought "theft"?

It it's something like 'a license to use the content I received in the particular form that I paid for it under various restrictions to that use,' then the very fact that I had to type out something stupid should make the inherent flaws of the system we're talking about — and the reasons many people pirate — pretty self-evident.

blacbird
01-23-2012, 10:02 AM
But you're arguing under the assumption that piracy=theft

pi-ra-cy. n. Theft.

-- Blacbird's Unabridged Dictionary, 2012 ed.


I assumed the primary objection to piracy was that many found it immoral to obtain media in a way that didn't compensate the artist, should the artist desire compensation for his or her work. I was presenting examples in which obtaining the work legally would still not compensate the artist, putting pirating and obtaining it legally on the exact same grounds morally, IMO, though not necessarily legally.

You just made my head hurt real bad.


It seems I was wrong, and other people are objecting to piracy for other reasons that I don't fully understand.

Here, you are doubly correct.

caw

kuwisdelu
01-23-2012, 10:26 AM
Here, you are doubly correct.

So if people are objecting to piracy for reasons other than the artist not being compensated, what are those reasons?

Sirion
01-23-2012, 10:42 AM
I think that the price of e-books and whether or not it impacts the profit of the company or individual is irrelevant. Even if a book was priced at $100 it doesn't give someone the right to steal it.

The book isn't yours. If you can't afford it, don't buy it. You don't have a right to entertainment.

Piracy boils down to one issue: Theft. Taking something that isn't yours. And regardless of what form it's in, it's wrong.

blacbird
01-23-2012, 10:42 AM
So if people are objecting to piracy for reasons other than the artist not being compensated, what are those reasons?

I don't accept your contention. Piracy of intellectual property inevitably means that, at some level, the artist doesn't get just compensation for the rights to that work.

caw

Xelebes
01-23-2012, 10:47 AM
You don't have a right to entertainment.

Incorrect. You do have a right to entertainment (otherwise it would be a life of torture.) What one does not have is an automatic right to another's services.

Sirion
01-23-2012, 10:49 AM
Incorrect. You do have a right to entertainment (otherwise it would be a life of torture.)

Uh, no.

I had a longer explanation planned, but calling entertainment a right is just so silly I don't think it needs a retort.

Xelebes
01-23-2012, 10:58 AM
Uh, no.

I had a longer explanation planned, but calling entertainment a right is just so silly I don't think it needs a retort.

Entertainment is a right, in one form or another. That is, one cannot be denied to be entertained, even if that means letting them have fun with two rocks they found on the street. Certain forms of entertainment are subsidised through libraries and playgrounds while others are through payment of services. The services are what we are arguing about, not the right.

Perks
01-23-2012, 05:16 PM
So if people are objecting to piracy for reasons other than the artist not being compensated, what are those reasons?
The artist isn't the only one depending on his efforts in the pirated book, song, film, whathaveyou to keep him in vittles and ascots.

In professionally produced art and media, there are many people who lend their time, skullsweat, and expertise to get a quality product to the public. They deserved to be paid for their work if you happen to enjoy the result of their labor.

Torgo
01-23-2012, 05:22 PM
Have a read of Julian Sanchez knocking it out of the park on piracy (http://bit.ly/AmTIAd).

goldmund
01-23-2012, 05:27 PM
I think that one way of fighting ebook piracy would be introducing into each of our books a very smelly, despicable and idiotic character who downloads ebooks from torrents.
Somewhere along the novel's climax he would fall into cow poop or be otherwise ridiculed.

Cyia
01-23-2012, 05:32 PM
Piracy boils down to one issue: Theft.


Except that legally, it's not theft. (I know you're talking morality, but until the definitions change, piracy isn't "theft".)

If you walk into a bookstore and steal a copy of BookX, that's theft. You've removed something someone else owned, and denied them the possible income to be derived from it.

If you download BookX and make your own copy, you've not taken the original, nor have you deprived the owner the ability or opportunity to derive income from their copy.

You've violated the owner's copyright. It might even be close to counterfeiting (though extra e-copies don't really devalue the property's worth, either), but it's not theft in the traditional sense.

There are "open" libraries online that allow you to read books still covered by copyright (I'm not talking about checking out copies of a book from a regular library; I mean repositories of posted, copyrighted works, which are open to the public.) The people who run and read them will say they're no different from listening to a song on YouTube.

The definition hasn't kept up with available technology.

Perks
01-23-2012, 05:37 PM
Have a read of Julian Sanchez knocking it out of the park on piracy (http://bit.ly/AmTIAd).That is a good article, and I can see where it's probably true that epiracy isn't crippling any particular industry.

I can also see why the attitude of I'll-have-that is a stone in a great many shoes. It's fundamentally fucking obnoxious. No surprise that if someone has the time and inclination, they're going to fight it. And they have a good argument for it, if they can resist embellishing it.

ETA - And for AWer's purposes, this doesn't soothe as much as it could, because of this


As Oberholzer-Gee observes, recording industry numbers show large increases in concert revenues corresponding to the drop in recorded music sales. That suggests that, as people discover new artists by sampling downloaded albums online, they're shifting consumption within the sector to live performances. In other words, people have a roughly constant "music budget," and what they don't spend on the albums they've downloaded gets spent on seeing that new band they discovered.

Music artists have live performances and appearances to sell. Writers? Not so much.

Torgo
01-23-2012, 06:13 PM
That is a good article, and I can see where it's probably true that epiracy isn't crippling any particular industry.

I can also see why the attitude of I'll-have-that is a stone in a great many shoes. It's fundamentally fucking obnoxious. No surprise that if someone has the time and inclination, they're going to fight it. And they have a good argument for it, if they can resist embellishing it.

I agree it's obnoxious, but that's a losing fight, so long as you look at it purely in enforcement terms, as I've said here at length - the problems are impossible to overcome without being China or Iran, which is too dear a price. Much of the hoo-ha about SOPA was to do with the fact that in casting about for some kind of technical and legislative solution they ended up choosing something that a) wouldn't work b) would break the Internet and c) was a wild overreaction. That's actually the best thing they could come up with.

In the same week, the Feds used already existing laws to seize MegaUpload. It won't stop online piracy, but it does demonstrate you can already stomp on websites you don't like.

There's a simple first step that all content industries can make, though, which will abate a good proportion of piracy. It's this: the second your IP exists, make it instantly and easily available worldwide to anyone who wants it, for a reasonable price (which probably includes a subscription model.) If people in the UK could legitimately download US TV shows the second they air on US TV, many of them wouldn't bother with Megavideo. Instead, Hollywood wants us to wait six months for a first run on UK TV or nine-twelve months for the DVD box set.

(People may object to this instant gratification culture on, I dunno, Puritan grounds? We ought to wait for things we want, or something? Me, I'd like to be instantly gratified. I'd like to learn about your book or album and be able to buy it instantly, not months later when I've forgotten about it.)


ETA - And for AWer's purposes, this doesn't soothe as much as it could, because of this
/snip/
Music artists have live performances and appearances to sell. Writers? Not so much.

It's a problem, for sure. And of course the volume of piracy can me magnified many times because file sizes are too small. This is why my position on the issue has always been this:

1) Digital piracy is impossible to stop or to meaningfully reduce, and things like DRM are a waste of time and money.
2) It can't be legislated out of existence, because in many ways piracy is indistinguishable from legitimate net conversation and business. You can't write an effective law that won't also destroy personal privacy or freedom of speech, both of which are more fundamental freedoms than the integrity of copyright.
3) The impact of piracy is routinely exaggerated by interested parties, in both directions. IP industries say the sky is falling. Pirates and free culture folk say piracy does no harm and maybe helps. I say it's impossible to know either way.
4) Whatever that impact is, it'll be greater for books should book piracy really take off.

Perks
01-23-2012, 06:26 PM
There's a simple first step that all content industries can make, though, which will abate a good proportion of piracy. It's this: the second your IP exists, make it instantly and easily available worldwide to anyone who wants it, for a reasonable price (which probably includes a subscription model.) If people in the UK could legitimately download US TV shows the second they air on US TV, many of them wouldn't bother with Megavideo. Instead, Hollywood wants us to wait six months for a first run on UK TV or nine-twelve months for the DVD box set.

(People may object to this instant gratification culture on, I dunno, Puritan grounds? We ought to wait for things we want, or something? Me, I'd like to be instantly gratified. I'd like to learn about your book or album and be able to buy it instantly, not months later when I've forgotten about it.)


I think that sounds reasonable. AuthorScoop does interviews with writers and I'm routinely approached by publicists and the writers themselves suggesting I run the interview in the lead up period to their publication.

I discourage this on the grounds that I don't want to be intrigued by a book that's not yet available. I'll forget and you'll lose a sale. (I understand that fore-buzz is desirable, but I don't think AuthorScoop is a good venue for that.)

The problem for me is that people say $9.99 is too much for a book and that's insulting.

Torgo
01-23-2012, 06:37 PM
The problem for me is that people say $9.99 is too much for a book and that's insulting.

I think it's only too much if you're also trying to flog a print edition at the same price. I think an ebook should always be, say, a dollar cheaper than print. What really hurts us as authors and publishers is when the print edition is actually cheaper. Sometimes that's Amazon being mischievous, but we need to be alive to that sort of thing.

Amadan
01-23-2012, 07:11 PM
1) Digital piracy is impossible to stop or to meaningfully reduce, and things like DRM are a waste of time and money.
2) It can't be legislated out of existence, because in many ways piracy is indistinguishable from legitimate net conversation and business. You can't write an effective law that won't also destroy personal privacy or freedom of speech, both of which are more fundamental freedoms than the integrity of copyright.
3) The impact of piracy is routinely exaggerated by interested parties, in both directions. IP industries say the sky is falling. Pirates and free culture folk say piracy does no harm and maybe helps. I say it's impossible to know either way.
4) Whatever that impact is, it'll be greater for books should book piracy really take off.

Stop being all reasonable. Piracy is theft and pirates are evil, evil people.





Seriously, yes, to all of this. Except that book piracy already has really taken off.

Also:


There's a simple first step that all content industries can make, though, which will abate a good proportion of piracy. It's this: the second your IP exists, make it instantly and easily available worldwide to anyone who wants it, for a reasonable price (which probably includes a subscription model.) If people in the UK could legitimately download US TV shows the second they air on US TV, many of them wouldn't bother with Megavideo. Instead, Hollywood wants us to wait six months for a first run on UK TV or nine-twelve months for the DVD box set.

I read a lot of book blogs from folks in other countries -- India, Japan, Thailand, the Philipines, South Africa, Venezuela -- and it's ridiculous how hard is it for them to get some ebooks legally. Books that have been available for years in the U.S. might still not be available to them. Unless they want to pay for a hardcopy to be shipped to them at several times the cost of the book. Now if they are technically adept and dedicated enough, they can go through a proxy server, set up a "U.S.-based" account (which can be a big hassle in itself -- PayPal is not necessarily as easy to use from Malaysia as it is from the U.S., and not everyone takes PayPal) and manage it.

Or they can download the book from a torrent and buy it someday, when/if it becomes available in their country.

Anyone who priggishly declares that those who choose the latter are thieves and should feel bad and shame shame on them needs to download a clue or two.

Williebee
01-23-2012, 07:15 PM
Wait, if I buy a hard copy, then it's not theft if I make a physical copy of it for my personal use, but it is theft if I download a digital copy for my personal use? I don't understand your distinction at all.

Kuwi/Amadan -- I have to point out the distinction between "pirate/piracy" and "download a digital copy for my personal use." Piracy, by definition, is theft. We can try to redefine it, but I think we're more likely to have success by using a different word for the personal use copy, and hammering home the distinction.


As to the first line, isn't it against the law to make a copy of the hard back? (Should it be? For personal use?)


IMO only, unfortunately (maybe), I think that the book should be bundled. I should have the option of buying the hard back, or paying a couple bucks more for the bundle: I buy the hard back, I get the code for a single instance digital download of the same version/same title. I should be able to add that download to any/every cooperating device I own, after first signing into my account on that device.

Add to that, ereader device and software companies should have the right to make "cooperative" agreements among themselves as to which devices/formats they are willing to support and participate with. The market will take care of which devices survive and thrive.

As a follow on, though separate discussion? When the movie comes out, and the soundtrack? Add the extra couple of bucks to the purchase of those and bundle them with a single use code for a download of the book (or maybe the author's next book.)

"Perception of value" sells product, regardless of whether it is a soft tail or a hardback. (Oh, looky, a Harley reference.)

Back on topic, let's go really old school. When the minstrel came to the village inn, people gathered to hear his tales. They bought a meal and a few drinks and listened to his stories, news of the world outside and his songs. The innkeeper paid the minstrel (hopefully whatever they previously agreed upon.) For hosting the minstrel, and for materials used (food/drink/space) the innkeeper recouped or made money from the folks who came to hear the minstrel.

The folks who bought the food and drink were not buying the right to drag the minstrel to their neighbor's place and say "check this out!"

Williebee
01-23-2012, 07:18 PM
I agree it's obnoxious, but that's a losing fight, so long as you look at it purely in enforcement terms, as I've said here at length - the problems are impossible to overcome without being China or Iran, which is too dear a price. Much of the hoo-ha about SOPA was to do with the fact that in casting about for some kind of technical and legislative solution they ended up choosing something that a) wouldn't work b) would break the Internet and c) was a wild overreaction. That's actually the best thing they could come up with.

In the same week, the Feds used already existing laws to seize MegaUpload. It won't stop online piracy, but it does demonstrate you can already stomp on websites you don't like.

There's a simple first step that all content industries can make, though, which will abate a good proportion of piracy. It's this: the second your IP exists, make it instantly and easily available worldwide to anyone who wants it, for a reasonable price (which probably includes a subscription model.) If people in the UK could legitimately download US TV shows the second they air on US TV, many of them wouldn't bother with Megavideo. Instead, Hollywood wants us to wait six months for a first run on UK TV or nine-twelve months for the DVD box set.

(People may object to this instant gratification culture on, I dunno, Puritan grounds? We ought to wait for things we want, or something? Me, I'd like to be instantly gratified. I'd like to learn about your book or album and be able to buy it instantly, not months later when I've forgotten about it.)



It's a problem, for sure. And of course the volume of piracy can me magnified many times because file sizes are too small. This is why my position on the issue has always been this:

1) Digital piracy is impossible to stop or to meaningfully reduce, and things like DRM are a waste of time and money.
2) It can't be legislated out of existence, because in many ways piracy is indistinguishable from legitimate net conversation and business. You can't write an effective law that won't also destroy personal privacy or freedom of speech, both of which are more fundamental freedoms than the integrity of copyright.
3) The impact of piracy is routinely exaggerated by interested parties, in both directions. IP industries say the sky is falling. Pirates and free culture folk say piracy does no harm and maybe helps. I say it's impossible to know either way.
4) Whatever that impact is, it'll be greater for books should book piracy really take off.

Or, you know, what he said.

(Thanks, Torgo.)

Williebee
01-23-2012, 07:20 PM
Ultimately, the goal, I think, is to create a system where there are no more reasons to pirate besides simple entitlement. I don't think that world exists yet. However much you may disagree with those reasons, dismissing them as simple entitlement is to refuse to understand why people pirate. Refusing to understand why people pirate is a sure way to guarantee that you aren't going to turn them into legitimate customers any time soon.

I actually agree that the vast majority of pirated copies are downloaded by people who are downloading them simply out of entitlement, often without any strong desire to even read or watch them. I don't think it's worth trying to turn these pirates into legitimate customers. Go ahead and sue them.

But if we're to discuss the pirates who would like to be legitimate customers, but instead pirate for whatever reason? It's worth understanding what those reasons are, even if you disagree with them. They won't be "educated" out of their complaints, and understanding them is key to understanding how we can change the systems of delivery to one in which they are paying customers, and isn't that what we all want most? Or am I wrong? Are we instead more concerned about blindly punishing all pirates?

And this.

(Thanks, Kuwi.)

Torgo
01-23-2012, 07:27 PM
IMO only, unfortunately (maybe), I think that the book should be bundled. I should have the option of buying the hard back, or paying a couple bucks more for the bundle: I buy the hard back, I get the code for a single instance digital download of the same version/same title. I should be able to add that download to any/every cooperating device I own, after first signing into my account on that device.

Add to that, ereader device and software companies should have the right to make "cooperative" agreements among themselves as to which devices/formats they are willing to support and participate with. The market will take care of which devices survive and thrive.

As a follow on, though separate discussion? When the movie comes out, and the soundtrack? Add the extra couple of bucks to the purchase of those and bundle them with a single use code for a download of the book (or maybe the author's next book.)

I totally agree with all of this. I paid about thirty quid for a box set of INCEPTION which contained a DVD, a Blu-Ray and an iTunes voucher, covering every format I am currently capable of watching the movie in. I actually did this instead of just buying the DVD for half that price, taking it home, and ripping it for my iPad myself. There's real value in saying to a consumer, look, pay a bit more and you own this movie/book: we're not going to try to nickel and dime you for the same thing in two formats.

Amadan
01-23-2012, 07:28 PM
Kuwi/Amadan -- I have to point out the distinction between "pirate/piracy" and "download a digital copy for my personal use." Piracy, by definition, is theft. We can try to redefine it, but I think we're more likely to have success by using a different word for the personal use copy, and hammering home the distinction.

I'm still not clear on how you are using terms. Let's say I buy a print book, then go download (illegally) a digital copy for my personal use. Are you saying that is theft/piracy or not?


As to the first line, isn't it against the law to make a copy of the hard back? (Should it be? For personal use?)

I believe it is. The only reason it hasn't aroused as much ire as digital piracy is that photocopying an entire book is more work than copying a file, which means it doesn't happen a lot. But schools have gotten in trouble for photocopying too much from textbooks.


IMO only, unfortunately (maybe), I think that the book should be bundled. I should have the option of buying the hard back, or paying a couple bucks more for the bundle: I buy the hard back, I get the code for a single instance digital download of the same version/same title. I should be able to add that download to any/every cooperating device I own, after first signing into my account on that device.

Some publishers are doing this already, and I think eventually it will become standard.

An interesting point, though -- according to some license agreements, if I buy an Amazon Kindle book, then use open source software to strip the DRM and convert it to an epub so I can read it on my Sony, I am violating the license. Legally it's not piracy (though one or two people in this very forum have suggested that it is), but supposedly the publisher has a right to say that I can download the book to read only in the one format and on the one device that I purchased it for.

I won't even pretend to respect that "right."


Back on topic, let's go really old school. When the minstrel came to the village inn, people gathered to hear his tales. They bought a meal and a few drinks and listened to his stories, news of the world outside and his songs. The innkeeper paid the minstrel (hopefully whatever they previously agreed upon.) For hosting the minstrel, and for materials used (food/drink/space) the innkeeper recouped or made money from the folks who came to hear the minstrel.

The folks who bought the food and drink were not buying the right to drag the minstrel to their neighbor's place and say "check this out!"

The minstrel also was not entitled to forbid them from singing his songs and spreading his stories after he left.

Al Stevens
01-23-2012, 11:32 PM
I believe it is. The only reason it hasn't aroused as much ire as digital piracy is that photocopying an entire book is more work than copying a file, which means it doesn't happen a lot.Yet many of the bootleg copies available for download are PDFs which have been scanned in.

But schools have gotten in trouble for photocopying too much from textbooks.The "fair use" provisions of US copyright law try (unsuccessfully, in my opinion) to define how much of this practice is not copyright infringement.


An interesting point, though -- according to some license agreements, if I buy an Amazon Kindle book, then use open source software to strip the DRM and convert it to an epub so I can read it on my Sony, I am violating the license. Legally it's not piracy (though one or two people in this very forum have suggested that it is), but supposedly the publisher has a right to say that I can download the book to read only in the one format and on the one device that I purchased it for.
And they would argue that you do not need to strip the DRM since virtually all reader devices registered to your account have available free apps that read that one DRM-encoded format. They assume that you strip DRM to facilitate sharing the copy with others whose devices are not registered with your account. And that whether those are your intentions or not, you would now have the potential.

Amadan
01-23-2012, 11:49 PM
And they would argue that you do not need to strip the DRM since virtually all reader devices registered to your account have available free apps that read that one DRM-encoded format. They assume that you strip DRM to facilitate sharing the copy with others whose devices are not registered with your account. And that whether those are your intentions or not, you would now have the potential.

Sure, I know what the arguments are, but they're stupid. If you're going to forbid me to do something for my own convenience because I could use it for malicious purposes, you're not protecting yourself, you're just pissing off customers.

The hoops you have to jump through to read multiple formats on multiple types of readers (download and install a new app -- make sure all your keys have been copied to the device -- copy the ebook from whatever directory the device/store in question automatically puts it in to the one where you want to keep your digital library -- register your device -- open different apps for different books bought at different stores -- oops, you changed hard drives/updated the firmware/bought a new reader, so wash/rinse/repeat) are absurd. They do nothing but inconvenience customers in a vain attempt to lock you into one and only one store and device type.

Al Stevens
01-24-2012, 12:04 AM
Sure, I know what the arguments are, but they're stupid. If you're going to forbid me to do something for my own convenience because I could use it for malicious purposes, you're not protecting yourself, you're just pissing off customers.
I doubt that the typical customer, who is not well-represented on a writer's board, even knows about it. They click the buy button and the book comes down the pipeline.

The hoops you have to jump through to read multiple formats on multiple types of readers (download and install a new app -- make sure all your keys have been copied to the device -- copy the ebook from whatever directory the device/store in question automatically puts it in to the one where you want to keep your digital library -- register your device -- open different apps for different books bought at different stores -- oops, you changed hard drives/updated the firmware/bought a new reader, so wash/rinse/repeat) are absurd. They do nothing but inconvenience customers in a vain attempt to lock you into one and only one store and device type.That is an extreme and inaccurate characterization of the process. The typical consumer does not go through all that. They've made it as easy as they can. Otherwise nobody would use it. I have four devices. The process is transparent and seamless.

I know you're trying to make a point (ad infinitum), and I agree with some of it, but you lose me when you get that far off the ground. :)

Amadan
01-24-2012, 12:11 AM
That is an extreme and inaccurate characterization of the process. The typical consumer does not go through all that. They've made it as easy as they can. Otherwise nobody would use it. I have four devices. The process is transparent and seamless.


It's not extreme, because that's been my experience. I know that if you use a Kindle and only buy ebooks from Amazon it's transparent and seamless. If you have a Sony and buy ebooks from many different vendors (as I do) it's not. Yes, if I took the time to install all those apps and make sure my device was properly registered with all my accounts, it would become transparent thenceforth (until I change devices), but it's a lot easier for me to just strip the DRM and not deal with that nonsense at all.

Al Stevens
01-24-2012, 12:35 AM
Yes, if I took the time to install all those apps and make sure my device was properly registered with all my accounts, it would become transparent
And that time would be insignificant. All those apps? One device, one app. All your accounts? One account. And you have to walk to school barefoot in the snow uphill both ways. :)

thenceforth (until I change devices), but it's a lot easier for me to just strip the DRM and not deal with that nonsense at all.
Which would take about the same amount of time.

The inconvenience you complain about is no greater, and usually a lot less, than what you have to go through to install DRM-removal filters. And the typical reader would be overwhelmed and intimidated by it.

But this is going nowhere, so I'll toss out something else you can bat around if you wish.

DRM is a tool offered to publishers. When you upload your book to KDP, you have several options with respect to the book's distribution. One of those options is whether to include DRM. Another is whether your readers can lend their copy of the book to another reader and what the limit is. Yet another is whether your book is available as a no-cost check-out to some readers.

I don't like DRM very much for many of the reasons you've given here and elsewhere and don't think it comes close to thwarting pirates. But I don't blame the Kindle platform for the inconvenience, I blame the publisher.

Torgo
01-24-2012, 12:55 AM
I don't like DRM very much for many of the reasons you've given here and elsewhere and don't think it comes close to thwarting pirates. But I don't blame the Kindle platform for the inconvenience, I blame the publisher.

The main effect DRM does have is locking the books to a platform, so it does benefit Amazon that their files aren't interoperable with Kobo or Adobe. We're also seeing Apple and Amazon fork EPUB into proprietary versions designed to work with their hardware. Nobody, from the device manufacturers and retailers through to the publishers, really wants interoperability - even though it's what the consumer wants.

There are good philosophical and a practical objections to that. Firstly, you may well not wish to have the books you buy regarded by the vendor as a service or a license - you'd like them to be your property. Digital vendors tend to want to redefine things that we had once thought of as 'ours' as 'theirs, but we're allowed to use it'. Perhaps that's worth pushing back at a little. And of course if your books are with Kobo and Kobo goes bust...

kuwisdelu
01-24-2012, 12:59 AM
The main effect DRM does have is locking the books to a platform, so it does benefit Amazon that their files aren't interoperable with Kobo or Adobe. We're also seeing Apple and Amazon fork EPUB into proprietary versions designed to work with their hardware. Nobody, from the device manufacturers and retailers through to the publishers, really wants interoperability - even though it's what the consumer wants.

I think you mean Apple and B&N. Amazon's .azw is based on .mobi. I'm not sure about B&N or Amazon, but based on their history with iTunes, I'd bet Apple would be happy to offer DRM-free epubs if the publishers would allow it. Unfortunately, with Amazon around, Apple isn't really in a position to strong-arm them into it like they could the music industry. And does anyone think Amazon would do it?

Torgo
01-24-2012, 01:03 AM
I think you mean Apple and B&N. Amazon's .azw is based on .mobi. I'm not sure about B&N or Amazon, but based on their history with iTunes, I'd bet Apple would be happy to offer DRM-free epubs if the publishers would allow it.

You're right, of course - mind you .azw/.mobi can't be that different to .epub, given how fast it converts in Kindle Previewer!

With Apple I'm thinking more about the .iba format they launched with Author the other day. It only works in iBooks 2 (unsurprisingly, since it's designed for their hardware's capabilities) but it does mean tying stuff to the iPad.

kuwisdelu
01-24-2012, 01:31 AM
With Apple I'm thinking more about the .iba format they launched with Author the other day. It only works in iBooks 2 (unsurprisingly, since it's designed for their hardware's capabilities) but it does mean tying stuff to the iPad.

True. It's more for textbooks, though. I doubt it'll have much of an impact on fiction.

Torgo
01-24-2012, 01:41 AM
True. It's more for textbooks, though. I doubt it'll have much of an impact on fiction.

Hmm, don't be too sure about that. I'm already playing with it with a view to making a few enhanced novels cheaply. (Though any impact is only really impacting 5% of the market for ebook fiction.)

Perks
01-24-2012, 01:48 AM
Okay, you irrepressible nerds, can I just ask that when my book comes out, if you're wanting to read it, you'll buy it instead of downloading it? And please don't rip it, strip it, fandangle or fombarbulate it to post it on the internet!

I'm tryin' to get a toehold in this business, puh-lease! :)

kuwisdelu
01-24-2012, 01:50 AM
Okay, you irrepressible nerds, can I just ask that when my book comes out, if you're wanting to read it, you'll buy it instead of downloading it? And please don't rip it, strip it, fandangle or fombarbulate it to post it on the internet!

I'm tryin' to get a toehold in this business, puh-lease! :)

If there's DRM, I can't promise I won't strip it. Not to post it anywhere of course.

Perks
01-24-2012, 01:52 AM
If there's DRM, I can't promise I won't strip it.
Lol! You hate me anyway. It's sounds dirty if I tell you it's okay to strip it, but can you just tell me you won't put it on the internet? Please?

Amadan
01-24-2012, 01:55 AM
Okay, you irrepressible nerds, can I just ask that when my book comes out, if you're wanting to read it, you'll buy it instead of downloading it? And please don't rip it, strip it, fandangle or fombarbulate it to post it on the internet!

I'm tryin' to get a toehold in this business, puh-lease! :)


Yeah, I know you're kidding, but you do realize that kuwisdelu and I have both been clear throughout all these threads that we aren't pirates, right? All of my ebooks are legally purchased, and I only strip the DRM for my convenience, I've never uploaded them.

Perks
01-24-2012, 02:05 AM
Yeah, I know you're kidding, but you do realize that kuwisdelu and I have both been clear throughout all these threads that we aren't pirates, right? All of my ebooks are legally purchased, and I only strip the DRM for my convenience, I've never uploaded them.Yeah, I'm kidding to mask my boggling at the techy stuff that I do not understand.

I wish they'd allow more things to be bought a la carte - the British edit of 'Doctor Who' and 'Top Gear' and Showtime's 'Dexter' to be most specific. I want to watch them and support their efforts because I think they're excellent, but buying Showtime would be a monumental waste of money, because I wouldn't watch enough to justify it. The lure of downloading it is there.

These days I mostly read on my ereader, and I love it, but if I could get a bundle of the hardback + a digital copy, I'd love that even more, for ease of lending or if I get to go to a book-signing or just for the trophy.

I get it.

I know someone, though, who has downloaded tens of thousands of albums (I'm not exaggerating) just because - no intention of listening, but to have it because it was there for the taking. That makes me angry.

Xelebes
01-24-2012, 03:27 AM
I know someone, though, who has downloaded tens of thousands of albums (I'm not exaggerating) just because - no intention of listening, but to have it because it was there for the taking. That makes me angry.

On the other hand, that is like collecting second-hand vinyls at no cost. They were never going to spend the dollars for the music anyways and they intend to not make any money on the items.

Williebee
01-24-2012, 04:17 AM
On the other hand, that is like collecting second-hand vinyls at no cost. They were never going to spend the dollars for the music anyways and they intend to not make any money on the items.

Maybe. But there's an assumption or two here -- "second-hand vinyl" implies age, not recent releases; and perhaps that someone paid for the vinyl, or the digital that was ripped, in the first place.

Perks
01-24-2012, 04:33 AM
And in the billion permutations of "well, what if this...?" "what if that...?" we can act like we don't know full well that people like the one I'm speaking of often offer up to all comers any music that they might mention, because of course, they have it.

kuwisdelu
01-24-2012, 04:38 AM
http://db.tt/2vk00Mf9

Al Stevens
01-24-2012, 05:21 AM
There is nothing new here. Or even middle-aged. Anyone remember the "dongle?"

eggs
01-24-2012, 06:06 AM
If there's DRM, I can't promise I won't strip it. Not to post it anywhere of course.

I think most people who've been reading ebooks for a long time strip them. I started reading on a Dell laptop, then on a palm pilot, then on a mac, then on an iphone, then on a kindle. Formats get orphaned, your hardware changes. If you don't strip your books, you'll end up with a harddrive filled with books you can't read.

Al Stevens
01-24-2012, 06:28 AM
If you don't strip your books, you'll end up with a harddrive filled with books you can't read.I really don't think so. There is too much investment in content in the two prevailing formats for platform producers to not provide some measure of downward (or upward, depending on how you look at it) compatibility.

Xelebes
01-24-2012, 07:06 AM
Maybe. But there's an assumption or two here -- "second-hand vinyl" implies age, not recent releases; and perhaps that someone paid for the vinyl, or the digital that was ripped, in the first place.

But it doesn't meet the criteria (Canadian law):

- is the distributor of the file receiving revenue for distributing? (ad revenue, subscriptions, per-item, etc.)
- is the recipient's purpose for obtaining the content to obtain revenue? (using media to perform (dj/vj), using media to teach lessons for which the person is paid for, using media to broadcast for which you receive ad revenue.)

This is the standard Canada goes by when defining piracy. The US appears to be different. In truth, the first criterion is more strict than that. Distributing is prohibited overall. Receiving is considered less of a problem.

And I think that makes the power of the law acceptable. As for legitimate distributors, their responsibility is to capture the willing market by providing access to their wares that is better than the illegitimate distributors, not needling and finagling ways to restrict their wares.

Xelebes
01-24-2012, 07:08 AM
There is nothing new here. Or even middle-aged. Anyone remember the "dongle?"

Some of my programs still have dongles (Cubase.)

Cyia
01-24-2012, 07:23 AM
I know someone, though, who has downloaded tens of thousands of albums (I'm not exaggerating) just because - no intention of listening, but to have it because it was there for the taking. That makes me angry.

Which is exactly the general condition of most pirated downloads. They're there, so therefore, they're taken. Condition doesn't matter, neither does content. They're not lost sales because the downloader would never have taken an interest in them if they hadn't been free.

And so the discussion/argument/tug-o-war begins again. Another round of its circular path to nowhere fast.

Williebee
01-24-2012, 08:30 AM
Which is exactly the general condition of most pirated downloads. They're there, so therefore, they're taken. Condition doesn't matter, neither does content. They're not lost sales because the downloader would never have taken an interest in them if they hadn't been free.

And so the discussion/argument/tug-o-war begins again. Another round of its circular path to nowhere fast.

And it won't go anywhere, so long as we treat generic claims as absolutes -- on any side of the discussion.

"An illegal download is a lost sale."

"the downloader would never have taken an interest... if they hadn't been free."

"Every download from that site is illegal."

"All they do is help people steal."

We've left the black and white world so far behind, and yet people keep trying to paint over the shades of color.

*shrug* just musing...

These Mean Streets
01-24-2012, 09:18 PM
Unless someone has expressly created content for the purpose of distributing it for free--it is stealing. Period.

And no amount of self-justification is going to change that fact. you can tell yourself whatever you want to make yourself feel better, but if the person (or corporation or whatever) created it with the intent of selling it - and you go around them to get it for free (not used - which means it was at least bought and paid for already) then you are a thief.

Amadan
01-24-2012, 09:23 PM
Unless someone has expressly created content for the purpose of distributing it for free--it is stealing. Period.

And no amount of self-justification is going to change that fact. you can tell yourself whatever you want to make yourself feel better, but if the person (or corporation or whatever) created it with the intent of selling it - and you go around them to get it for free (not used - which means it was at least bought and paid for already) then you are a thief.


Thank you for this insightful contribution. No one has ever put it like that before, and obviously there can be no possible response. You sure told us.

Torgo
01-24-2012, 09:25 PM
Thank you for this insightful contribution. No one has ever put it like that before, and obviously there can be no possible response. You sure told us.

Yes please let's not have this conversation again. I don't think I can stand it.

Max Vaehling
02-02-2012, 02:04 AM
There's a simple first step that all content industries can make, though, which will abate a good proportion of piracy. It's this: the second your IP exists, make it instantly and easily available worldwide to anyone who wants it, for a reasonable price (which probably includes a subscription model.) If people in the UK could legitimately download US TV shows the second they air on US TV, many of them wouldn't bother with Megavideo. Instead, Hollywood wants us to wait six months for a first run on UK TV or nine-twelve months for the DVD box set.

Won't work. Way too reasonable and constructive.

My very biased and unproven theory is that a large part of the anti-piracy debate isn't about stopping piracy, but about establishing it as an evil to go against.

(Actually, that's not so far off, as theories go. It's basically Constructionist Social Problems Theory 101. So some of the stuff I learned in college actually stuck! Yay me and my teachers! ... Uh, right, topic.)

I totally agree on the problem here. The solution, though, seems to be far away at the moment. Mostly because International licensing is a bitch.

I can't watch Vimeo clips because they're blocked for my country, and I can't even buy an English-language version of a tv ep I'd like to see on iTunes because it has country filtering, too - all because distributors worldwide can't seem to catch up with the fact that media awareness is now global. I'm not sure it's the production companies' fault, really - I guess it's just the way the market has grown in the years before the internet. And that it's kind of hard to ungrow it now that all those obstacles aren't needed anymore.

And that's just Germany. Not one of the Great Firewall countries.

Actually, it's a lot better for books. For starters, kindle DRMs, as bad as they may be, are the same everywhere. And printed copies are much more available here than US DVDs. At least for English-language stuff. French stuff, on the other hand, not so easy. And that's our next-border neighbor!

kuwisdelu
02-02-2012, 02:39 AM
My very biased and unproven theory is that a large part of the anti-piracy debate isn't about stopping piracy, but about establishing it as an evil to go against taking control of content away from artists and consumers and putting it into the hands of the corporations with the deepest pockets and the least-digitally-prepared business models.

Fixed it for you. ;)

PulpDogg
02-02-2012, 01:37 PM
My very biased and unproven theory is that a large part of the anti-piracy debate isn't about stopping piracy, but about establishing it as an evil to go against.


Pretty much this. The content industry doesn't realize, that it is not piracy but their own outdated business models and changing consumer habits, plus an explosion in competition that has them fearing the worst.

But those damn pirates are an easy scapegoat and a very easy target to rail against.

veinglory
02-02-2012, 07:48 PM
I think it is both. Better paid availability reduced piracy of the songs/movies but it did not eradicate it by any means. Piracy will still be substantial even when commercial options are accessible and fairly priced.

James D. Macdonald
02-02-2012, 09:59 PM
An example of piracy actually hurting an author: http://michellemccleod.blogspot.com/2012/01/dangers-of-amazons-kdp-select.html

Cyia
02-02-2012, 10:41 PM
An example of piracy actually hurting an author: http://michellemccleod.blogspot.com/2012/01/dangers-of-amazons-kdp-select.html


That's more plagiarism than piracy, though. Usually the people who offer downloads don't claim the source material as their own creation. When someone takes a book, repackages it and then sells it as a new product, that's a whole different monster to slay.

Snitchcat
02-10-2012, 08:51 PM
In the first couple of pages of a similar thread, I proposed that piracy be included in an author's promotion strategy. For not reacting strongly in a morally offended way, and for offering an alternative viewpoint, I got jumped on. Why bring it up? Well....

I came across this article today: http://saltyink.com/2012/02/03/the-pirates-arent-so-bad-two-big-names-defending-them-two-locals-offer-their-two-cents-on-it/

An alternative viewpoint that uses piracy as a promotional tool. /shrug.

ETA: Sigh, sometimes, I should get some sleep before I post anything! Grumble @ self.

Amadan
02-10-2012, 09:18 PM
In the first couple of pages of a similar thread, I proposed that piracy be included in an author's promotion strategy. For not reacting strongly in a morally offended way, and for offering an alternative viewpoint, I got jumped on. Why bring it up? Well....

I came across this article today: http://saltyink.com/2012/02/03/the-pirates-arent-so-bad-two-big-names-defending-them-two-locals-offer-their-two-cents-on-it/

An alternative viewpoint that uses piracy as a promotional tool. /shrug.


The real-world evidence is pretty unambiguous, but the argument will never be detached from emotion.

mscelina
02-10-2012, 09:26 PM
Pretty much this. The content industry doesn't realize, that it is not piracy but their own outdated business models and changing consumer habits, plus an explosion in competition that has them fearing the worst.

But those damn pirates are an easy scapegoat and a very easy target to rail against.

Right. Because a business model like mine is outdated? Um--no. My business model is the future and we know firsthand how much pirating goes on of Musa products.


I think it is both. Better paid availability reduced piracy of the songs/movies but it did not eradicate it by any means. Piracy will still be substantial even when commercial options are accessible and fairly priced.

I agree. Because it doesn't matter how many .99 books you can buy, free always is preferable to a thief.


In the first couple of pages of a similar thread, I proposed that piracy be included in an author's promotion strategy. For not reacting strongly in a morally offended way, and for offering an alternative viewpoint, I got jumped on. Why bring it up? Well....

I came across this article today: http://saltyink.com/2012/02/03/the-pirates-arent-so-bad-two-big-names-defending-them-two-locals-offer-their-two-cents-on-it/

An alternative viewpoint that uses piracy as a promotional tool. /shrug.

Piracy can't be included in an author's promotion because author's promotion is about SALES. What kind of promotion would that be--Come buy my new book Cats With Fleas, the fifth-most stolen book on the internet!

Let's try to be a LITTLE reasonable here. If a group of people were looting a Best Buy after a national disaster, I seriously doubt Best Buy would do a promotional campaign touting their products as "the most stolen in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina."

For Digital Book World this year, Varso Advertising did a 2011 survey of book-buying (http://www.versoadvertising.com/DBWsurvey2012/), and they've arrived at some interesting figures regarding digital theft. Check out these questions and responses:


How many times in the last twelve months have you downloaded an e-book file from an online file storage service such as RapidShare, Megaupload, Hotfile, etc?

56.5% said none
10.6 % not sure
12.5% said 1-2
7.5 % said 3-4
5.6% said 5-9
7.3% said 10 or more

over 40% of young male ereader owners admit using unregulated Torrent services
15.9 % prefer not to answer
9.4% 1 or 2
7.3% 3-4
11.3% 5-9
12.2% 10 or more

The conclusions, therefore, that they arrived at:

So 33% of all ereader/tablet owners report having downloaded free ebook files from torrent sites in the last 12 months

40% of males aged 18-34 report having downloaded at least one such ebook file in the last 12 months, with 12.2% reporting having done so 10-plus times

15% prefer not to answer

More women of all age groups are engaging in this behavior than in earlier
surveys

For those who actually went on to the link, there's a lot of interesting results in this survey regardless of whether you're looking for information on digital publishing or print publishing, and the habits of book buyers in 2011. The survey was run during the period from 11/30/11 t0 12/5/11. I think they had 2200 respondents in the survey, pretty evenly split male to female ratio, with a 1.5% margin of error.

I work in digital publishing. Every morning when I wake up, I find all sorts of google alerts when our books get offered for free online. What burns me more than anything is finding a book that's sold maybe 10 copies getting 500+ thefts--oh, beg pardon, ILLEGAL DOWNLOADS.

Yeah. That's great advertising right there. "Because of online piracy of my ebook, the publisher wasn't able to cover the salary of the proofreader, not to mention the artist, the editor, the line editor, the book designer, the marketer, the head editor, or even the cost of the IMAGES purchased for use on the cover. So please, buy my book even though every one is stealing it."

But I always find it interesting that a writer, who's presumably writing a commercial project, advocates thievery for everyone ELSE'S book. My thought is this--if a writer really, firmly believe that downloading someone else's intellectual property for free is just fine, then he should put his novel up on his website for free download. Let them steal HIS work--since he has no problem with it. Then maybe they'll leave my authors' work alone.

Amadan
02-10-2012, 09:43 PM
But I always find it interesting that a writer, who's presumably writing a commercial project, advocates thievery for everyone ELSE'S book. My thought is this--if a writer really, firmly believe that downloading someone else's intellectual property for free is just fine, then he should put his novel up on his website for free download. Let them steal HIS work--since he has no problem with it. Then maybe they'll leave my authors' work alone.


The fact that you keep reciting spurious arguments that completely ignore what those other writers are saying and substituting what you think they're saying is like a broken record of obtuseness. There are points to be made contradicting the Gaiman/Doctorow argument, but you aren't making any of them. Instead you're just harping on the discredited "illegal download = lost sale" fallacy and then spewing rage at anyone who disagrees.

Snitchcat
02-10-2012, 11:45 PM
The real-world evidence is pretty unambiguous, but the argument will never be detached from emotion.

I agree, the argument will never be separated from the emotion.


Piracy can't be included in an author's promotion because author's promotion is about SALES. What kind of promotion would that be--Come buy my new book Cats With Fleas, the fifth-most stolen book on the internet!

Why not? It's a huge potential social promotion network. There will always be true thieves in the world, but there are plenty more people (than true thieves) who will pay for the authentic version of what they obtained for free.

Again, just because there are black and white views of one issue, does not make those views fact. And statistics can lie. Not because they aren't accurate, but because those figures do not represent everyone who's ever been in a situation to download books. Statistics, I've learned, represent only the segment that answered the questionnaire. While you can extrapolate and predict, the margin of error is high and always will be. You can't survey everyone accurately.

By the way: "promotion is about sales" is inaccurate. Sales is only one part of what promotion is supposed to help achieve.

However, back to topic:

There are plenty of ways to see this. I've just chosen to present an alternative viewpoint, one that may have a positive effect in the long run. Depends on how it's managed.


Let's try to be a LITTLE reasonable here. If a group of people were looting a Best Buy after a national disaster, I seriously doubt Best Buy would do a promotional campaign touting their products as "the most stolen in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina."

I have been very reasonable.

If you loot Best Buy after a national disaster, what are the reasons for it? Where are these people and where is that store -- are both in the disaster zone? If so, then some looters would be true thieves, others would be stealing for survival. How does such a comparison work? It's comparing apples and oranges.

Again, reality is not a cut and dried thing. There are plenty of viewpoints. Just because there's a common reality, every person sees things through their individual filters, hence, every situation has a different angle. Some will choose to see piracy as stealing, others will see it as a way to promote, and still others will ask its relevance to them. And so on.


Yeah. That's great advertising right there. "Because of online piracy of my ebook, the publisher wasn't able to cover the salary of the proofreader, not to mention the artist, the editor, the line editor, the book designer, the marketer, the head editor, or even the cost of the IMAGES purchased for use on the cover. So please, buy my book even though every one is stealing it."

Because of piracy the publisher couldn't cover costs? Fact of the matter is, everything in this world can be copied and often is, then distributed. Isn't this also called "competition in the marketplace" in a way?

While adverse events affect costs, whether or not the publisher can cover its costs depends on more than just illegalities -- cashflow and operational cost management, to name two. Blaming only piracy for cost control problems, is like [you're] perfectly able to study the deadlines for [yourself], but blame [your] overworked co-worker for deadlines [you] missed.

Anyhow, onwards:

Two businesses have their goods pirated and distributed. Ouch. However, Business One goes on the rampage and locks down its products. Business Two incorporates selected pirates and distributors into its expansion strategy.

Results: Business One initially loses profits, cannot cover its costs and loses customers. Time passes. After a lengthy and detailed review, analyses show that its lock down has hurt its profits (continued decrease) and customer base (continued shrinkage) the most, aka, incovenience to the customer.

Business Two initially loses profits, can't cover its costs, but gains free advertising. Time passes. After a lengthy and detailed review, analyses show that its willingness to work with selected pirates and distributors have, in fact, increased market awarenss of its products, upped sales of its products, and improved its profit margins -- aka, convenience to the customer.

A simplified scenario, but one that does show probable results of two different paths.

Thing is, why fight so hard against something that will never truly disappear? If integrated, or [you] work with the flow, in some (or many) ways, it will work for [you], rather than against. It's almost like swimming against a river's current to get to the other bank and continue downstream. Why not just go with the current and let it carry you downstream as [you] cross? [You] end up further downstream, with less effort, the river has helped [you] out en route, and [you've] crossed it.

As for advertising? At its core, it's getting the word out there, it's about raising awareness. And while advertising can bring short-term results, combined with other promotional tactics, it can bring sustainable long-term results.

On the flip side, why must everything be black and white? Why can there not be another viewpoint, particularly when a sticky and complicated problem is under consideration? Why must any writer conform to another's viewpoint? And why the resistance against considering an angle that is different to the norm? Makes for some very close-minded discussions, no?


But I always find it interesting that a writer, who's presumably writing a commercial project, advocates thievery for everyone ELSE'S book. My thought is this--if a writer really, firmly believe that downloading someone else's intellectual property for free is just fine, then he should put his novel up on his website for free download. Let them steal HIS work--since he has no problem with it. Then maybe they'll leave my authors' work alone.

Rage all you want. I have done one thing only and that is presented an alternative viewpoint. It does not necessarily mean I agree with it and it most certainly does NOT mean that a writer, who considers a different angle of a complex problem, is a thief! Where does such an assumption come from?


The fact that you keep reciting spurious arguments that completely ignore what those other writers are saying and substituting what you think they're saying is like a broken record of obtuseness. There are points to be made contradicting the Gaiman/Doctorow argument, but you aren't making any of them. Instead you're just harping on the discredited "illegal download = lost sale" fallacy and then spewing rage at anyone who disagrees.

This.

(And I need to re-read this entire thread. Heh. :) )

PulpDogg
02-12-2012, 02:42 PM
The fact that you keep reciting spurious arguments that completely ignore what those other writers are saying and substituting what you think they're saying is like a broken record of obtuseness. There are points to be made contradicting the Gaiman/Doctorow argument, but you aren't making any of them. Instead you're just harping on the discredited "illegal download = lost sale" fallacy and then spewing rage at anyone who disagrees.

This.

@mscelina you need to realize a few things.

a) "illegal download = lost sale" is just plain wrong
b) Piracy will never, ever go away. Not when it is so easy to just copy a file.
c) People arguing against the flat "Piracy is stealing" are NOT advocating piracy. The world is just not as black and white as you make it out to be

Read this:

http://saltyink.com/2012/02/03/the-pirates-arent-so-bad-two-big-names-defending-them-two-locals-offer-their-two-cents-on-it/


In my opinion, producers, promoters, creators, should be focusing on ways to deliver better service, better files, to make things easier. When someone searches for an album, a book, whatever, make sure they find you first. Have the file there, ready to go, and don’t stick too many obstacles, logins, etc. between visitors and the stuff they came for. That’s how you win on the aggregate. It’s not that complicated. What’s the alternative? To engage in some massive, and likely futile attempt, at terraforming the web? The internet wasn’t built for commerce. Attempts to reshape it, to make it reflect and support more traditional ideas of exchange or protect the established business models of media companies will fail. Those who support these kinds of projects will invariably end up looking impotent, ignorant, stupid. Again, I’m saying this as someone who runs a fairly traditional media company in many respects.

This. Make it easy, convenient and make sure people find your offer first ... and most importantly, stop raging and trying to lock everything down.

And just to make it clear. I am not advocating piracy. I have no problem with the fact that authorities shut down Megaupload and similar services (just with the way they went about it), because anybody believing that even a noticable portion of their business came from legal files is fooling themselves.

But trying to shut everything down, and lock everything up and make it harder and harder and more annoying for your legitimate customers to obtain your product ... is definitly not the way to go.

And something that get's lost in all this ... if everybody only wanted everything for free. How come Megaupload had 150.000.000 registered users and many of them PAYING for the access?

Windcutter
02-17-2012, 09:06 AM
A new blog post on the subject.
http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/2100972-my-one-blog-about-ebook-piracy-i-promise

I'm not sure if easy and convenient ways will help.
See, for those who routinely use illegal downloads, using an illegal collection/site *is* an easy and convenient way. Why change it?
If I can just go to my favorite site, download books for free and save lots of money doing it... what can you offer me to top that? Short of paying *me* for downloading books, there is nothing better than getting your favorite stuff for free the moment you want it.

Williebee
02-17-2012, 09:58 AM
A new blog post on the subject.
http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/2100972-my-one-blog-about-ebook-piracy-i-promise

I'm not sure if easy and convenient ways will help.
See, for those who routinely use illegal downloads, using an illegal collection/site *is* an easy and convenient way. Why change it?
If I can just go to my favorite site, download books for free and save lots of money doing it... what can you offer me to top that? Short of paying *me* for downloading books, there is nothing better than getting your favorite stuff for free the moment you want it.

Just preserving the bolded section. It is at the root of why DRM, et al, will not work. You cannot use technology to solve something which is, at its core, a morals issue.

Snitchcat
02-17-2012, 08:19 PM
So it seems the answer is moral education. Doesn't that come down to good parenting? :tongue

Max Vaehling
02-18-2012, 12:55 AM
See, for those who routinely use illegal downloads, using an illegal collection/site *is* an easy and convenient way. Why change it?
If I can just go to my favorite site, download books for free and save lots of money doing it... what can you offer me to top that? Short of paying *me* for downloading books, there is nothing better than getting your favorite stuff for free the moment you want it.

You're half right. Free'n'easy is indeed hard to compete with, but illegally free isn't that easy, after all. You have to hunt the book down first, in a version that's a) complete, b) in the right language & format, and c) not a planted virus. There's always the chance of getting caught, and since we're all aware of the piracy debate (especially pirates are), there's always the pressure of doing something that's at least debatable, as small as this pressure may seem. (You never really know how heavy that pressure is until you start lifting it, y'know, for example by buying stuff.)

Compare that to a DL that's straight from the author's site, in the right format, easy to access, guilt-free, not that much more expensive, and you get that extra good feeling of helping, nay, assisting the author. (And if the author is really smart, she'll put in an extra or to to make it really worthwhile. Even if it's just that very friendly email that comes with the file.)

I'd say there are definitely ways to compete with free.

Amos Gunner
02-18-2012, 01:54 AM
Funny. Right now, in another corner of my computer, a bunch of books are illegally downloading.

Hopefully what has happened in the past will happen again: I'll come across a writer I've never heard of, will fall in love, will become a fan and do fan-like things such as go out and buy his/her book(s).

I know of a few other people who roll that way. We all sleep fine.

Al Stevens
02-18-2012, 03:10 AM
Funny. Right now, in another corner of my computer, a bunch of books are illegally downloading.
And so I went here:

http://search-ebooks.eu/l/loose-ends

and guess what I found for free download as pdf...

Perks
02-18-2012, 03:12 AM
It's free on smashwords, so I doubt he'll mind.

Al Stevens
02-18-2012, 03:14 AM
It's free on smashwords, so I doubt he'll mind.
And if he decides someday to charge for something...?

Perks
02-18-2012, 03:18 AM
You'd have to ask him. I'm sure the answer would be grimly entertaining.

Amos Gunner
02-18-2012, 05:36 AM
Sadly, I'm a very chipper, boring person but I'll do my best.

I insist that I've ended up purchasing more books by illegally downloading than if I had played it straight. That's the way it works for a lot of people nowadays--you get the thing first, pay later. I know it's a sloppy system and I know a lot of people take advantage of this and end up buying less or nothing at all, but I don't know a lot of those people, even in cyberspace. A lot of illegal uploaders post things like, "Remember, if you dig this support the artist," even as they share the thing for free with the world.

So, for myself, if I knew my book-for-money was floating out there for free, I'd assume:

-some people won't like it and probably wouldn't have purchased it anyway; or if they had, they'd have ended up bitterly regretting their purchase.

-some people will like it but I'll never see a dime

-some people will like it and will become fans and will buy the book. And/or maybe the next one. And/or they will look into my back catalogue. Heck, maybe the pirate will even tell their pals about me, blog about my stuff, go to readings, etc. This person, frankly, is GOLD.

And to step away from book world a second: Louis CK self-released his last stand-up special through his own site. He posted a note which asked people not to steal it because he paid for it all out of his own pocket. I know some people ignored this. But I also know he made a killing.

This is the world we live in. You can rail and try to theorize it out of existence, but you're wasting time. I think the savvy writer needs to ask how they can work inside this new world rather than attempt to topple it.

Williebee
02-18-2012, 08:47 AM
Mr. Gunner can sleep well outside.